Recall the book by the late W. Phillip Keller, Predators in Our Pulpits, published 1988. I recall reading this book and still have a copy and it wowed me. I also recall Mr. Keller stating that he wrote it because he felt compelled by God to so but also did not want people to write him about it either to provide positive or negative feedback. I got the real sense that he did not really want to write the book but was overwhelmed by what he believed at the time (and it is even more prevalent today), was the rise of predatory ministers in our pulpits. He wasn’t talking necessarily about specific sins like sexual sins (though that is part of it). He was referring to the predatory attitude that too many men (and a growing number of women), have toward their parishioners, taking advantage of them whenever they can. These leaders become more like demigods to those who follow them. They end up being above the law and actually decide what the law is and for those who question them, they are quick to chastise, ostracize, and even expel from the local church. This narcissistic behavior is by far, the way too many pulpit leaders treat their congregations and it is largely given a pass by those in the congregation who simply accept the “authority” of these people without being able to question.
As stated, there are too many leaders like this overseeing hundreds and thousands within their congregations. I was reading through a recent article at Pulpit & Penconcerning Pastor Steven Furtick, whom you may have at least heard of. There, I saw a video clip of a sermon Furtick preached not too long ago entitled, “You Must Be Important.” The gist of it is that “the devil ‘ties us up” because ‘he is so afraid of what might happen to him if we got loose,’ because we are just ‘so important to God’s purpose.’”  During these statements, people in the congregation can be heard applauding and shouting in agreement.
Unfortunately, there is nothing biblical about these statements made by Furtick. It was also interesting to watch his shenanigans as he presented his thesis. He stood on his toes, gripped the podium fiercely and quaked in his legs. This was a sign to those watching/listening that Furtick was under God’s “anointing” as he preached. So overcome with the power of the Lord that he was obviously very moved. While this appears to be a normal manifestation among people like Furtick and many others today, there is no evidence from Scripture that this is from God at all. Yes, at times, prophets fell over “as dead” though they weren’t dead. At other times, they may have shaken with fear over something that caused severe dread in them. They were human after all.
But the idea that when God’s power comes over someone, they start to shake and quake, whip their head from side to side, speak in a monotone and as a run-on sentence, these things are not evidenced in Scripture from godly people. Steven Furtick has been accepted in the New Apostolic Reformation fold and is “one of them.” Because of that, he is free to set his own agenda, create his own doctrine and in general, hoodwink those who attend his church.
Steven’s message about us being so important that the devil makes every effort to “tie us up” due to his abject fear of us if we “got loose” is really garbage. It is a very subtle form of narcissism in an attempt to create high levels of self-esteem in people. This is one of the reasons that people like Furtick are so loved, admired, and even adored. Their “ministries” are one huge self-aggrandizing display of love, affection, and stroking of the sin nature.
God does not need us. He has chosen to use us as part of His plan but even when we fail, He still accomplishes His purposes. Even when the world stands against, He succeeds (Psalm 2). God is not hindered by the flesh, the devil, or the world. His purposes march onward.
Furtick is attempting to “free” people from the “tyranny” of defeat by causing people to focus not on their need to move away from Self, but to actually embrace Self, the exact opposite of what Jesus taught (Matthew 16:24). This is exactly what Satan has attempted to do since the Garden of Eden, to feed Self. It is his best measure to keep people from...