Is Justin Bieber letting Jesus take the wheel?
His sudden announcement on Monday that he’s canceling the rest of his Purpose tour touched off some juicy (and unconfirmed) speculation: The Biebs might be starting his own church.
WWJD: What Would Justin Do?
TMZ reported that Justin walked away from the tour – angering his road crew and fans alike – because he “rededicated his life to Christ.”
The website quotes sources connected to Hillsong Church, the Pentecostal megachurch “of choice” for young celebrities such as Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner and NBA player Kevin Durant.
It’s “where the cool kids spend Sunday morning after Saturday night at the club,” according to a 2015 GQ story that wondered why all the church-goers wore Saint Laurent.
“Bieber has been virtually joined at the hip with Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz over the last few months – including at a huge church event in Australia – but we’re told Lentz did not advocate for canceling the tour,” TMZ reported.
The Daily Mail reported that in early July Bieber sneaked into Sydney, Australia, on a private plane to attend the church’s annual conference. He and Lentz – known as “Pastor Carl” and a “hipster pastor” – were photographed around town together by paparazzi while they were there.
After Bieber called off his tour on Monday, the Aussies were the first to breathe life into the “Justin’s starting a church” rumor. Australia’s “Today” show quoted inside sources saying as much.
The source told “Today” that Bieber “came off the road ... because he wants to reconnect with his faith, and he may be even planning to start his own church.
“We know that he was in the country a few weeks ago having meetings and attending the big Hillsong convention that they had here. Very close to a lot of the Hillsong people,” the show reported.
“Whether he’s looking at teaming up with them or something of a more permanent situation or doing some sort of religious activity on his own, starting his own church, we’re not quite sure.”
Hillsong, founded in 1983, has locations around the world. Lentz, described as a “rock star preacher,” is one of the lead pastors at the Hillsong NYC outpost.
According to GQ’s account, Lentz was with Bieber the day the young superstar got down on his knees and cried, “I want to know Jesus” and asked to be baptized.
Unable late that night to find a place not surrounded by New York paparazzi, the two ended up at the fancy Upper West Side apartment of then-New York Knicks player Tyson Chandler, where the Biebs was reborn in Chandler’s giant custom tub, GQ reported.
The young Canadian is certainly equipped to be the rock upon which he could build his own church.
Giant metal angel wings, worn on tour? Check.
Angel wings tattooed across the back of his neck? Check.
“Son of God” tattooed across his abs? Check.
Never say never, Beliebers. Never say never.