January 19, 2012

Christian Post picks up on Elevation's Censorship (UPDATE)

Well this seems to have gotten some national attention...
UPDATED:1-26-2012 they HAVE uploaded Chandler's sermon to the podcast.  I don't know how long it is or if anything is edited out.  It seems pretty long (54 minutes or so, while Matt spoke for about 48 minutes) so I doubt it.

Elevation Church Accused of Censoring Reformed Pastor's Sermon
At the beginning of his talk at the revival, Chandler, who leads The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, told crowds, “We’ve got to get past Elevation and Pastor Furtick. We’ve got to get underneath all that so we can gaze upon what is actually going on and what God is about.”

In Rosebrough’s view, the talk was a “boxing match theologically; if you watched Furtick’s body language he was pissed. He wasn’t clapping, he was shaking his head.”

Chandler, who was one of 11 “world-class” speakers invited to the 12-night revival, preached about the law and about sinfulness, which Rosebrough said is “considered negative preaching” in Furtick’s book. Furtick has told his congregation that he doesn’t like negative preaching.
read more at Christian Post

The same author has been doing articles on all the speakers. I haven't looked at the rest and haven't watched the other speakers to compare either -  but here is her article summarizing Chandler's message and it seems pretty accurate:
'The Bible Is Not About You,' Says Young Evangelical

This is what Furtick said last night after Perry Noble and he had a love fest on stage.  I was told Groeschel also did something similar.  Make no mistake, this is a 12 day adoration campaign for a very small man who is trying to remake himself into something he is not):
‎"I heard a message tonight about the faithfulness of God. I remember being sick to my stomach when we did the egg drop. I remember thinking my sermon was stupid about F Bomb, and it was gonna not go over and people would think it was a dumb title and I shouldn't get up there and share about my forgiveness issues because people wouldn't respect me as a pastor and you can't be vulnerable because you need to keep a pastoral veneer so people will really respect you, and I just remember all that. I remember the pain of some of it, and I know what it feels like when people say crap about something you love and a lot of you love this church, some of your family doesn't understand it and I saw someone on twitter tonight who said I'm getting baptized, I hope my mom doesn't disown me.

So it costs something. That's why me and pastor Perry have this bond because we fight together and we pay for stuff together and people say that we are in it for money and we're in it for this and that and we laugh because we're like "where were you when we walked away from everything?" And it's like the Lord will say in those moments, "are not those lives that I'm touching worth far more than any price you'll ever pay?" You are blessed. You are blessed. You're blessed watching this online. You may not have the car you want but you're blessed. You may not have the success that you dreamed of but you're blessed. He's blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Hey, I like when he told you you're the most important people in the world. Jesus said you're the salt of the earth, you're the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
(HERE IT COMES)
I don't like negative preaching where the people are just beat down, I like a church where the people are told "SURELY GOD IS WITH YOU" And he will be with you and we need that encouragement."
(boy, that's kind of ironic, coming from him)
"He has done great things! He has done marvelous things. We've seen it with our eyes! We'll never doubt it again! All things are possible!"
(then starts singing, can't figure out which line he's supposed to be singing - so he stops singing and thinks of something else to say instead, to cover up the fact that he can't find where they are in this "spontaneous" music.)
"You see you're in a battle,where you feel like it's more powerful than you are, and you're right! And...before I get too carried away in worship I gotta thank pastor Perry Noble for just reminding us tonight that we need to give God some glory. (music builds, Furtick gets louder building to emotional climax) And never ever ever take for granted the great things he's done and as we stand toe to toe with some Goliaths in our life, I *DO* believe that God has given us a slingshot, and it might not look like much, but if we'll just hold on to Jesus with all we've got ,(YELLING NOW) this battle is not yours, it's the Lord's! And he's already won and I dare you to SHOUT IN THIS HOUSE IF YOU KNOW THAT HE IS A FAITHFUL GOD! COME ON AND GIVE HIM SOME PRAAAAAAA-- AAAAAAISE!"
(goes into song)

He did emphasize "I *DO*" as if to draw contrast with someone else who mentioned us facing our personal Goliaths and using slingshots:

Chandler's message "God is for God" basically takes the only good line in Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life book and expands on it properly. It's not about you:
(at the beginning) "I'm glad to be here for so many reasons that it could be a sermon in itself. But that's not what I believe the Lord wants me to share with you about. I've got to do some deconstruction with you. And at certain points that might be painful but I promise you, I'm here for your joy. I wouldn't have got on a plane, I wouldn't have left my beautiful babies, I wouldn't have thought and prayed and fasted about whether or not even to be here, if I didn't feel like I was supposed to come here for your JOY. So I am not against your joy, I'm for your JOY but listen to me - I didn't say happiness. Because happiness and joy are not the same thing, you get that right? Because happiness can be taken from you in a second..."
unbiblical and truly harsh chastisement.
15:47 "There are some people that go 'this Bible is the road map to life' now I understand what they're saying so if you've heard that from your guy, great. This is in some ways a road map of what we should do where we should go but ultimately you can't call it the road map to life...and if you think that way you'll read the Bible WRONG. What you'll do is you'll keep infusing yourself into the stories of the Bible like you're the hero. This happens all the time. All right so I want to be straight. I love you enough to be straight. You're not "David!" All right? Your trouble in life is not "GOLIATH." And if that's true you're in a lot of trouble, bro, cuz you MISS. Nah, you fling your stones, and you MISS, and Goliath's still there, and now what? "Well I have five" You'll miss all five. (laughter) So if you view the Scriptures through that lens that really all the super heroes of the Bible are actually you, then you've put a weight on your shoulders that, listen to me, you will not be able to bear!"
If Steven had any sense, any humility, he would see that right here Chandler is pleading with him to rest in Christ, to lay his unbearable burden down. But as Chandler also mentions at the end of his message "some of you are not tired enough yet." Chandler is offering Furtick the greatest gift ever given - he is pointing to it and Furtick cannot see his hand afore his face. Maybe all he can see is red at this point.

Through the rest of the message I'm just going to give you a smattering of some good things he said, including a couple things that were directly referencing attitudes that could POSSIBLY develop at Elevation church just like any other church... not that they haven't already of course (a little tongue in cheek there yes), just to give you a taste of what he actually said, at least until they repost the sermon. (ahem)
28:11 "So the reason why we run into the commands of God with joy is because we believe that they're leading to greater life, leading to greater joy. We push all our chips in and we delight in the law of the Lord. Now, you're not going to keep that law perfectly. Which brings us to our second and biggest implication of God being about God. If God is about God, look right at me, then YOU are not the center of the universe." (Applause, approval from the audience)

"Let me press a little bit. Almost all the conflict in your life is predicated and built upon your belief that the world's about you. The reason you get angry in traffic is cuz the world's about you. GET OUT OF THE LEFT LANE! The reason why there's conflict in your marriage? The world's about you, so your spouse had better be doing these things. Why because the world's about you. The reason you have conflict at work, because the world's about you. 'how dare they say that to you, how dare they do that, how dare they take that from you. How dare they not give you the honor you're due? You see what's happening? It's about you! And the more the world's about you, the more angry and tired you'll be. And the more it's not about you, the more free you are."
APPLAUSE
So ultimately if when I come home my marriage is about Jesus Christ, then there is a grace there, there is a forgiveness there, there is a patience there, there is a mercy there. If my marriage is not about the gospel of Jesus Christ but rather is about me then there's expectation there. Isn't there? I mean, "there's some things that better be done! I don't wanna hear that, woman!" That's what happens if it's about me. If it's about me I start talking about my happiness, what I'm due, what I'm owed. Or my wife does. But if it's about Him then I'm free. If my money's about Him then I'm free. If pastoring this church and proclaiming the gospel is about him, then I'm free."
Chandler then talks about the hardship Paul endured and kept preaching, and how he wonders if he himself would be so willing to keep going amidst so many trials.
32:30 "So how is that possible? That's possible because his righteousness was a foreign righteousness. It wasn't his own, it was given to him in Jesus Christ. So if I could take this whole message and kind of just boil it down and condense it into its purest form. Here's simply what we're celebrating here. That despite me, despite my continued failures, despite my shortcomings and foolish heart, God, because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ to me, and his wrath-absorbing death on the cross , and his resurrection now sees me as perfect and spotless and holy, and not because I am, but because HE is, which is why Ephesians 2 is going to say that even the faith I have to believe in the grace was given to me by God so I honestly had nothing to boast in. Like I couldn't say "well I believed!" because the belief given to me was actually a gift! So that God so owns the glory that everything is HIS. That's why no one should walk with a swagger in the kingdom and no one should walk with a limp. Because we're his."

