$1.7 million house, books, Brian Houston, c3 church, ccc, charlotte, charlotte observer, Christian City Church, Furtick, hillsong, hillsong church, house, Houston, mansion, mansions, money, Phil Pringle, Pringle, Stephen Furtick, Steven Furtick
“Steven Furtick’s financial empire was built with BLOOD MONEY — money earned twisting God’s Word, preaching false doctrine & deceiving people IN THE NAME OF JESUS.” – Chris Rosebrough, 23/10/2013.
Could the same be said of Phil Pringle of C3 Church and Brian Houston of Hillsong Church?
In the last few months, people have been hassling or giving us links to report on the lavish lifestyle of Phil and Chris Pringle, Senior Pastors and Founders of the C3 Church Movement. The Pringle’s recently purchased a $3.5 million house and had no problem flaunting their lifestyle on twitter or instagram.
My! What Big Stories You Have!
It’s been reported in the past that Brian Houston and his wife Bobbie have property deals of up to $1.4 million and that they are tenants of waterfront properties at Bondi Beach and the Hawkesbury River that they sold to LMI. Not to mention, it was reported that Houston said his total salary was “just over $300 000″.
My! What Big Faith You Have! (From Hillsong Church Watch)
Just recently, Steven Furtick (close associate of Phil Pringle and Brian Houston), has come under scrutiny over his $1.7 million house and his CEO approach to church ministry. Before looking at some news articles, we thought it would be good to provide an article and some links from the Pajama Pages blog on this issue. After reading the Pajama Pages articles, we have media articles reporting on Furtick’s mansion. We hope these articles help you understand the nature of how mega churches like C3 and Hillsong run.
Pajama Pages reports,
The problem with businessmenpastors. A reader’s contribution
A comment in the Walt White article is impressively on point that I think it deserves to be read by people who may not have made it to the end of that article. PP reader, Josh, posted the following this afternoon:
The problem with Furtick isn’t that he’s rich, or even that he’s a rich pastor. The problem is that he’s rich because he’s a pastor. If professing Christian Steven Furtick started a successful bakery, retail store or construction company in 2006 that was incredibly successful, so much so that he could buy a $3 million home, few would criticize him for enjoying his earnings. In fact, the world and people in the church generally look favorably on successful Christian businessmen. No one questions how Truett Cathy spends his Chick-fil-a money, for example.
The problem is that Furtick and others got their money by turning the church into a business. Pastors like Furtick are obsessed with business leadership because they fashion themselves as the CEO and identify more with celebrity CEOs like Steve Jobs than with non-celebrity pastors. Decisions are made by the CEO to build the brand, to create a larger customer base, to increase the giving margin, and to expand into new opportunities. Church personnel decisions are made in the same way. Is the youth pastor growing the youth brand? Is the worship pastor stylish enough? While such decisions are constrained at some point by biblical considerations…they aren’t going to hire a guy who publicly rejects the Bible…the biblical standards of Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 aren’t really considerations.
This creates two problems, though. One, churches aren’t businesses and aren’t supposed to be run as such. There is nothing wrong with Macy’s developing a non-fraudulent pricing and promotional strategy designed to extricate consumers with as many spending dollars as possible. Macy’s should offer products and services designed to produce high margin income. But churches aren’t businesses. The pastor shouldn’t spend time developing (or, more likely, purchasing from consultants) “offering talks,” or message series, or coaching services, or conferences with a goal of increasing the church’s income. The church shouldn’t be selling books and t-shirts and lattes and Bibles or anything else. God’s house is not a house of merchandise!
So when the Furticks of the Christian world stand up and talk about money (and they talk about money a lot!) it sounds a lot like Macy’s running television commercials for their two-day After-Thanksgiving sale. When they preach on tithing (a subject on which Bible-believing Christians can easily disagree), it sounds self-serving because it is self-serving. Is it Furtick the preacher of God’s Word talking, or Furtick the CEO of Elevation Church, Inc. talking? Nothing has changed in two thousand years. A pastor cannot serve two masters.
