p.3 Elevation churches Assortment of activities and teachings
A pastor should be explaining and expressing the Word of God in his sermons to have believers fed so they can grow and be equipped to do ministry.
Elevation church is said to be Top 100 fastest growing churches in the United States, and in the top 10 largest churches in the US.
The goal Furtick says, “ The lord is going to enable us to be one of the first churches in the US to have 100,000 people.”
Furtick in Should Church Be All About the Numbers? speaks of the 3,000 being saved in a day, and a “Worship Experience,” and also loudly says, “yes! yes! it’s all about the numbers!” Numbering people is only approved when God establishes it. In 2 Samuel 24, David considered to number Israel. 1 Chron. 21 tells us it was Satan who moved David to do this. Nowhere do we find in the New Testament a church being commended for its numbers. The fact that numbers are mention in Acts twice, is to show how great the move of the Spirit was in forming the Church. Many cults use numbers to prove that God is with them, when he is not.
If you want to help and serve as a volunteer, you must sign a confidentiality agreement must be signed. Gossip, slander and betraying confidences are mentioned. While this sounds biblical and sensible, it also has the one be a decider of what this can mean. It writes “I agree to be bound by the terms, conditions and covenants set forth…” This legally binds the volunteer to a non-disclosure agreement of “confidential information.” such as the Church’s research, technical data and financial information. Any breach of the contract (covenant) of the volunteer allows the church to pursue all legalities against them. It reminds me of the covenant signed at Rick Warren’s Purpose driven church.
Cults so not allow you to question the leader or leadership or how things are done. One should be able to show from the Bible what and why things are done a certain way. How one handles disagreements is important.
Among the many activities we find that music is a big factor in the attraction of Elevation church, in fact he describes it as the elevation experience in his ads. Some describe it as blaring rock music with lights that makes it feel more like a rock concert. In one sermon he is seen wearing a Def Leppard shirt
You can receive Steven Furtick's free weekly 1-Minute Motivation delivered directly to your inbox and become an “elevator” follower of his teaching.
Furtick has some good one liners where common sense is expressed,
“Every heart has an atmosphere. What is the atmosphere of your heart? Nothing good develops in an atmosphere of anxiety.”
“The presence of God will not always fix your problems, but it will clarify your perspective.” (source)
“Being brave doesn’t mean we have no fear – it means we refuse to be overcome by it.”
“If you're going to ask God to do something impossible in your life, you've got to have some clarity about what you're asking for.” (Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible)
Certainly not the way many would express these ideas but are in the acceptable category. But there are just as many statements that are just plain absurd and do not make sense. These are motivational statements with Christian words or concepts that are detached from the Word that is to be our arbiter of spiritual things/
“If the size of your vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God.”
It is God that gives us a vision for our life and an accompanying ministry with gifts to fulfill it, we do not make the vision up ourselves. We don’t offer up our vision for our life and have God approve of it. That would be insulting to God.
“I'm determined to take ground and win big for the kingdom of God. I'm
unapologetic about my mission to change the world for the glory of
Jesus. I want to be a Joshua in my generation.”
Being self determined to be famous, a leader of all does bring into question whether he understands dying to self and God choosing and lifting you up for this purpose. He also applies this to his kids.
“I’m not raising my kids to survive the world. I’m raising them to
You would be hard pressed to find this said by those who were actually used by God to change the world. The gospel is what is used to change people.
“ Great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience Enjoy the journey, because the destination is a mirage.”
If one can understand what his conclusion actually means please explain it, because I don’t?
Steven Furtick began as a Southern Baptist church but it is not where he is today. With motivation as the focus, this is more like self esteem, not Christ esteem
In an ad for his book Soul Control: The Key to Sustaining Strength in a Draining World
“Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly being influenced by the world around you. The things you take in affect everything: your mind, your heart, your soul, even your standards of
what is right and wrong. It's difficult to be spiritually healthy in world that is constantly comparing you to everyone and everything else. But the key is - you have to take control of your soul to survive. The Key to Sustaining Strength in a Draining World, will give you tools to help you build the right foundation and set you up for success in all areas of your life.”
The only right foundation is Christ, we build on it (not build the foundation)
His observation is correct but his solution and promise to be successful in all areas seems to be contradictory to Scripture.
Furtick’s solution, ”You have potential. And there are things you can do right now to sow into it - but first, you have to start. To help you take your next steps, we've put together a new resource for you called Unlocking Your Hidden Potential.”
This series is designed to help you, not only uncover your potential, but live up to it. Aren't you ready to find out what's in you?”
Sounds good except there is no unlocking our potential, and it is not hidden in us. This is certainly borrowing from the New Age human potential movement. The very opposite of how the Bible describes to grow in servanthood.
He tells a story about him doing wrong as a waterboy,… “ They started yelling at me like these rebellious Israelites started yelling at Moses, started yelling at me CALLING ME STEVE I don’t even go by Steve there’s an N on my name, pronounce the consonant, this aint wheel of fortune”
When you think of yourself in this manner and use it from the pulpit to make a point there is something very wrong.
