Steven Furtick is the Most Dangerous Kind of False Teacher

Steven Furtick is the Most Dangerous Kind of False Teacher August 22, 2018

Steven Furtick has long been a bane to the Evangelical church on the basis of his own self-admission: he’s unqualified for the pastorate. He literally wrote the book on it in response to MacArthur’s one word answer when asked what his thoughts were on Furtick. Yet, rather than reassess whether or not he would be qualified per Scripture’s own stance, Steven Furtick doubled down in his pride with a publishing deal.

While he may be unqualified in numerous areas, the key one that is readily apparent to those with an open bible is his striking inability to adequately teach (2 Tim. 2:15, 24). Regardless of his credentials, we know that any who teach shall incur stricter judgment than the standard Christian (Jam. 3:1). Indeed, we know that Steven Furtick wants to be a teacher, but he does not understand what he is saying or that which he so confidently asserts (1 Tim. 1:7).

If he is genuinely in Christ, the best he has to hope for on this trajectory is to be saved, but only as one being snatched from the fire; he will lose all he has built (1 Cor. 3:15). It is no small wonder Paul gently instructs young Timothy to pay close attention to his life and doctrine, for if he retained sound doctrine, he would ensure salvation for both his hearers and himself. The issue here stems from the fact that Steven Furtick is not qualified to teach in any capacity, nor does he heed the harsh warnings for teachers. With respect to this, one can only conclude he willingly embraces his role as a false teacher.

Thus, I write this not for Steven Furtick – it is doubtful it would reach him, more doubtful he’d read it, and even more doubtful it would change his mind if he did so. I write to the fan of Steven Furtick. Flee from him, lest your soul also be ensnared to hell. He is not a sound teacher. He is not the most obviously damning teacher, but he surely is one I’d say is the most cunning in his deception of the flock. If super soakers, Lego props, and the like were not clues enough – surely, the words of his mouth will serve as ample witness.

In a recent sermon by Steven Furtick, he proclaims:

“The power of God was in Jesus, the healing power of God, the restoring power of God, the same power that made demons flee was in Nazareth, but Jesus could not release it. Because it was trapped in their unbelief. And there’s one thing that even Jesus can’t do. One thing that even the son of God can’t do. Even Jesus cannot override your unbelief. I see y’all looking at me like, ‘Is that true? I thought He could do anything.’ It said, ‘He could not.’ He wanted to. He was prepared to. He was able to. The power of God was in Nazareth, but it was trapped in their perspective.”

So why do I find this so particularly dangerous? Why write an entire blog post for 111 little words? He’s a winsome speaker. He has a means of captivating the undiscerning through his inflection, repetition, and word-choice, meaning he’s a good orator. This wouldn’t be an issue in the slightest if the content of what he preached was adequate, but given the fact that heresy has escaped his lips without him batting an eye, it makes him particularly dangerous. Yet the other manner in which he is particularly dangerous is due to his inability to draw out the basic meaning of a text.

There are two possible ways Steven Furtick reached his conclusion for the passage: he either used the NLT (a periphrastic translation) of Mark 6:5, or he intermingled the accounts of Mark 6:5 and Matthew 13:58. In either case, this is precisely at the heart of what I am speaking toward; it is literally the pastor’s job to exegete the passage, that is, to draw its meaning out. When difficulties of interpretation arise in the biblical text, it is the pastor’s job to clearly explain them, utilizing the tools necessary for the job. Instead of leaping to the conclusion that Christ was unable to perform the miraculous, the exegete ought to consider the internal red lights flashing. Even an atheist can spot the contradiction of terms: Christ cannot be fully God if He is thwarted by man’s unbelief.

One of the best tools a pastor has at his disposal are the biblical languages. The Reformers highly prized the languages, for in them, they grammatically traced the doctrines of the Reformation back to the Early Church. In fact, the biblical languages were so important to Martin Luther that he wrote, “In proportion then as we value the gospel, let us zealously hold to the languages… We will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored; and, as the gospel itself points out, they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments.”

Primarily, the concerns then here are driven by the grammar and syntax of the passages in question – so into the Greek we go. The languages inform the meaning of any given text simply because the construction of a sentence dictates its interpretation. The constituent parts of speech in the sentence, “Billy did not kick the ball” inform us that “Billy” is the subject, “did not” is a negation of the action of the verb, “kick” is the verb, and “ball” is the direct object. However, if the sentence read, “Billy did not kick the ball hard” we would rightly understand the difference from the last sentence. Billy did kick the ball – he just didn’t put much energy into doing so. In that sense, the negation modifies how he kicked the ball, rather than if he kicked it. More clearly, it no longer modifies the verb, but the adverb.

The usage of the negative particle οὐκ in combination with δύναμαι in Mark 6:5 occurs elsewhere within the New Testament and does not always dictate inability. Luke 14:20 demonstrates this within the context of the parable of the wedding feast; the man is not literally unable to come, he is unwilling. In similar fashion, Luke 11:7 exhibits a man who is unwilling to offer bread, not that he is literally prevented from doing so. In yet another example, 1 John 3:9, contrary to other poor teaching circling the web, does not indicate a Christian’s inability to sin as a result of becoming a child of God. The phrase then reflects a range of meaning, in this case, presenting the idiomatic expression that Christ is choosing not to do something, even though He retains the ability to do so.

Secondly, another concern is simply that his interpretation is not in concord with other passages of Scripture. There are several notable examples within the Scriptures that demonstrate faith had no bearing upon the recipient of Christ’s miracles. It should obviously be stated that a corpse cannot retain faith (Luke 7:1-16). Pretend the aforementioned objection of a corpse’s faith is a strawman and that Christ must simply have the faith of someone in order to perform the miraculous.

John 11 utterly refutes this notion as well, for both Mary and Martha conceived of His ability in proximity (vv. 21, 32). Martha confuses Christ’s promise to raise Lazarus as an eschatological promise (v. 24) and still objected to Him rolling the stone away after He corrects her (v. 39). Combine this with other instances of healing the multitudes and demoniacs who were restored without even the prior ability to ask, and we see faith is not a prerequisite for Christ’s miracles.

Furthermore, we know that the Lord does as He pleases – and people throughout the span of the Scripture acknowledge this without hesitancy (Psalm 115:3, 135:6; Daniel 4:35; Jonah 1:14). It is God who will specifically violate one’s unbelief; if this were not so, why would any individual cry out to the Lord, “Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Furthermore, there would be no hope for any sinner if Christ could not override unbelief, for we know that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the glorious gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). Are we so foolish to assume a puny God, bested by Satan and humanity? As a general, hermeneutical rule of thumb, if your interpretation of a passage contradicts other passages in Scripture, and basic lines of philosophical reasoning, you’ve yet to reach the proper conclusion.

Finally, preachers must have a concern for clarity. If the result of one’s sermon is a misunderstanding of the text, you’ve failed to do your primary task. If the result is confusion, it may not necessarily be tied to poor exegetical work, but poor presentation. The reason for this lengthy excurses is simply to highlight the pastor’s role as teacher. It involves a tremendous amount of work to dig out the meaning of the text and it is for an explicit purpose: to feed His sheep. Yet this brings us full-circle in understanding how one must feed His sheep. According to Titus 2:1, pastors are to speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Steven Furtick butchered the meaning of the text in order to suit his own purposes, which at this point, are a quasi-form of Word of Faith light.

The point of the narrative, however, has nothing to do with you somehow containing the power to override the miraculous due to unbelief. It is that in Christ’s own home town, he did not receive honor as the Son of God (Matt. 13:57; Mark 6:4; John 4:44). They did not believe He was the Christ and they would not, unless they would see signs and wonders (John 4:48). It was not that Christ could not perform the miraculous as a result of their unbelief, but that He would not because they did not believe. Both show cause, but drastically different purposes.