The second problem is the conflict of interest between the company (the church) and the CEO (the pastor.) Former GM CEO Charles Wilson reportedly once claimed that “What’s good for GM is good for the country.” (A misquote, but that’s not the point here.) Celebrity CEO pastors seem to believe that what’s good for the Lead Pastor is good for the church. That’s why they freely write and promote books on the church’s time and bring in other celebrity CEO pastors to “teach” (with undisclosed and sizable speaking fees). Does Furtick invite Craig Groeshel to teach for $____ because Groeshel brought in Furtick to teach at Lifechurhc for $_____? No one knows because it’s all a big, big secret. Is the five-week sermon series on “Sun Stand Still Prayers” for the edification of the church, or to promote the CEO’s new book, which is conveniently for sale in the church bookstore. Building the CEO’s profile will help him sell books, increase his demand as a guest speaker, and feed his ego. But does it benefit the church? None of your business.
The clear conflict of interest is exacerbated by an utter lack of accountability. Sure, if Furtick gets caught sleeping with his cute personal assistant (which has happened in at least two smaller CEO-style churches I’m aware of), he couldn’t salvage his position. But no one from inside his inner circle is going to question his business dealings, his use of church time to work on and promote his books, his purchase of his own and friends’ books by the church, his speaking fee at churches with mutual relationships, or his promotional choice of message series. Anyone from the inside who did ask such impertinent questions would suddenly find themselves on the outs, and in a personality-driven organization, loss of access to the leader is a dire sanction. Outsiders in the media or blog may ask questions, but they won’t get answers. And the rank and file members will stay on and keep giving…
Source: The problem with businessmen pastors. A reader’s contribution, Pajama Pages, http://www.pajamapages.com/the-problem-with-businessmen-pastors-a-readers-contribution/, 30/10/2013. (Accessed 01/11/2013.)
Here are some follow up articles on Steven Furtick you can read up on.
Articles from The Charlotte WCNC.com:
By STUART WATSON / NBC Charlotte:
NBC Charlotte obtains confidential Elevation report
Posted on November 4, 2013 at 11:31 PM, Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 12:42 PM. (Accessed 10/11/2012.)
By STUART WATSON / NBC Charlotte:
I-Team: Pastor’s salary set by board, not congregation,
Posted on October 23, 2013 at 7:34 PM, Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 10:21 AM. (Accessed 10/11/2012.)
Articles from The Charlotte Observer:
Elevation Church pastor building big home in Waxhaw,
Posted: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. (Accessed 10/11/2012.)
By Stuart Watson:
Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick responds to his critics,
Posted: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (Accessed 10/11/2012.)
By Elisabeth Arriero:
Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick: 16,000-square-foot house is gift from God
Posted: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (Accessed 10/11/2012.)
Any more articles that are found on this issue, we will gladly add.
Perhaps the two subheadings for this new post could be adequately summed up by combining them, and saying something like: “My, what big teeth you have…”?
I’ll never forget the day when I heard Copeland preach on TV, back in 1983, that “Jesus had a house – a big one, and that it was HIS house that had the roof partly removed, so that the lame man could be lowered down into the lounge room, so that Jesus could heal him.”
Thinking about it some time later, I finally realised that this ‘sermon’ Copeland was preaching, was not there on TV to glorify God in His mercy towards the lame man. It was presented in that warped and twisted manner to justify that fact that “if Jesus had a big house, then I can have one too”!
What utter nonsense! Chrst stated himself that “He had nowhere to lay His head”
(Luke 9:58), but He did note elsewhere in that passage, that “foxes have dens…” so does it really matter whether it’s a small downmarket den, or a large 3 story ‘den’. What matters is that the ‘fox’ has shamelessly conned people out of their hard earned cash to build the den, and then claimed the blessing of God as an outcome on their ‘ministry’!
Wow, maybe that’s where Kong got his ideas for the completely false teaching “9 reasons Jesus wasn’t poor”. Please find it and listen to it.
On a side note, Kong has a Doctorate of Theology and a Master of Divinity – and he still manages to deliberately malign and chop up God’s word to produce a money hungry sermon. You think someone with such lofty knowledge would be theologically sound, right?
Funny this one major theme in all this….interesting we’re not comparing people’s theology on alcohol, language, baptism etc etc (except for the strange fire stuff). What’s the binding agent?
It’s easy to preach about money when you have it, and you have a guaranteed wage set by your advisory board.
To quote Cyndi Lauper, “Money Changes Everything”….
P.S. Dean, your comments seem to be decreasing in quality and substance, which is disappointing. As an overseer it would be good to see your take on the Furtick thing, why doesn’t he publish his income etc to the church, why there’s always so many businesses etc…
Dean Sweetman said:
Is that the same as “Birds of a feather flock together”?
That’s one of my favorite sayings.
You guys crack me up.
Once again Dean – no defense and no substance. Just shallow, pithy comments. You are a pastor how?
Dean Sweetman said:
I’m not sure. I guess my tenth grade Catholic school education and one year of C3 College was enough for me to scrape through.
Teddy bear said:
I guess the part where he leads so many people to Christ every week, and helps people grow in their spiritual walk, that also doesn’t hurt.
But hey, you keep playing here with this little blog. It’s cute.
“I guess the part where [Dean] […] helps people grow in their spiritual walk […]”
You mean like the hapless members of C3 Asheville, where Dean has knowingly allowed a confessed felon to continue as a “pastor”?
“[…] that also doesn’t hurt.”
Perhaps you should get yourself to Asheville C3 for a first-hand look at what’s going on there. I don’t think you’ll find many people who would agree with your contention.
“But hey, you keep playing here with this little blog.”
And you keep playing chuch, if that’s what makes you happy (some people are quite easily kept entertained, aren’t they?)
Dean Sweetman I am calling you out on the “I only went to 10th grade….” strategy.
My local pastor is a local tradesman, loves to use his country jobs stories as sermon illustrations (pigs and cows especially), wears country boots and belts even. He obviously has no academic background *whatsoever*. The contrast between how he communicates and doctors of theology e.g. John MaCArthur is striking.
Despite that he still communicates the content of what academic *bible loving Christian* preachers do exactly. He examines a passage and looks at it carefully. He explains what, why, where, when happened, and how it is relevant to us in local mining town lingo.
I have taken the time to listen to sermon reviews of Phil Pringles and Bryan Houston. A “high school only” pastor “out” preaches them every single time because his love of God (and therefore biblical truth) is palpable. Therefore academic training (or lack of it) has *nothing* to do with it at all.
If you are not up to the standards of a preacher (James 3:1) then do the decent thing by your church members and either 1. get genuine bible-training (exegesis not “narcegesis”)or 2. move into another role. e.g. at the capital city I lived in the large Baptist church I went to had one pastor whose role was counsellor.
To put in in a more blunt way: shape up or ship out. You are ripping off your congregation big time if you are giving (low) standard Pringle-ish messages.
“To put in in a more blunt way: shape up or ship out. You are ripping off your congregation big time if you are giving (low) standard Pringle-ish messages.”
If Dean does that, he truly is loving God and neighbour.
what an arrogant comment by Dean Sweetman. Im so glad im no longer part of their mind control “church”.
just looking to the left of the “Reply form,” where all of the posts are listed (around 30 of them,) I don’t know how you have time to defend the undefendable, as you could busy yourself with other important activities, such as: some serious repenting, and setting the record straight with your own people (if that were possible.)
You could then refund all of that hard earned cash that you guys seem to rake in on a regular basis, based on false doctrines (tithing etc) and false prophecies that never come true (New Zealand ‘revival???) et al.
With some 30 posts on the board to the contrary, I don’t really think that you have an arguement to offer nor the time to log on and give us a serve over this expose’.
‘different kind of bird’
Dean Sweetman said:
I promised that I wouldn’t allow the questions I have put to you on this web site languish unanswered (there have been so many like that, haven’t there?). To this end, I am re-posting below an earlier comment of mine to which you haven’t as yet responded:
We have made some progress on various threads in establishing that your wife does not in fact have a genuine PhD, and that, contrary to the claim in your bio on the web, you are not even remotely possessed of the skills and gifts that would qualify you as an author (“emerging” or otherwise).
I note that your bio also states, inter alia, that you are “a sought-after speaker in […] business settings […]”. I know that your esteemed mentor, Phil Pringle, has only the barest modicum of real-world employment experience (having worked variously as a garbage collector and a postman), and I was wondering how it is that you have found yourself in the position of speaking in “business settings”. Who has “sought after” you for such speaking engagements, and on what basis? Do you have extensive corporate experience? What is your particular area of subject matter expertise in a business context? Have you perhaps worked as a CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, or in any such senior positions? Have you served as a board member for any public companies? Do you have any recognised qualifications in fields such as management or accounting? Are you a member of any relevant professional bodies? Above all, the thing that I want to know is this: exactly what is it that you tell your audience when you are speaking in a “business setting”?
