Summary of eRumor:
Pastor Steven Furtick is leaving Elevation Church and has signed a 6-year, $110 Million contract with Lakewood Church.
A website that publishes works of Christian satire is behind false reports that Steven Furtick is leaving Elevation Church for a $110 million contract with Lakewood Church.
The article appeared at The Babylon Bee on July 28, 2017, under the headline, “Steven Furtick Signs 6-Year, $110 Million Contract With Lakewood Church.” In a “stunning” move for evangelicalism, the article reported, Steven Furtick would be preaching alongside Joel Osteen:
The contract is worth $110 million over the next six years, Lakewood confirmed, making it the largest the preaching world has ever seen.
Donning a Lakewood Church hat and suit, an emotional Furtick broke the news in a two-hour televised special on TBN Thursday night, dubbed “The Decision.”
“I’m going to take my talents to Houston and join Joel’s legendary squad,” Furtick said as hundreds of cameras flashed around Elevation Church’s press conference room. “I wish Elevation the best of luck in the seasons to come, and hope they can find someone as ripped and godly as me.”
The parodies the 2010 ESPN special “The Decision” in which LeBron James dramatically announced that he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, stating, “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.”
Although The Babylon Bee clearly identifies itself as satire — the website’s footer states that it’s “your trusted source for Christian news satire” — it’s easy for readers to mistake Babylon Bee articles for actual news on social media. But stories that appear there, like the one about Steven Furtick leaving Elevation Church, shouldn’t be mistaken for factual news.
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