24 September 2011

Ed Young Jr. & C3 Global: An Introduction

I want to introduce you to Ed Young, Jr. and C3 Global. The reason for this introduction will become apparent in a future post. There is certainly a lot that can be said about Young, and I have no intention of detailing everything here. Most of you are probably at the very least vaguely familiar with him and for those who aren't, well, that's what Google is for! You may remember Ed Young, Jr. for such...ahem...notable things as:

And, if none of those are ringing a bell, perhaps this will spark your memory:

Yes, that was Ed Young's promo video for last year's Hillsong Conference.

Young also boasts a friendship with men like Joel Osteen, and his yearly gathering of Word Faith preachers at the Creative Church Conference (C3) almost always seems to include Oneness Pentecostal "Bishop" T.D. Jakes. In commenting on the video below, which is a recap of C3 2010, Apprising Ministries asks a few questions and offers some commentary:
Among the questions I have would be: When did the Body of Christ decide Sabellianism is no longer heresy? And who gave Ed Young, Jr the authority to definitely say that Oneness Pentecostals like T.D. Jakes are “in the Church”?
Despite the man-centered emphasis in the video on “unity,” and a “big vision because we have a big God,” the genuine Christian truly has no unity with people like Jakes who worship a god who doesn’t exist. You should be asking, which Jesus Christ are these people being urged to “give their lives” to in the video below, which  has every look of a Praise The Lord program on the infamous Trinity Broadcasting Network.
You’ll watch as Jakes speaks to those “who sense this is a destiny and a turning point”; and then Jakes tells them to “rush down” because he wants to “pray” for their “soul” and for their “life.” But the crucial question remains: How can a god who doesn’t even exist ever be of any help to anybody? (Online Source)

C3 2010 Recap from Fellowship Church on Vimeo.

Interestingly, as of February 2011, the SBC was asking of Young "When Did the Trinity Become Non-Essential Doctrine?" but I'm sure the writer of that article is still waiting for a response. Back in 2007, Young declared that C3 was a conference about leadership, and was not a theological conference. But unless that changed between 2007 and 2010, we'd have to wonder why "Bishop" Jakes was wanting to pray for people in the video above. Further, if the nature of the conference did change, then we would have to wonder why Jakes, who does not worship the God of the Bible, was still a featured speaker. But all of that has been discussed at length by others, and so I don't desire to get into that here.

In a promotional video for the 2011 C3 Conference, Steven Furtick declared that "no conference has had a greater impact on my life and the life of our church than C3." Furtick must have delivered a great speech at the last event, because he is speaking again at the 2012 C3 Conference, along with plenty of other seemingly wolfish characters. According to this, Young also serves as a fashion icon for the young Furtick.
(Online Source)
What I want to look at now is the evolution of Young's "C3" from a simply a yearly conference into what is now also a separate entity called C3 Global. C3 Global calls itself "an alliance of churches committed to change the world." Interestingly enough, there is not an available list of churches that have jumped on this latest bandwagon, though I've no doubt it's lengthy. A look at the leadership, though, is enough cause for concern:
Again, I won't take the time or space to detail all of these men. Let's just look briefly at Bil Cornelius. His biography on his church website reads as follows:
Bil Cornelius is the founder and Lead Pastor of Bay Area Fellowship, which he and his wife Jessica founded in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1998.  Bil's life calling has been to create a movement that is reaching into the lives of the lost and unchurched of the next generation and beyond. Bil leads Bay Area Fellowship with his unique brand of encouragement and wit, a teaching style and personality that allows him to engage a diverse audience. Now, more than 12 years later, Bay Area Fellowship has grown to over 8,000 people between 7 campuses, making it one of Outreach Magazine’s Top 100 fastest-growing churches.
Bil is the co-author of Go Big: Lead Your Church to Explosive Growth, which he wrote alongside Bill Easum. In 2007, Bil founded the Exponential Business Conference, where he teaches and mentors business leaders and investors on how to expand their business and real estate holdings.  He recently expanded this to a ministry called Expo Coaching, where he works one-on-one with pastors and business leaders through personal consultation and tele-conference meetings. In September of this year, Bil’s latest book, I Dare You to Change!, will launch nationally in all major bookstores.
In 2008, seeking to reach the lost beyond Texas, Bil took his teaching to television and launched Bil Cornelius Ministries. By the end of 2009, the program expanded worldwide through Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), Daystar and The Church Channel and is currently reaching millions across the globe.
Bil travels around the country speaking and consulting on church health and growth. In 2004, Bil received the Purpose-Driven Health Award, from Rick Warren and Saddleback Church.  Bil thrives on helping people reach their full potential in Christ and taking the limits off their life.  Bil is the proud father of Mason, Cole, and Sophie, and is still madly in love with his wife Jessica after 17 years, which is second only to his love for the Lord. (Online source)
Sounds just a little seeker-driven, and even a bit word faith-y, doesn't it? The foreword to Cornelius' book, I Dare You to Change, was written by Craig Groeschel, which should speak quite a bit to the content of the work. Below is a brief snippet of the audio version of Cornelius' book, as he seeks to help people move beyond just dreaming of a better life and onto living it:



Cornelius has also served as a mentor to Seeker-Driven prophet-pastor Eric Dykstra of The Crossing Church in Elk River, MN. This is documented on Kelly Dykstra's blog:
[2010] This was the year Eric met Bil Cornelius, who would become his mentor and facilitator of hooking us up with wise pastors all over the country, who have given us wisdom on everything from preaching the offering (Brad White) to creative resources (Pace Hartfield) to awesome series ideas (Mac Richard, Kevin Gerald). (Online Source)
(If you are unfamiliar with the story and controversy of Dykstra, I suggest you read this article, as well as those that precede it. Once familiar with that story, it may interest you to know that Eric Dykstra has attended the C3 Conference every year since 2007. That fact certainly speaks to the fruit that is emerging from this conference.)

Returning again to C3 Global itself, a look at the Benefits page unveils what each church will receive in return for it's respective membership fees. With everything from insurance to discounted or free resources from CreativePastor.com to free or discounted conference attendance, being a member of C3 Global, though not cheap, certainly does come with its perks, if you consider sermon resources from Ed Young something to be desired. Late last year, Ed Young was excited to announce that C3 Global would be "joining forces" with Steven and Holly Furtick, so it may be safe to assume that Furtick and Young are steering this ship together. Young is also a scheduled speaker for Furtick's upcoming Code Orange Revival.
(Online Source)
C3 Global's most recent attempt to "change the world" took the form of a trip to Haiti for pastor's wives.
(Online Source)
While there, the women visited C3 sponsored orphanages, most certainly a heart-warming endeavor. No one is going to challenge the heart of this trip, however, it seems natural to assume that those participating in this trip did so because they are in agreement with the overall mission and purpose of C3 Global, and hence are in alignment with the leaders of C3. After all, why would someone spend so much money on a trip unless they believed that the parent organization was one worth supporting? In a forthcoming post, I want to look a little closer at this trip to Haiti. As I mentioned at the outset, the reason for this introductory post will then become more clear.

 We will pick up, then, en route to Haiti.

6 comments:

  1. Unbelievable. You made all this up...right? The state of the church can't possibly be this bad...right?

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  2. Oh, I wish I was making it all up! But honestly, you couldn't make most of this stuff up even if you wanted to, the state of the visible church is that bad.

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  3. Have you actually listened to what Ed Young says? Redefines affluence as having a full, blessed life that's not necessarily about money. In fact, he rarely talks about money. Nor is he like Joel Osteen, who tells you only to hang out with positive people. I would call that message, "Be a Fair-weather Friend." I just got back from an Ed Young sermon that was highly uplifting. He directs his messages to those with problems. He gives real-life solutions, reading from scripture with every word. In that Swagger series, he makes a HUGE distinction between money and what he's talking about. He's talking about walking with God. Look around at the people in that church. Most are young, and many don't look the slightest bit wealthy to me. Prosperity in terms of financial success? I have NEVER heard him preach that message. He tells us we must go through trials to learn lessons. He says blessings come in many forms. He ALSO says nowhere in the Bible does it promise we will be happy for following Christ. He says Christianity is a tough road to hoe, but it's worth it. He's definitely not a prosperity preacher. Listen to his messages. I feel God's presence very strongly in that church. He is very self-deprecating, and constantly tells about his own struggles. So he wears a designer shirt and jeans instead of a fancy suit...so what? He writes tons of books, is faithful to his family and clearly preaches and quotes from the Bible. Yeah, he's flawed. He's human. But you are just dismissing him and taking everything out of context. I can't stand what Joel Osteen preaches. So Ed is friends with him. So he makes money. It's a huge worldwide ministry and requires a lot of work. I have NEVER heard him say God will bless you financially if you give money. Tithing is Biblical...but I don't even remember him talking about tithing. What would you have him make as a salary? Is that your call or God's? Many people have turned their lives around because of his teachings. He speaks to those suffering, and relates the Bible to today's world. To reach the youth, the message must be relevant to the youth. The message is what's important. The messenger is just that - a messenger. He never said he was the Pope. He's flawed like the rest of us. He admits that, even calling himself words like "igmo." And Godfidence isn't about money either! All of his messages are more relevant than any of the fodder I hear in most other churches that will put you right to sleep. Judge not lest ye be judged - and do more research. Let me reiterate - it's the message that counts. Go listen to the messages and then compare him to Joel Osteen. There are no
    similarities. If you don't want to post, that's fine. But I don't hear Ed Young judging anyone - except perhaps himself. I don't worship Ed Young, I worship God. If we look to pastors for perfection, we will be sorely disappointed. The same thing goes for people in general. His series on Betrayal got me out of some rough times. Do you know that people who are "religious" (and I prefer the term spiritual) are happier and have less bouts of depression? I'm a Christian but I'm not a sheep., I have discernment, and as long as the message speaks to me, I don't care who it's given by. God speaks through many vessels. Please listen more closely. You just might be surprised. Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday.

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  4. Thanks for delving into this further. It's unbelievable that $1,450 per person was spent for such a short time in Haiti.

    Looking forward to what you write.

    KarenM in NC

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  5. Anonymous #2,
    Thank you for your thoughts, even though the point of this post was not to critique Ed Young's sermons. From what you say, there are a lot of "good works" messages there. But as you said, "it's the message that counts," so I sincerely hope that the Gospel - repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation - is dominating those messages.

    I am terribly sorry to hear you say, "I'm a Christian but I'm not a sheep," as it seems a bit contradictory considering Jesus called those who are His "sheep."

    "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

    You also say "I have discernment, and as long as the message speaks to me, I don't care who it's given by." Sadly, this very statement reveals your lack of discernment and I think you further lack discernment if you are sitting under this type of teaching. If the Word of God is not clearly and boldly proclaimed and explained, then true biblical discernment cannot be honed.

    "As long as the message speaks to me," you say. Yet, what if the message is one that is not palatable, yet is still straight from the Word of God? What if the message is about sin and depravity and man's inability to save himself? Such a message would not "speak" to most people, yet it is the truth of Scripture. And how sad that you do not care who is giving a message so long as YOUR ears are tickled! So you would prefer to hear a man-pleasing sermon given by one who distorts God's Word rather than to hear the Truth delivered by a true under-shepherd of Jesus Christ?

    How wonderful that the sermon you heard today was "uplifting." I pray you describe it as such because it lifted high the name of Jesus, and because it shared the good news of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. I pray that it was not merely "uplifting" because it was a message that YOU wanted to hear, that scratched YOUR itching ears and desire for a message that "speaks" to you.

    "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

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  6. Anon #2, PLEASE leave Fellowship "Church"...... it is NOT a church but a money making empire.

    Ed Young IS a wolf in sheep's clothing, he is a liar, fraud, charlatan and plainly someone I would not want to hang around.

    He mocks and defiles Jesus and his precious blood.

    All one has to do is look at all the fruit he produces and you will have your answer.

    His Tithing sermon was downright evil. He is a wicked and evil man.

    He is not for Jesus, but against him.

    I guess Ed Young mocking the Lord means nothing to you.

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