Thus, what we see is an intentional withholding of the miraculous due to their hardened hearts; the miraculous was not conditioned, per se, to their unbelief (read: they did not limit Christ’s ability to do the miraculous due to their lack of faith). Rather, he withheld the miraculous as a result of their unbelief; it was not within His divine will to heal them. Those two statements are radically different and depict a radically different Jesus, as different a Jesus as those in Nazareth perceived, for though they acknowledged His ability to do the miraculous and to instruct with incredible wisdom, they did not acknowledge the authority by which He did so.

By Christ’s own admission in John 4:48, they would have believed had they seen signs and wonders. The emphatic negation οὐ μή (a double negative, which in the Greek serves to strengthen the negation, not nullify as in English) is used to show the certainty of their unbelief in Him as a result of not seeing signs and miracles. Yet instead of relenting and demonstrating His authority and power, Christ withheld these as an act of judgment upon them. It was an at-will decision, not of man, but of God, to deny them the very thing they desired as validation to His claims to divinity.

The teaching of the passage is far more frightening than a preacher like Steven Furtick can endure. Surely, the possibility that not only can the God of this universe do as He pleases with respect to your unbelief – but also intentionally withhold the very means of your deliverance by His sovereign choosing, is a terrifying notion. Yet this is the God of the Bible. This is the dangerous God we serve, whom we are called to fear and revere. This is the God who conceals Himself in parables and as He chooses, does the one thing Furtick can’t imagine Him being capable of doing: He overrides your unbelief. Does not the potter have right over the lump, o’ man? Does not the Lord do with His creation as He pleases?

For the one following Steven Furtick – flee. Flee from him as fast as you can and surround yourself with those who preach sound doctrine. The only means by which you will begin to discern the true from the false will be to study the Scriptures routinely. The beautiful thing is that you don’t need the Greek to understand when a teacher has uttered blasphemies. It would be worthwhile if you learned Greek and Hebrew at one point, but it is not entirely necessary for you to discern truth from error. Simply take the time to read the Scriptures, book by book and verse by verse, and then read through them again, and again, and again. Seek Him by prayer and through the aide of the Holy Spirit, and you will undoubtedly begin to see where teachings such as these land in comparison to His Word.

Now, I do believe Steven Furtick is genuine, meaning that he legitimately believes he is doing well by his people – but of particular importance to note is that genuineness is not a biblical qualification for an elder. It is this flavor of “helpfulness” that makes him all the more dangerous to the sheep. Couple this with his inability to exegete a simple passage and draw out its focus, and you’re in for a bumpy, blasphemous ride such as this.

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  • Sandra Peterson

    So out of context. You are attacking a very strong man of God. I have attended his church for two years and have never witnessed any of this blasphemy you wrote about and everything he preaches is from a very sound doctrine that he backs up with scripture. His “props” as you call them are used to visualize his story and help people relate. There is nothing wrong with that. I challenge you to actually go to his church and listen to his sermons. He is actually making a difference in peoples’ lives.

    • Wayne Hampson

      What does Steve Furtick actually believe about Jesus and God? Does he believe that God is limited by humans or as the Psalmist says “Our God is in the heavens, he does whatever he pleases” Psalm 115:3

    • Roxanne Adams

      Steven Furtick is also named as Oprah Winfreys top 100 spiritual leaders…. a woman who not only embraces all religions but recently had an article in her magazine that embraces taking PRIDE in abortion. Google it! Furtick is also set to speak with another cultic false church Bethel Redding CA along side of Bethels own Kris Vallotton….. a church that has a pyramid capping their prayer house and proudly used the occult phrase As above, so below for their big conference 2 yrs ago. Steven Furtick is part of the convergence to mix Christianity with the pagan new age one world religion…. occultists Alice Bailey and Helena P Blavatsky had channeled this very concept that the new age would come THROUGH the church.

      • Tony McDougle

        When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Matthew 9:11

  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    I agree that Furtick has mistaught Mark 6:5. His misinterpretation of it is not new. He could have thought of it himself, or he could have gotten it from someone else, e.g. one of many other preachers with a television show which is broadcast around the world.

    At the end the author says: “Now, I do believe Steven Furtick is genuine, meaning that he legitimately believes he is doing well by his people”. Earlier he says: “He is not the most obviously damning teacher, but he surely is one I’d say is the most cunning in his deception of the flock”. Google defines “cunning” thusly: “having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion”. Does the author believe Furtick is simultaneously genuine and cunning?

    The author says: “The only means by which you will begin to discern the true from the false will be to study the Scriptures routinely”. Knowledge of the Scriptures is essential. There is something else which is helpful, which the author has demonstrated but which he has not named: thinking. One should think when one hears questionable doctrine. Furtick is quoted as saying to his audience: “I see y’all looking at me like, ‘Is that true? I thought He could do anything'”. One would hope that at least some of those who heard him would think whether it was possible for God to be omnipotent and yet dependent upon the faith of his creatures in order to act. One would hope that at least some of them would think about whether there are any instances recorded in the Bible in which the Lord Jesus performed a miracle when faith in Him was absent. This may require searching the Scriptures. One might also hope that at least a few would study the text themselves–not in the original languages, but with good, trustworthy commentaries (some of which are accessible for free on the Internet, e.g. at BibleStudyTools.com and BlueLetterBible.org).

    Lastly, regarding the sentence which begins “It is no small wonder”: Readers should know that this vital teaching is recorded in I Timothy 4:16.

  • Roxanne Adams

    Steven Furtick is also named as Oprah Winfreys top 100 spiritual leaders…. a woman who not only embraces all religions but recently had an article in her magazine that embraces taking PRIDE in abortion. google it! Furtick is also set to speak with another cultic false church Bethel Redding CA along side of Bethels own Kris Vallotton….. a church that has a pyramid capping their prayer house and proudly used the occult phrase As above, so below for their big conference 2 yrs ago. Steven Furtick is part of the convergence to mix Christianity with the pagan new age one world religion…. occultists Alice Bailey and Helena P Blavatsky had channeled this very concept that the new age would come THROUGH the church.

    • Tony McDougle

      When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

  • Alex P

    Wow this article was over kill. Basically… “he’s a really good speaker but because his theology isn’t always the clearest, we will call him a heretic.” he was arguing over a point that was more semantics and just one passage. No doubt Steven would agree with most of what this guy said and would then say “don’t take my words out of context, just like you’re saying I’m doing with God’s words.”

    • This article was MacArthurian Pharisee-ism at its worst. I don’t really follow Furtick because every time I tried to give him a chance, his sermons or something he wrote was so loaded with “I, me, my ____” that I just lost interest, and apparently I’m not the only one with that critique. But for crying out loud, this author is questioning his walk with Christ, his ability to listen to anyone, his salvation, and his standing as a teacher of the Word. By all means, if you think he taught a passage incorrectly, or if you think he has a pride complex in the pulpit, or if you think he is mistake-prone as a shepherd of the flock, go ahead and think that. But to extrapolate any of that to the judgments that the author is pronouncing against Furtick is so asinine and “log in your own eye” that it’s hard to take this seriously.

  • Raymond

    How does your contention that Jesus refused to perform miracles because they didn’t recognize his authority line up with Matthew 9:1-8, where Jesus performs a healing miracle to prove His authority to forgive sins? If He was willing to do this for a house full of “strangers”, how much more willing would He be to do it for his family and neighbors?

    “Furtick can’t imagine Him being capable of doing: He overrides your unbelief. Does not the potter have right over the lump, o’ man? Does not the Lord do with His creation as He pleases?”
    How does this statement line up with the concept of free will? Granted, God’s gift of free will does not diminish His ability to override unbelief, but it is a Self-imposed limitation that He WILL not do it.

    • Chad Daniels

      “How does this statement line up with the concept of free will”

      YOu do realize that he was just quoting Romans 9… don’t you?

