Code Orange "Elevated" to Code Red

From the “think the worst about your brother” file…

A popular blogger is accusing Elevation Church of ‘censorship’.


Well, Chris Rosebrough, the blogger in this story, says that when Matt Chandler spoke at Elevation Church’s Code Orange Revival this week, all was fine… but when the time came for the sermon to be re-webcast at Elevation’s normal time at 10:12 pm and 3:12 am; Chandler’s sermon was cut.

The church’s response:

“We decided to do prayer time live during the first rebroadcast time. We were getting so many requests for prayer.”

The church’s Motion Graphic Designer explained:

“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.”

And Pastor Steven Furtick tweeted the next morning:

“I apologize for the inconvenience of last night’s #CodeOrangeRevival programming change-Matt Chandler’s msg will reair today@10:12am&12:12pm.”

The church also has said that the sermon will be available for podcast after the revival along with all other revival messages.

Rosebrough’s response, according to the Christian Post:

“Fact is, Furtick’s ‘explanation’ is a flimsy effort at spin/damage control and an admission that a deliberate decision was made to remove Chandler’s sermon from the first two rebroadcasts.”

He told the Post that he broke the censorship story on Saturday morning and then, shortly thereafter, Elevation “reversed their decision” and re-broadcast Chandler’s message.

A quote from the Post:

In Rosebrough’s view, the talk was a “boxing match theologically; if you watched Furtick’s body language he was pissed. He wasn’t clapping, he was shaking his head.”

So… which was it?

Seems to me… pure speculation on anyone’s part.

The charge of ‘censorship’ seems a bit over the top.  If, in fact, Chandler shared something that went against the church or Furtick’s teaching, I would think they have full rights to not show it again… at least without being accused of censorship.

When someone gives an explanation, I normally try to accept it.

In this case, the follow-through from Elevation was actually showing Chandler’s sermon twice (and they’ll release it as a podcast).  Doesn’t sound like censorship to me.

Was there something more to the story?  Could be.  But I think Rosebrough may be totally speculating that all this went down exactly as he describes it.  And I think that’s a huge speculation.

Thoughts?  Read more here.




  • Ty January 19, 2012 Reply

    It seems to me and from watching the Elephant room conversations with Furtick and Chandler that Chandler probably isn’t a real fan of what Furtick is doing or the way he preaches. Sometimes you gotta call a spade a spade and so Chandler did. Occasionally, Todd, the criticism leveled at these guys is right on. In this case it certainly appears to be so.

  • Keith January 19, 2012 Reply

    At face value, sounds like someone with a blog and too much time on their hands.

    Whether I agree or not it is Elevations deal, they can do what they want with the website, they don’t need to rebroadcast anything.

  • ian January 19, 2012 Reply

    Even if it is exactly as Chris says (which seems highly unlikely given the fact it is being rebroadcast), would he not do the same if someone preached a message at his event that he strongly disagreed with? Would he call that censorship, or protecting the flock?

    • Frank January 19, 2012 Reply

      Todd, You calling it “speculation” is speculating. Do some homework before you post a comment or opinion. You added nothing to this discussion through this post, other than an opportunity for Keith and Ian to show how shallow they are. Watch Chandler’s sermon, and draw your own conclusion. Would God see his work being done in that sermon? What kind of pastor would block people from seeing that? Not only blocked for re-broadcast, but on youtube as well. And then on top of it, have his staff give bogus, contradictory, explainations as to why it happened.

      • Todd Rhoades January 19, 2012 Reply


        My calling it speculating is NOT speculating.

        Oh my.

        Chris does NOT know what really happened. He’s not on the inside at Elevation. He wasn’t sitting at the console. And when the reason was given by the church, he disagreed.

        He’s the one speculating.

        I’m the one saying that I don’t know what happened. Nor do I really care.

        But to call others liars without evidence is just plain wrong.

        And that goes for whether you like Chandler, Furtick, OR Rosebrough.


        • Midnight Watch January 19, 2012 Reply

          Todd, Frank is spot on. “Would God see his work being done in that sermon?” Excellent question. Of course, it was an unashamed presentation of the gospel. Another question: Would God see his work being done in ANY of the other sermons at Code Orange? How about when Christine Caine allegorizes the biblical account of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba to apply to her visit to Furtick’s Elevation Church, equating it to Solomon’s temple? Or when Perry Noble does the same strangling of scripture to apply Matthew 13 to Furtick! How much biblical scholarship does one really require to recognize this as blasphemy? What Jesus preached about Himself does NOT apply to Furtick, but perhaps what He spoke regarding the religious of his day does have a contemporary application (some things never change): “For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”

        • Frank January 19, 2012 Reply

          Thanks for responding. Chris did not call furtick a liar. He said he censored the sermon. Something they admit to. Chris does point out the contradictions in how they spun it. No speculation there. I know a staff member, I know how steven felt about Matt’s sermon. Is it speculation that his feelings toward the sermon would affect his actions. Maybe. But if you heard me yell that I hated someone, before I punched them, would you be speculating that hate had something to do with the punch?

      • Keith January 30, 2012 Reply

        Want to discuss in a mature way? Great! Want to be immature and name call? Don’t assume anything else you say will have credibility.

        You don’t know me or Ian (that I know of) so calling us shallow gains you no ground in a discussion.

  • sam January 19, 2012 Reply

    here is Furtick’s buddy Perry Noble who also preached at code orange preaching against churches “planning” revivals but yet he spoke at a “planned” revival

  • Scott January 19, 2012 Reply

    I received a B.A in Broadcast Media from the University of Oklahoma. I worked live broadcasts and know the manner in which they cut into the recording on the re-broadcast and the way they came back in was at the very least poorly done if they meant to show Chandler’s sermon again. If not incompetence, which the employee from Elevation noted, then it was intentional to not rebroadcast Matt’s sermon. They could’ve paused the feed and simply un-paused it after the prayer time they broke in with. That’s what they could explain why they didn’t do that.

  • Scott January 19, 2012 Reply

    My point is if Elevation truly meant no harm, then at this point why not just come out and explain what happened to actually not show Chandler’s sermon? I get wanting to break-in from the recording to a live prayer time, but why skip Chandler’s sermon? Maybe someone fast forwarded on accident or maybe it was intentional, we don’t know. But can’t churches be better than Politicians and Celebrities who withhold explanations? If for anything it could dis-spell any thoughts from everyone that there were bad feelings at Elevation about Chandler or his sermon.

  • John Burton January 19, 2012 Reply

    Bottom line is that they absolutely have the right to do what ever they want. They can air it, censor it, come out against it, remain silent, etc.

    They have no obligation to the general public to even explain their position. We live in such a public, internet driven world that we presume to have rights of full disclosure when in fact its none of our business.

    If someone preached something in my pulpit that was contrary to our doctrinal and philosophical positions I’d most certainly retain the right to pull it off of my server.

    • Frank January 19, 2012 Reply

      Wrong! For weeks I was recieving emails for this event. Lots of hype, lots of promise. I was given the format, and told not to worry. If I missed someone speaking, it would be re-broadcast at certain times. I AM owed an explaination. And given that it’s a church event, it’s not unreasonable to expect it to be honest. Ps.If I were a pastor, and someone I invited, gave a sermon I thought was bad, for whatever reason, I would be obligated to talk to those who heard it, about what was wrong with it.

    • Josh February 3, 2012 Reply

      Absolutely, they have the right to do whatever they like on their site. However, it is a ridiculous position to think that others have no proper reason to be uncomfortable and ‘turned off’ by these actions of Pastor Furtick & Elevation Church. So there is a difference in doctrinal stance, the point of their involvement in ER pt.1 was to bridge the gap within the BIG C. It appears that The two of these men decided to continue that effort at COR. Any Christian who is effortful and intentional about scripture would have to agree that the sermon preached by Pastor Matt was spot on gospel and absolutely supported by scripture. I cannot say with certainty that Pastor Furtick removed the message out of spite, but all signs seem to point towards that. Yes, he has the right… Yes it was inappropriate and dissapointing, for me at least. I began paying attention to Pastor Furtick 4 years ago and after an initial attraction to preaching style, I began to hear the words behind the style. I even attended Unleash, Perry Noble’s (Furtick’s best bud) conference. I was appalled by the method of his message. I have, however, attempted to consider the ‘hands and feet’ opinion of ministry. I gained a measure of respect for Pastor Furtick following his showing at ER pt1, but following this episode with Chandler, it is all but gone. The controversies within his church, his reputation among several former employees (who love Christ), his company (particularly TBN, TD Jakes, Joel Osteen and Perry Noble) all together it has just become to much. It’s just beginning to smell. Bad over there. And unfortunately for me, an optimist concerning the church, Elevation’s leadership is officially suspect. I hope and pray I’m wrong…

  • Scott January 19, 2012 Reply

    But as Christians, can’t we be more forthcoming than the world? Can’t we be more honest and open?

  • Nan January 19, 2012 Reply

    Actually, Matt did go against Elevation’s teaching and against Furtick’s teaching. Matt preached the Gospel and gave no accolades whatsoever to Furtick. Steven was visibly upset. Make no mistake…it was an intentional pull. Matt’s sermon was so Gospel oriented and not Elevation oriented I don’t think the church knew how to handle it. Chris Rosebrough is not speculating. He has researched this to the nth degree. But if you haven’t seen Matt’s sermon (which I did live, on line) and then didn’t see live the rebroadcast where the sermon was pulled, (which I also watched live on line)…you could immediately tell something was up. Don’t criticize Chris R. until to do what he has done and listened to all he has listened too. I’m not sure my toes will ever uncurl after listening to some of the speakers at that “church”.

  • John January 19, 2012 Reply

    We shouldn’t be so concerned with policing this stuff as much as we are about the fact that what elevation is doing in this revival is seeing lives eternally changed through salvation in Jesus Christ. methods, opinions and leaders come and go, but that one thing will always stay the same.

    • Steven January 19, 2012 Reply

      What Steven Furtick preaches and endorses does NOT teach salvation in Jesus Christ. Chandler preached Christ crucified for our sins and was cut out of the earlier re-broadcasts because in his message, he showed that the real gospel opposes what Elevation is about.

      This isn’t about “policing” Elevation church, but pointing out that they took explicit action to remove Matt Chandler’s message from re-broadcast until being called out on it and having to backpedal.

      I have old friends that attend and some even work at Elevation, and whenever I reflect on the church, I pray that they will see through Furtick’s deception, leave that “church,” and repent of following his false teachings.

  • John Burton January 19, 2012 Reply

    If somebody was promised access to the podcasts, then certainly there should be communication to that person. But for me, an outsider who’s just casually reading about this event, they have no obligation to me. It would be silly for me to ask for something that was never promised to me.

    Please note, I’m not defending the message or any of the theological positions. I’m just saying that churches aren’t democracies. They are led by people who have the right to make decisions even if others are in disagreement.

  • SK January 19, 2012 Reply

    “If, in fact, Chandler shared something that went against the church or Furtick’s teaching, I would think they have full rights to not show it again… at least without being accused of censorship.”

    I saw Chandler’s sermon live. It was sound Biblical doctrine. If sharing the gospel message goes against Furtick’s teaching then there is a HUGE problem here. I could see how ego’s may have been bruised but there was nothing in that sermon that was unsound doctrine. I would think if they had biblical reason to not agree with the sermon they should explain why. The fact that they are also yanking every YouTube clip of Chandler’s sermon is telling.

  • Brad G January 19, 2012 Reply

    The real question fir me is, “When every Christian in the free world knows there are such differences in the two, why was he invited to preach, and why did he accept it?”
    Maybe the task for Furtick was to get an audience of Christians to his church website who normally wouldn’t? Maybe Chandler wanted to prove that no matter how hostile the environment, he would preach his convictions?

    • Josh February 3, 2012 Reply

      Good thoughts Brad

  • Michael C. January 19, 2012 Reply

    I haven’t always been the biggest Furtick fan and have disagreed with some of the things he’s done (24 hour preach-a-thon anyone??). However, Chandler could have preached Jesus and the Gospel without taking under the radar shots at Furtick. It seems to me he went in there with an agenda other than just to lift up Christ.

  • Peter January 19, 2012 Reply

    Sounds like some stuff might be blown out of proportion here.

    btw, I totally adored the little “moment” from that Chandler talk that I saw online.

  • steve miller January 19, 2012 Reply

    All I can think is what a terrifying thing it is to be a preacher of God’s word in the internet age. Every action is instantly put under a magnifying glass.

    I found Chandler’s sermon on youtube and watched it. Freak’n fantastic. If you want a revival this is the kind of preaching you want. Make much of God, humble yourself. Put the focus on Jesus, not one particular church, not programs, not our creativity, not a person or a group of people. Really well put together sermon, probably what Elevation needed even if it stung a bit-God’s word has a way of doing that when it is handled correctly.

    “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.”

    I guess I would now like to see what did air, because that had to be some spectacular reading of prayer cards to top Matt’s sermon, but the Holy Spirit is free to move as he pleases. It would be incredibly frightening to be in the position to pull Matt’s sermon because of strong gospel content and then make the Holy Spirit culpable for censoring the message.

    The Holy Spirit is not for Matt and not for Steve, the Holy Spirit is for Jesus and anyone who would make much of Him.

    Steve Furtick will hopefully explain the situation a bit better, be generous in his appreciation of Matt for sharing the Gospel and the heart of God and caring enough to let it sting a little. But more importantly it needs to be handled quickly, honestly, and humbly. Don’t let anything steal God’s glory and jeopardize the success of the revival. People love to talk, get the eyes back on Jesus.

    Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.-Proverbs 27:6

  • Todd Rhoades January 19, 2012 Reply

    I think it’s really cool how many people commenting here have friends and family that work at and attend Elevation; and how much inside information they know about this situation; and how much they’ve shared with the people here who are railing against Elevation. That’s really helpful in sorting through this stuff.

    I have met both Steven and Matt. Both are class acts as far as I can tell. Different camps, but both love Jesus and the church.

    But to say that Rosebrough’s story is fact; and Furtick’s story is bunk because of friends or relatives who attend there and ‘know’ or because, as Rosebrough put it, Furtick looked ‘pissed’, and then say that others are speculating because they tend to believe what the church said… well… doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Let me be clear… I really don’t care.

    But my tendency is to take the explanation from the church at face value. Maybe I’ve been duped. Oh well… I’ve been duped before. But I’d rather be duped than wrongly and publicly accuse a brother or a church of lying because they obviously looked ‘pissed’.

    I’d take the high road and give the benefit of the doubt. Every time.


    • sam January 19, 2012 Reply

      Oh please, the only people you give the benefit of the doubt to is people that profit you because of your employer. The church growth movement and the celebrity conference idol factory that keeps you getting a paycheck. You didnt give the benefit of doubt to the megachurch that just built a new church in Florida. And you certainly dont give the benefit of doubt and take the high road when it comes to traditional and fundamentalist churches. You mocked them all the time because they are an easy target for you and you will not experience backlash from your employer as you would if you challenged Furtick.

      You lack credibility because of your employer and how you are an apologist for circus acts like code orange revival where the only gospel that was preached was when Chandler preached.

      • Todd Rhoades January 19, 2012 Reply

        Everybody… let’s all join together and tell Sam good-bye.

        1 -2 -3… goodbye sam.


      • Tony Myles January 23, 2012 Reply

        Sam – just a thought… before you critique someone else for not following Jesus, follow Jesus first. If you believe that Todd is caught in a sin, then don’t Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:15 compel you to “go” to that person and show him his fault, just between the two of you? Likewise, wouldn’t Galatians 6 compel you to do it “gently?”

        Help me out on that one… otherwise your comment denies following the very praxis you demand of others. Please let me know if you’ve privately reached out to Todd to “go” to him somehow in person… or maybe via Skype? On the phone perhaps?

        Wouldn’t it be awful if you were wielding a standard of purity to Jesus that you weren’t willing to follow yourself? Hoping I’m misreading something here.

  • Pingback: Matt Chandler preached the gospel at Code Orange Revival. | My Life is for Christ

  • Josh R January 19, 2012 Reply

    I was quite disappointed to see the sermon I shared with several friends “Removed from Youtube because of a copyright claim by elevation Church”

    No speculation needed there..

    Yes, the church is well within its rights to do so, but I know at least a few folks who are going to miss out on hearing a great Gospel message because copyright claims are so important to Elevation.

