CHARLOTTE, NC—The Southern Baptist Convention has deployed a crew of theology referees to Elevation Church, instructing the trained officials to monitor sermons preached by Pastor Steven Furtick, and warn him and the congregation when his messages fall out of the bounds of orthodoxy, sources confirmed Friday.
Church members reportedly witnessed Furtick’s first sermon under the watchful eyes of the refs this past Sunday.
According to those present, when Furtick began encouraging his audience members to unlock the potential within themselves several minutes into his message, a sideline ref blew a whistle and tossed a yellow flag into the air, stopping the sermon and slapping Furtick with a two-sermon-point penalty.
Restarting the sermon clock at the 5:00 mark, the officials then allowed the pastor to continue with his sermon, but instantly dinged him for a borderline prosperity gospel theology infraction, hitting him with a fifteen-minute penalty.
At one point, Furtick was nearly ejected from the service after stepping “way outside” the bounds of orthodoxy, but was allowed to stay after an instant replay video was obscured by the building’s intense multi-colored lighting and fog effects, and refs were unable to prove the infraction.
At publishing time, the SBC had deployed a separate team of theology referees to monitor Ed Young, Jr. at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX.