Fighting for the Faith With Chris Rosebrough – Steven Furtick Narigetically Moralizes Jonah

[The following is a transcript of a Fighting for the Faith Radio Show podcast that was originally broadcast on Friday August 31st 2012 – If you want to listen to the full podcast the mp3 is called Perry Noble’s House Party]

You can watch the video on youtube –

For more from Fighting for the Faith with Chris Rosebrough go to You can listen to the Fighting for the Faith Radio Show podcast in iTunes. Chris Rosebrough reviews Steven Furtick’s sermon – Sinkers and Savers. You can watch the full sermon either in iTunes. Just subscribe to the Elevation church: Video podcast or you can just follow this link

Chris Rosebrough, “Alright we are back. Warning believing somebody like Joel Osteen will actually send you to hell. He doesn’t teach the biblical gospel. He is a Word of Faith heretic. It doesn’t matter how popular he is, he is leading people to hell.

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Time for a Steven Furtick update.

[Plays intro music for Steven Furtick]

You walked up to the pulpit,

Like you were a man of God
Your hair strategically cut to the new style
That Bieber was making hot
You had one eye on the camera as you watched the crowd applaud
All of the pastors dreamed that you’d be their mentor, You’d be their mentor and…

You’re so vain, you probably think the Bible’s about you
You’re so vain, I bet you think the Bible’s about you
Don’t you, Don’t you?

You fooled me several years ago,
When I was just a baby sheep
Well you told me we were made to serve
And my tithe was all you’d need
But you twisted up the Bible so no one else had said a peep
I was afraid, then I heard the real  gospel, heard the real gospel, and…

You’re so vain, you probably think the Bible’s about you
You’re so vain, I bet you think the Bible’s about you
Don’t you, Don’t you?

Chris Rosebrough, “Alright so building off of what I did on Tuesday where I took the time to point out what is really going on in the story of Jonah and how you can preach the gospel from it. I thought it would be instructive to take a look at what Steven Furtick has done with this text. Alright let’s kill the music here. That is a great little riff.

Anyway so Steven Furtick a year ago during his summer concert series gave a sermon entitled Sinkers and Savers and what he is doing in this sermon, just to kind of give you a little bit of the context. You can find it at Is he is basically trying to draw a parallel between the storm in Acts 27, if you are familiar with the book of Acts. Paul is in chains on his way to Rome to basically stand on trial before Caesar and so he is travelling from Judea across The Mediterranean on a boat and couldn’t have picked a worse time of the year to do it and a storm kicks up and by the way Luke is with him. This is one of the wee sections of the book of Acts and you know so what happens is Luke writes this section in the first person plural and we and we and so you know the storm is going up and so Furtick sees in this passage a parallel to the book of Jonah and so that is kind of the setup for this and the problem is that just because there is two storms doesn’t mean that a real parallel exists and he is going to omit, similar to Craig Groeschel some important information and miss one of the key things here and make and he is actually going to make a point about the fact that the big fish points us to Christ. But then quickly just move along because he really isn’t interested in preaching about Christ. Whenever there is a direct gospel hook Steven Furtick is like sure to not preach the gospel there and point us to Jesus and instead point us to himself.

So here is a segment from the Sinkers and Savers sermon and here is Steven Furtick to explain to us the story of Jonah.

Steven Furtick, “Some real similarities and differences between Paul in Acts 27 and Jonah and so I am just going to read it to you without giving you much background for time sake and then I am going to make one application to your life.

Jonah 1:1-5 (NIV – New International Version)

The Bible says this, “1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Okay now notice he is just reading the text. Okay now if he is really going to teach this text. It is always important to know why Jonah fled? Why did Jonah flee? He expressly states that in Jonah 4 the reason why he fled is because he knew God is merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. The reason why he is because he didn’t want God to forgive the Ninevites, got it? So now with that in mind watch what he does here because it is typical misapplication of the story of Jonah by just kind of omitting all of the data not taking care to pay attention to the story itself and then moralizing it. Okay somehow this is about you and you have got to be willing to do whatever. Okay so now keep in mind he is trying to draw some parallel between Acts 27 and Jonah and it doesn’t quite work.

