Author of no less than two books (Swipe Right and Through The Eyes Of A Lion), pastor of Fresh Life Church (located in Kalispell, Montana) and set to speak at the upcoming 2018 Thrive Conference alongside false teacher Louie Giglio, Levi Lusko is perhaps a “rising name” in the evangelical world. Given his partnering with a false teacher in speaking at a conference I would not recommend, one could perhaps easily mark and avoid Lusko right away (Romans 16:17-18). However, as I have mentioned before (such as in my article about the false teacher Beth Moore here), dismissing someone simply because of a bad association is weak argument. As a result, this article takes a look at Levi Lusko’s church, messages and other miscellaneous items in an effort to see if he is a sound handler of God’s Word.
There are four sections on the “about” section of this church’s website. First is the “Our Vision” part:
You will notice that the bolded statement is not backed by any Scripture, thus making it vague and easily refutable.
The second section is a brief word on Levi Lusko. This article will get to Levi’s website later. Below is the third section, which has twelve points on the “Fresh Life Code.” I have posted each point below, offering commentary as necessary.
You will notice that after the first three points, no less than one commonality exists; that commonality is vagueness. Then again, this section seemingly is called the “Fresh Life Code” for a reason; one would need to crack the “code” of these twelve points to find out what they really mean.
The examination of this section continues, as follows:
When I ran a Google search on “snakebird”, here is what I found:
The word itself isn’t even in the Bible. Speaking of the Bible, you will notice at this point that no Scripture backs any of these twelve “code” points. This is essentially strange, manmade opinion. While there are some allusions to Scripture in some of the language in these points (such as the allusions to 2 Corinthians 12:10 and Matthew 10:16 for points 3 & 4, respectively), the points are too vague to be considered credible.
“We take aggressive steps of faith, launching into deeper waters, so that God can do more” (emphasis mine, in bold). Is this suggesting that God can only do more if we take aggressive steps of faith? If so, then this would mean that God is waiting on us because He is powerless to do more unless we take said steps of faith. I thought He was God and that He could do whatever He wanted, irrespective of whether or not believers took aggressive steps of faith (John 10:30; Psalm 90:2, 93:1, 115:3, 139:1-13; 1 Timothy 1:17, Revelation 19:6). This statement elevates the individual (creation) over God (Creator), thus making the statement heretical.
On a side note, I did not know we had an ocean to risk.
I find it interesting that whoever edited this thing for grammar placed a hyphen between “under” and “challenged” but not between “youth” and “led.”
On a more serious note, the phrase “to tap their full potential and change the world” has a problem. This concept of “tapping into” something (whether it be a force, Jesus’ power, etc.) is language that oozes of two unbiblical movements known as the New Age Movement and the Word-Faith heresy. Finally, nowhere in Scripture are we called to change the world per se. Instead, we are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:33-48).
As shown, vagueness dominates this “Fresh Life Code.” Unfortunately, heresy also oozes in some of this stuff. No Scriptures are used to back any of this stuff. Finally, while point #1 states that “it is not about us”, the entire code essentially contradicts that statement with no less than twenty-nine references to “we” amongst the twelve points themselves. In summary, the code is a blend of vagueness, heresy, self-contradiction and very little truth (point #6 was the only sane one of this vague bunch).
The last section covers what this church believes:
Aside from the absence of Scripture, the statement of beliefs is ok. I would add “make disciples of all nations, preaching repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name, etc.” to the “About the Church” part, though (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:33-48).
Another section worth noting on the church’s site is the “How to Know God” section under the Know God category. This section is a video of Levi and his wife giving a video that essentially talks about “how to know God.” Lusko gives a personal “Disneyland” story to illustrate the problem of sin. He cites Romans 3:23 to show how none of us measure up to God’s perfect standard. This is a good thing.
However, at the 2:40 mark of the video, Lusko says, “Our problem is death. Death.” That’s not entirely accurate. In Romans 6:23 it says, “for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (NASB; emphasis mine in bold). While death would most certainly be a problem for the non-believer (Exodus 34:7; Romans 2:8-10; Revelation 9:2; 19-20; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:14-46 Mark 9:43; Isaiah 66:24; Luke 13:22-35; 16:19-31), it would not be a problem for the believer (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21).
