Steven Furtick, who named a book “Unqualified” in reference to John MacArthur’s assessment of him, preached a sermon from a non-existent Bible verse.
Oddly enough, before preaching from the verse as though it were Inspired Writ (and allegorizing the text at that), Furtick acknowledged that the older (and better) manuscripts do not have the verse. He preached from it anyway.
The verse in question is John 5:4, “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” Although the King James has this verse, newer translations that are made from an older and more reliable selection of manuscripts do not have it. Likely, the verse was at one time added by a scribe making a parenthetical note of commentary, explaining why cripples and the sick were at the Pool of Bethesda. While it is likely that this superstitious belief existed among the Jews and not unlikely that they were indeed waiting by the pool believing this superstition, it’s highly unlikely that God ever sent an angel to stir the water to bring healing to the first lucky cripple who went headlong into the pool. In other words, the scribe was explaining what he believed the context of John 5:3 and 5:5 to be, but it was not a part of the Text inspired of the Holy Ghost. The next scribe then likely picked up the manuscript, unaware that his writing was parenthetical commentary, and included it in the next copy of the Scripture and so on.
Again, oddly enough, Furtick acknowledges the older manuscripts do not have the verse. After recommending the NIV as “good translation” (it really is not) and The Message (which Furtick rightly – to his credit – called a “paraphrase”), Furtick preached that John 5:4 holds the secret to personal breakthrough.
In Furtick’s preaching from this non-existent Bible verse, he explains that we are likewise waiting for God to come down and make our lives better. Essentially, he preached from even he knows is not really in the Holy Bible. That’s pretty unqualified.
You can watch the video below.
The Scripture is inspired, inerrant, sufficient, and authoritative. However, this doesn’t mean that individual translations, per se, are infallible. In the case of the KJV and earlier English versions, they botched it. Furtick knows it, but allegorized an entire sermon from it as though it were Inspired.
Thankfully, very few verses in the Bible are suspect of being added later by accident through careless scribes. Other verses include Acts 8:37, 1 John 5:7, and Mark 16: 9-20. Very few serious Bible scholars believe these verses are original and most translations either remove them altogether or place an asterisk by them with a marginal note stating, “The older and more reliable manuscripts do not contain this verse.” In reality, nearly 20 manuscripts have been found with annotations from scribes notating that the verse was included, but not original. Also, the last five words of John 5:4 aren’t used in any of the rest of the Johannine Corpus (writings of John), meaning that they simply aren’t in his vocabulary.
Added to Furtick’s textual folly is his butchering of an additional story. At about the 10 minute mark, Furtick paraphrases the story of the Samaritan woman claiming that in John 4, the Samaritan woman explained that Samaritans believe they should worship on the mountain ( Gerizim) and the Jews believe they should worship at the temple in Jerusalem and according to Furtick, Jesus said, “You’re both wrong…you should worship in Spirit and Truth.” This is not at all how the conversation transpired. In fact, Jesus rebuked the woman because it was indeed sinful to worship God outside the cultic system set forth by Moses, which included observance of the Ceremonial Law in Jerusalem.
Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” Essentially, Jesus just called her ignorant.
The next statement from Jesus is, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” Jesus was not absolving Samaritans for living outside of Moses’ Covenant; indeed, they were sinning and outside of salvation under the Old Covenant. And while a New Covenant was coming and would be fully established at Jesus’ Passion, Christ’s comment to the Samaritan woman did not dismiss their sin of worshipping at Mt. Gerizim. In fact, Christ Himself was on his way to the Ceremonial feast in Jerusalem as a part of his keeping of God’s Ceremonial Laws.
Steven Furtick handles the Scriptures like Edward Scissorhands handles a water balloon.
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