Stupid Pastor Tricks-How You're Getting Fooled

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The Juvenilization Category of Tricks: 

  • The "Turn to your neighbor and say..." trick. Mr. Mega Pastor, we are no longer in the second grade, and we shouldn't be treated as such. This is just a way to force people to agree with you.

  • The "end every other sentence with AMEN?!" trick. Amen is not a question. You are putting that word at the end of your sentence because it forces people to agree with you, as they shut down any critical thinking.

  • The "make your church look like a children's TV Show" trick. Mr. Mega Pastor wants his followers to revert back to adolescence in order to instill obedience. But just how far will he go as he belittles his audience? How about this far:

                         Or how about this far:

                          Or how about this far:

  • The "my expectations of you are so low that I'll repeatedly insult your intelligence in order to hold your gnat-like attention" trick. Mr. Mega Pastor thinks most people are pretty stupid and need to be treated as gullible spectators. Worse than that, he thinks God needs the church service to be an adult pre-school in order to accomplish His will on earth.

  • The "listen to me repeat a catchphrase as if it were a Bible verse" trick. Because he needs these people to remember something, but he just can't seem to fit an actual Bible passage into his frantic yet meandering 45-minute speech...

 

The Cult of Personality Category of Tricks:

  • The "we started this church in our living room 6 years ago and look at what God has done!" trick. You bought a mailing list, hired a graphic artist and a web designer, you mailed out a slick postcard to 10,000 people that made promises & claims that your church can never deliver, but you're giving all the credit to God? Don't blame this thing on God.

  • The "aw shucks, can I just talk about myself for a while longer?" trick. You are trying to act humble but it's only working on the truly gullible.

  • The "our church is really great, and just in case you don't know how great it is, I'm gonna talk about it some more" trick. Why is it so important to continually prop up your church? You're not a pastor, you're a salesman making a pitch.

  • The "I don't have time to read the Bible, but I've got time to talk about sports/TV shows/personal stories/jokes/useless drivel..." trick. Everything that happens in your sermon is by your design, and you're deciding to cut out God's Word to make more room for yourself.

  • The "here's a really catchy name for my new sermon series that I'll keep repeating (I hope it gets me a book deal)" trick. We get it: without a new book you've got nothing to sell at the merchandise table when you go on the speaking circuit.

  • The "we are just so blessed and honored to have Pastor Whoever He Is with us today!" trick. And if you suck up to him enough, you'll get a speaking invitation at his (much larger) church.

  • The "watch me do that dramatic... pause... just like Rob Bell or Andy Stanley" trick. This is just cheap theatrics, and you've cheapened the house of God by pretending to be profound.

  • The "let me show you how cool and relevant I am while I pretend that I'm not trying to be cool and relevant" trick. Again, this only works on the truly gullible. You're really scraping the bottom of the barrel, aren't you Mr. Mega Pastor? (And Mr. Cool Music Guy on the worship team, maybe you should look into joining a cover band to satisfy your need for attention.)

  • The "let me brag about my luxurious lifestyle in front of the struggling people who paid for it" trick. You're not setting an example of success, you're taking money from people who will never live out the fantasies you sell them in the name of God.

 

The Super Spiritual Category of Tricks:

  • The "I hope you don't notice that I'm just making up this prophetic utterance" trick. If you want people to believe that God is speaking through you, shouldn't you construct sentences that actually mean something? How ridiculous can these "prophetic words" get? This ridiculous:

  • The "this is gonna be the year of acceleration! (or breakthrough, or increase, or visitation, or whatever...)" trick. Don't worry, after you make your New Year's proclamation you've got 11 months of useless blathering to distract everyone from your vague, yet false prediction.

  • The "I can make outlandish claims without any authentication" trick. Why does every supernatural event that you mention occur in some remote country... without cameras?

  • The "my Bible fell open and this is the verse that God showed me" trick. Wait a minute, is this a Christian church service or a tarot card reading??

  • The "I had my sermon all planned out but God gave me something different at the last minute" trick. Wow, we've never heard that before...

  • The "something REALLY big is coming... (eventually)" trick. How many decades have to pass before you finally cancel this ambiguous, confusing and useless "word from the Lord?"

  • The "healing service that's actually just a guy telling stories about all the healings he supposedly did somewhere else" trick. Lucky for this guy, the people who come to get healed are usually so desperate and confused they stay the whole time anyway. When they don't get healed they often blame themselves, too.

  • The "watch me talk very very fast, as if the sheer quantity of my words equated to Godly wisdom" trick. I suppose if you slowed down everyone could see that you're not really saying anything.

  • The "shift in the atmosphere" trick. Is this the Christian Church or an episode of Ghost Hunters?

  • The "Holy Spirit Tourette Syndrome" trick. Really? That's supposed to be the result of the Holy Spirit??

 

  • The "don't put God in a box" trick. This is how you turn the sovereign God of the Universe who has revealed Himself in His Holy Word into your own weird little creation.

  • The "Law of Attraction" trick. Well, if you don't want to preach the Gospel from the Bible, I guess you might as well steal ideas from Oprah...

  • The "God spoke to me, so you pretty much have to believe whatever I say" trick. Don't worry, hardly anyone will notice that this is exactly how all cults get started.


Check out the new and improved: The Messed Up Church website!

Andy Stanley's "Aftermath" Series: Rejecting the Bible to Foster Faith?

(The "aftermath" of this sermon series should be the complete rejection of Andy Stanley's heretical teaching) 

(The "aftermath" of this sermon series should be the complete rejection of Andy Stanley's heretical teaching) 

In Andy Stanley's latest series, called "Aftermath," he suggests that Christians can unhinge their faith from the Bible while attaching their faith to the historically reliable resurrection of Christ (which is something we learn about from the Bible). Along with propagating doubt in God's Word, Andy Stanley is teaching a modern version of Marcionism, which is an ancient heresy that eliminates the Old Testament. Here are some recent articles that explain this in greater detail:

Andy Stanley's Modern Marcionism by Wesley Hill

Moralistic Therapeutic Marcionism by Rod Dreher

Marcion and Getting Unhitched from the Old Testament by Kevin DeYoung

 

Here are some direct quotes from this truly bizarre and confusing "sermon" series:

Jesus’s most devout first-century followers never owned a Bible, never read a Bible, they couldn’t have read the Bible if there was a Bible because most of them couldn’t read and there was no Bible to read. And yet, these men and woman turned the world upside down, they’re the reason we’re here today worshipping Jesus but they never held a Bible because there was no Bible until the fourth century. Why are you so quickly persuaded to walk away from faith because of a book that didn’t exist when Christianity began?
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
In order to remain irresistible, I noticed something we needed to address. And it had nothing to do with how we do church, it had everything to do with how we talk about the Bible, and specifically what we point to as the foundation of faith, which for most Christians, unfortunately, is the Bible.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
Many of you-I’m in this group-we were raised to believe that the foundation of our faith is the Bible; that as the Bible goes, so goes our faith, and if some of it’s not true then none of it can be trusted; it’s a house of cards.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
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It only took about ten minutes into the first sermon for Stanley to dismantle the authority of the Bible and give high praise to the sincerity and intelligence of atheists like Sam Harris, but then he spends the rest of the "sermon" talking about the ministry of Jesus and the early church while quoting from the Bible. But the obvious question should be: why is he using the Bible at all? 

Here is an excellent podcast from Matthew Garnett that carefully dissects the flawed and dangerous content of the first sermon, which was called Aftermath Part 1: Stand Alone:

Andy Stanley: "Christians Created the Bible" In Layman's Terms by Matthew Garnett

 

Here are some more direct quotes:

The first-century Christians had a very different kind of foundation for their faith than many of us have. Many of us were raised to believe that the foundation of our belief is the Bible, but they didn’t have a Bible, the Bible wouldn’t come until the early fourth century. What they based their faith on was an event-specifically the resurrection of Jesus, and this should be the reason we choose to follow as well.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
When Paul’s eyes were opened he had extraordinary clarity around the incompatibility of the Old and New Testaments.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
The Bible teaches that God mostly loves Jews AND the Bible teaches that God loves everybody; they are two incompatible covenants.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
I’m telling you, you take Old Testament values and imperatives and you mix them with New (Testament values and imperatives), you end up with a mess, and you end up with a message that unnecessarily drives people away from the Gospel. And once upon a time this wasn’t all that big of a deal, because once upon a time nobody knew that much about the Bible and they couldn’t find out much about the Bible unless they went to a library, but now everybody is one click away from whatever information they need to dismiss their faith, including your children and grandchildren.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
(On the public display of the Ten Commandments:) Jews aren’t for this, and it’s their law. You don’t see Jewish groups saying ‘We need the Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn!’ Jewish people are like: ‘It’s over, it’s over...’ and the Christians are like: ‘No! It’s not over, we wanna keep it alive!’ And the Jewish people are like ‘I don’t think you’ve read it carefully.’ Cause they’re smarter than us about THEIR scripture.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
The gig is up. The truth is out there. We can’t hide anymore. So let me be super honest: We can’t hide behind the Ten Commandments anymore because everybody has discovered that the Ten Commandments aren’t the only commandments; the Ten Commandments are the table of contents for the whole Jewish law.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
Originally in my notes I was gonna put a screen up here that said ‘In other words that means thou shalt not obey the ten commandments,’ but I knew someone would take a picture of that and it would define me for the rest of my life, so I’m not gonna put that up there...
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 3, April 28, 2018

Here is a terrific video from Chris Rosebrough reviewing Andy Stanley's third sermon in the series called Aftermath Part 3: Not Difficult:

 

This latest series from Andy Stanley is not much different than some of the other disturbing things he has been teaching for years. For much more information see: 

The Andy Stanley Cornucopia of False Teaching, Fast Talking & Postmodern Ambiguity

What's the Point of Billy Graham's Ministry? "God Has a Dream for You" Says Rick Warren

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Recently, Saddleback Church had a service where Rick Warren was teaching the importance of "choosing the right team for your dream." Mention was made of Billy Graham's ministry, since he had just recently died. After the last video montage about Billy Graham played, Rick Warren told his audience the importance of "fulfilling your dream-just like Billy Graham." After just a minute of his pep talk, he tells everyone to listen to message of the next song. The worship team then performs the pop song "This Is Me," which Billboard Magazine describes as: "a beautifully uplifting tribute to self-acceptance and self-love." Here are some of the lyrics:

I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ‘cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
— Lyrics from the song "This Is Me"

This bizarre combination of a Billy Graham tribute and a self-exalting secular song is a difficult and painful thing to watch. After the song ends, Rick Warren takes the mic and tearfully pleads with the audience to not waste their lives, and warns them not to live for the approval of others.

Wait, is this a church service... or the plot of every Disney film from the past twenty years?

Watch this edited version from the Saddleback Facebook page at your own risk:

Rick Warren also does his incredibly weak version of an "alter call" and suggests that people need to "accept Jesus" if they are to accomplish their dreams.

There is NO Gospel message here. This is a truly saddening pep rally of feel-good catch-phrases that belongs in an Amway rally from 1993. 

It sounds like Warren listened to this episode of Fighting for the Faith and did the exact opposite of everything that was said: How NOT to Shipwreck Your Faith

Rick Warren is a leader of the seeker-friendly takeover of Evangelicalism: The Seeker-Friendly, Purpose-Driven Cornucopia of False Doctrine


This article by Steven Kozar; check out his new and improved: The Messed Up Church website!

Dr. Michael Brown on Mushy Carl Lentz: Clear As Mud

Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong NYC recently appeared on The View where he utterly failed to give a direct answer to Joy Behar's direct question about abortion. Interestingly enough, he was able to give a clear and direct answer to the immorality of racism just a moment later. This is an example of Lentz doing the thing he's very good at:

Maintaining the largest possible audience by stating the most popular position, while avoiding clear answers on unpopular positions. 

In response to the complete failure of Carl Lentz, Dr. Michael Brown did the thing he's proven himself very good at doing:

Providing cover for a fellow Christian celebrity, while simultaneously trying to sound like a balanced and neutral mediator.

As a side note, this happened two years ago regarding a questionable Hillsong "Silent Night" video: Follow Up to Sleazy Silent Night

 

PLEASE read (and share) this important article (with links to more articles) from Church Watch Central:

Brown Lends Lentz a Spine?


Here's a great podcast from Matthew Garnett on this same topic: Carl Lentz Sells Out the Babies and the Evangelicals

For further research, here's another article about Carl Lentz NOT clearly proclaiming the Gospel while trying to increase his audience size: Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Biffs It on Oprah's SuperSoul Sunday

Here's a great teaching video from "Bezel Triple 3:"

 

Here's a LOT more information about Brian Houston (Carl Lentz's mentor and senior Pastor) and his Hillsong church: "The Brian Houston & Hillsong Cornucopia of False Doctrine,  Abuse, Obfuscation & Money Generation"

For those of you who think it's mean and unloving to criticize Hillsong, Carl Lentz (or any other popular teacher) here's a list of Bible verses to consider: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Carl Lentz or Hillsong, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an important article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

Devastating Proof of Brian Houston Lying to the Royal Commision (and Everyone Else!)

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Brian Houston glossed over the pedophilia that his father, Frank Houston, confessed to in 1999. In his seventies, Frank admitted to Brian that he had committed child molestation. This is the "Hillsong Day of Infamy." Instead of turning his father over the proper authorities, like he was supposed to do, Brian swept this very disturbing information under the rug. It appears that protecting the Hillsong brand name (and Houston family name) has always been more important than protecting children.

Brian Houston repeatedly claimed (under oath to the Royal Commission!) that he forced his father into immediate retirement from ministry, but in reality, Frank Houston continued preaching right up until his death in 2004. 

Here are a number of times that Brian Houston lied to the Australian Royal Commission in 2014:

But from a perspective of my responsibility, I saw my responsibility mainly as being the now, the present. And the present was that Frank was an ordained Assemblies of God pastor; he was a former pastor of Sydney Christian Life Centre; he was now an itinerant pastor attached to Sydney Christian Life Centre, and I saw my main responsibility, in terms of Frank, as addressing that, and, in my mind, he would never preach again, and he never did.
— Brian Houston quote, Royal Commission Case Study 18, Transcript Day 88, page 77
Again, from the moment I first confronted my father, I knew, as his overseeing pastor at Hillsong, he would never preach publicly again, and he never did.
— Brian Houston quote, Royal Commission Case Study 18, Transcript Day 88, page 96
I suspended him there and then. I ensured that from that day on, he never preached again in his life, anywhere…
— Brian Houston quote, Royal Commission Case Study 18, Transcript Day 89, page 16
That he “would be” stood down is a misinterpretation. He was stood down instantly. As a matter of fact, I will reinforce it again: he never, ever preached again anywhere after I confronted him in my office in mid to late November 1999.
— Brian Houston quote, Royal Commission Case Study 18, Transcript Day 89, page 27
I knew that he would never preach again and that he would not be in active ministry again, and he never was.
— Brian Houston quote, Royal Commission Case Study 18, Transcript Day 89, page 36

Here's Brian Houston on television with the (fake) story of how he stopped his father from preaching ever again:

But here's Frank Houston in a rambling and pointless "sermon" in September of 2004. Frank makes it very clear when this happened; he makes repeated references to the death of his wife, Hazel, which took place in early 2004, and he makes repeated remarks about his own age at the time. Frank also makes a number of (uncomfortable) comments about the good-looking children in the audience that day. If you want to waste 55 minutes of your life, listen to the true founder of Hillsong:

At the end of the "sermon" Frank Houston can be heard "speaking in tongues" like a babbling idiot. Listen to this if you want to get in the mood for Halloween:

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Even Heidi Baker wants to know "what's the deal, Brian?"

