Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Johnny Hunt and Steven Furtick - They Explain What "Counting the Cost" to Follow Jesus Means in Today's Megachurch

The gospel preached in most mega churches today is NOT the same gospel message that many of us heard 20 or 30 years ago when we became Christians.

Today, the gospel message has transformed from a message of committment to Jesus, to now a committment to a 501(c)3 religious organization proven by a financial commitment of at least 10% of one's gross income.

And it is not just a transformation by the young hot shots like Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, and Stovall Weems. Even men like Johnny Hunt, in their quest to keep their megachurches afloat, have changed their message.

I want to offer two recent examples from two very prominent preachers: Johnny Hunt, and Steven Furtick. You can watch the video below.


In the Johnny Hunt clip above, Johnny goes on a rant to tell people that you shouldn't just talk about how you give God credit for your blessings, but you have to show it with cash:
"Jesus said 'You believe in God believe also in me'. What he was saying is just don't go around with this attitude [saying this mockingly]: 'First of all, before anything else I want to give God the credit for everything that has happened'. No, don't just give him credit, if you know him and you're famous, GIVE HIM CASH!! SUPPORT THE WORK OF THE KINGDOM! PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOU MOUTH IS!!!  That is unless there's another God that is more important!"
Johnny's first sentence used to be the gospel preached in churches. Believe in Jesus. Accept Jesus. Follow Jesus.

But that isn't good enough anymore. Now you have to give God cold, hard cash to show you really HAVE believed in Jesus - unless as Johnny says, you have a God that is more important. So you can accept Jesus, but don't think for a second you've really trusted Jesus unless you're also "putting your money where your mouth is". Ed Young said the same thing a few years ago in two of the Watchdog's most viewed videos (here and here) when Ed Young told his congregation "It's all about the money, you don't get it!!", and his infamous "Why are you even coming to church, if you're not bringing the tithe? I mean what are you expecting?"

Johnny says we have to give God cash: yet last time I checked, God and Johnny do accept cash, check, money order, credit card, or tangible and real assets donated to the organization. And God and Johnny do accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. Glad to know God doesn't just take "cash" in the year 2014.

In the video above, Johnny is really ticked off.  He doesn't like people not giving their fair share to Johnny's church, when Johnny's church is doing "the work of the Kingdom". I see the same anger from Ronnie Floyd when I watched his 45-minute pack of lies earlier this year telling his church members they are cursed and not true Christians unless they give his church 10% of their income. Ronnie flat out told his non-tithing church members that they don't know the same God he knows if they don't tithe.

Next, Steven Furtick. This example is even more disturbing. Here Steven tells non-Christians listening to him that they need to pay attention to the tithe requirement, to see if they really want to become Christians:
"...God wants you to bring the first 10%. My expectation is that every follower of Christ - if you're not a Christian you can just sleep through this this sermon because this is for those of us who love Jesus and believe he died for us. So, you know what, don't sleep through it: just listen to what you don't have to do yet, and make sure before you become a follower of Christ that you really want in on this."
On one hand, I have to commend Steven for his honesty. He is being upfront with non-Christians that the gospel he is preaching includes a requirement to tithe 10%, and Steven recommends you count that cost before making the decision. Thanks for the honesty, Steven.

But how sad that now when a preacher says "count the cost" of following Jesus - this cost now includes the 10% fee to earn God's favor, and to avoid God's curses. The gospel has been turned from "good news" into "bad news", especially for the poorer church members who literally cannot afford 10% or even 1% - they are themselves in need of help from the church, but instead have the burden and guilt placed on them by their "pastors" that they must fork over 10% of even their social security or welfare income to the church as proof of their love for Jesus.

And these men profess to preach the bible as the holy, inspired, inerrant "Word of God" - when what they're preaching is found nowhere in the Bible, except in their contorted interpretation of selected bible verses.

There was a hymn penned in the early 20th century by A.J. Hodge entitled, "Have You Counted the Cost?".  The last verse of this hymn is:
While the door of His mercy is open to you
Ere the depth of His love you exhaust
Won't you come and be healed, won't you whisper, I yield
I have counted, I have counted the cost. 
The "cost" being preached today is now not just a life wasted or an eternity in hell - the cost preachers are speaking of today is forking over 10% of your gross income to buy God's favor and hold back his cursings.

So show your love for Jesus by giving your pastor 10% of your income.

I'll show my love for Jesus by giving such a pastor's church not even one red penny.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good Post as usual. Hunt like most must meet budget. Sad thing is how difficult it now becomes to find a church (Western World here) that preaches the Word versus nonsense relating to tithe. Little church up where I am located has a budget of $1.2 million, over 60% going to salaries. Of course you only get to see the pie. One employee (not claiming he is a pastor as cited in his name on the door), whom says he is the "educational" pastor (what in the world does that mean anyway?) is almost at his 30 years to retire. Yet no one knows what he actually does. Churches that are not transparent lie therefore they do not deserve the trust of their congregants whom so graciously give desiring to give back to God for what He has entrusted them. Since God DID in fact entrust me with certain material things including income, I take that responsibility serious, therefore, not giving away to opaque organizations led by well bred pastors that are gifted communicators. I believe God has given us the discernment to do better with what He has blessed us with. Shameful that we cannot be more a part of the financial pictures at a Church versus them claiming we must trust their staff and financial people (committee members) to manage the affairs of tithes because God has placed them in their positions. As long as Church members give (even though statistics say 2% of their income), the Church will continue to play this game...

Doug said...

I had the privilege once to attend the Pastors Conference of the Alabama State Convention. I was subjected for the first time to the showmanship of Johnny Hunt as he huff, puffed, marched and yell at us. I promised myself "never again' would I submit to such humiliation. It broke my heart to watch my brothers take it like they deserved it or something. I can't imagine how people put up with it week after week - except that since Hunt is a "mega-church" pastor he probably doesn't preach at home much anyway.

Anonymous said...

Why mr. Hunt said in a commercial not long ago that he was part of the TBN family. Do you expect anything else from members of that group? He fits in perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, megas do almost nothing to assist members in need and to help the community at large.

This was demonstrated just last night when a woman who had a small daughter and was with child was without a place to sleep nor food.

Thankfully, some people stepped up and assisted them.

Oh, the lady had diabetes as well.

Most megas need to read the parts in the Bible about helping less fortunate ie widows and those whi are in need. They could start with the minor prophets in the OT and Matthew and James in the NT

Grace to all

Bill

Romans 3:25-26

BTW, there is an SBC church which controls almost 4 blocks of the town in which this happened and is behind the retaurant where all of this went down.

But they would claim that they "love people" and "reach out to the community"

Anonymous said...

Just google "Cross Church blessing baskets" and read all about the extreme generosity of new FBC Prez Ronnie Floyd's church to the needy. Once a year for Thanksgiving, they give TWENTY.FIVE.FREAKING.DOLLARS' worth of groceries to local needy families. ONCE.A.FREAKING.YEAR.

Admittedly that's probably not enough groceries to last more than, oh, a few days. And since the blessing baskets are technically income, they presumably have a duty to tithe $2.50 worth of the groceries back to the church. But they also let the needy come in and listen to "Pastor Floyd" preach in the multi-million dollar state-of-the-art Worship Center. If they just did so more then they wouldn't be so poor. Obviously non-tithers.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,
If everyone endorsed your philosophy of giving "not one red cent" to churches then there would be no brick and mortar churches, no paid staff and therefore no public assembly of God's people for worship. Is this what you are advocating. If not, please tell us how you think local churches should support their ministries and overhead without some expectation of systematic giving by members. I am looking for an honest answer here. No cheap shots please.
-signed, Perplexed

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Perplexed: Please read more carefully. I've bolded the part that may resolve your perplexity.

"I'll show my love for Jesus by giving such a pastor's church not even one red penny"

Not all churches. Not any church. Very precisely: "...such a pastor's". That is how these guys will get the message. Let the giving take a huge dip for several Sunday's AFTER such nonsense is spewed. They MIGHT get the message. Probably not.

Anonymous said...

