Another language catastrophe 38

Steven Furtick describes a baptism at his church today as pandemonium.

Screen shot 2009-09-13 at 9.28.45 PM

For a man who makes his living with words, this is terribly clumsy.

The word has multiple meanings, none of which flatter Furtick or his church. From dictionary.com:

  1. wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos.
  2. a place or scene of riotous uproar or utter chaos.
  3. the abode of all the demons.
  4. Hell

Why can’t these Turnstile leaders use words from God’s Word when they describe the church?

(The obvious answer is that they’d have to deal with terms like soberdecency and order, though perhaps you have some other theories.)

38 thoughts on “Another language catastrophe

  1. JT Sep 13, 2009 11:21 pm

    Duncan, what’s more important- the 649 baptisms that took place at Elevation Church today… or Furtick’s poor word choice?

    Furtick tweets that 649 people chose to publicly declare Christ as their Savior, and your first reaction is to nitpick at his word choice?!

  2. Seth Sep 13, 2009 11:27 pm

    JT

    Just wait what he posts or critiques when he hears about Newsprings 906 baptisms and their 276 salvations that happened today.

  3. James Duncan Sep 13, 2009 11:32 pm

    JT, do you really want me to talk about that number? Be careful what you wish for.

    Perhaps I can make you happier by combining the two ideas this way:

    What is a man who talks like this doing baptizing that many people?

  4. JT Sep 13, 2009 11:33 pm

    Sorry for the double post, but I can’t say strongly enough how disturbing the original post is to me.

    What kind of title is “Another language catastrophe” to describe a pastor’s announcement of a mass baptism? As a Christian, how could you not be moved (notice I didn’t say jacked-up?) by hundreds of people being baptized?

    I said the other day that some of the commenters here at Pajama Pages give the impression that they walk around with an Oxford English Dictionary in one hand, and a stick in the other. This is exactly the type of post that inspired that imagery.

    Duncan, you really blew it this time. Although I think you had it exactly right when you said, “For a man who makes his living with words, this is terribly clumsy.”

    You just didn’t know you were referring to yourself.

  5. JT Sep 13, 2009 11:36 pm

    >>Duncan: “What is a man who talks like this doing baptizing that many people?”

    Bringing glory to God.

  6. James Duncan Sep 13, 2009 11:52 pm

    Guys, do you really want to stick by using such hellish language to describe one of God’s sacraments?

    Isn’t that important to justify your celebrations today? What exactly did Furtick think he was doing?

    You talk about being moved. I can see that many people, especially the pastors, are very moved by the incredible numbers, but are they moved by the actual PEOPLE? Do they even know the people they baptized today? As in, they’d recognize them tomorrow if they ran into them in Fogos, not that they got their name into a database.

    (Look, I’m not an immersionist anyway, so some of this I’ll leave to you Baptists to discuss in terms of whether this is the best methodology for doing this, even though that’s not really the point of this post.)

  7. JT Sep 14, 2009 12:01 am

    Duncan,

    So because Furtick has apparently never read Milton, and hence doesn’t know the proper meaning of “pandemonium”, he needs to be publicly rebuked?

    If I wanted to make a parody blog on critical Christians, I don’t think I could do any better than this post.

  8. James Duncan Sep 14, 2009 12:07 am

    JT, I’m assuming that in Furtick’s mind, his public pronouncements on Twitter about today’s events are an important way that he thinks he’s bringing God this glory. Do you think this announcement accurately describes God’s work today, or might you say that it actually dishonors and blasphemes him?

    Even if Furtick hadn’t used “pandemonium,” but something like “wild and crazy,” do you think that would have been God honoring? Is that what worship is supposed to be like? (That was my point with the reference to decency and order.)

    I don’t know what Furtick has read, though if he doesn’t like Leviticus, he probably won’t enjoy Milton. I knew what the word meant (even without a dictionary), and I’ve not read Milton.

    My main point is one that I’ve been making repeatedly on this blog recently. Why go beyond God’s words to describe God’s works?

  9. James Duncan Sep 14, 2009 12:15 am

    Let me add one compliment for Furtick. The photo he posted actually looks quite orderly. Maybe he’s just exaggerating about the pandemonium.