      • phillip mutchell

        Romans 9 taken in context is clearly defining those elect of Israel which God will preserve against his judgement on the Nation – which judgement took place in AD 70. Hence Paul uses the similar parallel with those who fell to worshipping Baal. What irony that the Calvinist system actually does say to God ‘why have you made me like this’ whereas against this fatalist nonsense the scripture insists ‘turn and live’. There’s nothing quite so irritating as ‘Reformed’ people thinking their ‘Puritan’ heroes were somehow more godly because they invited persecution. Truth is the English ones had a hissy fit about wearing vestments – whereas William Gurnall who had a strong faith happily signed the act of uniformity because Unity is surely the desire of any of God’s children. I don’t know this Furtick fellow but this chap is complaining that suggesting Christ couldn’t do something is tantamount to denying his divinity which is utter rubbish as he’s quoting scripture but apparently the translators didn’t have as sufficient a grasp on the Greek as this learned gentleman – and that’s Calvinism’s true spirit; I’m so holy I shit degrees and piss out Phd’s oh and every prayer’s a sermon.

    • Re: free will, see https://goo.gl/g13XRV

      • Theodore A. Jones

        “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13 Men ought to obey God rather than argue against God asserting that he has the free will not too.

  • Robert Ennis Jackson

    After attending a meeting in NYC where Steven Furtick was guest speaker. I was impressed with passion to bring the message of the Gospel to over 8,000 or more people at Hillsong sponsor conference. Every week, I minister to hungry families at our ministry’s food pantry, last year our ministry organization mentored 18 ex cons and troubled youth. The alter call after the word was large many people wanted to accept Jesus as Savior.
    It was refreshing to hear a word from a man of God that encourage the believer and bring a positive word of the salvation to those spiritually seeking God.

  • Roger Morris

    The use of the name “Macarthur” in the first paragraph signifies that the rest of the article is simply Calvinist gobbledygook and can safely be ignored.

  • Theodore A. Jones

    “and few there be that find it” Mt. 7:14b It is my conclusion that all contemporary preachers have caused the outcome He relates. Removing one will not do anything to change the stat.

    • ed amann (jehu)

      Agreed.
      Maybe not all though. Things will be sorted out when the wrath of GOD falls.

      We must endure (continue the work not yet completed) to the end.

      Side note:
      Paul said leave them alone. These things need be.

      Hardly nobody reads Paul closely enough.

      This world is too broad in religion to call Furtick (him) the MOST DANGEROUS.

      • Theodore A. Jones

        The writings penned by Paul are very difficult to understand and I’m unaware of any contemporary cleric who understands them. “Hardly nobody reads Paul closely enough” how true your understanding is, but this somebody did.

      • Theodore A. Jones

        Paul said, “Leave them alone. These things need be.” The only person I’m aware of that the Bible accredits to have made a similar statement is Gamaliel a Pharisee. See Acts 5:33-38 In the future if you are alleging to quote a Bible reference identify it by notating the book, chapter and numerical identifier.

  • ed amann (jehu)

    Most people seem to misunderstand what the word heretic means.

    A heretic is one who deliberately lies and deceives … usually for filthy lucre, and other.

    Caution: One may be guilty of bearing false witness against another.

    Best to meet the person in a sitdown and reason with one another. Instead of slinging his name all over the world. You both could be wrong.

    We should be civil enough to not condemn but to edify.

    [Pride goes before a fall]

    Also: Check out Paul’s words when he said “these things need be”.

    • Kevin Woodson

      That’s the thing This guy Furtick won’t sit down and listen, all he wants to do is talk, and to me for 46 minutes yell at me as to how i am evil for ‘touching God’s anointed” and calling names like I am a dog, or one quote he said to me over the phone call, “A momma’s boy living in the basement”. There is no talking to Steven Furtick.

  • Marcy Martin

    After doing some research there are many theories out there. Discernment is a must on this subject. I thought I would share a few of them with you all. Some say: His “deeds of power” were tie to their faith, Mark 5:28-36,40,41,42 “[Mar 5:28-34, 40-42 KJV] 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. … 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment”. These scripture speak of belief and it is done. Jesus ‘s home town knew him as a carpenter and they possibly couldn’t see him as anything different, Mark 6:4-6 (He was amazed at their unbelief), so they couldn’t convince themselves that he was God’s son. we must remember that God does not force us to believe or have faith. It is within our own spirit’s free will to God’s spirit that connects to us. Look at Mark 3:21,22,30.35 says about his friends. So it is like his home town rejected him, and the religious leaders oppose him. It’s possible that Jesus responses to those who respond to him in faith. Could it be that the Jews are God’s people and so God didn’t want mighty miracles to be sown to them since they did not believe he was the son of God. It is as the Jews despised him, because the gave no place in their minds of thoughts that he truly could be the son of God. With out having faith in Christ, you will not be blessed to have the favor of God nor be in fellowship with him (John 8:31-32, Hebrew 11:6). Could it be that even through Jesus was prophesied in the old testament, the people of his home town did not believe he had been born and walking among them. Jesus Christ possessed a nature of deity (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; John 1:1; Acts 20:28; Hebrew 1:8 He had the power to do anything Job 42:2 and Mark 6:5 “could there do no mighty works” Matt 13:58 “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief”. The Greek text shows that their unbelief was so strong, so antagonistic to the Son of God, that Jesus would not perform many miracles in their presence, in an attempt to coerce them into submission. In other words, Christ’s reticence to do many mighty works, in the face of such stubbornness (although he did some says Mark 6:5) was an act of benevolence, because sustained rejection of the evidence hardens all of the more, [John 12:37 KJV] 37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: Here is scripture references Mark 6:5-6, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; John 1:1; Acts 20:28; Hebrew 1:8; Job 42:2; Mark 6:1; Luke 4:16, Matt 9:20; Luke 22:50-51; Luke 7:11; Mark 6:5; Matt 13:58; Luke 14:20; 1 John 3:9; Luke 8:11; Mark 6:6, John 12:37-40

  • Anca Dudar

    1 Timothy and all three of the pastorals are known forgeries by all serious scholars, written around 100-160 long after Paul’s death. It’s a beautiful piece of literary deceit written to take women out of ministry and to teach things about the creation of Adam and Eve that are not in Genesis itself. Now, every time someone does not like the teaching of another they run and quote fear verses from 1 Timothy. This is one reason 1 Timothy is so effective in what it intended to do, it breeds fear and suspicion and accusation against others, and people love to hang onto those things, people love to feel like they are the in group and others are sinful outsiders every time they disagree with doctrine.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Even if you were correct in you assertion (you’re not), you’d have to contend with Jude, 1 Peter, 2 John, and other passages still which speak toward the church’s demeanor toward false teachers. There are also other texts which speak toward the biblical roles of submission and headship.

      • Anca Dudar

        “There are also other texts which speak toward the biblical roles of submission and headship.”

        You mean Ephesians, another known forgery? 1 Peter known for sure not to be written by Peter but from the same time frame and group as Ephesians and Colossians. Colossians most likely not written by Paul, but in any case the household code is believed to be an interpolation added after Ephesians copied from Colossians. 1 Corinthians passage on a woman’s silence is also an interpolation, some manuscripts do not even have it in there, others have it in the gloss only. All subordination and headship stem from the forgeries. Their defences don’t hold up to scrutiny. Someone made a claim that since 1 Timothy was quoted 450 (it is not) times outside of the NT during the 2 century that it must have been authentic, yet when I looked at the sources that “quote” it, they all quote mainly one verse and most of times those quotes only quote half of that verse “redeeming the time for the days are evil, or the love of money is the root of all evil.” Should we believe that hundreds of different documents written by Church Fathers who knew of 1 Timothy and they all only decided to quote one verse, the same one every-time, or did the author of 1 Timothy plagiarise from and include a popular saying from among the Churches and Fathers?

        Further, Ephesians 5 is a bottomless pit without any censorship. It teaches a BDSM relationship where one member is God and the other plays an inferior human role. No amount of “love” from the man will change the fact that the woman is a slave to the man and is his property to be robbed of her dominion over her own life and material possessions. She gives all into the marriage, her resources, body, money, time, work, genetic DNA in procreation, etc, yet she has no right to lead in the family alongside her husband, she loses power even over herself in all areas. She is the worker, the servant, the husband is the privileged one who gets the best of life, he gets to enjoy making decisions, to have freedom and choice in his life not because he has abilities to lead that she does not, not because he is more moral, or spiritual, or contributed more, just because he has a male body. How is the wife not property then, just another extension or limb of the man? Her whole existence is reduced to some disciplinary exercise of obedience and loss to her husbands will, desires, and whims, a type of obedience that Christ does not even enact or require of the Church btw.

        Since when is a man’s will even considered leadership? Why would a grown adult woman who shoulders the responsibility of the manual labor and scunt work in the household be denied the glory and honour of sharing in leadership alongside her husband in her family? Don’t get into good leadership vs bad male leadership because it is all bad. If you as a man were enslaved to the will of another man for the rest of your life, would you not consider it abuse? What comfort is it to you if that man promises to do his best in making ALL of the decisions for you for the rest of your life? It is no different than stripping a woman of her power and autonomy and putting her in a diaper so that daddy can lead her for the rest of her life, to make an incompetent idiot out of an adult. Male leadership is just another form of theft, a mechanism by which a man may steal services and resources from his wife while keeping all of the rewards and privileges to himself. Exactly what is he providing for her, food and clothing? Is there another way to keep a slave alive without at least two or three material basics needed for survival? Has the wife not at least earned them if not outright earned her own income to provide them for herself, so how is the husband providing anything for her besides a prison cell? A way in which he is free to do what he wants but she must answer to him, a way in which he can control all outcome in his favour but she cannot even control her own movement.

        It is amazing that late 1 and 2 century christian men made good on and claimed for themselves social equality with Jews as Gentiles, yet somehow “Paul” still granted them the right to continue keeping their slaves enslaved and called them “Lord” in 1 Peter and a type of “Christ” in Ephesians so that they may continue in their cultural practice of lording over their wives!

        As if changing the words to patriarchy by which was globally known as an inferior wife shamefully being in slavish servitude to a superior husband and living solely for his desires at the expense of her own, can somehow become justified if reworded as a Christ and Church relationship. Then throw in the word “love” which is completely subjective and an easy scapegoat for the husband to claim as a fair exchange for the wife’s life of servitude. The whole metaphor is one big logical fallacy, ontological female inferiority, male superiority, and a man’s human self love towards his wife cannot co-exist, the man’s love ends up being expressed in offering some material resources for the wife’s body care, but this love does not extend into real equality of the mind, soul and spirit, of function alongside him as an equal. It was an attempt to refurbish a system that is built on the soil of misogyny, now masked in “spiritual” imagery. I don’t buy it, it bears bad fruit and has for the past 2,000 years.

        Almost all abuses historically committed by christians stem from the submission passages of wives and slaves. It gave rise to Colonialism, it gave rise to the Catholic Church. Male headship is the leadership that no woman needs, she has to dumb down her own abilities and leadership so that man can “lead” her. The scholarly evidence show that Paul and Peter were not the authors of those epistles. Some of their content even contradict parts of the true writings of Paul.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Listen, if you take issue to what the Scripture’s say, that’s between you and the Lord. But if you want to be taken seriously among peers, maybe interact with them rather than simply asserting straw men of your own concoction (i.e. BDSM being taught, give me a break lol) and the tired trope that they are forgeries, showing that you only consult liberal works.

          • Anca Dudar

            “Listen, if you take issue to what the Scripture’s say, that’s between you and the Lord.”
            That is an assumption that the Lord authorised everything written in the scriptures, further, it is an assumption that Paul and Peter as authorised authority figures were behind all books attributed to them. It is oversimplification of things and the process that went into the cannon. Many scriptures contradict each other in their teaching on how to treat others. How did we do away with slavery as Christians?

            There are plenty of conservative scholars who agree that those epistles are not authentic. Some going back as far as 17th cen. The only difference between them and liberals is that they try to defend the “good” intent of the anonymous forgers.

            “But if you want to be taken seriously among peers, maybe interact with them rather than simply asserting straw men of your own concoction (i.e. BDSM being taught, give me a break lol)”

            Straw-men? If you must submit in everything to the will, desires, whim, and command of another, is it or is it not BDSM? When comps teach that a woman is a husband’s assistant, is she or is she not his property, because in practice she does not own her own life or anything within the family, he can remove even the shirt off of her back if he wills it. If you do not have any autonomy, and you may not self determine, than are you not the property of another? Legally under Christian America and Europe before feminism women were the legal property of husbands on account of those Bible verses. These are not straw men arguments. You comps teach that a woman’s “role” is to assist you suggesting that your life is real and hers is just a secondary accent to yours. How is that not a slave when her whole life and purpose is to serve your will and she does not have dominion to rule over her half of the family and resources? John McArthur himself said that is wife has to be subject to him even for permission to take a trip to the park or pick a restaurant. I would say that is BDSM. Denny Burk said that every decision, EVERY single one, no matter how small is is his responsibility to make wether or not his wife agrees with him – fine male leadership right there and “responsibility” is not the right word, it is pure privilege. I would say that is BDSM when a husband can make every decision even against his wife’s wishes. When you do not have the right to say no to your husbands demands, that is BDSM. John Piper’s own wife almost divorced him at 70 something years old because she did not like how he was doing things, so much for male leadership being the solution that he thought everyone else to model.

            Look, you can dismiss me as concoctioning my own straw-men, but male headship removes a woman’s right to self determine, it removes her autonomy, it removes her right to exercise her own judgement, it takes power away from her over herself and her own resources, she is not allowed to lead, she may not vote in her marriage, she has no authority over her own children as the husband may trump hers. I know many men who confiscate their wives paycheques and their wives have to ask, explain, and in some cases beg for 20 dollars of their own money. Historically wive’s were legal property of husbands and could not even get lifesaving operations without husbands permission in Christian America 120 years ago, I would say it was BDSM.

            Ephesians 5:24 says a wife must submit in EVERYTHING (excluding sin of course), yet 1 Corinthians says that a wife has authority over her husbands body and may veto his vote to withhold relations for religious fasting and prayer. So which one is it, she has the authority to say no to his request and veto his vote, or she has to submit in EVERYTHING? I think there are different authors at play.

        • Tony McDougle

          Plus, the marriage relationship between man and woman is a wonderful picture (type) of the relationship between Christ and the the Church. Not domineering, subservient or demeaning… But loving… just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

    • Tim Bushong

      Remember: always, ALWAYS go after the authority and inspiration of Scripture when it says something you don’t like. Apostolic authority? Pshaw!

      And “…by all serious scholars” means that there are NO serious scholars who think otherwise. Riiiiight….

      • A D

        “And “…by all serious scholars” means that there are NO serious scholars who think otherwise. Riiiiight….”

        RIGHT, because most of the scholars who think otherwise do not appear to think so on account of strong evidence, rather they do so because they first assume authority and inspiration of all Scripture, so they ignore and fail to address adequately the evidence against authentic authorship. I don’t consider people with an agenda to begin with to be serious scholars, especially when they come from seminaries where they must sign inerrancy contracts before undertaking the task of proving authentic authorship. They are clearly biased, liberals have no problem crediting to Paul what is believed to be authentic or vice versa.

        “Remember: always, ALWAYS go after the authority and inspiration of Scripture when it says something you don’t like. Apostolic authority? Pshaw!”

        The NT does not claim for itself such authority and inspiration. When it referred to “inspiration” or being “God-breathed” the NT was not put together, scripture was considered OT at that point. 2 Thessalonians warns of some letters not being from Paul but were forgeries claiming his authorship and says not to accept them.

        Apostolic authorship was the number one qualifier for authority behind the Epistles and acceptance into churches, that is historical fact.

    • NorrinRadd

      All serious scholars recognize Gordon Fee, Ben Witherington, and P.B. Payne to be serious scholars. 😉

      • A D

        “All serious scholars recognise Gordon Fee, Ben Witherington, and P.B. Payne to be serious scholars. ;-)”

        I’m pretty sure they don’t as the ones you mentioned all hold to authentic Paulin authorship based on weak “hypothetical” evidence as do most modern day conservative scholars who have outcome bias. Although, they are far superior scholars in comparison to Wayne Grudem, John Piper, and John MacArthur, who ignore all cultural context of the text and the original meaning of words.