 

 

 

Here is a more detailed article from our Australian friends at ChurchWatch Central:

Breaking News: Brian Houston exposed lying to Royal Commission – pedophile father STILL preaching months before death

Here's an amazing article with more details from our friends at Churchwatch Central: Brian Houston Leverages Off Father's Reputation & Hides Paedophilia to Promote Himself & Hillsong

And another HUGE article, full of detailed research: Timeline & Source Material: Related to Frank Houston’s Pedophilia Coverup

To research more about Brian Houston and Hillsong Church: The Brian Houston and Hillsong Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Abuse, Obfuscation & Money Generation

Another related article: Questioning Brian Houston’s testimony about his pedophile father’s ‘sickness’.

For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Frank or Brian Houston (or any other popular teacher) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Hillsong, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

Todd White Has a Gigantic Mansion, Now He Wants YOU to Buy Him This $19 Million Mega-Church!

 

Todd White wants to raise $19 million to buy a gigantic mega-church, complete with auditorium, football field, Christian school and cafe. Todd portrays himself as a "street preacher" who demonstrates the Power and Love of Jesus all day long, but he's really just another money-grubbing evangelist who has disguised the get-rich schemes of Kenneth Copeland and Robert Morris under his dreadlocks and blue jeans. Here's his promo video: 

Todd wants to convince everyone to send him money because the "Smart Phone Prophet" Shawn Bolz got a direct revelation from God about this new land acquisition. For perpetuating this scheme, Shawn can be assured of a very profitable and ongoing speaking gig if this deal goes through. 

In the video, Todd says, "God has told me to multiply my heart." Hmmm, I guess it would be too obvious if he said, "God told me to multiply my bank account and real estate holdings..."

Here's a photo of Todd White's obscenely large and extravagant mansion:

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Wanna know how much money Todd White actually makes? In 2015 it was OVER $600,000!! 

Here's an article with details on Todd's obscene income: Todd White: How Much Money Does He Actually Make?

 

 

 

Todd White is learning how to make the really big bucks from the experts:

Todd White radically encountered the Holy Spirit at a Benny Hinn meeting, where he felt electricity "like he was plugged into a light socket," and the ushers on either side of Todd White were thrown "three feet in the air and about ten feet back."

Todd White says that he "can claim someone for God and there's no way for them to get out of it:"

 

2 Corinthians 2:17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”

1 Thessalonians 2:5  “You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness.”

Acts 20:28-31  “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

1 Timothy 6:5  “...and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”

Matthew 6:24  “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”


Check out this giant compilation of articles about Todd White:

The Todd White Cornucopia of False Teaching

Todd White is part of a gigantic, shape-shifting, loosely-knit movement known as The New Apostolic Reformation

This article by Steven Kozar; check out his new and improved: The Messed Up Church website!

Brian Houston: Used Car Salesman Pushing the Hillsong Brand

On July 6th, 2017, Brian Houston wrote an article for an Australian News site. In this article, he shows himself to be a "used car salesman" who is just pushing his Hillsong brand under the guise of being a pastor who cares about the entire country of Australia. Let's take a look at what he wrote and analyze it; Houston's words are in bold, and my comments will be in italics and in parentheses. -Steven Kozar

 

 

THE census results that revealed a small drop in the number of people calling themselves “Christian”, and less people identifying themselves as being affiliated with any religion, should be a wake-up call for the Christian church across Australia.

While these results were not unexpected, the census also showed the changing social values our country is facing including a rise in the number of people following the Muslim faith.

Again, this is not surprising, as it is clear that Australia’s immigration policies are having an impact on the texture and makeup of our society. Yet as a Christian pastor it does concern me that what I see as the foundations of our community — the values that bring us together — are being diminished, and the faith that has shaped our nation for so long is declining.

While many Australians are not practising Christians and value, as I do, the many different cultures that form our country, I believe the vast majority also want a strong sense of national identity and don’t want to lose those features that make us unique. (This appears to be an attempt to say to the non-Christians in his audience: "Hey! We're really nice; not like those Muslims. If you won't become a Christian, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me continue growing this Hillsong monster across the country; it makes us unique!")

At the same time, Australians are concerned at the extremism they see overseas and are fearful that recent events in Australia make us vulnerable to a similar path.

The Christian church can — and should — play a significant role in reshaping our national identity and providing Australians with hope, love, peace and faith. I am convinced that, just as Christianity was the solution to the greatest human issues 2000 years ago, so it is to this day. (This is one of many examples where Houston turns the Christian Church into a vague and charitable entity for the purpose of increasing brand acceptance to his targeted demographic. How, specifically, is the Christian Church offering a solution to the greatest human issues? What is the solution he speaks of? Who knows? He never proclaims the actual Gospel message. )

The recent census figures show that many Australians are understandably disenchanted by church child abuse scandals (This is coming from the guy who protected his pedophile father, Frank Houston) and the perceived irrelevance of formalised religion. At the same time we are seeing an increasing demonising of Christianity for holding firm to 2000-year-old biblical perspectives on societal issues such as sexuality, marriage and the inherent value of human life.

But are we witnessing the demise of Christianity and the church in our country? I don’t believe so. Despite these census statistics there are life-giving churches all over the country that are growing, youthful, and clearly meeting the very real needs of people. (Here's where Brian Houston defines his brand: Life-giving. Growing. Youthful. Meeting the Very Real Needs of People. No Old People Allowed. Take Your Hymnals and Your Wheelchairs and Just Go Away.)

The gospel message is timeless and should not be tampered with; but for the church, the methods simply must change to keep pace with society’s desperate cry for authenticity and a deeper meaning in life. The Christian message is one of love and acceptance, and must replace the sense of hatred, fear and cynicism that the world is experiencing at the moment.  (It should surprise no one that Houston fails to articulate any Gospel message at all. "The gospel message is one of love and acceptance?" No Brian, that's the message of postmodern pop culture; that's the message of a spineless frontman trying to win the approval of the most gullible members of society. The Gospel is about how Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of mankind. If society is actually crying out for authenticity, as you claim, how is the Hillsong brand helping? By putting on even bigger spectacles in even larger auditoriums with even cooler "pastors," who have bad theology but dress like primping rock stars? THAT'S the Hillsong solution to society's deepest needs? Brian Houston IS the problem! Hillsong is a heavily-marketed corporate entity pretending to be a church, and hurting untold thousands of people with a false Gospel message.)

 

In my experience, as I engage with everyday Australians in cafes, airports, or shopping malls, people at large are not anti-God; they are anti hypocrisy, irrelevance, and ‘tired’ old religion that has compromised on issues of morality and Christian distinctives(This is the Hillsong pitch: "You don't like hypocrites? Neither does Hillsong! You don't like 'tired' old religion? Neither does Hillsong! Wow, it sounds like our church is perfect for you, doesn't it?! Now, what's it gonna take to get you to drive this church off the lot today?")

