Verdict: Craig Groeschel has a demonstrable pattern of doing what will profit himself the most, including the strategic adoption of Cultural Marxism
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 within Christianity, so therefore it is worth determining whether he is leading people astray or not.
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. 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.
Life Dot Church
Life.Church is the largest church in America, according to Wikipedia, and has roughly 100000 attendees and over 35 franchises. 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.
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 2008, the Evangelical Covenant Church adopted a resolution titled “Racial Righteousness.” This resolution adopted Critical Race Theory as a worldview. Perhaps the most egregious line in the resolution is its lament on evangelicals truncating the gospel:
For a season of our history we succumbed to a larger evangelical trend that truncated the gospel, limiting the good news to personal salvation at the expense of reaching out to our neighbor, allowing us to largely exempt ourselves from the struggle for racial justice and equality.
This is heretical, as it attacks the evangelical church for not adding social works to the gospel. In essence, it is saying that the gospel is insufficient.
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.
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. The ECC should be considered an apostate denomination on the basis that they have adopted Critical Race Theory, a branch of the Social Justice Gospel.
In the section above, it was noted that the ECC has been an egalitarian denomination since the 1970’s. Craig Groeschel is an egalitarian, in line with his denomination. They do have women pastors in their ranks.
While Evangelical Dark Web does not automatically declare egalitarians to be false teachers, the adoption of this false practice is most often associated with the adoption of other false practices because one does not simply disobey Scripture on a single issue.
Is Craig Groeschel Woke?
With the ECC firmly planting itself as a Culturally Marxist denomination, it is then worth asking whether Craig Groeschel is also woke. At a minimum, his remainder in the ECC is demonstrable evidence of him being compromised, by this worldly ideology.
Criag Groeschel provides resources on how to deal with race. An article titled We Can Do Better to Stop Racism packages woke arguments at an elementary level. For example, this is a straw man fallacy used to combat “color-blindness.”
God isn’t color-blind. He sees color—that’s why He made it. For we are His masterpiece (Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 2:10) that He created on purpose as the ultimate Artist. If we tell a person of color that we are color-blind, we are saying something like, “I don’t see you, and God didn’t mean to do that.” Is that what we meant to say? Probably not, but it’s what came out. If you’ve said something like that, now is the best time to make a change. There’s always enough grace for all of us to take another step closer to Jesus.
The article makes reference to Criag Groeschel’s flagship sermon on race.
How to Neighbor Part 1 Races Reconciled – May 2nd 2016
- Claims he has a limited perspective on race. The implication being that because he is white he cannot understand race. This is a postmodernist ideal, in that his intersectionality (or lack thereof) denotes an inability to see truth.
- Does not cite any data on race. Evidence for his narrative is entirely reliant on unverifiable anecdotes.
- Misrepresents the animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans as being entirely on race, in order to draw a modern parallel.
- States that racism is not the presence of hatred but the absence of love. This is a “Christian” way to package the Marxist belief that “it’s not enough to just be not racist; you have to be antiracist.” Racism has always been defined as partiality on the basis of race. This includes both preferential treatment in favor and discriminatory treatment against on the basis of race. This supports the conclusion that Craig Groeschel has adopted the Cultural Marxist framework of Critical Race Theory. However, he is packaging it for a church audience, which is more strategic than other woke preachers.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, on June 7th 2020, Craig Groeschel preached a sermon titled “Racism and the Responsibility of the Church.”
- Quotes Woke pastor Charlie Dates, who would later leave SBC over not embracing CRT openly enough. Charlie Dates would also be the same pastor that hosted Beth Moore to preach on a Sunday morning service.
- In referring to George Floyd’s death, Groeschel claims that it’s not about police officers, it’s about all of us. The meaning here is that we (white people) are all implicated in the death of George Floyd. This accuses the audience of a sin they did not actually commit.
