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The Doctrine of Autonomous Self: A Hidden Idolatry
By A. Sutono

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven,

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:

I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:11-15)

I. Background

In this text, Isaiah describes the fall of Lucifer, as well as the cause and effect of it. We learn the cause of him being eternally condemned by God from v.13 and 14 is that he is so filled with pride and self-adoration that he declares himself to be worthy to ascend into heaven and be exalted above the stars of God. He considers himself to be as equally valuable, as equally worthy, if not more valuable and more worthy than God himself that he should be like the Most High. In response, God removed him from his original state and declares that his splendor be nullified and brought down to shame, and he himself be brought down to hell, to a place of eternal torment which is the lake of fire (Rev 20:10) forever as his eternal destiny. When Lucifer was removed from heaven, his name became Satan, and was cast to the earth. In the account of the Fall in Gen 3, after which God offered the promise of deliverance through the atoning work of the LORD Jesus Christ on the cross implied in v. 15, we may observe the correlation between Satan’s sinful ambition to what he tempted Adam and Eve with, which eventually led the couple to sin against God and caused the entire humanity to be totally and hopelessly depraved and under the same condemnation that Lucifer has as a result. The correlation is clearly seen in Gen 3:5, when Satan, disguised as a serpent, said to Eve, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Here are the double lies being offered to Eve springing out of the same principle behind his botched coup attempt; first, that she would be like gods, and thus independent, able to rule over herself apart from God, and secondly, there is not one God, but many gods; each is sovereign over himself or herself.

From here, I would like to state the thesis of this article before expounding further:

1. That the doctrine of autonomous-self, or often referred to as “free-will”, whether it be “Christian” or non-Christian one, though may not appear explicitly, originates from the same spirit by which Lucifer rebelled against God, that is, the spirit of self-idolatry.

2. That the doctrine of autonomous-self is indeed a non-Christian doctrine because there is nowhere in the Bible that teaches such a doctrine and therefore, should be rejected by all true Christians.

I would like to first define what an autonomous self is. I would then attempt, by the use of the first thesis, refute the free-will Arminian argument to defend this false doctrine, particularly in regard to the Fall, salvation, and all the affairs of the world. Finally, I would close with the Biblical basis of my refutation with the exhortation given in the second thesis.

II. Definition of Autonomous Self

Throughout history, there are many who teach the doctrine of autonomous self, among whom is Pelagius. I would now quote from John Owen [1] on what Pelagianism teaches about the autonomous self:

“According to Pelagianism, God gives grace to all who hear the law and the gospel preached. Those who do this are persuaded to repent and believe by the promises of the gospel and the threatenings of the law. The things taught and commanded in the law and gospel are seen to be not only good in themselves, but so utterly reasonable that anyone would gladly receive them if they were not so prejudiced ( i.e., men can themselves respond favorably to the gospel preached by believing in the message without any regenerating work of the Holy Spirit), or deliberately chose to continue with their sinful life. Man has only to consider these promises of the gospel and threatenings of the law to remove these prejudices and so reform himself. When man believes the gospel and obeys it of his own free will and choice (again, no external divine influence at work to convince him of the truth of the gospel, on the contrary, this conviction comes out within himself), then he receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, enters into all the privileges of the New Testament, and has a right and title to all the promises concerning both the present and the future life. So say the Pelagians. Thus man converts himself, and the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit are both excluded. All that is needed is the ability to persuade him to repent of his sin and believe and obey the gospel.”

In other words, the doctrine of autonomous self teaches that men in both unregenerate and regenerate states is completely independent and capable of self-determination of what is good and bad for him (hence the term autonomous) and from which make decision without any external divine influence or swaying to a particular direction.

To understand what autonomous-self is more clearly, let us look at Sproul’s definition of autonomy [2]:

“To be autonomous means to be a law unto oneself. An autonomous creature would be answerable to no one. He would have no governor, least of all a sovereign governor. It is logically impossible to have a sovereign God existing at the same time as an autonomous creature. The two concepts are utterly incompatible. To think of their coexistence would be like imagining the meeting of an immovable object and an irresistible force. What would happen? If the object moved, then it could no longer be considered immovable. If it failed to move, then the irresistible force would no longer be irresistible.”

Then for the definition of autonomous self, I would borrow from David Wells [3], defining the autonomy generation as:

“…those who belonged in this outlook saw themselves as being at the center of life, as being responsible only to themselves, as having the sole hand in deciding what beliefs to hold and what behaviors to follow.”

And therefore, continuing to quote Wells [3]:

“… the self becomes the main form of reality and the pursuit of its rights and unique intuitions, even in the face of others, is what life is about.”

My comment to Prof. Well’s definition is this. Isn’t the autonomous-self then the essence of prosperity gospel, where Christ has been reduced to a lackey or a genie to serve us to accomplish our agenda whether that be family, or money, or career, or, self-healing, self-improvement or anything other than Christ himself? Some may say they don’t believe in prosperity gospel but believe in free-will in the autonomous sense. This, in my view, is an implicit endorsement of the prosperity gospel.

II. Refutation of the Arminian Argument of Autonomous Self

Now I desire to refute biblically a familiar argument in regard to God’s sovereignty in salvation and all events throughout the course of history. In addition, I would also attempt to show the spirit behind all these arguments tends to resemble that of Lucifer as written in Isaiah 14:13-14. Before I go on doing so, however, I would like to point out ‘the goal of the commandment is love’. I can understand new Christians who believe in autonomous self, because I was like that. I tend to think it is natural for new Christians to have such an understanding of how salvation and all the affairs in the world work. I acknowledge I need the humility to understand those who are slow to grasp the truth in the sovereignty of God over all things. The fact is the LORD had mercy on me to reveal what I consider a precious biblical truth of his sovereignty that I have come to love, embrace, and desire to defend with hopefully a holy zeal, holy motive, yet with humility as well in this article. And may the LORD grant the grace to change and transform hearts and minds into ones that acknowledge and submit joyfully under his supremacy over all things (Col 1:18).

The argument that I would like to refute (though there has been many more qualified pastors and theologians than me, past and present who have done this, but I would try to do it from hopefully a different point of view), is a common free-will Arminian / Pelagian argument which was the first Arminian article in their remonstrance brought by Johannes Uitenbogaard and Simon Episcopious in 1610, which was refuted by the Calvinists’ Counter Remonstrance at the Synod of Dort in 1618-1619, in regard to how salvation works as follows. This first article stated the following: “God’s foreknowledge, that is, divine election was conditiond on foreseen or foreknown faith”. In other words, it says “faith is the cause of election” the basis of which is for example in Rom 8:29, refers to God knowing in advance of who is going to believe by their own free will and who is not, and from there God elects them to be saved. Thus man’s faith existing apart from God’s will but from the man himself is the cause of God’s election. In other words, it all starts with man’s free will to choose to be saved. Men are the Alpha, the beginning, not God. Then based on each independent isolated individual’s decision to believe or to desire to be saved where God has nothing to do with because this comes out completely and independently from man and not God, God is obliged to save them because they have faith to believe. Here men call God to account and demand that because they initiated to believe the Gospel, God is required to save them. So God’s sovereignty consists in submitting himself to and making sure the wills of men are carried out. God is not free in ordaining anything because He is subject to the will of men that he values very much even more important and above himself. Here is the worst kind, the most blatant, the most arrogant, and the most blasphemous of man-centered doctrine that is nowhere taught in the Bible, and an example how the Scripture like Rom 8:29 is distorted to serve man’s needs or if I may borrow John Piper’s quote[4], the gospel has been abused for ‘psychological form of mind control’. I regard this Arminian stand on the free agency of man and God as the most self-centered among man-centered doctrines, even more man-centered than opentheism.

Opentheism at least admits the future is unknown, even God has no control over it and anybody could change it. The Arminian doctrine in regard to the free-will of men as we have discussed is worse than open-theism because it teaches the future is already known, at least in regard to salvation, who is saved and who is not, and who makes this decision before the foundations of the world is men. Then God responds to each individual decision either by saving or condemning. Here is the kind of abomination that I dread has been prevailing in the minds of many Christians, because this is how they were taught by man-centered, world-loving, money-loving preachers. Those who teach this doctrine usually insist that God is still sovereign and omnipotent. But I sense this is simply a futile attempt to cover up their self-centeredness and thus, self-idolatry. God, despite his omnipotence, has been domesticated to serve man’s needs. His omnipotence has become subordinate to man’s will and it is his to use for his benefit. Man makes the call first independently out of his own self-determination of good and bad. Then it is God’s turn to follow up on man’s actions and decisions, whether to clean them up if they are sinful, or to bless them if they are good.

As Mark Talbot says [5] (he explains it in the context of opentheism, but I believe it is applicable here as well) that the doctrine of autonomous self teaches that God values man’s free will so much that he is willing to pay any price. God is really good in cleaning things up to the point that the alternative plan B that he executes looks even better, more perfect than the botched plan A that man has frustrated. So in a way, the doctrine of autonomous self treats God like a lackey or a genie in a bottle whom man can stir as he pleases and wills. Everything God does is for the benefits of man, and here is man, the center of the universe and God’s idol. Therefore, men are not only the Alpha, the beginning, but also the Omega, the end of everything God does and the whole entire universe work for. This, I fear, may God forbid, is the desire behind those who embrace the doctrine of autonomous self which is nothing but the very ambition of Lucifer to be exalted above God (Isa 14:13-14) because the resemblance between the two is striking. It is all about desire for control, as Dave Wells pointed out behind autonomous self [6]:

“This preoccupation with the future is really about control. At least, it is about our attempts at controlling the future as it crests into the present by being able to position ourselves to avoid what is disagreeable and to capitalize on what is advantageous. Indeed, we even go further. We imagine that the future begins in our minds and we can actually create it.”

At this point, I would point to Scripture texts (that I also included somewhere else [7]) that I hope the LORD uses to show the fallacy of the doctrine of autonomous-self, to humble its proponents and exhort them to embrace the doctrine of absolute sovereignty of God over all things. While these texts tend to be self-explanatory in themselves but I shall attempt to expound a little on each:

– “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13). John says the decisive power to become the sons of God ( v.12), i.e., to be saved, does not come from man’s will power, but God’s (v.13). Therefore, contrary to what the first remonstrance article says that faith is the cause of election, John says election is the cause of faith. God initiates salvation, not men. Men are dead in their trepasses (Eph 2:1). Physically dead people do not and can not have any desire (inclination) and ability to eat, drink, work, because they are dead, their brain is dead, their heart is dead, their digestive system is dead, and there is no way for them to revive themselves. So also dead Lazarus was unable to revive himself until Jesus called him and infused life to his body to revive him. (John 11). Lazarus did not revive himself. Jesus did. And thus Lazarus couldn’t brag he was alive because of his free will to be alive. Likewise, it is impossible for spiritually dead people to have any desire for God. Their heart is ‘desperately’ or ‘hopelessly’ wicked as Jer 17:9 says. St. Paul affirms the total depravity of humanity apart unless God changes this heart of stone with the heart of flesh (Ez 36:26-27) because “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law. Nor can it do so.” (Rom 8:7). Notice the last part that says “Nor can it do so.” So let us not brag that we have the free will to be christians or we in our sovereignty “decided” to be christians. Let us not think of ourselves more highly than we should (Rom 12:3) but with sober judgment, I’d say, of who we were, and what we are now, and who God is. Do not rob God of something He did and claim we did it. The faith, the willingness to believe, to embrace Christ as our treasure, our LORD does not come from our self-determination, but He purchased it on the cross.

– “All the plans of the LORD stands firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11). God has written down the course of history from the beginning to the end. All his plans will happen, stand firm forever. Everything originates from Christ and returning to Christ, and the details for everything on its way returning to him is fixed and unchangeable (see also Heb 1:2-3, Rom 11:36). God does not make mistakes. God is not a God who is good in cleaning up mess created by men and coming up with plan B. Nobody can frustrate nor thwart nor prevent God from doing anything he wants, Dan 4:35, “All the people of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand, or say to him, ‘What have you done?'”

– “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16) God has written down not only the entire course of history before the foundations of the world, but also the scenario of each individual who ever lives, past present and future. This is good for believers for two reasons (but may cause free-willers to feel dejected because they don’t desire God to make the call for them, they desire to make the call themselves). First, it teaches humility that you and I are creatures and God is God. We have absolutely no right over ourselves because we don’t own ourselves, God does. Secondly, this is good news because God knows you and me better than we know ourselves. Therefore whatever plans he has for us can be guaranteed to be the most absolute best for our good and the magnifying his name first and most importantly (see Rom 8:28).

– “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isa 46:10-11). God is free to do anything he wants according to the pleasure of his will. His decision making is not constrained by anything, not by the will of men, not by the wills of angels, not by the will of the devil. He is absolutely free in making any calls. Isn’t this what it means to be God? If God has to submit beforehand in his foreknowledge to men’s decision to be saved or not to be saved, then men are gods, and God is their lackey.

A question then arises, “How, despite crystal clear words from the apostle that believers are slaves of Christ (e.g., Rom 6:18,22), can there be such an arrogant doctrine as the autonomous self in Christian churches?” The answer is because the LORD Jesus Christ is an infinitely good, gracious, merciful, patient, loving Master. He is not a hard Master at all. Men, seizing this opportunity arising from their deep-rooted corruption inherited from the Fall, reinforced by the temptation of the old serpent, abuse the kindness of Christ for their own glory. Men, out of their odious mind resulting from the stench infected to them from the Fall, distort the grace of the Savior to serve their own vanity, and so distort the message of the gospel, that is the pursue of God’s (not men’s) glory in salvation through Christ. Since Christ is so patient, then it is their opportunity to question him, to hold him accountable to them, and thus, what John Piper pointed out [8], that men placing themselves on the bench and putting God in the dock, instead of the other way around (he actually quoted this from C.S. Lewis). I sense free-willers would feel uncomfortable in hearing what God’s goal is in everything he does in Eph 1:5-6, “… he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasures and will, to the praise of his glorious grace.” that God saves men not because he makes so much of them, but for the praise of his glorious grace, that his name may be magnified, cherished, worshipped for his great mercy upon mankind, “…that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” (Rom 15:9). The only way to cure this discomfort is to acknowledge and repent of the pride and the self-idolatrous spirit behind the doctrine of autonomous self, renounce it, and embrace the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of God who causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called, those he called he also justified, and those he justified, he also glorified. Amen.

References
1. J. Owen, “The Holy Spirit,” The Banner of Truth Trust, 1998, p. 76-77.

2. R.C. Sproul, “Chosen by God,” Tyndale House Publishers, October 1986, Ch. 3, p.?

3. D. F. Wells, “Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World,” Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006, p. 234, 153.

4. J. Piper, “Woe to Those who Trample the Son of God,” Desiring God Ministries (audio), April 13, 1997, http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceL…he_Son_of_God/

5. M. Talbot, “All the Good that is Ours in Christ: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do Us,” Desiring God National Conference, Minneapolis, MN, October 7-9, 2005.

6. D. F. Wells, “Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World,” Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006, p. 239.

7. A. Sutono, “The Defense for the Sovereignty of God in the Fall of Man,” Nov 25, 2006.

8. J. Piper, “Pastoral Thoughts on the Doctrine of Election,” Desiring God Ministries, Nov 30, 2003, ttp://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceL…e_of_Election/

ttp://www.christianchatforum.com/articles/elect.shtml

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Healing the economy means going beyond ‘What’s in it for me?’
By Douglas Todd 01-10-2009

Healing the battered economy means going beyond the ‘self’; ‘What’s in it for me?’ is not an attitude that will work in the times we face

Many Pentecostal Christians have been among the hardest-hit victims of the economic meltdown in North America.

“Victims” might not be the best word to describe their fate, though. Followers of the popular “Prosperity gospel” suffered because of their own desperation, naivete and uncontrolled desire.

Prosperity gospel adherents have put too much stock in certain Pentecostal leaders in the United States and Canada who preach that God will provide worldly wealth if you just give your soul to Jesus Christ and your donation to the church.

The most prominent proponent of this theology of cars, boats and houses is Joel Osteen, author of Your Best Life Now.

With virtually no assets, many financially struggling Christians attracted to the Prosperity gospel of Osteen and others were eager to jump at the subprime loans offered by sleazy brokers.

Prominent Pentecostals have admitted that many followers believed God was miraculously answering their prayers when a bank gave them a loan they couldn’t afford. However, it’s not only adherents of the Prosperity gospel who have spiritual and moral lessons to draw from the financial collapse. After all, they haven’t been alone in their struggles.

The larger spiritual themes behind this financial meltdown are those of too much blind optimism about the financial system, too much faith in leaders and too much unacknowledged self-interest.

Which brings us to greed.

There can be benefits from modest amounts of each of the Seven Deadly Sins: anger, lust, envy, sloth, pride, gluttony and greed.

While there is something to be said for moderate self-interest fuelling our lives and the economy, greed has careened beyond control on many economic fronts. In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko was not much of an exaggeration of a real-life financier when he baldly preached, “Greed is good!”

Rebecca Blank, senior economic analyst for the Brookings Institute and co-author of Is the Market Moral?, recently said: “Greed is good to most economists. It’s greed that makes people work harder, be more productive, and helps the economy grow. Greed has certain economic advantages. It’s hard for an economist not to say that.

“But greed is clearly partially responsible for where we are right now. There’s a level beyond which greed can go too far, and . . . being greedy for more goods and to make another buck can make me stop paying attention to the effects of my action on you. That is when greed clearly becomes sinful — even, I think, in economics.”

Moral concerns about our over-avaricious attitudes have even been expressed recently by high-profile evangelical Christian leaders such as Chuck Colson (Richard Nixon’s former right-hand man), who has made a career of praising Jesus Christ in the same breath as free enterprise. Like theologian Michael Novak, Colson believes western democratic capitalism is like a three-legged stool, resting on political freedom, economic freedom and moral restraint. “Take away moral restraint and the stool collapses.”

But Colson’s solution — simply to talk more about morality in churches and elsewhere and to wish for greater moral behaviour — won’t make the economic system more stable or fair. That is what was uncovered through a revealing investigation of the moral behaviour of evangelical leaders by scholar Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite.

Lindsay found precious few evangelical executives were “distinguishing themselves from their secular peers” by taking salaries capped, for instance, at a ratio between the highest- and lowest-paid employees of 20:1. Most tried to justify astonishingly luxurious salaries.

Just as the Communist Soviet Union fell apart because it wasn’t realistic to expect everyone to embrace the principle of equality, the western capitalist system cannot sustain itself just by hoping everyone will embrace justice.

Without regulations to enforce society’s moral ideals, the scoundrels prevail. Now nearly all of us are suffering because we were drawn, knowingly and unknowingly, into their unrestricted avarice.

As Aristotle said, “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”

Spiritual insight into the economic collapse comes from Martin Marty, of the University of Chicago Divinity School, one of the most distinguished religious historians in North America.

Marty believes the economic meltdown grew out of a growing global obsession with the “self.” He points to the way many economists talk about how the “spreading disease” in the global economy will “self-heal.” But Marty believes the modern free world is fixated on terms such as “self-generating,” “self-developing” and “self-correcting.” It’s the kind of thinking that has led many to over-optimistically advocate for an “unfettered” and “unregulated” market that never impinges on the supremacy of the “self.”

But there are crucial limits to the “self.”

Marty suggests Americans (and, I’d add, many Canadians) haven’t been willing to face the dark, shadow aspects of an economic system and foreign policy that focused on serving only the “self” (including that of the nation).

Just as the Iraq war has proved disastrous on human and financial fronts, Marty says the battered economy is making us look at all aspects of what happens when “the self” is glorified as absolute.

“We are well aware of our own virtue, knowledge, power and security, and these are real enough to be celebrated,” he writes.

“But we did not recognize their undersides: vice, ignorance, weakness and insecurity, which overtook us.”

As a Lutheran, Marty responds to the financial crisis with a secular translation of the “body of Christ” theme, which teaches us to reflect on how “we are members one of another.”

Instead of “self-healing,” he wisely suggests the western economic system needs “mutual” healing.

To use the language of other traditions, a Buddhist might say we need economic solutions that recognize we are all interconnected.

In secular terms, the late American political philosopher John Rawls would teach that we need economic policies beneficial to us all, no matter where we find ourselves on the financial ladder.

The simplest way to put one of the spiritual lessons of the economic collapse, however, is simply to make it clear that creating a healthy society has to go much further than asking, “What’s in it for me?”

dtodd@vancouversun.com

http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/thesearch/archive/2009/01/10/healing-the-battered-economy-means-going-beyond-the-self-what-s-in-it-for-me-is-not-an-attitude-that-will-work-in-the-times-we-face.aspx

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Does God Want You To Be Rich?

A growing number of Protestant evangelists raise a joyful Yes! But the idea is poison to other, more mainstream pastors. By DAVID VAN BIEMA, JEFF CHU Posted Sunday, Sep. 10, 2006

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1533448,00.html

When George Adams lost his job at an Ohio tile factory last October, the most practical thing he did, he thinks, was go to a new church, even though he had to move his wife and four preteen boys to Conroe, a suburb of Houston, to do it. Conroe, you see, is not far from Lakewood, the home church of megapastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen.

Osteen’s relentlessly upbeat television sermons had helped Adams, 49, get through the hard times, and now Adams was expecting the smiling, Texas-twanged 43-year-old to help boost him back toward success. And Osteen did. Inspired by the preacher’s insistence that one of God’s top priorities is to shower blessings on Christians in this lifetime–and by the corollary assumption that one of the worst things a person can do is to expect anything less–Adams marched into Gullo Ford in Conroe looking for work. He didn’t have entry-level aspirations: “God has showed me that he doesn’t want me to be a run-of-the-mill person,” he explains. He demanded to know what the dealership’s top salesmen made–and got the job. Banishing all doubt–“You can’t sell a $40,000-to-$50,000 car with menial thoughts”–Adams took four days to retail his first vehicle, a Ford F-150 Lariat with leather interior. He knew that many fellow salesmen don’t notch their first score until their second week. “Right now, I’m above average!” he exclaims. “It’s a new day God has given me! I’m on my way to a six-figure income!” The sales commission will help with this month’s rent, but Adams hates renting. Once that six-figure income has been rolling in for a while, he will buy his dream house: “Twenty-five acres,” he says. “And three bedrooms. We’re going to have a schoolhouse (his children are home schooled). We want horses and ponies for the boys, so a horse barn. And a pond. And maybe some cattle.”

“I’m dreaming big–because all of heaven is dreaming big,” Adams continues. “Jesus died for our sins. That was the best gift God could give us,” he says. “But we have something else. Because I want to follow Jesus and do what he ordained, God wants to support us. It’s Joel Osteen’s ministry that told me. Why would an awesome and mighty God want anything less for his children?”

In three of the Gospels, Jesus warns that each of his disciples may have to “deny himself” and even “take up his Cross.” In support of this alarming prediction, he forcefully contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: “For what profit is it to a man,” he asks, “if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” It is one of the New Testament’s hardest teachings, yet generations of churchgoers have understood that being Christian, on some level, means being ready to sacrifice–money, autonomy or even their lives.

But for a growing number of Christians like George Adams, the question is better restated, “Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?” For several decades, a philosophy has been percolating in the 10 million–strong Pentecostal wing of Christianity that seems to turn the Gospels’ passage on its head: certainly, it allows, Christians should keep one eye on heaven. But the new good news is that God doesn’t want us to wait. Known (or vilified) under a variety of names–Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, Prosperity Theology–its emphasis is on God’s promised generosity in this life and the ability of believers to claim it for themselves. In a nutshell, it suggests that a God who loves you does not want you to be broke. Its signature verse could be John 10: 10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In a TIME poll, 17% of Christians surveyed said they considered themselves part of such a movement, while a full 61% believed that God wants people to be prosperous. And 31%–a far higher percentage than there are Pentecostals in America–agreed that if you give your money to God, God will bless you with more money.

“Prosperity” first blazed to public attention as the driveshaft in the moneymaking machine that was 1980s televangelism and faded from mainstream view with the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals. But now, after some key modifications (which have inspired some to redub it Prosperity Lite), it has not only recovered but is booming. Of the four biggest megachurches in the country, three–Osteen’s Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar’s World Changers near Atlanta–are Prosperity or Prosperity Lite pulpits (although Jakes’ ministry has many more facets). While they don’t exclusively teach that God’s riches want to be in believers’ wallets, it is a key part of their doctrine. And propelled by Osteen’s 4 million–selling book, Your Best Life Now, the belief has swept beyond its Pentecostal base into more buttoned-down evangelical churches, and even into congregations in the more liberal Mainline. It is taught in hundreds of non-Pentecostal Bible studies. One Pennsylvania Lutheran pastor even made it the basis for a sermon series for Lent, when Christians usually meditate on why Jesus was having His Worst Life Then. Says the Rev. Chappell Temple, a Methodist minister with the dubious distinction of pastoring Houston’s other Lakewood Church (Lakewood United Methodist), an hour north of Osteen’s: “Prosperity Lite is everywhere in Christian culture. Go into any Christian bookstore, and see what they’re offering.”

The movement’s renaissance has infuriated a number of prominent pastors, theologians and commentators. Fellow megapastor Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Life has outsold Osteen’s by a ratio of 7 to 1, finds the very basis of Prosperity laughable. “This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?”, he snorts. “There is a word for that: baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn’t everyone in the church a millionaire?”

The brickbats–both theological and practical (who really gets rich from this?)–come especially thick from Evangelicals like Warren. Evangelicalism is more prominent and influential than ever before. Yet the movement, which has never had a robust theology of money, finds an aggressive philosophy advancing within its ranks that many of its leaders regard as simplistic, possibly heretical and certainly embarrassing.

Prosperity’s defenders claim to be able to match their critics chapter and verse. They caution against broad-brushing a wide spectrum that ranges from pastors who crassly solicit sky’s-the-limit financial offerings from their congregations to those whose services tend more toward God-fueled self-help. Advocates note Prosperity’s racial diversity–a welcome exception to the American norm–and point out that some Prosperity churches engage in significant charity. And they see in it a happy corrective for Christians who are more used to being chastened for their sins than celebrated as God’s children. “Who would want to get in on something where you’re miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?” asks Joyce Meyer, a popular television preacher and author often lumped in the Prosperity Lite camp. “I believe God wants to give us nice things.” If nothing else, Meyer and other new-breed preachers broach a neglected topic that should really be a staple of Sunday messages: Does God want you to be rich?

As with almost any important religious question, the first response of most Christians (especially Protestants) is to ask how Scripture treats the topic. But Scripture is not definitive when it comes to faith and income. Deuteronomy commands believers to “remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth”, and the rest of the Old Testament is dotted with celebrations of God’s bestowal of the good life. On at least one occasion–the so-called parable of the talents (a type of coin)–Jesus holds up savvy business practice (investing rather than saving) as a metaphor for spiritual practice. Yet he spent far more time among the poor than the rich, and a majority of scholars quote two of his most direct comments on wealth: the passage in the Sermon on the Mount in which he warns, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”; and his encounter with the “rich young ruler” who cannot bring himself to part with his money, after which Jesus famously comments, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Both statements can be read as more nuanced than they at first may seem. In each case it is not wealth itself that disqualifies but the inability to understand its relative worthlessness compared with the riches of heaven. The same thing applies to Paul’s famous line, “Money is the root of all evil,” in his first letter to Timothy. The actual quote is, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

So the Bible leaves plenty of room for a discussion on the role, positive or negative, that money should play in the lives of believers. But it’s not a discussion that many pastors are willing to have. “Jesus’ words about money don’t make us very comfortable, and people don’t want to hear about it,” notes Collin Hansen, an editor at the evangelical monthly Christianity Today. Pastors are happy to discuss from the pulpit hot-button topics like sex and even politics. But the relative absence of sermons about money–which the Bible mentions several thousand times–is one of the more stunning omissions in American religion, especially among its white middle-class precincts. Princeton University sociologist Robert Wuthnow says much of the U.S. church “talks about giving but does not talk about the broader financial concerns people have, or the pressures at work. There has long been a taboo on talking candidly about money.”

In addition to personal finances, a lot of evangelical churches have also avoided any pulpit talk about social inequality. When conservative Christianity split from the Mainline in the early 20th century, the latter pursued their commitment to the “social gospel” by working on poverty and other causes such as civil rights and the Vietnam-era peace movement. Evangelicals went the other way: they largely concentrated on issues of individual piety. “We took on personal salvation–we need our sins redeemed, and we need our Saviour,” says Warren. But “some people tended to go too individualistic, and justice and righteousness issues were overlooked.”

A recent Sunday at Lakewood gives some idea of the emphasis on worldly gain that disturbs Warren. Several hundred stage lights flash on, and Osteen, his gigawatt smile matching them, strides onto the stage of what used to be the Compaq Center sports arena but is now his church. “Let’s just celebrate the goodness of the Lord!” Osteen yells. His wife Victoria says, “Our Daddy God is the strongest! He’s the mightiest!”

And so it goes, before 14,000 attendees, a nonstop declaration of God’s love and his intent to show it in the here and now, sometimes verging on the language of an annual report. During prayer, Osteen thanks God for “your unprecedented favor. We believe that 2006 will be our best year so far. We declare it by faith.” Today’s sermon is about how gratitude can “save a marriage, save your job [and] get you a promotion.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever preached a sermon about money,” he says a few hours later. He and Victoria meet with TIME in their pastoral suite, once the Houston Rockets’ locker and shower area but now a zone of overstuffed sofas and imposing oak bookcases. “Does God want us to be rich?” he asks. “When I hear that word rich, I think people say, ‘Well, he’s preaching that everybody’s going to be a millionaire.’ I don’t think that’s it.” Rather, he explains, “I preach that anybody can improve their lives. I think God wants us to be prosperous. I think he wants us to be happy. To me, you need to have money to pay your bills. I think God wants us to send our kids to college. I think he wants us to be a blessing to other people. But I don’t think I’d say God wants us to be rich. It’s all relative, isn’t it?” The room’s warm lamplight reflects softly off his crocodile shoes.

Osteen is a second-generation Prosperity teacher. His father John Osteen started out Baptist but in 1959 withdrew from that fellowship to found a church in one of Houston’s poorer neighborhoods and explore a new philosophy developing among Pentecostals. If the rest of Protestantism ignored finances, Prosperity placed them center stage, marrying Pentecostalism’s ebullient notion of God’s gifts with an older tradition that stressed the power of positive thinking. Practically, it emphasized hard work and good home economics. But the real heat was in its spiritual premise: that if a believer could establish, through word and deed (usually donation), that he or she was “in Jesus Christ,” then Jesus’ father would respond with paternal gifts of health and wealth in this life. A favorite verse is from Malachi: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse … and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘If I will not for you open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'” (See boxes.)

It is a peculiarly American theology but turbocharged. If Puritanism valued wealth and Benjamin Franklin wrote about doing well by doing good, hard-core Prosperity doctrine, still extremely popular in the hands of pastors like Atlanta megachurch minister Creflo Dollar, reads those Bible verses as a spiritual contract. God will pay back a multiple (often a hundredfold) on offerings by the congregation. “Poor people like Prosperity,” says Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University. “They hear it as aspirant. They hear, ‘You can make it too–buy a car, get a job, get wealthy.’ It can function as a form of liberation.” It can also be exploitative. Outsiders, observes Milmon Harrison of the University of California at Davis, author of the book Righteous Riches, often see it as “another form of the church abusing people so ministers could make money.”

In the past decade, however, the new generation of preachers, like Osteen, Meyer and Houston’s Methodist megapastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, who gave the benediction at both of George W. Bush’s Inaugurals, have repackaged the doctrine. Gone are the divine profit-to-earnings ratios, the requests for offerings far above a normal 10% tithe (although many of the new breed continue to insist that congregants tithe on their pretax rather than their net income). What remains is a materialism framed in a kind of Tony Robbins positivism. No one exemplifies this better than Osteen, who ran his father’s television-production department until John died in 1999. “Joel has learned from his dad, but he has toned it back and tapped into basic, everyday folks’ ways of talking,” says Ben Phillips, a theology professor at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. That language is reflected in Your Best Life Now, an extraordinarily accessible exhortation to this-world empowerment through God. “To live your best life now,” it opens, to see “your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams come to pass …” you must “start looking at life through eyes of faith.” Jesus is front and center but not his Crucifixion, Resurrection or Atonement. There are chapters on overcoming trauma and a late chapter on emulating God’s generosity. (And indeed, Osteen’s church gave more than $1 million in relief money after Hurricane Katrina.) But there are many more illustrations of how the Prosperity doctrine has produced personal gain, most memorably, perhaps, for the Osteen family: how Victoria’s “speaking words of faith and victory” eventually brought the couple their dream house; how Joel discerned God’s favor in being bumped from economy to business class.

Confronting such stories, certain more doctrinally traditional Christians go ballistic. Last March, Ben Witherington, an influential evangelical theologian at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, thundered that “we need to renounce the false gospel of wealth and health–it is a disease of our American culture; it is not a solution or answer to life’s problems.” Respected blogger Michael Spencer–known as the Internet Monk–asked, “How many young people are going to be pointed to Osteen as a true shepherd of Jesus Christ? He’s not. He’s not one of us.” Osteen is an irresistible target for experts from right to left on the Christian spectrum who–beyond worrying that he is living too high or inflating the hopes of people with real money problems–think he is dragging people down with a heavy interlocked chain of theological and ethical errors that could amount to heresy.

Most start out by saying that Osteen and his ilk have it “half right”: that God’s goodness is biblical, as is the idea that he means us to enjoy the material world. But while Prosperity claims to be celebrating that goodness, the critics see it as treating God as a celestial ATM. “God becomes a means to an end, not the end in himself,” says Southwestern Baptist’s Phillips. Others are more upset about what it de-emphasizes. “[Prosperity] wants the positive but not the negative,” says another Southern Baptist, Alan Branch of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. “Problem is, we live on this side of Eden. We’re fallen.” That is, Prosperity soft-pedals the consequences of Adam’s fall–sin, pain and death–and their New Testament antidote: Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and the importance of repentance. And social liberals express a related frustration that preachers like Osteen show little interest in battling the ills of society at large. Perhaps appropriately so, since, as Prosperity scholar Harrison explains, “philosophically, their main way of helping the poor is encouraging people not to be one of them.”

Most unnerving for Osteen’s critics is the suspicion that they are fighting not just one idiosyncratic misreading of the gospel but something more daunting: the latest lurch in Protestantism’s ongoing descent into full-blown American materialism. After the eclipse of Calvinist Puritanism, whose respect for money was counterbalanced by a horror of worldliness, much of Protestantism quietly adopted the idea that “you don’t have to give up the American Dream. You just see it as a sign of God’s blessing,” says Edith Blumhofer, director of Wheaton College’s Center for the Study of American Evangelicals. Indeed, a last-gasp resistance to this embrace of wealth and comfort can be observed in the current evangelical brawl over whether comfortable megachurches (like Osteen’s and Warren’s) with pumped-up day-care centers and high-tech amenities represent a slide from glorifying an all-powerful God to asking what custom color you would prefer he paint your pews. “The tragedy is that Christianity has become a yes-man for the culture,” says Boston University’s Prothero.

Non-prosperity parties from both conservative and more progressive evangelical camps recently have been trying to reverse the trend. Eastern University professor Ron Sider’s book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, a fringe classic after its publication in 1977, is selling far more copies now, and some young people are even acting on its rather radical prescriptions: a sprinkling of Protestant groups known loosely as the New Monastics is experimenting with the kind of communal living among the poor that had previously been the province of Catholic orders. Jim Wallis, longtime leader of one such community in Washington and the editor of Sojourners magazine, has achieved immense exposure lately with his pleas that Evangelicals engage in more political activism on behalf of the poor.

And then there is Warren himself, who by virtue of his energy, hypereloquence and example (he’s working in Rwanda with government, business and church sectors) has become a spokesman for church activism. “The church is the largest network in the world,” he says. “If you have 2.3 billion people who claim to be followers of Christ, that’s bigger than China.”

And despite Warren’s disdain for Prosperity’s theological claims, some Prosperity churches have become players in the very faith-based antipoverty world he inhabits, even while maintaining their distinctive theology. Kirbyjon Caldwell, who pastors Windsor Village, the largest (15,000) United Methodist church in the country, can sound as Prosperity as the next pastor: “Jesus did not die and get up off the Cross so we could live lives full of despair and disappointment,” he says. He quotes the “abundant life” verse with all earnestness, even giving it a real estate gloss: “It is unscriptural not to own land,” he announces. But he’s doing more than talk about it. He recently oversaw the building of Corinthian Pointe, a 452-unit affordable-housing project that he claims is the largest residential subdivision ever built by a nonprofit. Most of its inhabitants, he says, are not members of his church.

Caldwell knows that prosperity is a loaded term in evangelical circles. But he insists that “it depends on how you define prosperity. I am not a proponent of saying the Lord’s name three times, clicking your heels and then you get what you ask for. But you cannot give what you do not have. We are fighting what we call the social demons. If I am going to help someone, I am going to have to have something with which to help.”

Caldwell knows that the theology behind this preacherly rhetoric will never be acceptable to Warren or Sider or Witherington. But the man they all follow said, “By their fruits you will know them,” and for some, Corinthian Pointe is a very convincing sort of fruit. Hard-line Prosperity theology may always seem alien to those with enough money to imagine making more without engaging God in a kind of spiritual quid pro quo. And Osteen’s version, while it abandons part of that magical thinking, may strike some as self-centered rather than God centered. But American Protestantism is a dynamic faith. Caldwell’s version reminds us that there is no reason a giving God could not invest even an awkward and needy creed with a mature and generous heart. If God does want us to be rich in this life, no doubt it’s this richness in spirit that he is most eager for us to acquire.

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Did The Prosperity Gospel Play A Role In Suprime Crisis?
Oct.03, 2008 in Commentary, Economy
According to this author, the answer is “Yes”.

Has the so-called Prosperity Gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God would “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, toxic expression during sub-prime boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York state, “The pastor’s not gonna say ‘go down to Wachovia and get a loan’ but I have heard, ‘even if you have a poor credit rating God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house, or that car or that apartment.’” (more…)

When I read the title of this article, admittedly I dismissed it as far-reaching speculation. But after reading it and taking the time to reflect upon my own experiences in the church, I think the author is on to something.

For starters, I think that there is enough blame to go around–STARTING ON MAIN STREET.

My Atlanta Experience

I remember how pastors would tell folks about how the Lord wanted them to move into home ownership–all while steering them to certain brokers and banks. I remember saying to myself “folks are getting broke off over this and the Lord has nothing to do with it. This is just a plain ol’ hustle.” Brokers would be publicly acknowledged in front of the congregation as they would convince the church that all of this was just his/her way of “giving back to the Lord”. No! He was giving back to the pastor as a way of thanking him for sending the business. Again, the Lord had NUTTIN to do with this arrangement. I saw all of this during the early stages of the housing boom.

My wife and I were part of a megachurch where the pastor made it a priority to move all the renters in his congregation into home ownership. He tied the whole thing into how God moved Israel into the promise land. While I agreed with the pastor that far too many of us have been renting too long, the huge influx of moving folks with bad credit into McMansions had me a bit nervous. This took place right at the time we were preparing to move out of state.

All of a sudden, getting approved for a loan with bad credit was seen as a miracle from God–all because of those generous faith offerings folks were told to give earlier.

“I told the Lawd ‘but my credit is too messed up to get a house’. Then I heard pastor preach about taking a step of faith last Sunday. Don’t you know I applied for the loan and now I am the proud owner of a 5 bedroom house…”.

These types of ‘testimonies’ were common in the churches I attended back when the market was getting hot.

I am of the opinion that any pastor who encouraged parishioners to commit to predatory-type loans while cloaking the whole thing as “God’s will for their lives” should be thrown out of office. Part of me is telling me to name names of pastors who I know engaged in this practice. I’ll chill with that idea for now.

Again, I must stress that churches that participated in peddling these loans do share A PART of the blame.

http://www.blackinformant.com/2008/10/03/did-the-prosperity-gospel-play-a-role-in-suprime-crisis

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Prosperity Gospel on Skid Row
Difficulties of high-profile pastors may reorient movement—or reinforce it.
Bobby Ross Jr. | posted 1/15/2009 09:40AM

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/february/2.12.html

Some of the high-flying icons of the prosperity gospel—the belief that God rewards signs of faith with wealth, health, and happiness—have run into financial turbulence.

Not all of their troubles can be blamed on the nation’s economic crisis, say critics of the name-it-and-claim-it theology found in some charismatic churches.

“I believe the charismatic movement, of which I am a part, is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul,” said J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine. “God is shaking us.” Grady predicts the movement will look much different in a few years as it refocuses on evangelism and overcoming what he calls the distraction of “materialism, flashy self-promotion, and foolish carnality.” But Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary sociologist who studies megachurches, is not so certain.

“Most clergy who preach a prosperity gospel would interpret for their congregation any conflict, scrutiny, or questioning as an attack of the Devil and proof that they are following God,” he said.

Among recent developments:

• In Fort Worth, Texas, a review board ruled December 7 that Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ $3.6 million jet did not have tax-exempt status. The ruling came after the ministry, whose 1,500-acre campus includes a $6 million church-owned lakefront mansion, refused to release the salaries of Copeland, his wife, and others.

• In suburban Atlanta, Georgia, a sheriff’s deputy served an eviction notice November 14 at Bishop Thomas Weeks III’s Global Destiny Church. Court documents indicate the bishop, the ex-husband of televangelist Juanita Bynum, owed half a million dollars in back rent. The church has lost roughly half of its 3,400 members since Weeks and Bynum’s 2007 fight in a hotel parking lot, in which Weeks was accused of pushing, choking, and beating his then-wife.

• In Tampa, Florida, Without Walls International Church—which once attracted 23,000 worshipers—has shrunk drastically after co-pastors Randy and Paula White announced in 2007 they were divorcing. The church faces an uncertain future after the Evangelical Christian Credit Union began foreclosure proceedings November 4 and demanded repayment of a $12 million loan on the church’s property.

• In suburban Minneapolis on November 18, Living Word Christian Center pastor Mac Hammond won the first stage of a court battle with the Internal Revenue Service to keep his salary private. Yet in 2008, he was forced to put his private jet up for sale and cut Living Word’s hour-long television show in half to save money amid falling contributions.
Meanwhile, Copeland and the Whites are among six televangelists whose large organizations have been targeted in a Senate Finance Committee investigation into allegations of questionable spending and lax financial accountability. All six preach some form of the prosperity gospel.

Could followers of the prosperity gospel—encouraged by pastors to “sow a seed” of faith by spending money, often in the form of a donation to the pastors’ ministries—be turned off by the recent turmoil?

Craig Blomberg, author of a 2001 study of prosperity theology, said he expects the movement to “take a small hit among those who recognize that it can’t deliver on what it promises.”

But many followers could view the financial difficulties as consequences for sin and personal failings—from Weeks’s assault conviction to the Whites’ divorce—and determine to try that much harder to please God and prosper themselves, he suggested.

“Some may well interpret this as judgment on the leaders who have abused their positions or proved immoral in other respects,” said Blomberg, a New Testament professor at Denver Seminary. “And many may simply assume this is the time to call others and themselves to an even truer faith so that the ‘system will work’ as it is supposed to in their minds.”

In Grady’s view, the notion that “God blesses us so we can be a blessing” is biblical. What is needed, he believes, is a shift to a more selfless movement where people “realize that God wants to bless us so that we can feed the poor, lift up the broken, and transform society.

“We need that kind of prosperity,” he said, “and I think that is where things are going.”

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Is the Prosperity Gospel Financial Heresy?
By Mr. ToughMoneyLove | October 5, 2008

Mr. ToughMoneyLove tends to avoid mixing religion and personal finance for a variety of reasons. However, I am going to make a very brief exception to that policy this Sunday.

This week Time ran a story on the possible role of the “prosperity gospel” in the sub-prime mortgage mess that has played a significant role in the current economic crisis. I certainly don’t agree with the premise that God should be blamed for what has happened. But the article makes an interesting anecdotal review of how believers in the prosperity gospel could be led to accept that divine intervention would prevail over their lack of financial resources. According to the prosperity preacher, that belief is enough to put the believer in a home he or she cannot afford. I think we can all agree that there is no logic to that belief. On the other hand, religion is based on faith, not logic.

I submit that are two hard truth takeaways from this story. First, the “prosperity gospel” is really intended to bring economic prosperity to those who preach it, not to those who listen to it. Second, an all too common rationalization offered by broke people when they make yet another discretionary purchase is that they “deserve” that car or gadget or vacation. The prosperity gospel reinforces that misguided rationalization and gives it another dimension. Just as I believe that poor people are not being punished by God, I also believe that wealth on earth is not bestowed based on spiritual merit.

What do you think about the prosperity gospel as a contributor to current economic conditions?

http://toughmoneylove.com/2008/10/05/is-the-prosperity-gospel-financial-heresy/

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Maybe We Should Blame God for the Subprime Mess
By David Van Biema Friday, Oct. 03, 2008

TIME.com

Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of Pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God will “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, dangerous expression during the subprime-lending boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in Pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York: “The pastor’s not gonna say, ‘Go down to Wachovia and get a loan,’ but I have heard, ‘Even if you have a poor credit rating, God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house or that car or that apartment.’ ” Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma: “It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, ‘If you give this offering, God will give you a house.’ And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy.” If so, the situation offers a look at how a native-born faith built partially on American economic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.

Although a type of Pentecostalism, Prosperity theology adds a distinctive layer of supernatural positive thinking. Adherents will reap rewards if they prove their faith to God by contributing heavily to their churches, remaining mentally and verbally upbeat and concentrating on divine promises of worldly bounty supposedly strewn throughout the Bible. Critics call it a thinly disguised pastor-enrichment scam. Other experts, like Walton, note that for all its faults, the theology can empower people who have been taught to see themselves as financially or even culturally useless to feel they are “worthy of having more and doing more and being more.” In some cases the philosophy has matured with its practitioners, encouraging good financial habits and entrepreneurship.

But Walton suggests that a decade’s worth of ever easier credit acted like a drug in Prosperity’s bloodstream. “The economic boom ’90s and financial overextensions of the new millennium contributed to the success of the Prosperity message,” he wrote recently on his personal blog as well as on the website Religion Dispatches. And not positively. “Narratives of how ‘God blessed me with my first house despite my credit’ were common. Sermons declaring ‘It’s your season to overflow’ supplanted messages of economic sobriety,” and “little attention was paid to … the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM to subsidize cars, clothes and vacations.”

With the bubble burst, Walton and Butler assume that Prosperity congregants have taken a disproportionate hit, and they are curious as to how their churches will respond. Butler thinks some of the flashier ministries will shrink along with their congregants’ fortunes. Says Walton: “You would think that the current economic conditions would undercut their theology.” But he predicts they will persevere, since God’s earthly largesse is just as attractive when one is behind the economic eight ball.

A recent publicly posted testimony by a congregant at the Brownsville Assembly of God, near Pensacola, Fla., seems to confirm his intuition. Brownsville is not even a classic Prosperity congregation — it relies more on the anointing of its pastors than on Scriptural promises of God. But the believer’s note to his minister illustrates how magical thinking can prevail even after the mortgage blade has dropped. “Last Sunday,” it read, “You said if anyone needed a miracle to come up. So I did. I was receiving foreclosure papers, so I asked you to anoint a picture of my home and you did and your wife joined with you in prayer as I cried. I went home feeling something good was going to happen. On Friday the 5th of September I got a phone call from my mortgage company and they came up with a new payment for the next 3 months of only $200. My mortgage is usually $1,020. Praise God for his Mercy & Grace.”

And pray that the credit market doesn’t tighten any further.

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1847053,00.html?cnn=yes

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Understanding Word-Faith Teaching
by Rob Bowman

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Once upon a time, long long ago, on a faraway planet, there lived a good God. . . . Because Jesus was recreated from a satanic being to an incarnation of God, you too can become an incarnation – as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth! And, as an incarnation of God, you can have unlimited health and unlimited wealth – a palace like the Taj Mahal with a Rolls Royce in your driveway. You are a little messiah running around on earth! All it takes is to recognize your own divinity.

Hank Hanegraaff (summarizing the Word-Faith teaching)

It seems our friends, the book writers, have invented an entirely new theology called the “born again Jesus” built upon a conglomeration of quotations taken from 6 or 7 ministers, pulled out of context and combined as though we all believed identically the same thing or were even speaking about the same subject when quoted (which, in some cases, we were not). And the reader is told we all believe this “born again Jesus” theology, believe exactly alike about it, and we’re all heretics. Yet I am diametrically opposed to some of the doctrines held by those who are quoted on the same page as me! Kenneth E. Hagin

He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13

If we are to evaluate the Word-Faith teaching, we first need to understand it. As Solomon counseled, “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). We need to grasp the Word-Faith theology as a whole and understand how it all fits together from the perspective of the Word-Faith teachers if we are to make an intelligent decision as to whether it is biblical. Moreover, we need to look at the movement from all sides and consider it from every relevant angle in order to make our assessment as complete and balanced as possible. In this chapter I will set forth an agenda for such a complete assessment and then explain the Word-Faith teaching in order to make its basic message understandable.

The Roots, Shoots, and Fruits

A complete evaluation of any movement’s teachings requires that we look at three aspects of the teachings, which may be called the roots, shoots, and fruits of a doctrine.

Exposing the Roots
The roots of a doctrine are the sources or origins of the teachings. Did the ideas come from the Bible? Did they come from the biblically based teaching of a sound Christian teacher? Did they come from a source that is clearly cultic or non-Christian? Or did they come from a mixture of all three types of sources? If certain ideas can be traced to non-Christian or cultic roots, how were these ideas transferred?

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An examination of the “roots” of a teaching is never sufficient by itself, because non-Christians, after all, can express truths and can have genuine insights. It is perfectly fine for a Christian teacher to “plunder the Egyptians” by taking over ideas or formulations found in non-Christian thought and putting them into a soundly Christian context. So we must be careful not to argue that a particular doctrine is false merely because a cultist or other non-Christian advocated it. In logic this is called the genetic fallacy – attempting to dismiss an idea on the basis of its genesis, or origin.

William DeArteaga, in his book defending the Word-Faith movement, claims that Daniel R. McConnell’s critique of the Word-Faith teaching commits the “genetic fallacy” by arguing that “Hagin derived his teachings from Kenyon, who in turn was associated with the Metaphysical movement.” DeArteaga calls this error “the pharisaical objection of origins,” referring to his belief that the Pharisees erred by rejecting any workings of the Spirit that contradicted their theology or which they could not explain. This is an odd theory: the Pharisees never criticized Jesus’ teachings for supposedly deriving from a suspect source (say, that Jesus got his ideas from the pagan Greeks). They did accuse him of having a demon (Matt. 9:34; 12:24; John 7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20), but this is a “genetic” argument of a very different sort! Setting aside this strange reference to the Pharisees, DeArteaga’s criticism overlooks the fact that McConnell explicitly denies trying to discredit the Word-Faith teaching by a simple exposé of its origins:

The historical origins of the Faith movement are not enough, however, to justify the charge of cultism. That would be an example of theological guilt by mere historical association. To prove cultism requires that it be demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the beliefs and practices of the contemporary Faith movement (not just those of Kenyon) are both cultic and heretical.. . . The Faith movement is cubic not just because of where it comes from. but also because of what it teaches.

DeArteaga elsewhere shows that he does take the question of the origins of the Word-Faith teaching to be relevant. In answer to McConnell, he argues that Kenyon’s doctrines of revelation – knowledge and of the Christian life are not really Gnostic at all but are instead rooted in the theology of the apostle Paul.

If the genetic fallacy is to be avoided, then why examine the roots at all? There are two reasons for doing so. First, sometimes teachers will misrepresent the source of their teachings in order to exaggerate their own originality or because the true sources are a potential embarrassment to them. In some cases professing Christian teachers have been known to plagiarize whole sermons or books from various cultic or questionable sources. Obviously, if they pass off as new insights or revelations from God ideas that they actually lifted word for word from a non-Christian or cultic writer, this constitutes a serious problem. Exposing these teachers’ lack of honesty in this area serves its own purpose independent of evaluating the teachings themselves.

Here again, DeArteaga argues that McConnell has criticized Kenneth Hagin unjustly by accusing him of plagiarism. According to DeArteaga, “McConnell also accuses Hagin of passing off his theology as pure ‘revelation knowledge’ without any credits to human sources” (emphasis added). DeArteaga points to the preface of The Name of Jesus in which Hagin acknowledges drawing on Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus as proof that McConnell is wrong. Yet McConnell himself quotes Hagin’s preface and comments, “This is one of the few candid, direct acknowledgments of Kenyon to appear in any of Hagin’s writings.” McConnell also observes that “Hagin demonstrates the ability to give credit where credit is due with regard to the sources that he drew on to develop a particular idea,” except concerning those sources from which he plagiarized extensively. His contention is simply that Hagin’s repeated, massive plagiarism of the writings of Kenyon, along with those of John A. MacMillan, demonstrate that Hagin’s claim to have learned the Word-Faith teaching directly from visitations and revelations from God is patently false. DeArteaga’s criticisms of McConnell in this matter are not cogent.

Second, identifying the source of someone’s questionable doctrines can aid us in pinpointing the real problems in those doctrines. If certain doctrinal errors have been taught before and have been answered by sound Christian teachers, then finding these antecedents can be very helpful in identifying and refuting the errors. Discovering the true roots of the Word-Faith teaching, once it is shown to be unbibilcal and damaging to authentic Christian faith, will then aid us in getting to the core of the problem. It will also enable us to be better on guard against similar errors in the future.

Again, we do not expose the roots of a doctrine to prove it false. We examine the roots to help us diagnose the problems and prescribe a cure.

Examining the Shoots
The second aspect of any doctrine is the substance or idea of the doctrine itself. This is what for convenience I call the shoots, though it would be more precise to talk about the trunk and branches. More technically, the shoots of a doctrine are the doctrine itself as a doctrine – what the doctrine says in theory and the arguments or reasons given in its support.

Most of the time, we identify a tree by its shoots. That is, we can usually tell what sort of a tree it is simply by looking at its overall appearance as shaped primarily by its trunk and branches. A quick glance at the shoots of a fir tree is enough to determine that it is not an oak.

