Why won’t Steven Furtick answer tough questions about his ministry?

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Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service wonders why the prophet-pastor of the multi-site Elevation Church is so secretive.  I mean, aren’t pastors supposed to be transparent?  Well, yes. But according to Merritt, Pastor Steven won’t answer tough questions, especially about his lavish lifestyle.  If you haven’t heard of Steven Furtick, he’s 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.

So now we have Jonathan Merritt, who leans left, reporting what he deems “Elevation’s shenanigans.” Merritt has also posted the interview questions he drafted for Furtick before he found out that there would be no interview.  He also opened the comment section so that “readers can offer what they believe Furtick’s answers to my questions might (or should have) been.”

So here goes….

Photo courtesy Apprising Ministries

Photo courtesy Apprising Ministries

Too bad Robin Leach is a wobbly, 74-year-old retiree. He would have had a field day profiling Steven Furtick on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

Furtick is pastor of Elevation Church, a megachurch in Charlotte, N.C., with a weekly attendance of about 20,000, whose ministry has generated much controversy in recent years. His publicist approached me about an interview for his recent book, ironically titled, “(Un)qualified: How God Uses Broken People to Do Big Things.”

But Furtick put the kibosh on the interview when I asked about these controversies. As it turns out, this is the modus operandi for Furtick, who has remained mostly mum as critics have raised questions.

Silence seems like a strange strategy for a pastor with nothing to hide. Some may wonder why Furtick, who makes a mint doling out answers, won’t answer tough questions.

Elevation Church’s controversies are threefold:

1. Furtick’s lavish lifestyle

The pastor came under scrutiny in 2013 when it was revealed that his new home was a 16,000-square-foot mansion on a sprawling 19-acre plot valued at approximately $1.7 million. Furtick defended his home from the pulpit, saying it was both “a gift from God” and “not that great of a house,” which “isn’t even that big a house, really.”

2. Furtick’s culture of celebrity

Furtick is an undeniably gifted communicator and charismatic leader, but he has made Elevation’s organizational culture so pastor-focused that some have called it cultlike. He autographs church members’ Bibles and name-drops that he’s friends with prominent athletes. The church website once declared that “Elevation is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven” and charged members to “aggressively defend our unity and that vision.” The church also produced an infographic that stated the following:

  • We serve a Lead Pastor who seeks and hears from God.
  • We serve a Lead Pastor we can trust.
  • We serve a Lead Pastor who goes first.

ColoringPerhaps the creepiest story about Furtick’s celebrity culture was a Sunday school coloring book that Elevation produced for its children’s ministry. One coloring page depicts Furtick with the caption, “Elevation Church is built on the vision God gave pastor Steven. We will protect our unity in supporting his vision.” Indoctrinating kids with images and messages that discourage dissent and encourage the, ahem, elevation of a religious leader is problematic on many levels.

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Related:

Cold Hard Facts On Cults by Marsha West

Steven Furtick Teaches That God Breaks the Law

Steven Furtick Gladhands TD Jakes’ Church — Gives $35,000 to Jakes

See Our White Papers on the Emergent Church and the Word of Faith Movement 

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6 Responses to Why won’t Steven Furtick answer tough questions about his ministry?

  1. Manny1962 May 13, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    Steven Furtick, Rob Bell, Todd Bentley…..the newest brood of super apostates, great at lying and fleecing the unlearned, undiscerning and frankly the unschooled. Twisting the words of God for gain, truly headed for a greater condemnation. The shame is how many young people are attracted to these charlatans.

  2. Joel May 14, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    Among my biggest concerns is, how can 20,000 people be so blind; and elevate another loose screw to a position of power and prominence. I thank God for my parents and grandparents. My dad has way more credentials than most pastors (M.Div, Masters in counseling, Lt. Colonial Chaplin in Army and etc) and same with my Grandfather. Decades ago when cultish Bill Gothard – Basic Youth Conflicts tried to make inroads into our church my dad and grandpa saw through him almost immediately. It was not an easy fight. People get so sucked into personality over substance. Even though naïve, most followers of these bozos have the best intentions. Since the Gothard saga, I have tried to do due-diligence research regarding any new name, program, concept or ideas – In all areas of my life, not just spiritual. People are so lazy en mass, and don’t do their homework. If they did they would realize things are not always as they seem, and God and the Bible ultimately always win.

  3. Manny1962 May 14, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

    Amen Joel, the problem is, most people don’t read their bibles anymore, how can they have discernment?

  4. Edwitness May 14, 2016 at 11:14 pm #

    No king but King Jesus! What are these people doing giving their allegiance to a man?

  5. jegede Tolulope May 24, 2016 at 2:18 am #

    my suggestion is that,we should be praying for our brothers & sisters who’ve been caught in this web of hypnotism called Church &that,GOD should continue to exposed disgrace&put to shame all the wolves in sheep’s clothing in the body of Christ.Look ,my people it isn’t limited to the U.S.A alone they’re everywhere I also believe that we as well should pray to GOD that as salt,we should not loose our saltiness. Other than that there is nothing that we can do.

  6. C. Cooley February 25, 2017 at 7:05 am #

    “Too bad Robin Leach is a wobbly, 74-year-old retiree.”
    That’s not Christ-like.

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