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Yodas Prodigy’s Ex-WoF Testimony from http://www.light-after-darkness.org/forums/entry.php?17-My-Testimony

I became a fully surrendered Christian to God in 1984. Before that time I had given my life to Christ but was not obedient due to various reasons. My home church was a Southern Baptist Church. None of my family was religious during my growing up years and neither were any of my friends.

Once I surrendered to Christ with the help of an Assemblies of God attendee, I followed my parents to Faith Center, a Word of Faith Church. My parents had gone there for a little while. I was about 25 at the time.

I had a message from God telling me that my wife would be Judy. The message came to me while I was away for training for eighteen weeks. It came in a dream. I knew when I got home that we would go out for a date. Around Christmas God told Judy that I was the one for her. We both had seen each other once before. But we had never spoken.

We dated starting January 1st twenty-two years ago. Then, we got engaged seven weeks later. And finally married on October 18th.
I seemingly fit in to Faith Center right away. I had a testimony of what God had done for me. He delivered me of some sin habits that I developed during my adolescent years. He helped me to understand who I am in Christ and completed the reconciliation that started in my life at about eighteen years of age.

I got involved in many ministries including: Children’s, Choir, Evangelism Explosion, and Deliverance. My eventual ministry, which I believe God wired me for, is apologetics. I started going to “Nationally known Kevin Johnson of Mount Carmel Outreach” apologetics class.

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Tired of trying to be a prophet, avatar or visionary but can’t get anyone to blindly follow you? Have you always wanted to know how to manipulate people in the name of any deity, religion or philosophy you want to hide behind so you can advance your OWN agenda of nakedly abusing power? Look no further!

Examines the similarities of cult traits and NPD in the pulpit.
The Seether songs remind me of my former “spiritual leaders” and probably mean more to me than making a statement to the viewers. Watch this before you give me too much head ache.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ecnm_a0EAtk

See the links in my other videos for more info in Spiritual Abuse, NPD in the pulpit and leaving a cult. Or just read these:

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/6…

http://www.chameleongroup.org.uk/npd/…

http://www.meadowhaven.org/psychissue…

Founder of Freedom Beacon Ministries in Upstate, NY, talks about cult abuse and recovery issues.

What qualifies a group as a cult? Both the sociological and the theological perspectives are examined using nifty, easy to remember visuals.

Freedom Beacon Ministries founder speaks out on the theological definition of “cult”. Based on the two major signifiers found in 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4.

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TO YOUTUBER grinz2000:

The “Word of Faith” IS NOT THE GOSPEL / Todd Bentley is Word of Faith / Word of Faith IS WITCHCRAFT VEILED IN CHRISTIAN TERMS From Damon Whitsell, How2BecomeAChristian Apologetics Network

I had promised some friends that I had seen a video in which Todd Bentley had stated that he was highly influenced by Kenneth Hagin and hence was WoF also. I promised that I would send it to them when I found it again. I stumbled upon it today and the video is hosted by a WoF believer. THE VIDEO CLEARLY SHOWS BENTLEY IS WORD OF FAITH

In the comment section the owner of the channel grinz2000 was saying that Hank Hannegraph is “anti-supernatural”. THIS IS JUST NOT TRUE. And is both an ad hominum attack and a straw man LOGICAL FALLACY; only meant to try and discredit Hank’s exposure work against the WoF Movement.

So I informed grinz2000 that Hank is a continuationist/charismatic himself. So the accusation that Hannegraph is biased against the supernatural is just a lie and an gross misrepresentation of what the man says about himself. I am not a fan of Hank but I hate it when WoF’ers and charismatics in general try to paint people as “anti-supernatural” when that is just a straw man to dodge the issue. DISCREDIT THE ARGUMENT: NOT THE MAN
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During our exchange in grinz2000’s comments. He or she said,,,,

“Hanegraaf is against the Word of faith.. he calls it the “counterfeit revival”…’They’.. label the ‘Word of faith’ as a ‘movement’…but the Gospel is the Word of Faith..according to the Apostle Paul Romans 10:8 (King James Version) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; To not receive the ‘Word of Faith’ is to reject the true Gospel and all the ‘called’ ministry gifts..which is rejecting the Lord himself.”

I SAY: Well she should get the book. Hank does not just speak about and call just the Word of faith Movement a “Counterfeit Revival”.

NOW IS THE WORD OF FAITH THE GOSPEL??? Clearly the answer is NO, NO, NO!!!

THE WORD OF FAITH IS WITCHCRAFT VEILED IN CHRISTIAN TERMS

Wof’ERS are the best at the art of taking scripture out of context (CONTEXTOMY) to eisegete (INSERT INTO) her preconceived notions (OPINIONS) into the text. The context is clearly the Resurrection which is the gospel. So mush so that the Apostle Paul said if the resurrection of Jesus is not true,, then our faith will not save us from our sins.

Rom 10:1-17 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, **THE WORD OF FAITH**, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. or with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

SAVING FAITH IS TRUST THAT JESUS PAID THE PRICE FOR OUR SINS. Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

THE GOSPEL IS CLEARLY STATED. 1Co 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:

IT IS CLEAR THAT THOSE WHO PREACH “ANOTHER GOSPEL” ARE DOOMED TO HELL.

Gal 1:3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

2Co 11:3-4 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
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THE WORD OF FAITH IS WITCHCRAFT VEILED IN CHRISTIAN TERMS.

