Let’s talk music. Specifically, Justin Bieber.
The undeniably talented pop superstar is popular, rich, and influential with his millions of fans.
He’s also lonely, according to a new song of his, titled simply, “Lonely.”
But before dealing with that, let’s get some background. In 2014, Justin was a mess: Heavy drinking, a scandal about some racist words he used as a youth, and an overall “bad boy” image from doing stupid things.
Enter Christianity. Specifically, the Australia-based Pentecostal mega-church Hillsong.
The church has branches throughout the world, including the US, and is known for its pastors in skinny jeans and “laid back” attitude, as well as its prosperity Gospel, which says Christians can get rich, and doing so is a sign of God’s approval.
In 2014, Bieber was baptized by Carl Lentz, pastor of Hillsong’s New York City branch, in an NBA basketball player’s bathtub (it was reportedly very large!)
How’s his new faith working out?
On the surface, he got his act together. He married another Hillsong member, Hailey Baldwin, in 2018, and, now 26, has stayed out of the headlines for the shenanigans he was known for as a youth. But his music has not made the same spiritual journey.
In 2015 (pre-baptism) he had released “No Sense,” in which he opines, “It don’t make no sense unless I’m doing it with you.”
Nothing’s changed. His early 2020 hit, “Yummy” was reportedly a song about his wife’s private parts. Nuff said there.
His catchy December, 2020 hit, “Holy,” is anything but. He sings, “I hear a lot about sinners. Don’t think that I’ll be a saint.” And, “The way you hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, feels so holy, holy, holy, holy.”
In October, he had released the aforementioned “Lonely.” Many lyrics are clearly thoughtful, noting that he hopes “when I’m older, it’ll all calm down.” And he ruminates on how hard it is being a celebrity, as many other singers have done before.
But it’s hard to believe some lines were written and sung by a Christian.
“What if you had it all, but nobody to call?” “But no one’s listening, and that’s just F****ing lonely.” “And everyone saw me sick, and it felt like no one gave a s**t.” His plaintive wail, “I’m so lo-oooonely” is haunting, and very sad.
Nobody to call, no one listening? One wonders where his pastor was.
Lentz, his mentor/pastor, disappeared from Justin’ life. He was fired from Hillsong in November, partly due to infidelity accusations, and because he seemed obsessed with celebrities and designer clothing more than he was helping those church members in need of spiritual help, like Justin.
On Jan. 4, 2021, Justin took to Instagram to “debunk” rumors. He denied being a member of Hillsong (now) and claimed to be a member of Churchome, led by Pastor Judah Smith, who had introduced him to Lentz and had officiated his wedding.
He also said, “Church is not a place. We are the church. We don’t need a building to connect with God, God is with us wherever we are.” And in that, he’s correct.
Back to Lentz, he let Justin down. But not just him. His church let him down. And even deeper, so did Christian theology.
That’s because the root cause of moral rot in today’s Church is its theology. Pastors today blindly repeat: “You can’t EARN your salvation, it’s a FREE GIFT,” (“Instant Salvation”) and “Good works are FILTHY rags to God,” (“Unholy Religion”) and “we’re born sinners, we can’t help it.” (“Original Sin/Inherited Guilt Nature”)
Where does this false theology lead church members? They conclude that religion is cheap, and nothing matters.
This rotten theology creates a lazy faith that doesn’t lead to doing good and being Good. Both are seen as unnecessary, and in some churches, impossible, for human beings.
So, we see a baptized rock star carelessly using religious concepts as fodder for his sex-focused lyrics, then mocking the idea of “Being a saint.” Why? Because his false teachers themselves mock “morality” as irrelevant to salvation, and to God.
Knowing this background, can we blame Justin Bieber for moral laxness? No. We dare not throw stones at HIM. The blame lies with modern Christianity: a belief system that failed to give him the moral clarity to improve how he was influencing his millions of fans – and fails many millions of churchgoers.
Jesus’ teachings bring that moral clarity. And a “Christian” belief system based on ANYTHING OTHER than his teachings is a false religion.