An Australian pastor says that Justin Bieber has not fully moved on from his troubled past, but has made efforts to become a "good Christian". Bieber, 23, is currently in Sydney to attend the Hillsong Closer Conference, a religious event run by a Pentecostal church recently caught up in a child sex abuse scandal.
The Despacito singer has flown to Australia three times in the past two years specifically to attend conferences run by the Hillsong Church. After turning to religion in 2015, Bieber was baptised into the Hillsong Church by Pastor Carl Lentz at an apartment in Manhattan, New York.
Denying rumours that the church has paid Bieber to attend the conferences, Lentz, 38, told Australian TV show Sunrise: "We don't pay him to attend. He comes on his own."
It seems the religion has encouraged the Canadian singer to turn his life around after several incidences of bad behaviour, which led to an arrest in 2014 for drag racing in Miami. Applauding Bieber's new lifestyle, Lentz admitted: "I think that Justin is a good Christian."
However he added: "I don't think his problems are behind him, but we all have to deal with other stuff to come. His relationship with Jesus is changing his life daily. It is one of those things where you never really get it, it takes a while to keep growing as a person. Every day he is getting older, and with each chapter comes new growth... This is what conference is all about."
Bieber reflected on his bad boy past recently, sharing his police mugshot on Instagram with the hashtags: "#jailsnotacoolplacetobe, #notfun #neveragain." The Sorry singer has also gotten a new tattoo on his leg which says: "Better at 70."
Explaining the meaning behind the ink, Bieber told his followers: "I look back at a lot of things in my life, mistakes, insecurities, and although I have felt I've wasted a lot of time it also makes me want to be better faster! For me personally I want to work everyday to be BETTER AT 70."
The Hillsong Church came under fire in 2015 when it emerged the founder, Brian Houston, did not inform the police when his father admitted to sexually abusing several children. A royal commission into the scandal concluded that Frank Houston had abused around nine young boys around Australia and New Zealand. Frank died in 2004.
Bieber is currently enjoying a break from his Purpose World Tour, which resumes in North America on 29 July.