Fierce wolves with smiling faces
I have been preaching through the Book of Acts for over a year. This Sunday, Lord willing, I will be preaching from the second half of chapter 20. Following three years of ministry in Ephesus Paul circles back to Miletus so he can speak to the Ephesian elders one final time. Paul's words are filled with pathos and passion as he recounts the priorities of his ministry and charges them to exercise the same care for the church. He also warns them that as shepherds they have the responsibility to protect the flock from ravenous wolves.
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. (20:29-31)
Problems exist in every church and every denomination. We are, after all, still south of Heaven. But some problems are so egregious, so damaging to the peace and purity of the church that they must be publically identified. I believe that such a case is Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. Elevation Church is one of the largest and fastest growing Southern Baptist churches in the country. Furtick is well known for his man-centered preaching, "creative" methods for increasing baptisms, and near cult-like expectations of his followers.
But Steven Furtick is also known for cavorting with false teachers like T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer. Furtick has welcomed the Oneness Pentecostal and word/faith heretic Jakes to the pulpit of Elevation. And now Furtick has preached in Jakes' Dallas mega-church the Potter's House. You can see some action shots HERE.
To my brothers in Christ who serve in leadership in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina: You have, in the past, done the right thing by removing pastors and churches who embraced the sin of homosexuality. But will you now seek to address one of your pastors who is actively exposing many thousands of Southern Baptists to man-centered preaching and the teaching of heretics like T.D. Jakes? God's people are precious to him. He purchased them at the price of his beloved Son's life. Wolves have infiltrated the flock. Please protect them.