Examining doctrines is often not as easy, of course, because doctrines are not tangible entities that can be perceived with a single glance. What we purpose to do in examining a doctrine, though, is not merely to identify it but also to evaluate its soundness and strength. When examining a tree, for example, we would check various branches to see if they are strong and well connected to the trunk. If there was some doubt about the health of the tree, we might cut through the bark to examine the interior of the wood. When examining a doctrine, we would test its soundness and strength by examining the reasoning used to support the conclusion and seeing if that reasoning is firmly based on the Bible.

Examining the shoots, then, comes down to comparing the contemporary teachings with the teachings of the Bible. The Word-Faith teachers tend to resist this kind of critical examination, offering various reasons why their teachings should not be critiqued. I have evaluated these objections to doctrinal discernment in Orthodoxy and Heresy. Here I will point out simply that this sort of study is strongly encouraged in the Bible itself (see Matt. 22:29; Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 3:16). It is the basic method used by Christians throughout the centuries to test novel and controversial teachings as they have arisen in the church.

Looking at the Fruits
The third and final aspect of testing a doctrine is to look at its fruit. This test is perhaps the best known because of the words of Jesus regarding false prophets: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16, 20). Unfortunately these words are among the most abused words in Scripture. They are all too commonly cited to prove that testing someone’s teachings by comparing them with Scripture is either unnecessary or illegitimate. Yet this claim is itself a doctrine that people try to prove by citing Scripture!

What Jesus says here is absolutely true: One can know a false prophet by his or her “fruits.” We need to ask, though, what is included, and what is not, in these fruits. One thing Jesus makes very clear in the context is that prophetic utterances and miracles are not included (Matt. 7:22). This is important because Word-Faith teachers and those who support them often point to stories of healings, apparent supernatural revelations, and other amazing incidents as proof that God has blessed their ministry. But Jesus specifically excludes such things from the “fruits” by which we would be able to tell a false prophet from a true one.

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On the other hand, Jesus does not discourage testing doctrines by comparing them with Scripture. Indeed, his focus is not on the truth or falsity of a particular doctrine but on the divine calling of a professed prophet. The purpose of the test is to tell apart true and false prophets, both of whom seem to speak in the name of the Lord (Matt. 7:21-22). The implication is that a true prophet must represent the Lord truly both in word and in action. Thus the point here is not that true prophets can say anything they want as long as their outward lives are good. Rather, it is that a prophet is false if his fruit is evil, no matter how good or true his words seem to be.

A short while later in the same passage, Jesus contrasts the wise person with the foolish person. The wise person acts on Jesus’ words, while the foolish person fails to do so (Matt. 7:24-27). The implication is that one may and should compare people’s actions to the words of Jesus to see whether their actions are wise or foolish.

One bad fruit that is always produced by false prophets is confusion and division. When false prophets come along and teach false doctrines or make false claims, it is their fault when confusion and division ensue. It is certainly not the fault of those who oppose their unbiblical teachings.

The sum of the matter is this. The test Jesus sets forth in Matthew 7 is intended to expose false prophets. It is not the only such test, but it is a valid and crucial test. It cannot be used to avoid responsibility to teach doctrine that is faithful to the same Bible in which this test appears. False and unsound doctrine always contradicts biblical doctrine and results in bad fruit.

On Defining the Word-Faith Teaching

Before explaining the Word-Faith teaching, I need to say some things about the approach taken here. In discussing this subject with advocates of the Word-Faith teaching and with its critics, I have learned that how one approaches the discussion virtually determines whether communication and understanding will ever take place.

Is There a “Word Faith Teaching”?
Some people object to any critique of the “Word-Faith teaching” on two grounds. First, it is sometimes said that the Word-Faith teachers are evangelists, healers, prophets, or pastors, not teachers or theologians, and that they should not be judged as if they were theologians. Second, it has been argued that the critics of the Word-Faith movement have created a straw-man “Word-Faith teaching” from statements taken out of context or shoe-horned into a theology that none of the Word-Faith teachers espouse. We are told that the Word-Faith teachers differ markedly on a number of doctrinal points, so that the doctrine attributed to them as a group is an artificial construct of the critics’ own imagination.

It is, of course, true that none of the Word-Faith teachers is a systematic theologian or even a methodical teacher whose theological “system” is easily encapsulated from his writings. This does not mean, however, that the Word-Faith leaders are not teachers. Whatever they may see as their primary calling, when they regularly present teaching on matters of Christian belief, they make themselves teachers. It is silly to say that individual – articles, and disseminate video and audiotapes of their messages on doctrinal topics are not teachers.

In any case, at least some of these men do claim to be teachers. Kenneth Hagin, who claims that his primary calling is to the ministry of a prophet, also claims to serve in the ministry of a teacher. Thus it is perfectly appropriate to hold the Word-Faith teachers to a higher standard of doctrinal accuracy than we do persons in ministry who do not presume to teach doctrine (James 3:1).

As for the second objection, it simply is not true that the Word-Faith teachers have no theological system. The lack of a formal Word-Faith “systematic theology” does not mean that there is no structural or thematic unity in their teaching. If a Word-Faith teacher’s teaching is at all coherent or consistent, it should be possible to systematize his teachings in order to bring out its coherence and essential ideas. If such systematization is not possible, it only goes to show that his teaching is chaotic and therefore that he is a poor teacher.

Kenneth Hagin has complained that the theology attributed to him and other Word-Faith teachers is an invention of the critics (see the quotation at the beginning of this chapter). Hagin’s objection has some justice, but the legitimate point he is making should not be exaggerated. There is a core of doctrinal teaching that makes the Word-Faith movement distinctive and identifiable, a core of teaching to which the Word-Faith televangelists generally subscribe and that sets them apart from other Christian traditions. I agree that some of the critics of the Word-Faith teachers have erred in superimposing on the Word-Faith movement a greater degree of unity than is actually there. But the error of this extreme does not justify the opposite extreme of denying any distinctive doctrinal unity in the movement.

In this chapter, then, I will attempt to state that core theology of the Word-Faith movement. It may be that some Word-Faith advocates will disagree somewhat with the way their doctrine is presented here, but I believe that overall this presentation of the Word-Faith theology is accurate and representative of their teachings.

How Shall the Word-Faith Teaching Be Defined?
It is easy to make the Word-Faith doctrine sound silly or absurd. Indeed, one can do so by just stringing together a number of the more colorful statements that have been made by Word-Faith teachers. When critics of the movement do this and then fill in the gaps with their own interpretative embellishments, the result is a caricature.

This is the problem, as I see it, with the way in which the Word-Faith teaching is represented in the section titled “Once Upon a Time . . .” in Hank Hanegraaff’s Christianity in Crisis. Hanegraaff himself makes the following admission in a prefatory note in very small print:

The following tale is a composite of the erroneous teachings of individuals like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Frederick Price, and many others. While not all the Faith teachers hold to every aspect of this tale, they have all made substantial contributions to both the production and the proliferation of these aberrations and heresies. (emphasis added)
What Hanegraaff fails to acknowledge, unfortunately, is that none of the Word-Faith teachers “holds to every aspect of this tale.” The “composite” fails to represent accurately the views of any of the Word-Faith teachers, because none of them holds to the whole thing. Moreover, some of the elements of this “composite” are not held by any of the Word-Faith teachers but are Hanegraaff’s own imaginative and colorful additions. Hanegraaff describes the Word-Faith teachers’ God as hoping to get “lucky.” He describes the Jesus of the Word-Faith teaching as becoming “a satanic being” when he died. He claims that the Word-Faith teaching asserts that Christians can have “a palace like the Taj Mahal. . . . All it takes is to recognize your own divinity.” These descriptions, however, make the Word-Faith movement sound more akin to Eastern religions or the New Age movement than it really is. In truth none of the Word-Faith teachers ever talk this way.

This way of presenting the Word-Faith teaching, while it has shock value, unnecessarily offends those who embrace the Word-Faith teaching. Just as we would not want our beliefs to be misrepresented, we must be careful not to misrepresent the beliefs of those in the Word-Faith movement (Matt. 7:12). When they hear the views of their favorite televangelists being exaggerated or sensationalized, they use that to dismiss out of hand the many valid criticisms of the Word-Faith teaching that critics offer.

We must never lose sight of the fact that many persons do, after all, find in the Word-Faith doctrine a convincing and coherent message. I will therefore be presenting the teaching in such a form as I think a systematically minded advocate of the Word-Faith teaching might articulate it. What I have attempted to do here is to set forth the Word-Faith teaching in the best possible light, focusing on the most prominent and essential aspects of that teaching. This way, what is being refuted is not the worst possible representation of the teaching but the doctrine at its best.

I hasten to add that the more colorful and extreme ideas that have been taught by Word-Faith teachers are certainly, in and of themselves, fair targets for criticism. I will be critiquing some of them in this book. But these more outlandish ideas need to be placed fairly in the context of the Word-Faith teaching.

In order to be as fair to the Word-Faith movement as possible, I will base my exposition of its teaching solely on the words of Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. Since these two men are the undisputed leaders of the Word-Faith movement, any doctrine to which both of them subscribe may be safely regarded as part of the Word-Faith teaching. With one important exception, I have avoided mentioning in this summary any doctrine taught by only one, and not the other, of these two men. Persons who acknowledge Hagin or Copeland as teachers and who accept the general ideas of the Word-Faith teaching, even if they deviate in one or a few particulars, may also be regarded as part of the Word-Faith movement.

What follows, then, is a summary of the theology of the Word-Faith movement, including the doctrinal issues that will be explored later in this book.

Human Beings Are Spirits

Basic to the Word-Faith theology is a particular understanding of human nature as spirit, soul, and body. Spirit is more real than the physical, according to the Word-Faith teaching, and therefore the spirit is the real person. It is the spirit that is made in God’s image, allowing the Word-Faith teachers to conclude that human beings are exact duplicates of God, or little gods.

Furthermore, it is the spirit to which God communicates (not the mind), and the spirit that is supposed to control the soul and especially the body. The problem with the human race is that we are allowing our bodies to control our lives, or our reason to dictate to our spirits, rather than having our spirits take control over our whole beings. This is fundamental for the Word-Faith teachers, since in their view we should disbelieve our senses when they tell us we are sick or poor, and disbelieve our reason when it tells us that the Word-Faith teaching is illogical or false (see chapter 6).

God and Humanity

According to the Word-Faith teachers, God is much more like a man than Christians generally have supposed. God is a God of faith; he created the world by faith and accomplishes all that he desires by believing in his heart and speaking the word of faith, thereby bringing things into existence (see chapter 7).

There is another respect in which Word-Faith teaching makes God more like a man than is traditionally thought. Although God is in essence a spirit, the Word-Faith teachers hold that God, like human beings, is spirit, soul, and body – albeit a “spirit body” (see chapter 8).

Likewise, the Word-Faith teachers insist that human beings are much more like God than Christians have usually believed. Our creation in God’s image is interpreted to mean that we exist in God’s “class” as the same kind of being as God, though on a smaller scale (as “little gods”). Moreover, the purpose of the coming of Jesus was to restore humanity to godhood by creating a new race of humans who, like Jesus, would be God incarnate (see chapter 9).

Humanity’s potential as little gods was, according to the Word-Faith teaching, thwarted by the fall. Adam forfeited his status as the god of this world by obeying the devil and thereby making Satan the god of this world. In sinning, Adam gave Satan legal dominion over this world and passed Satan’s nature of death, with its corresponding symptoms of sickness and poverty, down to the rest of humanity (see chapter 10).

Jesus Christ

To correct the situation arising from the fall, God, according to Word-Faith theology, implemented a strategy for reclaiming dominion from the devil. The centerpiece of this strategy was his becoming a man. Although Word-Faith teachers affirm that Jesus Christ was God incarnate, their understanding of what this incarnation meant is in some respects highly unusual.

First, all Word-Faith teachers argue that Christians are just as much “incarnations of God” as was Jesus Christ. This implies that “incarnation” in Word-Faith teaching does not mean the same thing it means in traditional Christian usage. Much of what the Word-Faith teachers say suggests that in their view anyone who is indwelled by the Spirit is an incarnation.

Second, Word-Faith teachers are not altogether clear as to whether it was the preexistent, eternal Son of God who became incarnate. Some Word-Faith teachers, such as Hagin, seem to assume this traditional, biblical view. Others, though, notably Kenneth Copeland and Charles Capps, teach that the Word that became incarnate was God’s Word of promise that he would redeem humanity, and that this Word was “positively confessed” into personal existence by the Virgin Mary (see chapter 11).

The Word-Faith teachers also have a distinctive view of what Christ did to effect our salvation. In their view, what Jesus did that was unique was to die, not merely physically but spiritually as well (thus taking on himself Satan’s nature), and go to hell. There, they say, he was “born again,” rising from the dead with God’s nature (which, it is sometimes implied, he had lost in dying spiritually). By doing so, the Word-Faith teachers argue, Jesus paved the way for us to be born again and exhibit God’s nature in our lives (see chapter 12).

As has already been mentioned, the Word-Faith teachers tend to interpret the incarnation as the prototype of God’s Spirit dwelling in a human being. In this sense, they insist, Christians are as much an incarnation of God as was Jesus Christ. This lends support, in their view, to the claim that all Christians ought to be able to overcome difficulties in their lives and perform miracles in just the same way Jesus did. In principle any of us can do anything that Jesus did on earth (see chapter 13).

Faith, Prayer, and Confession

The distinctive ideas about God and man in Word-Faith theology are the basis for its views on faith and prayer. Faith is not only believing what God says but also believing that we have whatever we say. Prayer is not only speaking to God but also speaking to things and circumstances and commanding them to do as we say. This is the basis for the concept of positive and negative confession, the idea that what we believe and say, whether good or bad, will happen for us (see chapter 14).

On the basis of a positive confession – itself based on faith that we are divine spirits created and redeemed to rule our circumstances by speaking words of faith – Word-Faith theology says we are to obtain health and wealth. Since Christ died to free us from the curse of the law, reason the Word-Faith teachers, this must mean that Christians need no longer accept sickness or poverty in their lives. Christians ought to live in divine health and wealth as testimony to the power of God and as evidence that they are children of God (see chapter 15).

This is the Word-Faith theology to be studied in this book. For the most part, my focus will not be on the personalities who promote these views but on the biblical teachings that are relevant to evaluating the Word-Faith theology. However, in order to understand the teachings fully, we need to consider how they arose and know something about their sources. The next four chapters will deal with just these questions.

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Matthew 9:34 – But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”

Matthew 12:24 – But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub,[4] the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

John 7:20 – “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”

John 8:48, 52 – The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” – At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death.

John 10:20 – Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

Matthew 22:29 – Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

Acts 17:11 – Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Matthew 7:16, 20 – By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? – Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 7:21-22 – “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’

Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

James 3:1 – Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Matthew 7:12 – So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

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Taken from The Word-Faith Controversy by Rob Bowman. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright 2001. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company. You can purchase The Word-Faith Controversy for a total of $15 by calling the Issues, Etc. resource line at 1-800-737-0172 .

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Word of Faith: Devastating Impact: Casualties

On a personal level, it seems that – in the long term especially – the WOF is devastating. It is devastating to the WOF believers because they have allowed themselves to be led astray and to be spiritually deceived. The presumption that God does not allow his own children to be deceived is obviously false, because in the Bible, Paul and John and Peter are constantly telling those early Christians to pay attention and to watch out that they would not be deceived – because the presumption is that it could happen, and in some cases was happening.

God has given us his Holy Word so that we can use it, and if we know it well, and if we use it often, and as our minds are renewed through the study of His Word, then When we know the teachings of the Bible, and how to defend our faith and identify false teachings, we are much less likely to be deceived.

But the impact of WOF for those who want to come out of it – is almost just as devastating for those who leave WOF (as it is for those who stayed), especially right after they have just left.

Where can a person go ? WHat Church would you send them to ? Who can they find to talk with, not only who will empathize, but who will actually offer them some seriously Biblical advice and genuine assistance ? And where do they start ?

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There are many thousands of walking casualties out there who have no idea how to respond to their WOF experiences: the first half seems to be those who thought that WOF was Christianity (Which it is not) – and who then have rejected Christianity because WOF did not work; the second half seems to be those who are Christians and realize that WOF does not work, and is wrong, and is misguided, but they do not have the practice nor enough spiritual understanding – to understand

1) where the problem is or 2) how to fix it and 3) how to go on from there. And the emotional consequences can be very heavy. For many of those involved, their friends and their Churches are still WOF. So they experience additional isolation from their friends, rather than support and comfort. This may be the price for also having friends not spiritually grounded, but that does not really help much either.

The solution should include books and authors that will talk about their own WOF experiences and help to highlight the contrast between 1) what the Bible says and teaches and 2) what the WOF teaches. All this can take a lot of time.

Another part of the solution seems to try to talk it out, work it out, write it out, and let it out, and to make these things part of the process of learning how to come to terms with WOF teachings and reject them, And THEN – replace those teachings with actual Biblical theology.

The “Soft” Cults

Changing your mind to change your master ?

It used to be that Cults were essentially those who operated using an environment of obvious mind-control, where a person was food-deprived, or sleep-deprived as part of their conditioning.

Cults today are much more sophisticated. Part of the dangers of the WOF movement is that its seduction is not so much what it does to you from the exterior – as much as it is what happens to the interior of the person, who has agreed to subject themselves to the same physical environment as the WOF Teacher.

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There are aspects of the WOF movement that resemble more the beauty and seduction of a “mass movement”, than they resemble the old cults or their methods. In fact, in some ways WOF movement is more dangerous because all of its impact is on the brain of the persons being affected.

They change you – by teaching you how to change your own consciousness.
They induce the atmosphere, but it takes the will and the cooperation of the person listening, existing there in that moment, and agreeing to “take it all in” and accept it – in order for them to have the impact that they do.

There are situations where a person can recognize faulty or wrong theology in a conversation in a Coffee place. Somehow, those same people are suddenly incapable of thinking of almost anything else – except to ACCEPT the experience which is offered, in the context of the WOF meetings.

One of the characteristics of God is that He does not require us to put our minds on hold, and experiences that are truly from Him 1) Agree with the Bible and 2) are Consistent with Biblical Teachings.

Its unfortunate to say this, but in many WOF meetings, it is insufficient to suggest that it is merely false teachings which takes place. I believe that in many of those meetings, demonic spirits are looking to control the audience and find people willing to accept the input of those Evil spirits. The Bible says that Satan comes as an Angel of Light. What better place for him to display this, than in the WOF meetings ?

I believe that increasingly – in the WOF meetings, the combination of the professional production, and the work of the Spiritual Enemies of the Cross are too powerful for those who are in the audience to not be affected by them.

We can all debate how long the impact of those meetings will be, but they must be long term: Because people coming out of WOF find it so hard to extricate themselves not only from having attended, but from the experiences that they were involved with.

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In situations like that, I believe that it is important to recognize this for what it is: good old fashioned Spiritual Warfare. This is not the “demon of nail-biting” kind. It is rather simply the Devil making war on the saints, in order to attempt to paralyze us in as many ways as possible.

Praise God that there is a natural antidote called Prayer and Renewing of our Mind through reading the Bible.

Romans 12: 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

It is important to understand that we need to pray for

a) great wisdom and discernment,

b) to pray that we will understand what has happened,

c) to pray that we would understand Which part of our theology and teachings are wrong or have been changed and altered by Word of Faith.

Those of us who do not have a local church should pray that we would find one that has people inside with 1) great spiritual discernment and 2) great spiritual maturity – or that we would be able to find a group of Christian believers who are like that.

It is important to not Stay paralyzed. We do not mean a day or two. we are talking about weeks turning to months. It is important to recognize that God does not abandon us, (even though it can feel that way sometimes) and that He allows things in our lives which will make us stronger, but that there will be times when others hurt us and there will be times when we get burned, even by those who claim to be doing the work of God.

Often, what the Devil knows he may not be able to do anymore with deception, he may try to prevent us from serving Jesus Christ by Confusion or Paralysis. The only way to work out of those feelings is to try and process them, but not allow those bad feelings to become the basis by which we make our new everyday choices.

Bad things DO happen to Good people. And the fact is that although we like to think of ourselves as Good, we are really sinners saved by the Almighty Grace of a loving God. Having said that, it is important to know and remember that just because God lets us fall does NOT mean that He rejects us. On the contrary, God wants us to know Him better. We can never go faster than God, in His desire for our company, and in HIS desire for us to know Him better and continue to worship Him, in spirit and In Truth.

These times are exiting but they do bring some dark days. We know one of the reasons why things happen to us:

II Cor 1:
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Just to be sure we dont miss it, it says that we have tribulation (Difficult & Hard times)

quote:

that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Other Verses are also helpful:

I Thessalonians 15: 18
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober [minded].

we should remember what Paul said:

II Thessalonians 2:16
Now [may] our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
17 Comfort your hearts, and [e]stablish you in every good word and work.

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/wof_devastation_1.htm

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The Word of Faith Movement and the Capture of the Mind

One of the ways that WOF (Word of Faith) harms people is that it uses their own willingness to believe something which is false – against the person who is doing the “believing”.

Many of these people who are in WOF actually have been in this kind of stuff for their entire lives (some of the WOF teachers started back in the 1950s or before). But many of the people who are in WOF are NEW to the movement. Where did or do these people come from ?

Don’t they come from other churches ? Isn’t there some kind of implication that these churches – from which the WOF converts came – did Not teach people

1) how to rightly divide the Word of God or

2) how to study the Bible or

3) how to identify important doctrines in the Bible or

4) how to spot a cult or identify false teachers ???

We are not proposing that individual believers don’t have a choice, and don’t have a responsibility to educate themselves. Clearly they do, whether someone informs this of that or not, and they are {and will be} held responsible by God, for the doctrine that they believe. The Bible tells all of us to be on our guard and warns about Spiritual deception and also about the need to stay constantly in the Word (the Bible) So That …we will continue to grow spiritually.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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But having said that – the failure of the leaders and teachers in those local churches, would seem to be an indication of the spiritual weakness and sickness of the Church in general, that it would provide an “impression of safety and stability”, while seeming to encourage the Lack of Spiritual grounding and the Lack of development of Spiritual Maturity.

Thank God we should not leave it up to our churches, and that we can find others and good authors to help us grow spiritually. But it remains disappointing to see many people go to church but only find the confirmation of a lack of Biblically grounded and encouraging teaching.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes?  <- link LIVE RADIO TUESDAY 10pm on BlogTalkRadio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

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These implications seem to very serious. In many cases, the original independent local churches (around today) have almost entirely failed in their Biblical duty to educate and thoroughly ground the Christians who attend in the Bible, and especially the new Christians. But now the WOF [Word of Faith Movement] is becoming so large that it will likely continue to absorb those same former “local” churches and get many of those churches to adopt WOF theology and teachings.

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/wof_&_the_mind.htm

 

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JONI A TRUE AND FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN

more about “Testimony of Joni Eareckson Tada“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

Joni Eareckson Tada & Word/Faith [Word of Faith]

A Personal Experience

On December 8, 1999, Joni Eareckson Tada was on the Bible Answer Man, and made the following devastating comments about Word-Faith teachings:

Kenneth Copeland or Kenneth Hagin or Benny Hinn – they’ve never called me and asked me to come on their program.

…I had read some portions of Scripture that seemed to indicate that if God’s Word abided in me, and I abided in Him, I could ask whatever I wished and the request would be fulfilled and my joy would be brighter.

I took that to mean that God wanted me healed. And my sister packed me into her station wagon and a couple of friends, and we drove down to the Washington DC arena and Kathryn Kuhlman swept on stage and praise choruses and testimonies and songs and all of us in the wheelchair section, we kind of like with baited breath were waiting and wondering, and nothing happened. In fact, the ushers came up to all of us in the wheelchair section, about 35 or 40 of us, and said, “Let’s escort you all out early so as not to create a traffic jam, and so there I was, Hank, number 15 in line of 35 people in wheelchairs or on crutches, waiting at the stadium elevator to go up to the parking lot, and we could still hear the distant strains of the organ and piano – Kathryn Kuhlman’s meeting was still going on – and I looked up and down this line of solemn-faced individuals and saw so much disappointment, and I thought “Something’s wrong with this picture.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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Either I wasn’t reading God right in His Word or God is not coming through on His promises.” And I knew that wasn’t true, and so Hank, it was that experience that drove me into God’s Word so deep I started reading people like R. C. Sproul and J. I. Packer and Jeremiah Burrows and John Owen and Jonathan Edwards and other contemporary authors – Dr. John MacArthur, there’s so many. I really dove into God’s Word with both sleeves rolled up to understand the Lord’s perspective on healing and I can say now that I am so grateful for the wisdom of God.

…John 5 talks about where Jesus once visited the Pool of Bethesda, and among all these disabled people He touched and healed a man paralyzed on a straw mat for over 30 years. I remember I was in the dark at night. After my bible was closed I’d picture myself at that same pool. I would imagine me dressed in maybe a rough burlap coat lying on a straw mat, perhaps even near that man that Jesus healed, and I would plead with God in prayer, “Oh, Lord, do not pass me by.” I would even sing to Him that hymn, “Jesus, Jesus, hear my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” I would pray that, and yet I was never healed.

Well, as you know, years later, and I began to get my spiritual act together with the Lord Jesus and I realized He was using my affliction, my paralysis to push me up against a spiritual wall with my back, getting me to seriously consider His lordship in my life – years later – in fact, just last year my husband Ken and I had a chance to visit Jerusalem, and we chose to do the old city on a hot, dry, dusty day, midday, when we knew no tour buses would be around and we’d have the place pretty much to ourselves.

And Ken was pushing me in my wheelchair down the cobblestone streets and we arrived at the sheepgate, made a lefthand turn, and there, a couple of hundred yards down the path, it opened up into this grand old ruins of – my goodness, it’s the pool of Bethesda. Ken, I said, would you look at this. And although you could not make out the colonnades because the ruins were crumbling and tumbling, and there’s no water in the pool yet, the place was empty, and as I leaned against the guardrail with my elbow, Ken hopped the guardrail to jog down to the bottom of the pool to see if there was any water in one of the cisterns.

And while he was gone and the wind was warm and dry and the sun was hot, tears began cascading down my cheeks as I looked over this pool of Bethesda and I said, “Oh, Lord Jesus, how good of You to wait 30 years, almost as many years as that man laid on his straw mat, You waited this long to bring me to this place, a place where I imagined myself so many years ago, and I’m so grateful that You did not pass me by, because a ‘no’ answer to a request for healing has meant purged sin from my life, and it strengthened my commitment to you, Lord Jesus. It has forced me to depend on Your grace. It has bound me with other believers. It has produced discernment.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes?  <- link LIVE RADIO TUESDAY 10pm on BlogTalkRadio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

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It has disciplined my mind. It has taught me to spend my time wisely. It has given me a hope of heaven. Lord Jesus, You were so good in not healing me.” And I know there are many people listening now who wish to be free of their circumstances – they are looking for an escape hatch, or maybe a quick fix for their affliction, and they think they might find it in a divorce or they are pondering maybe with the idea of suicide, such as one caller mentioned earlier. Or they’re thinking that they’ll find it in pills or medication, or a healing service. But the 32 years that I’ve been in this wheelchair and being at the Pool of Bethesda last year, has taught me that suffering is that good sheepdog, always snapping at my heals and driving me into the arms of the Shepherd. For that, I am so grateful. I am so grateful.

God Is Not a Vending Machine

Who is Joni ?

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/joni’s_story.htm

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What is the Word-Faith Movement ?

The Word-Faith Movement encompasses a number of different philosophical streams, that have coalesced into the false theological perspective that reality can be created not by human action, nor by the intention of our hearts nor by human effort (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit), but rather by the uttering of words from humans.

According to this perspective, humans have the ability to create/re-create matter and direct spiritual energy (& other energy) not by asking God, but rather by speaking words out loud. Speaking words out loud is considered speaking words “into reality”, the premise being that the words magically change the order of the universe and affect the world, or any person or circumstance, in accordance with the will of the one who utters those words. Another way of saying this is that it makes men as Gods.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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This view on speaking words/matter “into reality” has long been at the core of witchcraft and the occult. Under new disguises, this perspective continues to gain converts in Mainstream Christian Churches and Denominations, by those who are eager for a spiritual experience, but disregarding the source of that spiritual experience.

XOFC rejects the Word-Faith movement as contrary to the teachings of the Christian Bible, and as contrary to the teachings that Christians have held since the time of Jesus Christ. (check our books out for the documentation of this point)

Having compared Word of Faith teachings to the Bible, we don’t believe in the Word of Faith movement. Or should we say, we believe in its “reality”, just not its authenticity.

The Word of Faith Movement teaches that one can command God, and that one can do this using Words. The supposed basis for doing this is the Bible. But in Word of Faith, the Bible is treated much more like a book of Magic Incantations where the God of the Book must cooperate with those who have a copy of His
book.

This is comonly called “Word of Faith”. The Bible has another term for this: It is called Witchcraft. The belief that the Words in the Bible “activate” God and that God is compelled to respond because of the way that we pray … is simply an attempt to bend God to our will. It is the exaltation of the self in the Name of God.

But it is not connecting to God in any real sense. Charles Capps, E.W. Kenyon, Branham and Copeland actually are much closer to Charles Manson and Anton LaVey or Judas, than they are to Jesus, at least the Jesus Christ who is the Son of God, the one who died and rose again and is coming back.

The fact is that William Branham claimed to be in fear when interacting with the force that he was calling ” a Spirit”. (He also denied the Doctrine of the Trinity). Branham said that the spirit he was interacting with was threatening him. Oral Roberts also seemed to describe a Jesus who threatened him. It was the 800 or 900 Foot Jesus that had told Oral Roberts that Oral was going to have to die, if Oral could not raise a certain amount of money.

These teachings are not Biblical, and they are Not from God. The Word of Faith movement is full of counterfeit doctrines, that are Anti-Christ. The Word of Faith movement is simply Witchcraft disguised in Christian terms. We wish we could say we’re sorry for saying that, but we’re not.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes?  <- link LIVE RADIO TUESDAY 10pm on BlogTalkRadio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

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Don’t ask yourself if you are offended. Ask yourself if this is true. The teachings of E.W. Kenyon have much more in common with the standard teachings of Witchcraft than they do with the Bible. Additionally, the occultists teach that Satan is the one who will triumph. Not surprisingly, Word of Faith teachers affirm that “Jesus had to let Satan triumph over Jesus by torturing him for 3 days”.

That story is straight from Hell. It does not explain the resurrection. It mocks it ! Word of Faith teachers are simply the prelude to the symphony from an eternally dying being who knows that his own seven years of temporary evil will come to an end. Did you actually think that we are implying that Word of Faith teachings are from the Devil ?

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You Did ? Well that is what we are trying to say – based on the evidence.

Its not the Word of Faith movement we need. Its the Word of Jesus Christ.

—————————————————————————————————-

We would encourage all to study the details and the doctrines of the Word-Faith movement.

To that End, we have begin by posting information on one of the Leaders of the Word-Faith Movement – C. Peter Wagner and one of his spiritual disciples Pastor Ted Haggard, the newly elected leader of the National Association of Evangelicals.

We have posted this information below in PDF format. We appreciate those who have provided this information to us. We encourage all to continue to do research which is able to impact many for his True Kingdom.

More Specifics on the Word of Faith Movement

http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/word_faith_movement.htm

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Televangelists Partly To Blame For Economic Woes
December 6, 2008 by C. KingHisglory

September 24, 2008
Andrew Strom: The Depression Has Begun
From: Revival School

The DEPRESSION HAS BEGUN

Ten months ago in November 2007 while preaching in Wisconsin USA, I felt a strong unction from the Holy Spirit to speak about the future of the United States and the imminent Crash. As often happens under that kind of anointing, a real boldness came over me, and for the first time I found myself clearly putting a “date” on the coming financial Depression – something I had never done before – except in the vaguest of terms. I found myself predicting that tragically within six months America would be in Recession, and within 12 months the actual Depression would begin.
(-This audio is on our website – http://www.revivalschool.com )

So let us look at the evidence. It is now ten months later. Has the Depression begun? Sadly the answer has to be “Yes”. In the last
two weeks the two largest mortgage giants in the world (Fannie
Mae & Freddie Mac) failed, the largest Insurance Company on earth
crashed (all taken over by the US Government), Lehman Brothers
went bankrupt (almost taking the entire financial system with it),
Money Markets reeled, the two remaining giant Investment banks
sought protection as “holding banks” – which means the end of
Wall Street as we know it, etc, etc. Stocks are in turmoil, Oil leapt
on Monday by the most ever recorded, gold is volatile – and on it
goes. -The most shattering two weeks since the Great Depression.
Meanwhile the US Treasury is seeking 700 billion dollars in a
forlorn effort to put Humpty back together again – tragically too late.

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Scamming the Lamb’s Fam: Hireling Mike Murdock Gets Paid $100,000 For Twisting the Gospel on the Inspiration Network  See video here

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THERE ARE “JONAHS” on THE BOAT

Why is this storm hitting America at this time? There are certainly
many reasons – most of which we have discussed before. But let
me put something else before you that I believe God spoke to me
not long ago:- There are “Jonahs” on the boat – and they are
sending the nation down.

Who are these Jonahs? I believe they are the “prophets” of America
who will not preach the truth – who sleep comfortably in the bowels
of the nation while chaos reigns all around them. Too afraid to
deliver God’s word ‘Repent’, they run the other way – toward smooth
talk and pleasant sayings – “Peace peace” when there is no peace.
And the depths of this great crisis can be laid directly at their door.

Yes – that’s right. A big reason why the ship of America is sinking
is because her prophets ran away from their God-given task and
message at the crucial moment.

If only these prophets had preached the TRUTH when the nation
so desperately needed to hear it. If only they had begun – way
back in the 1980’s – to call the lukewarm church to repentance,
to rebuke the people for their love of money, their greed, their sin.
But no – the siren call of “popularity” was too strong. The call of
“grace, grace”, of mass acceptance, of big reputations and even
bigger offerings. And so they sold out. And now they sleep bliss-
fully in the midst of the ship, while the storm whips to fury all
around. How do you sleep, O Jonahs, who would not cry “Repent”?

And it is not just the “prophets” either. It is the televangelists too.
Caught up in a world of fakery, hype and money-grubbing unseen
in the church since the Dark Ages, these hucksters are spreading
their garbage to every Third World Revival nation around the globe.
Greed, manipulation and pride on a scale that only America could
generate. Where is your shame, O charlatans of greed?

And so God is forced to act. And just like Jonah, the storm will
not abate until the wayward preachers are thrown overboard. Until
America is rid of these international thieves and prostitutes, she
is finished. And she will not recover until they are gone.

You see, it is not just the leaders who are at fault here. It is also
the people, who “love to have it so”. And thus until the heart of the
people is scourged and purged they will accomodate the “Jonahs” –
even seeking more of their ear-tickling fables to comfort themselves
in this time of breaking.

Until the heart of American greed is shattereduntil her people
act of their own volition to throw these Jonahs overboard – this
storm will go on and on.
In fact, it is about to grow a whole lot worse.

Mark my words, America: Until you remove these Jonahs, your
nation cannot recover. They have held the whole world in thrall by
their apostasy. And God cannot have it so any more. How long will
it take you to realize? How long will it take you to act?

THROW THE JONAHS OVERBOARD and be done with them!!
Only then will this mother of all storms subside.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes?  LIVE RADIO JAN 6 10pm on BlogTalkRadio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

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-Comments welcome. -Send to- prophetic@revivalschool.com

PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL to OTHERS

God bless you all,

Andrew Strom.

YES! – You have permission to post these emails
to friends or other groups, blogs, boards, etc. Go for it!

To subscribe, please send a ’subscribe’ email to-
prophetic@revivalschool.com

http://hermansmith.wordpress.com/2008/12/06/televangelists-partly-to-blame-for-economic-woes/

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The Caste System

http://theautonomyofthebeliever.blogspot.com/

When I first became acquainted with the Word of Faith movement in the 1990s, the ministers were being called ‘Faith preachers.’ It was during the 10 years that we attended our Faith church that the ministers were being called ‘Prosperity preachers’ more and more frequently.

Our pastor fancied himself quite the prosperity preacher, too. He would tell stories from the pulpit of how well his prosperity messages were received at headquarters and his various speaking engagements. At this period of time in the late 90’s, church services might culminate with a preacher’s coat pockets literally being stuffed with money as the congregation spontaneously brought checks and cash to their feet en masse.

At the time I had no qualms about such behaviour. As a preacher’s kid myself, I had seen family members treated poorly and taken advantage of. I knew some preachers who had sacrificed a lot and needed to have their coat pockets stuffed with money (still do).

In hindsight, it’s hard to imagine that putting so much emphasis on money could ever have a positive outcome. It’s almost funny the logic at work in our church: you have faith, you exercise your faith through words…confess what you want and you’ll have it. What you do? Confess and believe yourself into a better financial position!

Then we make another assumption, that the people in our church who have more money got it by applying their faith (not by hard work, talent and life circumstances all possibly combined). So who are the most spiritual people in church? People who have money. And as your ministry grows, who becomes your high-value segment of the congregation? People with money.

Now no one in our church believed that money was a sign of spirituality. The pastor even decried such thinking from the pulpit. But in practice there was a caste system in place that became more obvious as our church grew out of it’s old facilities into a shiny new building and campus. It was also obvious in the behavior of some (though not all) of the more exalted members of the congregation. At the top of the pyramid was the pastor and his family, then the people with money. The third group was those who worked the volunteer positions. At the bottom were the people who were poor or disadvantaged. Sounds mixed up? It is. If you were on the lower levels of the caste system, you were bound to feel inferior.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes? 

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For years we could not believe that the caste system we saw in action was real. After all, we were hearing exciting things about faith, about the power of God, about the place God had for all of us at this church. Our pastor seemed to possess wisdom beyond his years. We thought maybe we are the ones who didn’t get it. So we ignored a lot of things and carried the water for our church in order to be spiritually mature.

Eventually the love of money was one of the 2 things that was our old church’s undoing (more on that later). What kind of Christian place of worship would encourage such thinking? I stopped inviting people to our church because of the treatment they would would likely receive. What kind of Christian leadership would exploit such a system for their own gain? My experience has been that the prosperity message breeds an attitude of inequality amongst congregants that only benefits those who promote this message.

http://theautonomyofthebeliever.blogspot.com/2009/01/caste-system.html

 

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes? http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200901/1231101182.html

Headline: The How2BecomeAChristian.Info RADIO SHOW with Damon Whitsell AND a very special Guest: YES affirmation to Title Questions. Jan.6 10pm Central http://blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian.

economic

United States of America (Press Release) January 4, 2009 — As one witchcraft site says,,, “The differences between the Christian and witchcraft viewpoint is the difference between being citizens of a society which takes an active role to shape and mold the structure of society or subjects of a society which has the connotation of subordination to the larger group for the benefit of all.

A similar term with very different meanings between Christian and pagan understandings of the word is “self-control”. To those practicing witchcraft they believe that they are the one who has full control over the actions. They do not surrender to another except under very brief, special and voluntary circumstances. Self-control means taking charge, making all decisions relating to oneself, doing anything so long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.

The witch views control as the act of intentionally and positively directing the will toward the achievement of positive goals. The underlying assumption with the witch’s view of self control is that man is inherently valuable, and can achieve good and beneficial ends through the use of will power.” http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/christianity.html

The same Witchcraft website says,,,, “Inanimate nature also obeyed the words of witchcraft and even the creation of the world itself was through a spoken word. The words could tear the earth apart and make water pile up in a heap and even the sun could be stopped in its course by a word uttered in witchcraft.”

Featuring Special Guest, Kenneth Hagin Student, Rhema Bible Training Center Graduate AND Ex-Word of Faith Preacher, John Edwards from faithpreacher.blogspot.com

Subtopics: 1. COULD IT BE THAT?, Americans and the World are now paying the consequences of a false “prosperity gospel“, through economic crises and outrageous personal debt? What will be the end result? 2. Honest, sincere people read and seek the truth. Scared people hide from truth?

This Press release can also be distributed with this URL link: http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com/2009/01/05/special-topic-press-and-listener-release-the-how2becomea-christianinfo-radio-show-with-damon-whitsell-and-a-very-special-guest-topics-1-have-american-christians-accepted-a-false-gospel-that-is-r/

In PART ONE of the series, John and Damon will examine the biblical warnings to beware of false teachers/prophets and BE NOT deceived, because one day God will send a delusion into the world, upon those who love not His truth. They will be delving into the History and Occultic/New Age/Luciferian roots of the Word of Faith Movement. And will be discussing Cult Psychology (why people fall for cults and cultic teachings, including mind control techniques). Do your ears itch?
John Edwards and Damon Whitsell will return on air Tuesday January 13 the following week to cover the assertion made in the Title that the prosperity gospel is to partly to blame for our economic crisis. MORE INFO @ http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com/ AND http://how2becomeachristian.info/

http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200901/1231101182.html

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Special Topic Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Headline: The How2BecomeAChristian.Info Radio show with Damon Whitsell AND a very special Guest: Topics; 1. Have American Christians accepted a false gospel (that is really occultic witchcraft) because they have itching ears for what they want to hear and not a love for God’s Truth? Are some “Christians” practicing Witches, Unaware? 2. Have ”Word of Faith Preachers” and “Word of Faith Believers” contributed to American National Debt and financial woes?

Subtopics: 1. COULD IT BE THAT?, Americans and the World are now paying the consequences of a false “prosperity gospel“, through economic crises and outrageous personal debt? What will be the end result? 2. Honest, sincere people read and seek the truth. Scared people hide from truth?

Biblical Truth and Your Thoughts Aired on the Social Radio Network BlogTalkRadio

Featuring Special Guest, Kenneth Hagin Student, Rhema Bible Training Center Graduate AND Ex-Word of Faith Preacher, John Edwards from faithpreacher.blogspot.com

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This segment episode of The How2BecomeAChristian.Info Radio show with Damon Whitsell AND a very special Guest: “Have American Christians accepted a false gospel (that is really occultic witchcraft) because they have itching ears for what they want to hear and not a love for God’s Truth?”,, will air on January 6, 2009 at 10 p.m. Central Time. It will be informative, exciting, socially and personally challenging to Christians and non Christians alike..

The show will feature both Show Host Damon Whitsell and Special Guest Ex-Word of Faith Preacher; John Edwards, YES AFFIRMATION,, to the title and subtitle questions.

They will offer an examination of what the Bible and Jesus have to say about false teachers and guarding against deception in the last days. A historical and theological critique of the WoF movement that has been all the rage in “big Christianity” and most Charismatic Circles. They will compare the “Word of Faith” teaching that faith and words are a “creative force“, with the exact same occult teaching that has always been the corner stone of witchcraft and the occult.

As one witchcraft site says,,, “The differences between the Christian and witchcraft viewpoint is the difference between being citizens of a society which takes an active role to shape and mold the structure of society or subjects of a society which has the connotation of subordination to the larger group for the benefit of all.

A similar term with very different meanings between Christian and pagan understandings of the word is “self-control”. To those practicing witchcraft they believe that they are the one who has full control over the actions. They do not surrender to another except under very brief, special and voluntary circumstances. Self-control means taking charge, making all decisions relating to oneself, doing anything so long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.

The witch views control as the act of intentionally and positively directing the will toward the achievement of positive goals. The underlying assumption with the witch’s view of self control is that man is inherently valuable, and can achieve good and beneficial ends through the use of will power.” http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/christianity.html

The same Witchcraft website says,,,, “Inanimate nature also obeyed the words of witchcraft and even the creation of the world itself was through a spoken word. The words could tear the earth apart and make water pile up in a heap and even the sun could be stopped in its course by a word uttered in witchcraft.”
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In PART ONE of the series, John and Damon will examine the biblical warnings to beware of false teachers/prophets and BE NOT deceived, because one day God will send a delusion into the world, upon those who love not His truth. They will be delving into the History and Occultic/New Age/Luciferian roots of the Word of Faith Movement. And will be discussing Cult Psychology (why people fall for cults and cultic teachings, including mind control techniques). Do your ears itch?

John Edwards and Damon Whitsell will return on air Tuesaday January 13 at 10pm Central Time (same bat time, and channel) the following week to cover the assertion made in the Title and Subtitle, that our current economic crises can be proven to be, at least indirectly, related to the Word of Faith Movement and it’s false “Prosperity Gospel” of greed and self centeredness. And the Word of Faith movements veritable catch 22/Double bind of, “Prove your faith by breaking out your credit card and check book, for God (or at least the “Man of God’ on T.V.)“. You will get 100 or 1000 times a return on your money (that you send to them) GO AHEAD!!! You deserve it!!! (Rev. 3: 13 & 19)

Read this for your own good. The Evil of Usury ß link The TV Word of Faith Ministers are not the only ones USING YOU and Us.

“Who goeth a borrowing goeth a sorrowing” — Benjamin Franklin.

If your not aware that the OCCULT is real and has an agenda, maybe you should check out the other H2bac.Info (with a numeral 2) ministry sites. http://occultworldexposure.wordpress.com/  AND http://www.freewebs.com/occultworldexposuregat/  Also look for a corresponding Radio Show by Damon Whitsell to start in February or March on BlogTalkRadio. Visit DeceptionInTheChurch.com

In PART TWO of the series, John and Damon will also play and critique audio clips from prominent Word of Faith Teachers false, heretical, aberrant and damnable teachings. And Damon has some tough Questions for John as he will play devils advocate with John to wrap up the second show. Both Damon and John have been strongly affected by the Word of Faith movement and have much to say on the subject.

Damon’s take on the Word of Faith Movement is: “Because my uncle is a Mormon bishop, I have studied the occult extensively. All secret occult groups have one thing in common, freemasonry as a recruiting ground. AND as several prominent freemason writers have claimed, the Cabbala is the source of freemasonry and all of the ancient mystery religions.

It just blows me away, and testifies to the veracity of the bible and its end time apostasy claims, in that so many today would agree with Satan (believe lies taught by demons) in saying Genesis 3:22 (And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever) is their favorite bible verses.

I know not many say it is their favorite verse, but the Word of Faith movement (WoF) stuff falls apart without it, Gen3:22 is what it is built on.Gen3:22 is known as the occult secret doctrine. BUT in occult circles, this so called occult truth, is only for the adept, initiated and illuminated. Freemasonry and other occult traditions practice secrets within secrets and secret groups within secret groups. These groups are split between the adept and the un-adept. SO your average WoF believer is more adept to occult teachings than most freemasons and members of other occult groups.

The WoFM transformed the Latter Rain Movement into the Manifest Sons of God Movement. AND it saddens me that the biggest outlet for occultic teachings, is now the Christian Church. I see it in the bible and I see it in occult writings. Almost every big name writer in the occult has written about how they intend on invading the Christian church and change it from inside out. Christianity will be the end time one world religion. Not the faith once delivered though. They say Christianity is to be invaded and turned into the religion of apotheosis (men become gods) or Luciferianism. AND it has happened,,,, and the ground work for the abomination of desolation is set. People that call themselves Christians (occultist have always claimed to be the true Christians because they claim to be little gods or little Christ) will soon chose to openly worship Lucifer over God,, saying as occultist do,,,,, ‘the great rebel Lucifer blazed the path to Godhood for us all‘, and they will worship him for it. The WoF crowd will be the easiest to deceive. Because they already are! Maybe more than the Mormons and more obvious occult groups.”
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Callers are welcome to join the conversation after the first hour of the show by calling (347) 215-6795. If caller demand warrants it, more shows on the subject will be scheduled. The live, Internet talk-radio show will stream from the host page and there is an interactive chat room available @ http://blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

An archive will be available at the same link immediately following the show or listeners can subscribe to the archives via the RSS feed located on the same host page.

Read and learn more about cults and cultic movements @ http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com  AND http://how2becomeachristian.info

ATTENTION: A pre-recorded interview between Damon and John is available for listening and downloading at http://www.soundclick.com/how2becomeachristian

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The How2BecomeAChristian.Info Radio show with Damon Whitsell and it’s sister sites are a How2BecomeAChristian.Info (with a numeral 2) Ministry.

How2BecomeAChristian.Info (with a numeral 2) Ministries are websites primarily devoted to answering the question “How to become a Christian?” The site focuses on Christian essentials but also covers all non essential doctrines and issues concerning Christianity and religion in general. Including all non/Christian religions, aberrant Christian cults, the Occult, the New Age Movement and much more. The ministry serves as an apologetic information portal, equipping you with the information you need to defend God’s word and the historical./orthodox Christian faith; while reaching out to those who need to be reached. The sites feature the research and writing of other bible students. BUT is the main source for publishing (Ministry Manager) Damon Whitsell’s personal bible studies and research.

The show is live every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. Central Time. The show is hosted on BlogTalkRadio (BTR). !!!

*****Don’t forget to request for a SHOW REMINDER email at the BTR profile page, reminding you to listen in the day the show will air!*****
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About BlogTalkRadio

BlogTalkRadio is a free, web-based platform which allows any user with a phone and a computer to host a live, interactive Internet broadcast. Hosts call into the service by phone, managing callers on the web-based host dashboard. Shows stream live directly from the host’s BlogTalkRadio web page with archives available for all past shows. BlogTalkRadio has been featured on ABC News, The Washington Post, Portfolio, Talkers Magazine, and TheStreet.com. The citizen broadcasting network can be found at http://www.blogtalkradio.com.

Press Contact ONLY
Damon Whitsell
Damonw_25@yahoo.com

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“Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed” Catch Cry

One of the first lines of defense for a preacher or leader under fire from the congregation is David’s famous statement, “Touch not the Lord’s anointed.”

This is used to prove that the preacher or leader, assumed to be ‘the Lord’s anointed”, is beyond criticism, rebuke, or human control. Fearful saints are often cowered into silence and subjection even when they are 100% convinced the pastor is wrong.

Can David’s statement be legitimately used in this manner by pastors today?

Well, not legitimately and scripturally of course. But nevertheless, it is most certainly used. I for one can attest to that. And if there are any honest people around, they too can attest to it as well.

I remember a few years back that there was an issue that I had with a “pastor” named Greg Nichols. I disagreed with him on a judgment matter that he arrived at in regards to myself and one other person. I wrote him a letter, indicating that he was wrong in his assessment and judgment.

Lo and behold, a few days later, I receive a phone call from Greg Nichols ordering me to come to the “elders meeting” the following Saturday. I asked him for what purpose. All he said was, “the letter!”

Here I am now, all nervous, arriving the following Saturday evening at the “elders meeting”. Present were Greg Nichols, and two other “pastor/elders” named Frank Barker, and Don Dickson. The “chief elder,” Al Martin, was out of town. Frank Barker did most of the talking. He started off lambasting me for writing this letter to Greg Nichols and telling me, “Don’t you know that this is the Lord’s anointed!”

On and on he went about “touching not the Lord’s anointed”.

Absolutely nothing of the letter was addressed. The only issue of concern at this meeting was to confront me with my “sin” and my urgent need to “repent of my sin of touching the Lord’s anointed.” Needless to say, in my immaturity and nervousness, I acknowledged my “sin” and asked for Greg Nichol’s forgiveness and after that, I was dismissed.

When I look back now on that incident, I sometimes scratch my head and say, “how could I have been so foolish and immature to let this happen.”

But in the leaderships’ mind, it all went according to plan. But how could I have let this happen? The reason is that I was doing, like many others have done, and many continue to do: checking my brains in at the door Sunday after Sunday. I just believed whatever was spoken from the pulpit, not even checking it out for myself.

I, just like many others, had nothing of a Berean spirit.

When you have had a false theological concept drilled into your head for many years it takes a long time to go back through the scriptures and realize where you have erred. Thank God that he has opened my eyes to see and gave me the feet to flee from that place and to flee from all of their pompous and demented ideas of what they think Christ’s church is.

Now you know, it’s funny on the one hand, and amazing on the other, that whenever I happen to hear about these men through the grapevine or happen to hear a “sermon” on the radio or internet, they sound so immature and childish. They contradict themselves whenever they open their mouths.

It is truly sad that the only way they can make a living is by threatening people with their twisted and insane ideas of God and how His “church” ought to function.

What a despicable perversion of God’s truth!

Do these men ever truly listen to what they say? More importantly, do the people truly ever listen to what is being said?

But does the Bible really forbid church members from “touching the Lord’s anointed?” Can a member criticize the church leader if the leader is teaching something false? Can they disagree with him on an area of judgment? Elders would have us believe that church members cannot “touch” them with questions or criticism because they are “the Lord’s Anointed”. Only God Himself is allowed to correct an elder/pastor.

So is this scriptural? Is the whole “don’t touch the Lord’s anointed” catch cry being used out of context or can we find New Testament examples of ‘lesser’ Christians questioning ‘greater’ Christians? What do the Scriptures say?

The phrase “Don’t Touch the Lord’s anointed” comes from 1 Samuel chapter 24 and 26 where David refuses to kill Saul. Many present-day “elders” have taken this to mean that no one can question them, but they are taking the text out of context. The verse refers to killing Saul, not questioning him! In fact, immediately afterwards, David goes on to publicly question Saul’s motives in 1 Samuel 24:8-15 and 26:18-20. This is the truth of the text in 1st Samuel; not what somebody named Frank Barker and his pal’s say of the text!

Not only that, but in the NT, Paul said he was the least of all the apostles in 1 Corinthians 15:9 “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

Yet in Galatians 2:11 Paul the lesser publicly corrects Peter the greater. “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.”

This one example from Scripture of the lesser correcting the greater is enough to nullify the elder’s unbiblical nonsense.

Galatians 6:1a says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” Notice it does not read “you who are MORE spiritual” or “you who are GREATER”. Also consider Acts 17:11, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

GOD says it is MORE NOBLE for us to verify a leader’s words. I bet Paul would not have minded questions at all.

Also, the NT Scriptures tell us that every Christian is the “anointed of the Lord”.

(1 John 2:20,27) and not just the elder/preacher. Every Christian is both a king and priest, and as such has been anointed with the Holy Spirit to equip them for their ministry.

Actually, the clear counterpart to David’s words are found in Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians. He warns preachers and teachers not to destroy God’s anointed, the church.

THE PREACHER THAT TROUBLES OR CONFUSES GOD’S SHEEP IS “TOUCHING THE LORD’S ANOINTED,” not the other way around.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God

dwells in you? If any man defiles the temple of God, him shall God

destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1 Corth. 3:16,17

Why have elders/pastors invented this interpretation of “touch not the Lord’s anointed?” Could it be that they are unable to answer questions and respond to disagreements, and so as a defense, have outlawed the very act of questioning itself!

Elders should always be open to questions. If a leader’s teaching does not match up with Scripture, then surely they would want to know, since nothing should scare a leader more than teaching error. The ability for the church member to ask questions, and publicly criticize if need be, is a healthy mechanism to protect the Body of Christ from error.

I wonder how many elders/pastors have used David’s words to maintain their own authority even at the expense of the real truth.

It is absurd the lengths to which supposed “learned” men are willing to go to make God’s Word fit into their false, blasphemous doctrines. Does anyone really imagine that God sees these men and these churches as his representative on earth?

http://www.wickedshepherds.com/TouchNotTheLordsAnointed.html

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Spiritual Abuse Survey: Is YOUR church a safe place?

Take the survey from wickedshepherds.com and see!

cauction-when-awesome

Here is a questionnaire to determine just how healthy your church really is. To find out how well it ranks, answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:

•Does your church tightly control the flow of information within its ranks?

•Does the head of your church, along with the other “leaders”, use public shaming as a method to gain the compliance of followers?

•Does the head of your church and his “fellow elders” appear to be intolerant or consider it evil persecution when criticized or questioned?

•Are you discouraged to associate with former members, being warned that they are “evil” or “defiling”; a “danger to your spiritual welfare”?

•Is leaving your church to join another church that “is not approved by the elders” equal to leaving God?

•Do you fear being rebuked, shunned, or ignored for expressing a different opinion?

•At church, is there a sense of control, rather than support?

•Is there a relentless obsession of reminding the sheep of “who’s in authority”?

•Are you told not to ask questions as to why others have left? Are you told to accept the statements that the “elders” give you?

•Are books, tapes and CD’s, speakers, music, etc., carefully controlled to keep only the belief structure of your church before your mind?

•Is there is a relentless campaign to keep you around the activities of your church, expecting you to be at all the stated meetings, except if providentially hindered? And if you are absent, is your spirituality and dedication sometimes questioned?

•Is the concept ever so subtly present that, “when you please the “pastor”, God is pleased and when your “pastor” is not pleased with you, God is not pleased with you?

•Is there present, the breaking of even the closest family ties, to “guard” the flock?

•Is there the constant using of guilt and shame as tools of control?

•Is there present at your church the encouragement of the members to spy and report on each other, lest sin be found in the midst?

•Is there present at your church the dominant climate of fear in the group – fear of failing to keep one of the rules, and fear of being held up to public humiliation and rejection?

•At church, are the normal lines between what is private and what is public knowledge broken, and members confess the most personal, and the most minor sins, as the conscience is being surrendered to the “leadership”?

•Are many (if not all) of the results from voting at “congregational business meetings” announced as….. “it is unanimous!”?

•Is questioning condemned as “whispering, back- biting, vicious slander, gossip, nit picking, signs of a proud rebellious spirit, being disaffected and divisive?

•Are those who dissent publicly punished? Are their reputations murdered by veiled, or not so veiled “revelations” of “sins”; past and present, as confidentiality is broken for the benefit of the leaders?

•Is there a misplaced loyalty from Jesus and God onto the leadership, which is idolatry?

•Is there harsh preaching and full of condemnation for your failures and are you deliberately being kept wounded and off balance by the haranguing and condemnation from the pulpit?

•Is “Persevere or be damned” and “listen to YOUR elders; obey YOUR elders”; “submit to YOUR elders” preached over and over again?

•Is paranoia the “very air you breathe”? Paranoia of falling from grace; thinking for yourselves; breaking the many unspoken rules as well as the clearly spelled out expectations of the leader?

•Are you becoming paranoid – carefully watching your every word and even gesture, lest someone report your faults?

•Does a code of silence reign at your church? Is no one to divulge the business of the church, or the faults of the leadership?

•Do the spiritual leaders at your church seem to give you the impression that either covertly or overtly, they have the right to tell you how you should manage your own family; presuming that they know your own family better than you know yourself?

RESULTS

If you answered “no” to all of the above questions, your church is relatively healthy. If you answered “yes” to a quarter or more, your church is showing signs of being unhealthy. If you answered “yes” to half or more, your church is very, very unhealthy. If you answered “yes” to three-quarters or more, your church is an authoritarian cult. 

http://endtimesdeception.com/?p=681

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About KennethCopelandBlog.com

The premise behind KennethCopelandBlog.com is exactly what the byline says at the top of every page: My family and I, and those who work with us in ministry, are calling on the man (Kenneth Copeland), his family, and ministry, to simply repent. As you proceed through this blog’s articles and videos—which begins on the Table of Contents page—you will readily see the redemption-focused nature of our efforts.

Further, since we have actually known and worked with Kenneth Copeland personally, our insights into his ministry and practices makes this public rebuke far different that those of others on the Internet.

To learn more about this website’s primary author beyond that which is already revealed within the text and videos of this blog, review my personal ministry blog at RichVermillion.com.

Finally: No contact information is given within this blog. This is because we do not particularly want to be contacted regarding Kenneth Copeland or the issues we are bringing public. We would prefer to simply state our case (here and/or in the media) and then move on with other forms of productive ministry, rather than fielding ongoing questions from people merely curious about the Copelands or their behaviors. Thank you for understanding.

The “Convenient Doctrines” of Preachers in Sin

To continue our foundational teachings from the previous article post, let us now move beyond The Biblical Basis for This Public Rebuke and into a further study of some of the “Convenient Doctrines” often used by errant ministers to camouflage their sins and avoid public accountability.

In the following video teaching, I will address several commonly distorted biblical teachings:

Distorted “love,” “offense,” and “forgiveness” doctrines
Semi-heretical “touch not my anointed” teaching
Unbalanced “anti-strife” messages, actually taught with self-serving agendas

These distorted applications of Scripture are VERY common “convenient doctrines” among corrupt ministers within the Charasmatic-church in general—including within the Word of Faith movement. (They are also are ones typically relied upon by the Copelands in particular.)

So to pick up from slightly before where the last article’s video left off, let us now continue in our review of “convenient doctrines” propagated by preachers in sin. I will then continue from there in the text below with an explosé of another Bible topic often distorted by corrupt preachers:

Judge Not?

Another commonly-twisted teaching—partially-based on passages taken out of their biblical context—is that of “judge not.” In fact, Christians often can be found saying, “Who am I to judge? That’s God’s job alone.” Well, is that true? Not hardly, as we will now see…

Jesus told us:

Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearances); but judge fairly and righteously. (John 7:24, AMP, emphasis added)

Notice: Jesus told us TO JUDGE others… and then simply instructed us to not do so superficially (i.e. without reasonable investigation). Further, Jesus told us to judge the nature of a tree, by first judging the quality of its fruit:

Either make the tree sound (healthy and good), and its fruit sound (healthy and good), or make the tree rotten (diseased and bad), and its fruit rotten (diseased and bad); for the tree is known and recognized and judged by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33, AMP, emphasis added. See also Luke 6:41-49.)

I have heard people say, “Well, the Bible tells me not to judge others…but it DOES tell me to be a fruit inspector!” While I am pleased such people are pointed in the right general direction, they actually need to look up the dictionary definition of “to judge” because you judge fruit when you inspect them (as the passage above clearly articulates). Jesus told us we determine the nature of the tree (and thus, judge the tree) by first examining their fruit. Clearly, Jesus expects us to judge others. Further Paul wrote:

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner-not even to eat with such a person.

For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” (1 Corinthians 5:11-14, NKJV)

Notice, Paul clearly told believers to judge others who claim to be Christians by their “fruit” and to avoid those who are immoral. In fact, how can we “put away” such people from our company if we do not first determine (i.e. judge) that they are factually immoral, and take action accordingly?

Paul goes on to tell us in the passage above that it is ONLY the unbelievers who are alone God’s responsibility to judge. We are SUPPOSED to judge those within the Church who display poor character and wicked behavior. I find it remarkable that Christians often display a pharisaical/judgmental attitude toward those who have never accepted Jesus as their Savior, but then refuse to properly judge and avoid people within the Church who are similarly depraved. My brothers and sisters, this is backwards!

Again, Paul wrote, “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves the evil person.’” We are not only supposed to judge those within the Church who claim to be Christians and yet demonstrate immoral character…we are actually supposed to avoid associating with such people. Paul elaborated elsewhere concerning this practice:

Now we charge you, brethren, in the name and on the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) that you withdraw and keep away from every brother (fellow believer) who is slack in the performance of duty and is disorderly, living as a shirker and not walking in accord with the traditions and instructions that you have received from us….

And as for you, brethren, do not become weary or lose heart in doing right [but continue in well-doing without weakening]. But if anyone [in the church] refuses to obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but simply admonish and warn him as [being still] a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13-15, AMP)

We are not to “treat them as enemies” (i.e. with contempt and hostility), but to “admonish them as a brother” (i.e. exhort them towards repentance). Until he or she repents, however, they are to be isolated by the brethren “that they might be ashamed.” In other words:

There needs to be consequences for their immoral behavior,
that they may be ashamed for that behavior,
that they may come to a place of godly sorrow,
which then leads them to repentance (see 2 Corinthians 7:8-12, which I also explained in the previous post’s video).

By failing to apply such biblical censure and rebuke, the Body of Christ has actually aided and abetted the sins of others, rather than helping them to repent and become free:

…neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure. (1 Timothy 5:22b, KJV)

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. [or a better translation that is more accurate to the context would read, It is shameful to speak in secret about those things which are done by them.] But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:11-17, NKJV, emphasis added, with my own notes also in brackets)

Of Course, Hypocritical Judgement is Condemned

The Bible certainly does condemn a specific type of judgment, namely, that which is done in hypocrisy. In fact, that is what Jesus was specifically addressing when He made the statement, “Judge not!”:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5, NKJV, emphasis added)

Notice what Jesus said: Get the plank out of your own eye FIRST, then you can see CLEARLY to remove the speck from your bothers. In other words, judge yourself before you judge others, lest you find yourself acting in hypocrisy. We are actually admonished by Jesus to help our brothers be free from their own “specks”, so long as we do not ignore our own “planks” in the process. Paul elaborated further on this principle in Romans chapter 2:

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things… And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: … For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:1, 3-6, 11, NKJV)

It is ONLY judgment formed in hypocrisy that the Bible condemns, and Paul wrote elsewhere that we are to judge ourselves first and foremost, if we want to avoid the judgement that our Father may bring if we fail to repent in time:

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:31-32, NKJV)

So my brothers and sisters, although the Copelands (or people on their behalves) would perhaps attempt to use the so-called “judge not” doctrines to cover for their sins, the fact remains that we are certainly to judge our brothers and sisters according to their actions (i.e. fruit) and hold them accountable when necessary. However, we need to judge ourselves to be sure we are not practicing the same sin and/or error FIRST, and then help them get free through the public censure and rebuke called for by Scripture.

For the Record

Moreover, I can with all clear conscience say that I have certainly judged myself beforehand concerning these sins and errors that I am exposing regarding the Copelands, because I realize that the same “measuring stick” I use regarding them will be applied to me in return (by them or by others) as Jesus told us in Matthew 7:1 above. Like the apostle Paul, I can claim with a pure conscience:

“Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” and “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 23:1 & 24:16, KJV)

I do not claim perfection (which nobody reading this article can either, of course). That is not Paul’s point above at all in the above passage, and neither is it mine. I (like Paul) am simply saying that I have endeavored to live a life pleasing to God, and in which—to the best of my ability—I have treated others with the same respect that I would like to received from them also.

Further, since I am in fact openly exposing the sins of the Copelands and publicly exposing their error (and thus, also clearing my name from association with them and their sin), I can also honestly proclaim as Paul did:

“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27, NKJV).

Again, I do NOT claim perfection, in either word or deed. I am still a “work in process” on the Lord’s “potter’s wheel” as all believers surely are. However, I have applied the biblical precept and precedent to first judge myself to ensure that I have a pure heart in these particular matters (and my conscience is certainly clear in these regards). And now I am applying the the Bible’s mandate to publicly “judge” and hold accountable Kenneth Copeland, his family, and his ministry (especially its leaders) to that they may repent.

Again, my stated and clear goal is their repentance—and the protection of the Body of Christ from their errant influence.

So with pure intention, and with a clear conscience, I have within both this article and the previous one, laid down the biblical foundations for this public rebuke—and exposed the “conveinient doctrines” used by the Copelands (and others) to cover their sins and error.

Now it is time to discuss how the media fits into God’s plan regarding the Copeland family’s redemption…

•Click here to return to the Table of Contents page•

http://kennethcopelandblog.com/2008/10/22/the-%e2%80%9cconvenient-doctrines%e2%80%9d-of-preachers-in-sin/

The Biblical Basis for This Public Rebuke 

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Title: CHARISMATIC DELUSION: KENNETH HAGIN AND THE “SPIRIT OF THE SERPENT” — w/Video

Subtitle: Hagin is shown as not being able to discern between the ‘paranormal’ and the ‘supernatural’, between that which is from Satan and that which is from God. The entire ‘Word of Faith’ movement fails to properly discern the difference; thus, as the world moves closer to the ultimate deception of the Antichrist, this movement has become more deluded than ever and more of a participant in Satan’s ‘paranormal’ activity, all the while thinking they are serving Jesus. From Paw Creek Ministries, video tape, Pastor Joe Chambers narrating.

Kenneth Hagin began to wander off the Biblical “Narrow Path” early in his ministry — 1938 to be exact! In December, Hagin tells of a young girl about 16 years of age that went into a trance and remained over eight hours in a frozen position. The pastor of the church where Hagin was preaching this revival weighted over 200 pounds and the two of them tried to pick this young lady up; they wanted to move her near the single stove heating the building. Hagin said that this poor girl was “glued to the floor ” so that these two strong men could not budge her. He called this manifestation the Power of God, but the truth is that this incident was absolutely the result of the “paranormal” activities of demons.

Paranormal Versus Supernatural

To understand what appears to be the root, the foundation of Kenneth Hagin’s departure from Biblical truth. We must start with these two concepts: paranormal and supernatural. The entire “Word of Faith” movement, as it is called, fails to discern the difference, and from this failure, their doctrines have systematically moved in a downward spiral, away from the true God of the Bible and toward the Abyss of the Pit. The “spirit of the serpent” has gradually manipulated this crowd of otherwise sincere individuals until now the serpent can manifest himself in their midst while they appear oblivious to his presence; but, worse, the power of the serpent is manifesting himself in their midst, while they believe they are following and serving Jesus Christ! This great deception is the deception of Antichrist and it is running rampant in these type of churches.

Paranormal activity operates in an in-between world of the natural and the supernatural. This activity is above the natural world but below God’s supernatural dimension. The Bible has many examples of Satan and his fallen helpers appearing and performing their activities. The word paranormal means, “Not within the range of normal experience or scientifically explainable phenomena.” {Tormont Webster’s Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary].

Satan can appear before God to push his cause and defend his legal standing (Job 2:3-7) that Adam and Eve surrendered to him in their act of disobedience. Satan’s temptation of Jesus was loaded with paranormal activity. No natural powers could have accomplished such feats as taking Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple, or showing Him all the nations of the world (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan and his ministers can transform themselves as angels of light and ministers of righteousness for the express purpose of deceiving the undiscerning!

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness…” (2 Cor 11:13-15)

When you understand the difference between the paranormal and the supernatural, you can very easily discern between a false prophet and a man of God. Jesus healed a woman who had been bound with paranormal powers for eighteen long years. She was bowed over into a state of crippled existence by severe demonic power.

“And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity … ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? ” (Luke 13:10-12)

Did you understand who had held this woman in physical bondage for 18 years? Satan had demonically forced this woman into this physical infirmity through the outworking of his paranormal power. The early church understood the principles of Satan’s power opposite the powers of God. If Satan is supernatural, then the contest between he and God would be on an equal footing, which is the belief of occultists throughout the world even today. Thankfully, this has never been the case, and Holy Scripture is filled with Biblical certainty, that God is infinitely greater and more powerful than Satan.

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18)

The supernatural power of God is never manifested to titillate the flesh or to win favor for God’s ministers. One has only to study the life of Jesus and the history of the New Testament church to confirm the absolute absence of paranormal activity by the Holy Spirit! You will never see in the Bible a young girl “glued to the floor” so tightly no two men could budge her. You will also never see people slithering to the floor as serpents, apparently losing total control of their bodies, nor will you see the minister “hissing” like a snake and the audience “hissing” back! Not one time does the Bible record the early Church as displaying such strange happenings that would satisfy the appetite of curiosity seekers. In fact, Jesus said:

“And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. 30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.” (Luke 11:29-30)

Supernatural powers are exactly what the word suggests. While the word, supernatural, does not appear in the Bible, the closest equivalent may to be “eternal”. God takes “eternal” actions and his existence in the eternal dimension definitely qualify as supernatural. Satan, by his very nature, cannot operate in the eternal realm, and so his actions are termed paranormal. ALL God’s acts are eternal acts. To even imagine God doing things of a paranormal nature is to completely miss His holy nature and His eternal characteristics.

Colossians 1:19 may also contain all the elements of “supernatural”. Let us review this Scripture:

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” [ Col 1:19-20]

The key word in this passage is “fulness”, which in the Greek is “pleroma”, (Strong’s # 4138). This Greek word means to completely fill up, to fill. For example, “fulness of time” denotes the completion of a particular period of time before ordained and appointed”; this term also “denotes a fullness of the Godhead in Christ, as it was constituted, God was in His fullness …” [“Key Word Hebrew-Greek Study Bible, p. 1749].

This word, “pleroma” denotes a dimension of being that only God can fulfill. Thus, this may come as close to “supernatural” as any other word in the Bible. God clearly operates in the “supernatural”, while Satan operates in the lower dimension, “paranormal”.

We see events in the Bible where God did eternal things that men interpreted them to be paranormal matters. The Bible states that God made Ezekiel dumb (Ezekiel 3:26); that an angel made Zechariah dumb when he believed not the angel’s message (Luke 1:20); and that He made Saul of Tarsus blind (Acts 9:8, 18). When we try to interpret these acts of God’s judgment or His method of dealing with an individual into a pattern for New Testament Church life, we create an absolute theological mess. This kind of Biblical interpretation is at the heart of the Kenneth Hagin doctrines. The very idea of using one’s faith to acquire earthly riches is nothing more, nor less, than paranormal manipulation. The following verse describes Kenneth Hagin and all his ilk, as they not only use their dangerous type of “faith” to gain riches, they use the spirit of the serpent to deceive their followers.

“… in their covetousness (lust, greed) they will exploit you with false (cunning) arguments. From of old the sentence of condemnation for them has not been idle; their destruction (eternal misery) has not been asleep.” [2 Peter 2:3; Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary]

Kenneth Hagin And His Doctrines

It appears that Mr. Hagin’s doctrines were developed in his early years and were acquired from a man named E.W. Kenyon. Much of Mr. Hagin’s writing and radio broadcasts are labeled by some excellent scholars as plagiarized materials from Kenyon’s writings. Page after page of the actual writings and materials from Hagin are exact, word for word, from E.W. Kenyon. Mr. Hagin claims God gave these doctrines to him, and they just “happen” to be exactly like Kenyon’s writings. If Mr. Hagin received doctrines from God, that would place him on a level of the men through whom God wrote the Holy Scriptures.

Kenneth Hagin: “Physical Death Wouldn’t Remove Your Sins”

This statement should tell you all you need to know about the error of Kenneth Hagin. On the surface, you might ask why Hagin would even dare to say such a thing! The answer is in his paranormal approach to Christianity. If men are going to have this kind of power in their tongue or words, they have just elevate themselves to be on a level with Jesus Christ. That is impossible, unless you bring Jesus down to a different, a lower, theological position. Kenneth Copeland , one of Hagin’s stars, offers an excellent example of bringing Jesus down to a lower level; he actually states that if the physical death of Jesus could have saved, then any prophet, including himself could have saved the human race. Notice that Copeland just elevated himself to the level of “religious prophet”, at the same time he lowered Jesus.

Remember one of the End Times prophecies concerning Antichrist and his minions? Listen:

“Then he will blaspheme the High God …” [Daniel 7:25; Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary]

Here are Kenneth Hagin’s actual words: “He (Jesus) tasted spiritual death for every man. And His spirit and inner man went to hell in my place. Can’t you see that? PHYSICAL DEATH WOULDN’T REMOVE YOUR SINS. He’s tasted death for every man, lie’s talking about tasting spiritual death.” – KENNETH HAGIN (Christianity In Crisis. Hank Hanegraaff, p. 60; Emphasis added)

The entire doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and His eternal Sonship is effectively denounced or rendered valueless by this statement. The Biblical truth is that Jesus Christ was the ‘Passover Lamb,” the very sacrifice that God the Father required and offered to pay the price of sin. His sinless, physical body and blood was the price He and His Father paid to redeem us back to their heart. To deny this is to remove man’s only hope of escape from the horrible penalty of sin. The Bible leaves no possibility of denying His blood sacrifice as a “finished work” necessary to redeem us from our sins and restore us to Right Standing with God the Father.

Read these verses carefully so you will know the Truth and be not deceived by this workers of iniquity!

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, bath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-56).

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28).

“Whom God bath set forth [to be] apropitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Romans 3:25).

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all).” (Hebrews 10:10).

The last verse noted makes it clear that it was His body and the natural blood (sanctified) by the virgin conception that was offered for us. There is no cleansing or salvation in any of the acts of Jesus separated from His blood sacrifice. I believe Kenneth Hagin is a lost man plunging his way toward hell.

Kenneth Hagin: “They Had Jesus Within Their Powers.”

This strange heresy does more than deny the power of Jesus Christ as our substitute sacrifice. Remember it was in His substitute death that He was able to take our judgment upon Himself. Hagin – Copeland says that His spirit went into hell under the powers of Satan and the demon world and by His victory of being “born again,” we are redeemed. This means we are not redeemed on the cross by the shed blood of Calvary in this dimension, but by Jesus descending into Hell under the power of Satan, where He was “born again” during his suffering in Hell. When Jesus’ spirit left His body on Calvary, man was not yet redeemed!

This is a totally unbiblical approach to both man and the Lord Jesus Christ. This kind of metaphysical approach to mankind is New Age, New Thought, or whatever name the deceptive world of Satan may be using at a given time. Here are Mr. Hagin’s own words (or Mr. E. W. Kenyon’s):

“Here is a picture of Christ in awful combat with the hosts of darkness. It gives us a glimpse of the tremendous victory lie won before He rose from the dead. The margin of the King James reads, ‘He put off from himself the principalities and the powers.’ It is quite obvious and evident that whole demon host, when they had Jesus within their power, simply intended to swamp Him, to overwhelm Him, and hold Him in fearful bondage.” (Metaphysical Elements In The Faith Movement, Compiled by Leon D. Stump, p. 98-99, taken from “The Word of Faith”, “The Name Of Jesus, ” April, 1976, pp.4-6).

These words are actually plagiarized from a book by K W. Kenyon, “The Wonderful Name Of Jesus”, pages 8-9. Even the reference to the King James margin came from Kenyon. (Notice that Mr. Hagin said that this victory was won before Jesus arose from the dead, not when He bled and died on the cross.)

This theological thinking has Jesus spending three days in bondage to the devil. There are several problems with such an impossible idea. First, Jesus stated the following, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” (John 14:30).

Jesus said this before His death on the cross, clearly expressing the fact that Satan had “nothing in me” or no power over Christ and His death.
Jesus stated on the cross, “It is finished.” He also told the repenting thief, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise’ (Abraham’s Bosom).

The veil of the temple was rent when He Died, not when they say He was born again at the end of three days, or at His resurrection.

Kenneth Hagin: “The Believer Is As Much An Incarnation As Was Jesus Of Nazareth.”

It is impossible to know whether Mr. Hagin is denying the deity of Jesus Christ or proclaiming the deity of all born-again believers — or perhaps, both! This idea of “manifest Sons of God” was part of the Latter Rain Movement in the 40’s and 50’s and has certainly become big again in the present charismatic confusions. Again, this shows the paranormal powers and ideas that undergird Kenneth Hagin’s entire theology and methods. Man is raised to some kind of spiritual creature that can actually evolve into glorified saints/spirits and establish the kingdom of God on earth. This belief brings Hagin into alignment with New Age Movement, who claims that man can evolve into a “god” that can then establish Paradise of Earth! Ken Hagin then may be thought of as a “serpent-led” New Ager!

Here is a further statement of the above words by Mr. Hagin, “Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” (Christianity In Crisis, Hank Hanegraaff, p. 175, taken from “The Incarnation”, Kenneth Hagin, p. 12). Mr. Hagin’s use of familiar Scriptural terms and the very Biblical phraseology of these words is planned to cloud the entire picture. If you look carefully you will see that Hagin does not just place us as “Sons of God”, but we are placed on the same level as our Lord Himself! This kind of arrogance about man’s position breeds the very spirit you will see when try to reason with persons caught in this trap.

This is a form of White Magic that has invaded the this church movement!

Kenneth Hagin: “If You Will Lean, To Follow That Inward Witness I Will Make You Rich.”

This statement that Hagin says came from God only serves to strengthen the context of this entire article. He is talking about a kind of human that the Bible knows nothing about, a paranormal human. Look at the broader picture in his statements.

“Then the Lord said this to me in a vision in 1959, which is not just for my benefit, but for yours. ‘If you will learn to follow that inward witness I will make you rich. I will guide you in all the affairs of life, financial as well as spiritual’ . I have followed that inward witness and He has done just what He said He would. He has made me rich (p.33)… The inward man, who is a spirit man, has a voice – Just as the outward man has a voice. We call this voice ‘conscience’. We call this voice the still small voice. Your spirit has a voice. Your spirit will speak to you (p.47). .. Your conscience is the voice of your spirit (p. 49).” (“Metaphysical Elements In The Faith Movement”, Compiled by Leon D. Stump p.55, taken from “How To Be Led By The Holy Spirit”, Kenneth Hagin.)

Hagin also stated, “The Lord said, ‘I’ll have to correct your theology a little’ (I’d been indoctrinated with all that ‘religious’ thinking, and unconsciously I still thought that maybe it was wrong to have the things of this world.) ‘In the first place-and this will help you-don’t pray about money anymore; that is, the way you’ve been praying. Claim whatever you need ” (“Metaphysical Elements In The Faith Movement”, Compiled by Leon D. Stump, p.55. taken from “The Word of Faith Magazine”, ‘How God Taught Me About Prosperity’, Kenneth Hagin

I have heard and read a lot of efforts to show how unbiblical this idea is, but Kenneth Hagin is nothing more, nor less, than a guru of a metaphysical, paranormal cult and his ideas are similar to other New Age proponents. It is basically a religion of White Magic that is directed by demons. It is not even similar to Christianity, except in a vague way. This crowd uses a host of Scriptures taken out of their context to weave a tapestry of deceit.
The true child of God will enjoy many wonderful blessings as they faithfully follow the truth of Scripture. Every promise of God is yea and amen. The Psalmist wrote as moved by the Holy Ghost, “But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD ; and in his law doth he meditate day and night And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth fruit in its season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:2-3).

Kenneth Hagin And The Spirit Of The Serpent

The final chapter of Mr. Hagin is being written even as I write this article. This video — Kenneth Hagin And The Spirit Of The Serpent — tells the whole truth. The serpent spirit has grown in his teaching and methods until I believe this real occult source is being made manifest. Kenneth Hagin has just conducted a “Holy Ghost” meeting in Chesterfield, Missouri. The meeting was held from October 12th to October 24th, 1999. On the third night he began to manifest this serpent spirit with his tongue sticking out and writhing in and out just like a serpent’s tongue. He also began to hiss. On Thursday night, as he began to hiss, many of the people began to slither down out of their seats feet first. Some of the people would hiss back at him. The emotional response of the audience is indescribable.

When Ken Hagin began to hiss like a serpent, demons began to pour out of him, as he was their channel; he was literally offering his body as a channel between the paranormal realm and this physical realm. By “hissing”, Hagin was allowing demons to pour out of his mouth, into the audience, “demonizing” each member of the audience. Remember, each member at this meeting had already “given permission” to the demons to pour into them. This spiritual reality is the reason so many people began to slither out of their seats, flowing on to the floor like serpents, and totally losing normal control of their body and mind.

Kenneth Hagin and many of the people then became insanely ” spiritually drunk.”

On the last night of the meeting, the demonstration became extremely bizarre as he began to “bless” the people for the closing. Three men could not hold him up because of his spiritually drunken state. Hagin became incredibly heavy, a most definite sign of demon possession.

Hagin declared that this was the first filling demonstration of this new spiritual anointing he said God had promised. Kenneth Copeland was present and got right in the middle of this final insanity. You will see his eyes suddenly rolling up into the top of their sockets revealing the whites of his eyes, a definitive sign of demon possession.

This entire meeting reflected the judgment of God on this ministry and its supporters.

It is apparent that God the Father is ready to judge this entire deception and the whole crowd that has given glory to such heresy. He calls those caught in its web “mad”. “Babylon [and Mystery Babylon] hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine ; therefore the nations are mad.” (Jeremiah 51:7).

The Book of Revelation saw this religious system and called it “Mystery Babylon” [Revelation 17]. This system will certainly be larger than the Kenneth Hagin ministries, but he is clearly a part of it. Revelation warns:

“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when! saw her, I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawed was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” (Revelation 17:6-8).

This beast is the False Anointing by the false spirit masquerading as the Holy Spirit. The Hagin Ministries has destroyed thousands of churches that once were bastions of Biblical truth. Tens of thousands of church members have been spiritually martyred and those who have resisted have been lambasted as inferior or worse. Her judgment is coming. But, Antichrist must needs come first!

The Spirit of the Serpent has lifted his head. Pray for those caught in this web that as many as have not blasphemed the Holy Ghost may be reproved and delivered. This spiritual occult outpouring within apostate christian churches is one more huge sign of the End of the Antichrist. Remember, Antichrist can only arise as the apostasy of the church grows to its “fulness”.

http://www.cuttingedge.org/News/n1823.html

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About KennethCopelandBlog.com

The premise behind KennethCopelandBlog.com is exactly what the byline says at the top of every page: My family and I, and those who work with us in ministry, are calling on the man (Kenneth Copeland), his family, and ministry, to simply repent. As you proceed through this blog’s articles and videos—which begins on the Table of Contents page—you will readily see the redemption-focused nature of our efforts.

Further, since we have actually known and worked with Kenneth Copeland personally, our insights into his ministry and practices makes this public rebuke far different that those of others on the Internet.

To learn more about this website’s primary author beyond that which is already revealed within the text and videos of this blog, review my personal ministry blog at RichVermillion.com.

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Table of Contents

This particular Table of Contents page is designed to be your navigation system for the information on this blog. Utilizing the index further below you can easily navigate through the data herein following the logical order originally intended.

As you click on each linked title, a NEW window will open up (if your popup blocker does not disable it) which will then load with the text and video content of that particular page. When you are finished reviewing the information therein, you can close out that window and this window should still remain open… awaiting your next mouse click as you easily navigate throughout this entire Kenneth Copeland public rebuke and disclosure. Alternately, you may use the navigation tabs at the top of every page or the “Return to the Table of Contents” link at the bottom of each article.

Of course, there may be portions that you want to revisit and review once again. You may approach the material in this blog any way you like. However, we highly recommend that you proceed your first time in the suggested order below. The reason for this is that some of the later videos and text refer to information within previous posts of the list. Thus if you review everything in order first, you will then be able to click around to revisit specific topics with the assurance that you have the context of this entire blog already in mind.

To kick things off, we suggest you begin with the following introductory video (which is embedded twice using two different services, for redundancy). Then proceed with the Table of Contents listing below that:

Table of Contents Listing:

(Any titles below not yet linked to an actual article post are unfinished. They are listed here simply to indicate some of the topics that are still to come on KennethCopelandBlog.com. Sign up for Email Updates to receive notice of when new material is added, or simply return to this page again at a future date.)

I. Introduction

II. The Mysterious Disappearance of Angel Flight 44

  • The Book, The Ministry, and The Men Involved (See my comments at the bottom of this WFAA news report for a preview of this topic.)
  • To be announced at a later date…
  • To be announced at a later date…

III. The Senate Finance Committee Investigation

IV. To be announced at a later date…

 V. To be announced at a later date…

VI. To be announced at a later date…

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“Word of Faith” is a world wide movement, which has its point of departure in the Christian Church. Word of Faith is also known under the names “Prosperity Gospel”, “The Faith Movement”, and “Faith Preaching.”

The American preacher Kenneth E. Hagin (1917-2003) is normally considered the founder and leader of the Word of Faith movement. Since the early 1970s Kenneth Hagin Ministries have run the “RHEMA Bible Training Center”, which is a large teaching institution or “Bible School” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A. Through the periodical “The Word of Faith” and other intense publication activities the organization has spread Hagin’s message. Other well-known preachers of the movement are Kenneth Copeland, Jim Kaseman and John Brandström.

Word of Life Since 1983, Ulf Ekman from Uppsala in Sweden has been the leader of the foundation called “Livets Ord” (The Word of Life). He is the main leader of Prosperity Theology in Scandinavia. In 1981-82, Ulf Ekman studied at Hagin’s Bible School in the U.S.A. A high level of correspondence has been taking place between the American and the Scandinavian branch of Scandinavian branch of Prosperity Theology.

The foundation “the Word of Life” is a private charity which legally owns everything belonging to “the Word of Life”. A number of activities are involved in the foundation: a congregation, a Bible school, a high school, a kindergarten, and a publishing house. Ulf Ekman is the director of the Bible school, headmaster of Livets Ords Kristna Skola (Word of Life’s Christian School), director of the publishing house “The Word of Life”, editor in charge of The Word of Life’s magazines “The magazine for a victorious life” and “The Word of Life”, and the leader of the private high school, which was started in August 1990.

At present (1992), the movement is very successful in Sweden. The news magazine “The Word of Life” is distributed to 35,000 subscribers, and the movement has somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 independent offshoots all over Sweden.

In Denmark, the movement is known as “North Jutland Bible Center” in Hjorring, “Rhema Bible Center” in Horsens, and “Copenhagen Bible Training Center”. Jens Garnfeldt, the minister, is in charge of the latter. There are also small groups in Denmark with names such as “The Tree of Life”, “The Gospel Center” etc. who are connected with Prosperity Theology.

Spirit, Soul, and Body Prosperity Theology constitutes a continuous, rather consistent system. A person is defined as a “spirit that has a soul and lives in a body.” We are dealing with a sharp distinction between body and soul on one side and man’s spirit on the other side. The spirit carries the identity of a person.

The Bible describes man in various ways, but there is a common ring to the different descriptions. The Judeo-Christian view of humanity does not contain this value-laden distinction found in the theology of The Word of Life. The Christian belief in creation underlines that man is above all an integral unity, which can be viewed from various points of view: body, soul, spirit, mind, thought, heart, etc. Thus, the body is not inferior to the soul.

The Nature of Satan According to Prosperity Theology, non-Christian man has the nature of Satan, but by “conversion” he acquires the nature of God in his own spirit. Consequently, the spirit of man becomes perfect and free of sin. There is, therefore, a sharp distinction between the visible, physical world and the invisible spiritual world. Furthermore, there is a marked tendency to spiritualize a high number of human and earthly phenomena, which in Prosperity Theology are unambiguously interpreted as the results of the working of spiritual forces. In the spiritual world, a number of principles rule, which are important to know and understand.

Conversion and the consequent spiritual gifts enable man to gain influence and power in the spiritual world where the devil and the demons have a large influence.

The Christian does not only have the possibility of, but also the right to progress and prosper in all areas of life. There are, however, certain “blockages” in the spiritual world, which have to be removed first. These blockages come from the Devil and the demons who are the real reason for diseases, poverty and stagnation. Rational explanations for these problems are played down.

Commanding the Demons At the same time, Prosperity Theology insists that Jesus has delegated all his power to Christians. The Christians are obliged to use this authority on all things that seem evil to humanity: disease, poverty, suffering, and misfortune; but also all threats of war and leftist political adversaries. All of these problems have a spiritual reason, i.e. the work of demons. Even Jesus depends on the Christians making use of the authority he has given them over the demons, for Jesus cannot help any more than he has already done by delegating his authority to those who believe.

Prosperity Theology is the expression of a radical turn to the right, religiously as well as politically. It is Ulf Ekman’s aim to break “the socialist spiritual power which governs, dominates, infiltrates, controls, manipulates, and catches people in Sweden.” Furthermore, Ekman is in favor of a strong military defense and wants officers who – led by the Holy Spirit – become “more militant than ever.”

The Word Has Creative Power The spoken word has creative power and the preachers of the faith movement consequently put a high priority on a proclamation whose aim it is to bind and to loose in the spiritual world. “The law of what one is with one’s mouth,” claims that what is spoken will happen and is bound by your confession. Negative statements such as “I am ill” or “I feel bad” are therefore dangerous to use, because one thereby creates sickness and misery in one’s own life.

You Are Gods A conference at “The Word of Life” in 1986 had the theme “You Are Gods.” Yet later, Ulf Ekman has said that this is not supposed to be understood literally. Many critics, however, are of the opinion that this teaching is an inevitable corollary of the prosperity theology’s notion that man changes his nature entirely in conversion, i.e. from that of Satan to that of God.

Jesus Died Spiritually In his book, A Different Gospel, the author, Dan McConnell, has demonstrated that Kenneth Hagin to a large extent has been inspired by the American preacher Kenyon (1867-1948). Hagin has inserted long quotations of Kenyon in his own books without indicating that they are quotations. Books by Kenyon have also been in use in “The Word of Life.”

At the turn of the century, Kenyon was inspired by the so-called New Thought movement in Boston. New Thought operates with a sharp distinction between the material and the metaphysical world, considering the latter to be the more important one.

The “JDS” (Jesus Died Spiritually) teaching, shaped by Kenyon, is to the effect that the reconciling work of Jesus only started for real when Jesus died spiritually on the cross and acquired Satan’s nature. Jesus was tortured in Hell by Satan for three days until his resurrection, as a result of which Jesus was “born again” (just like Christians are born again) and received God’s nature.

This is clearly un-biblical, and it is an expression of the sharply dualistic philosophy at the root of Prosperity Theology’s world view. According to this view, only a spiritual suffering – not a physical one – can lead to a spiritual result. We are dealing with an obviously non-Christian way of thinking. The Bible teaches that Christ by his flesh, precisely, abolished the law and the hostility between God and humanity (Ephesians 2:14 ff.) It is also a rejection of the divinity of Christ when the JDS teaching claims that Jesus received a Satanic nature.

God is Bound Likewise, Prosperity Theology’s concept of prayer is a problematic one. God is bound by spiritual regulations which it is up to us to understand and exploit. Not much room is left for God’s sovereignty, i.e. God’s power to do anything he wants to do. The right use of the spoken word takes precedence over prayer in confidence to God as the Father in whom one can always confide. In the genuine Christian faith the unshakable relationship to God as Father is a gift in baptism. This is a cornerstone. And in this everybody who believes in Jesus Christ can find rest.

Spiritual Warfare The idea of “spiritual authority” is a key concept in Prosperity Theology. Humans are spiritual beings. The Christians, therefore, are able to enter the same world from which the demons operate, and wage war against Satan’s army of spirits. Thereby one is able to break the evil spirits’ power over a person, over a geographical area or over a more abstract phenomenon (e.g. heavy taxation).

A special kind of spiritual warfare is the so-called “pain of birth prayer.” It implies totally uninhibited screaming by the praying person. To Ulf Ekman this kind of prayer is more important that speaking in tongues: “That is when the Holy Spirit encumbers upon men something that is experienced as physical pain; as when a woman gives birth. When the Lord leads us into this we think that we have lost our sense.

“We are rolling about on the floor, screaming in anxiety, squealing like a pig being slaughtered. This is an immensely strong intercession, and the devil detests it. He shouts to us that we are crazy and fanatics.”

Occultism/Gnosticism In Prosperity Theology, humans are positioned in the center of the spiritual universe. Consequently, prayer acquires the character of human manipulation of the spiritual world, with the intention of producing results in the physical world. Consequently, several critics insist that Prosperity Theology’s understanding of prayer features occult elements. Occult means hidden. People engaged in occultism endeavor to release the hidden forces by means of techniques and insight in clandestine regularities. This approach is similar to gnosticism which sees the spiritual as superior and the crucial element, whereas the physical is inferior.

Revealed knowledge is a message from God’s Spirit directly into our spirit. This knowledge reveals e.g. how a given scripture text must by understood, and it is maintained those outside Prosperity Theology do not have revealed knowledge.

Counseling and Former Members The structure of leadership in the Word of Life is hierarchical, and criticism is suppressed to a large extent. If a member seriously wants to criticize the movement, he receives a ready teaching of Prosperity Theology: serious criticism comes from “the Spirit of Criticism,” also referred to as “Jezebel’s Spirit,” which is demonic.

Many former members are subject to depression. They are also suicidal and are hospitalized in psychiatric institutions to a greater degree than the average. There is substantial evidence of suicide among members of the Word of Life with no previous psychiatric record.

Many of those who want to defend Prosperity Theology claim that these problems do not prove anything. But a number of people in Uppsala, who have had the closest encounters with the problems, have no doubt as to the seriousness, depth, and extent of the problems. Furthermore, the pattern of problems is to a high degree identical among the former members.

One reason for such serious mental stress is over-emphasis on confession. You must not confess negative areas, because that would bring negativity on yourself. If someone has prayed for your healing and you have not become well, you must confess that you are now well. You must assume authority over sin, defeat, and weakness, not confess them.

In this way the individual is positioned in a struggle between himself and his thoughts, without any possibility of letting others help him. The control over thoughts, feelings and body is the road to perfection, but of course there are many people who are unable to cope with this isolation and this pressure.

Many critics think that Prosperity Theology is a doctrine for the strong. It requires an almost superhuman effort to have to go on struggling with your thoughts and to maintain them. Add to this the fact that if things go wrong, the individual only has himself to blame, God on His side already having done everything.

One critic put it this way: “In this theology of success, the external physical world is not the real reality and the spiritual world is filled with evil spirits, with whom God has left His children alone. Every time you feel overpowered by a problem: disease, fatigue, depression, accidents or something else, it is an assault from the spiritual world and then you have to gather all your spiritual power and all your determination in an aggressive counterattack. However, this is exactly what your are unable to do – in the long run, at any rate.”

A Christian Church? Theologians disagree as to whether the Prosperity Theology congregations belong within the Christian Church. Many critics point out a number of things in their teaching and practice that position Prosperity Theology in the remote periphery, or even outside what may be called Christianity with any kind of Biblical or historical basis.

Among these things, the idea that the Christian faith guarantees prosperity and progress is the hardest to accept! It is quite simply incompatible with many passages in the New Testament (e.g. Luke 6:20-26; 9:23 ff; 14:26 ff) which express that dimension of the “theology of the cross” without which Christianity becomes superficial and false.

Lastly, it is important to underline that this critic of Prosperity Theology does not disassociate from the people within the movement, but from the doctrinal system with its theological and practical consequences.

http://www.dci.dk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1109:the-word-of-faith-movement&catid=176:laes-om-fremgangsteologi&Itemid=61

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I made up some sound clips and stuff to finish off the first John Edwards show, BUT John and I recorded a 30 minute talk we had and I attached it to the show I already had.

John invited me to ask any and all questions,,, and even to play devils advocate. So I will soon have a second show with John that will be and even better interview than this first one.

You can listen to the interview @ http://www.soundclick.com/how2becomeachristian OR download the interview @ http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=862125

Pastor John will come on the How2BecomeAChristian.Info RADIO show January 6 @ 7pm central,,, live on BlogTalkRadio.com @ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

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The Ethic of Reciprocity

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. Luke 6:31

Christians refer to these scriptures, which are words spoken by Jesus, as the Golden Rule, something that most of us learned as children. This concept is also called the ethic of reciprocity. It is a fundamental moral value that unites nearly all religious and ethical philosophies, and it is simply that we should treat others as we would like to be treated.

We created Clarity Rediscovered to do for others what we wish could have been done for us years ago. We have been through this Word of Faith experience personally, and because of that, are able to shed light on many discrepancies that we have observed.

We recently heard of remarks made in a meeting by a Word of Faith preacher. He instructed the audience to stay away from blogs that disagree with the Word of Faith doctrine, and for them to instead, stay close to their pastor. We certainly wish we had been able to read a blog like this one many years ago because it would have opened our eyes and rescued us and many others from the muck and the mire of the false teaching that makes up the Word of Faith.

As I have stated before, for years when someone would leave our church, the pastor would speak about them in a derogatory manner, often from the pulpit. He would present his spin regarding why they left with his critical sarcasm and eye rolling, and all of us (gullible, clueless) followers would buy everything he said. We were told to avoid all contact with those who left, which is typical of the cult that we were. The people who left, who certainly had every right to attend the church of their choice, were alienated and ostracized, and made to feel that they were the ones at fault. This is still the prevailing attitude at this church.

There are, however, a few things that are different now. Thank God for that. In previous years, people would leave only a few at a time, which made them easy targets for slander and bullying. Over the past several months, MULTITUDES have now escaped, and these are people who had attended that church for years and years. So it has not been quite as easy to spin why all these folks just up and left. Crude and unkind remarks have been made, which has not been surprising, considering their source. Somehow, though, it just doesn’t have the same effect since they are being made to a greatly reduced crowd, while at the same time, those who found safety and sanctuary outside the walls of that church are rejoicing in their newfound freedom. The remarks and reactions of the leadership of our former church have simply reinforced our absolute certainty of the dangers within it.

Another difference in how this situation has played out is the use of blogs, YouTube, etc to open a forum of discussion. The “no talk rule” has been abolished forever! This has been adversely affecting the Word of Faith movement nationwide. People are seeing the light because the truth is being presented, and blogs are networking with one another, which enables people to ask previously unaskable questions. Those who have sat in silent submission have been able to speak out what they have been feeling for years.

All of you Word of Faith ministers are whining and howling about it because it is exposing your greed and selfishness. This false message has been your bread and butter, and that at the expense of countless good people. If it really works, then what are you so worried about? Why don’t you encourage people to check out what the blogs are saying and make their own decisions? If your message is true, then shouldn’t it stand up to all the scrutiny? Instead of using guilt and fear tactics to make people give, if you have a need, then YOU sow a seed. YOU believe God. YOU confess scripture over and over like some sort of mantra until you see what you want. What exactly have YOU been sowing?

Have you thought that maybe all this just might be the beginning of YOUR harvest?

VF

http://clarityrediscovered.blogspot.com/2008/07/ethic-of-reciprocity.html

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I have really began to look forward to Pastor John’s next writings. It is not every day that I get to hear an ex-word faith preacher tell me all the things he knows about word faith and how he felt teaching it and coming out of it. John shares his deepest feelings and passion for God on his blog. I am sure that if you take an interest and read his blog. You too will be looking daily to see if John has written again.

I have a SNEAK PREVIEW of a radio program I produced with Pastor John’s video sound clip. I will have the full radio show out in a few days. AND I will be doing another show featuring MY INTERVIEW with Pastor John. I really have a hard time calling him Pastor. Cause he just seems so real and like me. I will have that interview radio show out in 1-2 weeks. Here is the link to the PREVIEW SHOW,,,

Here is the LINK TO VIEW and the LINK TO DOWNLOAD

You can read Johns blog @ http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/

 

Word-Faith Saturday, December 13, 2008

 

 

 

One of the first theologians that I met after leaving the Word of Faith Movement is an apologist named Clete Hux. What a name. Someone had slid his magazine under my office door and I started flipping through it. Clete is a part of one of the largest apologetics ministries in the world and his office just happens to be here in the Birmingham area. I sent him a link to my blog and the next thing I know we are sitting in a room chatting.

Clete kept using the term “Word-Faith”, and I had never heard that one before. It is the Word of Faith, not Word-Faith I told him, but he kept using that term which irritated me to no end. Here he is supposed to be a leading authority of cults and false teaching and he cant even get the name right.

Clete took me into a room and showed me some teaching video by Creflo Dollar, and began to point out all the theological errors in his teaching. I already knew the errors because I was an expert myself. I am an expert on the Word of Faith because I taught it for nine years.

Next he gave me several of his publications which I took home for Coni to read. We followed our visit with a couple of more phone calls in which he kept using the term Word-Faith. I finally could take it no more and asked him why he called the Word of Faith “Word-Faith”. He chuckled and explained that it was his way of mocking the fact that they were all about faith in words. Then it clicked with me…..these people were focused on faith in words instead of faith in God, and that it exactly right!

The Word of Faith Message is loaded with teaching about the power of your words. They believe that every word that comes out of your mouth will come to pass just as you say it. Students of the Word of Faith go through an evolution, without even realizing it, of going from having faith in God to having faith in words. The two biggest teachers of this message are Charles Capps and the late Kenneth Hagin. Kenneth Hagin learned his teaching from EW Kenyon, who gathered much of his theology from Mary Baker Eddy and other Christian Scientist. I have read many of Kenyon’s books and his teaching emphasised words.

The Bible has a lot to say about words. I know that words can affect people for good or for bad. I can call my son stupid all his life and he may begin to believe that he is stupid. I can call him a genius for years and he can get to thinking that he is one. I can call someone gorgeous every time I see them, and they may start to believe it. But, words cannot create something from nothing. Words are not entities of themselves. There is no mystical creation power in words.

For many years I thought that my words had their own creative power, and that what I said would happen. This is really witchcraft and Christian Science.

One time I went to visit a lady that was dying of a brain tumor. I went over to get her healed. After a few minutes of heartfelt prayer, I boldly pointed my finger against her temple, and commanded the tumor to leave. I felt great power when I did. I got chill bumps and so did everyone in the room.

She died a few days later. I have had many testimonies like this one. Another time I visited an old man that was going in the hospital for a procedure the next day. I spoke the command of faith to him in Jesus name. He dropped dead the next day. I remember being at my 14 year old daughter’s bedside when she was in a coma with a brain tumor. I spoke to that tumor in the name of Jesus. I even yelled at it. She died a few minutes later. My words had no power. Not the kind of power that I was taught in Tulsa.

There are so many mixed up people in the Word of Faith Movement that are in fear and bondage to their words. They are full of superstition. They are absolutely convinced that every word that they speak will come to pass. If they would ever just stop and think about it, they would realize that their words do not come to pass.

My ear never fell off even when I would complain about someone talking my ears off! My head has never fell off even after saying that I laughed my head off. I have passed many test saying that I had failed. If everything that I had confessed as a Word of Faith preacher had come to pass, I would be pastoring thousands of people today and raising the dead. I would be wealthy.

I actually feel sorry for many of my Word of Faith friends, that cant even talk normal or be real. They are so afraid that they will curse themselves with their words. It took my pastor showing me several passages in the Bible of Jesus and Paul making bad confessions to help me out of this bondage.

So, Clete is right, it is the Word-Faith religion, a religion that worships words and has faith in words. If you don’t believe me then read the first chapter of Charles Capps book The Tongue, God’s Creative Force, or Kenneth Hagin’s book “Words”.

You can also google affirmations and find the same line of teaching in the New Age circles. Its just another message that teaches man that he is in control and not God.

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/

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Some of the Real Rotten Roots of Modern Word of Faith Theology

I posted an article before on Positive Confession, Word Faith, Logos and Rhema, and some of the heresies associated with it. {see here http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/positive-negative-confession-word-faith-logos-rhema/ }

Some of the modern Positive Confession Word Faith heresy has evolved from the Christian Science of Mary Baker Eddy, which although known by most folk today as a cult run by a blasphemous false prophetess, influenced to varying degrees ‘the church’ during the late 1800s/early 1900s.

Prayer, from the Christian Science perspective, does not appeal to ask God to intervene in a situation, but is rather a process of learning more of “God’s” spiritual reality within all of us [typical new age] – “awakening mortal thought” to the so-called spiritual truth there is no such thing as evil, disease, death and it is all an illusion. So battling for the mind and the thoughts and getting that ‘right’ by basically being in denial, and utilising mind over ‘illusionary’ matter – and basically mesmering/hypnotising oneself to be well by positive thought. {Interestingly, Eddy thought conversely that ‘negative’ thinking could kill, even from another from a distance, and claimed one of her husbands died this way.]

Note already the similarities with these ideas promoted by Eddy and some modern church thinking within the prosperity gospel/word faith movement.

If you are struggling to see the pattern at the moment, just exchange some of the Christian Science terminology for more familiar Christian sounding words commonly distorted and used out of context today, such as:-

faith
confession
believe
seed
holding on
holding onto the promise
taking authority over
take full authority
command
creative force
speak out
declare
decree
rebuke
bind
cast out
denounce
throw off
casting down each thought
taking each thought captive
foothold
renewal/battle of the mind
visualise
eyes of faith
rhema
word of faith
word of life
’mustard seed’
taking the land
destiny
crossing the Jordan
achieving victory
victorious
spiritual breakthrough
anointed
power
spiritual laws
dominion
defeating the enemy
prosperity
health
name
claim
inheritance
being a champion
positive
negative
thought life
spiritual warfare

And conversely ‘negative words/thinking’, ‘critical spirit’, ‘unbelief’, ‘fear’, ‘doubt’ ’witchcraft’ et al.

Among other terrible things Christian Science teaches [and again you should see the similarities of thinking within the word faith movement, just dressed up a little in a more ‘palatable’ form, and I have included as well as the similarities the blasphemy and other nonsense just so you can see how rotten its roots actually are] –

“In Christian Science we learn there are not two powers – a good one that overcomes an evil one. There is only one power, omnipotent, omnipresent good. Christian Science therefore recognizes all discord such as sin, disease, death, lack and limitation as merely illusion. In this realization – in our ability to rest in the Word of God – the problem that confronts us dissolves; healing takes place.

Mrs. Eddy continually admonished students to expose and denounce evil and errors of every nature but recognize no reality in them since they are illusions, hypnotic suggestion only.

What Conclusion Should We Arrive At?

If you think about it seriously must you not arrive at the conclusion that if God is All, is infinite, is good only, is omnipotent and omnipresent–and there is nothing present but infinite good, it’s nature and its qualities–then must not sin, disease, lack, and limitation, discord of any kind, be illusion? Must these not be the result of universal hypnotic suggestion?

When we believe disease has power, and try to rid ourselves of it, we actually increase its seeming power over us, but if we hold to the Truth that omnipotent Mind–the Mind that is our real Mind–possesses all power, and this power is in the invisible spirit of God within us, we gain the conviction that there is no power in the visible form–the body, the condition, the person, place, thing–and therefore the discord or disease disappears.

The false sense disappears because we have obeyed Jesus’ admonition to resist not evil – resist not illusions, hypnotic suggestions, animal magnetism. The discord has disappeared because the spirit of Truth, the kingdom of God within our consciousness, has acted to dispel the illusion.

Jesus’ life gave us a monumental demonstration of overcoming the illusions of mortal mind. Was there ever a greater seeming defeat, from the mortal standpoint, than Calvary? Was there ever a greater victory than the resurrection? Mrs. Eddy’s life too was a series of snatching stunning victories from the jaws of defeat (illusion, hypnotic suggestion). What these two Wayshowers accomplished we can accomplish, too. These victories are also available for us.

Dispelling the Illusion

Because mortals have been reared in a material sense of life they hold themselves in bondage to form, and so commit idolatry–they bow down and fear a form labeled body, disease, money, person, place, thing, condition. But Christian Science reveals there is a presence and power, which as we contact it, becomes a law unto us; it becomes “He that performeth that which is given me to do.”

The spirit of Truth can dispel the illusion only when we arrive at the inner conviction that power does not exist in the visible form. Spirit–infinite good, reality–is the only substance; it shadows forth infinite forms, but the power remains in the Mind, the Spirit, the Principle. For example, the principle of mathematics has infinite forms each of which can be erased from the blackboard, but the principle can reproduce the examples, the calculations, the forms, because the power and reproductive capacity always remains in the principle. It is the same with the Principle of our being. The power is never in the visible form. Jesus told his listeners, “Destroy this temple [this body, this form] and in three days, I [my divine Mind, the ‘I’ that I am, the Principle], will raise it up,” will reproduce it.

When error looms, we have a decision to make. We will have a battle (since the illusions seem so real, and continually present pictures to us of things that do not exist in reality). Christian Science asks: Is there a something, a condition, that has to be overcome? Is there a condition that Truth must do something to?

Christian Science teaches that other people do not have the power to bedevil our life. But we must know this. When we expose and denounce evil we must at the same time recognize no reality in it.

We Must Know the Truth that Frees

One of Mrs. Eddy’s most valued students, Flavia Knapp, felt keenly the envy, jealousy, malice, hate, and persecution directed against her; therefore at a testimony meeting, after testifying of her many wonderful healings, she concluded by asking: “For which of these works do ye stone me?”

Two weeks later she died. She had personalized error, had made it real. It was the suggestion, illusion, appearing in her own thinking, that caused her to believe in the power of animal magnetism (error, hypnotic suggestion, illusion) and which prompted her to enter her public protest against this illusion. Jesus said, “A man’s foes shall be those of his own household.”

Mrs. Knapp had failed to heed the Christian Science teaching that when we feel thoughts of error we should vehemently enter a protest against our own belief in it. She should have understandingly declared: “No, you are not real; you can’t be real since God, the kingdom of God within me, is All, and has sovereign power; therefore I know you are nothing but hypnotic suggestion. This error has no power of its own; it is coming to me to give it life, and I refuse to give it any!” Then the error, the illusion, would have vanished, and Mrs. Knapp would have continued with her wonderful mission on this plane of existence.

Our great work in this world is to let the light within our own consciousness expand further and further into the darkness until this light– from “the kingdom of God within [us]“banishes all darkness and error.

What Makes Evil, Error Vanish?

If we stand fast in divine Science, the divine knowing that God, infinite good, is All, is One, is omnipotent and omnipresent, then is there a discord to be overcome? Is there disease, lack and limitation to be overcome? The answer, of course, is “No!” Christian Science calls on us to decide between reality and appearances, between the Spirit and the flesh. “The belief that life and sensation are in the body should be overcome by the understanding of what constitutes man as the image of God [our true Mind]. Then Spirit will have overcome the flesh” (S&H 289:4). When we are in that consciousness where “the spirit of the Lord God is upon [us],” evil of every nature vanishes.

Mary Baker Eddy’s great discovery revealed that materiality and the discords confronting us are not a power. They cannot be a power since God, our real Mind, alone is power; Spirit (reality, good) alone is power. Clinging to this truth we prove that materiality and discords are not a power. They are false concepts, misperceptions.

…. Belief in Two Powers Caused Suffering

Now we can understand why, even though the Bible was the guiding light and impetus for the ventures undertaken in the discovery and settling of America, so much adversity and suffering was encountered.

It was because the people involved–and this is still true of most of us–had a religious background which had instilled in them the belief of two powers.

They prayed to a God that did not exist. They prayed to God as a great power that could overcome other powers such as sin, disease, hunger, cold, or danger. There is no such God. God, our true Mind, “the kingdom of God within” us, knows no sin, disease, death, discord, or error. These people believed that evil was real and that God knew about evil; hence they were praying to a nonexistent God.

God’s nature as omnipresent good can have no opposite, hence evil is unreal. God is All; His work is done; evil is merely an illusion. But only as people understand the nature of God and the nature of man can there be unfailing, systematic demonstration of God as the ONE power, the only power.

Evil’s unreality was the great revelation that came to Mary Baker Eddy. So powerful was this revelation in Mrs. Eddy’s time that some practitioners took 100 patients a day and healed them all! This spread Christian Science around the world and built up the thousands of Christian Science churches.

Until Mrs. Eddy revealed the allness and ever-presence of infinite good, people did not realize that even “religion,” which believed in two powers–a good and an evil power–was a barrier to understanding the kingdom of God within their own consciousness; hence the suffering and hardship that has accompanied mankind’s progress.

…committing adultery, lying, cheating, getting drunk or smoking. The writings of Mary Baker Eddy–the second coming of the Christ–reveal sin as far more encompassing.

Sin is dishonoring God, the kingdom of God within our spiritual consciousness, by accepting the universal hypnotic suggestion that there is a material universe, and that humanity is separated from the one Mind, God–the real Mind of man.

This belief in a material universe, inhabited by flesh-blood-bones bodies, is what is meant by having “other gods.” It breaks the First Commandment.

From the point of view of the Science of being there is no difference between the belief in lack, sorrow, and disease, and the belief in any other so-called sin, such as adultery or stealing. They are all ILLUSION, merely hypnotic suggestion. God being All, there is naught besides. Error of any kind is unreal. Once we see this we can heal, just like a mathematician can “heal” 2×2=5, because he has learned it is 4.

….. Christian Science instructs us to dwell on what we already are and what we already have because of the fact that “I and the Father [Mind] are one….And all that the Father [Mind] hath is mine.”….I and the Mind that is Love are one, and all that Mind hath is mine. This is a great impersonal universal truth that applies to every man, woman, and child in the universe.

The understanding and acceptance of this Truth would end greed and every form of discord, and bring into focus the ever-present reign of harmony, the kingdom of heaven.

Christian Science asks: if you accept an infinite God, an infinite good that is all, omnipotent, omnipresent, an infinite Spirit beside which there is naught else, can there, in reality, actually be discord such as sin, disease, lack?”

{source http://mbeinstitute.org/America/AmerIntro.html#anchor873259 ]
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Wants to be a god?

So many people seem to be convinced that the Bible teaches that we are gods. The Mormons, the New Agers and yes, there are a growing number of Christians that believe this as well. Each of these have a different variation on what this means. The Christian view comes from the influence of heretical word/faith teachers that distort the Scripture.

We would be surprised how many people actually say this or insinuate it indirectly. They point to Jesus, who said in John 10 “I said ye are gods.” Many use this statement Jesus said as a Bible doctrine for believers. Let’s look at several famous Bible teachers statements on this Scripture.

“We want to be gods. Jesus said, ‘I said ye are gods’ (John 10:34). It is with the attitude of gods in the world that Jesus wants the Christian to live.” (John G. Lake: His Life His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith, Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1995, p. 13).

Is this the attitude Jesus wants? Not according to Scripture, he wants us to be dependent upon God and deny self and walk humbly, hardly a prerequisite for a god.

Lake also says “I want you to hear what Jesus said about himself. God was in Christ, wasn’t He? An incarnation. God is in you, an incarnation, if you were born again. You are incarnate. “ (ibid p. 196).

The mistake is-born again does not mean incarnate; it means to be regenerated. To go from something that has no life to being alive, to something that had no relationship with God to having one.

It’s not surprising that Kenneth Copeland would publish Lakes statements like these since he agrees with it. As he has stated: “You don’t have a god in you, you are one,” “We are a class of gods.” “Every Christian is a god.” Benny Hinn also agrees and states unequivocally “you are god” “Christians are little gods.” “I’m a God-Man.” With well known men like these teaching this its not surprising so many who listen to them have picked this up.

The fact that Gurus, New Agers, Mormons and some who claim Christianity all claim we are gods and have godlike powers is strikingly similar to what Maharishi Mahesh yogi says “When you know that you are God, YOU WILL BEGIN TO LIVE GODHOOD…”’ Margo Adler a witch says, “We are gods and might as well get good at it.” Anton LaVey explains the core of Satanism “here is one of the essential points of Satanism, attain his own godhead in accordance with his own potential. Therefore, each man, each woman, is a god or goddess in Satanism.” J.Z. Knight who Channeled the fallen spirit Ramtha pointedly says through her “You are God.” Sung Myung Moon leader of the Moonie cult says this, as do so many others. Maitreya the false new age Christ (one of many) says “May this manifestation lead you to see each other as the gods you are.”

What manifestation is this? It’s called the mystery of iniquity that has been in the world since the fall. As David Spangler puts it– “Lucifer prepares man in all ways for the EXPERIENCE OF CHRISTHOOD (Burns: Jay Gary, The Millennium Doctor http://www.cth.com/au/corp/despatch/JayGarybk3.htm, p. 2,3, quoting David Spangler). In new age language it means Christ is the way-shower.

It should be obvious to any Christian familiar with the Scripture that to call oneself a god is a doctrine of fallen spirits, what the Bible calls demons.

Helena Blavatsky in her “the secret Doctrine” wrote: “It is claimed that there exists, for untold ages, a body of supermen”… these according to her view were initiates, the Brotherhood of the Great White Lodge and light. They are known to Theosophists as ‘the Masters.’ The teaching of Theosophy, therefore, consists of information either directly imparted by them” (E.R.Mcneil Theosophy to Christian faith pp.1-2) Blavatsky wrote further “Satan is the door-keeper of the Temple of the King; he standeth in Solomon’s porch; he holdeth the key of the Sanctuary, that no man enter therein, save the Anointed having the arcanum of Hermes” (v. 20 and 21). [Vol. 2, Page 233). She is explaining the Luciferic initiation of those who have realized they are more than man- but supermen.

The Latter Rain movement still growing in its influence has similar affections. In the book the Pattern Son Bill Britton writes at Jesus was the “Firstfruits among many brethren and the PATTERN for many more “sons” to come. He calls this group the Manchild Company – they are the anointed ones and have the right to be called Christ. These are the ones who have reached a “very high level of anointings.” It is the same spirit that is moving these people and many others today to this realization that they are god. It does not matter whether one calls it the divine spark” or self-realization or the higher self, or “god” within every man, it all leads to the same place. Or as Neale Donald Walsch, in his bestseller book “Conversations with God” writes “You are already a God. You simply do not know it.” Isn’t it Interesting how so many spiritual diversities can agree.

Creflo Dollar who claims he is a teacher of Christianity sums it up for everyone believing this, quoting Jn.10:34 and Ps.82:6 he states “Now, notice what He says here, “Ye are gods” small g. You are gods? Somebody says “You trying to say we’re gods?” No, I’m not trying to say we’re gods. He already said it. But what I want to know is Lord, how can we be gods? And He answers it in the next phrase. Because you are the children of the Most High. See if you are truly a child of God, if you were born out of God, you got to be a part of the God class. I know I’m not God. But I’m a child of the Most High…I’m a part of the God class…. But then the next verse says, “Because you did not believe you were gods, you’re going to die like men.” But it says you’re gods. And I said now, Lord, wait a minute here. How we going to prove this? Because I kept hearing over and over again all this week, we need to have a God training class for Christians. So they can start acting … “(Our equality with God through righteousness 1/21/2001)

Notice he says Because you did not believe you were gods you will die like men. Is this what the Scripture is actually saying? It only takes a few extra words to confuse and change the meaning.

Ps. 82:6-8 ‘I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ Lets set the record straight, this Scripture does not mention little gods. Nowhere in Scripture is there a teaching of little gods along with big God, but false Gods verses the true God. So in reality to claim to be a little god is to put one in the category of a false God.

Lets go back to the beginning, when Lucifer a fallen angel shows up in the garden. Speaking to Eve he says “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). When both she and Adam ate of the tree that God told them not to, they knew what evil was experientially, by believing that this fruit would make them like God it caused them to lose their righteousness God originally gave them.

After the fall Adam begot his first son Cain and other sons and daughters in his own image and likeness. All those after are in this same image. This is why the Only true God became a man. When a Christian accepts the heretical teaching of subordinate gods to a greater god they are aligned with the originator of this lie, the teaching of the occult and those who incorporate its message. They are on their way to a great deception, the very one that Paul warns in 2 Thess.2, those who refuse the truth will believe THE LIE!

Anything created disqualifies it from being God. Adam was not a god (as Kenneth Copeland and the Mormons say), and Satan is not a god. Satan is called the “god of this age” because he is worshipped, not because he really is a god by nature.

He has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.(2 Cor. 4:4). In other words he blinds people to see Christ alone is God. Satan did not tell the truth but lied to Eve when he said, “You shall be like God,” and he continues to use the same lie to people today.

Paul taught that Christ (2 Cor. 4:4) ALONE ‘is the express image of God (his person) (Heb.1). No prophet ever thought of them-self as the express image of the invisible God, or that if you have seen them you have seen the father, they knew better. There are too many today who are exalting mans nature to be something the Scripture says it is not. Only Jesus is the exact image of God in man. Man has the image of God but this does not make a creature God, godlike, or in the same class. There is only one God and he always existed, this is why no creature can ever be equal to its eternal creator.

The Hebrew word for “likeness” (demuth) simply means similarity or resemblance, not identity. The term itself actually “defines and limits” the word “image” (Hebrew: tselem) in order “to avoid the implication that man is a precise copy of God, albeit miniature” (R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981, 1:192.)

God never said man is a god or in a god class as some claim. In fact, if we look at past and future history we can identify the ones who claim this.

The past- Isa. 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”

It was Lucifer who through the king said he would be like God in the past. Ezek 28:2-6 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because your heart is lifted up, and you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,’ yet you are a man, and not a god, though you set your heart as the heart of a god (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god…” v:9 “Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man, and not a god, in the hand of him who slays you.”

The future- 2 Thess. 2:3-4 “the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

Everyone who claims to be a god, the true God shows they are not, by bringing death to them. Jesus will slay the antichrist, the man of sin who will be worshipped as god by the word from his mouth. Zeph. 2:11 “The LORD will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth”

Let’s not forget in our modern time one of the worst collective murders in history. It was Jim Jones who let the idea of being a god completely deceive him and near 1,000 people were affected by going to their deaths with him. He said “It is written that ye are gods. I’m a god and you’re a god” (Jim Jones, quoted in J. Reston, Jr. and N. Adams, “Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown” program on National Public Radio, 23 April, 1981.)

Satan’s methodology is to lower Jesus’ nature and exalt man’s to be equal to Christ using the same lie he deceived himself with. We should understand from the Scripture that to claim to be a God, big or small is what Lucifer did to himself and influenced man into sin.

With this background lets to the passage that people are using to prove they are little gods.

John 10:32-39 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),”do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;” but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

Notice Jesus answered them by pointing to the Old Testament, and is using it to argue His exclusive deity as the Son of God, having a unique relationship to the Father that no other has. Jesus is responding to the Jewish leaders who had accused Him of blasphemy. In Jn.10 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees. Are the Pharisees gods? Would someone that did not believe in Christ being the Son of God and were his enemies be considered a little god by Jesus?

To understand him further we must go to a context of a passage quoted by Jesus to see what he was trying to convey. Psalm 82:1-8 “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are unstable. I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.”

In its context it can only mean something that is not flattering. Jesus in John 10 is mocking them as if to say, You all think you’re gods yourselves (rulers) and rightly so (this is a tongue and cheek expression). But you do not recognize THE God among you. The Pharisees were blinded to who Jesus truly was.

Ps. 82:6-8 ‘I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ This was addressed to the judges of Israel they were called gods not because they were divine but because they represented God when they judged the people. The word Elohim is used for God, men and angels, but it is never used for man or the angels to imply they are God but as rulers of certain positions in the world. The word here is Elohim, it is applied to an aspect of God, as God was also to be ruler and judge over the people so He installed human rulers to do the same (see Deut.19:17-18). God called the unrighteous judges of Israel “gods” (Elohim). The Psalm Jesus is quoting is a put-down of corrupt judges and leaders who were abusing their authority and it has a lot of irony in it. The word Judges is found in Ex.21:22; 22:8-9 it is Ha Elohim (other scriptures of how the acted are found in Deut.1:16;16:18; 25:1; 2 Sam.11:7).

As with any verse we need to read it in its complete context to get the whole meaning the author is writing. Then we are to go to other passages that may relate to it. Remember this is God’s word and will not contradict itself. Isa. 3:13-15 “The LORD stands up to plead, and stands to judge the people. The LORD will enter into judgment with the elders of His people and His princes: “For you have eaten up the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the faces of the poor?” Says the Lord GOD of hosts.

Jesus uses this to pronounce sentence on leaders who were not ruling over the people correctly. Instead they were showing partiality to the wicked and neglected defending the weak. They are wicked in that they do, they do not champion the cause of the poor or helpless. This is what Jesus is referring to in John 10 when he reminds them by quoting Ps.82. They are rulers with the authority God gave in this office. Considering this quote is in the gospel of John that upholds the deity of Christ, it makes this even more severe that certain men would take this out of the context and apply it to themselves. As v.5 says “They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.”

He is conveying that if unjust judges are called to rule with power and authority, how much more the Son of God whose authority they willfully rejected. Jesus is being sarcastic in a way only those familiar with the Scripture would understand. They accused the only man who ever could legitimately call Himself “God” of blasphemy. And Jesus’ response is if God called men “gods,” (rulers) then Jesus is not blaspheming if indeed He is God.Jesus’ point is that the word of God cannot be broken (v.35) and then points out he was sent into the world by the Father and called himself the Son of God. So He could not be blaspheming. This was all done according to the Scripture. They were given authority to rule by God but they would not bow to his authority. They did not recognize the true God was among them who called himself the Son of God.

Notice Ps.82:6 also says they ‘will die as mere men and fall as one of the princes’, the prince that fell was Satan. This is sarcasm. Jesus is saying ‘the scripture cannot be broken’ referring to the Psalm. They thought they were like God but they will die as mere men. Then they will know the difference between the true God and their own mortality of man. Ps.82 ends with verse 8 ‘Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.’ This points to only true God who can be called God, who eventually will judge and rule over everyone justly.

Let us go elsewhere in Scripture to see if the New Testament supports the teaching of men being gods. Paul and Barnabas were mistakenly called gods: “And when the multitudes saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker … But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth….” (Acts 14:11-15). Paul did not say, “we are not Zeus and Hermes but you are right, we are gods.” He said we are of the same NATURE as you and He turned them to the only true God, the creator. Here Paul and Barnabus unequivocally denied they were divine or any type of god. Were they ignorant of their new nature? No, not at all. They knew the true God and knew their relationship to him as men; so they could never claim to be more than they really were.

If the little god theory was true Paul would not have said this but he did not believe what some men teach today and would certainly identify it as a teaching not from God but from the devil.

To imagine that we are gods when we are saved is to misunderstand our condition, even though we are new creatures in Christ. Even though the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our lives, it does not mean that we have been deified! If man is deified, surely we also have to accept the doctrine that we are sinless! Yet, the Scriptures deny that we are sinless, even after our salvation (1 John 1:9).We are still sinners waiting for the full redemption of the body that has the sin nature.

There is something spiritually and fundamentally wrong with people who say they are gods.

And what is the affect of those who call themselves little gods? They believe they can call things into existence, they will be rich and successful like the big god they serve.

Isa. 41:21-24 “Present your case, says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons, says the King of Jacob. “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination.”

Here God challenges those who claim they are in control like God, and those who listen to them instead of the true God are disgusting to him. For he began his challenge to them all so they can come to a true understanding of God.
V.20 “That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Ps. 86:8 “Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord” Ps. 95:3 “For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods.” The Scripture says there exists ONLY ONE GOD; therefore any other that is called god is false by its nature. Genesis 1 says “In the beginning God.” If you were not there with him as him, then you are not God or a god.

As Paul clarifies in1 Cor. 8:5-6 “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”

The greatest evil is to call oneself God when they are not. Since there is only one true God no one can ever be in the same class as a creature created by God. This is a delusion of unprecedented proportions to call oneself a god, it is the height of arrogance. It is the same sin in the beginning that caused Lucifer, the greatest creature God created to fall. And it is this same deception that will be rampant in the end.

Here’s what the God of the Universe says in Jer.10:11: “The God’s that have not made heaven and earth will perish.” This means any who claims to be God [god] are in the same category according to the one true God. This certainly means all Gods with a small g or a big G. Nowhere in Scripture is there a teaching of little gods verses big God, but instead false Gods verses the true God. In reality, to claim to be a little god is to put one in the category of a false God. All those who say this will find themselves sharing the same fate of false gods. If you are one of those who believes this, its time to reconsider. You may well receive the same punishment as those other false gods who are not the one true creator.

http://www.letusreason.org/Wf36.htm

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Top 5 False Doctrines To Avoid

by IMAblogger.net

NUMBER 1 – THE WORD OF FAITH GOSPEL

— What Is This All About ? —

The Word of Faith Doctrine, The Prosperity Gospel, The Name it And Claim It Creed… The list goes on and on with this False Doctrine. This doctrine is probably the greatest weapon that Satan has used in these last several decades to destroy Faith in Christ and His Finished Work. The direction of this doctrine sends the seeker in a wrong direction than what God has intended for believers.

As Judaism was the great hindrance to the Message of Grace during the time of Paul, the so-called “faith Message” is the great hindrance presently. In fact, I believe it is even worse than Judaism.

First of all, the faith which is proposed is really no faith at all, at least that which God will recognize. If our faith isn’t properly in Christ Crucified, we are not truly in “Faith”. ( I Cor. 1:17-18, 21,23; 2:2; Col. 2:14-15; Eph 2:13-18). The “Word of Faith” teaching totally denigrates the Cross. It is referred to as “past miseries,” or even as “the greatest defeat in human history.” It also teaches that the Blood of Jesus Christ didn’t atone. While it will say out of one side of its mouth that the Blood does atone, it will then turn around and say, but not within itself. And with that little hook, people are made to believe that they are teaching and preaching the Blood, which they aren’t.

They teach that Jesus became a sinner while on the Cross, died as a sinner, which means that He died spiritually, thereby went to Hell, and we speak of the burning side of Hell, and there suffered for three days and nights the agony of the damned. At the end of the three days and nights, they continue to teach, God then said, “It is enough,” meaning that He had suffered enough. He was then “born again,” even as any sinner is Born-Again, and then resurrected. So when they talk about a person’s faith in Christ in order to be saved, they’re speaking of trusting Christ and what He did in the pit of Hell as a lost sinner. Incidentally, all of this is pure fiction, with not a shred of it being in the Bible. But sadly, untold millions believe it!

The teaching of the “Word of Faith Message” of which has been written here, is none other than blasphemy. It cannot be construed as anything else. To believe such a doctrine, which is the worst perversion of the Atonement that Satan has ever concocted, is none other than believing a lie. That’s why Paul said:

“Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves, know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?” ( II Cor. 13:5)

These are strong terms as given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle. He is saying that any doctrine, any teaching, that eliminates the Cross, is termed as a reprobate doctrine, which produces “reprobates.” Reprobates in the Greek is “adokimos,” and means, “rejected, worthless, cast away.” So in effect Paul is saying that any other type of faith is a “worthless faith.”

The truth is, anyone who takes unto themselves the false message of the “Word of Faith” doctrine has taken a path that will ultimately lead to spiritual ruin.

— Who Is Involved ? —

wof

Mike Murdock / Paula White / Benny Hinn / Kenneth Copeland / Gloria Copeland / Creflo Dollar / Steve Munsey / Jesse Duplantis / Pretty Much All of the TBN Network / Pretty Much All of the Daystar Network / Marcus Lamb / Joni Lamb / Too Many More To Mention /

NUMBER 2 – THE GOSPEL OF SELF ESTEEM

— What Is This All About ? —

To correct this situation, man (not God) has come up with the false gospel of “self-esteem.” This false way basically teaches that man’s problem is that he does not readily know his self-worth; man consequently needs his self-esteem elevated. If this can be done, they teach, man’s problems will be solved.

In order to place this new teaching into proper perspective, we should realize that so-called “Christian” psychologists and psychiatrists transplanted it from outside the Church and from outside the Bible, and I speak of that which is truly the Bible, preferably the King James Version or another Word for word translation and not a paraphrase. A leading evangelical psychologist, who vigorously promotes self-worth teaching, explains, in one of his books, “You’re someone special:”
“Under the influence of humanistic psychologists, like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, many of us Christians have begun to see our need for self-love and self-esteem.”

Satan’s threefold humanistic plan for world domination is basically simple, and you might be surprised how well it correlates with this new theology:

1. Darwinism (Darwin) — the concept of evolution, as it affects the social man, resulting in abortion, humanism, and the “survival of the fittest.”

2. Marxism (Communism and Socialism) — Satan’s economic foundation, which has been proven the world over to be an unworkable philosophy. It results in nothing but poverty.

3. Freudianism (Psychology) — a profound influence on the morals of man, and leading, one might say, toward immorality. And there you have it! Satan’s three-pronged assault — social, economic, and moral. The self-esteem philosophy comes directly from Freudian principles, and it does demand an entirely different

— Who Is Involved ? —Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen

One of the foremost proponents of the self-esteem gospel, Robert Schuller, has called for a “new reformation,” stating that the Sixteenth Century movement (under Martin Luther and John Calvin) was a “reactionary movement” because it emphasized that men are sinners. Schuller goes on to say,

“Once a person believes he is a ‘unworthy sinner,’ it is doubtful he can honestly accept the Saving Grace God offers in Jesus Christ.”

Schuller then offers his blueprint for bringing sinners to Salvation:

“If you want to know why I make people laugh once in a while, I am giving them sounds and strokes, sounds and strokes, like you would a baby. “It’s a strategy. People who don’t trust need to be stroked. People are born with a negative self-image. Because they do not trust, they cannot trust God.”

Of course, if this man is right, accepted Evangelistic practices, which have brought millions to Christ, are wrong. We should then stop telling people they’re sinners who need Jesus Christ as their Savior. We must no longer convince them of their sin and rebellion against a Holy God. We must never speak of Hell, nor warn of the terrible, eternal consequences of rejecting the wonderful offer of Salvation as an unmerited gift from God.

Instead we should begin to stroke men and women into faith, smile them into the kingdom of God, and elevate their self-esteem. If one knows his Bible, he will agree that this is a major change in Christian perspective. However, the proponent of this false gospel has an even broader concept in mind. He goes on to say:

“A theology of self-esteem also produces a theology of social ethics and a theology of economics — and these produce a theologyof government. It all rises on one foundation: the dignity of a person who is created in the image of God.”

Basically, this self-esteem theology states that we need a new reformation and a new theology.

What it also suggests — but does not openly state — is that we need a new Bible. But, truthfully, without openly saying so, it is now giving the Church a new Bible. I speak of the many new interpretations which are now on the market, such as “The Message Bible,” and scores of others of similar perversion. By no stretch of the imagination can these interpretations be called the “Bible.” Pure and simple, they constitute no more than mere prattle, one might even say drivel, of man. Concerning this new gospel of self-esteem, it strikes at the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The True Gospel states that man is a lost sinner, who cannot save himself, and who thus desperately needs a Redeemer.

One the same steps as Schuller, stands a megachurch leader by the name of Joel Osteen. His charming smile and his personable tone leads many to wonder: “How can this man be wrong”? Well, its all about the message. He will not preach the cross. He will not preach the blood. He will not preach about sin. He will only tell you how great a person you are and how much potential you have in you. He will tell you to repeat phrases to yourself daily for affirmation. He will not direct you to God, but he will lead you to self every time.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

(MARK 8:34) “AND WHEN HE HAD CALLED THE PEOPLE UNTO HIM WITH HIS DISCIPLES ALSO, HE SAID UNTO THEM, WHOSOEVER WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.”

The phrase, “And when He had called the people unto Him with His Disciples also,” speaks of an interval of some period of time between His rebuke of Peter and this present statement. In the previous exchange, only the Disciples were included; but others are now also addressed! What Jesus will say will be the very heartbeat of what it means to a Christian; consequently, the Message is given not only to the Disciples, but also to the people, because it is a requirement for all! The phrase, “Whosoever will come after Me,” refers to those who accept the call. It means to be Born-Again, to become His Disciple, to follow His Teachings, and to enter into His fellowship. If one is to notice, Jesus didn’t say, “Come after the Church,” or “Preacher,” or “Priest,” or “Prophet,” but rather Christ Himself (“Me”). Christianity without Christ is no more than any other philosophy. Such produces the moralist, of which there is an abounding number, but does not produce a changed life. The moralist reduces Christianity to a mere religion, which makes it little different than the other religions of the world. Actually, Christianity, within itself, cannot change anything or anyone. Only Christ can change hearts and lives! He actually makes a new creature of all who come to Him.

When we preach self and how great we humans are, first of all, we are lying and second we are doing the opposite of what Christ taught and what God expects.

NUMBER 3 – THE PURPOSE DRIVEN …

— What Is This All About ? —

The Purpose Driven Life attempts to turn a born again life into one of pragmatism rather than one being led by the Spirit of God. The book series has many “uplifting” stories of giving purpose and hope to a people worldwide. It subverts God’s way in order to push certain agendas that are exposed in the book series. The doctrine is filled with biblical half truths held up by scriptures that are only partial and taken out of context. The quotation of many paraphrase translations of the Word of God are used in order to fit into what The Purpose Driven Life is trying to indoctrinate. The founders of The Purpose Driven series draw their visions from the business world in order to try to grow the church in ways never tried before in the Body of Christ.

— Who Is Involved ? —Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founder and pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He is responsible for writing the Purpose Driven Series while receiving personal help from business guru, Peter Drucker. Between these two characters and other like minded individuals, they founded a new way to “DO” church. These methods brought people into the church in droves, but at the same time threw out all sound doctrine. Warm bodies on the pews seemed to be the only goal at the beginning while now it has expanded to Global domination and an inclusive doctrine.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

Any group who throws out sound doctrine to “tickle the ears” of the saints, has done a great injustice to the work of Christ. When any body refuses to confront sin as sin in order to bring no offense and risk the possibility of losing a member, has compromised the message of Christ and thus became apostate. This group, and many like it, attempt to widen the gate that Jesus Himself calls narrow. Rick Warren’s idea of Salvation is not telling the sinner of their need to repent due to their sins. This is how you get saved in Rick Warren’s mind, according to The Purpose Driven Life book:

‘Dear God, I want to know Your purpose for my life. I don’t want to waste the rest of my life on the wrong things. Today I want to take the first step in preparing for eternity by getting to know You. Jesus Christ, I don’t understand it all, but as much as I know how, I want to open my life to You. I ask you to come into my life and make yourself real to me. Use this series to help me know what You made me for. Thank you. Amen.’

“If you just prayed that prayer for the very first time, I congratulate you. You’ve just become a part of the family of God.”

Those were words from his book, and that is the dogma that is held high by that camp. Avoid this at all costs. Eternal souls are in the balance, and messages like this do nothing to aid in leading people in the correct direction. The focus should be Christ crucified. It should ever be that we glory in the Cross of Christ. Not in the works or programs of man.

NUMBER 4 – THE EMERGENT CHURCH

Preface: I know I will probably get a lot of backlash about this one, but hear me out. The proponents of the Emergent Church will probably say that they have heard my schpiel over and over again, but nonetheless, I “schpiel” on.

— What Is This All About ? —

The Emerging Church is all about change. They vocalize that, as the culture and society of the world changes, so should the Church. The Word of God becomes less true to the Emergent Church because they want to bring unity to the world by compromising the scriptures in order to avoid any offense. There is deep thought to what God “really” thinks about sin and hell. There is much avoidance of mentioning that some other person’s religion might actually bring them down a path to hell. They like to read the scriptures with an attidude of:

“Yea, God did write about hell in the Bible, but how can a loving God actually send people to hell, if it even exists”?

They liken God to a parent who might threaten a punishment or make up the boggie man in order to get the kids in line, while all the while the parent never intends to follow through with the punishment.

— Who Is Involved ? —Brian McLaren is one of the major mouth pieces of the Emergent Church Movement. You may have read a post on this website about some of his escapades. To read more about Brian McLaren read here and here.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

The False Doctrine that the Emergent Church presents about inclusivism and the compromise of the scriptures is addressed as directly contrary to scriptures such as Revelation 2:14-17 where the church of Pergamos is addressed as preaching a False Doctrine. I think the bottom line is, the Word of God stands true now as it has always. We shouldn’t invent new ways to do God’s work. We should just “Do” what God says. We have to tell others about Christ and His Finished Work on Calvary. There is a literal Hell, and souls are going there daily. If the Emergents are right, and there is no Hell, and all roads lead to Heaven, then WOW! Great. But Why did Christ have to die? ….What if the Emergents are wrong??? What if in condoning sin and accepting all religions and celebrating them as on the same road to heaven, they are actually doing the souls of man no good. I am of the belief that Man is sinful and wicked. We are in need of a savior. In Christ we have hope and must accept him, or we will be held accountable for our sins and thus pay an eternal price. I wouldn’t want to be wrong about that one. Not when you are so close.

MATTHEW CHAPTER 7

13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it

NUMBER 5 – THE NEW MYSTICS

—What Is This All About ?—

They claim to be a Christ centered ministry, but warning signs go off when they expound that their vision is to “practice the presence of God”. They are deep into “soaking” in the presence of God (another warning sign). They are heavily into the Signs and Wonders and promote prophetic schools where they can teach you how to function as a prophet including how to receive and deliver revelations, etc.

—Who Is Involved ?—

Probably the most famous of the New Mystics would be John and Lily Crowder and Benjamin Dunn. A simple google or Youtube search will bring up videos of these clowns “getting high” and drunk in the presence of god. They make an open mockery of the Holy Spirit and His giftings. I have posted about one video in particular here. and here.

Another prominent member of this movement is Joshua Mills. You might recognize him from one of my past posts here where Patricia King, another Mystic, builds his lies up until you hear the lies from his own mouth. Joshua mills regularly encounters angels, angel dust, gold dust, diamond dust, diamonds, feathers, and more. He even has oil pour out of his hands and onto other people.

—Why Should We Avoid Them ?—

The Bible says in Acts 17:29:

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Our focus should be on Christ and His Finished Work.  If we are out seeking for signs and wonders we are not obeying God in his call on us to tell the World about Him.  And the simple fact that we think that fake dust signifies the Glory of God, is sad.  If I thought that glitter signified anything Godly, I might think twice about avoiding those strip clubs.  I hear those girls get covered in the stuff.

http://imablogger.net/2008/09/21/top-5-false-doctrines-to-avoid-the-compilation/

 

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OUR EXPERIENCES WITH KENNETH COPELAND by Tom Killingsworth  @ exwordoffaith.blogspot.com

I would have left the Word of Faith on the basis of that denomination’s Gnosticism and the abuses of the Prosperity Gospel. But I would have parted peacefully. The abuses of human beings that I saw at the hands of leaders in the Word of Faith, particularly Kenneth Copeland, his daughter Terri Pearsons, and other leaders at Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) and Eagle Mountain International Church (EMIC) are the reasons that I am blogging all this. Copeland needs to be exposed as a tyrant and a fraud!

Let me tell you what happened and you can judge for yourself.

My wife and I had been followers of Kenneth Copeland since 1990. We believed everything he said. While not members of Eagle Mountain International Church (the church affiliated with KCM and pastored by Copeland’s son in law), we did go there. We always wanted to work for KCM, and in August of 2003, we both got our chance. We were so excited! This was the opportunity of a lifetiime — to be able to help Brother Copeland put legs to his vision and help expand the Kingdom of God!

Yeah. We were in for a rude awakening! It was one thing to see KCM and EMIC from the outside. It was quite another to be insiders.

What we saw was nothing short of spiritual abuse and Shepherding. Remember, in a previous article, I mentioned two separate sources that prove that Kenneth Copeland married the Word of Faith with Shepherding. Keep that in mind as you read our experiences.

While I was at KCM, a nationally famous minister came in to encourage us at one of our staff “chapels.” He said “Don’t ask questions. Just do what you’re told. If you ask questions, then you aren’t in faith.” If we were going to do our job, didn’t we need to know what we were doing, and didn’t that mean we had to ask questions? This was nothing less than Shepherding, a restatement of “Don’t touch the anointed!”

A friend of mine who attended EMIC, began to become concerned about the direction the church was headed. It seemed all he heard were sermons on prosperity. So, he wrote the pastor a letter outlining his concerns. The next week, the pastor stood up and held up my friend’s letter and said “I have received a letter from a member outlining some concerns with our church. These are legitimate concerns and questions and I want to answer them. So, next week, I will answer this letter, question by question.”

The following week, the senior pastor remained seated, in a very submissive manner. His wife, Terri Pearsons, the senior associate pastor and Copeland’s daughter, stood up and took the microphone. In front of a congregation of 3,500 people, she said “Some of you have questioned what is taught in this church. If you don’t like it, I suggest you go find another church that you can more easily manipulate, because it won’t happen here.” My friend said that his blood ran cold because he knew the pastor’s wife was talking about him. Then the pastor’s wife led the congregation in an oath of allegiance to the pastor. I was there that day. I refused to take the oath, and I never returned after that Sunday. Oddly enough, KCM did not have a job requirement commanding employees to be members of EMIC, so we left and went elsewhere. An oath of allegiance? Total obedience to the pastor is a concept of Shepherding. I no longer ask myself why this woman said what she said. If Shepherding is a part of the official doctrine of KCM/EMIC, then she was just doing what she thought she was supposed to do.

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That was not the only occasion, either. We later learned that the pastor’s wife also publicly humiliated and eviscerated the head of the greeter department, simply because the head greeter refused to require all her ladies to wear dresses, and allowed a few to wear pants suits. In other words, the pastor’s wife, a member of the Copeland family, enacted the Shepherding practice of telling someone how to dress.

I have a friend who worked at KCM at the same time I did. While she worked there, her mother “came out of the closet” and declared herself to be a lesbian. A coworker took my friend aside and said that her mother couldn’t be her family anymore because she was going to Hell. Her coworkers were her family now. This cut my friend to her core! I don’t know the motivations of the woman who said this to my friend, but the end result was spiritual abuse. This is a sign of Shepherding, a belief that they have the right to tell us who our friends and family ought to be.

During my tenure at that ministry, I experienced quite a bit of indirect Shepherding. I say indirect, because these were rules that were hinted at, not given to me directly in writing or as a verbal warning. The appearance of what was appropriate was more important to leadership than our spiritual walk with God. So I knew I had to wear a mask of correct behavior and not admit to liking things that were frowned upon by the Copeland family (in my case, comic books, science fiction stories, unbridled sex for pleasure with my wife, and the theological works of non-Charismatic ministers). If any of us employees did mention these “unspeakables” in public, it was not uncommon for us to be silenced and told that if management found out, we could be fired. It grew wearying after a while, and I felt dehumanized after working there for four months. I was told that it was a great honor to work at that ministry, yet I felt totally dishonored as a person.

Shortly before my wife left KCM, it imposed a gag order. In a rather stridently written memo, management said that employees were not to talk to anyone, including family members, because they never knew who they would be talking to. That person could be a news reporter. I should think that an employee would know if his or her spouse or child is a reporter! This memo did nothing to help build marriages and strong families. Instead, if taken literally, it would build suspicion, distrust and paranoia within the families of employees. I’m sorry, but to me, this is Shepherding; management by fear and coercion, putting loyalty to the church above loyalty to family.

Parties are meant to be fun, to be celebrations of accomplishment, a holiday season, or just for the heck of it. But it is difficult to celebrate when your invitation to the party pretty much says “you are required to attend, required to have fun, and if you don’t, you will be fired.” While not putting it in exactly those terms, we knew that when the ministry invited its employees to a party, that if we valued our jobs, we should go. This is not just a rhetorical reading of the memo, either. Another friend of mine who worked at that ministry, decided to not attend the Christmas party one year. They were serving barbeque beef, something he doesn’t care for, so he went off site for a sandwich. When he returned, he was hauled into his supervisor’s office, given a written reprimand, and told me that the only reason he wasn’t fired was that he was too good at his job. His supervisor told him that when the ministry invites you to a party, it is a high honor and privilege so he better go!

Invitations to special conventions and teaching engagements were treated the same way. Like it or not, we knew we had to go, or lose our jobs.

That kind of action did nothing to enhance our spirituality or walk with God. If anything, that kind of action tore it down.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes? 

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I was a licensed Word of Faith minister for several years, and during that time I had a friend who was a pastor at EMIC. At one time, we were very close. But when I became a minister, things changed. He began to take it upon himself to mentor me, without my permission. At the time, I had a ministry to Goths, and he would tell me to teach prosperity to the Goths, tell them to stop wearing black, tell them to stop reading poetry, and go get jobs in the corporate world. I was trying to reconcile Goths to Jesus; if I had done what he said, I would have alienated them further. When I didn’t do what he said, he called me rebellious. Uh … I was licensed by a totally different church, so he was not part of my ecclesiastical chain of command, so how could I be rebelling? When I found out that KCM/EMIC was merged with Shepherding, I saw his actions for what they were – part of the theological platform that made up his job.

I left KCM as part of a massive layoff in 2004. My wife was fired in late 2007 … for posting a photo of her Halloween costume online. Before you go and scream at us for celebrating Halloween, I have to point out that she and I are old theatre people and take any opportunity to put on costumes. To us, it’s a reason to “dress up.” If we could do it in April and July, we would. We weren’t engaging in any sorcery or fright fests. Yet, a Halloween costume photo, on my wife’s personal blog, was a reason for this ministry to fire her. They were actually looking for a reason to fire her; her opposition to the Prosperity Gospel was becoming well known. My wife did something that was against the written and spoken doctrines of the church. Shepherding allows no independent thought or feelings by congregation members.

As soon as my wife was fired, I began to be stalked on my Xanga blog by employees of KCM. As many as 50 anonymous “footprints” (ISP addresses) would appear on my blog daily. Through Xanga’s footprint tracking system, I could easily tell that they originiated inside KCM. This lasted from mid-October, 2007 until early 2008. I guess they grew weary of me after I made my blog private. Stalking of ex-members is a Shepherding technique. I was perceived as a threat and had to be monitored.

Six friends left me. Two were very close, and I considered them to be two of my best friends. These friends left me, not just because of a theological dispute, but because they chose loyalty to the doctrines of men and to EMIC over loyalty to a human being. This was shunning in action.

The day after my wife was fired, several of our friends who worked at KCM at the time were hauled into their superiors’ offices and grilled about their connection with my wife and me. They were told that KCM had checked out their background thoroughly … one can only ponder what THAT meant! Most were given a “clean bill of health.” Two of these friends had restrictions placed on them by the pastors of EMIC, preventing them from having any future contact with us. I did not hear what the consequences would be if they ever ran into us in Wal-Mart. Shepherdists dare to tread only where our mothers did … in believing that they have the right to tell people who their friends will be. Some people are gullible enough to believe they have to obey.

Since our departure from KCM and the Word of Faith, we have found out more about Kenneth Copeland and his true nature. The way he is behaving is so much like a Shepherding preacher, or a cult leader, that I can’t tell the difference.

First, Senator Grassley launched an investigation into six televangelists. I’ve read the questions Grassley sent them. The questions to Copeland are the most extensive and the most damning. To read them yourself, click here.  Why did Copeland use a church owned airplane to fly to Colorado on a vacation? Why is there a for-profit cattle company operating on ministry land? What happened to the funds donated for investment in the Revival Capital of the World theme park, which shows no signs of being built? These are legitimate questions, and Grassley would not be investigating if there were not some evidence of wrong doing by Copeland. Did Copeland answer Grassley? No. He refused. What he sent as an answer to the Senator was a mere pie chart, their IRS statement, and the address to the IRS. In other words, KCM gives the appareance of having much to hide. If they had nothing to hide, then why not tell all to the Senator? Maybe that’s why KCM erected a wrought iron fence, complete with lockable gates, around the ministry property … to keep IRS and ATF agents out. They place does look more and more like the Branch Davidian compound.

Following an impromptu interview by a local reporter, Copeland attended what was supposed to be the dedication ceremony for KCM’s new Partner Services Building. Instead of reading the Bible or praying, Copeland spent half an hour blasting the reporter and calling him names. Gloria Copeland had to publicly remind him that he was there to pray for the building.

Two friends of mine, who are also ex-KCM employees, and now ex Word of Faith, agreed to be interviewed for a news broadcast in which they pretty much called Copeland a liar. The day after the local news broadcast (to read the transcript, click here;  to see the actual broadcast, click here), which was also two days after Senator Grassley launched his investigation into KCM, Copeland convened a “chapel,” which is more of a business propaganda meeting than any spiritual event. During the “chapel,” Terri Pearsons called Grassley, the local news reporter, and my two friends, Nazis and possessed of the anti-christ. Her rant was published on the KCM website, and everyone that I know who saw it all said the same thing; “She’s demon possessed!” The hatred and terror at someone catching her father’s hand in the cookie jar was palpable.To see her rant for yourself, click here.

In late November, Copeland had presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on the Believer’s Voice of Victory broadcast, giving a politician a week’s worth of free publicity. This is from a man who demands that Senator Grassley respect the separation of church and state, but is unwilling to recognize that same separation where an Evangelical candidate is concerned. That was just blatant hypocrisy. To see them for yourself, click here. You won’t have to scroll down very far. The dates are November 26 – 30, 2007.

It gets better!

Copeland revealed his true colors at his Ministers Conference, held January 22 through 24, 2008, at EMIC. He didn’t appear as a Shepherdist, but he did use the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper.

First, he turned the conference into a fund raiser for Huckabee. It was supposed to be a conference for ministers and by ministers. Instead, he turned it into a political platform, raising $111,000 in cash for Huckabee, and a million dollars in pledges. Oh, sure, the KCM spin doctors are saying Copeland did everything right. They say that Copeland never endorsed Huckabee, and that he dismissed the conference (early), and said that if anyone wanted to come back, they could. So, it was a private meeting. They also say that Copeland rented a room at EMIC to Huckabee, and that the fundraising happened there. The KCM spin masters say that EMIC has a tradition of renting rooms to ministers at the conference. Well … my wife was responsible for the Ministers Conference from 2004 through 2007, and began to set up for 2008. She told me that at no time did Copeland, KCM or EMIC rent rooms to anyone, especially during the Ministers Conference. The conference is tightly controlled, and KCM does not want a lesser known party trying to sell books behind the scenes. So, the publicly stated habit of renting rooms is a bold faced lie! This is total political pandering, using a religious meeting to garner money for a political candidate, and a violation of the U.S. Constitution. If this fund raising had happened in a hotel room after the conference, there would be no problem. But it happened inside a church, during the dates set for a ministers’ conference. That is a total violation of the separation of church and state. To read one news article on this, click here.

As if that wasn’t enough, during the Ministers’ Conference, Copeland declared war on the U.S. Senate. First, he said that his reply to Senator Grassley was “a six page lesson in ‘no!’,” meaning Copeland didn’t reply to Grassley’s request for information. Copeland said that the ministry’s finances belonged to God and that Grassley had no business looking at them. Furthermore, Copeland said that he could tell Grassley the truth, but wouldn’t, because Grassley didn’t know the truth. Finally, Copeland dared Grassley to subpoena him, throw him in jail, or execute him. That is sheer arrogance, and total hypocrisy from a man who for decades has preached patriotism and obedience to Romans 13:1-7. The website, Wittenburgdoor.com, has posted clips from Copeland’s rant. To see them for yourself, click here.

Now, CBS Evening News thinks Copeland has gone too far and has accused him of fraud, finding two more ex-employees who spoke out about their former boss. To see CBS’ video, click here.

So … Kenneth Copeland. Preacher of the Gospel, or Shepherdist madman? You decide.

Some of you may not like what I said about Copeland. You know what? I don’t care! What I wrote is the truth. I suffered much abuse from the hands of this man, and I owe it to Jesus to expose the apostasy in KCM. I do not want revenge, but like any rape victim, I do want to see justice and see the rapist go to prison. So does God.

You have to decide what the truth is for yourself. If you can continue to follow Kenneth Copeland with a clear conscience, then please do so. But I cannot. My conscience demands that I stand up, say something, and oppose what I see as a Gnostic-Shepherding preacher who is leading many sheep into destruction.

http://exwordoffaith.blogspot.com/2008/02/our-experiences-with-kenneth-copeland.html

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How2BecomeAChristian.info BLOG was blessed to have an Ex-Word of Faith Preacher named John Edwards visit and comment on one of the post today. He has a blog @ http://www.faithpreacher.blogspot.com/ that is dedicated to sharing his, as he says “My journey through and my deliverance from the deceptive and dangerous Word of Faith Movement”.

Pastor John’s video above is a MUST SEE

This is a post from Pastor John’s blog in which he details his disappointing experience at Kenneth Hagin’s RHEMA BIBLE TRAINING CENTER in Tulsa Oklahoma. And the subsequent years that he taught the WoF teachings he learned there. BUT PRAISE BE TO JESUS, He delivered Pastor John and brought him out of the WoF deception.

Now pastor John shares his experience with others trying to get them to see the WoF teachings are a lie. GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER JOHN.

TULSA TEASE ( A preachers disappointment and departure from the Word of Faith movement.)

Back in 1994, I was listening to every Kenneth Hagin tape that I could get my hands on. I also read all of his books that I could find. As the year went on I began to also listen to all of his cronies tapes. I must of heard a thousand testimonies of miracles and healings. All I heard about was this Spiritual City in Oklahoma called Tulsa. The name Tulsa was synonymous with signs, wonders and miracles. It sounded like a Christian Disneyland to me, plus it was the home of the greatest Prophet that the Body of Christ had had in two thousand years. It was also home to the greatest seminary on the planet. It seemed like if you were ever gonna get anywhere in the Word of Faith scene, then you had to move to Tulsa.

So I did. I quit the Birmingham Police Department, packed up all of junk and took my family with me. My dream and goal was to get up there in that atmosphere of faith and let it rub off on me. I wanted faith. I wanted God’s tangible power in my life. I wanted to learn from the prophet himself.

I stayed up there for almost three years. I never saw a miracle. I never saw anyone get healed. I never heard the angels sing. I never heard the voice of God. I never felt nor saw God’s Glory Cloud. My wife Coni was a Chemo nurse at the Cancer hospital there. She witnessed team after team of faith healers doing their thing. She didn’t see anything.

Of course, the whole time we were up there we heard all kinds of testimonies, but we never saw anything. We attended all of the special hyped up Holy Ghost Meetings, but we never saw anything extraordinary happen, ever.

We learned all of the Faith Formulas, all of the Scriptures on faith and healing out of context, and we even learned how to do the Tulsa Holy Ghost dance. We did learn how to run in church, how to sow all kinds of financial seeds. We learned how to make confessions. We learned that Jesus told the Prophet that clapping was not praise or worship.

Imagine sitting in class always hearing all of this wild stuff but never seeing it!

After graduation we returned to Alabama to share all the Faith Formulas and testimonies. We started our own church. We had Holy Ghost Meetings, Healing Meetings, Anointing Meetings and nothing happened. For ten years nothing happened. You always heard the spectacular testimony, but never saw one.

You want to know why? Because it was all bogus. It was the power of suggestion at work hand in hand with peer pressure. God has only moved in the miraculous three times in history. I am talking about God moving regular with great tangible power among his people. 1) In delivering Israel from Egypt, 2) Through the Prophets prior to the captivity of Israel and 3) The earthly ministry of Jesus and then a few more years through the Original Apostles.

I am not saying that God does not heal or that He will not do a miracle. What I am saying is that the Age of miracles and Gifts of the Spirit are over for now. God has written a Book. The Holy Spirit chose the Words and the Apostles wrote it down. We now have a complete instruction manual for all of life’s problems. In addition, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

All this other stuff that people are looking for and chasing will never be found. Oh they will hear that it is happening, but close investigation will render these signs and wonders as bogus. The latest proof of this was the Lake Land Outpouring. It was troublesome to see desperate people flock to the display of flesh, lies, and mass hysteria.

Want to experience God? Read His Book and do what it says. That is the only thing that is real.

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Because the WoF teachings and the harm they do, I feel it is real important to expose them. Therefore, this blog will continue to Post on the WoF movement. I have sent Pastor John an email and hope to be posting more material from him. I asked him to share his full testimony with me, and with his permission I will share it with you. As I find more stuff on his site to post, I will do so. TY for visiting and fighting for the truth.

Here are more WoF post on this blog.

Kenneth Hagin and “Positive Confession”

THE ERRORS OF POSITIVE CONFESSION: Verses against Positive Confession/Word Faith Movement/ Mind Science

The Power of the Spoken Word – Biblical or Occult Law? PART 1

The Power of the Spoken Word – Biblical or Occult Law? PART 2

Exposing Doctrinal Errors: Heresy Hunting or Biblical Mandate?

Word Faith Movement heresies on GOD, in

The Leaven of Lakewood Church and Joel

Walter Martin’s Word Faith Movement WARN

I HAVE WHAT I THINK AND SAY I HAVE (SPEA

THE WORD OF FAITH and the Mormon Connect

There are probably 8-10 more WoF post on this blog that I will add to this list when I can. I am having computer problems today. TY for visiting.

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