By Apprising Ministries special correspondent Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised…

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It seems that Steven Furtick is jumping on the “favor” train. Hey, that’s understandable. Who wouldn’t want to get an awesome parking space at the mall? Let’s face it, Furtick’s approach to preaching seems to have long hinted at a base form of Word-Faith. After all, what better reason to have “audacious faith” than to be able to exercise it in one’s own favor (no pun intended)? When Steven Furtick started tweeting about “favor” yesterday, then, I really wasn’t surprised.

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So “favor follows expectancy.” Really? What if I’m looking for favor at work, but when I show up one day, it turns out that I am one of the employees being laid off? What if I’m looking for favor at the doctor’s office but the tests come back abnormal? What about all those Christians being brutally murdered for their faith in other countries? Are they not looking expectantly enough? To be fair, a 140-character “tweet” is hardly enough space to elaborate on biblical “favor.” But Furtick’s second tweet yesterday on the topic gives some insight into the angle he’ll be taking as he looks to preach on favor “later this year.”

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Citing Kevin Gerald (who will be speaking at Furtick’s 2012 “Code Orange Revival”) and his series on the topic of favor, Furtick claims that it has blessed him. If you’d like to see and hear this Furtick-approved preaching for yourself, you can visit Gerald’s site and listen to his 3 messages on “Favor Forever.” You’ll hear such biblically ignorant teachings as Christians may “expect preferential treatment” because of our association with God. Hm. Funny, seems to me to be the opposite in today’s world! Gerald teaches in his first message that we can expect favor from both God and man! I guess Paul had it all wrong when he said, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10). In Part 2 of this series, which is loaded with law and works-righteousness, Gerald says that our “thoughts attract and draw like magnetic forces,” which is why we need to be cautious about negative thoughts. After all, he says, God created us to be “very powerful” beings. But, Kevin Gerald’s Scripture-twisting shouldn’t surprise us when we see that he endorses a product like Joel Osteen’s book, Becoming a Better You.

Now, who else likes Joel Osteen? Dr. Dave Martin. At least, I assume he likes Osteen since he’s preached at Lakewood Church. And, according to the below tweet, Steven Furtick is quite a fan of Dr. Dave Martin, as is also evidenced by this video [below] of Furtick endorsing Martin’s latest book, The 12 Traits of the Greats.

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But wait, I’m not just drawing up some elaborate, guilt-by-association spider web. As you probably recall, Steven Furtick has called Joel Osteen a “great man of God.” The casual observer, then, would tend to notice a trend here. Mr. “Audacious Faith” seems to be building himself quite a circle of friends. The circumference of this circle widens when we see that Steven Furtick will be preaching at Faith Church in Saint Louis this coming October. Pastor David and Pastrix Nicole Crank lead this church where they “are reaching the lost and encouraging the hopeless with messages that are inspirational, timely, relevant and oftentimes very humorous.” Well, I know that’s everything that I look for in a church! As if the husband-wife “co-pastor” wasn’t enough to send red flags flying, all one need do is look at some of the glowing endorsements of Faith Church. Endorsements by men like Joel Osteen and Ed Young. And young Pastor Furtick will be preaching there in just a few weeks. Interesting.

Why does any of this matter, though? Why can’t we just write Furtick off and worry about the next thing? Answer: Because Steven Furtick has suddenly become influential in more than just the seeker-driven circles. He’s expanding not just to these Word-Faith arenas, but to supposedly conservative, Bible-teaching churches, most namely and most recently of course, Harvest Bible Chapel. When James MacDonald invited Steven Furtick into his pulpit he did much more than merely provide entertainment for his flock for one Sunday. His invitation to Furtick – and MacDonald’s own appearance at Elevation Church earlier this year as well as his future participationin Furtick’s 2012 “Code Orange Revival” appears to be equivalent to giving approval to Steven Furtick, his ministry, and everything that goes along with it.

As the Church visible continues to slide down an increasingly slippery slope, we can be so grateful that God has given each one of us access to His perfect and unfailing Word. Use it. Search it. Test all that you hear by it.

The original appears complete with a comments section right here.

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