Steven Furtick, Jonah 1:5 (NIV – New International Version) All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god!

Aren’t you are preacher? Do something. I have this one pastor friend, he said he sat next to this lady on an airplane one time speaking of preachers on airplanes and she is getting drunk and she didn’t really like preachers and she didn’t like religion. They were in the first class section and she looked at him and she said, “I don’t like preachers all they talk about is money.” And so then midway through the flight they had some turbulence and now she looked over at him and said, “you are a preacher do something,” and he goes, “so I took up an offering.” [laughs] Oh it was great. It is true but my friend tells that story. We are v7.

Jonah 1:7

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you? What have you gotten us into? And He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven,

Don’t you hate it when Christians make us look bad by the way they live? Don’t you hate it when some obnoxious people claim to love the Lord, don’t tip in a restaurant and all the waiters and waitresses hate Sunday more than any other day of the week.

Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah because you know not tipping on Sunday mornings. That is the same thing as like trying to flee to Tarshish. Good this is like one of their pet you know examples here. Yeah okay.”

Steven Furtick, “Because cheap Christians put God bless you on the receipt and leave a $30 tip on a $52 bill. You like that kind of preaching? What do you want me to do like? Say a poem or something? I talk about real stuff in this church.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah well that is the way to confront Christians with sin.”

Steven Furtick, “Let me tell you something right now and you listen to me all of our campuses. Now if I ever sit at your table at your restaurant in your town. You are going to get a good tip from me. You are going to get a good tip. I am going to start at 20% if you cuss me out. I will give you 20%. If you do anything right I am about to hook you up.”

Chris Rosebrough, “You are so holy wow. Man I mean this is an example of Christian holiness. He tips 20%, can you believe it? Unbelievable!”

Steven Furtick, “Believe in that. I do. Mess with me. Tell me you go to church here and I will turn it on real. I will….I am not playing man. Is that true? That is true. I go bankrupt trying to bless a waitress because I want to have a testimony for Jesus. I want to be generous. I don’t want to be known as that preacher who came in here and you know. I don’t do that.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you know and by the way unless you spend your whole life in restaurants there is other ways in which you know preachers really should set a good example and that is correctly handling and rightly dividing the God’s Word. I think that is far more important than how much you tip. Just saying.”

Steven Furtick, “Anyway I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD. The God of heaven. Jonah is the guy who you like please take the fish bumper sticker off your car. If you are going to drive like that do not claim to be one of us. I am the Hebrew. I worship the LORD who made the sea and the land and I am totally disobeying Him right now, but you know, v10.

Jonah 1:10 (NIV – New International Version)

10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord,)

It isn’t interesting somebody who doesn’t even know God can tell when you are not living a life that really reflects who He is. Even people who don’t know the Bible. They look at our lives and they will go I don’t know much about God. But I don’t think that is what a Christian is supposed to look like.

Chris Rosebrough, “Yeah you know like when they play AC DC’s Highway to Hell in church or Kisses – I want to rock and roll all night and party every day. I just I think that the world would probably go yeah that is probably not a Christian message. That seems to be the opposite of what God’s Word reveals. Pagans already know that too. Isn’t it weird?

Steven Furtick, “Even the way that we sometimes spew hate in church and they go, “I don’t know much about the Bible. I am not a very religious person but I just don’t think that sounds much like God.” So they knew he was running away from the LORD because he had already told them so – v11.

Jonah 1:1 (NIV – New International Version)

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied,

He is so depressed because of his disobedience. He is suicidal. Follow me I am going somewhere with this sermon. You all think I am just rambling with some random stories because I wanted to bring a boat on the stage but I have got a point.

Chris Rosebrough, “Did I forget to mention there is a boat on the stage?”

