Kay Arthur’s well-respected Precept Ministries International (PMI) says that it “exists to establish people in God’s Word using Inductive Bible study.” This is an admirable objective, and one that is greatly needed in a time when the visible church is exhibiting a deplorable lack of biblical literacy and knowledge.
Being such a large organization, PMI naturally operates under various arms, one of these being Transform Student Ministries, which is described as,
the generational equipping arm of Precept Ministries International. Precept Ministries and Transform are dedicated to coming alongside teens, college students, and leaders to establish them in God’s Word. Challenging them to know God and walk obediently. Teaching them to study His Word inductively. Training them to lead others in the power of the Holy Spirit. And providing biblical discipleship through Bible study materials, conferences, seminars, and camps.1
Knowing the nature and reputation of PMI, then, it may surprise some to discover that its student ministry arm, Transform, has in the past utilized the teaching of Steven Furtick and his book, Sun Stand Still, to encourage and teach followers of its blog.
On 31 October 2011, in a blog entry entitled, “Look in the Mirror and Preach,” the writer, identified only as “Stephanie,” gleaned the following from an excerpt of Furtick’s book:
Look in the mirror and preach. Simply put. Sometimes not so simply done. Different from practicing a sermon, this speech is just for you. No one else. Preaching to yourself is speaking the Word to yourself. It is reminding yourself of truth, as Steven Furtick mentioned above. Not the preaching type? Never fear. All you need is one truth from the Word and different ways to go about your personal Bible pep talk. Let’s expound on Steven’s mirror idea first. I will put it in three simple steps….
In conclusion, whether you preach to the page or to the mirror–staring at your face or at your pen–preach truth in a way that reminds you of the riches God reveals to you. You are His (Jn. 17:6-10). You are fully equipped for every good work through His Word (2 Tim. 3:17; Eph. 2:10). And He delights to hear the words that come through your mouth as you engrain His truth into your life.2
“Stephanie” is identified as someone who “has been serving the past couple of years with Transform Student Ministries as a Boot Camp and Conference Staffer. Stephanie was also a part of the Intern Program in 2010.” Interestingly, a search for additional articles by this individual on Transform’s website yields no results.
What is of concern here is the fact that a reputable, ostensibly biblically sound and solid ministry would turn to the work of Steven Furtick, who pastors Elevation Church in North Carolina, for guidance. At the time of Sun Stand Still’s release, Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough offered a skillful critique of the book and of Furtick’s allegorical interpretation of Joshua 10:9–14. On his radio show, Fighting for the Faith, Rosebrough also has demonstrated on multiple occasions that Steven Furtick tends to preach not only in an eisegetical manner, reading his own ideas into the biblical text, but also in a narcissistic eisegetical manner, reading himself into the text. Rosebrough also recently addressed Steven Furtick’s newest book, Greater, finding that it, too, “utterly fails at rightly teaching God’s Word.”
Additional concerns about Steven Furtick have been raised by CRN General Editor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries. Silva has provided evidence that Steven Furtick actually has been influenced by Word Faith prosperity preacher Joel Osteen for longer than many may think. Further, Steven Furtick himself has noted his admiration for Word Faith heretic Rod Parsley, whom Furtick has called a “preaching machine.”
Facts like this ought to cause the discerning Christian to approach Steven Furtick’s teachings with caution. Though he is a popular preacher in evangelicalism today, this does not preclude Steven Furtick and his work from being held up to the light and truth of Scripture, which is the Christian’s only authority.
While it is encouraging to note that Transform Student Ministries appears to not have appealed to Steven Furtick’s teachings since this particular blog post, nevertheless this ought to serve as a means of awareness. Teachings which scratch itching ears (2 Tim. 4:3) and the men who perpetuate them are rapidly infiltrating even the more conservative and biblically faithful ministries. No longer can something be blindly accepted simply because it originates from a particular source. Rather, in these days of compromise, all things must be examined in the light of God’s Word. Let it be our plumb line and our only source of Truth.