01 February 2014

The Destruction of Pride and the Elevation of Furtick

Proverbs 21:4 says, "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin."

James 4:6, 7
Pride is a devastating sin. It is the sin that cast Satan from Heaven (Isaiah 14:12–14). It is at the root of every transgression against God. Yet it is a temptation that confronts every man at nearly every turn. To succumb to pride is to begin plummeting down a dark and cavernous hole of sin. Dr. Steve Lawson has rightly said, "We are never more like the devil and never more unlike Christ in His incarnation than when we are proud."

The Bible is not quiet about this pervasive cancer and its detrimental effects upon man:
A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor. (Prov 29:23)
When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom. (Prov 11:2)
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Prov 16:18–19) 
It is easily seen then, that while pride brings destruction upon a man, humility invites honor and wisdom, the gracious favor of a God who loves the humble but hates the spirit of pride and haughtiness (Prov 6:16–17). Indeed, this is in keeping with the calling of those who have been saved by Christ. If our Lord came not to be served, but to serve (Matt 20:20–28), then those who have been redeemed by His blood ought to serve Him with joy.

One such way that Christians serve their Lord is by serving His Body, the Church. When one is a member of a local church body, he serves that body not only by reaching out to his fellow members, but by serving the leadership of that church. Yet the Christian does not serve his pastor and elders because of who they are, but because of the One whom they serve, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. This is because Jesus Christ is the Head of His church (Eph 1:22) and those who have been called to preach His Word do so in service to Him. They seek not their own glorification but the exaltation of Christ and the proclamation of His saving gospel (1 Cor 1:23; 2:2; 9:16). In order to understand this truth, one need only look at how the apostles and others identified themselves:
Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead) . . . (Gal 1:1)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God . . . (Eph 1:1)
Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ . . . (Titus 1:1)
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . (James 1:1)
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ . . . (1 Peter 1:1)
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ . . . (2 Peter 1:1)
Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ . . . (Jude 1)
These men identified themselves not by their own status or fame, but by Jesus Christ, the One whom they served, and they would seek that those entrusted to their care would strive to serve that same Christ and not any other man.

Yet because men are so subject to fall by way of pride, it can be easy in this day of instant fame and celebrity to find even professing Christians serving and lauding men over and above the Lord Jesus. This becomes even more grievous when those men being exalted do not squelch such blasphemous idolatry before it reaches dangerous levels. Could it be that such a thing has happened at Elevation Church, where the young and popular pastor Steven Furtick has built his empire? A document entitled "Reasons Elevation Church Is the Best Place to Work" seems to indicate an affirmative answer to this question.
Offering 30 reasons why one should desire to work at Elevation Church, this document appears to have lost all sight of the purpose of the Christian church. Among these 30 reasons listed are the following four disturbing statements:
We serve a Lead Pastor who seeks and hears from God.
We serve a Lead Pastor we can trust.
We serve a Lead Pastor who pours into us spiritually and professionally. 
We serve a Lead Pastor who goes first.
As noted above, it is true that the Christian should desire and welcome opportunities to serve his pastor and elders, but it must be because those men are clearly and unapologetically serving the Lord, and thus service to them is service to Him. Yet, this document from Elevation Church is noticeably lacking one thing: any mention of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is a naive thought, but should not the highest and best reason to work at a church, or even to attend a church, be because that church exalts and glorifies the Savior? Should not the best thing about a church be its service to the Lord, not a man?

Dear Christian, when you seek to serve others, do you ultimately desire to serve the Lord? It is feared that, were an employee of Elevation Church to write his own epistle, it may begin, "I, an apostle of Steven Furtick…" Oh, may it never be that man would take precedence above Christ! And if you find yourself in a church where the name of Jesus falls from the lips of your pastor, but all else points to that pastor's self-exaltation, then may God grant you wisdom and courage to flee that place and seek a church where the pure Word of God is preached and Christ is lifted up above all else. And if you have been blessed with a church, pastor and elders whose lives exemplify service to their Lord, then may you thank our gracious God for such a great gift.

We serve a mighty God, the Creator of the universe, the Savior of sinners, the Lord and King of all. May we never grow discontent with so great a calling.

HT: Pirate Christian Radio

Additional Resources
The Downward Ride of Pride (a sermon by Dr. Steve Lawson)
Dedicated Pastors Produce Discerning Sheep
Expect the World to Act Like the World

1 comment:

  1. We serve a Lead Pastor...
    We serve a Lead Pastor...
    We serve a Lead Pastor...
    We serve a Lead Pastor...

    This is nothing else but a proclamation of a cult with a cult of personality at its core. Men oriented pseudo gospel with a man reaping and pillaging deceived for his own and his family benefit.
    Why is that possible? It is because of BIBLICAL ILLITERACY of the crowds. The crowd is untruth.



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