Is Craig Groeschel a false teacher?

Category 4

Verdict: Craig Groeschel has a demonstrable pattern of doing what will profit himself the most

 

Preface

At the request of one of our readers, we have been asked to investigate whether Craig Groeschel is a false teacher. You can make a request here, and we will honor it. It is a source of joy to be trusted in such a way. Part of what we want to do in our Discernment ministry is to go beyond the low hanging fruits and answer your questions about prominent teachers today.

Why he’s famous?

Craig Groeschel is the head of the largest church in America, Life.Church in Oklahoma. He is also one of the figures behind the Youversion Bible app and Bible.com. There is a certain omnipresence of his influence withing Christianity, so therefore it is worth determining whether he is leading people astray or not.

Background

Craig Groeschel has a marketing degree from the City University of Oklahoma. In 1991 he was an associate pastor at a United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. In 1995, he graduated from Phillip Theological Seminary, an apostate seminary.[1] In 1996, Craig Groeschel put his ideas to the test and started a church to reach the unchurched, a seeker-friendly church. The church that began in a garage would grow to be the largest in the nation.

From 2011 to 2019, Craig Groeschel was a board member for Gulfport Energy making over $200000 a year, despite no energy experience. Groeschel is also the author of several books. His net worth has been estimated as high as $477 million.[2]

Life Dot Church

Life.Church is the largest church in America, according to Wikipedia, and has roughly 53000 attendees. The church is a part of the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination. The statement of faith is not very technical and perhaps easy for the unbeliever to understand. Whereas the second largest megachurch in America has the Prosperity Gospel in its statement of faith, the only detected possible deviation is a lack of belief in Lordship Salvation, the belief that we accept Jesus and Lord and Savior, which thereby means that repentance is a core aspect of the conversion experience. Life.Church is one of the most tech-savvy churches there is. This may explain why Life.Church is exceeding anal about being named Life Dot Church.

Life.Church is the evidently silent on abortion. An investigation by the Abolish Human Abortion showed that they deterred pro-life activism within their small group system.[3]

Evangelical Covenant Church

The Evangelical Covenant Church is self-described as a reformation church. Indeed they appear as an offshoot of Lutheranism among Swedish immigrants to the United States. While the denomination is firm on human sexuality, showing willingness to remove ministers that perform the homosexual sacraments, the Evangelical Covenant Church has bought into Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. In 2019, the same year where they were expelling homosexuality supporting members, they adopted a racist and Marxist resolution that invited “white members of the Covenant Ministerium to sign the public Relational Covenant below affirming one’s personal commitment to anti-racism and increased cultural competency.” The Relational Covenant is as follows contains bullet points such as:

  • Centering our public discourse on white experience
  • Failing to have skin in the game on the particular sins of racism and cultural supremacy that we as white clergy struggle with
  • Assuming we are prepared to deal with immigration, mass incarceration, racial reconciliation, and other expressions of injustice before dealing with our institutional racism
  • Taking up emotional space by centering our own pain
  • Protecting our own world view and failing to recognize its limits

This resolution is deeply rooted in Marxism and invites white ministers to become social justice warriors. It’s miraculous that a denomination that is this racist and Marxist has not bent on sexuality all that much.

The ECC is an egalitarian denomination and has been since the 1970’s.

Conclusion

The ECC’s trajectory shows reason to be concerned. It’s also worth noting that at some point Craig Groeschel sought out this denomination, though probably before they went woke on race.

Associations with False Teachers

Being a celebrity Pastor and founder of LifeChurch.tv, Craig Groeschel has been around the conference circuit headlining with many other notable figures. Groeschel is a returning headliner to the Catalyst Conference, a conference that is a part of the Emergent Church movement. This annual conference is a high-priced affair that gathers thousands of attendees. Frequent headliners at the Catalyst Conference include Andy Stanley, Brian Houston, and Jen Hatmaker. Craig Groeschel also headlined at the 2017 Hillsong Conference which featured Beth Moore. These are glaring red flags.

 

Prosperity Gospel Associations

In 2017, he headlined some sort of Prosperity Gospel conference with Steven Furtick, although this is a footnote on his ties to Furtick. But the list is far more vast. In 2016, he was on a panel with Joel Osteen at a conference hosted by Lakewood Church.[4] We also found a sermon that he preached at Prosperity Gospel preacher Michael Todd’s Transformation Church dated November 2019. On TD Jakes website, you can purchase what appears to be a conference lecture by Craig Groschel for $9.99.

Read our white paper on the Prosperity Gospel and why its heretical

Preaching

Generally speaking, Craig Groeschel uses eisegesis, like any motivational speaker that claims Christianity. Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian has done several sermon reviews ripping Craig Groeschel’s preaching. This is not a good teacher of Scripture, no matter how much bad teaching is masked in provocative style. We did not perform an exhaustive survey of his preaching.

Conclusions

Craig Groeschel is a celebrity pastor and acts accordingly to maintain his own celebrity. It seems there is no speaking gig he will turn down, provided they pay, and no pastor he won’t associate with except maybe Paula White. He continues to write several books while maintaining his megachurch. He acts as though he is in this for the money, and his marketing background is exceedingly influential in his ecclesiology. The carnal Steven Furtick was greatly influenced by Groeschel.

The influence of Craig Groeschel is incredibly vast including the one of the most popular bible apps, in addition to the largest church in America. But it is clear that Life Dot Church did not become the largest church in America by preaching the gospel. From a marketing background to a highly dubious theological background, the formula is set for at best, almost true and at worst a deviant gospel from what the Scriptures tell. Tickling ears and trying to profit are definite patterns one can gather from his sermons, books, and speaking engagements at events that promote false gospels and false teachers. This is the fruit of one who does not know Christ, especially given the prominence of his ministry.

 

Updated 04/2020 to include our Prosperity Gospel white paper


[1] You can get your Masters of Arts in Social Justice

[2] We cannot verify the methodology of this 2017 estimate, but this research is where we found the Gulfstream info. Although this came off as strange, we were able to verify that a pastor was on the board of an energy company. This information made the other estimates between $100000-$1000000 impossible. It is important to also note that his salary as a pastor is unknown.

[3] Youtube AHA on the phone with LifeChurch.TV 2013 6:00

https://youtu.be/A4nLo0Rq6Ew

[4] At this point we should point out our methodology in finding this information. We found a persistent pattern with Craig Groeschel associating with obvious false teachers, so we decided to search Craig Groeschel with a false teacher’s name in DuckDuckGo.

21 comments

  1. Complete ignorance. You speak as a pharisee bent on rules and religion. You have not a clue the way God has used Life.Church to equip thousands of churches with FREE resources. That bible app the “greedy” pastor Craig is part responsible for developing is 100% free and has been downloaded by millions. Especially in countries of those who are unable to hear the gospel. Speaking of, Life.Church has been central to the ending of bible poverty. Translating the bible in to language it has never been translated. to People like you are so focused on ridiculing and critiquing that you loose sight of all that Jesus has called us to. Not to condemn or judge, but to love and serve. Craig does not Just preach a prosperity gospel, but one that is true and Christ centered. I pray that God would forgive you and that your focus would switch from an obsession with judgement on others to an obsession to know the truth and to lead others not away from Christ but towards him.

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    • Let’s break down your arguement:

      1. Craig Groeschel’s works

      In this you argue that because Craig Groeshel and life dot church have done all of these amazing projects to support bible literacy worldwide, then he must be a true teacher. I will refer you to Matthew 7:21-23 which destroys the principle of your argument. Furthermore, you argue under the assumption as though if Craig Groeschel did not exist then none of these advancements would have been made. This is a ridiculous premise as he is not the only Bible app in town nor translator. This is just as fallacious as saying because Hillsong and Bethel Redding produce a bunch of mainstream worship music, then they must be true teachers.

      2. General condemnation of discernment

      This is a common argument of dissenter but necessitates that you ignore whole epistles in the New Testament warning about false teachers.

      3. Craig Groschel does not preach the prosperity gospel

      This is your best argument but it simply doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. He associates with countless prosperity preachers. The names mentioned here are not exhaustive. He is all over the speaker circuit which in many cases is just a grift. Many of these conferences have even more obvious false teachers. There is a demonstrable pattern of behavior that indicates financial motive. We could also get into him being a primary influencer of Steve Furtick who is all about the Prosperity Gospel. How much more obvious does it need be?