Lusko goes on to say that Jesus both died on a place called “Skull Hill” (also known as Golgotha, per Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22 and John 19:17) and offers “life, forgiveness, and salvation to anyone who believes in Him.” This is true (Romans 10:8-21). Lusko also says, “You were created for a person and a place. That person is Jesus, and that place is heaven, and until you have a relationship with Him and are headed to your true home, nothing you encounter in this world…can ever cause you to feel satisfied.” Lusko says some good things here; people are indeed created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). Furthermore, God is not wishing for any to perish; He wishes for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). However, his possible (if not certain) tie to “relationship theology” needs explaining. First, as mentioned, we are all created in God’s image. Already, there’s a relationship of creation/Creator between every single human being ever created and God. Second, for the non-believer, another relationship already exists; God is judge over the non-believer. Furthermore, the non-believer, dead in his/her trespasses and sins, stands in condemnation before a holy God (Exodus 34:7; Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 2:8-10; Revelation 9:2; 19-20; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:14-46 Mark 9:43; Isaiah 66:24). Needless to say, this is a bad, damning relationship. Because of that, this concept of “having a relationship with Him” per se does not automatically guarantee a status of satisfaction. Having a good and only a good relationship with Him (i.e., being a penitent believer in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world–Acts 4:12; John 1:29, 14:6; Acts 16:31; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21) would bring such a status of satisfaction.
To conclude the video, Lusko asks his wife, Jennie, to lead the viewer into what is essentially a “sinner’s prayer.” While the prayer does recognize sin, it neither mentions repentance nor places emphasis on asking for forgiveness of one’s sins. Lusko then states that if the viewer prayed the prayer and meant it in his/her heart, then the person would, like the thief on the cross, “enter paradise and be with Jesus” (Luke 23:33-49). Finally, he places emphasis on “growing in relationship with Jesus.” Because Jesus Christ came to save sinners, the prayer itself, while well-intentioned, misses the mark (1 Timothy 1:15; John 1:29; Luke 24:36-49). Furthermore, nobody is saved simply by reciting a prayer.
Overall, the “How to Know God” video says some good things. However, it misses the mark on the more important items. As a result, this video is not exactly “right.” Instead, it is “almost right“, which is simply not good enough.
The church’s codes/beliefs on its website has obvious problems. First, the Fresh Life Code is a blend of vagueness, heresy, self-contradiction and little truth. Second, the statement of beliefs has no Scripture, thus making it incomplete. Third, the “how to know God” video misses the mark on important items. Those reasons alone would cause me to not recommend this church. While it could be argued that this same stuff would be a good reason to not recommend Levi Lusko as well, it would be good and fair to at least see some sermons of his (in addition to some miscellaneous items) before making such a decision.
There are a number of existing critiques on the sermons Lusko has given. Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio has done no less than seven updates on Lusko. Here I list them from oldest to newest. After that, I list an 8th hyperlink from a Youtube video by an organization (?) called “Vesseled Soul Defender.” While I am not sure of everything they have done, this video provides just a little more information on the dangers of Lusko.
- October 12, 2015: Beginning at the 5:20 mark, Rosebrough reviews this sermon that was done by Lusko at the false teacher Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church. During this time (which was sermon time, a time when the pastor is supposed to open God’s Word and rightly handle it), Lusko gave a sermon that featured more time on himself, his (at the time) latest book titled Through The Eyes of a Lion and Furtick than Jesus Christ (Lusko didn’t even get into a biblical text during this review time by Rosebrough, which is alarming given this is sermon time). In fact, Lusko said that the world is a better place because of Furtick (a guy who made a “Hey Haters” video long ago in response to his critics). This undoubtedly shows Lusko has no discernment. After all, as mentioned, Furtick is a false teacher. Almost twenty minutes into the “sermon” itself (see what I did there?), Lusko finally quoted something. Unfortunately, it was not from the Bible. Instead, it was from Thor’s brother, Loki. That is a long time to get into a sermon without quoting something. Furthermore, the fact he quoted a secular source instead of a biblical source so deep into his “sermon” is hard to ignore. Rosebrough states that he is convinced that Lusko is absolutely “full of himself and not of the Holy Spirit.” Furthermore, he called the “sermon” an “utter, narcissistic train wreck.” Rosebrough is correct given the fact Lusko took the congregation’s eyes off of Jesus and onto himself and Mr. Furtick during sermon time.
