Pastor Brian Houston praised actor Chris Pratt for his “bold faith in Jesus” as he endured public attacks from actress Ellen Page for going to church.
The Sydney Australia-based Hillsong megachurch, which is attended by a number of celebrities including Justin Bieber, Kevin Durant and Selena Gomez, found itself at the center of a media firestorm after Page publicly accused Pratt’s church of being “infamously anti LGBTQ.”
After Pratt responded and explained that his personal values represent him, not his church affiliation, a number of outlets — including Variety, CNN, and NBC — reported that the church in question was none other than Hillsong, which has several campuses across the U.S.
But in a series of tweets on Thursday, Houston, who with his wife, Bobbie, founded the megachurch in 1983, attempted to correct and clarify the mainstream media's false reports.
“The weird thing about all the media regarding Chris Pratt and Hillsong Church is that it’s built on a falsehood,” he tweeted. “I am so grateful for Chris’s bold faith in Jesus. But he is not now, and never has been a member of Hillsong Church.”
Houston further addressed misinformation reported by the media, including the fact that Hillsong supports gay conversion therapy: “It is completely false that Hillsong Church practice, recommend, or suggest ‘gay conversion therapy’ to anyone. I have always been a vocal opponent in fact. Again, it’s built on a false narrative,” he tweeted.
The pastor went on to share a statement from Hillsong Church, which explained that the church “does not preach against anyone or any group” and is “not ‘anti-anyone.’”
“We are an inclusive Christian church that loves, values and welcomes all people, regardless of their background, ethnicity, beliefs, values, or personal identity,” reads the statement.
“We are also a church that adheres to mainstream biblical values shared by the overwhelming majority of evangelical Christian churches around the world, and millions of Christians across the USA,” it continues. “Believing the teachings of the Bible and loving all people – including those who have different perspectives — are not mutually exclusive. In fact this is the very definition of tolerance and inclusiveness.”
The statement concludes by declaring that Hillsong, which received backlash in 2015 after its leadership called homosexuality a sin, wants to be known “by who we are for.”
“We are for people finding hope in Jesus, we are for people finding love and acceptance, and we are for helping people in any way we can. Our focus is on pointing people to Jesus as 'the way, the truth, and the life.’”
Pratt, along with his fiancee Katherine Schwarzenegger, attends Pastor Chad Veach’s Zoe Church in Los Angeles. Following Page’s comments, the actor posted a response on his Instagram story explaining how much the church was supportive of him during his divorce from Anna Faris.
“It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which ‘hates a certain group of people’ and is ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ.’ Nothing could be further from the truth,” he wrote. “I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone. Despite what the Bible says about divorce, my church community was there for me every stop [sic] of the way, never judging, just gracefully accompanying me on my walk. They helped me tremendously offering love and support. It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender.”
The “Lego Movie 2” star also shared a Bible verse from John 13:34 in the post.
“Jesus said ‘I give you a new command, love one another,'” he wrote. “This is what guides me in my life. He is a God of Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. Hate has no place in my or this world.”