"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"The House of Steven" - Charlotte TV Station Asks the Tough Questions About Furtick's Money - Exposes Cult of Personality


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Last night WCNC in Charlotte aired Stuart Watson's expose on the Steven Furtick $1.7 Million mansion being built on 19 acres. The Charlotte Observer also has posted an article about Furtick. Looks like Satan is busy attacking Steven there in Charlotte. Perhaps even two helicopters were flown over Stevens "not so great of a house".

Watch it. It is fair. Stuart Watson did everything he could to get Furtick and Elevation to talk to him, but Furtick and Elevation must be taking Paige Patterson's advice and not giving answers to the media.

Much of the ground Stuart covers in this piece has been covered by bloggers such as yours truly over the past several years.

Here are some of the most important points made by Stuart, and some that we've covered that need to be emphasized:

1. Lack of Transparency: Watson points out that the church will not give out exact numbers on the sums of money involved in the book deal. How much were the advances, how much did the publisher pay Elevation for the promotions, how much did Furtick donate? Furtick's salary? All top secret, always will be. They have to be. If the numbers were known, it would hurt giving. An easy decision for the church. Total secrecy. I've written about this numerous times, including here.

2.  Cult of Personality: Furtick is a rockstar. Watson makes that clear. Furtick IS the brand. That is the model of the modern mega or giga church. People want their pastor to be famous. They want him to be "edgy", a bit controversial, and even confrontational. He has to be these things because after all, a pastor is fighting Beelzebub himself and is in the business of saving souls.  Ed Stetzer warned about the cult of personality back in 2009. Furtick is a classic example of this phenomena. And if you want a laugh, please check out this video of the "Pastor's Mutual Admiration Society" - one of my best - Furtick and Groeschel singing each others' praises.

3. Pastors Using Their Churches for Marketing and Personal Brand Building: I have been writing about this sickening trend for 7 years (here and here and here for example). I saw it thrust in my face at my former church, and now it is something common place. Pastors use the resources of the church to market their books, their video tapes, their Holy Land trips, their trips down the Danube River, you name it. As Chris Rosebrough points out in Watson's piece, it is the modern day version of the moneychangers in the temple.

4. Megachurches are More "Business" and Less "Church": As Watson shows how money flows back and forth between book publisher, Furtick, and the church, and the church members have no clue about the amounts - we see the cold hard truth. Elevation and others like it are just big businesses who operate as tax-exempt 501(c)3 religious organizations. But they want their followers to think it is the "church of the living God" - and thus they are obligated to support it with the first 10% of their income.

5. Manipulative Methods for Raising Revenue: What the untold story is HOW Elevation raises money. Their financial strategy is to tell members they are cursed by God (or devoured by the devil) unless they give 10% of their income. Furtick has had Robert Morris in to shake down the congregation.

And tomorrow night Stuart Watson will present the 2nd part: who the men are that decide Furtick's salary. They are other mega church pastors, not the members, not elders or trustees elected by the members.

So glad men like Stuart Watson are letting their light shine where it needs to be shone.

18 comments:

Amy said...

One of the megachurch pastors on the board that oversees Furtick's salary is Jack Graham, who is a "mentor" to Steven. Does Jack "mentor" Steven to not report child sex abuse? To lie?
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/10/22/4407782/elevation-pastor-building-big.html#.Umf2uPmsjLQ

Sharon Long said...

Shame on you and the cruel reporters that are blasheming the Holy Spirit and our Pastor. When you tear down God's man, you tear down God's work and this will be judged by God. STOP IT! I am praying this website gets pulled down in Jesus name by the end of this week. In the book "Greater", our Pastor taught us to receive what Jesus has, you must believe it before you see it. I don't care if Pastor Steven lives in Taj Mahal, he deserves it because he is the man of God. Keep preaching behind the sacred desk Pastor Steven, this too shall pass.

Lynn123 said...

Isn't this kinda like multi-level marketing? In MLM the "members" think it's about them selling products to others. But in reality it's about the top people selling products to the members. Isn't it like a pyramid scheme, in a way? The members are told there's this big payoff in the end; meanwhile the top people are raking in the dough, and the members aren't making it. Of course they're told they don't have enough faith or too much sin or aren't dedicated enough or aren't giving enough money, etc.

For the leaders, the payoff is NOW. For the members, it's in the great bye-and-bye.

Lynn123 said...

I think of these pastors as best-selling authors. Successful businessmen. Big personalities with thousands of followers. Self-help authors. Like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or some famous motivational speaker. I guess they're selling encouragement. People say, "Hey, he thinks like me, he's dynamic, he's exciting to be around." It has not much to do with religion really. It's not the reading of the Bible that gets that crowd there, is it? It's the speaker and the music.

Mark said...

Unbelievable. I am sure, just as Ed Young's devotees came to his defense, that Furtick will come away unscathed.

My contention is that this does more to keep people away from church than all the gell-haired, t-shirt wearing, rock and roll playing church services will ever bring in.

Anonymous said...

The Lord rebuke you, Steven Furtick!

Anonymous said...

Sharon Long,
don't just drink the koolaid. It seems as if you showered in it too.
The blind truly are leading the blind, aren't they.

Anonymous said...

Sharon Long....Stop it.... HaHaHa....your making my sides hurt! You are joking right. I mean you found this blog, read about you P ASS tor taking your dough and still type this? Good one... Or are you pranking us WD?

Anonymous said...

