A Wolf in the Fold~The Decline of the Church.

There is a wolf in the fold in Christian Church community; right here in Charlotte.  His name is Steven Furtick, his trap is called Elevation Church. A synonym for “elevation” is promotion. What is being promoted and elevated is Steven Furtick, certainly not God.

You will find no button on their website named What we Believe, or Doctrinal Statement with doctrines and beliefs based on the Bible. No, no, evidently that is verboten. What you find is a link to The Code. (What is this, the Marines or the Mafia?)

At the recent Elevation “revival” called Code Orange (he likes that word “code” doesn’t he?).  T. D. Jakes was one of the key speakers. However Jake’s theology is also problematic.

He does not believe in essential Christian doctrines like the Trinity. Also salvation is not by faith alone in Jesus Christ—but baptism is added as being salvific for Jakes.

A recent quote from Jakes is singularly telling:

I believe in one God who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe these three have distinct and separate functions—so separate that each has individual attributes, yet are one. I do not believe in three Gods (emphasis added).

This is what is called Modalism. God puts on different hats, so to speak. He has his Father hat, his Spirit hat, and his Son hat. In his introduction of Jakes at Code Orange, Furtick gushed:

Any preacher, who has anything to say, rips off Bishop T. D. Jakes.

Hmmm—if Furtick has something to say this would apply to him, right? And I guess Jakes is the source of all doctrine and theology for the past 4,000 years, yes? I realize that is not what Furtick meant, but it is a wild, irresponsible statement from a wild, irresponsible, pretentious person.

While Elevation doesn’t have any ICTHUS (the Christian fish symbol ) displayed anywhere on their website, they do have fish bones! If you click on the New tab and then the fish bones icon button (lower right) you will hear audio and see this:

We eat the fish and leave the bones.

They then explain that means, and read this carefully—it is loaded for bear—

We will always maintain a posture of learning. We seek to learn from everyone and incorporate a variety of influences into our methodology.

Read it again!

We eat the fish and leave the bones.”

Well yea! Who wants to eat bones, but we’re not really talking about “eating” that is only the mind hook. Furtick is using fish flesh vs. bones, the Bible contrasts milk vs. solid food (1 Corinthians 3: 2; Hebrews 5: 12-13; NASB).

One might think what Furtick has craftily hewn (or not) is that the eating of the flesh is a good thing. But biblically “the flesh” is frequently indicative of worldly things, i.e. lust (1 Pet. 2: 11; 2 Pet. 2: 18, et. al). Bones can refer to structure and order, so is Elevation leaving the structure of doctrinal truth and systematic theology behind? Yes this is speculative on my part, but this muddy language is not by accident: more on that in a minute.

Maintaining a posture of learning is good right? But whose learning? The following phrase tells us—anybody’s and everyone’s learning. What Furtick is saying in his postmodern parlance of blurring the real meaning is that it does not matter–all ideas are equally valid.

What is a person’s credentials for being someone who is adding to this “soup pot of learning?” Do they know what they are talking about? What are their intentions? Valid questions that needs to be asked.

Someone gave me some sage advice once. They said “when someone is telling you to “open your mind” almost always they are getting ready dump some garbage into it.”

Going back to my comment about muddy language, David Wells in his excellent book, The Courage to be Protestant writes:

Language is sometimes opaque because of the intellectual complexities behind it. [On the other hand] Language sometimes is opaque because of the intellectual confusion behind it. And sometimes people pass off the latter as if it were the former (emphasis mine).[1]

Of course according to Steven Furtick all of this “criticism” qualifies me as one of his “haters,” so-called. Yes if you disagree with Furtick’s minions or multitude YOU are a HATER. We have homophobia, and Islamaphobia, I guess this is Elevationphobia–or is that Furticphobia? On the other hand Furtick’s hateful speech (video) seems to be okeedokee.

There is nothing new here, this is the same ploy the left uses in their politics. If they cannot refute your argument or even make a valid argument, they resort to ad hominem (personal) attacks. They call their opposition names, but more often than not, they use names, or accusations that, in actuality the accusers are guilty of themselves.

Here is a taste of Steven Furtick and his “theological” bent. Besides being “in your face” watch his eyes, they tell the real story.

Note that Furtick sets up a series of “straw men” arguments without any proof–just accusatory allegations. And as he states in this video, he clearly does not put much stock in the truth.

Furticks attitude and words seen and spoken (rapped) in his video is a sham. Again David Wells says it best:

This kind of empty obfuscation is what we hear all too often from the emergent church, though usually with the veneer of intellectual sophistication. In its place (and usually on the internet) we hear the confidence of those who have a sense of being on the edge of what-is-happening-now but who, for that very reason, are diffident, unsure, tentative, and, more often than not, simply confused.[2]

This Elevation, this so-called Church is heretical and apostate. It is a cult—Buyer Beware. If you’re still not convinced here are some further quotes from Steven Furtick. The most telling quote is:

If you know Jesus this church is NOT for you!

Other quotes:

We don’t teach from Books of the Bible because it gets in the way of evangelism.

We don’t offer different kinds of Bible studies because it gets in the way of evangelism.

We don’t teach doctrine because it gets in the way of evangelism.

If you want to be fed God’s word or have the Bible explained to you then you are a fat lazy Christian and you need to shut up and get to work or you need to leave this church because we ONLY do evangelism.

Telling people about the saving work of Jesus Christ is key, but it is not the end-all, be-all. Jesus himself told his followers, to “make disciples,” he never commanded us to make converts. It was never Christ’s plan to have shallow baby Christians that cannot defend their faith and mentor other believers.

Indeed, it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who rightly stated

Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.

In the Bible, Babylon is not just a wicked city, it is also metaphorically the end time Apostate Church, the harlot sitting on the waters.

This is where much of the Church is going in these, the last days. As evidenced by Elevation it is all about marketing and emotion. Truth is a liability, indeed at the close of time John writes of the Harlot, the Apostate Church and proclaims:

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality. . . . Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality (Revelation 17: 1-5).

Unfortunately this is the slippery slope many mainline Protestant churches are on. Pray for our Church.

[1] David Wells, The Courage to be Protestant (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008), 79.

[2] Ibid., 78.

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