Osteen, Furtick, Others Ask Followers To Not Open/Carry Bibles In Church; Begin Bible Buyback Program
After a rash of instances where Bible owners have publicly used the Scripture to attack false doctrine, some churches are asking members to not carry or open their Bibles. This morning news started spreading as two prominent preachers started discouraging people from doing something that is historically a Christian habit.
The first to make the announcement was mega-celebrity preacher Joel Osteen, of Lakewood Church whose personal assistant tweeted for him, “We know you have a constitutional right to carry your Bible, and use it, but out of respect for those who don’t believe it, we ask that you refrain from bringing them into our house of worship. We understand that some of you may have the Bible on your phone. But we ask that you please leave it in your pocket during the service.”
Steven Furtick, pastor of mega-popular Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC quickly followed suit. In a cool video rocking his trademark skin tight clothes and hip kicks, he advised, “Please do not bring your bible to church. It isn’t that we are against Bibles. We just know that people may use the Scripture to oppose my teaching. And that could hurt people. In fact, there have been instances where a person using a Bible at Elevation actually caused people to leave and not return. Such casualties are not acceptable. Most of my people have never studied the Bible. They grew up in a Bible-free culture. They aren’t familiar with it, and it makes them nervous. We try to create a safe space for my preaching. The fact is, the Bible self-identifies as a weapon. So I personally thank you for not carrying or opening your Bible.”
This appears to be the first wave of Christian leaders encouraging people to not bring Bibles out in public. But upon publishing this article, we have received word that most charismatic tele-preachers are going to take out an ad in Charisma magazine encouraging their people to not use their Bible.
In fact, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, and Jesse Duplantis have started a “Bible Buyback” movement. If you bring your Bible to one of their services, they will buy your Bible back and/or replace it with one of their best-selling books.
In related news, conservative pastor John MacArthur sent out a press release saying that Bibles are absolutely welcome at his church, but he warns that if you misuse your Bible, you will be treated as a hostile.