We, the church in Australia, are stewards of a message desperately needed in these complex days. The good news of Jesus Christ is a message of life and hope and the New Testament points to a God who is for us and not against us. In a world of extremism, tension, hatred, horror and sheer evil, the Australian church, no matter what the persuasion, is desperately needed in this country. But are we recognising societal needs and focusing on bringing life-giving answers? Sadly, often the answer is no. People need community and a real sense of belonging. People need hope. You can live a certain amount of time without food — a lot less time without water — but we were never designed to live without hope. (Once again, Houston mentions nothing of the redemption that Jesus provided by His death on the cross. Instead, he tells everyone about the need for hope that we all share. Yes, we all need hope, but Houston is not providing real hope, he's selling the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation bucket of bolts that takes money from people and gives them nothing in return. The "community" of Hillsong is not based on the true fellowship that the Christian Church provides, because Hillsong is not a real Christian Church. Btw, yes I know, I know, there are some actual Christians involved in Hillsong...)

People are tired of religion with form but without substance, with ritual but without relevance — that is what people are shunning. People are scared because of the evil we constantly witness on the news — in the name of religion. (Hillsong, like every cool new Mega-Church, claims to be "real" and "relevant" but those are just catch-phrases, and a growing number of people are abandoning these "churches," as they figure out that this is a bait and switch sales pitch. This is a marketing gimmick, and it works for a while, just like any multi-level marketing organization. Hillsong constantly hypes itself, uses hyped-up rock bands with laser light shows and has hyped-up "pastors" preaching a positive-thinking/prosperity message that tickles itching ears. And of course, it always contrasts itself against crusty old "religion." You don't like religion? Neither does Hillsong!...)

The "Life-Giving" LASERS OF HILLSONG

The "Life-Giving" LASERS OF HILLSONG

 

No matter what the denomination or name above our doors, the Australian church that believes in Jesus Christ, must show more commitment to the real issues. We must help people to find a sense of belonging, meet physical and spiritual needs, and speak life-giving messages that connect with people’s everyday lives.  (So, Brian says that churches must "show more commitment to real issues." That's quite a sentence, coming from the master of hype, marketing and Prosperity Pimping. What does he leave out, again? The Gospel message. Jesus did not die on the cross to just help people "find a place of belonging," so we can "speak life-giving messages" of prosperity and earthly success. Oh wait, the Gospel message doesn't "connect with people's everyday lives," nevermind...)

With a 2017 worldview and a first-century message, the church in Australia will continue to be an active, effective, and dynamic part of the heart and fabric of this wonderful country. (This is a real audacious sales job; it's completely backward and upside down. This is putting a cheap, but shiney paint job on a broken-down rust bucket. A "2017 worldview?" What does that even mean? And he says that Hillsong has a "first-century message?" Really?? When did the first-century church use stadiums, rock bands with laser-light shows, TV shows and Word of Faith heretical teaching based on sorcery, selfishness and power-grabbing businessmen sporting perfectly groomed beard stubble in place of sacrificial and pastoral shepherding? When did the first-century church abandon the message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and replace it with a Naked Cowboy?

When did the first-century church go to bars with pop superstars to down shots and start to take off their clothes? When did the first-century church have "pastors" like these? (yes, these are Hillsong "pastors"):

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Let’s keep our distinctive traditions, Eucharist or biblical values but recognise the times we now live in and bring to people the answers they desperately need.  (This sounds like a politician fumbling for words and desperately trying to come across as broadminded and knowledgeable while saying nothing of any substance. "Eucharist?" How does that even fit within that sentence?? Come on Brian, you can afford a good ghost-writer; I suggest you hire someone who can construct fully functional sentences.)

I’m a believer. The church in Australia has the perfect message for a deeply troubled world in 2017. We just cannot afford to make the methods more sacred than the message. (Translation: "We've got this giant Hillsong thing figured out, and I'm getting filthy rich as a result, so you better let us keep expanding like a giant blob of rancid bread dough across this great country.")


Read and research more about Brian Houston and the Hillsong Brand: The Brian Houston & Hillsong Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Abuse, Obfuscation & Money Generation

Here are a whole bunch of episodes of Fighting for the Faith where Brian Houston's "sermons" are compared to true Christian doctrine from the Bible: Fighting for the Faith

Tired of Mega-Church Mobsters and the Evangelical Industrial Complex? Read A Manifesto of Christian Discernment

When Did the Church Turn Into Amway??

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True Story:

      In the 1990's my wife and me had three young children and we were in financial trouble; my income as an artist was very inconsistent. We were invited to become Amway distributors by a family member who knew we were the kind of "go-getters" who could really "make things happen." 

      I was very skeptical at first, but I eventually gave into the promise of "multiple streams of residual income." In the late 1990's we heard (and fell for) "The Dream Destiny Thingy." This is years before it crept into (and devoured) much of the church. It's a bunch of assumptions that go something like this: 

"God brought you here today for a reason; it's not an accident that you're in this meeting today. The reason you're struggling financially is because you don't have a dream-it's not because you don't have money! Once you have a big enough dream, the money will follow. Amway is just the business vehicle; this is really about changing people's lives by getting them to pursue their dreams." 

They would pray in the meetings like this: 

"Thank you God that you've given each of us the ability to dream. Help us to chase our dreams, discover our destiny and make a real difference in people's lives. In Jesus name, Amen."

 We were taught about the power of using the right words to speak things into existence. We had to be positive all the time because being negative would attract negative results. (Years later, I would go on to research and refute this Word of Faith false doctrine.)

Large Amway conventions are the ultimate gig for motivational speakers and other performers, and most of the really big guns were there, helping to prop up the illusion that Amway was a great opportunity for anyone willing to work hard and stick to it. Zig Ziglar, Robert Kiyosaki, John Maxwell and other big name speakers have all done the Amway gig; people would even write books praising the Amway opportunity because they knew thousands of distributors would buy them; it was a built-in audience of niche consumers. I tried not to notice how none of these people making money by praising Amway actually joined up and became Amway distributors themselves.

     But the best speakers in the Amway business weren't the "professional" speakers, they were the "regular folks" who worked hard and had made it to the level of Diamond (or higher). These "regular folks" would convince the socks off of anyone that you could make it happen. "You just need to really buy into the system and do everything your leaders tell you to do; your success is guaranteed!" "If your dream is big enough, the facts don't count!" The most convincing Diamond speakers would come from another organization and speak at your meeting to help you grow your business. "Wow, these people are so nice and giving of their time" you would think. Plus, they would always start by praising your leaders and telling you how lucky you were to have the leadership that you had in your own organization. 

     Eventually, I learned that all of these Diamond (and above) speakers were getting giant speaking fees. They weren't giving their time, they were selling their time. If you were getting $10,000 for an hour and a half speech, do you think you could praise whoever was writing your check? On top of the very convincing speakers, they had amazing videos with powerful music and emotionally charged stories to tear at your heartstrings. The use of multimedia was incredibly effective, especially in a stadium full of like-minded people who all believed. 

We were even told that if you went to the next big meeting it "would really build up your belief." A more honest way of saying it would be "if you go to this big meeting you'll be convinced to stick around long enough for us to make money off of you for a little while longer because you'll be emotionally convinced that this business is great!"

This Isn't a Dream, It's a Nightmare!

     In short, we spent 4 years trying to build an Amway business and lost about $40,000 in the process. We did everything we were supposed to do-everything!

  • I know all about mind control techniques because I experienced them first hand.

  • I know what it's like to be emotionally manipulated because I experienced it first hand.

  • I know about turning the Christian faith into a vehicle that promises to make your dreams come true because I experienced it first hand.

On top of all that, we started going to a large "positive confession" charismatic church as a result of this new outlook on our faith. We prayed and prayed and prayed... and prayed: "God please help us build this great business so we can be financially free and help others..." 

     But God didn't answer. We had to figure out the hard way that we were being scammed. 

