Pastor Steven Furtick Says God Told Him to Preach Against Prejudice
Lead Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, Steven Furtick called prejudice a poisonous snake and challenged his congregation to keep the scourge in check by not passing it down to children.
"I wanna give you a little challenge today from my personal experience called 'It's in your hands,'" Furtick said in a video clip posted on his Facebook page on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.
"God told me to just bring you a simple message today and ask you 'what are you passing on?' I believe that the essence of the Gospel is acceptance," he said before reading Scripture from Matthew 7:9-12.
"Jesus said 'which of you if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!'
"Then here's a verse that a lot of people know, it's easier to quote than it is to live, (Matthew 7:12). So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets,'" he said, ending the reading.
He then began his exhortation on prejudice.
"As fathers, we give gifts to our children and one of the greatest gifts, blessings or curses and burdens that we give to our children is our perspective. Yet, as fathers, when we pass on prejudice to our children we're handing them snakes all the time. We're handing them stones all the time that they might grow up and throw at somebody who's different than them because of the ignorance that we perpetuate through our perspective and our prejudice that wasn't checked in our hearts, and it's gotta stop somewhere!" he declared to cheers from his congregation.
"You know what? What does not heal gets handed down. 'Cause I have no use for your religion and neither does God and neither does the world, if you can claim to love God that you can't even see, and hate your brother or sister who you see every day. To me that's a useless stone and a dangerous snake, and a poisonous venom and a toxic religion that you could love God and hate them," he continued.
"He didn't say 'don't do to others what you don't want them to do to you. He said until you are proactive about doing for others what you wish someone would do for you. Until you do it. You don't have it. Not real love.
"And I came today not to offer any grand solution or to be some kind of racial unifier in my own right, but just to ask a question that I think is my part to ask you: 'What's in your heart?' Because whatever change we need to see beyond this room starts in our hearts," he said.