  • Jess

    Steven Furtick is obviously a false teacher. He even thinks the Gospel is “giving your life to Jesus”. We can’t be saved by works. So he gets salvation wrong every time. He also never teaches the Bible. He takes one or a few verses out of context, and then gives you a stupid boring motivational speech. He is a wolf of the worst kind.

    • A D

      Almost all of Jesus parables were about doing good works required for acceptance into the kingdom. Romans 1-3 speaks of works and non-believers being judged by the law written on their hearts, by their works. Even Sodom and Gomorrah will rise up to judge those who do don’t bear good works worthy of salvation. James extensively speaks of works. This is something Protestants have lost with the reformation.

  • Elephile

    “Christ cannot be fully God if He is thwarted by man’s unbelief.” Thanks, it’s nice to come across another person who perceives that Jesus is the savior of the whole cosmos!

    • Gilsongraybert

      Yeah, I’m not a Universalist if that’s where you’re going here.

      • Agni Ashwin

        But surely you hope that all might be saved?

        • Sarah Flood

          One would hope he does, wouldn’t one?

      • fromoverhere

        Your position is obvious! Only Calvinists use the word “thwart”!

        • Gilsongraybert
  • Emily Elizabeth Windsor-Cragg

    If YOU judge anyone on the basis of DOCTRINE AND NOT ON BEHAVIOR, you are a heretic, out of the box.

    • Gilsongraybert

      It’s really too bad Paul didn’t get the memo when he wrote the pastoral epistles. More seriously though – why do you assume teaching is not a profoundly moral exercise, inasmuch as the other qualifications Paul lists in 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus?

    • cindylulu

      Your thinking on this is nonsense. we are commanded to call out false teaching. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

  • A D

    “Listen, if you take issue to what the Scripture’s say, that’s between you and the Lord.”
    That is an assumption that the Lord authorised everything written in the scriptures, further, it is an assumption that Paul and Peter as authorised authority figures were behind all books attributed to them. It is oversimplification of things and the process that went into the canon. Many scriptures contradict each other in their teaching on how to treat others. How did we do away with slavery as Christians?

    There are plenty of conservative scholars who agree that those epistles are not authentic. Some going back as far as 17th cen. The only difference between them and liberals is that they try to defend the “good” intent of the anonymous forgers.

    “But if you want to be taken seriously among peers, maybe interact with them rather than simply asserting straw men of your own concoction (i.e. BDSM being taught, give me a break lol)”

    Straw-men? If you must submit in everything to the will, desires, whim, and command of another, is it or is it not BDSM? When comps teach that a woman is a husband’s assistant, is she or is she not his property, because in practice she does not own her own life or anything within the family, he can remove even the shirt off of her back if he wills it. If you do not have any autonomy, and you may not self determine, than are you not the property of another? Legally under Christian America and Europe before feminism women were the legal property of husbands on account of those Bible verses. These are not straw men arguments. You comps teach that a woman’s “role” is to assist you suggesting that your life is real and hers is just a secondary accent to yours. How is that not a slave when her whole life and purpose is to serve your will and she does not have dominion to rule over her half of the family and resources within? John McArthur himself said that is wife has to be subject to him even for permission to take a trip to the park or pick a restaurant. I would say that is BDSM. Denny Burk said that every decision, EVERY single one, no matter how small it is his responsibility to make wether or not his wife agrees with him – fine male leadership right there and “responsibility” is not the right word, it is pure privilege. I would say that is BDSM when a husband can make every decision even against his wife’s wishes. When you do not have the right to say no to your husbands demands, that is BDSM. John Piper’s own wife almost divorced him at 70 something years old because she did not like how he was doing things, so much for male leadership being the solution that he taught everyone else to model.

    Look, you can dismiss me as concoctioning my own straw-men, but male headship removes a woman’s right to self determine, it removes her autonomy, it removes her right to exercise her own judgement, it takes power away from her over herself and her own resources, she is not allowed to lead, she may not vote in her marriage, she has no authority over her own children as the husband may trump hers. I know many men who confiscate their wives paycheques and their wives have to ask, explain, and in some cases beg for 20 dollars of their own money. Historically wive’s were legal property of husbands and could not even get lifesaving operations without husbands permission in Christian America 120 years ago, I would say it was BDSM.

    Ephesians 5:24 says a wife must submit in EVERYTHING (excluding sin of course), yet 1 Corinthians says that a wife has authority over her husbands body and may veto his vote to withhold relations for religious fasting and prayer. So which one is it, she has the authority to say no to his request and veto his vote, or she has to submit in EVERYTHING? I think there are different authors at play.

    • Gilsongraybert

      You are bizarrely off track here.

    • Paaru Yagami

      Ephesians says 2 verses earlier “Submit to each other” and also to “take care of your wife as you woukd your own body” Obviously women, like Deborah and Esther can exert power over men. Please educate yourself about historical context and male psychology as to why married couples are advised to treat men as the ‘head’

      • A D

        “Ephesians says 2 verses earlier “Submit to each other”
        Yes, and two verses later it tells her to submit in EVERYTHING! Slaves and children are not even told to submit in everything in the passage. Traditionalists do not teach husbands to submit as well, they only teach one way submission of wives, or at least the husband has a choice but the wife may never refuse what he says unless it is sin, and they even stretch the definition of sin to it’s limit before she may refuse him, emotional and mental offence against her does not matter.

        “and also to “take care of your wife as you would your own body”

        Many conservatives think it’s perfectly fine, even required for the husband to make every single decision for the wife as long as he takes care of her body to make sure no harm comes to her. Imagine of you could not even schedule your own housework according to your preference because your husband had to do it for you, detailing every moment of your day and then supervising you so that he can lead you! It’s all ok as long as your body is not injured. There are women who have come forward reporting this type of micromanaging control, it is totally domineering! In history because of those verses, wives lost all legal identity upon marriage because she was considered the man’s body! Once Catholicism took over the Roman Empire, a husband was allowed to murder his wife for any reason and not be punished as long as he was young, if he was older, he was only punished by not being allowed to marry again. They justified it as being because he was her head / Christ figure and she was his body, not a seperate person. Before Catholicism, one of the Bishops blamed a wife for her husband abandoning her for another woman because she gave away one of her dresses and a piece of jewellery to to feed the poor without asking his permission first, because he was her Christ head! She was told to write him and immediately ask for his forgiveness, she was even blamed for his affair on account of making such a small independent act without permission! Whoever wrote Ephesians 5 did not use wisdom, they probably meant well, but only disaster has come from it historically.

        “Please educate yourself about historical context and male psychology as to why married couples are advised to treat men as the ‘head'”

        They were told to do so because patriarchy was already the norm and Ephesians 5 has an apologetic behind it justifying the cultural practice due to the husband being the “saviour” of the body compared to Christ saving His body. It was code for “Roman Patronage” for the socially inferior wife to offer her obedience to her socially superior husband in return for her husband’s provision and protection, and his legal representation on her behalf. Most women were also teenagers when they married and were uneducated, the husband was usually in his mid thirties. It says in Colossians that we may grow up into Him who is the Head, thus becoming like the “head” in maturity ourselves. To “nourish” in Ephs 5 in Greek is a word borrowed from the nursery for nursing mothers and it means to nourish and raise to maturity.

        Earlier in Colossians and Ephesians Christ as “Head” of the Church is used for the first time, Christ’s headship is a protective and provisional service for the Church that Christ was doing for it’s growth, and representing her in victory in order to fight her enemies in the spiritual realm by putting them under the feet of His body the Church. It’s complicated but the authentic Paul did not purpose such a thing in his other letters. This is an advanced eschatology for Christ’s function as “Head” of His Church which the author linked to typical Roman-Greco stereotype of male masculinity and it’s relationship to wives etc. Now it just gets turned into a weird type of male headship doctrine with a typical American concept of it.

