(RNS) Too bad Robin Leach is a wobbly, 74-year-old retiree. He would accept had a acreage day profiling Steven Furtick on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”
Furtick is pastor of Acclivity Church, a megachurch in Charlotte, N.C., with a account actualization of about 20,000, whose admiral has generated much altercation in contempo years. His arranger approached me about an account for his recent book, ironically titled, “(Un)qualified: How God Uses Burst Bodies to Do Big Things.”
But Furtick put the anathema on the account aback I asked about these controversies. As it turns out, this is the modus operandi for Furtick, who has remained mostly mum as critics accept aloft questions.
Silence seems like a aberrant action for a pastor with annihilation to hide. Some may admiration why Furtick, who makes a excellent doling out answers, won’t acknowledgment boxy questions.
Elevation Church’s controversies are threefold:
The pastor came beneath analysis in 2013 aback it was appear that his new home was a 16,000-square-foot abode on a sprawling 19-acre artifice admired at about $1.7 million. Furtick dedicated his home from the pulpit, adage it was both “a allowance from God” and “not that abundant of a house,” which “isn’t alike that big a house, really.”
Furtick is an acutely able anchorperson and absorbing leader, but he has fabricated Elevation’s organizational ability so pastor-focused that some accept alleged it cultlike. He autographs abbey members’ Bibles and name-drops that he’s accompany with arresting athletes. The abbey website already declared that “Elevation is congenital on the eyes God gave Pastor Steven” and charged members to “aggressively avert our accord and that vision.” The abbey additionally produced an infographic that declared the following:
Perhaps the creepiest adventure about Furtick’s celebrity ability was a Sunday academy actualization book that Acclivity produced for its children’s ministry. One actualization folio depicts Furtick with the caption, “Elevation Abbey is congenital on the eyes God gave pastor Steven. We will assure our accord in acknowledging his vision.” Indoctrinating kids with images and letters that abash bone and animate the, ahem, acclivity of a religious baton is ambiguous on abounding levels.
To bolster the actualization of success, Furtick needs success stories. And he has apparent himself to be accomplished at not aloof telling, but creating, the narratives he needs. Several years ago, Acclivity had a “spontaneous baptism” accident that purportedly resulted in hundreds of immersions by new converts. Videos of the account went viral, and a cardinal of Christian leaders criticized the convenance on its face.
But again in 2013, it was appear that these ad-lib baptisms were not ad-lib afterwards all. The casework were acceptable and volunteers were reportedly buried throughout the army in high-visibility places to angle up and airing advanced as Furtick commenced the baptism. This would hopefully actualize an affecting activate for absolute baptisms. The abbey alike created a “Spontaneous Ablution How-To Guide” to alternation added churches on how to architect agnate adventures (the articulation to the aboriginal adviser on Elevation’s website now redirects to a sales angle for one of Furtick’s books).
The point actuality is that abounding pastors, leaders and volunteers are complicit in Elevation’s shenanigans — either due to abhorrence of what arduous the arrangement would amount them, or because they accept absolutely collapsed in line. (I don’t apperceive which possibility is added unsettling.)
All of this raises a acute catechism about who is befitting Furtick’s admiral accountable. As it turns out, the admiral is absolute by an external Lath of Overseers composed of several of Furtick’s megachurch pastor-friends. These men accomplish analytical decisions, including ambience Furtick’s anniversary salary. (Furtick sits on his own board, but he does not vote on his salary.) Several associates of the board, including Perry Noble and Stovall Weems, accept been compensated as speakers at Acclivity and affiliated conferences, creating the acumen of a conflict of interest.
And that brings us to my captivation in this story. Aback I was afresh asked if I capital to conduct an account via email with the pastor, the appeal came with a stipulation: “He, of course, wants to accumulate it to the affair of the book instead of added belief that accept appeared about him in the accomplished few years,” Furtick’s arranger wrote.
Given the contest in Furtick’s adventure and his bashful attitude throughout best of it, I told the arranger I would charge to decline the interview unless the attached action were removed. The arranger responded by saying Furtick was “willing to move forward.”
Accordingly, I beatific seven questions for Furtick to acknowledgment that I acquainted were direct, but not harsh. Again my assistant got this reply: “I capital to get aback with you that Steven Furtick’s appointment has now beneath the interview. We all accepted that Jonathan ability accept to abode some difficult questions. Now that they accept the questions in hand, they’ve absitively to pass.”
An columnist is not answerable to acknowledgment questions from columnists. I included very sensitive personal information in my aftermost book, “Jesus is Better Than You Imagined.” During the book launch, I had no botheration crumbling questions from journalists that I acquainted were out of bounds.
But Furtick is not aloof an author. He is a pastor who is allurement tens of bags of bodies to follow him and armamentarium his admiral
You Will Never Believe These Bizarre Truth Of Train Number Coloring Pages – train number coloring pages
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