    • James Duncan Sep 14, 2009 12:41 am

      JT and Seth, here’s a clue to why I’m not as exhilarated as you about the events of today:

      Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament ordained by Jesus Christ … for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church… (Westminster Confession XXVIII.1)

  10. sam Sep 14, 2009 1:59 am

    Did you check out this….Furtick and Joel Osteen:

    http://img27.yfrog.com/i/to4.jpg/

  11. Anthony Sep 14, 2009 12:07 pm

    Duncan —you were wayyyyyy outta line with this one. Really Really Really ignorant. People were saved from the pits of hell and all you see is a Pastor using what you call a wrong word! Seriously? Seriously? Seriously?

    • James Duncan Sep 14, 2009 12:54 pm

      I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again because it appears to be necessary.

      If you want to know how well NewSpring, Elevation, Noble or Furtick are doing, read their blogs, visit their websites or search for them on Twitter. They don’t need my help.

      If you want to think about the propriety of what they do and say, read PP. If you don’t like that focus, don’t read PP. You have a choice.

  12. James Downing Sep 14, 2009 1:14 pm

    The overriding defense for all things Elevation / Newspring is that nothing matters as long as they can post big numbers. Cuss; Who cares? Use ACDC for worship; Great. Pray that strangers will die; Hilarious. Apparently all of this is fine as long as you can claim large numbers.

    And I have to say, these numbers are starting to get scary. When you baptise 906 in one day, as NS did, especially in a town with the size and make-up of Anderson…wow.

  13. Paul Sep 14, 2009 1:50 pm

    I hope these baptisms are truly a sign of people coming to faith. Only time will tell if these are true conversions. After all, one of the marks of true conversion is perseverance to the end. That being said, the ends still do not justify the means. People get saved, great! But if the ends are unbiblical, they still need to be called out even if the results are good. God may be saving people through guys like furtick and noble, but he is saving them despite these guys errors in their doctrine, leadership, character and methods, not because of it. oh, and just a side. There isa huge mosque being built in my city to accomodate about 1000 attenders. There are two huge Mormon churches a few miles from my house. These places are growing, but no one is saying God is in it. I’m not so sure growth in and of itself is a mark of God’s blessing on a ministry.

  14. Paul Sep 14, 2009 2:14 pm

    Sam…

    i just looked at your link. Furtick is moving more and more into apostasy. He already fills his mind with a false teacher (T.D. Jakes). Now, he is fellowshipping with another (Joel Osteen). This shows how little discernment he has in matters of doctrine and character. Paul has no patience for men who preach a different gospel, yet Furtick calls them men of God. How much longer before he begins to teach like these men and lead his church into apostasy??

  15. JT Sep 14, 2009 4:36 pm

    >>Duncan: “And I have to say, these numbers are starting to get scary. When you baptise 906 in one day, as NS did, especially in a town with the size and make-up of Anderson…wow.”

    I’m not sure ‘scary’ is the right word to describe people publicly committing their lives to Christ.

    Is God not able of such things?

  16. James Downing Sep 14, 2009 4:47 pm

    God is able to do anything.

    People who exercise no discernment claiming thousands of converts to their religion perks my ears a bit.

  17. Seth Sep 14, 2009 6:50 pm

    JT

    I have to agree, for someone whose posts the last couple of days has been about poor choice of words, the term scary to describe people being saved and baptized is itself, a porr choice of words. I personally do not see the Bible telling us to be scared when people become saved and baptized. I find it ironic/hypocritical in the poor choice of words from someone who critizes other poor choice of wording.

  18. James Downing Sep 14, 2009 7:46 pm

    1 – Guys, pay attention. I said it was scary, not Duncan. 2 – If 1,000 babies were born tonight In my backyard, that would be scary. What is happening to these hundreds and hundreds of baby believers. YES! That is SCARY!

  19. Tommy F Sep 15, 2009 12:17 am

    649 & 906 in one day? Constantine would be so proud (Seth, in seminary this is covered). Mass baptisms and group think all at once. God must be on our side.

    My bet: If a “traditional” church spontaneously announced a baptism at their church, asked converts to come down so they could be baptized on the spot, Perry would criticize the fact that “some churches want you to get baptized, so they can produce big numbers. You are just a number to them. They are stuck in the old revival mentality of boosting their numbers for their annual reporting, so they can brag to their friends about how many baptisms they had in one year.”