Steven Furtick, Jonah 1:12-16 12 Throw me into the sea, it will become calm. I know that it is my fault. I know it is nobody’s fault but mine, that this great storm has come upon you.” 13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Oh Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O’ Lord, have done as you pleased.”

The unbelievers on the boat are more concerned about God’s will than the one who claims to be a believer and sometimes I even see out there in the world. I see people who don’t even claim to know God being more generous and more selfless than some of us who say we love the LORD. But…..”

Chris Rosebrough, “This is all Law. Where is the gospel here? Just okay fine, it is by the way there is nothing wrong with preaching the Law. In fact we are to preach The Law. But the purpose of The Law is to show you your sins. So what is he doing here? Basically exposing people’s sin, which is what a preacher ought to be doing. The hinge though comes with what is the resolution to the problem? Okay if the problem is that you are not living as you ought, what is the solution? Now intuitively  we have The Law written in our hearts so we would say, “I know clean up your act.” To which I would say that is not the solution.

The solution is a crucified and risen Saviour who bled and died for those sins. It is repentance and the forgiveness of sins and then from that comes bearing fruit in keeping with repentance. Over and over and over again moralizing preachers skip the gospel as the solution for your trespasses and mine and basically brow beat us with The Law and The Law doesn’t save. The Law cannot save. It only kills. So what they are basically doing is preaching death, a standard that you don’t live up to and because of your sinful flesh you will not live up to.

So the solution that they are offering you is try harder. Be more basically, assert yourself and really think hard here and apply yourself to the situation and be obedient. That is not what the story of Jonah is about by the way and that is not the solution to our sin. The solution is saying, “LORD I have sinned. I am not worthy to even breathe your air. The things you have told me to do I have not done. In fact I have done the things that you have told me not to do. I have sinned against you by my thoughts, by my words, by my actions, by the things I have done and not done. Have mercy on me a sinner and forgive me, for the sake of Christ and His death on the cross for my sins. The solution to sin is the gospel. The thing that quiets the storm of The Law is the gospel. Christ and Him crucified for our sins.

But those pastors who don’t get the gospel. All they ever preach is The Law. They are basically preaching a dry desert, scorching wind which will over time literally wither you to the bone and there is no assurance, there is nothing you can look to in The Law that is going to say you know here is assurance of salvation. Right here in The Law. Because The Law always says, “do, do, do, do, do,” and it is never satisfied. It is absolutely never satisfied. You can’t ever check off that you are done or have accomplished The Law. You can’t. Because if you are obedient even for fifty seconds on that particular commandment you still have the rest of the day to go through and tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day always demanding and you have your own sinful flesh warring against God’s commandment and when you preach The Law and not the gospel you know together.

You don’t preach the gospel as the solution to our sin problem and all your preach is Law, Law, Law, Law, Law, the preaching of The Law actually awakens sin within us. Okay is it any wonder that the churches that are the most legalistic have the most closet problems as far as like really out of control sins. I mean from…I hate to say this word. You know from paedophilia to you know porn issues to you know drunkenness. I mean all this kind of stuff that goes on behind closed doors and the reason why is because all they are doing is preaching The Law and when all you do is preach The Law you actually at that point, your sinful nature goes, “hey that sounds like a good idea.” Law, Law, Law actually leads to more, more, more sin and a religious façade and veneer that people create to make it look they are holding it altogether, when if anything they are falling apart. The solution isn’t more Law. We need to hear something that is going to give us some hope. Something that we can hang onto and that is the gospel – that Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, lived a perfectly sinless and righteous life. Fulfilled The Law perfectly and even though He had no sin – all our sin was placed on Him. He has propitiated the wrath of God for us. He was crucified for our sins.

Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV – New King James Version)

5He was pierced for our transgressions,

bruised for our iniquities.

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And see that is only one half of the great exchange. The other half is this, is that when we are brought to repentance and faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed. It is reckoned to us as if we are the ones who lived it. If you are not sure about this read Philippians 3. Okay Paul lays this out beautifully. He was a Pharisee. He was faultless under The Law and he considers all of his good works under The Law to be skubaloned. Okay a really strong word in the Greek that basically means a hot steamy pile of poop. Okay he considers all of his good works as a Pharisee legalistic righteousness, all of that to be skubaloned.