I am very interested in this area, as I have personally seen a glaring example of a particularly pathetic pentecostal “pastor” who has promoted himself on the web as a business speaker, but who, in fact, is singularly ignorant regarding the subject, having spent the best part of his life preaching a false gospel and chasing shadows. It appears that along with touting fake educational credentials, it is de rigueur for today’s upwardly mobile pentecostal “church leaders” to be found networking with and advising the well-heeled movers and shakers from the big end of town (maybe Jesus was similarly aspirational, but for the life of me I just can’t think of any Biblical references that are apposite – perhaps you could help me out with an apropos verse or two).
Anyway, forgive me for saying so, but I’m having a great deal of trouble reconciling the quality of your commentary here with anything that even faintly resembles the erudite discourse of a high-flying corporate savant, or that betrays in any way the commanding presence of a man who can be taken seriously by business men – real men from the real world – much less gain their respect and have their collective ear. Do let me know what you think – perhaps I’m guilty of setting the bar too high.
I forgot to show you, here’s two pictures of the “foxes” den, valued at over $6 million dollars:
Wow, I bet Jesus had to pay out a lot of money to have a roof that big repaired!
I’m also wondering if the lame man was a regular “tither” so that he could “obtain the blessing” from Jesus ???
And here’s another ‘foxes’ den’ – that of Joyce Myer:
and scroll down to the bottom.
And while you’re there Dean, you can check out the ‘family photo album’ and have a catch up with some of your old ministry buddies…
These kinds of ‘false profit’ ministries are all cut from the same cloth – they twist the scriptures in relation to finances and giving, so that they can make merchandise of the brethren.
Their doctrine and stage magician antics put fear into people’s hearts (If you don’t give to this ministry God will curse you!) kinda crap. Fear and guilt are pretty powerful emotional tools to have on hand when you’re out to fleece the sheep, aren’t they Dean?
“Foxes have dens… but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head…” (Luke 9:58)
Teddy bear said:
So, you tell Dean off for posting too much… but then you keep engaging him?
Makes perfect sense…
So do you have anything of substance to add to the discussion, or are you intent on simply taking up space here with the same sort of arrant twaddle of which your poster boy Dean is such a past master?
Honestly, the vapid offerings of vacuous C3 apologists just keep on coming; it truly appears that there is simply no one in their cosy little universe who has an intellect that stretches beyond the average, who can mount a logical argument, or who has even a modest degree of facility with the English language. It would be laughable if it wasn’t all so sad and pathetic.
C3 “leaders” seem to truly believe that they are “gifted speakers” and “dynamic communicators”, and yet everyone can see exactly how Dean has fared in his forays on this web site – and it hasn’t been at all pretty. If Dean – a C3 “pastor” – has copped it from all quarters and has had absolutely nothing convincing to offer in return, then in what fantasy world do you think you are going to be able to proffer any useful assistance to him?
“I’m also wondering if the lame man was a regular “tither” so that he could “obtain the blessing” from Jesus ???”
Haha great one! As much as I believe in giving (Luke 6:38) and/or ASKING (Matt 7:7-12) and receiving as Jesus promised, when it comes to this:
“put fear into people’s hearts (If you don’t give to this ministry God will curse you!)”
…to me that’s fleecing! If these “doctors” are so theologically sound, why don’t they understand the concept of law and grace? By all means, encourage the church to give (2 Cor 9:7) – but STOP this cursed if you don’t tithe business! THAT is giving out if compulsion. In addition – I would like to suggest that it’s not a special 10% tithe that gets people financially blessed (if indeed it comes back now), it’s that they have given “cheerfully” to God.
I heard a preacher say from the pulpit during an offering message that the New Testament church didn’t tithe, that they have more because tithing “was just the beginning” and they gave way above that. Please show me where Scripture says that.
Bottom line – if you want to tithe, tithe.
If you don’t want to, don’t.
Don’t tithe or give because you have to, you feel guilty, or you’re told bad things would happen to you.
I am still unlearning these things.
Oh and on the bottom line:
– God can and will provide your needs whether you give or not. I can testify.