You see, in most Amway businesses, all of the emphasis is on "the system," which had 3 components (called "tools"): Books, CDs and Functions. We would buy and read the positive self-help type books (a new one every month); we would buy and listen to a motivational CD every week (or more if you were really committed, like us), and we would buy a ticket to a different function every single month. 

No matter what. 

This is how they could build such large and compliant organizations. This is simply a type of thought-control. Some of the teaching was actually decent business/success type material, but overall, the system kept people in the business and in the dark. Sure there were always people quitting, but there were always new people to replace the quitters. And there was tremendous profit to be made on each and every book, CD and ticket; that's where the upline distributors were making most of their money. It was all in secret and a lot of it was cash under the table, so these hucksters weren't even paying tax on all their income. After the internet became popular, Amway's seedy underbelly couldn't hide so easily, and it has never gotten back to its original multi-billion dollar American heyday (much of Amway's growth has been in foreign countries in the past 15 years).

 

The Evangelical Industrial Complex has copied many of the very things that have worked so well in Amway:

 

  • Tell people that Christianity is all about getting your Dreams and realizing your Destiny. Check.

  • Tell people that having lots of money is a good thing that God wants for you (so you can help others, of course). Check.

  • Tell people to only listen to positive messages about success and prosperity. Check.

  • Tell people that they can speak things into existence because words have power. Check.

  • Ignore the people continually quitting and leaving, because they get replaced by new and different people just as fast. Check.

  • Get people to "experience life change" by learning self-help and relationship-building techniques, but don't emphasis repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Check.

  • The guy on the stage is making money off the people in the seats. Check.

  • The guy on the stage is promising you things you'll never actually get (in the name of God). Check.

  • After you don't get what you were promised you're told to have more faith and try harder (and buy the latest book). Check.

  • The visiting speaker (pastor) praises the local leader (pastor) and gets a fat speaking fee (plus sells his books in the lobby). Check. (handy tip: It's not a speaker fee if it comes from a "free-will offering")

  • Use music, lights and multimedia/video to emotionally manipulate like-minded people who desperately want to believe. Check.

 

Wait a minute, is this Amway or a Mega-Church we're talking about?? 

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
— Romans 12: 1-2

For further research on this topic:

The Seeker-Friendly, Purpose-Driven Cornucopia of False Doctrine

FYI, Here is an excellent website with details about the Amway tool scam:

Stop The Amway Tool Scam

Also, just to be clear, I have no ill feelings towards those in my upline who were taken in by this "business" and who probably lost even more money than I did. God help us all. -Steven Kozar

This article by Steven Kozar; check out his new and improved: The Messed Up Church website! 

Steven Furtick (and Craig Groeschel) Jump On Prosperity Bandwagon

Two of America's biggest and most influential Evangelical megachurch "rock star" pastors have officially jumped the shark and joined forces with full-on "prosperity pimp" Bill Winston

 

 

These guys pass themselves off as Bible-teaching pastors, but they have proven (yet again) that it's all about the money. Word of Faith teaching has no place in a real, Christ-centered, Christian church.

 

Here's an article about this pathetic excuse for "leadership" and "business training" from our friends at Pulpit and Pen:

Steven Furtick Goes Full-On Prosperity by Jeff Maples

 

For an extra-large dose of irony, here's a full-page advertisement from Christianity Today Magazine (May 2016) from the (poorly named) Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability:

"You can trust us! Why? Because we took out this expensive ad that says you can trust us!"


 

The Steven Furtick Cornucopia of False Teaching, Egomania and Hair Gel

Bill Winston, Steven Furtick and Craig Groeschel do NOT want you to read this: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know!

Getting Booted From Elevation Church

 

Our "fearless friend," Elliott Nesch, took two of his children and went to visit Elevation Church a few months ago; this is the article he wrote about that experience:

Our Recent "Worship Experience" at Elevation Church

 

 

 

For further reading and research:

The Steven Furtick Cornucopia of False Teaching, Egomania and Hair Gel

The Seeker-Friendly, Purpose-Driven Cornucopia of False Doctrine

The Andy Stanley Cornucopia of False Teaching, Fast Talking & Postmodern Ambiguity

Andy Stanley is one of America's top pastors; he is probably one of the top three most influential pastors in the U.S.A. today. Unlike many of the more blatantly heretical pastors that are critiqued on Pirate Christian Media, Stanley has a very mainstream reputation and following. Most Evangelical Christians can't even imagine that he might be leading them astray because much of what he says sounds pretty good; it sounds pretty "normal." He is seen as a pastor who is simply taking traditional, Biblical Christianity into the future by re-packaging it and re-interpreting it for non-Christians. Because Stanley works hard to appeal to a postmodern audience, much of what he says can be interpreted multiple ways, so there is much disagreement about his teaching and what he "actually means." This kind of confusion is not good.

  • On one hand, he says that "it's next to impossible to defend the entire Bible," and says that "the Bible is not the foundation of our faith;" but he later tells his audience how he loves the Bible and reads it every day. The North Point website states "We believe the Bible is without error."

  • He claims that pastors should "take the focus off the Bible on put it on the resurrection," but we know about the resurrection because it's written about in the Bible. Stanley seems incapable of simply saying that the Bible is God's Word and it's historically dependable. 

  • He repeatedly claims that the early church had no Bible at all until well into the third century, even though that is historically incoherent and dishonest. The early church had the separate books of the Bible before they were bound together in one volume.  

  • He invented something he calls "the temple model" and claims that all false religions (including the Old Testament Jewish religion established by God) had a "sacred text," a "sacred space" and a "sacred man." He claims that these three things need to be eliminated, because he thinks that Jesus taught this (even though Jesus never actually taught this). Incidentally, he is still the senior pastor (sacred man) of North Point Church (sacred space) who makes frequent reference to the Bible (sacred text). He has veered towards eliminating the Bible, though...

 

What is Andy Stanley very clear about? He seems to have tremendous confidence in his own ability to convince everyone of whatever he currently believes is important. He appears to have much more confidence in himself than the Word of God. Judging by the infrequent use of Scripture in his sermons and his willingness to erode confidence in the Bible, it really seems like Andy Stanley is happy to be the focal point of his church. Although he claims to be directing attention to Jesus, it's impossible to know which Jesus he's talking about, because without the objective Word of God as the reference, he ends up making himself the authority over who Jesus really is and what Jesus really taught. 

If the following articles, podcasts and videos are any indication, a substantial case can be made that Andy Stanley is doing more than just explaining the "faith once handing down to the saints" to a new generation. There is troubling evidence that Stanley is trying to change the meaning, definition and purpose of the Church itself.

 

These articles are from different Christians from various theological and denominational backgrounds (although there are a lot of Baptists), but they all have concerns about the un-Biblical, confusing and sometimes dangerous teachings coming from Andy Stanley:

Why We Can’t Unhitch from the Old Testament

Andy Stanley's "Aftermath" Series: Rejecting the Bible to Foster Faith? 