- November 16, 2015: Beginning at the 1:04:33 mark, Rosebrough, in his introduction to the review, calls Lusko an “up and coming Steven Furtick-esque Bible-twisting narcigete, not someone we should be getting our doctrine from” (sic). As you will continue to see, this is a true statement. Rosebrough notes how Lusko (who actually got into a Biblical text this time around) preaches pelagianism and a “wrathless God” in this “sermon” of his. Rosebrough calls Lusko a “Bible twister in a very bad way.” One thing worth noting is that Lusko states that God “wants to do things for you, but you gotta make space.” Such a statement elevates the creation (in this case, the individual) above the Creator (God). This is heresy. That statement insinuates that God is powerless to do things unless we do some kind of action that allows Him to do whatever He wants or needs to do (in this case, you make space for Him so He can do “things for you”). I briefly addressed this false belief in a recent semi-devotional on Psalm 115:3.
- January 29, 2016: Beginning at the 37:33 mark, Rosebrough notes how Lusko claims that Jesus Christ, the savior of the world who came to save sinners from their sins (Acts 4:12; John 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:15), had suicidal thoughts. This is absurd. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Jesus had suicidal thoughts. Rosebrough refutes Lusko’s “very absurd statement” by reading Matthew 3-4 in context. Rosebrough notes that the devil in that passage was not trying to tempt Jesus to commit suicide; instead, the devil was trying to tempt Jesus to tempt the Father. Clearly, Lusko is incapable of rightly handling God’s Word. If he was capable, he would not make such absurd, heretical statements.
- September 20, 2016: Beginning at the 46:18 mark, this “sermon” by Lusko took place at the 2016 Code Orange “Revival” (an evening featuring a who’s who of false teachers, including Louie Giglio, Craig Groeschel, John Gray, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Dharius Daniels, Carl Lentz and the aforementioned Furtick). Before Rosebrough reviews the “sermon”, he notes how this “revival” did not feature a move of God. Instead, it was a revival of “paganism, narcissism, heresy and false teaching” (which is just more evidence of Lusko’s lack of discernment, or perhaps his unashamed partnering with false teachers). In the review, Rosebrough notes how Lusko claims to get direct revelation from God, engages in both eisegesis and narcigesis, twists God’s Word, cites the false teacher Eugene Peterson and states how God calls us to do the impractical (but what’s so impractical about loving neighbor as self, per Matthew 22:39?). The straw that breaks the camel’s back here is Lusko’s adding a story to the passage of 1 Kings 17. Adding to God’s Word is not a good thing (Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18; Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32). Rosebrough rightly calls Lusko’s sermon “blasphemous” no less than twice in addition to calling it “absolute works-righteousness based eisegesis twisting of God’s Word” (sic). He also says Lusko’s sermon is no different than the false theology of Roman Catholicism. To conclude, Rosebrough says the “sermon” was “wicked, wicked beyond belief.” Given Lusko’s adding to God’s Word and the seriousness of doing such a thing, Rosebrough is correct in his assessment.
- October 25, 2016: Beginning at the 38:33 mark, Rosebrough notes how Lusko promotes works-based theology, the “dream destiny thingy“, vision casting (which is unbiblical), and narcigesis. Rosebrough also notes how Lusko twists 1 Samuel 20 by attempting to turn a prescriptive text into a descriptive text. Finally, Rosebrough notes how Lusko gets his interpretations form his own mind instead of a result of careful study and exegesis of the text. As a result, Lusko’s “sermon” essentially teaches the people “total and utter nonsense.”
- January 17, 2017: Beginning at the 1:08:41 mark, Lusko preaches on Acts 3. He does something right for once; he reads the first eight verses in context. Unfortunately, his “sermon” goes downhill from there. Rosebrough notes how Lusko narcigetes the text, equivocates the word “change” (his “sermon” title is “Making Sense of Change”), guilt-trips the audience, promotes the aforementioned “dream destiny thingy” doctrine and suggests things the text does not suggest. Furthermore, like previous sermons, Lusko promotes the heresy of how God cannot do something unless someone does something first (Rosebrough notes this “blasphemous” teaching that Lusko promotes multiple times in this review). Rosebrough calls Lusko’s sermon “so bad”, “blasphemous” and “utter nonsense.” Furthermore, Rosebrough says Lusko “really needs to repent…he is smarter than this and he is capable of rightly handling a biblical text.” Unfortunately, at this point, the times Lusko has rightly handled a biblical text is likely not much more than the amount of wins the Cleveland Browns have earned in the regular season since 2016 (which, as of December 17, 2017, would be 1). I really wish I was joking about that.