Perplexed,
At this point in my life I do not have a problem with no paid staff, meeting in an open field, meeting in a house...I have recently started attending a SBC church once again. Not large, but they have three full time staffers, two part time staffers. I am not sure what two of the five do other than draw a big salary.
I am of a mind that if Paul made tents to earn a living, then perhaps this concept of a full time pastorate is the wrong....
Don't get on me and say I don't know what I am talking about. I am an alumni of SWBTS. I left a lucrative church staff position in which I just could no longer accept pay for what I did.....I seriously do not know how some of these staff members can look at themselves in the morning and not hang their head in shame....

Anonymous said...

Please tell me what if anything this mega church pastors do for the congregation other than preach twice a week Wednesday night and Sunday. The do not visit their sheep in the hospital, nursing homes or in their home when they are ill. If there is a visit at all laypeople do it. They don't pray with the spouse at the funeral home, or show themselves at visitation, more than half of them will not preach the service (unless the deceased is "somebody"). So other than write their books and weekly sermons why are they all receiving 6 figure salaries?

I remember when I was a child we attended a regular sized community church where the pastor worked at the shipyard during the week, would go home get cleaned up and then go do his hospital visits. Oh and he found time to go to the chapel for visitations when his congregation died.

I can't see and haven't heard of Pastor Steve doing that.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2:12

Two of the best pastors in my childhood, both Southern Baptist were bi-vocational.
One taught high school math, the other was a probation officer for the county.
Both were always at the call for the members.
Unless you are rich, I doubt a mega-church will even know or care who you are....

Anonymous said...

Counting the cost doesn't mean avoiding hell or a wasted life, either? When Jesus Christ talked about us counting the cost doesn't He mean that we should understand that our life in Christ will not be easy? We may face hardship or persecution. We may lose the esteem of our family and friends. Or even lose the relationship. We may be misunderstood by many. We may even be hated for His name's sake and give our lives for the gospel. Jesus calls us to walk the narrow way. Many we love and esteem may be on the broad road, and we will not be walking together. Thus we should count the cost. There will be a cost, not in monetary terms, but often other things that we may hold dear. Jesus was not talking about giving money or tithing. He was talking about giving thought to what it will mean to identify yourself with Him and His cause and His gospel. Here's what Matthew Henry wrote:
Let them consider that it will cost them the mortifying of their sins, even the most beloved lusts; it will cost them a life of self-denial and watchfulness, and a constant course of holy duties; it may, perhaps, cost them their reputation among men, their estates and liberties, and all that is dear to them in this world, even life itself. And if it should cost us all this, what is it in comparison with what it cost Christ to purchase the advantages of religion for us, which come to us without money and without price?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for these mega churches to fade away so we can get back to real gatherings of Christians.

Anonymous said...

3:38, that would be nice but I don't look for that to happen anytime soon if ever. Whatever else you may say about the megachurches, they are marketing experts, and they know what the masses want - entertainment. Our culture has become so entertainment and materialism driven that the masses demand fun and bright shiny things in all aspects of their lives, including church. The megachurch is ultimately but a reflection of the culture.

Another thing I'd like to point out - not all megachurches are bad, in my opinion. I personally go to a multi-thousand member church that could properly be called a "megachurch." But the staff of teaching pastors doesn't preach that not tithing is a sin and doesn't try to lay guilt trips on the congregation about not giving. Also, the pastors don't write books and make TV appearances and do all the other things "celebrity" megachurch pastors do. It's not the size of the congregation that per se problematic - it's the character of the pastor and the congregation's disposition toward him.

Thor said...

Perplexed, o ye of little faith. Trust God to supply what He needs for his churches. Some people can give generously, others simply cannot. But either way, there is no need to lie to them about tithing, curses, blessing, knowing a different God, give God cash to show your gratitude to him,etc. etc. That's step one. Step two is, simply, operate the church based on what comes in. Then there is no need to beat the sheep. Recap: Trust God to provide through the generosity of those that can give. Then, be a good steward of those funds. That's how there will still be brick and mortar churches and salaries for professional clergy.

Who said...

Money will be the mega-church system's downfall.

When hard economic times hit, what do mega-businesses do? They tighten their belts. They downsize; they close/consolidate offices; they layoff employees.