    • Sarah Flood

      I would argue that it is not BDSM simply on the grounds that in BDSM ethics, everything–EVERYTHING–that happens is by the free consent of both parties. Generally things are talked out before anything happens, participants agree on boundaries and safe words and what is too far, and either party can stop what is happening at any time. This holds true even in relationship where the dom/sub relationship goes beyond the bedroom. It is essentially a very elaborate fantasy over which both participants have full control, and it takes very clear communication and a strong sense of what one is comfortable with to make it work. A relationship in which one party cannot withdraw or is made to feel guilty for withdrawing consent isn’t a BDSM relationship; it’s an abusive one.

      • A D

        Excellent point Sarah Flood! This is why one-way submission is so inappropriate, it kills the person in so many ways. God is the creator of the female body and psyche, and being controlled and losing the right to self determine directly attacks the brain. There is so much research on this, it directly causes cognitive problems. Women and young men who have come out of the “Institute in Basic Life Principles” households have been documented as having cognitive problems as a result. They also had extreme PDST and Religious Trauma Syndrome.

        Sometimes there is a huge discrepancy between reality and theology. No human relationship can safely function in a hierarchy like Christ and the Church. Marriage by nature does not function in such a way for both husband and wife are parallel to each other in intellect, perception, and judgement capacities. Both have the human need to make decisions, one of humanities greatest needs is to interact with it’s environment and have outcome control, it is a basic programming of the human for survival. We are made to take in information about our environment, process it, and then give output through action via decision making, thus having outcome control. It blows my mind when complementarians say that men were created by God to lead and women were created to follow! They have absolutely no basis in reality or scientific fact of human mental biology! This type of psychological abuse that comps enact on wives often manifests itself as a physical illness since it attacks the whole central nervous system causing abdominal and heart problems. I’ve spoken to many women whose bodies began to shut down as their energy levels dropped and could barley stay awake during the day. This stuff robs a woman of her joy in life and her body reacts. It’s like having your whole being grated away slowly on a cheese grater until there is nothing left but a stump of a person. So you are right, at least in BDSM relationships there are boundaries and consent!

  • archidude

    I have issue with the whole idea that the mystery between faith and miracle is so easily marginalized by pulling out the trump card of original languages. NT Wright states, “Lack of faith, it seems, seriously hinders Jesus’ power; an important lesson for all who try to preach or live the kingdom.” Does lack of faith ontologically diminish any power of the Father? of course not! However, it does seem to interfere with the mission of the Kingdom. Every time we pray, we seek to inable or release the kingdom of God. Those who don’t pray or risk the open demonstaration of God’s power are refusing the reality of the kingdom. They are refusing to walk in faith. To tie cognitive constructions to an argument that does little to further the kingdom and diminish the reputation of a brother in Christ puts us closer to the side of the accuser than that of the Spirit.

  • Eliza

    I’m glad that I read this post. I remember viewing his sermons and I found the ideas that he presented to be focused on prosperity, popular culture and “good” feelings. I stopped viewing the sermons when one particular belief struck me as unbiblical which was the idea of not swallowing a pill during life circumstances. It seemed as if the sermon wanted to blame victims. The underlying belief, according to that sermon, is that certain people get what they deserve or karma which isn’t Biblical teaching. It was a sad moment for me, so I can’t recommend him as a Biblical teacher. As a viewer, I tend to stick closely with the Bible to discern any false teaching and to avoid the false teachers.

    • Agni Ashwin

      The underlying belief…that certain people get what they deserve…isn’t Biblical

      “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” — Matthew 26:52

    • Julie Saunders

      Treating others the way you want to be treated is biblical and so is reaping what you sow.

      Job 4:8 Even as I have seen, they that plow inequity and sow wickedness, reap the same.

      That is the Biblical explanation of the world’s “Karma”.

      • Eliza

        Reaping what we sow is in the Bible. Treating the way we want to be treated is unfortunately a popular saying not found in the Bible. I would suggest reading the entire Bible passage and not use a verse to justify an alternative teaching. We’re saved by Jesus dying on the cross for our sins not our good deeds. Hinduism teaches that karma like good deeds or bad deeds will come back to people.The prosperity gospel teaches the same concept of sowing money to reap blessings which is false teaching.

        We’re commanded in the Bible to forgive those who sin against us. We’re commanded to turn the other cheek. People commit crimes, but that doesn’t mean that I should commit the crime back; we’ll all be guilty of crimes by law. Getting revenge for someone else’s sin against us is sin; Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and forgiving the angry crowd is the Bible’s example for how we forgive those who sin against us, no matter how gruesome it is. As for reaping and sowing, that is true that we’re to work hard to have a decent harvest. God does gives blessings, but He can take everything away just like he did with Job. Job was faithful to Him despite Satan distressing him to challenge God.

        Furtick’s teaching hasn’t been Biblical in this regard on dealing with life. We’re not supposed to imply that people deserved all their circumstances, blame victims, and not lift a finger to help. The poor, blind, sick and disabled were treated horribly and viewed as sinful in the New Testament until Jesus shed a light on how we’re supposed to view the vulnerable.

  • Tony McDougle

    Let start by saying I don’t know (but neither do you) the heart of Steven Furtick. I am a member of a different local congregation in the Charlotte area. Although, I have been to Elevation many times. If I am honest, I went there wanting to find something at which I could throw stones. I could pick on the cattle-call way they herd people in and out. I could pick on Furtick’s amazing marketing and sales skills. I could pick on the fact that, at most of the campuses, the parishioners might as well be home watching on their big-screen TV. (Some may say Elevation is too big and impersonal. Some may find fault with him building a $2 million home.) I could pick on many external things… but I could not find anything wrong with his doctrine (the few times I have gone.) This article is pulling a paragraph out of a 45-minute sermon. (I did not hear this particular sermon, so I can’t comment on it.) @gilsongraybert:disqus , if we were all required to have a doctorate in exegesis and hermeneutics before we are allowed to share the Gospel… the church would not be here today. Except, as you yourself point out in this article, God can do anything… even use the Gospel in the mouth of poorly trained sinners to change other sinners’ heart and lives. “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” But, at the same time, the Spirit does not lead me to sit under his teaching, either. 🙂

    • Gilsongraybert

      Thank you for being charitable in your demeanor here – and I sympathize with much of what you’re saying here. The key difference is that for pastors, there are strict qualifications and they are there for a reason, namely, because they are ones to whom Christ has entrusted souls. Those are big shoes to fill, and much different than preaching the gospel alone. The point is not to dissuade anyone from preaching the gospel in the least, but to dissuade people who aren’t fit for preaching from the pulpit. In addition, there is much with Furtick’s repertoire that is to be desired, and I am taking this as a compendium of that teaching, rather than just a blurb. The blurb alone is bad enough – as “The One Thing Jesus Can’t Do” was plastered all over their marketing for the video. It was the main point, arguably one the marketers also felt was his strongest point in the sermon. If that’s not problematic, I truthfully don’t know what is.

      • Tony McDougle

        Please understand that I proffer this comment with love. I do not wish to be put in a position to defend Steven Furtick, as I do not know the man (and neither do you).

        When you say, “there is much with Furtick’s repertoire that is to be desired, and I am taking this as a compendium of that teaching, rather than just a blurb”, please expand. Because, like I said, I have personally been to Elevation many times and listened to him via the internet many others. I have found no basis for such a scathing article. If he is teaching heresy, I agree with you. He should be removed from the pulpit. But if it is just this one blurb…the church itself has been debating this argument for centuries. And there are many, many others who ARE preaching heresy for you to go after.

        Steven Furtick is a master marketer. Did he use sensationalism to promote this sermon? Probably.

        But did you use sensationalism to promote this article? Some would argue… Probably.

        With the sensational title, “Steven Furtick is the Most Dangerous Kind of False Teacher” and then later you say, “Flee from him, lest your soul also be ensnared to hell. He is not a sound teacher. He is not the most obviously damning teacher, but he surely is one I’d say is the most cunning in his deception of the flock.”

        Really?

        Did you need to go that far? You even admit that you believe he is genuine and that he legitimately believes he is doing well by his people.

        While yes, teachers will be judged more strictly… the judgement will be by God, not men.

        Every bible teacher makes mistakes. I don’t know if you are a bible teacher but if so… I can guarantee that you have make mistakes in your teaching, as well.

        We don’t have time in this comment section for a Calvinist–Arminian debate. Pre-determination or human free-will?

        While I agree with you, your exegetical conclusion is sound, this is a much deeper discussion than should be tried in the court of public opinion by disparaging a popular preacher over one sermon where he takes a different side of the debate from you. IMHO

        Let me end with a quote from John Piper:

        “Therefore, I affirm with John 3:16 and 1 Timothy 2:4 that God loves the world with a real and sincere compassion that desires the salvation of all men. Yet I also affirm that God has chosen from before the foundation of the world those whom he will save from sin. Since not all people are saved, we must choose whether we believe (with the Arminians) that God’s will to save all people is restrained by his commitment to ultimate human self-determination or whether we believe (with the Reformed) that God’s will to save all people is restrained by his commitment to the glorification of the full range of his perfections in exalting his sovereign grace (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14; Rom. 9:22–23).

        With the fullness and the majesty of the achievement of Jesus on the cross as the basis, we now offer him and all that he has achieved for his elect to everyone on earth. Christ invites everyone to come. And everyone who comes is saved. Everyone who receives Christ has been chosen from the foundation of the world and is an heir of an infinite inheritance.”

  • PaulK

    Hi Grayson,

    I found what you wrote here very interesting and it provoked me to look into it further.

    You wrote:
    “The usage of the negative particle οὐκ in combination with δύναμαι in Mark 6:5 occurs elsewhere within the New Testament and does not always dictate inability. Luke 14:20 demonstrates this within the context of the parable of the wedding feast; the man is not literally unable to come, he is unwilling. In similar fashion, Luke 11:7 exhibits a man who is unwilling to offer bread, not that he is literally prevented from doing so.”

    In both cases, it is not whether the person is actually able to or not, it is that they said that they were not able to:

    “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ (Luke. 14:20)

    “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ (Luke. 11:7 NIV)

    The NIV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, ESV etc. all render the construction as “cannot”.

    So, I think your personal translation and therefore interpretation may need to be revised.

    Best wishes,

    Paul

    • Gilsongraybert

      Furtick here is using the construction to say Jesus is literally unable to do this – and in the context of those parables, we see the same principle flesh out. They were able to, they chose not to, hence the married man’s exclusion from the Kingdom, and in the case of Luke 11, v. 8 exemplifies that due to the other man’s persistence, he will indeed be given the bread from the one who said, “I can’t give you bread.” Whether or not one says they have the ability does not revoke the fact that they have the ability. The texts actually prove the point I’m making, in that the friend asking for bread does not desist, and the married man is judged unfit to come to what he was first invited to – both on the basis of what they said. I’m not precisely sure what you sense the meaning of the construction to be here, but a basic grammar of the Greek will show this construction can function in more than one way.

      • PaulK

        Hi Grayson,

        I guess what I’m saying is that regardless of the conclusion Steven Furtick draws from the passage, the construction is rightly translated “cannot” or “could not” (for whatever underlying reason) and cannot be translated “chose not” or “was not willing” – ie the construction is talking about ability not will.

        Now the point that one then draws from that – whether Jesus was absolutely powerless to do miracles because of people’s unbelief is totally up for debate. After all he encountered Saul on the Damascus Road.

        But that’s my reading of things.

        Thanks for engaging.

        Best wishes,

        Paul

        • Gilsongraybert

          Have you looked at a grammar, because how the language is used will determine what it can and cannot do in function.

        • Paul, you have to be the most polite person I’ve ever seen on an internet comments section.

          Thanks for keeping things classy,

          Taylor

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Mr Gilbert has identified that Furtick’s theology is Arminian, not Calvinist, and therefore calls him a “heretic”. It’s not that Furtick can’t “adequately teach” it’s that (along with the vast bulk of Christians everywhere) Furtick isn’t teaching Mr Gilbert’s own particular theology.
    It’s not that the vast majority of Christians are “frightened” of Mr Gilbert’s theology, it’s that they think it’s contrary to the Bible, horribly wrong, and slanders the nature of God.
    I’ve no idea whether the rest of Furtick’s teaching is good, bad or indifferent, but the only thing Mr Gilbert has shown in the above is don’t go and listen to Furtick if you want to hear Calvinism preached, because Furtick is not, from the above, a Calvinist (and good for him).

  • Julie Saunders

    My interpretation wasn’t that Jesus couldn’t perform the miracle but He cannot force us to believe in God or that He is the Son of God. We have to choose to believe by our own free will. I have no issue with Furtick’s teaching, I do not particularly enjoy Elevation because of the lights and whistles but I watch him online and that is helpful to me. I think this article should be brought to his attention by the author so that Furtick can reply, otherwise to me it sounds like gossip.

    • Vince Juarez

      Gossip? Which part is gossip? I see no gossip just a preacher who is dangerous to his flock. Agree or disagree , but calling it just gossip is missing everything that’s important. Can’t just brush it off so easily & call it gossip

  • Josh

    I appreciate the stress on the gravity of teaching, but it seems if you want to demonstrate that someone is dangerous in their teaching, then it could be helpful to either give more examples or give a more obvious one. He included in the quoted section that Furtick indeed stated: “He [Jesus] was able to,” and yet the critique hinged on the assertion: “Instead of leaping to the conclusion that Christ was unable to perform the miraculous.” Furtick (whoever he is, I don’t know the guy) stated expressly that Jesus was able to perform the miracle, and yet the critique attempted to charge Furtick with denying that Christ was able, but the opposite is true. The critique’s solution to the exegetical situation is therefore obtainable within the bounds of Furtick’s statement as it stands, albeit with whatever rhetorical flourish may be present. As such it seems the critique suffers more from misreading Furtick than Furtick’s misreading Scripture. It seems the hermeneutic of suspicion misfired.

  • Widuran

    Interesting article.

  • Jonathan Garner

    Damning people on the semantics of first century greek speakers/writers. How godly.

  • Alan Rose

    It is one of the strange quirks of our times that preachers become celebrities (although I suspect others in history were famous or infamous without the help of the www). In all honesty, your assessment sounds a touch pharisaical. Perhaps it would help you to reflect on some words from Augustine before you pronounce the evangelical “ban” on a brother in future.

    ‘If…a man draws a meaning [from scripture] that may be used for the building up of love, even though he does not happen upon the precise meaning which the author whom he reads intended to express in that place, his error is not pernicious, and he is wholly clear from the charge of deception.’ (Augustine, ‘On Christian Doctrine’, Ch.36.40).

    Not everyone is going to be your cup of tea (very English phrase there), but they’re not necessarily dangerous if they’re encouraging love of God and neighbour. Did your post manage that, I wonder?

    Best,

    Alan Rose

    • misterseer

      Augustine’s words only say that the error is not intentional, as in “Didn’t know the gun was loaded.” Errors still have consequences. As a parent I made a lot of mistakes. They were not intentional. But they have had consequences and I wish I could redo.

    • Dan Pollina

      Amen brother!! Well said

  • Juan Garcia

    To say Jesus could not overcome someone’s unbelief is to say that no person could ever be saved. Faith is a gift given and accepted. Faith is simply the means to the end, which is a relationship with Christ. If one believes that faith is the ultimate end, then Christianity is no different from any other religion. In fact, Christianity is the ONLY religion which soteriologically requires a personal relationship with God which is not accomplished by one’s work, but the possession of the gift of faith. To say that God cannot perform miracles because of someone’s lack of faith is limiting God’s omnipotence and thus proclaiming Him not God. And in fact, the greatest miracle of all is the spiritual healing that occurs upon one’s coming into relationship with Christ which is preceded by the creation of faith within an individual.

