Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick and his wife, Holly, have received criticism for celebrating a music project produced by their teenage son Elijah Furtick, which celebrates guns, sex and designer clothes.
Sixteen-year-old Elijah Furtick, who goes by the stage name “dothedash!,” recently released a series of songs under a project titled “Teen Machine.”
A 30-second introduction to the songs said they are a “genuine reflection of some dimension of the author’s experience or personality.” However, the video noted that a majority of the lyrics reflect experiences that are “fictitious, exaggerated, tongue-in-cheek or otherwise wildly inaccurate.”
In the music video for one of the songs called “No Hook!” Elijah Furtick references oral sex, drinking Hennessy and his “bro” keeping a gun.
In a post celebrating his son on Facebook last Wednesday, Furtick said he was inspired.
“You already know how proud I am of you. But today on the release of TEEN MACHINE I want you to know that you inspire me,” the North Carolina megachurch pastor wrote, explaining how hard his son had worked to create the music.
“Believing in your own voice, lyrics and melodies enough to hit record and make your own project. This is the part that inspired me the most,” Furtick wrote. “Because even with autotune, letting your voice be heard, even by your own ears, is intimidating. Most people can’t even stand to hear their voice for 10 seconds on an old video on their phone. But you had the courage to conceptualize and execute an entire project - every 808, mix, & melody, you meticulously curated and created, selected and perfected.”
Holly Furtick also celebrated the work of her son on Instagram, noting in a comment that she is “so proud of this project.”
The project drew reactions from Furtick’s critics online.
Pastor Keith Bell, an associate pastor and jail minister affiliated with Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, quoted 1 Timothy 3 to suggest that the older Furtick isn’t running “his own household well.”
“1 Timothy 3 says that one of the qualifications of a pastor are that... ‘He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity, but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?’” Bell asked in a Facebook post.
Ruslan KD, a San Diego-based hip-hop artist and follower of Jesus known for his positive, spiritually-minded productions, raised particular concern about the song “No Hook!” He also cited the same Scripture referenced by Bell.
“I don’t blame him [Elijah]. He’s a kid. This is not his fault. This was cosigned by his mom. He posted it, and the mom was like, ‘yeah!’ endorsing it,” Ruslan said in a reaction video on YouTube.
“It’s not a good look to be flexing about money and about jewelry when your dad is a pastor … and there is nothing authentic about this,” he continued.
“The No. 1 value in this ecosystem of hip-hop is authenticity and being congruent. So when you have a song that’s literally all hyperbolic nonsense of stuff that he’s not living, this is bad for his career,” Ruslan added.
Ruslan said that he reached out to Pastor Furtick, Holly Furtick and Elijah Furtick to voice his concern with the videos, but Furtick blocked him on social media.
CP reached out to Elevation Church on Tuesday, asking the Furticks to respond to the criticisms. An official said Pastor Furtick has no further comment at this time.