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Steven Furtick and What God Can't Do

The lead pastor over at Elevation Church in North Carolina, Steven Furtick, is a rock star.  He is a big personality with high dollar speaking engagements.   He gets his audience all ralled up with his engaging public speaking style and use bold words and statements.  He even got his masters in divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Even Oprah added him to her top list of spiritual leaders (John 15:19)... With all that said, lets get into what really matters; TRUTH.

THE PATTERN OF TEACHINGS:

A)  Does not understand the SOURCE of the doctrines of Grace.

In a video posted in 2008, Steve states his church is about 'kingdom multiplication' which is good, but then continues on to state "...if that doesn't get you excited and you need the doctrines of grace as defined by John Calvin to excite you, you in the wrong church. Let me get a phone book. There are 720 churches in Charlotte. I am sure we can find one where you can stuff your face until you're so obese spiritually that you can't even move."  That's an interesting statement to make.  Is Steven's definition of the doctrines of grace true or is John Calvin's?  Are they both true?  Are they both wrong?  See, he already misses the mark.  He assumes the doctrines of grace is defined by man whether its him, or John Calvin... This is due to the ultimate problem with him.

Quick tangent, the doctrines of grace affirm that man is completely lost in his sin and it is only by the grace of God through the person of Jesus that salvation is possible.  It is not up to man's sinful free will, but God's sovereignty over his creation (Rom. 9:22-23; Eph. 1:4-5).  It further states that because of man's enslavement to sin he is unable to freely choose God (1 Cor. 2:14).  Therefore, the doctrines of grace include God's electing and predestining people to salvation (2 Thess. 2:13), which is by God's choice, not man's (John 1:13; Rom. 9:16), and that the saved are eternally secure because their salvation rests in Christ's work, not man's faithfulness (John 10:27-28).  This is defined by the Bible.

Matt Slick said it well:  "Mr. Furtick is entitled to not agree with the doctrines of grace, but to mock them as he did is uncalled for and is potentially a serious spiritual error on his part.  It seems that he is not only ridiculing those who hold to the doctrines of grace, but that he is also mocking the very doctrines which the scriptures teach.  Is not God a God of grace?  Of course he is (Rom. 3:24; 11:6, Eph. 2:8; 2 Thess. 1:12).  Mr. Furtick's mockery divides the body of Christ, helps to create a holier-than-thou attitude and potentially risks a direct violation of scripture."

B)  Does not understand that true Leaders are Servants.

In 2014, a discussion regarding a Children's Coloring book from his church arose.  The text in the coloring book reads, “We are united under the visionary,” and “Elevation Church is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven. We will protect our Unity in Supporting His Vision.”  Who's vision?  Pastor Seven.  Children are taught to "protect" and "support" Pastor Seven.  Sounds odd to be teaching children to be loyal to their Pastor and what he in-visions instead of Christ and his completed works.  Again, another issue his church that is man focused rather than Christ focused. But, no big deal right?

Around that same year, there was an info-graph produced by Elevation Church that made the following statements

1. We serve a Lead Pastor who seeks and hears from God.
3. We serve a Lead Pastor we can trust.
7. We serve a Lead Pastor who pours into us spiritually and professionally.
16. We serve a Lead Pastor who goes first.

The interesting thing about these statements is that they are Pastor Steven focused.  Who do they serve?  Jesus did not come to be served but to serve (Matt 20:28).  Why would a 'godly' pastor want to be served and "go first"? (Matt 20:16)  Again, no big deal, just another instance of a narcissistic leadership.

This brings us to the premise of his problem:  Narcigesis – A biblical hermeneutic where one reads themselves into the bible and writes God out of it.

C) Does not know how to find the TRUE meaning of the passages.

In 2016 Steven gave a message and used the temptation of Jesus as his biblical justification for his message (https://www.facebook.com/StevenFurtick/videos/1139336036087810/).  He understood the scripture to be speaking about HIM and how HE can defeat temptation.  The problem is that Satan was specifically talking TO and ABOUT Jesus... not us.  "If you really are the Son of God...".  THE reason for this story to be in the gospels is that WE can understand who JESUS is.  Where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded.  Adam was created good but not perfect, Jesus is the perfect eternal Son of God.  Where Steven Furtick WILL fail, Jesus Will NOT.  This passage is ABOUT JESUS and helps us get to know Jesus in a deeper way.

Steven Furtick is The Son of God?

In that same sermon, Steven applies the title "The Son of God" to himself.  This may have been a mistake, but, it would fit the context of his message... Another instance where Steven applies The Son of God title to himself is when Furtick claims the “Father” spoke to him that morning, reminding “me that He loves me and that He’s pleased with me”. So Furtick is NOT talking about Jesus here – he is talking about himself.  The exact words that God The Father literally spoke to Jesus at this baptism (as prophesied in the OT).  He stated "“If you are the son of god? You don’t have to tell me who I am! I know who I am. I’ve always been the Son of god. I’ve always been a child of god. In fact I just spoke with my Father this morning and He reminded me that He loves me and that He’s pleased with me!"  Does he not know the difference between being a child of God and who THE Son of God is?  Because they aren't the same.  He continues on to attempt to explain what he just said "I’m not the ‘son of god of god+’ that you say I am! I’m a son of god because god says I am. I’m not confident because of what I can do, I am confident because of what god says He WILL do!" He starts to recover and then starts heading down a good road to proclaiming the Gospel Message, the most important message mankind needs to hear... "I’m not forgiven because I’ve earned acceptance, I’m forgiven because god says He has forgi- help me preach!"  And then, he changes the topic... he fails to proclaim the Gospel message to millions around the world watching and listening. "Help me preach!"?? He's the one given, by God, the platform to preach the most important message in all eternity... and doesn't.

Steven Furtick gets pointers from Satan?

One of the most shocking examples of Stevens failed narcissistic interpretations is when he uses the instruction from Satan, the turn stones into bread and states “I’m not going to do it because I think I can, I am doing it because God says I can!”. Jesus rejected Satan's instruction because it was NOT the will of God at that time Satan instructed Jesus to do it. It was never in God's will for Jesus to turn stone into bread during this temptation...  Not sure where Steven thinks God is telling him to.  Steven isn't even part of the equation at this portion of scripture.  Its all about Jesus.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me [Jesus]...” John 5:39-40 

D) Does not understand that Jesus Is God and that HE is not.

Icing on the cake of his Narcigesis regarding salvation and the sovereignty of God.  In 2018, good ol'Stevie posted a video where he made some heretical shameful sinful belief claims.  The heresy of Pelagianism is named after its founder, Pelagius of the (354-420).  The inherent sin of Pelagianism is that, with an inflated view of man, they have a deflated view of God. A man who is powerful enough to save himself does not need a God powerful enough to save him unilaterally and without assistance.

Stevie attempts to explain Mark 6:5 through Narcigesis interpretation.  Steven focuses on the phrase, “could do no” (or “can’t”), in an attempt to explain that Jesus is less powerful than your unbelief.  Jesus, The Son of God, GOD HIMSELF, is less powerful than... you.  Your unbelief is so strong, that the God, WHO CREATED IT ALL, can't overcome it.  This is the greatest form of Narcissism.  When YOU are more sovereign than God.  Steven has successfully disgustingly misinterpreted the true meaning of the passage and disgraced the deity of Christ.  This is a big deal.  This goes to the HEART of Knowing WHO GOD IS!  Christ cannot be fully God if He is thwarted by man’s unbelief.

John Gill explained it best:  "Or miracle; not that Christ had no power in himself to work miracles, though their unbelief and contempt of him were very great; but it was not fit and proper that he should do any there, since such were their prejudices against him: it is an usual way of speaking with the Hebrews, when either it is not “fit” and proper that a thing should be done, or they “will” not do it, to say it cannot be done; see Genesis 19:22; and even it is said of God himself, “So that the Lord could no longer bear, because of your evil doings”, Jeremiah 44:22. Not but that he could if he would, but he would not; nor was it fit and proper that he should; the same is the sense here: besides, in Matthew 13:58 it is said, “he did not many mighty works there”; and so the Arabic version here, “and he did not many mighty works there”; he did not think it proper to do any of any great consequence, nor did he. Wherefore the Jew (u) has no reason to object this to the divinity of Christ, as if there was a want of power in him. Christ is omnipotent, and he has given proof of his almighty power, by the miracles which he has wrought; and though he wrought no mighty work “there”, yet he wrought many elsewhere, which sufficiently attest the truth of his proper deity: the emphasis lies upon the word there; though he did not work any considerable miracle in that place, he did in others; which shows, that it was not a defect of power in him, that was the reason of it, but something else; and Matthew gives the reason of it, and says, it was “because of their unbelief”: not that their unbelief was an over match for his power; he could have removed that, if he had thought fit, but he did not do it; he, who is the author and finisher of faith, could have took away their unbelief, as the man that brought his dumb child to Christ, concluded he could; and therefore said to him, “Lord, help my unbelief”, Mark 9:24."

The Totality of Scripture

We must consider the TOTALITY of what the whole of scripture teaches.  Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It is God who grants belief (Ephesians 2:8).  John 2 completely refutes Steven's notion as well, for both Mary and Martha conceived of His ability in proximity (vv. 21, 32). Martha confuses Christ’s promise to raise Lazarus as an eschatological promise (v. 24) and still objected to Him rolling the stone away after He corrects her (v. 39). Combine this with other instances of healing the multitudes and demoniacs who were restored without even the prior ability to ask, and we see faith is not a prerequisite for Christ’s miracles.  The Lord does as He pleases – and people throughout the span of the Scripture acknowledge this without hesitancy (Psalm 115:3, 135:6; Daniel 4:35; Jonah 1:14).  It is God who will specifically violate one’s unbelief; if this were not so, why would any individual cry out to the Lord, “Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Furthermore, there would be no hope for any sinner if Christ could not override unbelief, for we know that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the glorious gospel (2 Cor. 4:4).

CONCLUSION

Over the past 10 plus years, Steven Furtick has shown that he doesn't really know how to properly interpret scripture due to this narcissistic tendencies which is why he seemingly agrees with the 5th century heresy Pelagianism.  The lack of church discipline is incredible.

It is a shame that none of his followers seem to have discernment nor does it seem that the South Baptist Convention has a problem with his sinful approach to teaching Holy Scripture.  But, none of this comes as a shock either, human sinful nature and scripture has already warned us about wolfs and goats.


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