Thursday, November 7, 2013

Steven Furtick and Simon the Sorcerer

There is such a thing as a prestige battle. The Plains Indians used to count coup, for example.

"Counting coup refers to the winning of prestige in battle by the Plains Indians of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, and these acts could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow, or with a coup stick then escaping unharmed. Touching the first enemy to die in battle or touching the enemy's defensive works also counted as coup. Counting coup could also involve stealing an enemy's weapons or horses tied up to his lodge in camp. Risk of injury or death was required to count coup." (Left, "Ledger drawing of a mounted Cheyenne warrior counting coup with lance on a dismounted Crow warrior, 1880s.")

In modern times, computer hackers count coup of sorts. There are all sorts of hackers (and crackers) and they wear white hats, black hats, gray hats, and more. However, we noobs in the unsuspecting public who foolishly rely on mainstream media to tell us who they are, know hackers as the computer genius geeks who slave away in dark basements amid glowing monitors under colorful pseudonyms, breaking into NSA websites and corporations. The white hat crackers do it just to say they could, and to accumulate virtual street cred of their skills and bravery in poking the slumbering corporate or government bear. In other words, counting coup.

Increasingly, there are pastors who count coup, also. Here is the story of one such pastor.

I haven't written a lot about Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte NC. It is an emergent church led by a pastor in skinny jeans and casual attitude, and services have a loud band, a lot of smoke and not too much bible. One of those kind of churches. And given the times in which we live, it is growing by leaps and bounds. (2 Timothy 4:3). And given the times in which we live, going to Elevation Church website and clicking on "About Steven" brings you not to another church page describing the pastor, but to a separate website named after himself. And given the times in which we live (2 Peter 2:3) the pastor of this church lives in a 16,000 square foot, $1.7Million dollar home and is under investigation for excessive lifestyle. Of course. (2 Peter 2:3). But not to worry because Elevation church is planning an $86 million dollar expansion according to a leaked internal document, and thus there will be baby Elevation Churches born soon to distract the gullible.

Forget the biblical qualifications for pastor. The above is the resume for today's hip, happenin' pastor.

To add insult to injury, it appears that these kind of pastors have adopted none of Paul or Peter's characteristics but instead go the way of Balaam and Simon the Magician.

Balaam was a pagan prophet who served those who bid the highest. He knew God and he knew of God but Balaam didn't serve God. (Numbers 22).

Simon the Sorcerer was a magician who amazed all the people of Samaria (Acts 8:9) by performing supernatural acts, but when Simon saw Peter do miracles, he falsely converted, and thought he could obtain the Spirit's power by purchasing it. (Acts 8:20-21).

In both these cases, money figures prominently. In the false ministry of a magician and in the false ministry of a false prophet, money was central to the story. Here, John MacArthur recites a devastating list:

"Now the Bible does contain a number of warnings about money. Best summarized perhaps in the statement of the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6, verse 10 where he said, "For the love money is the root of all kinds of evil." Our Lord put it tersely when He said you can't serve God and money. Money can definitely be a curse. There's no question about it. For money, Achan brought defeat on the armies of Israel and death on himself. For money, Balaam sinned against God and tried to curse God's people. For money, Delilah betrayed Samson to the Philistines. For money, Gehazi lied to Naaman and Elisha and became a leper. For money, Ananias and Sapphira became the first hypocrites in the early church and died on the spot. For money, Judas sold the Son of God for 30 pieces of silver and damned his own soul. For money, many have been cursed."

It is not a sin to be rich, but the bible is replete with warnings that money corrupts. (Matthew 19:24). The bible is clear that if one desires to be a pastor, one must not be greedy of filthy lucre. (1 Timothy 3:3). It is plain, simple, and clear.

Anyway, Steven Furtick is in a prestige war.

How Steven Furtick engineered a spontaneous miracle

Apparently, according to the above article, Elevation Church emotionally manipulates people into coming forward at the invitation so they can be baptized, by seeding the audience with members who arise and walk down the aisle, playing emotional music, performing as actors instructed not only to be enthusiastic but taught specifically what to do to demonstrate this manufactured enthusiasm, told to tweet and exactly what to tweet (notably not told to pray) and taught other things outlined in the church's "Spontaneous Baptism How-To Guide". That name is not made up. It is the actual name Elevation Church gives this manipulated event kit. The article states,

"For the few that Elevation did baptize, their how-to guide documents exactly how they used emotional manipulation them get people from their seats to the pool. Volunteers were placed throughout the campuses to make sure the baptism candidates maintained the emotional fervor that Furtick had created in the service."

The how-to guide instructs,

" ... 15 people will sit in the worship experience and be the first ones to move when Pastor gives the call.

--Sit in the auditorium and begin moving forward when Pastor Steven says go.
--Move intentionally through the highest visibility areas and the longest walk.

Elevation has seeded its four auditoriums with 60 shills who pretend to be responding to the call. Their high-visibility movement is designed to manipulate others to follow. If Furtick was confident in his message and in the efficacy of the Holy Spirit’s call, he shouldn’t need fake converts.

When they manufacture miracles, and teach how to manufacture a miracle, they are truly a Simon a Magician.

Pastors count coup, shill the Gospel for money, and elevate themselves. It is the times of apostasy, and the hard thing to know is, this isn't even the beginning of the worst of it.

I am saddened by the many who seek an experience at churches such as these, when the real faith is so glorious to behold, wondrous to be a part of, and so bright a hope to look forward to. How empty must a pastor feel in his blackened heart to manufacture baptism experiences from a how-to kit? And to do so in some sort of carnal one-upmanship just for appearances sake? How hopeless must he be when sitting by pale lamplight in dark of night writing these instructions teaching congregants how to be shills? Most tragic is the fact of so many who are engaging in a shallow faith of non-conversion...yet thinking they are saved.

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction." (2 Peter 2:1)

As for us, let us rejoice in His goodness and grace.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5-6)


  1. Very informative post Elizabeth. Chris Rosebrough has been all over Furtick's new house story. Chris' show Fighting For The Faith concentrates heavily on Emergent/Seeker-Sensitive pastors who twist God's word to lead people away after themselves and Furtick is probably his target a majority of the time. Sometimes I think to myself what these pastors must be thinking. Do they have no fear of God? Or are they so deceived that they truly think they are preaching the Word of God? I think the former is true most of the time.

    1. Thank you Brad. I appreciate your comment, it is well stated and insightful. I wonder these things also. It just seems people have gone crazy.

      I know of a pastor who for years plagiarized from the pulpit, among other sins. When caught, he never asked for forgiveness. Of course, the act of plagiarizing disqualifies him from preaching forever. Yet, he went on after leaving church and enrolled in seminary to obtain a Masters in Ministry! After a few more months, he has now obtained an interim pastor job in the area! I have been asking questions like yours. Don't people check references? Don't people care about the sheep in the pews? Don't leaders do their diligence anymore? Or do they just not care about the spotless name of Jesus?

  2. Nothing I say will discourage you from posting these horrendous false statements about a ministry you know nothing about, and a human being you know nothing about. I am aware of this, but there is another story, one that you false prophets who do nothing for the kingdom but try to bring the kingdom of God down through the keys of your keyboard, in a cyber world that isn't real, about ministries and people affected by these ministries who are VERY real. I Trey Williams was FAR from God, and through Pastor Steven Furtick at Elevation Church on a sunny Sunday in June of 2010, I was brought to life by Jesus Christ. My life has never been the same, I was apart of a "spontaneous" baptism in which was announced the night before at a revival that the baptism would take place, and I took off work early and drove 1hr and a half to be baptized because God's spirit spoke to me. This was not scripted, no one emotional lead me to drive that far for baptism, and as I stood in a long line of people just like me we shared stories of how God was working in our lives. So please for what its worth, STOP trying to bring other ministries down, NONE are perfect, and I can assure you that no one will surrender there life to Christ by reading these blogs dissing our brothers and sisters in the faith, it just drives them further way. Remember Luke 6:42?
    Much love,
    A former "Elevator" and a human being with a soul who is not a victim of manipulation.

    1. Hi Trey, You're right. No ministry is perfect. But some are false. It is the false doctrines and false ministries I speak about. I can't 'bring them down" but I hope the Holy Spirit does.

      Meanwhile, I'm glad you don't feel manipulated. However the evidence of the scripting and manipulation regarding these "spontaneous baptisms" is proof enough that they are not spontaneous.

      Luke 6:42 says first take the log out of my eye and then I can see clearly to take the speck out of my brother's eye. It is a reminder of what to do when speaking of the false things we must speak about.

      Remember 2 Peter 2:1? Wolves will come in, not sparing the flock. I care very much that there are people like Steven Furtick manipulating the sheep into believing the Spirit had moved when it was a scripted manipulation all along.

      I understand your anger. You feel loyalty and you feel invested in the ministry that made you feel this way. I'm not saying that your conversion is false, I don't know, only the Spirit knows, but there is a thing called "deception by investment."

      "When one learns their favorite teacher is a false teacher, they continue with the deception because they’ve invested so much of their life in them. They’d rather continue in deception than admit they were deceived."

      you can learn more about it here'

      or here

      Keep the log out of your eye, and you will see clearly when it is time to take the log out of your brother's eye. Meanwhile, good luck and God bless.


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