Elevation Church founder and senior Pastor Steven Furtick and his wife, Holly, recently came under fire online for supporting their teenage son's music, which includes references to sex, guns and excesses of money.
Last week, 16-year-old Elijah Furtick, a hip-hop artist whose stage name is "dothedash!" released his first album "Teen Machine."
The album begins with a 30-second introduction that states that the songs are a "genuine reflection of some dimension of the author's experience or personality" while also noting that most of the lyrical content reflects experiences that are "fictitious, exaggerated, tongue-in-cheek or otherwise wildly inaccurate."
Elijah Furtick's opening song, "No Hook," features references to oral sex, drinking Hennessy and his "bro" keeping a gun. The music video for the song has over 54,000 views on YouTube.
Following the album's release, Furtick praised his son for his hard work and called him an inspiration.
"The day you showed me your first Garage Band Mark Ronson rip-off beat, I saw the spark. Next came the obsession. You locked yourself away and taught yourself the intricacies of production and the basics of engineering," the megachurch pastor wrote in a lengthy Facebook post last Wednesday.
Furtick explained that Elijah also challenged himself to learn how to make tutorial videos for his YouTube channel. Ultimately, Furtick said his biggest inspiration was Elijah believing his voice, lyrics, and melodies were enough to create the project.
"This is the part that inspired me the most. Because even with autotune, letting your voice be heard, even by your own ears, is intimidating," Furtick said. "Most people can't even stand to hear their voice for 10 seconds on an old video on their phone. But you had the courage to conceptualize and execute an entire project – every 808, mix, & melody, you meticulously curated and created, selected and perfected."
Elijah's mother, Holly Furtick, told her son that she is "so proud of this project" in a comment on his work on Instagram.
According to The Christian Post, critics online expressed concern about the Furticks' endorsement of their son's music given its lyrical content.
"1 Timothy 3 says that one of the qualifications of a pastor are that ... 'He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity, but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?'" Pastor Keith Bell, an associate pastor and jail minister connected with Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, asked in a Facebook post.
Bell contended that Furtick is disqualified from ministry for failing to run his house well, in addition to false teaching.
Ruslan KD, a San Diego hip hop artist and professing Christian, also shared his thoughts in a reaction video to Elijah's song "No Hook" on YouTube.
"I don't blame him [Elijah]. He's a kid. This is not his fault. This was cosigned by his mom. He posted it, and the mom was like, 'yeah!' endorsing it," Ruslan noted.
"It's not a good look to be flexing about money and about jewelry when your dad is a pastor … and there is nothing authentic about this," the rapper continued.
"The No. 1 value in this ecosystem of hip-hop is authenticity and being congruent. So when you have a song that's literally all hyperbolic nonsense of stuff that he's not living, this is bad for his career," Ruslan said.
Ruslan also shared that he tried to reach out to Furtick concerning his son, but the megachurch pastor allegedly blocked him on social media.
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.