33:55 So let me tell you where I think we might be in a bit of a danger. You guys, and I'm speaking specifically now to Elevation, you guys are in a bit of a place that the Village has been, that's the church I pastor, in that we just grew fast and we just tried stuff and we prayed a lot and fasted a lot and just try to roll things out..." (elaborates on things they did) "here's what we need to be careful of. Don't touch it.. keep your hands off it. There shouldn't be any chest beating in here. Listen look at me. Your way is A way, it is not THE way. Ok?" (Applause) So I think God is FOR you and I think God LOVES you and I think he delights in you and he's gonna shepherd you and he's going to lead you but he's going to do it all to make much of himself, and to point people towards himself. So just be careful because Romans 1 tells us we, our old man wants to have creation rather than the creator, the old man inside of us it thinks we're smarter than God and the old man inside of us fails to acknowledge God and before you know it, just with a little shift here and a little drift there God did these things and his name is still on it but, really "that pastor Steven it was kinda HIS vision...it was kinda his deal, and boy that lead team, you know chump(?) was lights out
(i.e. really good)
and you know that kid's just sick!
(which I take from context is actually slang for a compliment)
and then all of a sudden "hey that worship, we got the best worship in the world we've got the" you know? And before long you can weave these things into your culture and your ethos that are OPPOSED to the things of God. And so I pray for you and I pray for your pastor and I pray for this place, this is where my prayers are, that God would protect you. Israel never did well with blessing. Never did well with blessing. Tended to do real well with a whack to the head. So I'd rather that not be your story. If God wants to do it let him do it, and there'll be joy, even there. But hear me - Yes God loves you but ultimately God is after the praise of his glorious grace. So let me speak to a couple of different groups."
This is where the music starts to come in. He reminds people, even those who grew up in the church and lived a moral life, that they are sinners, that you can't keep the law of God. He reminds people that if they are trying to earn righteousness they are, if they are honest with themselves, exhausted, because they can never earn righteousness. And when you realize you can't, you're going to see God as a Savior. Then he starts doing the way of the master style good person test, with a little bit of humor and seriousness at the same time. His presentation of the gospel has got to be the clearest MOST of evangelicalism has ever heard. I thank God Chandler was so forward in the face of such error surrounding him. Maybe someone's heart will be broken for the Lord and saved as a result. I pray it is so.
38:32"The Cross of Christ is this glaring acknowledgement that we're all screw ups. This glaring acknowledgement that you're going to fall short, and I'm going to fall short, and I'm not going to measure up and I'm never going to get to perfection, like I need to get to perfection. And even if I could get to perfection, I'd have all that imperfection behind me, doesn't the cross go "yeah I know... Yeah I've made provision. I've handled that."
(Spends some time talking about David's sin and Paul's sin.)
40:55 "this is a man that was such an enemy of God that he would later say his whole salvation was to show you you hadn't gone too far. That's what he writes to Timothy, all right? 'God saved me, the Chief of Sinners so that in the coming age, like in the future, men would know how patient and loving God is. Look at me, there's no sin in your life past present or future that has more power than the cross of Jesus Christ, none." (applause)
This whole section is so gentle and comforting and all about Jesus, and convicting people who put on a show of righteousness and try to hide their sin. I can't imagine why they would suggest this was not focused on Jesus.

He warns them that God will break them in an act of love, and some people will have to train wreck their first marriage, or get really sick, etc. before they will listen. This is yet another gentle warning to Furtick and anyone else who has the bit in their teeth and have taken it upon themselves to use the Bible as a road map and make it about themselves, as so many pastors do these days. (This phenomenon is especially typical of many of the mega church pastors, go figure...)

Steven... Steven... Matt Chandler walked into your "lion's den" and stood there, offering you real peace, and you couldn't even see it.