Sharon, that is cute. You obviously miss the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Sharon Long, my question to you is this; Who is blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Do you even know what that means? I've seen your posts here and on the Wartburg Watch where you "bragged" about your Lexus, 75k a year job and dining at PF Changs...is this a mark of success in the eyes of Jesus, or success in the eyes of the world? You pastor is not being "crucified" as you stated on the Wartburg site - we as the body of Christ are merely asking questions that we have a right to ask. If you folks want to pay for Pastor Steven to live in the Taj Mahal, that is your business...there are just many of us who feel that the money might be best used elsewhere...the homeless, hungry, destitute and disenfranchised...I would be very careful in trumpeting the FAVOR AIN'T FAIR message you mentioned on Wartburg, because LIFE AIN'T FAIR either....as any believer will tell you, your prosperity is not the evidence of God's work in your life. There are many prosperous people who could care less about God. My prayer is that you find out what the Word of God says for yourself and not let the "Pastor Steven's" of the world tell you what it says. Be Blessed!

Tom Kelley said...

Wait ... "the church is paid to air its services on NBC Charlotte" ??

Surely the newscaster misspoke. Churches have to pay TV stations to air their services, not the other way around, right?

Katie said...

Sharon,

Would you be so kind as to describe the majestic home of the Apostle Paul? How about the other Apostles?

Did any of them die rich?

Pensive said...

Wow. Well, I followed SF on twitter (morbid curiosity) , and he summarily blocked and DM'd me when I pointed out that he routinely preached all law /no Godpels at all. I made ONE and only one comment - ever, and he responded instantly. Seriously thin skin. His DM was pitifully full if false sorrow over my I obviously lost state. Good grief.

"modern day version of the moneychangers in the temple." When we pointed out this lucrative cross-pollination I "brand name 'Christendom,'" in what becsme our farewell letter to our former Elevation/LifeChurch wannabe, it was not well received.

Wish they'd just call it like it is, quit cloaking themselves in Christianity, and admit they found a nice deal in motivational speaking. Nobody complains about Tony Ronbins house -- he is straightforward...

Anonymous said...

Isn't the job of a Pastor to bring people to get to know God and to spread his word. Apparently he is doing that. It is reported that the church has somewhere around 12,000 members. So what if they use an approach to bring in the younger generation. They are the future. His books tell of his experiences and they could be used to bring more to Lord. In case you didn't know Pastors are paid to "work" for the church and it looks like he is working for the church. Just because his congregation is 12,000 not 200 he makes more. You cant take it with you right? Well he's using what he's earned to give his wife and children a nice home. Wouldnt you?

Anonymous said...

Wrong Anon 8:34!!!!!
The singular job of the pastor- like it or not- is to be the ultimate example after Christ himself to 1) "Deny yourself take up your cross and follow me..." 2) "go ye therefore into all the world..."
NOT the amalgamated mess it has become. Books & movies & schools & satellite "churches" to the masses & speaking tours & should I go on?
That's why it used to be "the Calling of God on your life" by the oldtimers and it IS still a calling! Go back and listen to old sermons about preachers who fought the calling but finally gave in "broken by God and remade as a vessel worthy to be used by him". They knew they were GIVING UP ALL.
Others have already said it well. I/we Do Not Fault or condemn christian businessman /motivational speakers / writers / singers / etc for making the bucks. If HE "outgives" you in blessings vs offerings back to him then great! But cashing in on His Holy name? And then the underlings defend it with "he's giving his family a comfy life" ? Many oldtimers either had no family or they struggled storing up treasures in heaven rather. Oh...you never heard that verse? Yea ask your pastor to speak on that one...like to hear what twist he'll give that one.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

First good pic I've seen of the Furtick Mansion. (Or should that be Massa Furtick's Big House on the Furtick Plantation? This IS in a Former Confederate State, after all.)

16000 sq ft (ONLY 8400 sg ft of it actually living space, says Massa Furtick). That's the equivalent of a 30 x 50 meter single-story space.

On either 9 or 19 acres (four to eight hectares) of forested estate. He and his wife gwine need a lot of house servants to maintain that place; will Massa Furtick promote some of the field hands he got Tithing from Field to House?

Mike Barkley said...

When the rich man stood before Christ, He asked how he could enter heaven. Jesus told him to give away all his fortune and follow Him. The rich man walked away in shame, for his wealth meant too much to him. This has never been a condemnation of wealth so much as a rebuke of our importance of wealth in our lives. It really galls me that peple are so evil in their hearts that they lambast a preacher because he made a success of his career. He started a church, built a strong congregation and preached Gods Word so well that others wanted to hear him preach. Instead of praising him for the work he does for God, you greedy trolls are trying to take from him that which God has rewarded him with. If there is fault in furticks heart, then that's an issue between him and God. Where do you get off judging him for succeeding and trying to take from him what you did not earn. This article gives no facts. He throws out slop journalism, and like the pigs they are, others slurp up his poisonous and slanderous mess.

Anonymous said...

Oh I see we want to waste even more of my time with a stupid article as this piece that channel 36 aired is the news in Charlotte. I do think their are more issues that should be covered. It's not shame on you Pastor. Steven furtick it should be shame on you channel 36 and Mr. Watson for wasting everybodies time. All I ever hear please do not judge and in the same breath is judging pastor Steven furtick. People making comments all over this board that don't even know the whole story which is a problem in this country. Some of the biggest experts on christianity are non-christians or even atheist. I have heard him preach and have no issues with his preaching now if you want to do a story about his church why don't you talk about his outreach and missions. I think he just recently made a donation to Charlotte I think I saw that story on another TV station in Charlotte.