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      • 2 Timothy 2 23:24

        I will not waste my time arguing with you about this. As followers of Christ we are called to unite to lead one another to Christ. It is not Craig Groeschel or Life.Church that have lead thousand to Christ. It is God who has used them in extraordinary ways. Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Every day, because of the free resources, the bible app, the irrational generosity of this church and the way God has used it, many have come to accept Christ. Many who have been driven out from Churches where people like you preach judgement, sound theology, and legalism. We will do anything short of sin to reach those no one else is reaching. So we are going to do things that in they eyes of a traditional legalistic Christian like you can’t stand. You cannot deny that there has not been lives eternally saved since you have never been to this church or even seen the way God has used it.

        Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

        “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

        This church is a light and God has used it in incredible ways. My question for you is are you the light? Or the basket trying to impede on Christ’s light. You can push religion, rules, and judgement all you want, you will not interfere with what God is and will continue to do through this Church and many others. …Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

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        • It seems like the crucial difference here is that you seem to believe that people do the saving and I believe the Holy Spirit does the saving.

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          • Absolutely false. We can not save others and shouldn’t claim to save others, that would be blasphemy to claim such A thing. We are simply tools that God uses to build his kingdom. As I mentioned above God uses life church to lead people to Christ.

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      • By the criteria you are basing your conclusions of who is a false teacher, if Christ were here today with his ministry, I think you might call Him a false teacher.

        1. Who he associates with.
        2. Teaching & preaching that goes against what many believed to be scriptural.
        3. Like you, the pharisees also used personal opinions of scripture to charge heresy & apostosy.

        We all are able to post scriptural references. And we all are subject to possible misuse of scripture. I find it very disturbing that as a mere mortal you would assume the responsibility of being the judge of false teachers.

        If you truly wanted to help people you would point out what scripture says & compare that to what is being taught. Letting individuals draw a conclusion after they hopefully would portray about it.

        The fact that you have decided who is a false teacher or not, leads me to believe you are just as narcissistic & questionable ad those who you would judge.

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        • If Christians were unequipped to determine who is a false teacher and what is a false gospel, then the church would never be an effective tool to preach the fulfill the Great Commission. Jesus preached woes against the Pharisees because they were false teachers, and their false teaching led many astray. The Bible warns in many instances of false teachers. Your argument is illogical and deeply unchristian.

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          • So your whole reply is summed up within the last sentence.

            “Your argument is illogical and deeply unchristian.”

            It is disheartening that you are so willing to jump to and pass judgment so willingly. As you have done to others, I am only pointing out some of your opinions might be questionable. I pointed out that by your own criteria you might also have judged Jesus as a false teacher. That is an opinion. I however did not and will not pass judgment on you. That my friend is a right that only God is allowed.

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            • You seem to have an infantile understanding of Matthew 7. And according your understanding, you are also in violation by your statement: “That is an opinion. I however did not and will not pass judgment on you.” Might I point you to a dictionary definition of the word “opinion”

              a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter
              https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opinion

              Judgement is opinion. So you to are passing judgement, but you are hypocritical in doing so, not realizing how misapplied Matthew 7 is according to an infantile misunderstanding of the text.

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              • After doing a little more research, I pray that God give you wisdom as you grow up. Yes I said grow up. You clearly have a passion to see God’s word spread to the multitudes. I hope your delivery becomes more tempered by Christ as you continue in life.

                Ray, you do not have intimate wisdom. Nobody on earth does. Whether it be on this website, YouTube or Twitter, you come across as somewhat arrogant. I say that because to think that you were somehow given the role to pass judgement on people is arrogant. Some would probably add, “at your young age.”

                I just finished a prayer that God grant you humility. I think you could really be a voice for spreading God’s word. I pray that you will always remain open to the idea of learning and gaining new insights into the Word.

                May God bless you in your endeavors.

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                • In my last reply, the first sentence of paragraph two autocorrected. It should have read, “Ray, you do not have infinate wisdom.” I always try to proofread my comments before posting, I don’t catch every mistake I make.

                  May God bless you.

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  2. So “traditional” Christians are all pharisees , legalistic, judgmental, etc? How do you know? What troubles me is this person eschews “sound theology”. He is totally missing the point in my view. What we are saying is “pay attention to what God, through the Scriptures is actually saying and what He actually meant”. How does that make us uncaring as this person accuses believers (like myself) of? Doing “anything short of sin” to communicate the Gospel is a troubling thought.I don’t see that as an example of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere in Scripture. In too many churches what that actually means is “do anything to make the Gospel and Jesus less offensive.”

