For those unaware of the latest brouhaha in Evangelicalism, let me first lay out the facts. Steven Furtick, megachurch pastor at Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, is currently hosting a revival which is running from January 11-22 and is promoted as "a 12 night worship experience to set the stage for 2012." The event is entitled "Code Orange" to indicate, according to Elevation Church's website, "a heightened sense of urgency....something significant is about to happen." The line-up of speakers for Code Orange includes Craig Groeschel, Jentezen Franklin, Matt Chandler, Christine Caine, Ed Young, Israel Houghton, Perry Noble, James MacDonald, T.D. Jakes, etc.
So Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Highland, Texas, and one of the invited speakers at Code Orange, stood up at Elevation Church and delivered what turned out to be a barn burner of a sermon. In his distinctive delivery style (that is to say, humble, loving, direct and at times laugh-out-loud funny), Chandler took aim at the kind of preaching that has been so aptly termed "Narcissistic Eisegeis," and at which Steven Furtick, and so many others in the seeker sensitive movement, excel.
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4Narcissistic Eisegesis ("Narcigesis") = Forcing the Bible to mean something you already want it to mean by superimposing yourself into the meaning of the passage, rather than interpreting Scripture for what it means about God, and letting the Scripture simply speak for itself. Conversely, seeking to understand Scripture for what it reveals about God is known as Exegesis, and is also sometimes referred to as the "Literal" or "Grammatical-Historical" approach to interpreting Scripture. Example: The Narcissitic Eisegesis version of David and Goliath would be about you fighting your personal "giants" (i.e., problems, difficulties, setbacks, etc.). The Exegetical approach to interpreting David and Goliath would reveal, instead, an historical account of David's faith and God supernaturally intervening in an impossible situation for his own glory.
But now for the controversial part. Chandler's sermon was immediately pulled from the Code Orange rebroadcasts. This was pointed out by several Christian writers, including Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for Faith and Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries. Then, the sermon reappeared in subsequent rebroadcasts with a cryptic message from Elevation's graphic designer about a decision being made to "reformat the content" for the purpose of focusing "the broadcast on Jesus." So we'll let you be the judge. Matt Chandler's sermon is posted above, where you can listen to it in its entirety. Was this a sermon that should have been pulled because it did not focus on Jesus?
Elevation Church Pulls Matt Chandler's Sermon
Grow Up. Settle Down. Keep Reforming. Advice for the Young, Restless and Reformed
Code Orange Revival: To Focus on Jesus, We Cut The Only Sermon That Pointed People To Him