"The Bible Says So" Is Enough: A Response to Andy Stanley by Gabe Hughes

3 Nagging Problems with Andy Stanley's Approach to the Bible by Jared C. Wilson

Andy Stanley's Approach to the Virgin Birth by Gerald Harris

For the Bible Tells Me So: Biblical Authority Denied… Again by Albert Mohler

Is the Bible Foundational to Christianity? Engaging with Andy Stanley by Michael Kruger

Andy Stanley's Relentless Attacks on Christianity and Covering His Tracks (with links to more articles) by Jeff Maples

Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge-They’re Old Liberalism by David Prince

The Always Ambiguous Andy Stanley by Will Sanders

These Words Shall Be on Your Heart by Gabe Hughes

Andy Stanley's Dishonest, Deceptive, and Dangerous Teaching by Philip Lee

"Love the Way You Turn Me On!" at North Point Church in the Museum of Idolatry

Andy Stanley and the "NEW Hermeneutic" by John Barber

Andy Stanley and the "New" Christianity's "Bibliolatry" by Lighthouse Trails Research

Andy Stanley, Megachurches, and the Bullying of Christ’s Bride by Nate Pickowicz

On the Road to Emmaus: A Response to Andy Stanley's Sermon "The Bible Told Me So" by Rustin Umstattd

Problems at Andy Stanley's North Point Church?(With links to more content) by Christine Pack

Andy Stanley: You’re Not Smart Enough If You’re Not In “One of Our Churches” (Doubling Down on Unnecessary Scripture) by Bud Ahlheim

Deep and Wide book review by Gary Gilley

Andy Stanley’s Apology, and Some Mega-questions for the Megachurch by Jonathan Aigner

SBC Conference: “Get The Spotlight Off The Bible" by Bud Ahlheim

Andy Stanley Trashes Expository Preaching; Calls it “Easy” and “Cheating” by J.D. Hall

Andy Stanley-We Can't Arrive at the Empty Tomb Without the Bible by Josh Buice

Andy Stanley, do you really want Christians to keep Christ out of business? by Bryan Fischer

Andy Stanley Clarifies -Stop Praying for Local Church Revival and Get Busy by David Prince

Superstar Mega-church Preacher Man Andy Stanley: Scripture Can’t Be Defended by Bud Ahlheim

The Care and Feeding of God's Flock by Phil Johnson

Andy Stanley’s Troubling New Sermon by Alexander Griswold

Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism? by Albert Mohler

Andy Did It Again by Todd Pruitt

Andy Stanley’s Troubling Rules on Love, Sex, and Dating by Chelsen Vicari

True Stories from the Messed Up Church: Andy Stanley's North Point Church

Russell Moore, Andy Stanley Our Evangelical Pope? Red Grace Media Podcast

Many Fighting for the Faith Episodes Featuring Andy Stanley by Chris Rosebrough

Here's a YouTube video from James White, who does an extended review of Any Stanley's recent "Who Needs God" series (more Andy Stanley reviews are on his "Alpha & Omega Ministries" channel).

“Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit.”
Clement of Rome

“Read again and again the divine Scriptures; nay, let the Holy Book never be out of your hands. Learn, that you may teach.” Jerome

“We must surrender ourselves to the authority of Holy Scripture, for it can neither mislead nor be misled.”   Augustine

“Whom God intends to destroy, He gives them leave to play with Scripture.” Martin Luther

“Scripture is the Holy Spirit’s school where everything we need to know is taught and where nothing is taught that is unnecessary.” John Calvin

“And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.” Jonathan Edwards

“Indeed, since the entirety of Scripture is the Word of the Lord, no testimony could possibly be better, more certain or more efficacious. For if God, who cannot lie, has spoken something in His own Scripture, which is itself the mirror of His will, then it is true.” John Wycliffe

“Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context.” John Wesley

“Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.” J.C. Ryle

“If we once get above our Bibles and cease making the written Word of God our sole rule as to faith and practice, we shall too lie open to all manner of delusion and be in great danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.”  George Whitfield

“The Bible is the Word of God in such a way that when the Bible speaks, God speaks.” B.B. Warfield

"If there be anything in the church to which you belong which is contrary to the inspired Word, leave that church." Charles Spurgeon

“There is not better book with which to defend the Bible than the Bible itself.”  D.L. Moody

"Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life." J. Gresham Machen

“We must stress that the basis for our faith is neither experience nor emotion but truth as God has given it in verbalized, propositional form in the Scripture and which we first apprehend with our minds.”  Francis Schaeffer

“There is no substitute for submission to Scripture. Your spiritual health depends on placing the utmost value on the Word of God and obeying it with an eager heart.”  John MacArthur

Our spiritual maturity will never exceed our knowledge of the Bible.”  Albert Mohler

Submission to the Scriptures is submission to God. Rebellion against the Scriptures is rebellion against God.”  Kevin DeYoung

"The idea of sola Scriptura is that there is only one written source of divine revelation, which can never be placed on a parallel status with confessional statements, creeds, or the traditions of the church. Scripture alone has the authority to bind the conscience precisely because only Scripture is the written revelation of almighty God." R. C. Sproul  

“The inerrancy of Holy Scripture is the watershed theological issue in the church today–as it has been in every generation since the rise of modern secularism and rationalistic biblical criticism. Every single denomination, theological seminary, and Christian college that has departed from it has begun an inexorable decline and loss of biblical witness. The saving gospel itself cannot be sustained apart from a trustworthy Scripture. Any other position displays appalling naïveté and ignorance of the history of the modern church both in Europe and in America.”  John Warwick Montgomery

"The teacher does well to keep this truth in mind. In our day it has become the fashion to say, 'We believe in a Person (meaning Jesus Christ), not in a Book.' Let us not be taken in by such a remark. We know Jesus only as he is made known by the Book, the Bible. True faith in him is created by the Holy Spirit only through the Book. In most cases, the above reasoning is used to COVER UP AN ATTEMPT TO FASHION A DIFFERENT JESUS AND A DIFFERENT 'FAITH' - BOTH MORE TO ONE'S OWN LIKING."  Werner Franzmann  

 

"It is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible." Andy Stanley


For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Andy Stanley/North Point Church (or any other popular teacher/church) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend this man's ideas, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Here's a very extensive documentary exposing the problems with the "Seeker-Friendly" church model: Church of Tares: Purpose Driven, Seeker Sensitive

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

 

This article by Steven Kozar; check out his new and improved: The Messed Up Church website!

The Steven Furtick Cornucopia of False Teaching, Egomania and Hair Gel

Steven Furtick is a rock star among pop Evangelical megachurch pastors. The church he founded in 2006, "Elevation Church," is one of the largest and fastest growing churches in the USA. Although he actually has a Masters of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he preaches a "Word of Faith" type of Christianity and considers T.D. Jakes (a Trinity-denying modalist) as his role model. Furtick does not have an in-church board of elders that can hold him accountable, instead he has a corporate board comprised of other mega-church pastors; as a result he makes an undisclosed salary and lives in a 16,000 square foot mansion. He also gets extremely lucrative speaking engagements from his fellow megachurch pastors, and he speaks at many of the largest "Christian" conferences around the world.

Steven Furtick's sermons are full of Christian words and imagery, but he ultimately preaches a narcissistic gospel devoid of much Biblical truth; instead he uses manipulative speeches that "work the crowd" with spectacular success. Sadly, the Southern Baptist Convention has done little to hold Furtick and his church to the Biblical orthodoxy they are typically known for.

The following is a list of articles from Christians coming from different denominational and theological backgrounds, who all agree that Steven Furtick is not to be wholly trusted as a Biblically sound pastor:

Newest: Steven Furtick to Join Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton for Bethel Conference

Newest: Myles Munroe Heresy Propaganda at Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church

Newest: Steven Furtick (and Craig Groeschel) Jump on Prosperity Bandwagon

Newest: Furtick, Elevation Church activate N.A.R. Apostles

NewestFurtick joins Rod Parsley’s 2017 N.A.R. “Dominion Camp”

Why Won't Steven Furtick Answer Tough Questions About His Ministry? by Religious News Service

Steven Furtick: Unqualified, Not Worthy by Marsha West

Elevation Coloring Book? by Berean Examiner 

Steven Furtick is Looking For Favor by Do Not Be Surprised

Why narcigesis doesn’t work: Furtick claims to be “the son of God” by Churchwatch Central

Furtick to Kids: Memorize the Code by Berean Exaniner

Are T. D. Jakes and Steven Furtick Heretics? by Pastor Gabe Hughes Blog

Why is Steven Furtick Acting Like a Cult Leader? by Crosswalk.com

Concerns About the Ministry of Steven Furtick by Learning the Path

Steven Furtick Teaches That God Breaks the Law by Berean Research

Furtick Listed Among Top "Oprah-Certified" Gurus by Museum of Idolatry

Steven Furtick Has Faith in Doubt by Jeff Maples

Power of Potential to Elevate Furtick's Ego? by Museum of Idolatry

Steven Furtick Evaluation by Matt Slick of CARM

The Cult of Furtick by Doug Evans

Many Episodes of Fighting for the Faith featuring Steven Furtick

Many Steven Furtick Articles by Churchwatch Central

Many Steven Furtick Articles by Pulpit and Pen

Many Steven Furtick Articles by The Wartburg Watch

Many Steven Furtick Articles by Apprising Ministries

Debunking Steven Furtick's Book "Greater" YouTube Playlist

 

Early in his career, Steven Furtick made a very hip spoken word  video called "Hey Haters" that was later re-mixed with his actual words being replaced with a crazy cartoon voice. The resulting video made him look so ridiculous that he never made another such video. Enjoy the Max Holiday version of "Hey Haters" below:

For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Steven Furtick (or any other church leader) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Steven Furtick, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Assertions and Assumptions are Not the Foundation of the Church

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

The following video uses satire to, perhaps, say more than all of the previous articles combined:

This article by Steven Kozar; check out his new and improved: The Messed Up Church website!

The Hillsong Day of Infamy

Hillsong Church has very serious doctrinal and theological problems, such as its corporate take-over strategy for church growth, its use of worldly entertainment to draw gigantic crowds (and then avoid proclaiming the Gospel in order to keep those crowds), and its clearly un-biblical Word of Faith/prosperity/New Apostolic Reformation teachings. But there is an event that you are not supposed to know about-a very disturbing and sickening event. And if you do know about it, you're only supposed to know the Hillsong version of it.

This day occurred in late October of 1999. This is the day Frank Houston told his son, Brian Houston, that he had sexually abused a child in the church-he admitted to being a pedophile. Brian Houston kept this a secret and eventually became the new pastor as he protected his father; but today he claims that he was open and transparent about his father's sin. Brian Houston has since become an Evangelical Superstar (and millionaire). He has become one of the most influential pastors in the world. He has become a best-selling author. The one thing he hasn't become is honest about what really happened. 

Here's an amazing article with more details from our friends at Churchwatch Central: Brian Houston Leverages Off Father's Reputation & Hides Paedophilia to Promote Himself & Hillsong

And another HUGE article, full of detailed research: Timeline & Source Material: Related to Frank Houston’s Pedophilia Coverup

Here's another article from Churchwatch Central about the number of children who may have been involved in this paedophile scandal: Brian Checked Granddad Hadn't Touched Own Kids Over "One-Off Incident"

 

Read more about Brian Houston and Hillsong Church: The Brian Houston and Hillsong Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Abuse, Obfuscation & Money Generation

For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Frank or Brian Houston (or any other popular teacher) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend Hillsong, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

An Open Letter to Andy Stanley (with additional articles and Stanley's response)

This is a GREAT article from Pastor Tom Buck in response to Andy Stanley's recent outrageous sermon and subsequent "apology tweet." There are other issues in that sermon that really need to be addressed (like the total lack of any Gospel message), but Stanley's insulting comments about small churches are addressed very carefully in this article: An Open Letter to Andy Stanley

Here's a different perspective with some really good insights from blogger Seth Dunn over at Pulpit and Pen: An Open Letter to the Members of North Point Ministries Churches

Here's another good "open letter" type article from Jonathan Aigner called: Don't Take Your Kids to a Megachurch

Also, here's the recent episode of Fighting for the Faith where Andy Stanley's sermon was discussed by Pastor Chris Rosebrough.

Here's an update to this story (as of March 8th, 2016): Andy Stanley Explains His 'Stinking Selfish' Parents Comment-Christianity Today

It's Time to Talk: 10 Reasons You Should Break Up With Joel Osteen

Yes we know, he makes you feel good... and he's sooo nice. But let's be honest: he's not good for you

 

Here are 10 reasons why you should break up with Joel Osteen (and find a real pastor):

1. He takes Bible verses completely out of context and changes the meaning of God's Word. A lot of times he only uses half a verse! This is not a mistake, girl-he's doing it on purpose! No real man of God would ever do that. Ever! Anybody can hold up a Bible and wave it around, a real pastor dedicates himself to studying it, and then carefully and faithfully explaining it in context. A phony pastor uses it like a prop and pulls stuff out of it to make it say whatever he wants.

2. He tells you all the things you wanna hear, but they aren't really true. He's appealing to your selfish "felt needs," because he doesn't care enough to tell you the hard truth that would actually help you. He's promising you all sorts of earthly comfort, prosperity and happiness, but those are empty promises-and you know it. He's leading you on!

3. He isn't giving you the really good news-the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You know, the message of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. He should be promising you the one thing a pastor can promise you: the free gift of salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ; but instead he's puffing you up with false dreams of worldly success. You're falling for that? Once he has ignored the true Gospel, he replaces it with the crazy "God wants to bless you, but He can't-you have to do you're part" teaching. Is he talking about the sovereign God who made the whole universe out of nothing, or is this a genie in a bottle who needs us to figure out the secret password??

4. He's getting rich off of you-that's not what pastors are supposed to do! Now, it's true that he's getting rich mostly from his book sales and other income sources (he doesn't need to take a salary from his church anymore), but without the huge audience he gained from his church and it's TV program he never would have become so famous and sold so many books. He is not really helping others to be successful like he claims-unless they all go out and start mega-churches that have TV shows and big-time book publishing deals. He's at the top of the pyramid!

5. He has become so huge in popularity and influence, that people think he represents true Christianity in America. You know that's not right! He teaches a "Word of Faith" version of Christianity that doesn't come from the Bible at all-it actually comes from Kenneth Hagin, who plagiarized E. W. Kenyon, and Kenyon was getting ideas from Phineas P. Quimby-the same guy whose non-Christian metaphysical ideas influenced Christian Science. When Osteen says we can "speak things into existence" he's talking about sorcery-not Christianity!

6. You're falling for all that bling? Really?? A big fancy stadium, a TV Show, best-selling books... that doesn't mean he's telling you the truth! Are you gonna trust someone with your very soul, just because they're rich and famous? Did you know that Joel Osteen only went to college to study radio and television communications-but he never even graduated? But worse than that, he never studied the Bible or theology at any Bible school, college or seminary-ever! He's making it up as he goes! Real pastors are carefully trained in good doctrine-otherwise they end up saying things about God that aren't true, and they lead people away from the true God!

7. He's not gonna be there for you when you need him! He's not a real pastor, he's a millionaire celebrity! A real pastor sits down with you and carefully explains God's Word, week after week after week. This guy is flying around the world, hobnobbing with Oprah and who knows who. A real pastor takes care of his sheep-he doesn't just go onstage and give a little motivational speech once a week. These mega-pastors are completely isolated from the "regular" folks-just like rock stars, big politicians and movie stars.

8. He's setting a bad example of a Christian pastor, and you're setting a bad example by following him. Most unbelievers can see that this guy is kind of a joke (or worse), but way too many gullible Christians are propping him up, and we should know better. Basically, having an unqualified, Bible-twisting, multi-millionaire celebrity described as a "pastor" is a very big embarrassment to the Church. If we are going to be credible followers of Christ, we should have credible pastors; pastors who will "contend earnestly for the faith" and who will "speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine,” not a guy who scratches people's itching ears and tells them what they want to hear.

