I made a comment in the When to Stop Eating thread that I think deserves a little more thought. Last weekend, Elevation had their grand opening for their first permanent site. It drew their largest attendance yet. As Furtick reports:
Over 7000 people at Elevation this weekend! Over 500 salvations! Eph. 3:20! Thank you Jesus!
500 salvations is a huge number, and praise be to God for those souls. Even though it seems unbelievable, I know through Christ anything is possible. I wouldn’t question the legitimacy of those conversions, but apparently Steven does:
We’ve seen over 5000 people indicate that they placed their faith in Christ in the last 3 ½ years through our weekend worship experiences. While we can’t make any assertions about which of these conversion experiences were genuine, we’re so thankful that God has allowed us to scatter so much seed and see such an evident harvest in our city. He will separate the wheat from the chaff. We’ll just keep sowing the Gospel and celebrating the life change we can see.
Nevertheless, I’ll assume those 5,000 converts are real for now. Just a quick glance at the figure in the first quote vs. the figure in the second quote stopped me in my tracks.If Elevation’s largest attendance ever was 7,000, and they have had over 5,000 people saved in the last 3 years, that would mean that at least 70% of Furtick’s audience are new believers.
So as Senior Pastor to such a congregation, what is Steven teaching these infants and toddlers in Christ?
- Here he paints Bible study in a negative light.
- Here he teaches that too much bible study is a bad thing, and we should avoid learning about things like the doctrines of Grace. Gotta be careful about Spiritual Obesity.
I am sure he borrowed the idea from his mentor Perry Noble, who probably borrowed it from Rick Warren. Here’s a quote from Warren on the topic:
“The last thing many believers need is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice. What they need are serving experiences in which they can exercise their spiritual muscles.”
Why do these guys have such a disdain for bible study? It has to be one of the following:
- They don’t believe it is powerful. Surely if these pastors thought the Word of God held any power, they would encourage their members to study it as much as possible. It would make their job easier. We’ve seen how they don’t want to give individual attention to members, so at least leading them to God’s word would ensure they were being fed.
- They don’t believe it is God’s word. If studying the Bible is listening to God, then it is impossible to study too much. If God has chosen to reveal himself to us through this book, then we should spend as much time as possible learning about him.
- They believe there is a better method for hearing God. This is particularly bothersome, considering their dependence on personal revelation.
- They find it threatening. They are afraid that Christians well-versed in Scripture will start raising questions about things going on in the church.
The next figure to address is the 500 salvations from last weekend. That is 500 brand new converts, thrown into this world where the pastor doesn’t care about their needs, they are told to feed themselves, and directed away from Bible study. 500 people. That’s an entire church…all with no guidance. The church I serve is in a town with a total population of 600.
You have to question what is being done to care for these 500 brand new believers. Have they hired new staff to look out for these guys? Have they made any changes to ensure this group is cared for? Again, you have enough people to be considered a pretty large church here. That’s scary.