    Yet, when Perry does it, he’s doing what’s right. This simply confirms that might (as in numbers, Scoreboard) is right for Perry.

    God is clearly moving … why? Because lots of people were baptized. This is a really funny argument coming from a group who has so “watered down” baptism that it is utterly meaningless. For Baptists (which Perry is) Sunday equated to 1000 people getting wet yesterday. That’s it. Stop acting like this is Peter in Acts. It’s Perry in Anderson.

  20. Seth Sep 15, 2009 12:36 am

    Tommy F

    I love how you assume and assume and assume and that seems to be all you do. How do you know how Perry would act? You don’t. half you post, almost, is an assumption, though you make it seem like fact thus strengthening your arguement even though it is built on assumptions, and assumptions can be wrong (in case you didn’t know that). Until as you put it, a “traditional” church has mass baptisims like what NS did, we will never know how Perry would act. Actually, let me ask this Tommy, what do you think it a Biblical model for baptism? Have you ever been to a Newspring Baptism or have you watched one?

  21. Tommy F Sep 15, 2009 12:56 am

    I know what an assumption is. Remember I’m part of the group that walks around with an OED (according to JT).

    You’ll note that I began the paragraph with: “My bet: If…” Two caveats to begin the statements about Perry.
    The point is still the same: Perry is above criticism and gets the benefit of the doubt, while other churches are railed against and criticized for whatever it is Perry says they do or don’t do. Double standard.

    A biblical model of baptism? Mmmm. Churches have divided over that numerous times throughout church history (another seminary issue, Seth), so I won’t solve it for you here, and btw this blog is not really intended to deal with how much water, when, where, whether it precedes or follows conversion, etc. I’ll tease you with this: how baptism functions for a congregation has a lot to do with how one views salvation and the relationship between OT and NT. It’s not as simple as many think it is. Read up on it, Seth, and make sure and follow whatever Perry says about it (see the preceding paragraph for why). I certainly won’t be able to persuade you.

    And you dodged the whole point of my post, didn’t you? Is 1000 people getting wet confirmation of anything … for Baptists? I’m curious if the way it was performed had an inverse relationship with how much the candidates know about its role and purpose. It really sounds like Constantine. Seriously. Look him up.

  22. Seth Sep 15, 2009 11:46 am

    Tommy F

    “and btw this blog is not really intended to deal with how much water, when, where, whether it precedes or follows conversion, etc”

    Interesting, I thought this blog was here to look a issung facing the church today. And since this is something that is facing the church today because it obvious (in case you can’t tell) that this is an issue. You even said so yourself. If not intended for that, then it must be intended to bash and attack people, not the method they use.

    Also, Again, you assume that I only have listened to Perry concerning baptisms. And assume that I won’t learn from anyone else.

    “Read up on it, Seth, and make sure and follow whatever Perry says about it”

    This actually ensures that either you intentionally want to lead me in the wring direction, and be a false teacher yourself (or a lack there of for not correcting me). Its also interesting that again, you assume that I am not teachable. very interesting. All these assumptions Tommy. No facts. This is also conveys that you think Perry and NS are right about baptism. Since if I read up on it (i.e. scripture) and Listen to Perry that they will line up. And a side note here, I have never said that Perry and NS get it right all the time and that I agree with them 100% of the time, never said it, never will.

    ” For Baptists (which Perry is) Sunday equated to 1000 people getting wet yesterday. That’s it.” (first post)

    and this

    “And you dodged the whole point of my post, didn’t you? Is 1000 people getting wet confirmation of anything … for Baptists?” (second Post)

    Hmmmm Tommy, In the first post, I don’t see a question,or, for that matter this sentence really being a point of a whole post sentence, and since you spend the majority on you first post talking about Perry’s reaction to other churches, And one sentence that isn’t even a question on that, I don’t see how that was the point of your first post. Just saying. Maybe less time assuming, and more time the facts would be benifical. So no, I did not dodge the whole point of your post, I addressed your assumptions. which was the majority of you post.

    And to anwser the whole “point” of your post, Yes, to me it is a confirmation. A confirmation that one is a believer in Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. The scriptures are quite clear about baptism by emmersion after one is a believer. I do not see in scriptures sprinkling water on infants nor do I see sprinkling as any form of baptism and I do not see the point of being baptized before being a believer, Its not biblical. And Jesus was baptized by John with water by emmersion. Before being baptized is a symbol of us being dead in our sins, as we go under water it is a symbol of how we are one with Jesus, and the Holy spirit and as we rise out of the water it is a symbol of how we are now cleaned out of our sins. Thats my belief in baptism in short. or long, depending on who you ask.

  23. Seth Sep 15, 2009 11:48 am

    Oh, and I also believe mass baptisms is also biblical.

  24. JT Sep 15, 2009 12:41 pm

    >>Tommy: “I know what an assumption is. Remember I’m part of the group that walks around with an OED (according to JT).”

    Actually, that was imagery. Didn’t your communications professor teach you the difference?

    And for the record, it was an OED and a stick.

  25. James Duncan Sep 15, 2009 1:51 pm

    I think Tommy keeps the OED in his head, but the stick is real.

  26. Tommy F Sep 15, 2009 9:17 pm

    Seth,

    For someone so upset at someone else for having too many assumptions, you make quite a few yourself about the assumptions I have. It’s quite an interesting method: you complain about my assumptions, by making (by my count) nine assumptions yourself.

    This blog appears to be about warning signs and potential dangers in mega churches in the area, led by rock star pastors in fancy overpriced blue jeans. It rarely ventures into theology as a topic alone, and when it does the posts usually elicit very few comments compared with the ones devoted to twitter and blog posts. I’ve commented on how this is a shame. Perhaps we can remedy this. I’ll repeat: I won’t be able to solve this baptism issue for you, since it involves many other issues. But, in reply to your post: How does baptism confirm anything at all, except that a church (in this instance) filled up a pool and got some people wet?

    The only thing I assume (and you confirm by your answer) is that you will follow Perry to the ends of the earth, defend him at every turn, and disagree with those who disagree with him. If you’d care to deny this, then please share with us what specific doctrine, teaching, application, etc on anything of substance that Perry has made that you disagree with. I won’t hold my breath. You’re young, impressionable, and easily persuaded. It’s not your fault. Perry the pied piper is piping the tune that you unquestionably follow. If you go to seminary questions will undoubtedly be asked, and the piper’s tune will lose it’s appeal. Which is why he will advise you not to go. After all, who advises anyone to go to a cemetary, unless to visit the dead?

  27. Seth Sep 15, 2009 10:05 pm

    Tommy F

    Not sure how you assumed (confirmed) that I would folow Perry to the end of the Earth. Never said that. Never said anything remotely similar.

    As for the Baptism question, let me repeat myself since you don’t really seem to pay attention, just draw assumptions:

    “Yes, to me it is a confirmation. A confirmation that one is a believer in Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. The scriptures are quite clear about baptism by emmersion after one is a believer. I do not see in scriptures sprinkling water on infants nor do I see sprinkling as any form of baptism and I do not see the point of being baptized before being a believer, Its not biblical. And Jesus was baptized by John with water by emmersion. Before being baptized is a symbol of us being dead in our sins, as we go under water it is a symbol of how we are one with Jesus, and the Holy spirit and as we rise out of the water it is a symbol of how we are now cleaned out of our sins. I also see mass baptisms as Biblical too.”

    Hopefully you don’t miss it this time around. I am still waiting to hear your view on baptism.

    I think the theology of baptism falls into the, as you put it, “warning signs and potential dangers in mega churches in the area” and Baptism is a pretty important area to these mega-churches because to be a mamber you have to be a baptized believer.

    On the major issues I have no dissagreements with Perry, which is why I go to NS. I wouldn’t be a member at a church where I had major doctrine disagreements. I do not however, completely agree with the way NS teaches about tithing. That it has to be 10%. Especially since this does not appear from Acts on, they give everything they had, they went above and beyond the 10%. I also do not agree with some of the language Perry uses, but again, that won’t drive me away from NS. I do not see that as a major issue since he doesn’t do it all the time. Also, Something I don’t like about the fad is churches is the use of all the ushers that welcome you. I think that it would be more genuine to outsiders/new visitors if member of the congregation came up to them on their own to greet them. But thats not just a NS thing, thats an overall thing. I’m sorry your assumption that I agree with Perry on everything was wrong. Must take some of the fun out of it.

