Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz has come to the defense of Relentless Church pastor John Gray, who has been criticized by some for attending a meeting at the White House. Gray was among several black faith leaders that President Trump invited to meet with him to discuss prison reform.
In an Instagram post, Lentz wrote:[lborder]
As dark as it can seem, our hope that God can use us to bring change is brighter than ever! In that light, special memo to my brother @realjohngray … I’m proud to be your friend! I am baffled at times, at the responses from people when we see prayers answered. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t prayed “God help our President see what we see, see the hurting, help him live and lead with compassion and empathy.” Yet, when a man like YOU gets an invitation to GIVE YOUR POINT OF VIEW on how we as a nation can help REFORM AND CHANGE OUR FAILING AND POORLY CONSTRUCTED PRISON SYSTEM, people are somehow objecting to this. I respect perhaps, somebody’s choice to decline such an invitation.
I do not respect those that would disparage another, for believing they must walk through an open door like this. John please remember, we are not allowed to pick and choose who we lead, who we love, who we influence. It doesn’t matter if the person is hated, or universally loved. It doesn’t matter if the person is homeless, or internationally famous. It does not matter if people will impugn your motives, or the motives of a person in this case, inviting you to HIS TABLE.
We are under orders to do what’s right. Especially in the face of what is wrong. Somebody said to me, “Yeah, but he was trying to use John as prop.” I laughed out loud. I told him firstly, you don’t know John. Secondly, that gives far too much credit to “the other party.” Furthermore do you know how many times a meeting has started in life, when somebody had bad motives, yet the gospel prevailed? I’ll take my chances on John Gray and the Grace of God all day, over somebody who thinks they are gonna have the upper hand.
Trust me John, Ive heard so many people say “Let’s go reach the world!” And then when you start doing it? “You have changed. How could you be associated with such a person.” The idea, is always easier than the reality. I love the reality of who you are. Keep on shinin’ my man.[/lborder]
Last week, Gray was a guest on Don Lemon’s CNN show, where they got into a contentious discussion about the meeting. Essentially, Lemon said he was concerned that by appearing with the president, Gray was sending mixed messages about Trump’s polarizing racial statements and policies. Gray, however, said that he felt the need to speak up for people who couldn’t speak up for themselves and urge the president to act on prison reforms.
"I can only speak for me. With everything that I could have lost, and could still lose, I believe that my voice was necessary because I was there for people who could not fight for themselves." – Pastor John Gray responds to backlash following a meeting with President Trump during which he says he intended to hear more about prison reform https://cnn.it/2KnHQU3
Posted by Don Lemon CNN on Thursday, August 2, 2018
Gray also addressed the meeting from the pulpit and explained how he advocated for reforms to the criminal justice system and prayed for the country: