Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Emergent Monday - Getting Your Ears Tickled by Steven Furtick

Exegesis: the Bible says anything I want it to
I'm not totally sure why, but Steven Furtick keeps popping up in my life, and I've found that when someone or something starts popping up, the Holy Spirit us sending me hints that He wants me to pay attention. Since He gifted me with the ability to observe and write about my observations, that's what I do.

This is now what I call part 3 of the Furtick Cult Trilogy. You don't have to read the other parts, but if you want to read part 1 and/or part 2 go ahead and catch up. We'll wait... 

Welcome back. Recently I've had a small cadre of Furtick Followers remind me that the important part of Steven Furtick is his message. One Furtick Follower informed me that they had studied the bible for a quarter of a century and Steven's message is dead on and the best message they've ever heard. Forget the part about his anger and his badmouthing Christians and his putting down doctrine and his insulting Christians that want to learn the word of God, it's the message that I should be concentrating on.

To be honest I have listened to his message, and first I need to point out that Steven Furtick does not do sermons, he does homilies and calls them sermons. A homily is a religious discourse that is intended primarily for spiritual edification rather than doctrinal instruction. In other words, a homily is a monolog that is religious in nature designed to make you feel something, where as a sermon is a discussion on what God actually said and how to apply it. If you listen to Furtick's messages you will come out feeling something, but you will come out knowing less about the word of God than when you went in.

Steven's homilies are passionate and moving and light and fluffy. Sometimes he gets riled up when he wants to make a point, and often that point is way off the mark which makes me wonder if the whole getting riled up thing is to distract the audience, because to the undiscerning he sounds good. One fine example is his homily "The Great Emoti Con" - according to his website this is one of his most popular messages.

The Great Emoti Con is about emotions, not God's emotions but yours. It's part of the "Moodswingers"series. He starts with one single verse, calling John 15:11 their "goal" verse. He starts by admitting he's using a different bible version than normal which immediately sets off alarm bells - he's using a tactic that people like Rick Warren use, they use a different bible versions until they can find one that says what they want to to say. For his 'goal verse' Furtick chose the New Living Translation, a severely criticized version of the Bible. Not as bad as The Message but keep in mind that the New Living Translation is not a translation, it's merely a revision of the Living Bible which was not a translation either but a paraphrase intended for children.

For nearly an hour Furtick gets everything backwards, he starts with John 15:11 talking about joy, and how you should be feeling joy, and how wonderful everything should be. But had Mr. Furtick mentioned the previous verse also, his lecture would have taken a different tack. 
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:10-11)
There was no talk about the need to follow Jesus' commandments, there was no talk about abiding in His love, nor that of God's commandments or His love. All Steven wanted his audience to know was that the last six words - "that your joy may be full," Or, as his child oriented translation reads, "your joy will overflow!"

The next verse that Steven uses is Proverbs 4:18, and for that he switches to the NIV.
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
He translates it to mean
God's word will give you an inner sense of illumination, says that it will light up the path. Now it doesn't say that it will light up the finish line it says that it will light up the path. Which means that happiness is not a destination, but happiness is a path that is connected to God's word
All of which is so utterly wrong it amazes me that this man is allowed to stand in front of an audience in a Christian context. Proverbs 4:18-19 is not about your happiness or your joy, nor even God's word. this is a bible verse about righteousness verses sin. It's about following God's commands and the darkness of not following them. It's about being made righteous through the righteousness of Christ, it's about living soberly, righteously, and godly.

He then follows up with verse 19
But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
Which he too gets completely wrong. He goes on to say
You can be a righteous person but take the wrong route and go down the way of the wicked. So you can have a position that 'I'm in Christ' but you can be on a path that leads you away from his joy... your moods aren't supposed to be so mysterious that they lead you around.
News flash: If you're going down the wrong path - you're not being a righteous person. Furtick takes the concepts of righteousness and sin, of obeying God's commands and outright rebellion against God, and with his rapid fire style of obfuscation turns it into an elementary discussion of moods and emotions. The message that Steven Furtick is delivering is clear: "Ignore what God says, listen to me."

Then Steven started talking about the heart and how you must guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23) he spoke about keeping evil and pain out of your heart, and protecting your heart from the outside world, but that's not what Proverbs 4:23 means. You're not guarding your heart from the outside world, you're guarding your heart so you don't corrupt the outside world, which had he read the very next verse would have changed the entire tone of his message
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. 24  Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you. (Proverbs 4:23-24) 
He goes on and on about protecting your heart in the most unbiblical manner, even quoting Matthew 15:17 and somehow twisted this into saying that bad ideas from the mind can hurt the heart. There was a long period where he he went on about what comes out of your mind goes into your heart - what comes out of your mind goes into your heart - what comes out of your mind goes into your heart and this somehow causes pain and it gets very confusing and never actually strays into what the bible actually says. A discerning person would have known this is reversed had they read the next two verses which actually carry the context for what Christ Jesus was saying:
18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, slanders. (Matthew 15:18-19) 
Furtick's message is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ actually said. Through his entire homily Furtick is saying, bellowing, "Emotions are good" and God is saying "Not so much" In Proverbs 16:32, Philippians 4:7, Colossians 3:2, Romans 8:6, God demands that we keep our emotions in check. But in his message Furtick is telling us to ignore God and let our emotions rule us. Furtick is demanding that we own our emotions and own our moods but God is saying 
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)
Probably the most disturbing thing, to me, is when Furtick got the audience riled up by screaming that we should bless the Lord because it makes us feel good. Think about that - we should bless the Lord because it makes us feel good. Furtick worked his crowd into a screaming jumping frenzy of hope that praising God will make them feel wonderful because they are now controlling their emotions. And before they could open their bibles to actually read the scripture they were screaming and cheering about (if there truly was a bible in that crowd) he had them jump up so they could "swing that thing". It must be a Cult Of Furtick ritual because he never explained it but they all slavishly jumped up to "swing that thing" and apparently understood what he was bellowing about

Praising God is an expression of professing Thankfulness in everything, good and bad, because only He is worthy of praise. It's not a wild celebration of aping the words of a false teacher solely for the purpose of making ourselves feel better. In reality we will bless the Lord because He deserves it, He alone is worthy. We don't praise God for our benefit, we praise God for His.

At the end of the homily Furtick ended up with some food dye, a glass of water and a picture of water on stage with him. He put two drops of food dye into the glass of water and explained how life drops discouragement into your joy. I won't go on to the silliness that follows other than to say that there was a lot of shouting from Furtick, a lot of cheering and clapping from the herd, and a lot of water spilled on the floor. If anyone noticed that his illustration was 180 degrees off of what the bible says, their voice was lost in the adoration of Furtick the Fabulous.

I suggest an alternate illustration: Take a glass of water and claim that it is the word of God. Now put two drops of food coloring in and say "This are false messages" mix it up good and say "Now try to drink around the heresy"

In the end, the message of Furtick is simple: Me, Me, Me, My, My, My. My feelings, My emotions, My pride - over and over he repeats his litany to his cheering herd - Your Joy, Your Heart, Your Emotions, Your Feelings, Your Moods, Your Needs, Your Wants... the whole message boils down to 45 minutes of Me, Me, Me, You, You, You.

It's not about Me Me Me or You You You, it's about GOD: Capital G, Capital O, Capital D - GOD. This me me me blather is the teaching of Word of Faith heretics such as TD Jakes, Joyce Meyers, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, and Fred Price who demote God just to deify mere human beings... and wouldn't you know it - Steven Furtick says that Word of Faith heretic TD Jakes "is my favorite preacher in the world"

That's just ducky.

Steven Furtick is so overjoyed with the heresy of TD Jakes he presented the false teacher with $35,000 in a wheelbarrow in a big show of "Hey Everyone!!! Look At Me Being Selfless!!!" generosity to honor Jakes "ministry" and in doing so Furtick blatantly ignored what Christ Jesus said about charitable giving.
1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full (Matthew 6:1-2)
In Steven Furtick's defense this may not apply, because he wasn't giving to the poor - Jakes is the richest pastor on earth. Jakes lives in a $1,700,000 mansion (a hovel! It's valued at $1,300,000 less than Furtick's 16,000 square foot palace), wears custom made suits and sports a diamond ring the size of a coin. He has a $150 million net worth and is chauffeured in a sweetly outfitted corporate jet.

