Pastor Steven Furtick, the Church, Money and Transparency

steven furtick cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

“Pastor Steven Furtick” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

(I tweaked the cartoon because some misunderstood that I was accusing Furtick of worshipping the dollar, when in fact he’s pointing to the God of the dollar. A fine point but an important one.)

This is all over the news. Pastor Steven Furtick first came to our attention because he is buying a 1.7 million dollar home.

Frankly, I don’t care how much money pastors make or how much churches pay them.

I will also give Furtick the benefit of the doubt that he is not crooked, greedy, or ambitious. I suspect he has good intentions and is very sincere in what he believes and what he thinks he deserves. The same with his congregation. I have no doubt they are good people who mean well.

But I also believe that they have a worldview that needs examining. How compatible are their ideas of money and success with the teaching of Jesus? I’m not saying that Jesus’ teaching opposed money or success. But at what point does money start to betray itself and your message?

This to me is the most urgent problem: The way they are behaving seems consistent with an idea of authority, power, entitlement and privilege that allows for a lack of accountability, transparency, honesty and humility.

Furtick, his buddies and their churches are going to have to divulge their books if they want smart people to take them seriously.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • http://www.josiahsprague.com/ Josiah Sprague

    There are TONS of Christians in the world with $1.7 million homes and more. What is so special about this case?

  • Andrew Hackman

    Evangelical CEO pastors are just catching up with the money making ability televangelists were aware of decades ago…

  • Michael Raburn

    His board consists only of other mega church pastors? Is he on their boards too? Do they call this The Masters of the Universe Club?

  • wanderer

    I guess I’d wonder if all of them bought their homes with other people’s donations.

  • klhayes

    This is concerning b/c I wonder how much the prosperity gospel plays into this. Jesus never said that money was a sign of being blessed by God but that is exactly what the propsperity gospel teaches.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Is that a (money sucking) vacuum cleaner I hear in the background?

  • http://1t412.wordpress.com/ Christina

    To be fair, Furtick is also a bestselling author. I suspect a significant part of his wealth comes from that.

  • http://www.josiahsprague.com/ Josiah Sprague

    From what I read, it seems that the proceeds came from the sales of his two best-selling books.

  • wanderer

    which were best selling because of the platform he had ——being a pastor (ie shepherd of people’s souls). I’m sure there was no spiritual manipulation at all.

  • http://www.unboxedgod.com/ Thomas Allyn Wilson

    IMO this is just one more example of why all churches should have their non-profit statis removed and an classified as for profit. No-profit status should be reserved for purely charitable organizations. They like any for profit business should be able to right off any public charitable service or giving they do. If that were the case I’d have no problem with Pastor’s making huge salaries as anyother CEO of a large corporation.

  • mirele

    But they don’t want smart people taking them seriously, David. Smart people ask questions. Smart people aren’t easily snowed. Smart people aren’t easily fleeced. Furtick and his ilk only want SHEEP. Baaaaaaa.

  • mirele

    He has a ginormous church business that is largely tax exempt. I pay more taxes because of Elevation Church and its sisters.

  • mirele

    Let’s see…are these books based on sermons he preached while being paid by the church? If that is the case, in any other business this would be considered work product and owned by the business and not by the person who created it. Also, there’s virtually no transparency, so no way to know if he got a sweetheart deal on books sold through his church, you know, at the church bookstore you pass by on the way out to your car. And so on. Everything is opaque.

  • mirele

    It’s also obscene because Furtick’s moving up from a ~3,000+ square foot house that is larger than the houses most Americans live in to a mansion that’s supposedly one of the largest in North Carolina. And he claims to represent a guy who said something like “foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

    I think the offensive part to me is that he’s obviously making money off the church, and some people find this to be no problem, but to me, that’s a serious problem.

  • Al Cruise

    Pastors like him and others are just very good bible scholars. They have very good insight and know how to use scripture over their congregations. Proverb’s 17.16
    ” Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?”

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    OK down voter, I agree that was a cheap shot.
    I get one cheap shot per month and I am now done with cheap shots for the month of October. ;)

  • Seamus King

    It’s only cheap if it’s not true. And I think the vacuum cleaner you hear is the soul sucking variety, more than the money sucking variety. Most individuals can figure creative ways to cope with the 10% loss of income they’re guilted into giving up, but the effects of having your humanity, autonomy and intelligence sucked out of you lasts for years and years, if you can ever escape the pull of the suction.

  • KittySoft Paws Rolufs

    I’m not so concerned with where the money came from as I am with him living a lifestyle that doesn’t really follow what Jesus taught us about humble living. Granted
    I’m no biblical scholar but if I remember correctly there were several passages
    about the love of material possessions being incompatible with love of God.
    Something about serving two masters comes to mind.

  • Guest
  • Al Cruise

    If you don’t have the intellect to give a proper rebuttal, say nothing. Attacking the messenger shows your lack of maturity. Even though it is the common way this type of Church responds to any criticism. Try and be different O.K.

  • wanderer

    Also, if he won’t divulge his salary, there’s no real way to know if book sales really did pay for his new house. Or to trust him when he says so.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    It’s telling, honestly, that he points to the smallest example of the word GOD possible. :P

  • Mark Bailey

    He is a best-selling author barely, only briefly and most likely because the church bought his books in bulk. This article is very enlightening.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/11/04/how-steven-furtick-turns-mediocre-books-into-mansions/


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