- Craig Groeschel talks at length about his wife’s homeschool curriculum and how it incorporates many different perspectives. In bringing this up after talking about George Floyd (the context in which this is being talked about), it can be reasoned that Craig Groeschel is teaching his children standpoint theory, or Cultural Marxism as applied to literature. Applying standpoint theory to biblical interpretation, standpoint epistemology, means that in order to understand Scripture we would need to gather differing perspectives (race and gender) in order to get at the meaning. This is a heretical hermeneutical framework. And while it cannot be definitively proven that Groeschel is instilling his children with standpoint theory (and subsequently bragging about it), the context in which he brings this up is reason for suspicion.
- Craig Groeschel claims that all people are God’s children. This is an incorrect categorization, as “child of God” refers to Christians only.
- Sermon assumes racism which is a foundational premise of Critical Race Theory. It is a straw man to argue against those who say racism is not real. The disagreement is over whether racism occurs in a specific instance. And with George Floyd, there was insufficient evidence to say that racism had anything to do with his death at the time of this sermon.
- Black lives matter is not just a statement. Authorial intent dictates that Black lives matter is not just a statement, it is a Marxist motto. In the same way Allahu Akbar is an Islamic motto, it is unwise for Christians to champion it because of the authorial intent of the statement. Even if we know that God is greater, to use the phrase legitimizes the idea that the Islam and Christianity worship the same deity.
- Overall message is about listening to people, not searching for truth. The reason this is a dichotomy is because postmodernism values experience over objective truth.
There is sufficient evidence to conclude that Craig Groeschel is not only compromised to Cultural Marxism but is an active participant in its long march through the church. Given that he remains in a woke denomination and has delivered sermons with the assumption of postmodernism and Critical Race Theory, Craig Groeschel is woke. The implications of this are enough to warrant a Category 4.
Theology Regarding Satan
In the next sermon after “Racism and the Responsibility of the Church” he gave a sermon titled “Stop the Division – God, Help Us Unite.” It was delivered June 14, 2020. This sermon raised questionable beliefs on Satan.
- Equates national division with division in the church.
- States that we have one enemy: Satan. This is false. We have earthly enemies. Satan is not nearly as powerful as God. He is not omnipotent and cannot be in more than one place. This is a dualistic theology he is preaching that ignores actual enemies before us.
- “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10
- Hold them guilty, O God;
By their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out,
For they are rebellious against You. – Psalm 5:10
- Arise, O Lord, confront him, bring him low;
Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword, Psalm 17:13
- “We should pray that our enemies be converted and become our friends and, if not, that their doing and designing be bound to fail and have no success and that their persons perish rather than the Gospel and the kingdom of Christ” – Martin Luther
- Naively thinks that the world could think highly of the church.
The elevation of Satan comes from a dualistic worldview, where God and Satan are remotely comparable. Moreover, Craig Groeschel’s views on Satan presupposes that human nature is good, and we are unwilling to do evil without the trickery of Satan. This denies total depravity. Furthermore, treating Satan as our only enemy provides much cover for those who do his bidding inside and outside the church.
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. 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.
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.
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.
In operating the church like a corporation, Craig Groeschel has likewise adopted Critical Theory as corporate America is fond of doing. Yet, in sharp contrast to many who have foolishly gone along with the Social Justice Gospel, Craig Groeschel is strategically proselytizing his audience with these beliefs. Given his heretical denomination and strategic proselytizing, it should be concluded that Craig Groeschel is a woke Marxist, and not just someone going along with this cultural trend.
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, 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 03/03/2021 to include evidence of Cultural Marxism, evidence of questionable theology on Satan, additional evidence proving the adoption of heresy within the ECC, elaboration on Groeschel’s egalitarianism.
Updated 04/2020 to include our Prosperity Gospel white paper
A call to action
Evangelical Dark Web is an online ministry that fights to maintain the orthodoxy’s and orthopraxy of Evangelical Christianity. We are specifically set up to fight three false gospels in particular: the Social Justice Gospel, Prosperity Gospel, and Popularity Gospel. We also do in depth research to answer reader questions about false teachers. Consider subscribing to support these efforts.
 You can get your Masters of Arts in Social Justice there.
 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.
 YouTube AHA on the phone with LifeChurch.TV 2013 6:00
 This trend remains consistent in Life Dot Church materials
 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.