I believe that we need to put these kinds of people on notice that we’re not just a bunch of dumb ‘sheeple’ who can be conned out of their money or scared off through fear campaigns. What continually amazes me is that there are still plenty of people out there in cyberspace who keep on defending them. It is not about whether Dean Sweetman posts too much, but more the substance of his posts (or rather, the lack of any deep and meaningful dialogue with him) that bothers me.
In realtion to the “foxes” and their ‘dens’ – when you consider the vulgarity of their oppulance and the arrogance with which they openly display their kind of lifestyles, you begin to realise that these ‘false profit’ ministries have made their money off the backs of hard working, family oriented people – people who honestly believe that they are supporting a man of God and a work of God, their ‘church’. People who don’t deserve to be corralled and defrauded. It just makes you want to cry.
Jesus Christ did not endure the suffering and shame of the cross so that these people can enjoy a millionaire existence. Jesus Christ did not teach, or live a “Prosperity Gospel” concept. The lies of Copeland, Hagin and others, took the simple meanings of Jesus’ words, and twisted them severely, in order to justify their corrupt and biblically inept interpretations of the Gospels and the rest of the NT. They then taught these corrupt interpretations, in order to justify their extravagence, and then built the ‘family compounds’ that you see depicted in the links posted above.
Their money raking exercises continue to this day, due to the ignorance of God’s people. Most of these “ministries” turn over tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but no one “dares to touch God’s annointed” (by asking awkward questions,) unless they may end up being cursed. My Bible teaches that if you don’t love the truth (Jesus and His word) then GOD will give you a strong delusion. That delusion begins with deluded leaders, and ends up tainting their deluded ‘flocks’.
They are the very essence of the false prophets that Jesus spoke of, in Matthew 7 – they are wolves – wolves have a devouring nature. They want to devour your time, talents, money and energy, in order to build their own kingdoms. In the end, they will have everything of a material nature that you have given them, and you will end up with nothing and no one.
These wolves wear the ‘sheeps clothing’ so as to disguise themselves, and thus they are able to blend in with the flock and often go undetected. When they have a few sheep isolated (by their cultish teaching and behaviour) they then begin to devour them, as described above.
I do not engage in personal attacks – I’m not suggesting that Dean Sweetman is involved in adultery, or other shameless acts that many false prophets commit, as I have no evidence of such. What I can see (and many others with me on this blog) is an organisation claiming to be a NT church, but one which is beginning to show the hallmarks of a cult. In any pyramidal system, orders flow down to the bottom, and tithes float up to the top, and Lord help the man or woman who takes a strong stand and questions the orders from headquarters!
I encourage you TB to seriously consider the following scriptures:
“17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17 – 18)
Mark them and avoid them – dont feed their egos or their “tithe buckets”, and don’t be deceived by their “good words and fair speeches” (pseudo-spiritual psychobabel, passed off as sermons.)
‘old sheep dog’
looks like Dean has brought along his teddy bear to this site, to help him. 🙂
Set Free said:
Here little cutie. Lol.
I’m not doubting your salvation experience at all, it’s just that spurous conversions can and do take place, and we need to be on our guard against them, and make sure that earnest seekers, who are experiencing the conviction of the Holy Spirit, come right through to a genuine born again relationship with the Lord. Blessings on you Annette – you seem to be doing just fine, and you’re not afraid to speak your mind – that coupled with a good knowledge of the word will protect you from the wolves.
Simeon – check out this website: http://www.tithingtruth.com – it’s a real eye opener. These ‘false profit’ ministries wouldn’t last long, if the people simply stopped “tithing” – they would collapse within weeksor months due to any withdrawal of funds on such a large scale. I too have experienced God’s miraculous provision for food, shelter, and money when I was flat broke, but that sisn’t stop me from giving later on.
Giving to the Lord and His genuine work through solid local churches and genuine missionary work is an honourable thing, but demanding $10,000 up front (per meeting!) like John Avanzini used to – and then to rake in another ‘offering’ during each meeting,,is not what the scriptures teach – at all!
And what about the ‘church’ that rakes in all of the tithe money – do they build huge buildings to the glory of man (including multi million dollar beachside ‘manses’?) Do they also give to the poor in any deep and meaningful way, or os it just mere tokenism, to satisfy their consciounces and to bypass some government requirements?
If you want to let your hair down and enjoy some “worship” then have a look at this and realise that many people go to “churches” that are patterned just this one: