“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” [II Corinthians 11:3-4 ESV].
With the same fear that Paul had for the Corinthian church, I issue this paper. Oh, that believers’ eyes will be opened and that they will not fall prey for the deceit of satan and follow after another Jesus. This paper is in response to teachings propagated by many Word of Faith Movement teachers. A man may be excused if the error he teaches is simply out of pure ignorance however, when they are reproved and continue unrepentant with their teachings, such should be addressed publicly of their error in order to savage the people of God from blasphemy. Many other things may be overlooked or simply be taken as matters of opinions but we cannot do that when it comes to the Person of Jesus. When the image of the true Jesus is distorted we’re dealing with heresies. The doctrine concerning Christ is not something left to our freedom of interpretation seeing that the Bible provides clear teaching of who He is.
While there are many other views about Jesus I’m at present not undertaking such a task in this meager address. My purpose is to refute the horrific false Christ being propagated in the Word of Faith which is absolutely separated from the teaching of Scripture. Many people think that the criticism against the Word of Faith Movement is aimed at certain individuals. If you understand the magnitude of the task I’m undertaking you’ll be slow in saying that I’m attacking certain individuals. When the church of God is at stake we can never be too harsh with wolves, in this case war is the only option left to rescue God’s people from being deceived.
I look back into the years I’ve been part of the Word of Faith Movement and realize how many people are following after a Jesus of their own making rather than the one of Scripture. Many continue to follow after another or false Christ and sad it will be when Christ will turn them on the last day off as workers of iniquity and evil doers.
1. HE WAS JUST AN ANOINTED MAN
This view teaches that Jesus needed power like any other ordinary man because on earth He had no divinity dwelling in Him. Kenneth Copeland in his popular magazine wrote that Jesus “had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit” [Believer’s Voice of Victory, August 1988, 8 – Question & Answer].
This view disposes Jesus of being God and reduces Him to the level of an ordinary person. Scripture surely tells us that Jesus was anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit and with power [Acts 10:38] but it’s not teaching this as the Word of Faith teachers do. His being enabled does not signify ordinariness but rather as proof of being commissioned by God and also as authentication for being the Messiah. The reason for being anointed with the Holy Spirit is the absolute doing of God i.e. God chose to authenticate the public ministry of His Son is such a form because He willed it to be so. Just because He was anointed does not make Him an ordinary man who needed the anointing of God’s Spirit in order to perform miracles, rather His kind of anointing was the authentication of His divinity.
Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus came as the Son of God, lived as the Son of God, died as the Son of God and rose from the dead as the Son of God. Truly, He was a man on earth but not an ordinary man like all men are. He was truly God in the flesh anointed and filled with the power at the during the Incarnation [Luke 1:35]; during the Baptism [Luke 3:22]; and during His Ministry [Luke 4:14]. However, none of these warrants that they happened because He was an ordinary man who needed the anointing – it all happened because God chose such a manner to manifest His Son in the world.
2. HE LEFT HIS DEITY IN HEAVEN
Dear reader, teachings about Christ can never be taken for granted any error about is perilous to the faith of God’s people. For some people this is not a serious offence to Scripture and consider those who go about exposing such errors as simply overreacting or being judgmental over minor issues. I find people who think erroneous teachings about Christ are minor issues quite ridiculous and at most annoying. If speaking blasphemously about God isn’t taken serious how much more about other doctrines of Scripture.
This view teaches that Christ came to earth simply as an ordinary man with no divinity in Him. Rodney Howard Brown boldly in his book stated that: “Nothing Jesus did was because He was the Son of God. The Bible says He laid aside His royal robes of Deity and when He walked on earth He did so as a Prophet under the Abrahamic Covenant” [Anointing, p. 15]. It is true that Christ left His glory in heaven in order to become like one of us but no Scripture teaches that left His Godhood in heaven. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, He was with God in the beginning… He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him” [John 1:1-2,10]. John does not give any impression in this first chapter of his gospel where Christ ceased to be God, rather there is continuity from the first verse to that of Him coming into the world i.e. He’s presented as God throughout even when He came in the form of man.
Brown misreads Scripture to present a Jesus of his own mind rather than that of Scripture. Christ having come in the form of man was a voluntary self-abasement of the second Person of the Trinity. But in that abasement, He did not leave His deity behind nor did He walked under the Abrahamic Covenant. He came as the Son of God in the form of man and lived as God in the flesh under the law (voluntarily). Brown’s view teaches that liberal and heretic view of Kenosis which Scripture itself doesn’t support. This doctrine of an empty God rises from the misinterpretation of Philippians 2:5-11. Nowhere does Paul imply that Christ ceased from divine attributes, He rather affirms that while Christ was God, He willingly abased Himself and never attempted to grapple with Him being God with the Father. He was equal with the Father but never for a moment did He attempt to proof that to anyone on earth but voluntarily abased Himself as to the Father’s purpose. For Christ to have ceased of His attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence etc would also mean that He ceased to be God which is an improbability for God can never cease to be who He is even when He came in the form of a man.