Steven Furtick has welcomed Pastix Christine Caine to preach on a Sunday morning at Elevation Church, and he's even made his wife preach. Women pastors in the church have been debated for many years. However, just because something is debated, doesn't mean that both sides have valid arguments. The issue is not if a woman is an international speaker, great musician, great parent, etc. Instead, we must ask if having a woman preacher is what the Bible affirms. It is not. 1 Timothy 2:12-13 clearly prevents a woman from fulfilling a preachers duties. Also, a Preacher is an elder in the church and neither Holly Furtick nor Christine Caine fill the requirements of an elder as outlined in Titus 1:5–7

And another question - How are the church finances being managed? The manner in which a church manages its finances should be completely transparent. A church should always be ready to demonstrate to the world that the funds that God has provided are being stewarded wisely. However Elevation and its pastor, Steven Furtick, refuse to disclose audited financial statements, salaries, tax-free housing allowances and contracts with for-profit publishers. Elevation does not disclose its audited financial statement, even to donors and members.

And Furtick himself does not release his finances - personally I say good for him, he doesn't have to. BUT he says the reason why he doesn't is because it would go against the teachings of Jesus. He doesn't exactly say what those teaching are, nor does he even hint at what they are. This is mostly because there are none that apply. 

So yes, I've listened to his messages, and I will admit they are passionate and expressive, well crafted and emotional. However they are unbiblical pablum designed to feed the goats and starve the sheep. In St8 Talk For Crooked Church By Rahsaan A. Armand, Rahsaan tells us a goat doesn't exercise discipline when it comes to eating. Goats literally eat anything. Spiritually that translates to persons who will accept or "eat" any diet - most times including those not spiritually nutritious. Sheep on the other hand eat only what the shepherd feeds them. Spiritually that translated as a steady diet of God's words, The Bible. (Pp 206-207)

Yes Furticks messages sound like the word of God to the undiscerning, because he throws in a lot of bible verses. However a Berean would quickly realize that these verses are being used out of context or they're being used improperly. His trick is to use a verse out of context like he did with Matthew 15:17 then move on quickly before anyone notices. Checking the context of a verse takes a little time as anyone who knows anything about quoting the bible knows. You must use the 20/20 rule of context: To understand the context of a verse read 20 verse before the verse used, and 20 verses after the verse used. Furtick blasts through bible verses so quickly and uses tricks like switching versions so that a berean will be left choking in his dust.

Sadly there's fewer and fewer people out there testing the spirits (1 John 1:4) fewer and fewer people being the Berean (Acts 17:11) but there's plenty who are instead willing to sit back and let someone tickle their ears
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
It's heartbreaking to watch this come to fruition, people who seriously believe that they are following Christ but instead blindly following an apostle of the father of lies. Sadly you can show a follower the bible verses that explain the truth, you can explain to them what God really says, but they don't what to hear it. And all you and do is pray for them.
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

For more information on the Cult of Furtick see the following:

Emergent Monday - The Cult Of Furtick
Do Not Bash The Bride


  1. Tweeted and posted to FB. Well done. Thanks for the hard work.

  2. thank you for this article. Florin

  3. Interesting & 2 Tim 4 is so true right now. Agree with everything just not about women in the church, especially when you do an exegesis of the verses, but hey that's a convo for another day!

    1. I'd be interested in seeing your views. Maybe you should start a blog

  4. Have you ever truly ever praised the Lord? I'm thinking Paul and Silas in prison...is there a chance that Paul's praising Jesus after being severely beaten and shackled also gave him some edification? Perhaps even a positive and uplifting emotional response? Of course, the Lord is the sole focus of our praise...our sole focus of everything but I'm learning that praising God also causes the Holy Spirit to lift me up when I'm down. I listened to the message you spoke of and you presented your case against it in the same manner you accuse him. Communication can be twisted in many ways - trust me, Im an expert on this. I could easily take these articles and twist them to meet my purpose so I get your concern. However, I ask this one thing and not as an accusation but as a measure - how many folks are accepting Jesus as Lord by this "message?" P.S. I'm not a member of Furtick's church nor have I attended same. Pray about this and your need to expose...we need to truly lift one another up in these times as Christians, not tear down. Peace.