Unfortunately for them, mega-churches have used their size and constant growth as selling points. The size of the church itself is their "proof" that God is blessing the mega-church. Cutting back would be tantamount to admitting that God has withdrawn his blessing from the mega-church. Their only option is to find more money.

IMHO, this is why you are seeing mega-churches go the hard-core tithing route.

You have to wonder how many of these men believe what they are preaching, or if they believe the ends justify the means. How many believe the work their mega-church is doing is so important, that it justifies preaching a false doctrine to bring in money to support that work?

What's the parable about the house built on sand?

Anonymous said...

I recall one mega pastor claiming you have to pay me big bucks to hear me preach. I don't recall Jesus ever taking up a collection and He wrote the Book all these supposedly use to gain their way into the kingdom. Geesh!

LEANDREA O'DELL said...

I am a member of first baptist church h of Woodstock where johnny hunt preaches. I had a member of my family that would of died if he didn't get heart surgery. I asked for help with the church for his surgery since his employer didn't offer insurance and they said they couldn't help. This is a large church and they wouldn't even try to help with donations. My whole family were church h members. Again just recently, my sisters husband died in November and she had no one to help her hang her kitchen cabinets . her house was vandalized after he passes and she went to Texas for a few months to be by her son. When she ca,me back her house was broken into. She got the materials to fix it back up and just needed some men from that church to help. I called the church for her to ask for help not monetary, but men to physically help do some work. I was told no one does this anymore for free in the church, and she would have to pay. She is a widow on a fixed income. Sorry to say but this isn't how a church treats members, a community or a widow. From then on I knew it was always about money.

Anonymous said...

Leandrea: I'm sorry for the manner in which you were treated as it is shameful. But, always remember it is always about MONEY. Catholic charities is a real fine organization. Possibly they can lend you a hand. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:38

Good News! You don't have to wait.
There are lots of real Christian gatherings out there. Find one and join in.

LEANDREA O'DELL said...

Thank you for your kind words and assistance.

Anonymous said...

I recall one mega pastor claiming you have to pay me big bucks to hear me preach. I don't recall Jesus ever taking up a collection and He wrote the Book all these supposedly use to gain their way into the kingdom. Geesh!
__________________________________

I heard Jerry Vines say it loud and clear. During the pastor's conference no less. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Leandrea, the youth in our church would be glad to take on the project, with the supervision of youth pastor and other volunteers. Can't imagine your being turned down by the mega.
Florence in KY

Anonymous said...

Is Brunson in London this week? Why isn't he giving up vacations so that the kingdom can ADVANCE?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Steve's home turned out?

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for posting these video clips. It really helps when people can see for themselves how obscene and disenfranchising this level of avarice has become. I think you give Furtick too much credit though. He is not really pursuing honesty but, rather, following his mentor Robert Morris' advice which is to chase off non-tithers to make room for new potential tithers. These men of God only want full 10% paying butts taking up their seats and they regularly insult the non-f0% "giving units" saying things like you are "stealing from god" or you don't love Jesus and don't believe He died for you, UNLESS you're giving the full 10%, which is what Furtick was saying in that clip. Imagine finally getting one of your non-Christian friends to attend church once and this is what they hear?

Anonymous said...

Pastors with a Penchant for Prospertiy - A four part series of 3 point sermons that explain the benefits of increasing your pastors wealth with sacrificial giving.

JAAB

Anonymous said...

Most pastors today see sheep as a means to an end. We are numbers in their crowd, walking ATM's created to enrich them through tithes and offerings. We are to sit in the pew, listen, become ushers or SS teachers if we're really good, and obey the man of God. Really, we are nobodies in their eyes. The American church has polluted the world with its stray from truth.

Anonymous said...

Leandrea, years ago I attended Billy Joe Daugherty's big church in Tulsa. I was a single parent who tithed to the church. When my electricity got shut off in winter one January, I asked the megachurch for 87 dollars to get it turned on. They said, no, that I wasn't active in the church so I wasnt worthy. Well, I had been active but the Lord told me to stop and concentrate on my kids and school for a semester (I was an ORU student). I told them this but they still said no. I went home, to my cold home crying. Told the kids to get in their camping bags. Next day at school I was crying over the hurt, someone saw me, and gave me 87 dollars. A pastoral student. These mega churches are run by people who don't spend time with God, thus they don't bear fruit. They became puffed up, leave the faith, and are blind to the blind. If you see, dear sister, leave. Find another church or stay home with God. These mega churches are mega wolves and their howls: "HOWWWWW will I ever buy my third mansion if my sheep don't pay their tithes off their gross income? HOWWWWW WILLL it happen?!"

