Justin Bieber has, this week, broken silence about his relationship with Hailey Baldwin – by proposing to her. The pair dated briefly in 2016, with sources suggesting that they had rekindled their romance in May. But the publicity does not solely surround Mr and Mrs Bieber-to-be, but also his citation of God's divine plan in their lives.
Bieber is known to have attended Hillsong Church since 2014 and has been open about his faith since cancelling tour shows due to a spiritual crisis. He has since been spotted with several celebrity friends attending the LA branch of the church. This includes his long-time on-off girlfriend Selena Gomez and others such as Vanessa Hudgens and Nick Jonas. Baldwin too has been attending the church of late, under the guidance of its pastor Carl Lentz.
Hillsong Church is a Pentecostal community, started in Sydney, that has drawn a lot of celebrity attention since expanding globally. The Kardashian/Jenners, Chris Pratt, Kevin Durant and many more are drawn to Hillsong's slick image, chart-topping music and contemporary Christianity.
Hillsong's doctrine is traditional: that the Bible is the word of God, Jesus is the saviour of the world, that our eternal destination is either heaven or hell, and all the things that one would normally associate with mainstream Christianity. However, its practice is what sets it apart. A novelty when the church was set up in 1983, worship primarily takes the form of concert-like music-led sessions, often hosted in theatres or stadiums rather than traditional church venues. Sunday services comprise four main elements: worship (primarily through music), prayer requests and giving offerings, a reading with a sermon and finally, ministry. These ministries include encouraging commitment to Jesus, baptism, laying of hands.
Whilst the engagement itself was enough to shock fans, Bieber's caption on his Instagram post displayed what Lentz calls his 'really deep faith'. Both Bieber and Baldwin talk of God's divine plan and being in 'God's favour'. Bieber even refers to Proverbs 18:22 as he quotes, 'He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.' He speaks of leading a family with honour, and letting the Holy Spirit guide decisions. He states that the Holy Spirit guided him to his decision to propose to Baldwin, just one month after rekindling their 2016 romance. Baldwin too expressed her 'gratitude to God' on Twitter shortly after the announcement.
It is rumoured that Bieber visited Baldwin's famous father, Stephen Baldwin, to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage. Stephen Baldwin, a self-confessed born-again Christian, has recently been involved in several New York-based Christian ministries such as Breakthrough Ministry, Antioch Ministry and Jesus Now More Than Ever. Hillsong Church encourages a pre-marriage course, and it is rumoured the Stephen Baldwin and his wife Kennya would act as their 'support couple' in this process.
As regular attenders at Hillsong Church in LA, it is assumed that pastor and close confidant of Bieber Pastor Carl Lentz will marry the couple. Carl and his wife Laura have been a leadership pair since bringing the Church from Australia to New York in 2010. Lentz is often dubbed the 'rockstar pastor' and is often pictured with the celebrities who attend his services.
It seems that Bieber's dabble with Christianity has now blossomed into a fully-grown faith. From being baptised in basketballer Tyson Chandler's bath, to a source revealing that he wanted to 'start his own church', his faith is bringing him into a brighter limelight than his controversial teenage behaviour did.
So, despite raising our eyebrows at yet another dose of Bieber-fever, we wait and see what the Lord's favour really does have in store for Hollywood's newest lovebirds.
Nina Mattiello Azadeh studied music and philosophy and was a Faith in Politics media intern in 2016. She has a keen interest in interfaith relations, social action and is a classical ballet dancer. Follow her on Twitter @Ninamataz
This article was originally published in Christian Today and is republished here with permission