Steven Furtick: Unqualified, Not Unworthy

Cameron Buettel of Grace to You reviews megachurch pastor Steven Furtick’s latest book that he wrote to defend his qualifications as a pastor.  However, Buettel reveals that the criterion for “overseers” detailed in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5–9 are not mentioned in the book!

As we pointed out in Why Won’t Steven Furtick Answer Tough Questions About His Ministry?, Furtick is “one of the high-profile pastors that the late Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries dubbed: Evangelical Ecumenical Magisterium.  ‘His Furtickism is a hybrid of Seeker Driven and quasi-Word Faith mythology,’ quipped Silva.

Bottom line: Steven Furtick is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Rom 16:17 & 18)

So with this background in mind, following is Cameron Buettel’s review of Furtick’s book…

Wolf in sheeps clothing 5

 

“Unqualified.”

That was John MacArthur’s one-word assessment of Steven Furtick during a Q&A session at the 2012 Shepherds’ Conference.

It’s also the title of Furtick’s latest book. Furtick credits that brief appraisal of his ministry as the inspiration for writing this:

“Unqualified.” . . . Unqualified?

That word started the wheels spinning in my head. . . . Yes, I struggle with my temper, with my focus, with my motives, with my eating habits, with my prayer life, with my state of mind. And that list doesn’t even scratch the surface.

I know my weaknesses and faults better than anyone. I don’t need to listen to an online interview to feel disqualified. Hardly a day goes by that I’m not seized by the sensation that I have no business doing what I’m doing. That I’m in over my head. That I don’t deserve any of my blessings or opportunities.

Am I unqualified? This book is the answer to that question. [1]

Furtick’s certainly asking the right question. But the answer doesn’t lie in chronicling one’s own journey of self-discovery and self-evaluation. Pastoral qualifications aren’t a mystery—they’ve been clearly and definitively spelled out in Scripture.

I was in the room during the aforementioned Q&A session. For me and the thousands of pastors, church leaders, and seminary students in attendance, John MacArthur’s answer was an obvious reference to the qualifications for “overseers” detailed in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5–9.

In those passages Paul describes the clear line of distinction between those who are qualified to be Bible teachers, and those who aren’t:

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity . . . and not a new convert. . . . And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church. (1 Timothy 3:2–7)

A more detailed discussion of those requirements can be found here.

But such detailed analysis isn’t necessary when it comes to Unqualifed. Furtick proves MacArthur’s point by not addressing or even referring to those biblical requirements. It is frankly astounding that in a book ostensibly defending Furtick’s qualifications that Timothy and Titus are nowhere to be found!

This oversight is glaring—either Furtick doesn’t know or doesn’t care what it means to be biblically qualified.

Instead he chooses to go down the road of subjectivity: “When I started the journey that lies behind this book, I wanted to finally figure out how to respond to that question within myself” (emphasis added). [2] And true to that assertion, Furtick almost exclusively relies on his own opinions and experience to argue his case in Unqualified.

He describes a church leader as primarily “a decision maker, a risktaker [sic].” [3] But that baseless definition is as far as Furtick goes in discussing qualifications specific to church leaders. The rest of the book has a much broader application:

At one point or another, you’ve probably felt unqualified. . . . I think we all secretly fight feelings of inadequacy, insufficiency, and incompetence. We wonder whether we really measure up. We fear we are not “enough”—whatever that means in our particular situations. [4]

That quote captures Unqualified’s utter failure to answer the questions regarding Furtick’s qualification—in that sense, he sidesteps his own purpose statement.  Continue reading.  Continue reading

Related:

Steven Furtick teaches that God Breaks the Law By Tim Challies

See our White Papers on Word of Faith movement and Seeker Driven

 

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