Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick's Sun Stand Still flies in the face of fickle-faith Christianity, and it does so with flamboyance. The book's message of uncompromising, undaunted faith in the face of seemingly mundane life is a vital reminder to any generation that God is still a God of miracles and that He responds to and through our lifestyle of faith and obedience. The book is not only a call to believe God for the miraculous, but an empowering word to the current generation, inspiring a practical but miraculous application and activation of faith.

 Furtick's message is not a new revelation, but it is revealed in a trendy flair filled delivery. As a skeptic of the mega-church model and "culturized" Christianity, the 30-year old pastor of the fastest growing mega church in Charlotte, immediately draws my critical eye. The teenage lilt to his conversational prose as well as the application of hip jargon like "Page 23 Vision," "audacious faith" and "Sun Stand Still prayer" did little to impress or convince me of the sincerity and genuine depth behind his pop flavored presentation. But the fundamental passion and scriptural reverence instilled in the message did.

 Steven Furtick is not my cup of tea. I don't like Pastors who dress and talk like rock stars, and I despise sensationalism. But faith is often flamboyant. Furtick uses the word "audacious" or "audacity" so many times that he almost wears them out, and he does so because faith must fly in the face of so many inhibitions that we use to justify ourselves. In spite of what sometimes feels like a pop star presentation, I recognize the Spirit speaking through the book to encourage the current church to live a life worthy of the miraculous standard the Bible sets forth.

The majority of the book is drawn from Joshua 10: the stirring story of when God literally stopped time at the request of his servant so that Israel could win a decisive victory over its enemies. In the midst of a maelstrom of what feels, sounds, smells and tastes like an overindulgence in postmodern relevance, Furtick maintains an uncompromisingly biblical message:

I want to go back to the source document of our faith: the Bible. See, the Bible is no mere book. It's a living document. You might say it's a living force. We call it the Word of God because in it God spoke--and still speaks. 
In a way, the living Word is what audacious faith is all about. Praying a Sun Stand Still prayer might take you to all sorts of new places, but it will never take you one step away from the Word of God. (p.108-109)

The Word of God is central to Furtick's exhortation for applied faith and in the midst of numerous testimonies of God's miraculous power demonstrated in normal Christian lives, Furtick maintains a scriptural balance. There are points within the book that will cause controversy, but the controversy will be over interpretation of scripture because Furtick is careful to back his claims with both biblical examples and biblical doctrine. Some may argue that the message is narcissistic and self-serving, but the book constantly creates a context of glorifying God rather than pleasing ourselves, which is the end of the miraculous.

If this sounds like a mixed review, it only does so because Furtick's tone and tenor are at times grating because of its connection with modern pop culture. It seems suspicious because it's so hip, so trendy, so sensational. Yet Moody, Whitfield and many others were flamboyant trend-setters for the church in their day. Clothes and speech don't disqualify the message, and Furtick proclaims a message that inspires faith and obedience to the miraculous, transforming vision that God has for His children. It encourages us to stand in the ranks of Joshua and ask for the sun to stand still, and that can change lives.

I received a complementary review copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to post a positive review. I have posted an honest review.

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