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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Furtick's Elevation Church on Evangelism

By Justin Edwards

Curious of Elevation Church's method of evangelism?  Invite them to church!  That's right, Elevation's position on evangelism is to train their congregation to invite people to church so they can be wooed by the flashing lights, rock music and hip hop, and anything else culturally relevant to the itching ear.  Who needs to know the Gospel and proclaim it when all you have to do is work up the courage to invite people to hip entertainment ala Steven Furtick and his team of rock stars?

The following is a snippet from an email response to a dear brother of mine.  I marked out his name to keep him anonymous.  My friend's inquiry to Elevation was as follows:

What does elevation do as far as evangelism?  Any training or witnessing ministries within the church?

Here is the August 16, 2011 response from Elevation Church "Connections Pastor" Larry Brey:

In case the above image is difficult to read, the text is as follows:

Hey _____,

Great hearing from you and thanks for your question. The best evangelism training we have is to teach people how to invite their friends to come to church with them.  We view it as a partnership, they invite them and we do everything we can to create an amazing worship experience.  Most people have to work to be comfortable to invite people to church and the best witness they can be is to live their life out in front of the people.  Hope that helps. Have a great day and God bless -- Larry Brey, Connections Pastor

Evangelism at Elevation Church (source)
So, their "best evangelism training" is inviting people to church - where is that in Scripture?  Last I checked, Ephesians 4:11-12 is still the mandate of the local church:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ...

The job of the local church is to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.  In other words, it's to equip them to GO, fulfilling the commands of Christ in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15.  Larry Brey's response is further proof that Elevation Church is not for the Body of Christ, but rather for catering to the lost, which Steven Furtick himself so eloquently said when he declared a few years ago,

If You Know Jesus This Church is NOT for you! (source)

Elevation Church is not for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry and shepherding the flock to grow in holiness (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12), but for feeding spoiled milk to nonbelievers and false converts alike. In other words, Elevation has redefined church from God's intention and design.

Perhaps even more disturbing, is the exhortation to be "the best witness they can be is to live their life out in front of the people."  That sounds an awful lot like the unbiblical advice from the popular quote,

Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.

On the contrary, this is what Scripture says,

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” - Romans 10:13-15 

Indeed, how beautiful are the feet who GO out into the world to preach Christ and Him crucified!  How marvelous that God has made us to be vessels to proclaim His unspeakable love, grace, and mercy to sinners everywhere - outside the church doors!  How humbling it is that we are to be used as instruments in God's plan of redemption, proclaiming the glories of Christ, the holiness and righteousness of the Just Judge of creation, and the salvation offered through the blood sacrifice by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  

Yet, all Elevation Church aims to do is teach people how to invite people to church and "live the Gospel"?  There is no such thing as "living the Gospel"!  The Gospel is God satisfying His own wrath against mankind in order that man might be saved from his enslavement to sin and the wrath of God to receive eternal life in Christ.  We are to not be "ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16). That is the Gospel, and we are to proclaim it!

This is serious, my friends.  If you attend Elevation Church, please do consider what is at stake here.  Do you know the Gospel and can you communicate it?  Does Elevation's position line up with Scripture?  Are you learning more how to socially interact with people than learning the deep things of God?  Are you being shepherded unto holiness, being exhorted to no longer be conformed to the world and be transformed by the renewing of your mind, or are you learning new ways to mix churchianity and the things of this world?

Elevation's method of evangelism is preposterous, and anyone caught up in this mega-business should seriously consider fleeing - for your sake and the sake of those you meet who will never come to church with you.  Asking people to come to church is a good thing, but it is absolutely no substitute for your commission to share the Gospel by your own lips.  I recommend you begin here.  

I also recommend the following article as it relates to the Church's mission of evangelism: The Gospel Is for Christians

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