Ronnie said...

I WILL NO LONGER BE EXTORTED BY PREACHERS SELLING ME THE LIE OF TITHING!

I still give God money, but I certainly give not a penny to a pastor who will not use money for God's kingdom, but only to build the pastor's kingdom. I create books, CD'S and gospel tracts and that money is being used to proclaim the Gospel to the lost by my own hand. Now I know where the money is going and it is going to God's work. I was duped by pastors and television ministers who bilked me with their lies of thousands of dollars only to discover them living in mansions. But remember they said, "Please tuck in a little love gift to share the gospel with the lost." Well, one television show ministry owns over 250 homes and two mansions in Southern California and Florida. The family drives expensive cars, and live in expensive homes in the Hollywood Hills, etc. My money did not go to save the lost, it went into their pockets.
I was robbed, cheated, embezzled by these pastors and ministers. It's like this in the small churches too. The money is taken and mismanaged and the saints in the church suffer hardships and never see the money again. Clearly this is not New Testament Early Church examples being followed. My advice is for you to read your King James Version Bible and then get out of your church and go to work directly with the Lord to share the Gospel with the lost. Start your own ministry and self-fund it. Bear good fruit and sound the alarm of warning to expose these wolves in sheep clothing robbing God and His people. God does not want your money, pastors want it and they have distorted the Bible to create the tithe lie. God wants you to go save the lost, pastors don't want you to have your own ministry.
Still doubt? Read your Bible one more timeand see that what I am telling you is way more true than what your pastor is telling you. God's Word is true. Your pastor's word is untrue!
You too will thank God for being set free from pastoral bondage!

Anonymous said...

Most of these pastors are poor examples of how to serve the Lord. The laymen are doing it right. Working a full time job and still serving the Lord week after week for free. They do it because they love and serve Christ. Full time hirelings do what they do because they love and serve mammon. Men like these are an insult to the gospel, and enemies of Jesus Christ. These are the wolves that our Lord warned us about. They are the blind leaders of the blind, and whitewashed tombs. These are they that make merchandise of you. They are the ones that Jesus said would hear, "Depart from me, I never knew you."

Anonymous said...

It's all business. It's all about making a living under the guise of some sort of " serving Jesus."
No longer do we have the pastor who works for his members, it is the pastor expecting the average person in the pew to work for them....
I have to write this so I can remain unknown....
I know a young man who is in the Christian Music Industry as a performer. His wife supports him while he tries to " make it big."
Says all the right things, does the right things, and expects from this a big contract and tour from his " devotion."
He is now to the point it is either make it or not time. Has no skills other than music, no education....
Maybe it is just me, but this make money off Jesus really bothers me.
I don't know, but is this something Jesus really supports?

Anonymous said...

Another "cost" of following Jesus: You may lose your wife if at some point in your marriage you disagree with whatever she has been taught about religion. Think about this single men, before you latch on to that "good Christian wife."

Anonymous said...

Hi watchdog.Thanks for sharing your post.It's the truth,praise God for your obedient boldness to proclaim the much needed truth to be shared with the whole body of christ.Tithing and enforced giving is one of those battle royales but through people like you and many others God's people shall be free in Jesus name!

Anonymous said...

My mother attends a small Baptist church where the pastor rants and raves at the congregation to tithe the 10%; guilt trips galore.
She is struggling financially, but still manages to give what she can, which is a lot for her.
At one point she was moving and needed help getting her heavy furniture out of her apartment.
She went to her pastor and asked if men from the church could help her move.
He flat out said no, there was no one to help. He wouldn't even ask any of the attendants if they were willing.
She had to figure out how to move her huge furniture herself.
She complained about it to me, but sadly, she still attends that church because she thinks "that's where God wants her".
I highly doubt that.
I'm pretty tired of "Christians" acting like uncompassionate fools.