- November 28, 2017: Beginning at the 38:59 mark, Lusko preaches this “sermon” on lifechurch.tv, the home of the aforementioned false teacher Craig Groeschel (a guy who has partnered with Hillsong, a “church” with all kinds of problems). Here, Rosebrough notes how Lusko botched both Matthew 2 and Luke 2. Like the prior sermon review notations have mentioned, Lusko both adds to Scripture (bad), twists Scripture (the aforementioned passages in addition to 2 Corinthians 9 and 2 Chronicles 16:9) and promotes the same heretical and false (what I’ll call) “God cannot do X unless you do Y” belief that this article has already mentioned multiple times. In doing so, he takes a text about Jesus Christ (the aforementioned Matthew 2 and Luke 2 passages) and twists them into making them about “the sacrifice of you writing a check.” Essentially, he takes the eyes off Christ and onto the individual. Like some of his previous “sermons”, this “sermon” too by Lusko is blasphemous.
- YouTube Video by Vesseled Soul Defender: In a somewhat eerie video, this organization shows video evidence of a “sermon” by Lusko. During this very short segment, it notes a few things Lusko does in a short time. First, he takes the LORD’s name in vain, which is bad (Exodus 20:7). Second, he essentially guilt-trips his audience into doing a small exercise for him (writing a bunch of 6’s in a certain format). Third, his “sermon” has a plethora of 6’s in it. As a result, the organization suggests this “sermon” has connections to the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:18). Finally, the organization says he compares the Bible to a secular song. While I am not that much in agreement with the last two parts (with the last one being a very poor attempt at humor more than anything, in my humble opinion), I do agree on the first two parts only because of the pre-existing evidence on Lusko. There is pre-existing evidence of his guilt-tripping his audience. Furthermore, his taking the LORD’s name in vain is sadly not surprising given his blasphemous “sermons.”
No less than three commonalities exist among the aforementioned “sermons.” First, blasphemy runs amuck. Lusko constantly preaches a “God will do X if only you will do Y” belief which elevates the creation (in this case the person) over the Creator (God). Second, Lusko often adds to God’s Word, thus essentially making him a liar (Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18; Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32). Finally, Lusko is a major Bible-twister. Unfortunately, he twists the Scriptures to his own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).
As mentioned earlier, this article stated it would address some miscellaneous items pertaining to Levi Lusko. This section briefly does just that with three such items.
Levi Lusko has his own website here. It’s pretty self-explanatory; one can view a page about him, view some clips of his messages, purchase resources (like the two aforementioned books from this article’s beginning), subscribe to resources via email, and even donate (the last of them definitely not recommended).
Given the amount of sermons that were already cited, this section will not explore the latest message from Levi Lusko (which you can find on his main home page). However, if the pictured quote is any indicator (specifically the part that says, “In our lives, the more we clear the field for Jesus, the greater the yield God can deliver”), it will feature more of the “God cannot do X unless you do Y” false belief.
As noted earlier, Lusko is the founder of Skull Church. It does not give too much detail about what it is. However, it seems to have a right aim as it states that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world (which is true, per 1 Timothy 1:15 and John 1:29, among others). However, given both the “almost right” and definitely heretical teachings by Lusko this article covered earlier, I would not recommend attending or requesting such an event.
Finally, Lusko is the engine behind the O2 Experience. This event supposedly gives a “fresh” perspective on life, death, sex and romance.
This concept of a “fresh” perspective is ridiculous. One can go to the Bible and find out everything he/she needs to know about life, death, sex and romance (Proverbs 1-22; Song of Solomon; Matthew 19:16-26; Luke 9:24; John’s Gospel; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 5-8; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Hebrews 9:27; 1 John and Matthew 19:1-15 just to name a few). Furthermore, the Bible is living and active, the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 4:12, 13:8). It is without error and fully profitable for many great things (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; Titus 1:2). As a result, there is no need for a “fresh” perspective from a guy like Levi Lusko who clearly cannot rightly handle God’s Word.
LIMITATIONS TO THIS POST
While this article does go in-depth in analyzing Lusko’s church and “sermons” with brief coverage on some miscellaneous items, it did not evaluate any of Lusko’s books. As a result, this is not an exhaustive post. Nevertheless, it offers enough information for one to have a sound, well-informed conclusion about Levi Lusko’s teachings.
It is clear that Levi Lusko preaches some very blatant heresy. Furthermore, his frequently twisting and adding to God’s Word proves that he is not a sound handler of God’s Word. While he does get some things almost right on a few occasions, it is simply far from good enough to outweigh the blatant false teachings. For those reasons, it would be very wise to mark and avoid Levi Lusko (Romans 16:17-18). Please pray that he repents from his gross, frequent adding and twisting of God’s Word.