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    • Ironic, you say life church will do anything to make the gospel and Jesus less offensive, yet there are so many legalistic and traditional christians like yourself and Ray, who are offended by the GOSPEL Life church preaches. Thats contradictory. Are there not several instances when Jesus did things that were radical and out of the norm for the religious elite of the time. Such as healing on the sabbath or Hanging around sinners. Many of the things Jesus did were viewed as disgraceful and outside of the law. Yet Jesus did not sin. Despite the criticism of the Pharisees and the religious elite Jesus continued to serve, love, and share the good news, that he has come to fulfill the law and free us from the bondage of sin.

      In the same way we will do anything short of sin to reach those yet to be reached, those whom have been ostracized and pushed out by some traditional churches preaching judgement and religion.

      Is homosexuality a sin? yes
      Is abortion wrong? Yes
      If we truly serve Jesus will life be easy? Absolutely not

      You are right sound theology is very important. With so many attending life church it would be detrimental if these believers heard a false gospel or skewed scripture. Fortunately this is not the case. I have attended life church for over 10 years now and have always thoroughly studied the scriptures. Not once have I heard a false gospel, or a lack of “sound theology”.

      As i have already said, God has used Craig Groeschel and Life church in extraordinary ways that have led to thousands accepting Christ, millions having free access to a bible translated in their native language, thousands of churches with 100% free access to our online platform and resources, millions of people who are unable to attend church whether it be for health reasons or because Christianity is illegal in their home country can now be apart of a Church that welcomes them and loves.

      We will do anything short of sin to reach those who do not know Christ. Our primary focus is not to judge and critique whether or not people use “sound theology” it is to lead broken people to eternity just as Jesus did.

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      • Hayden…
        Thank you for your defense of Life Church and Pastor Craig…I’ve been watching for a few months and have been blessed…He always closes every sermon (so far that I’ve seen) with an altar call and sinners prayer…as someone who struggles with same sex attraction first time I saw him I couldnt watch but I listened and was blessed…I prayed and asked for guidance, does He want me to continue watching…next time I put him on…I saw him as an anointed man of God, and not just a “slab of meat”
        He’s kinda corny but thats what makes him endearing…So far I have not heard him say anything outta line and have been truly blessed by his messages…I’ve had many (too many) bad experiences with “Ignorant, narrow minded, sin sniffing, finger pointing, bible thumping, judgement spewing homophobic bigots”
        aka people who report to be christians, that keep me away from church…so I rely on men of God like Pastor Craig to help me get through my trials until I feel safe enough to start attending church again…

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        • Thanks for sharing Buzzy, I thank God for your story and that you have been able to find a church that has loved you and welcomed you.
          The truth is a sin is a sin. The sins and temptations I struggle with are no better or worse than yours. What is important is that we are loved and supported through our struggles. God has also used Life.Church and Craig to change my life and serve others as Christ has served. You should consider physically attendIng and getting connected to a life group. It is through life groups that I have been able to find community and a group of people who have or once faced similar temptations as me and they can hold me accountable!

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  3. To be fair to Groeschel, he is not a prosperity preacher but he does endorse and associate with a number of false teachers from TBN/PTL Club. Also Groeschel’s influence of satellite churches raised some concerns from John MacArthur and Todd Friel who are not fond of Groeschel but say he is more qualified than the other seeker sensitive teachers who preach prosperity (Furtick/Carl Lentz/Perry Noble/Ed Young Jr/Andy Stanley etc).

    Also Life.Church seems more like a country club for suburban upper middle class families as there have been posts about people visiting a Life.Church campus and being shunned because they weren’t “beautiful” or “handsome” or drove a nice car.

    Groeschel also says it’s ok to go get drunk, do drugs, fornicate, the night before the “experience” and you won’t be judged.

    Groeschel’s churches are also very carnal and entertainment driven as the services feel like a rock concert as most of the songs played are from false churches like Hillsong and Jesus Culture from Bethel Church. Plus some of Groeschel’s churches play secular mainstream pop/rock/country western.

    Groeschel also has the “At the Movies” series in the summer where he takes props from mainstream films than shows a Hollywood movie clip and tries to mix it with scripture.

    Liked by 1 person

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