Philippians 3:9

9 So that he maybe found in Christ, not having a righteousness of his own that comes from The Law, but the righteousness that is by faith.

Or as Hosea says, “The one who by faith is righteous shall live.” You see Salvation is a gift. It is a free gift. You can’t earn your salvation even in part and God does not expect you to earn even one penny’s worth of it. All of it is given as a gift. All of it is given as a free inheritance to be grasped and believed and clung to by faith and even that faith that trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and your salvation. Even that is given to you as a gift by God. That is what Ephesians 2:8-9 says.

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and it is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.

What is the it there? Salvation and faith. Look at the passage. Look at the words. It is a gift from God.

Ephesians 2:9

So that no-one may boast.

You see when you are a Law preacher. When you are a works righteousness preacher you make, you give lip service to Jesus and what happens is that the cross is just the ticket that gets you into the fun park of you now basically working out, well working your salvation yourself. The cross doesn’t make any sense in this theology. Which is why Steven Furtick when the allusion to Christ comes up in the text of Jonah, doesn’t know what to do with it. He can’t preach on it because he has no way to make sense of it. It is not the thing that he values. He wants to just brow beat people and get them to be obedient. That is not the solution. You can’t even begin to make progress in good works until you are brought to contrition, repentance, faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. You can’t even begin to make progress because the Law only demands. It gives you no power. But the gospel is the thing that causes us to be born again and regenerate and we are new creations in Christ by believing and trusting the gospel. That is how it happens and that is all a gift from God and then our new selves created in Christ does good works. Good works automatically follow and you have to do your good works using the agency of your sinful flesh which is just kind of a raw deal if you ask me. But that is how it is going to be until the resurrection or until you die. We continue.

Steven Furtick, “Never really do anything for them and that is the sad state of affairs and we should repent and stop talking about our faith. Until we are ready to live it out. Amen.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Now I want to point something out here. He is going to read it. But he is not going to get, it is not even going to register. The story tells us very clearly that all the sailors on that boat ended up believing and trusting in the one true God as a result of this disobedient prophet. He is not going to highlight it. He will read it but not mention it.”

Steven Furtick, “God is telling me amen. You don’t have to. God is like that is good what you are saying. Say some of that. He is saying that on my heart right now.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Oh so God was speaking to Furtick’s heart when he was preaching that sermon. Wow.”

Steven Furtick, Jonah 1:15 15 So they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.”

Jonah 1:17

17 But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

 Chris Rosebrough, “Now he just read it. That they believed in the LORD and offered sacrifices to him and the text also says and vows. So they became believers in the one true God as a result of this disobedient prophet. Which runs counter to the whole point he is making, doesn’t it?”

Steven Furtick, “Which represents of course Jesus being in the earth three days and three nights. The fish spit him out he went to Nineveh with that attitude.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Okay notice that there it is the footnote, of course the three days and three nights in the fish. This shows us about Jesus death and resurrection. Footnote move along quick. Got to get to more important stuff.”

Steven Furtick, “Preached a crappy sermon and God blessed it anyway and people gave their lives back to the LORD and Jonah was mad about it. Two different preachers, two different boats. You have got one preacher who is sailing thirteen hundred miles from Caesarea to Rome, to fulfil the will of God.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Okay now here is the problem. Okay just hermeneutically here is the issue. Okay scripture is about Christ. Okay so the story of Jonah is a type and shadow of Christ and the gospel. Christ being the reality, the story of Jonah being the type and shadow that points to Christ. Right so here hermeneutically is where the problem is – he is using the story of Jonah as a type and shadow of the apostle Paul. That is not how that works. In fact he has got it all backwards. Jonah is not a type and shadow of the apostle Paul and the parallels don’t run there. The parallels run to Christ and so that is why he is falling down here.”

