13 November 2011

Furtick Preaches Potential...Potential Church, That Is

There's a "church" based out of Florida that has deemed as its mission, "Partnering with people to reach their God potential." Well, perhaps I need to take a few more Bible classes, because I have absolutely no idea what that is supposed to mean! If you're a regular listener of Fighting for the Faith, you're already familiar with Potential Church and Pastor Troy Gramling. In Hour 2 of the September 13, 2011 episode of F4TF, Chris Rosebrough reviewed "Pastor Troy's" first sermon in his "W" sermon series. This seven week series was preached just this Fall, and it was based upon the broadway musical "Wicked." Of course, the commonalities between God's holy Word and the fictional place and characters of Oz are abundant, so this connection makes perfect sense. Wait...never mind. Gramling did open the Bible in this sermon, however, it may have been best if he hadn't because his twisting of the biblical text was quite grievous.

Here is how the "W" sermon series was advertised:
Enter the wonderful world of “W” this fall as we journey down the yellow brick road to discover the wicked truth behind some of the most beloved Oz characters. Welcome and wave in everyone you know with an invitation to the most epic fall series yet and remember, “There’s no place like home.”
So, the purpose behind this sermon series was "to discover the wicked truth behind some of the most beloved Oz characters." Hm, that's interesting, because I thought the duty of a pastor was to preach the truth of God's Word, not fictional characters.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 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 4:1-4)
The website of Potential Church offers some interesting information, not the least of which is that they affiliate themselves with the Southern Baptist Convention.
(Online Source)

For this reason, their Faith & Message statement leaves little with which to argue, as it appears to be an instance of "cut and paste." This copyright is found at the bottom of the faith statement:
(Online Source)
However, what is posted online in a faith statement means absolutely nothing if the fruit of the church does not align with that statement. A listen to the sermon referenced above indicates that Potential Church at this point has very little potential of actually being a church per the biblical definition. A brief look at how Potential Church defines success would lead one to the same conclusion:
Partnering With People To Reach Their God Potential 
Troy Gramling is the Lead Pastor at Potential Church (formerly known as Flamingo Road Church) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pastor Troy has led Potential Church to an average weekend attendance of 11,500 across six campuses , along with a Pastor on the ground in Asia to soon launch the seventh campus (5 national, 2 international). In addition, in the last decade, they have partnered to plant 15 local churches around the world. 
Pastor Troy excels in leadership development and is well known for his extreme creativity in designing unexpected worship experiences. A few of those unique worship experiences have been captured in such creative series as: “ivescrewedup.com,” “MyNakedPastor.com,” “The Bed,” “RationaLies,” “ivemissed.com” and “TheGiftRevolution.com.” Pastor Troy’s vision is fueled by his passion and his burden to partner with people so they can reach their God potential. Today, Potential Church is running after an ambitious goal called “50, 100, 150:” 50 campuses; 100,000 in attendance; and a $150 million budget. (Online Source, emphasis mine)
It seems from this statement that all credit must be given to Pastor Troy Gramling for the growth and worldly success of Potential Church. But then, how could he go wrong with sermon series titles like those listed above? And no mega church pastor can be a true leader without a grandiose "vision:"
Pastor Troy’s vision is fueled by his passion and his burden to partner with people so they can reach their God potential. 
Since I've yet to find the Bible verse that speaks about our "God potential," I'm still personally a bit fuzzy on what exactly is driving Gramling's "vision." Maybe I'm just reading the wrong Bible translation. From this past weekend's guest speaker at Potential Church, however, I'm led to suspect that finding one's "God potential" may have a lot to do with having "audacious faith." That's right, Steven Furtick was the most recent "evangelebrity" to grace the stage of Potential Church:


Once again, this is not surprising at all. We know that Furtick is busy traveling the Seeker-Driven and the Word-Faith circuits. Such a fact still must leave us wondering, though, why some allegedly "conservative Bible teachers" have endorsed Steven Furtick, and have even invited him into their own pulpit? Perhaps the prayers of so many soon will be answered by the waking up of these same men, but as of yet there remains no evidence of such. And so we continue to pray. We pray for the truth of God's Word to shine forth amid the dark deception. And we pray for the deceived sheep who are sitting under the care of these shepherds, that the Holy Spirit would open their eyes to the dangers to which they have been exposed. And we continue to speak up and to speak out when the great Gospel of Jesus Christ and when God's unwavering Word are being compromised for the sake of gain and popularity.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)
Finally, we continue to pray for the swift and soon promised return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, for your sheep are being fed to the wolves!

9 comments:

  1. I pray that the Lord humbles Furtick for his own good!

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  2. All I can say is "wow" or should I say "woe"?
    I know false apostles have been around since the beginning but with the age of technology we live in today, the damage they can do is overwhelming. Now they can reach people that never even step foot into a church. I pray that people like you will continue to warn those who are Biblically illiterate and cause them to go to the Scriptures to find Truth.
    I am with you....come quickly, Lord Jesus! And, Erin, not one of the sheep will be lost.
    pam

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  3. CC,
    I pray for that as well. Thanks for adding that to the list!

    Pam,
    Amen, not one of His sheep will be lost! What a wonderful promise!

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  4. When I hear the name "Potential Church" I tend to think "Not Quite a Church". Sounds like my impression was spot on.

    It's disturbing to me as a Southern Baptist to see so many seeker-driven churches thriving (thanks to one of our own, "America's Pastor"), but it's also disturbing to see Furtick making the rounds. Thankfully my pastor and church leadership still holds firm to Biblical principles. No Wizard of Oz at our place-yesterday's sermon was on false teachers from Galatians 1!

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  5. After untying my tongue from trying to say "evangelebrity" three times(I never made it past slow to fast):

    @Anon
    I believe woe is highly sufficient in this case.

    Cutting and pasting mission statements shows little imagination, as does "God potential". While my immediate thought was Mormonism, I don't think (Pastor?, seriously?) Troy has gone in that direction. Perhaps it was meant to say "Pope-tential".

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  6. I live in Pensacola and know many people that go to the Potential Pensacola campus. I asked someone to explain to me the name and they gave me a gross misuse of Jer. 29:11. I know many others who have gone and left that church because of the lack of Scripture use and several other reasons.

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  7. I visited this church on Saturday, April 21, 2012. There was a "guest" speaker that goes by the name of "Pastor" Scott Mendenhall and this is what I experienced:

    1) a four step parenting course, non Biblical. Maybe one verse was added. Psalms:(
    2) Said Pastor brought his wife whom he calls "Hotness" and four kids on stage where she told a silly story about how their boys imitate their father.
    3) He recounted his self serving life story (not his testimony, mind you).
    4) He never prayed, not once.
    5) No one person in the audience had a Bible.
    6) No Bible teaching AT ALL.
    7) Techo lights and a "rave-style" worship.
    8) Blaring Secular music WITH a DJ when you exited the building.
    9) Guest speaker had the audacity to ask for money for their "summer camps" while they have state of the art Starbucks coffee machines, expensive coffee cups and coffee. FREE. BAD stewardship.

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  8. I have been attending Potential Church for about 2 years. It has not been consistent, however, my family and I try to make the Saturday services. For the past year or so we realized that sometimes it is not about the church...that if you leave service empty and unsatisfied, and that if you feel like it is the pastor's job to fulfill the destiny that God has for you...then perhaps you will be visiting ALOT of churches.
    I do not necessarily agree with the way potential church conducts "business".
    I am 35 years old and I do not think I am old fashion at all, however, I am blown away with the way some of the women dress for service.
    By the time we drop off our children in the children's ministry, the sermon begins. We decided to miss worship because the music is too loud and too much going on.
    I came across this website for reviews after learning that the only day my family and I have to attend service has been moved to 5:00PM. They used to have service at 7:00PM. Pastor Troy then announced about 4 months ago that it did not make business sense and his staff did not want to work late hours to conduct service at 7:00Pm so they had decided to move it to 6:00PM. Just yesterday, I visited the website after missing service for the past month, and noticed they once again moved service to 5:00PM.
    This has made my husband and I have to look for a new Church. We can overlook at a lot of things but this one is the deal breaker since Saturday 6-7PM is the ONLY day and time my family and I can attend church.
    I even feel terrible reading the article above because it is all true. I cannot even defend the church. But because ever since my family and I committed ourselves in giving our time to attend service and sharing our financial blessings...GOD has made AMAZING changes in our lives, we decided to "overlook" at a lot of things.
    I will have to be very picky this time about the church my family and I will attend moving forward...until I find the church, I guess today we will make the rush to make it just in time for the 5PM service.
    Keep visiting churches and talking about your experiences, perhaps, if I would have read this article two years ago, I would have been attending a different church.
    Thank you,
    Anonymous

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      You said:

      I will have to be very picky this time about the church my family and I will attend moving forward

      Absolutely, we must be "picky"! We must seek out a church that holds Scripture as the final authority and who treats it as such through the faithful preaching of the Word. As a place to start, I'd suggest looking to see if there is a graduate of The Master's Seminary who has a church and is preaching in your area. You can search for that here.

      You and your family need to be fed a steady diet of the Word of God, rightly divided and faithfully exposited; something that, sadly, is simply not offered at these seeker-driven, entertainment-driven churches. Even if you have to drive 30 or 60 minutes to be in a solid, Bible-teaching church, it will be worth it. There should be no higher priority in our lives.

      You'll be in my prayers.

      Blessings to you.

      Delete

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