Furtick states, “Goliath has got your sword, Goliath has got your grace, and if you want to see the victory, your going to have to defeat what is standing in front of you, but you don’t have to do it on your own. I want every single worshipper to declare, ‘I know how this story ends.’”
The sword is the Word of God, the Bible, and grace comes from God; the enemy has neither captive. It comes from God. Again his statement like others lifts words from Scripture to embolden the listener to do something, when it is not grounded in the meaning of the biblical text.
Persecution and even death were what many Christians faced especially at the beginning of the church. (John the Baptist was beheaded, Stephen was stoned. Saul rounded up many for execution before his conversion). They did not defeat the enemy as Furtick insinuates, there is no teaching or guarantee of this in Scripture. In the future tribulation it will be like the past as untold numbers are killed and yet they will have victory. Rev 12:11 “ and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
Reads Gen.22. Gen. 22:12-14 And He said, "Do not lay a hand on the boy, do not do anything to him; now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham looked up, and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram, and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; and to this day it is said, "On the Mountain of The LORD it will be provided." the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said: "I sware by Myself declares the LORD, who else are you going to sware by if you are God. “ That because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son-- I will surely bless you, and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore; and your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies. And through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." Generations later Joshua would lead the people into the land where the sun would stand still and it all got started because of one mans faith in the God who will provide.
Reads v.14 God will provide again and says …”Y’know what, its one thing to have faith in the god who provides on the mountain but real faith must be demonstrated in the valley”
He then applies the lesson of learning to trust God in the valley in order that you might provide for us on the mountain .”
Completely divorcing the New Testament correlation of Gods only Son sacrificed on the mountain, fulfilling the prophecy that God will provide in Jesus’ sacrifice on the same mountain.
Yet he says there so many things he would like to say about this text but we do not have the time. He does think it is a type and shadow of the gospel. (Video: Audacious faith –Furtick)
So he intentionally uses the text for his own meaning. Yet this story is probably the most important types to clarify Gods only son, instead he wants to talk about audacious faith. This is uncannily similar to the pattern and presentation of Joel Osteen, another who avoids drawing from the text the text.
Furtick does the same with many other bible saints and stories, this is modus operandi in interpretation. He avoids the using a direct line in the correlation of scripture and chooses to allegorize the meaning for the application. Furtick famously misses the point written, for his own point.
In his Christmas message that avoids Jesus as the focus, reading Luke 2 And the birth of Christ he then goes to v.6 and focuses on the words “the time came” ad makes it a metaphor about you, your life. The time has come for God to do something in your life. That’s how this story gets reinterpreted. His depth of understanding is shown by saying “What I love about God is when it is time, it is time.” Has them repeat this. The music crescendos louder and louder as he says “ it’s time for joy and peace and love and grace to burst forth in your life today.”
This is a soulish manipulation as the music.
You rarely hear Jesus in a sermon (or the apostles teaching) being a focus, it is on what Furtick wants to say, and what he nearly always speaks on is about “you”, and that is the attraction. To make it about those listening so they will be attracted to his words and not the Word.
He does the same “In a sermon titled “By Invitation Only” Furtick focuses on John 2:1-11, which is the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Furtick’s purpose is to show “What to do when your joy is running low” and to show that “God has something special in store for you, but it’s by invitation only.”
Furtick’s understanding of this Scripture is that wine represents joy in the Bible as well as the word ‘invitation’, found in John 2:2. The Bible speaks of those who serve in the church to be not be given to wine, or to much wine? 1Tim.3:3, 8; Titus 1:7, 2:3 (not too much joy?)
“ On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited . When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to Him, “They have no more wine …” When the wine ran out, joy ran out. “
Did joy run out? It doesn’t say this. It was Jesus’ mother that noticed the wine is gone and tells Jesus the wine had run out.
Neither joy nor invitation is the point of the story. It became an opportunity to reveal who Jesus is, for his disciples to believe in him, that he meets their needs (as he later did with bread). Jesus saying to Mary “What does this have to do with me?” Shows that Jesus first did not want to get involved. Furtick points out that Mary knew she had to get the servants involved, to get Jesus to act (v.5). Furtick’s interprets this that for us to get God to act, you have to get involved. He is inserting into the text what is not there to arrive at a different conclusion then the text; his own.
He closes on the six jars (Jn. 2:6) adding some mystical application, that six is the number of man and that it also represents incompletion. That God told him that he “ was the seventh jar. You are the place where I want to reveal my glory.” He then tells his audience to say, “I am a miracle waiting to happen. I am a place of God to pour his glory. I am a miracle in progress. Now I know! Now I know! Now I know! Now I know….It’s you God wants to fill…to use…Welcome to my World Jesus! Welcome to my life! Welcome to my heart! Fill me to overflowing !”
Furtick is interpreting this verse the way he makes Scripture about himself (and us), and not about the actual event. This is something he consistently does, he turns the meaning to us, using the Scripture for his own points. Yet there is a more subtle false point, he is the 7th jar and 7 according to numbers means completion in the Bible.
However, there is no “seventh jar” that God wants to fill with water to be changed to wine, to be a miracle. We are not to be filled with new wine.
If all are involved in this miracle as he says, then there are thousands of jars (not just 7). While I can vaguely understand his point of application being made, there can be found a more biblical correlation than the wedding feast. This passage of Scripture has a different meaning than Furtick decided and this Biblical story is not meant to be made into modern allegory for us.
He concludes since Jesus was invited to a wedding, God can show up anywhere he is invited. “ You’ll be surprised where God will show up when he’s invited,” and that God “shows up wherever [he’s] welcome .”
Yes, and God can show up when he is not invited as well. We should not ignore the fact that God already indwells us as believers everywhere we go as 2 Cor.4:10 tells us.
Building a Home or a Palace
Becoming rich by hard work is acceptable, however, “becoming rich” off the gospel is another matter, such as writing books on the Bible.
Several years ago Furtick’s estimated nеt-wоrth was estimated at $55 mіllіоn dollars. Furtick told his congregation that money from his books was enough to pay for his new $1.7 million home on 19 acres of land near Weddington, N.C. We are told it has 5 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.
Тhrее оf hіѕ bооkѕ hаvе bееn саtеgоrіѕеd аѕ Nаtіоnаl Веѕtѕеllеrѕ bу Nеw Yоrk Тіmеѕ. However, Furtісk’ѕ рrіmаrу ѕоurсе оf іnсоmе hаѕ bееn hіѕ ѕаlаrу аѕ the раѕtоr оf thе Еlеvаtіоn Church. Neither Furtick nor Elevation Church will reveal the amount of his salary or housing allowance. (source )
Apparently it is Elevation Church that paid most of the cost of his custom built $1.7 million dollar house with five bedrooms and seven and one and a half baths, in an exclusive neighborhood on multiple acres of land.
Is this an example of fully surrendering for salvation like he describes? Or is it being influenced by the world like he warns?
Furtick defends his lavish home from the pulpit, " It's a big house, and it's a beautiful house, and we thank God for it …. We understand everything we have comes from God ," saying it was “ a gift from God ” he added that it is “not that great of a house,” which “ isn’t even that big a house, really.”
It’s not big! With a house this size the bedrooms would be the size of a house. This is liken to the Pope in the Vatican. By the way, is name is not on the deed of the house instead its jumper drive trust
The people who pay his salary enable him to buy shirts that can be over 400$ and hats that are hundreds of dollars. Living a lavish life is certainly not the Jesus style of ministry. He does not walk in the shoes of those who came before (such as the apostles), as his shoes and sneakers cost well over 500$. (Heb. 13:5) If any of these men who live this lavish lifestyle were to be put in jail like the apostles, would “their spirituality” survive? Paul said contentment with godliness is great gain, no one seems to model being content as an example (Phi. 4:11; 1Tim. 6:8)
According to Charlotte Observer link
Furtick will live in "only" 8,400 square feet of heated space. The other 8,000 will be devoted to a garage (lots of cars, I guess), porch, attic. Furtick is living better than:
•Investor, businessman, wealthiest man in Charlotte C.D. Spangler Jr. Charlotte, Total square feet: 6,169; tax value: $1,407,200
• Businessman, wealthiest person in North Carolina, James Goodnight, Cary, Heated area 7,510 (total square footage not available); tax value: $4,977,270
SOURCE: Public records Steven Furtick's House Bigger Than Wealthiest Family in North Carolina! (Posted on Tue Oct 22, 2013)
Elevation church does give out money to other ministries. An NBC Charlotte investigative report mentioned that Elevation Church has given more than $10 million to nonprofit organizations, such as Samaritans Purse and Crisis Assistance Ministry. Yet doing this does not justify building such a palace for one self. This reminds me of Robert Tilton and other word faith promoters that justify investing in their own affluent comfortability.
The Image of the Church
Most churches will use some type of symbol or logo having to do with Christianity, like a cross to represent themselves. The Elevation Church symbol or logo is a pyramid inside a circle. I usually would not make this point about symbols, except this is a clever and blatant.
OCCULT esoteric Bible interpreters (like William Branham) spoke of and used these symbols; like a pyramid. Why would a Christian church use this symbol? Because Elevation is their name and self is being elevated.
Alice Bailey of the Lucis Trust said the coming New World Order is best symbolised by a triangle within a circle, with a dot inside the triangle.
All one has to do is look at how the many pyramid symbols are used elsewhere. It is no secret what these mean. Why would anyone who professes Christ use the same symbols as Occultists and new agers?
It may be the same answer as to why he can preach with so many words and not have it focused on the Word, or Jesus and present a very different conclusion. The spirit of the age is contrary to the Spirit of truth.
From what I see, this all bears watching as it develops further.