Steven Furtick, “Another preacher who was sailing hundreds of miles to run away from the will of God for his life. One man who is willing to do whatever it takes to fulfil God’s purpose even if it means being in chains treated like a dog and shipped off to the other side of the world. Another man who will do whatever it takes to do anything but what God has called him to do. One man who paid a fare to get on a ship to go away from the presence of the LORD. Another man who paid with his own freedom to fulfil the purpose of the LORD for his life. Here is what the LORD spoke to me.”

Chris Rosebrough, “So the LORD was speaking to Furtick. Highlighting that again here.”

Steven Furtick, “Every single one of us in this room is on a boat.”

Chris Rosebrough, “He is now climbing up into the boat.”

Steven Furtick, “The boat represents your family, and your workplace.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Now we are allegorizing the text and he says that God told him this. God the Holy Spirit did not teach him this because the Jonah text is about Christ, not about Paul and it is not about you. Even the story of Paul is a story ultimately about Christ.”

Steven Furtick, “Where you go to school. The relationships you are involved in. The church you are a part of and here is the question the burning question that is on my heart to ask you today in light of what we have studied together in the scripture. Is the boat that you are on better off because you are on board?”

Chris Rosebrough, “Well that is kind of a lame question. The reason I say that is because in both instances it worked out pretty well. Okay even though the people on the boat with Jonah, well they did lose their cargo. They ultimately gained eternal life. They brought to repentance and faith and trust in the one true God. So I think it worked out pretty well for them. They are rejoicing in the presence of the LORD right now with Jonah who is there also. So I think it worked out pretty well for them. But see he kind of skipped that little detail. Because if you put that detail in, it would ruined the whole punch line of your moralizing going on here.”

Steven Furtick, “One man saved everyone’s life on the ship, just because he was on board for fulfilling God’s purpose. The other man almost cost everybody who was on the ship their life because he was disobeying the LORD. So let me ask you something.”

Chris Rosebrough, “And yet again I keep pointing out here all of them were brought to faith and trust in the one true God. Weird huh?”

Steven Furtick, “Is the boat that you are on better off because you are on board? Because if you are a believer in Jesus. Every boat you are on is supposed to be better off because you are on board and God is in you and you have a purpose.”

Chris Rosebrough, “Ah man. Neither Acts 27 nor the story of Jonah teach that and yet he claims that God put this on his heart. No God the Holy Spirit did not put that on your heart because that is not what this text is about nor is this what the Bible teaches. This is just moralistic brow beating, which by the way seems to be pretty much the way people mishandle the story of Jonah. Including Steven Furtick, although he did recognize that there was some kind of a connection to Christ because nah no, no let’s make this about you are now on a boat and is the boat you are on better because you are on it? Good night. Even disobedient Jonah, it worked out better for the people who were on that boat because they were brought to faith and trust in the one true God. Yep he seems to have left that important fact out and all moralistic preachers miss that point.”

Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

Jonah was the son of Amittai. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh because the city was so wicked. Ninevah was a city that was prideful, greedy, involved in adultery and brutality. Jonah was attempting to escape to escape the presence of God. Jonah refuses to obey God by going to the city of Nineveh and instead goes to Tarshish. Jonah gets on a ship that is going to Tarshish. Jonah feared the Lord and acknowledged God as his creator. God sent a storm to the ship that Jonah was on that was heading to Tarshish and as a result the sea was raging. The people on the ship became fearful and worried. Jonah told the people on the ship that he had fled from the presence of the Lord. God used a great fish to rescue Jonah so that he didn’t die. Jonah points us to Jesus, what Jesus died on the cross in our place to save us from hell, Jesus saved us from being separated from God for all eternity. God used things to save his people. Just as God brought Jonah brought back to life, so God brought Jesus back to life. God a second time sends Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach. The King of Nineveh told the people they must turn from their evil ways so they would not perish or die. Because the people of Nineveh turned from their evil ways and repented of their sins, God did not send them a disaster.



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