Despite earlier reports that worship leader, songwriter and producer Israel Houghton was let go from Lakewood Church as their senior worship leader, Houghton has released an official statement stating that he is still with the megachurch pastored by Joel Osteen. A month ago, Houghton revealed via Facebook that he has divorced his wife of over 20 years amidst rumors of adultery. Shortly after the divorce, without any period of remorse and healing, Houghton reveals that he and mainstream artist Adrienne Bailon are dating.
"I truly love @joelosteen & my gracious Lakewood family. Here is their official statement. I have not been fired. Treasure of my heart & of my soul. In my weakness You are merciful. Redeemer of my past & present wrongs. Holder of my future days to come...," Houghton posted on Facebook along with a link to Lakewood's official statement concerning him.
"We can confirm that Israel is on indefinite leave, but it is important to clarify that we still consider Israel to be a part of the Lakewood family and that his employment has not been terminated," Lakewood Church said Thursday in a statement.
Just weeks after publicly announcing his official divorce after 20 years of marriage, Houghton was forced to publicly confirm his new relationship with singer and TV host Bailon because the two were photographed vacationing together in Tulum, Mexico. This has incurred rumors that Bailon was the cause of the divorce. Just hours after the allegations and onslaught of online attacks, Houghton addressed the rumors.
Read his Facebook post in its entirety below:
"In the midst of all that's going on in the world... Suffering, terrorism, deciding a future for our country, and making the world safer; It is sad that I am even having to address this matter... I understand that gossip and salacious untrue speculative stories are far more interesting and entertaining than the truth & facts. But, it's incredibly unfair to allow someone to carry the burden, blame & shame of something they had nothing to do with...
I met Adrienne Bailon a bit over 2 years ago, we worked together & became friends... Our circles connected & we remained good friends. From a friendship, as two single adults we have very recently begun to explore a dating relationship.
As I previously wrote in a statement I released a while back, My marriage had been over for quite some time before going public with my divorce announcement.
Where I shared, or as some have pointed out 'over-shared' my failure in my marriage... From over 5 years prior. It seems to be simple math that I had not even yet met Adrienne during the time my marriage was falling apart.
It deeply saddens me that an innocent party would be dragged into this situation that I have taken personal responsibility for.
Adrienne is a woman of integrity & character... Most of all she is a true friend, and she should not be blamed for my past indiscretions. I assure you - I am willing to own my wrongs and I have in the past. God knows & sees all things. I appreciate your prayers, and I join you in praying for the issues of life that truly matter today all over the world."