Elevation Church Catching Heat for 'Spontaneous' Baptisms
NBC affiliate WCBC has put together a pretty negative report on the much-lauded "spontaneous baptism ceremonies" being engineered by Charlotte's huge, influential Elevation Church. Online videos show people coming forward to be baptized by the thousands, but a "How-To" guide posted on the church's website tells other churches that key to their baptism's success is planting people throughout the auditorium who aren't so much moved to be baptized as they are instructed to come forward first. “Fifteen people will sit in the worship experience and be the first ones to move when Pastor gives the call," the guide says. "Move intentionally through the highest visibility areas and the longest walk.” Further instructions tell volunteers to pick "young, energetic" people to go on stage to be baptized first and "not necessarily those who are there first.”
Critics are calling this emotional manipulation. Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick disagrees, saying “We are confident that those who attend Elevation Church know and understand our mission and vision for reaching people for Jesus Christ. As attendees, they are provided, through weekly teachings, biblical context for everything we do and practice, such as baptism, giving, serving and inviting friends to church" ...
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