    On another level, so far as the ability of God to overcome someone’s lack of faith, it’s not a lack of faith, it’s an unwillingness to accept the gift of faith.

    And finally, regarding God’s limitations: There are things God cannot do; He cannot force someone to freely love him, He cannot violate His own character (because then He would not be God), and He cannot do something that is intrinsically impossible (because it is not a thing).

    • Theodore A. Jones

      “Fot it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

      • Juan Garcia

        And this perfectly follows. When one comes into relationship with Christ and loves Him, every motivation will be to obedience. John 14:23.

        • Theodore A. Jones

          No one is granted a “relationship with Christ” unless he first obeys that law Paul is referencing.

          • Juan Garcia

            Please cite your scriptural reference.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Rom. 2:13, which I quoted.

          • Dan Pollina

            Romans 8:2, “for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death”. It is not by obeying the law that makes one righteous. In Romans 5, the Word says it is Christ’s obedience only that makes us righteous.It is not at all about our obedience, but Christ’s obedience at the Cross!! Does that mean we have a license to sin? As the Bible says in Romans, “God forbid”!!

          • Theodore A. Jones

            “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

          • Jack Waters

            He’s referring to Jesus, who obeyed the law. Our faith and trust resting in him is our saving grace. See the Reformers: “Fides iustificat non propter se, ut est in homine qualitas, sed propter Christum, quem apprehendit.” In English, “Faith justifies not because of itself, insofar as it is a quality in a human being, but on account of Christ, of whom faith lays hold.” Theodore, what you are insisting upon out of context is Pelagianism, that man by some work of his own can obey the law. Paul condemns this in Galatians, and every catholic theologian does the same. Declaration of righteousness is what was accomplished at the crucifixion of the Savior.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            The law has been changed. Heb. 7:12

          • David Cromie

            Simply voodoo!

          • Juan Garcia

            Thank you, sorry I missed it the first time. I guess my question would be how do you define obedience in this context? Jesus said those who love me will obey me. Is that your meaning.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Rom. 2:13 is a statement written by Paul. You need to make it your number one priority to understand why he made that statement.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            “Jesus said those who”,etc. Citation?

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Rom. 2:13

          • Theodore A. Jones

            “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

  • My heart goes out to you, Grayson Gilbert. Your obvious concern over guiding the flock is appreciated. Your zealous attack of another of God’s faithful is not, however, what I believe Jesus would ever do. Yet how I do love you for your passion, for your love of Christ! May He continue to guide you and bring you His peace as you navigate through the waters of worldly deceit and despair. ~~~~ Love from a beggar in Christ <3

  • cindylulu

    Furtick along with all those other false teachers on TBN are rotten heretics. They’re charlatans…they count on the fact that most of their audience does not read or study the word of God. They are just taking all the garbage in because it tickles their ears…it’s what they want to hear. God may have just turned away and left them to their sinful desires. These people need to run for God and repent at His feet. Furtick along w the other scoundrels (false teachers) will receive their due… unless they repent..that goes for the gullible congregation that follow these heretics.

    ***2 John 1: 9-11 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds

  • NorrinRadd

    I repeat here what I said over at New Wineskins, with some additions:

    1) I have literally never heard of Steve Furtick until now.

    2) As a Pentecostal/Charismatic Arminian Egalitarian Amillennial
    believer, my natural instinct is to regard disapproval by J-Mac as a
    *good* thing.

    3) All of the translations I’ve checked — including the one typically most beloved by “Reformed” people, the ESV — render the expression as “could not” or “was unable.” The NET is also in this group, and none of its copious notes even mention the possibility that what is said is not really what is meant.

    I frankly see nothing in the context, including the parallel in Matt. 13, to suggest all the translators got it wrong.

    It is not necessary to embrace a “Word-Faith” interpretation of those passages to accept that they really do mean Jesus “COULD” not — was NOT ABLE TO — do miracles there. I realize some get twitchy about the degree or kind of “kenosis” this might possibly imply, but the reverse, IMO, leans a bit toward docetism.

    • Regards your point #3 – a “could not” translation is not wrong, but your understanding of it could be.
      Example:
      An co-worker invites you to attend a “gentleman’s club” with him after work. You say you cannot. Your reason isn’t because you couldn’t possibly fit it into your schedule or some other physical inability. You cannot because you choose to not do so. It’s the identical construction for the examples given in the article. You could not go, just like the example where the man could not attend the feast (and he blames his wife!)
      It’s just so curious that when it comes to ourselves or other human examples that this usage is perfectly acceptable. But if it’s applied to Deity it can’t possibly be so. We want that limited god, not the sovereign God.

  • David Cromie

    How is Furtrick any different from all the rest of the fundamentalist preachers? All of you preach utter BS, and cherry-pick your biblical quotes to suit your particular world view, whatever particular version of the so-called ‘bible’ you cherish. This is why there are multitudenous varitions of christianity in the world today.

    The history of christianity (along with most other religins) condemns all of you as dangerous, and a blight on the world. Just look at the Great Orange Maggol, and his henchmen, currently infesting the White House.

    • sg

      Still better than Hillary.

      • Barb Cooper-Humphrey

        So … you worship Trump??? I kinda thought so from some of his supporters comments.. Seems to be great confusion between Religion and Politics for some. Jesus’ teachings have been left in the wake….

        • sg

          So… you worship Hillary!???

    • Loud Noises

      Also, get off his lawn.

  • Realist1234

    I’ve always understood the lack of healing etc in the Mark passage to mean that due to a general unbelief in Jesus, He was only able to heal a few people because only a few people came to Him to be healed. The lack of many healings etc was simply due to the small number of people who actually had any faith in him. Jesus did not go looking for people to heal, He let them come to Him as they chose.

  • Emily Nicole

    I know there has been a lot of speculation on his salary and his net worth, some even reporting $50MM. However, a trusted source says, through tax filings, and court documents, his estimated net worth is $7MM.

    Which is also the same amount found on https://www.socialcelebritynetworth.com/single-post/2017/11/03/Steven-Furtick—Net-Worth-7-Million

  • Nathan

    Grayson Gilbert,

    I don’t know much about Furtick, but the quote you have from his sermon seems to contradict exactly the point you’re trying to make. He says “He wanted to. He was prepared to. He was able to.” – again “He was able to.”.

    I really don’t understand your point. His interpretation might be simplistic, but other than that it seems like his use of the phrase “could not” is in line with how English speakers use that phrase to refer to something they are “not going to do”.

    If your beef is with how most of the major versions (ESV, CSB, NET, NIV) translate the verse, why are you singling him out?

  • To keep it short if God can use a donkey in the Bible to speak he can use a Steven. We are all human and limited by this. We must seek out God’s truth ourselves. Never trust any human interpretation. Let the Bible and the Holy Spirit guides us. God works with each of us differently. Mistakes are made since we are so limited. We don’t even have the true Greek and Hebrew translation from Biblical times. We have to trust God to give us His meaning. May God Bless you on your journey to follow Christ.

    • newenglandsun

      By your “logic”, God can also use a Grayson. A donkey is not a theological teacher though and so does not require the theological training necessary.

  • Kay Rene

    I’m glad to see that instead of worrying about people’s salvation and letting God speak through each individual person to make their own discerned decisions, we have Christian ministries, blogs, and websites instead bashing and labeling pastors who have helped bring thousands upon thousands of people to Christ as heretics and false teachers by your own false pretenses.
    It really makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when “Christians” call upon their own religious arrogance to judge and then use scripture out of context to condemn a Pastor who has done more work for the kingdom than most of the people on this website combined. It’s no wonder the world hates Christians when authors like the one of this post hate other Christians just as much as the world.
    I don’t remember where the Bible states that disagreeing with someone theologically allows you the God-given right to judge and label other brothers and sisters heretic and false teachers.
    I don’t agree with Furtick either but this post is absolutely abhorrent and disgusting.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Well, actually, the Bible explicitly gives Christians the right to judge a false teacher and condemn them as so. See the book of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 John, where Christ denounces them in the gospels, Paul’s warnings to Timothy, etc.