I am not a follower of Steven Furtick, but a friend is. He recently attended one of Elevation’s services, so I wanted to listen in. I understand he says many helpful things; but his theology is not very good. What Steven Furtick said in this particular instance is troubling. Here we have yet another highly influential preacher undermining God’s word, reducing it to make it something altogether different.
He says, speaking on Mark 1:14-28:
“When Jesus shows up, demons tremble…dysfunction has nowhere to run…and we came to declare today to every evil spirit in our city: ‘Come out in the name of Jesus’.” (Continuous applause) (21:40 to 22:00).
“How many times have you been to church, possessed by this demon – Don’t get caught up on ‘demon’; I know some of y’all are so scared right now looking for the exits, ‘We’re not going to do anything like that’. If you make this Bible passage about demons, you missed the entire demonstration of authority because we don’t call it ‘demons’ anymore. In the ancient world, everything was a demon. Runny nose – demon! (audience laughter) I’m serious! Mental illness was demon. They didn’t have tests and pills and all this, so it was just a demon. Now, do demons still exist today? Yes, but do we call them ‘dysfunctions’ instead?” (22:13 to 24:00).
I want to know this: If Jesus was, in fact, talking to a “dysfunction”, then how did the “dysfunction” answer him? How does dysfunction vocalize an answer? Instead, Mark the gospel writer, makes it abundantly clear that Jesus spoke to the literal demon. It may have even been multiple demons in the man, since the demon asks, "What do you want from us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?" Or maybe there were multiple demons in the crowd, and this one was the "spokesman", so to speak. Nevertheless, not to be confused with it being a mere state of mind or condition, Mark tells us clearly the demon actually replied to Jesus.
While Jesus was speaking to the man, He commanded the literal demon within the literal man. He said, “Be silent, and come out of him.” The “him” referred to in that passage was the literal man. Then in verse 25, Mark explained that the demon convulsed the man, crying with a loud voice as it left the literal man. The people then exclaimed that Jesus’s authority was so authoritative that even unclean spirits obey his command! Once again, Mark is clear that this is a spirit; literally, a demon – not a dysfunction or psychotic condition that can be treated with pills or changed behavior.
I am making no judgments on the man’s soul or position before God. However, if you’re a listener/follower of Furtick’s, be very careful….extremely careful. Don’t get caught up in his charisma and flashy-ness, but feast on the true Word of God as clearly revealed in Scripture. May Jesus Christ be glorified in the preaching, reading, studying, and singing of His Word; not minimized.