    On a side note, I visit a cemetary to go ghost hunting, not just visit the dead…but then again, I guess that is visiting the dead in a way.

  28. Seth Sep 15, 2009 11:07 pm

    No Duncan I am not. That is against the Law and disrepectful towards the dead.

    • James Duncan Sep 15, 2009 11:33 pm

      I’m relieved, but perhaps you’ll accept a little piece of advice: When you’re taking someone to task for making assumptions about you, that’s probably not the best time to be making exaggerated or untrue claims about yourself.

      If you do that too often, people will start to disbelieve you.

      Sound like anyone we know?

  29. Tommy F Sep 16, 2009 12:31 am

    Seth,

    3 more assumption violations from the Deputy in charge of assumption violations. Nice.

    Incorrect Assumption #1
    You assume that I assume, but you’re wrong. It’s what you don’t say that proves you follow him (all hyperbole aside: you’re incapable of thinking for yourself). Your post shows that there is nothing of substance you disagree with (seriously? ushers and the fact that Noble lowballs tithing demands), so my assumption has been confirmed and is no longer an assumption. Thanks for the clarity. You do follow along closely with Noble on all important matters. I was right.

    Incorrect assumption #2
    You think I didn’t read your initial evasion on baptism. You still have not stated your reason for viewing baptism as confirmation of anything. I read your comments the first time, and then you went ahead and repeated them.

    Incorrect Assumption #3
    You think I’m hear to talk about my views on baptism. I’m not. For the 3rd and final time: I can’t cover all the nuances of the topic on another person’s blog that’s not devoted to the matter (you assume the blog is devoted, but missed my comments about you’re being wrong on that count). My interest here is the irony of Baptists celebrating nearly 1000 baptisms, by a group who thinks it’s meaningless. Sure you say it confirms the symbolism of death and resurrection, but if someone accidentally fell in the pool on Sunday would it have “done” anything to them, other than get them wet? Save them? Cleanse their sins? Confirm their new life in Christ? No. According to you it only confirms symbolism? Odd for a group that tries very hard to break free from traditions.

    I see the point though (finally). I’m not sure how I missed it before. You celebrate them not because they have identified themselves with Christ, but rather that they’ve now joined NS. And I quote: “Baptism is a pretty important area to these mega-churches because to be a mamber you have to be a baptized believer.”
    Let’s follow the logic of this: Baptism is important because it confirms the symbolism of salvation, and it allows one to hold membership in a mega-church. Now, we’re getting somewhere. It’s all about the numbers.

    Seth, this is not – at all – the biblical view of baptism (which you stated). Please show me where baptism is associated to church membership. And mass baptism in the NT? Where? I need references, and they can’t be from 1 Seth 11:33-34 or 2 Noble 4:5-11.

    As you reply, be careful about your assumptions. Work from the actual words I say, rather than the assumptions you make about my assumptions.

    And one more thing: check your post for multiple spelngi erorrs.

  30. Seth Sep 16, 2009 10:44 am

    Tommy F

    Do you have any major doctrine disagreements with your pastor?

    And yes, I did say my view on Baptism. If you want scripture check out the books of Acts 2:41.

    “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

    Some pretty important and key words here, notice the order, first someone believes in Jesus, then they are baptized, they were mass baptized, and then that last part about added to their number, that pretty important, that shows belonging, that once believing, being baptized, they were now a part of the church.

    No, NS does not do baptism because its traditional, it does it because it is Biblical. Thats why they do it. And if Someone falls in the pool then yeah, they get wet, duh. One has to be baptized in the name of the Fath, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)

    Notice I said all mega-churches, not just NS. You just can’t get past NS. I said all mega-churches because anytime a group is baptized, I celebrate. even if it was the 2 or 3 in a traditional church, I celebrate. And I have been to small and large baptisms. If I mentioned that it is good just for NS I would have said so.

    And yes its about the numbers, because numbers mean more people in heaven which equals less people in Hell, which Tommy, incase you did not know, is a good thing. How many times in the Book of Acts are numbers of new believers mentioned? How many times did Jesus talk to thousands? Yes Tommy, numbers do count because those are lives that are being saved. Each number represents a soul a person, a family of a friend who won’t be in Hell.

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