3. HE BECAME BORN AGAIN
On 25th December 2009 (06h18 a.m), an old family friend sent me a the most annoying text I’ve ever received in all my life. The message was as follow:
“Jesus was born to die for this world, He came and fulfilled what He was born to do. Then He was bornagain and His mission of being born in the flesh brought a victorious life to those who believe in Him and became born again as Him. As they enter their second birth, they are not only born again as Him but they are born in Him and from Him and became children of God as Him, Him being the firstborn from death. The believers did not only become His children they also became children of His Father and join-heirs with Him. That is why we believers need to celebrate His first birth more with passion and joy beyond anyone, for He brought us to a godly kingdom that will never end and gave us His nature and life and as He was given to us, we received EVERYTHING with Him. BLESSED FIRST BIRTHDAY JESUS OUR LORD AND GOD‼! WE ARE A NEW CREATION BECAUSE OF YOUR SECOND BIRTH BUT YOU HAD TO HAVE A FIRST BIRTH IN ORDER TO DIE AND BEING BORN AGAIN. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING WE HAVE IN YOU‼” – I’ve made some changes just to make the text meaningful because it was written in SMS slang.
Now there are many who after hearing such nonsense would still expect that I should keep quiet about such heresies or sweep them simply under the carpet. Being a professional theologian and a Bible teacher over ten year I find this absolutely as a matter of serious concern. I have been reading my Bible since I can remember reading and never at one occasion was I tempted to have such a ridiculous view about Christ my God. Now for the sake of many who are out there who don’t know the truth; How can I keep quiet when the church of Christ is at stake? Tell me a better way to remain calm without breaking forth in a war when the people for whom Christ died should be indoctrinated with such nonsense? Should I choose ecumenicalism over Scripture’s clear doctrines and let my conscience condemn me for not speaking out for those who can’t? Curse be my own soul and may I be cut off from the people of God if I see such error progressing but sit back doing nothing.
The text sent to me is clearly truth mixed with great amounts of poison and soon we will begin seeing the manifestation of such poisonous doctrines. The woman that sent me the text is a great fan of superstar Nigerian TV preacher Chris Oyakilome – he teaches such nonsense to his followers. Many who follow after this man are caught up by his rhetoric speeches and their ignorance buys into everything he says without evaluating it with Scripture. Other prominent Word of Faith teachers such as Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn and others also do teach that Jesus became born again. Hinn taught that “Have you been begotten? So is He. Don’t let anyone deceive you. Jesus was reborn” [Our Position in Christ – Part I, 1991 – Videotape #TV-254].
This doctrine springs from a wrong interpretation of Colossians 1:18 [ESV] “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” It is surely a serious error to think that this verse and some others refer to some kind of spiritual rebirth of Christ. If these men can twist such clear Scriptures how can any other of their interpretations be trusted? Regeneration is something needed for sinful man who have died spiritually because of their sins. As for Christ Scripture teaches that He was without sin – how can a sinless person be born again? He carried the sins of the world yet without His nature being contaminated, He bore the sin is not the same as He became a sinner. He died for our sins is not the same as He died because He was sinful – His death was to satisfy the wrath of God concerning sin, not so He should be regenerated for us to experience regeneration. Colossians should be read along with [John 11:25, John 11:26; Acts 26:23; I Cor. 15:20-23; Rev. 1:5, Rev. 1:18]. All these verses testify to the fact that Christ’s resurrection from the dead and never to die again is exemplary of how believers will be resurrected and never to taste death again eternally. Therefore Paul argues that if Christ never rose from the dead then our hope and faith in vain. Christ rose from the dead not as though He were the first of persons to experience a return from death – but rather that He is the first to experience the kind of resurrection that awaits those who believe in God. For all who were resurrected in the Bible surely died but all who died in Christ will at the sound of the trumpet be resurrected and never to die again just as Christ and be with Him eternally.
The teaching of a born again Jesus is not Scriptural but rather an insult at the Person of God i.e. it is blasphemy to say God needed to be born again. Oh how we now need to heed to the warning of Jesus that: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many…For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” [Matthew 24:4-5,11,24, KJV]. Surely as for false teachers and preacher are many in the Word of Faith movement of whom many are TV preachers.
Any person who teaches a distorted view of Christ not just the three issues mentioned here cannot be considered to be a true follower of Christ. As with the Word of Faith Movement that is infiltrating many Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, we can be so sure that this movement is not from God because it is God dishonoring in its every minute detail. These teachers have lifted themselves as people who now hear on behalf of their congregations and teach new revelations which are in reality not revelation from God but of their own minds. Oh, how wish to see the death of this heretic movement and its falsehood to be exposed everywhere where the true children of God are gathered. As long as God grants me the grace to live, I will fight this one movement for I’ve seen and experienced its devastating effects on people. Its deceit, falsehood, tyranny, spiritual blindness, God dishonoring doctrines, humanism, and prevailing worldliness because it is separated from the true teachings of Scripture.
How I desire for you dear reader that you’ll find the true Christ as revealed in Scripture and turn away from the Jesus that these false teachers have created to suit their own context. May God in His mercy open the eyes of your understanding that you’ll see Christ the Son of God not another Christ as according to the spurious preachers of the Word of Faith Movement.