9. Admit it-you like being part of something really really BIG! It's one of the oldest tricks in the book: you're with all those like-minded people and you get to say "I'm a part of something really important and exciting!" It's like you're at the Super Bowl or something. It's no accident that these mega-churches have exciting rock bands with light shows and giant video screens-they are manipulating you until you can no longer resist. Get a grip! This guy will never even know you're name-you're just another seat filler. A real church with a real pastor is not like this. You deserve better!

10. Here's a list of shocking things you're not supposed to know; Joel Osteen will NOT mention these Bible verses because he's not a real pastor. Break up with him, and find a real pastor at a real church. You will be so glad to hear the true Gospel of Jesus Christ!


And I, when I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
— 1 Corinthians 2: 1-2
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
— Galatians 6: 14

 

Here are a whole bunch of episodes of Fighting for the Faith where you will see for yourself that Joel Osteen's sermons and ideas are not Biblical. 

 

Here is an extensive article that will really help you to be more discerning and less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

 

Want to know where all of this prosperity, "Word of Faith" teaching came from? Read this: The Word of Faith Cornucopia of False Doctrine.

This article by Steven Kozar; check out his new and improved: The Messed Up Church website!

"When Did the Church Turn Into Amway?"

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor

True Story

      In the 1990's my wife and I had three young children and we were in financial trouble; my income as an artist was very inconsistent. We were invited to become Amway distributors by a family member who knew we were the kind of "go-getters" who could really "make things happen." 

      I was very skeptical at first, but I eventually gave in to the promise of "multiple streams of residual income." In the late 1990's we heard (and fell for) "The Dream Destiny Thingy." This is years before it crept into (and devoured) much of the church. It's a bunch of assumptions that go something like this: 

"God brought you here today for a reason; it's not an accident that you're in this meeting today. The reason you're struggling financially is because you don't have a dream-it's not because you don't have money! Once you have a big enough dream, the money will follow. Amway is just the business vehicle; this is really about changing people's lives by getting them to pursue their dreams." 

They would pray in the meetings like this: 

"Thank you God that you've given each of us the ability to dream. Help us to chase our dreams, discover our destiny and make a real difference in people's lives. In Jesus name, Amen."

 We were taught about the power of using the right words to speak things into existence. We had to be positive-all the time-because being negative would attract negative results.

       Large Amway conventions are the ultimate gig for motivational speakers and other performers, and most of the really big guns were there, helping to prop up the illusion that Amway was a great opportunity for anyone willing to work hard and stick to it. Zig Ziglar, Robert Kiyosaki, John Maxwell and other big name speakers have all done the Amway gig; people would even write books praising the Amway opportunity because they knew thousands of distributors would buy them; it was a built-in audience of niche consumers. I tried not to notice how none of these people making money by praising Amway actually joined up and became Amway distributors themselves.

     But the best speakers in the Amway business weren't the "professional" speakers, they were the "regular folks" who worked hard and had made it to the level of Diamond (or higher). These "regular folks" would convince the socks off of anyone that you could make it happen! "You just need to really buy into the system and do everything your leaders tell you to do-your success is guaranteed!" "If your dream is big enough, the facts don't count!" The most convincing Diamond speakers would come from another organization and speak at your meeting to help you grow your business. "Wow, these people are so nice and giving of their time" you would think. Plus, they would always start by praising your leaders and telling you how lucky you were to have the leadership that you had in your own organization. 

     Eventually, I learned that all of these diamond (and above) speakers were getting giant speaking fees. They weren't giving their time, they were selling their time. If you were getting $10,000 for an hour and a half speech, do you think you could praise whoever was writing your check? On top of the very convincing speakers, they had amazing videos with powerful music and emotionally charged stories to tear at your heartstrings. The use of multimedia was incredibly effective-especially in a stadium full of like-minded people who all believed. 

We were even told that if you went to the next big meeting it "would really build up your belief." A more honest way of saying it would be "if you go to this big meeting you'll be convinced to stick around long enough for us to make money off of you for a little while longer, because you'll be emotionally convinced that this business is great!"

This Isn't a Dream, It's a Nightmare!

     In short, we spent 4 years trying to build an Amway business and lost about $40,000 in the process. We did everything we were supposed to do-everything!

I know all about mind control techniques because I experienced them first hand. I know what it's like to be emotionally manipulated because I experienced it first hand. I know about turning the Christian faith into a vehicle that promises to make your dreams come true because I experienced it first hand. On top of all that, we started going to a large "positive confession" charismatic church as a result of this new outlook on our faith. We prayed and prayed and prayed... and prayed: "God please help us build this great business so we can be financially free and help others..." 

     But God didn't answer. We had to figure out the hard way that we were being scammed. 

You see, in most Amway businesses, all of the emphasis is on "the system," which had 3 components (called "tools"): Books, CDs and Functions. We would buy and read the positive self-help type books (a new one every month); we would buy and listen to a motivational CD every week (or more if you were really committed like us), and we would buy a ticket to a different function every single month. 

No matter what. 

This is how they could build such large and compliant organizations. This is simply a type of thought-control. Some of the teaching was actually decent business/success type material, but overall, the system kept people in the business and in the dark. Sure there were always people quitting, but there were always new people to replace the quitters. And there was tremendous profit to be made on each and every book, CD and ticket; that's where the upline distributors were making most of their money. It was all in secret and a lot of it was cash under the table, so these hucksters weren't even paying tax on all their income. After the internet became popular, Amway's seedy underbelly couldn't hide so easily, and it has never gotten back to its original multi-billion dollar American heyday (much of Amway's growth has been in foreign countries in the past 15 years).

 

The Evangelical Industrial Complex has copied many of the very things that have "worked" so well in Amway:

 

  • Tell people that Christianity is all about getting your Dreams and realizing your Destiny. Check.

  • Tell people that having lots of money is a good thing that God wants for you (so you can help others, of course). Check.

  • Tell people to only listen to positive messages about success and prosperity. Check.

  • Tell people that they can speak things into existence because words have power. Check.

  • People continually quitting and leaving, but they get replaced by new and different people just as fast. Check.

  • Get people to "experience life change" by learning self-help and relationship-building techniques. Check.

  • The guy on the stage is making money off the people in the seats. Check.

  • The guy on the stage is promising you things you'll never actually get (in the name of God). Check.

  • After you don't get what you were promised you're told to have more faith and try harder (and buy the latest book). Check.

  • The visiting speaker (pastor) praises the local leader (pastor) and gets a fat speaking fee (plus sells his books in the lobby). Check. (handy tip: It's not a speaker fee if it comes from a "free-will offering")

  • Use music, lights and multimedia/video to emotionally manipulate like-minded people who desperately want to believe. Check.

 

Wait a minute, is this Amway or a Mega-Church we're talking about?? 

It's the SAME DAMNED (literally) THING!

 

FYI, Here is an excellent website with details about the Amway tool scam:

Stop The Amway Tool Scam

Also, just to be clear, I have no ill feelings towards those in my upline who were taken in by this "business" -and who probably lost more money than I did. God help us all. -Steven Kozar

Check out the new and improved: The Messed Up Church website! 

"Church... Business... What's the Difference?" Confused Willow Creek Leadership Conference

Quiz question: What do you get when you combine two Mormons, at least one "word of faith" heretic, some non-Christian business people, authors and public speaker/millionaires, along with a few mega-church pastors? 

Answer: The Willow Creek "Global Leadership Summit!"

This is the conference from 2015:

 

I took these screens shots from my iPhone after doing just a little research on the speaker line-up. First, author Jim Collins admits he doesn't know the church world (but he's happy to make a LOT of money off of it):  

Here's a few Mormon sites showing off their best achievers:

Remember when Jesus told us to hire the very best public speakers to build His church? Me neither...