Matt Chandler and Elevation

Is Matt Chandler’s sermon in need of censorship? Let’s talk about it today on Deeper Waters.

Recently, Steven Furtick of Elevation Church, had an event known as Code Orange Revival where he had a dozen preachers from other churches come and speak to the congregation. One name that was quite different from the others in the list was Matt Chandler.

And oddly enough, when his sermon was to be rebroadcast, it wasn’t. A statement issued by Geoff Schultz, who is the motion graphic designer at Elevation said the following:

“The team decided to focus the rebroadcast on Jesus, so we reformatted the content a bit – We are trying to stay in the flow of what the Spirit is leading us to do.”

Reformatting the content a bit seems to mean “changing it altogether.”

Instead, there was a video played of prayer going on. Why? Could this sermon have been such a disaster that it deserved to not be played?

Wanting to know, I listened to it myself. Chandler’s message is certainly powerful. I am not saying that I agreed with everything that he said in the sermon, but I certainly liked the majority of it and there was a clear emphasis on exegesis.

He also regularly points out that the Bible is not about us and even says the Bible is not about Elevation. The Bible is about Jesus. He wants us to know that God is for us, but that is only because God is for His glory first and He is glorified when we come to Him in repentance.

In the video, Furtick doesn’t seem too happy about how different this message is. Could there be some intention on Matt Chandler giving a message like this? I do not know, but I am open to it. There is something different to hear about the Kingdom of God rather than the Kingdom of Man.

To be fair though, while I think we rightfully say Elevation should not have skipped a rebroadcast of the sermon at the proper time, many of us can understand why this sermon would not be popular.

After all, we are all sinners and we are all about ourselves and to hear that God’s glory is more important than ours runs counter to our sinful intuitions. There is a part of us that wants to cringe at that. We are not sure if we can trust God to look out for us.

But this is also our sinful nature that must be worked out of us. This is the gravity of it. We are told that actions speak louder than words. When I kiss my wife, there is a message being told in that action. Let us suppose we asked the question “What is the message being told when we sin against God, especially knowingly?”

The message is that we wish for God to not exist. We want to be on that throne. We want to seek our good above the good of God. Every act of sin turns out to be then an act of divine treason and in a New Testament sense, it is saying that we are Lord and Jesus is not. We do not bow to Caesar. We seek to be Caesar.

Yet this sermon that glorified Christ was said to be the sermon that did not glorify Christ. How is this possible?

This is the kind of preaching we need to hear more often. Again, I do not agree with all Matt said, but it was obvious he had done some serious study of the text and had done some serious theology as well in working through the implications of his beliefs. Not only that, he was a quite humorous individual and I do value it when a pastor not only gives a sermon, but throws in the humor that also shows that he enjoys what he’s doing.

Some might think Jesus would not have been like that, but works like Trueblood’s “The Humor of Christ” shows that Jesus had a number of jokes in his sermons. He was a popular preacher and a preacher that one does not enjoy hearing will not be a popular preacher.

There is much speculation about why Chandler’s sermon was pulled at the time, and I think some of it could be likely. Time will hopefully tell what happened, but hopefully, more people will hear this message than that of someone like T.D. Jakes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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