The Elevation Church Easter controversy, explained

The Elevation Church Easter controversy, explained

The Elevation megachurch caused a minor controversy over the Easter weekend, after it was revealed that the church would be avoiding certain religious phrases in its Easter invitations.

This isn’t the first time the church found itself at the center of controversy. Elevation and its pastors have been criticized by well known evangelical figures and fellow Christians several times now — this whole debacle over Easter is just the latest controversy involving the church.

What is the Elevation Church?

And as we worship, fill the throne
And as we worship, fill the throne
And as we worship, fill the throne
Come Lord Jesus and take Your place
#SWITCH #WednesdaysAtTEC#OnEaglesWings#WorshipExperience#ElevationNG

— The Elevation Church (@elevationng) April 3, 2024

For starters, let’s delve into what exactly this organization is. The Elevation Church was founded in 2006 and its senior pastors are Steven and Holly Furtick. Since 2006 the megachurch has grown in size, with 20 campuses across the country and nearly 15,000 weekly attendees according to an archived Charlotte Observer article from 2013. 

The church has made an effort to adapt to the 21st century, and by that I mean there’s been more effort toward inclusivity. Elevation was listed as one of the best places to work for millennials, as reported on by the Christian Post, thanks to the support it offers and the diversity of the congregation. In 2023 the organization terminated its membership with the Southern Baptist Convention according to an article from Religion News Service. This was after the convention passed a constitutional amendment banning women from becoming pastors.

So what did Elevation do over Easter to upset people?

Image via Elevation Church

When it comes to megachurches, we’ve seen our fair share of controversies, often it’s an abuse of power or a greedy pastor. Elevation is different — an article from Times Now News reports that the church omitted phrases such as “the blood of Jesus,” “resurrection,” and “calvary” on its Easter invites. The reason for this is to avoid making those who may not be regular church goers “feel like… outsider[s].” 

It’s a pretty innocent idea and fitting with the church’s track record for being as inclusive as possible, however, the decision to drop certain Christian phrases has drawn a lot of criticism from other well known evangelical figures. Pastor and author Shane Idleman blasted the church, calling it “wokeism” in a video posted to Instagram. He went on to ask “when did church become for non-believers?”

Clearly, for many the decision from Elevation to omit certain phrases is a step too far.

Previous criticisms against the Elevation Church

The senior pastor of Elevation, Steven Furtick, has had criticisms aimed at him from other Christians before. An article from titled “The False Teachings of Steven Furtick” attacks the pastor for his methods, claiming that, although some of his teachings are true to God, a lot of what he teaches isn’t. Either way it looks like Elevation is likely to continue operating the way it has in the past, regardless of what other church leaders and pastors have to say.

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