A lot of folks have been wondering about pastor Seven Furtick of Elevation Church. The pastor is also an author of such books as Sun Stand Still (which many churches across the country have studied and shared as a congregation), and is very popular as a conference headliner.
Last week we shared an excellent article from our friends, Vince and Lori Williams, over at Falsified Ministries: Steven Furtick: His Past, Present, and Future, Part 1. Here is the second installment in their 3-Part series, which they’ve kindly allowed us to republish here:
Steven Furtick: His Past, Present, and Future, Part 2
By Vince and Lori Williams
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
When it comes to theology – the study of the nature of God and religious truth – it’s only a matter of time before a person’s core theology will change if 1) that person is not truly born-again, and 2) they are habitually listening to / following wrong theology. In Furtick’s case, option #2 is exactly what happened, and we believe that the first option is a probability. Though we can’t see his heart, Scripture gives clear tests and signs to determine whether someone is a believer or not, and Furtick has had a long, consistent pattern of failing those tests.
So, again, why the slow, but noticeable and drastic change in Steven’s messages?
It all made sense in January, 2012, when Furtick and Elevation hosted a 12 night revival they named the Code Orange Revival, supposedly based on Elevation’s “Code”, featuring Steven and eleven of his favorite teachers.
Since we had already been following Furtick and Elevation for research purposes, we knew about Code Orange and had planned to watch each speaker, which we did.
On the docket for January 20, 2012 was word-of-faith television teacher and modalist, T.D. Jakes, and Furtick had planned for as much time as Jakes’ wanted. (Anyone who believes in Modalism, is a false teacher. This belief of modalism is one who denys the Trinity as defined in Scripture. Modalists believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit manifest into one at a time. Not three in one, one in three as the real doctrine of the Trinity teaches.)
As he opened the teaching portion of the night and while introducing Jakes, Steven paved the way for who he revealed as his favorite teacher.
“Our preacher for tonight is sitting on the front row, and he makes me so nervous that I don’t think I’d want to read a nursery rhyme in front of him, because, if you’ve never heard T.D. Jakes preach, listen, you have heard Bishop T.D. Jakes preach. Let me explain that. Every preacher who has anything to say rips off Bishop T.D. Jakes.”
He continued –
“Bishop T.D. Jakes is the preacher, if you attend this church, who feeds your soul every single week. And you didn’t even ever know to write him a thank you note. Most of us quit apologizing for how much we ripped-off Bishop T.D. Jakes a long time ago, because we were taking more time in our sermons attributing the credit to him for the way he fed our souls than we were actually preaching. So when Bishop Jakes said that he would be with us at Code Orange Revival, I just made up my mind that we would sing just enough to get you ready, and not show any videos or anything like that, and that I would sit down on my orange chair on the stage, and I would have the best night of my life listening to my favorite preacher in the world.”
Furtick wasn’t done with his intro yet. He continued:
“When someone has touched your soul and been an instrument of God that speaks so deeply to you, and then, he agrees to come and share with your church, and help build your church, that’s gotta be one of the most meaningful moments of your life.”
Finally, Steven finished his idolizing remarks about T.D. Jakes:
“I appreciate the fact that you would come and be with us tonight. But, more importantly, I appreciate the fact that you’ve got a bunch of hungry people in here, who are about to lose their minds. Elevation Church, at every location, I want you to stand up on your feet right now, and let’s welcome to the stage the Greatest Preacher of Our Time – Bishop T.D. Jakes. Come on, and show him some embarrassing love.”
(Below is the video if you want to see / hear for yourself)
Clearly, Furtick’s idol was (and still is) word-of-faith heretic T.D. Jakes. At that point we clearly understood why Steven’s theology had slowly but drastically changed for the worse – his idol and favorite teacher has been, and still is, a well-known heretic. Scripture clearly teaches against endorsing false teachers in any way, shape, or form (Galatians 1:8-9).
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
2 John 1:9-10
Furtick violated this Scriptural command by allowing and welcoming a false teacher into the Elevation pulpit. According to Scripture, Furtick also participated in T.D. Jakes’ wicked works (false theology / gospel) by fully endorsing him and letting Jakes’ theology into their church.
(for even more info – A Review of T.D. Jakes Code Orange Revival Sermon)
We would also find out later that Steven had already posted a list of his favorite “pastors” in a 2011 blogpost. The top ten names on this list, in order from #1, included Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley, Perry Noble, Ed Young, Stovall Weems, Jonathan Martin, Judah Smith, Kevin Gerald, Brian Houston, and T.D. Jakes. Eight of these are popular seeker-driven leaders, and two (Houston and Jakes) are popular word-of-faith leaders. The rest of that same list includes Joyce Meyer, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and Rob Bell, all of whom are outright false teachers. Again, a clear violation of Scripture (2 John 1:10, Galatians 1:8-9).
Makes sense doesn’t it? Leaders who refuse to stand firmly on God’s Word, letting themselves get “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph 4:14), will eventually get carried past the point of no return into severe liberalism. And by “no return”, we mean that when Furtick’s situation is taken to it’s logical conclusion then it would appear that Furtick has been a false convert from the beginning.
This also leads to a few more final characteristics of Steven Furtick, some of which are typical of seeker-driven leaders but some of which are somewhat unique only to Furtick.
Stay tuned for Part 3.