Elevation ‘Church’ – Just Another Cult and Furtick is Just Another False Teacher

From NBC

Elevation Church keeps an exact count of its thousands of baptisms, all part of its laser like focus on numbers.   But those numbers have spiked and dipped from year to year according to a confidential internal report obtained by the NBC Charlotte I-Team – from 289 in 2010 to 2,410 in 2011, from 689 in 2012 to 3,519 for the first eight months of last year.

To get those thousands of baptisms takes a lot of planning. And Elevation produced a document to show other churches how they could do likewise.  It’s titled “Spontaneous Baptisms – A How-To Guide” and the church shared it freely on the Sun Stand Still website.   But parts of the mass baptism guide have drawn sharp criticism – from other Christians.

Page one shows that the first people instructed to respond to Pastor Steven’s call to baptism were not converts suddenly inspired but Elevation volunteers carefully planted in the crowd.  The guide instructs, “Fifteen people will sit in the worship experience and be the first ones to move when Pastor gives the call. Move intentionally through the highest visibility areas and the longest walk.”

“They had people in the crowd stand up who never intended to be baptized,” said James Duncan, a communications professor at Anderson University and critic of Furtick. “They were shilling for Steven and the intent was these shills stand up and everybody else follows.” Duncan blogged about the baptism guide in a post he titled, “How Steven Furtick engineered a miracle.”   “Although Furtick says this is a miracle, it’s not a miracle,” Duncan said. “It’s emotional manipulation.”

And that’s what makes Elevation ‘church’ a cult and Furtick a false teacher.  Instead of renouncing underhanded manipulative methods, Furtick has wholly embraced them becoming, in doing so, a false teacher and the leader of a cult.

Why a cult?  Because those who follow in his footsteps are complicit in his manipulations.  And those who serve as ‘plants’ in his so called ‘services’ are little more than pretenders and, accordingly, deceivers.  Elevation is also a cult because it exalts the ‘vision’ of its ‘pastor’ to a status which supersedes Scripture itself.

I hope the people attending this cult realize what’s going on and either demand change or get out.  And that Furtick repents.  Although not being the optimistic sort when it comes to human behavior, I doubt either will happen.  Soon enough Furtick will probably be elected President of the SBC…  because the SBC cares more about large churches and large numbers than anything else.  For the SBC, as for Furtick, only size matters.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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5 Responses to Elevation ‘Church’ – Just Another Cult and Furtick is Just Another False Teacher

  1. Sounds like a page from Russian opera, ballet where ‘shills’ are recruited on a volunteer basis to stand up at certain points in the opera or ballet and shout bravo, start clapping etc. The performers are all aware of it and like a herd of sheep the audience then rises and joins in. Like they say nothing new under the sun, as I saw people shilling for the preachers back in the 60’s at tent meetings in the US.


    • Jim says:

      what’s so disappointing to me is that these shills go along with it and actually must believe that what they are doing is moral! they can’t see the deception involved.


  2. Ken Leonard says:

    The shills, no doubt, think that they’re really helping someone. Because it’s true, it can be scary to step up in a crowd and say, “Yes, I’ll be baptized today.” Having a group would make it more comfortable. But if you’re not ready to be baptized, then being baptized isn’t really going to help you. THAT is what, I bet, they don’t get.

    Because their “pastor” told them that they’re doing good, and they fell for it.

    This is showmanship. This is business strategy, business marketing, etc.. It’s not the work of the Holy Spirit.


  3. Joe Zias says:

    Last time I saw it the preacher A A Allen in a tent revival was employing shills to have the folks ante up more money. Someone blind would have their sight restored pass the basket. Then another healing. Pass the basket and so it went


  4. Truth2Freedom says:

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.


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