There is an article circling the internet that is calling Steven Furtick, and a couple of worship bands, false profits. This came about after he put a post on facebook that said, ” The process of discipleship is not God changing you into something else – it’s Him revealing who you’ve been all along.”   Discipleship or salvation?

I decided to go to his web site and listen to his sermon to decide for myself what he said.  I heard Furtick  contrasting a believer who is walking after the flesh, whom he refers to as Simon, and a believer who is walking in his new identity whom he will refer to as Peter.  In Luke 5, Jesus came over to Simon, got in his boat and said to him, “Put your boat out a little from the shore so I can speak to this crowd.” (That era’s sound system)  After His sermon, He asked Simon to throw his net back out into the water for the days catch.   Simon had already been fishing for hours.  But when he did what Jesus said, his net was so full of fish the nets began breaking. ( If you have not seen this scene on the TV show, “The Chosen” it’s a must see!)  Simon’s response was, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  Then Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will fish for people.”

So listen to what Furtick says in this sermon, When Jesus got in the boat and told Simon Peter what to do and he did it, everything changed…He was permanently Peter, temporarily Simon.  Jesus was parenting Peter.  He was drawing forth Peter.  Peter means Rock!  He was Simon and he was Peter…

So let me surprise you, I disagree with the way he says that last sentence but I won’t attack him.  I believe Peter was 100% Peter who sometimes struggled with the flesh.  Well, actually he struggled a lot at first.  🙂 However, He wasn’t both Simon and Peter.  We can only have one identity.  He struggled, like we do, with getting deceived into believing the old person he used to be, was still in charge.  Do we really believe that we are NEW CREATIONS?  (II Cor. 5:17)  We often say in our conferences:  Truth is what God says, regardless of how I feel, act or believe.

Guys, our brains/bodies have not been redeemed yet!  Our spirit is redeemed at the point of salvation and our spirit determines our identity.  The enemy comes to our minds and tells us we are failures, losers, nobodies, invincible etc. and sometimes we believe his words.  We forget who we are!  We forget what Jesus did for us!  Our behavior does not determine our identity.  Birth determines our identity.  If I bark like a dog, am I a dog or a human being?  We have been born again into the family of God.  We are now saints who sometimes sin.  We are not just sinners saved by grace.  It’s crucial that we hear these truths often!

Furtick continues: “The Lord gave me a message today for someone that feels stuck where you started.  Stuck in living like Simon.  “I’m a sinful man!”  

“You are but He died for you!”  “You were a sinner!  NOW you are a holy saint!”  “Remember, you still have some patterns that is called the flesh.  It will never leave, you just have to tell it where to sit.”  I thought if I had doubt in the car I couldn’t go anywhere.  You can have doubt in the car, just don’t let doubt drive!  Tell the flesh: I’m confiscating your drivers license and all of the lies you’ve been telling me.   You started a sinful man but everything has changed.  I want you Simon, not because you had it all together.  I know your past and your struggles.  But now you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  What happened on that cross is more than a physical act, IT GAVE YOU A NEW NAME/IDENTITY!  There’s a new you that you need to meet.

(Later Peter was asked by Jesus, “Who do you say I am?”  Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”  Jesus said, “Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, Simon son of John.  But I tell you, you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.”)

Did you ever wonder why Paul referred to the recipient of his letters as Saints?  “To the saints at Corinth.”   Do you know what they were doing in that church?  It will make you blush!   I believe Paul was trying to jar them back into reality.  In other words, “Come on guys!!!  What are you doing?!  That is NOT who you are!  Did you forget what Jesus death on the cross did for you?!  Don’t be deceived!

We have a handout that we give to our clients that says, “What you believe about who you are will determine your behavior!”  If I believe I”m just a sinner, it makes perfect sense to sin.  If I understand everything that happened to me when I was born again… that I am a holy and righteous child of God, God took my sin and exchanged it for His righteousness, my identity changed from sinner to saint… I will thrive.  And I will feel like a fish out of water when I walk inconsistently from who I truly am in Christ.   God’s word is constantly reminding us of who we really are in Christ because we forget.

Blogs rarely change opinions but I hope this one at least gives you another view point on this controversy regarding Furtick.  Let’s listen to the entire statement, sermon, or book before we agree with the attackers of our fellow believers.  Let’s give the grace we would want.  Furtick’s words are in italic in this blog.

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what you believe