  • Douglas Johnson January 21, 2012 Reply

    Here is a loving, concerned, doctrinally sound pastor who disagrees with the counterfeit (I believe) revival that is going on there: The Sermon Furtick Doesn’t Want U 2 Hear – SJ Camp

    I live in Christchurch New Zealand and I can see and hear even from here the false teachings and Scripture twisting that has happened there by all except Matt Chandler. It is so terribly sad, it is frightening, I am ashamed of what is going on there in the name of my LORD Jesus Christ. How come so many are so blind??? What in God’s Holy name is going on there in America??? That leaven will eventually filters down, spreading through the churches here in New Zealand. Tragic. Deception is growing in leaps and bounds, daily, in the professing church. Will it only get worse?

    Mr Rhodes, how come YOU are so blind to the deception that is going on there?

    I honestly believe many professing Christians do not know how to properly study the Bible for themselves because they are not taught the basics principles of biblical interpretation and leave it up to all these so called pastors to do it for them. Many many many professing pastors in America twist the Scriptures out of their intended context, constantly, and I am not using hyperbole. All Christians should be given a copy of for an example R. C. Sproul’s “Knowing Scripture” to learn how to handle the Word of God carefully, accurately, rightly, correctly and wisely.

    There is no fear or holiness of God at that supposed revival. There is no trembling at God’s Word. God’s Word is being misused and abused and awfully twisted. There is no excuse, none whatsoever. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

    I hope and pray there are ones born again in spite of all the false teaching and Scripture twisting that is going on there and that others will press into the Bible for themselves and see the full “true-truth” of what God actually says in His Word.

  • Leonard January 21, 2012 Reply

    After watching the message Chandler preached, I might have considered pulling it as well. I really like him, but this message came across as angry (he said it) arrogant, and condemning. It was not a great presentation of the Gospel in my opinion. Getting the facts of the gospel across is not the only measurement of a great Gospel presentation.

    I had a guest speak in my church once who came across this way and I did not post his messages in our podcast. I also remember a sunday years ago, I let too much of myself out in a message and came across this way. I also did not make the podcast.

  • More discouragement January 23, 2012 Reply

    One of the most discouraging things about Todd’s list today is he does not even have to look for it. The garbage from “celebrity pastors” probably has to be sorted because there is so much. Barna research recently found there is not a real Christian leader in USA and the authors and pastors in the news are worshiped by their misguided followings. The American “kinda christian” church is out of control. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO RESPOND TO THIS NONSENSE WITH TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD AND ARE NOT LEAD ASTRAY BY AUTHORS MAKING MILLIONS.

    • Todd Rhoades January 23, 2012 Reply

      Just a side-note. There are very few ‘authors making millions’.

      Most people think there is a lot of money in book-writing. Usually, there just isn’t, unless you’re a John Maxwell or Max Lucado.

      Or John MacArthur.

      (oops… how’d that name get in there?) 🙂

      And… for the record… Ed Young IS giving all proceeds from his Sexperiment book to the church… at least that’s what’s been published.

      And if it’s in print… you know it HAS to be true. 🙂


  • Redeemed April 16, 2012 Reply

    It seems a bit odd, that they wanted to only show the prayer time after this message. The only message that rebuked Elevation. Matthew 5:15 tells us people don’t light a lamp and then hide it. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

    If a church is truly trying to bring revival, then why would you want to hide the gospel from the world? After all, I thought part of the code, their motto is to reach those far from God. So, why would they want to keep the gospel from the people who need to hear it.

    Spokesperson Tonia Bendickson, “We decided to do prayer time live during the first rebroadcast time. We were getting so many requests for prayer.”

    Were they having live (still at church) when it was time to rebroadcast at 10:15 PM? They had so many requests for prayer or so many requests for broadcasting prayer time instead of the sermon?

    Also, do most people know who Tonia is? She was a local news anchor for about the last 10 years.

  • Nick October 26, 2013 Reply

    It is interesting to see how many people were so quick to judge and got so fired up before taking some time to see how this whole thing would pan out. The WHOLE message is still there on their archive site. I have watched it closely several times since it was posted. What Matt Chandler said was good, sound doctrine and we all know that God’s Word will stand the test of time. In situations like these, we I think we should use Grace to try to understand where they are coming from.

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