If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.
This article is kept continuously updated as needed.
This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.
Disclaimer: I did not write most of the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.
Here are the biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:
Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:
a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).
b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.
c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.
I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.
I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.
Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).
If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.
Steven Furtick/Elevation/Elevation Music
Primary issues with Steven Furtick: Twists and mishandles Scripture, considers T.D. Jakes (prosperity gospel, New Apostolic Reformation, modalism, proponent of women “pastors”) his mentor, yokes with numerous false teachers, allows women and false teachers to preach at his “church”
From my article The Mailbag: Potpourri (Small groups, Furtick, Slander…):
Reader: Do you have an opinion of Steven Furtick?
My answer: I have many opinions of Steven Furtick (“pastor” of Elevation “Church” in Charlotte, NC), none of them good. He mercilessly twists God’s word, he yokes with false teachers (including T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine and others), and he allows women to preach from his pulpit (Including Lysa TerKeurst. [Elevation is her home church, and] Furtick is her pastor, which is one of the reasons I warn against her.) Additionally, Furtick has been immersed in Word of Faith false doctrine for years, and is now venturing into New Apostolic Reformation false doctrine. For more information, see Fighting for the Faith, Berean Research, Berean Examiner, and Apprising. I’ve also seen a number of YouTube videos from various sources explaining the doctrinal problems and scandals with Furtick (use the YouTube search bar).
Protecting the Sheep: Why churches should not sing Hillsong, Bethel, or Elevation music in worship services (primarily a lengthy exposé on the “theology” of these “churches”) at Thinking and Living Biblically
Flee From Furtick by Justin Peters
It’s Time to Walk Away from Steven Furtick by Cam Hyde
Are T.D. Jakes and Steven Furtick Heretics? by Gabriel Hughes
Steven Furtick at CARM
Something in the Milk Ain’t Clean: Avoid Steven Furtick in 2018! at Truth+Fire
Steven Furtick – False Teacher at SO4J
Theologian Rebukes Pastor Steven Furtick’s Claim That Doubting Bible Is OK, Says ‘Doubt Is Disobedience’ at The Christian Post
Steven Furtick is the Most Dangerous Kind of False Teacher at The Chorus in the Chaos
“Why I quit Elevation Church,” explains former Elevation photographer | Doreen Virtue | August 14, 2020
Unqualified, Not Unworthy at Grace to You (a review of Steven Furtick’s Unqualified)
Why Our Church No Longer Plays Bethel or Hillsong Music (or Elevation or Jesus Culture), and Neither Should Yours (multiple videos/articles)
Protecting the Sheep: Why churches should not sing Hillsong, Bethel, or Elevation music in worship services at Thinking and Living Biblically
Collections of Articles/Episodes
The Steven Furtick Cornucopia of False Teaching, Egomania and Hair Gel (multiple articles) at Messed Up Church
Steven Furtick episodes at Wretched
Steven Furtick episodes at Fighting for the Faith
Elevation episodes at Fighting for the Faith
Steven Furtick articles at Berean Research
Steven Furtick articles at Berean Examiner
Steven Furtick articles at Apprising Ministries
If you came here looking for a critique of individual Elevation Music songs, that’s not really what this is about. Everything connected to Steven Furtick – Elevation “Church,” Elevation Music (as an entity and all individual songs), Orange/Code Orange events and materials, and all Elevation programs, materials, and events – are all fruit of the poisonous tree of false teacher, Steven Furtick. No, you cannot biblically pick and choose songs from Elevation Music that don’t seem to overtly violate Scripture. The Bible never tells us to “chew up the meat and spit out the bones.” It says:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.Romans 16:17-18
“Watch out” for false teachers. “Avoid them.” That includes everything about them: all their materials, books, events, music, social media, etc. Would the God who breathed out these words of Scripture be pleased if we ourselves, or our churches, use materials by people who “do not serve our Lord Christ”?