Protestia 16 June 2021

‘Pastor’ Steven Furtick declared himself to be “God Almighty” during a recent sermon, taking his most bold venture into rehashing the warped “little god” theology of yesteryear, except with a twist, dropping the little “god” and going for the capitalized one. 

What you have to be so careful about is not to let people put anything on you. I’m not just talking about failure, I’m talking about success. Jacob’s biggest issue is that he always identified himself by something external. So, when it came time to make peace with Esau, he sent gifts ahead of him, because he thought, “Maybe my gift will bring me peace.”  

And some of us are like that. We always think we have to make a good impression. We’re always living in an avatar. We’re always living in some version of ourselves that seems presentable. Or we’re always identifying…by what we can do. 

In doing what we can do, other people will identify you by what you can do, and then they will limit you by what you can do, and then you will begin to think you are what you do, and then you will lose yourself and gain the world, and Jesus said, “What good is it?” 

Don’t let anybody put anything on you that will cause you to forget what God put in you. 

That goes for your struggles. See, I think Jacob – his name means supplanter, but his new name Israel is almost just as bad. It means struggles with God.  [Um…God actually gave Jacob that name…Furtick’s message is based on false assumptions. -Ed.] So, he’s trying to get him to see, “You’ve never been fighting with Laban.  You’ve never been fighting with Esau.  The fight you have to win for your life has not been with them. It’s always been in you

Because if you believe it’s in you, there’s nothing anybody can put on you that can cancel what I put in you.“Before you were born I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”   It’s always been in you…

It’s always been in you. There’s nobody who can leave my life who can keep God from keeping his covenant with me. I’m not in covenant with a person. I’m not in covenant with a political party.  I’m in covenant with God Almighty! I am God Almighty! 

Get that off you! That’s not your name. That’s not your station. That’s not your end. It’s in me! It’s in me! It’s in me! It is God who worketh in you!  It’s always been in you.”

If you hang around the wrong crowd long enough then they will influence you.

Furtick’s stumbling and blasphemy are nothing new.

Way back in February, 1987, when Kenneth Copeland published a prophecy, which he claims was directly from Jesus, in his Believer’s Voice of Victory magazine.

“Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you’re God,” Copeland claims Jesus prophesied through him. “The more you get to be like me, the more they’re going to think that way of you. They crucified me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God.”

Written Communication

More questions arose after Copeland’s July 19, 1987, crusade, which was televised nationwide by TBN, when Copeland said: “I say this and repeat it so it don’t upset you too bad. . . . When I read in the Bible where he (Jesus) says, ‘I am,’ yes, I am, too!”

Although no meeting has taken place, there has been some written communication over doctrine between Copeland and Martin’s institute. In May, 1987, Martin wrote to the evangelist offering him “an open invitation to explain what he meant by the (February, 1987) prophecy,” according to Christian Research Institute researcher Dan Schlesinger. Martin also began to pursue a meeting with Copeland using TBN President Paul Crouch as a mediator.

Crouch set up a meeting between himself, Martin, Copeland and the Rev. Jack Hayford, pastor of the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, but it was postponed and never rescheduled.

Extreme View Advocated

After that effort, Copeland sent the Christian Research Institute a five-page treatment of the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation and maintained that critics of his February prophecy were mistaken. He added that he was going to publish the paper in an upcoming Believer’s Voice of Victory. But when the Christian Research Institute found that the paper advocated an extreme view of the Incarnation–that Christ ceased being God while on Earth–it sent Copeland a five-page response detailing major problems with his view.

“We asked him if he understood what he was doing if he published it,” Schlesinger said. Copeland then published his treatise in the August Believer’s Voice of Victory.

When attempts at a meeting failed, Martin wrote to Crouch and nine other evangelical leaders, saying that he would not appear on TBN until Crouch set up some kind of dialogue with Copeland and Atlanta-area Pentecostal Bishop Earl Paulk to discuss their doctrines, especially their statements that Christians can “hold the rank of a god.”

Heretical Teachings

Walter Martin also cited the teachings of TBN regulars Charles Capps and Randy Shankle and charged that by doing little to stop the spread of heretical teachings on TBN, Crouch is perceived as supporting it.

Crouch wrote a detailed letter in response defending his right to offer varied teachings on TBN and told Martin that he had “called, pled and asked all of these brethren to come (and talk with you) . . . but to no avail.”

Crouch wrote, “Why not preach salvation . . . and let the Holy Spirit work it out?”