From my article Abracadabra, Presto and SHAZAAM,, YOUR HEALED of your Word of Faith Delusion,,, because I SAY SO By Damon Whitsell

http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com/2008/11/29/abracadabra-presto-and-shazaam-your-healed-of-your-word-of-faith-delusion-because-i-say-so-by-damon-whitsell/
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STRAIGHT FROM THE WITCHES MOUTH Here is some text from a website on witchcraft.

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/

“Mankind has always attempted to know the unknowable and control it by his own actions. At the same time, it was recognized that there were powers beyond his ability to control. Throughout history, certain people have been accepted as being better at controlling the powers that represent natural forces such as earthquake, wind, flood,fire and disease.

In some cases, these powers were named as gods or goddesses, at other times the forces themselves were named and summoned and controlled by the will of humans known as witches in modern day language.

The power possessed by a witch or shaman skilled in the art and working of witchcraft was assumed to be almost limitless. By saying certain words or power names in the correct manner and correct tone of voice, the witch could heal the ill, and cast out the evil spirits which caused pain and suffering in those who were diseased.

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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Witchcraft vs Christianity; Learn the similarities and differences of the two

“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

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EVEN WITCHES DON’T HAVE FAITH IN FAITH

“People who are just beginning witchcraft don’t have the understanding or the ability to actually practice medicine, but witchcraft is the belief system which is outstripping all others in popularity. It is expected that young people who are practicing witches may soon be preparing for degrees in medical fields and thus improve the chances of being healed through witchcraft as well as more mainstream means and medications.

Modern scientists have documented the term called the placebo effect. When some people receive healing from illnesses which in some cases are considered terminal illnesses after being given a pill made of sugar rather than the test drug, the healing is due to the placebo effect. Others would say that they were healed by faith, the patient believed that they would be healed due to the medication, and so they were healed, in spite of the fact that they received no medication. So, faith regardless of whether the faith comes from belief in the drug, belief in God or belief in witchcraft.”

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/spells.html

A WICHES FAITH IS in WITCHRAFT. Not faith or God. There is no force called faith. Faith (trust) is only as good as the object of that faith.

An interesting study is to get a few bible dictionaries and do a word search on “God of forces” I have several books on demonology by Merrill F. Unger. He has a whole chapter devoted to the “God of forces” in one of them, so he might have a really good definition in his bible dictionary. I will look when I get more of my books out of storage.
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MORE WORDS FROM WITCHES ABOUT THE POWER OF WORDS COMING TO THIS BLOG LATER
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WHAT IS BAD IS THAT THE WORD OF FAITH TEACHERS KNOW THEY TEACH WITCHCRAFT!!!

Benny Hinn claims the Holy Spirit told him, “…that if witches and occultists can speak death by the supernatural power of words, then Christian can speak life and prosperity by the same power.” The Facts on the Faith Movement, J. Ankerberg & J. Weldon, Harvest House, 1993, p.23 Copyright ©2008

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Benny Hinn:Witches even..I mean..I’m not here to talk about witches but, but I’ll tell you this.

Paul Crouch:They..they under they know the secret.

Benny Hinn: “,,,because see I had a witch tell me this. And I said what!? She said, listen to me, she said do you know that we are taught in witchcraft how to kill birds with words, and how to kill people with our mouth. I said what do you mean kill people? She said we are taught with words to bring disease on men. I said how? She said by speaking certain words (unintelligible) she said we can actually cause sickness that could very well kill.Christianity in Crisis (audiobook), tape II, side 3.

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COPELAND: Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and that’s when the action takes place because that is when the spiritual force is brought up out of the mouth – whether it be fear or whether it be faith – and when that spiritual force comes out, it is going to give substance to that image that is inside of you. People say, ‘that is that New Age visualization stuff’. The New Age is trying to do this. And they get somewhat results out of it because it is a spiritual law. (Believer’s Voice of Victory (television program), TBN, 28 March 1991.)

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 ALL WORD OF FAITHERS NEED TO REPENT AND FOLLOW THE TRUE GOSPEL!!!

YA’LL DON’T HAVE “THE FULL GOSPEL”. YA’LL HAVE A FOOLS GOSPEL!!!

http://thewordonthewordoffaithinfoblog.com/2009/05/12/the-word-of-faith-is-not-the-gospel/

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Does God want us to be rich and have a “BIG HOUSE?”

THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME!!!

From time to time we get comments that need to be responded to in depth. This is one case.

Demonknight2 SAID,,,,

“Hello, Damon. Since you clearly don’t want comments that say anything nice about the guys you’re against, I won’t say anything. But I have to ask you SERIOUSLY your personal opinion or what you think the Bible says about the issue… Perhaps God doesn’t necassarily want ALL believers to be BILLIONARES. But… Do you really think that as Christians, the only things we’re worthy of having (in God’s eyes) are the SAME things non-believers have or LESS than what non-believers have??? In other words, why would God ask believers to engage in things completely outside the realm of what the rest of the world is doing, then expect those SAME people to eat mud pies for dinner, AND LIKE IT?????? Again, are you saying that the God we serve is a “turn the other cheek & eat hambergers for dinner & thank me for it” type of God, while the person that slapped you is laughing with his friends about it & eating steak & has NOTHING to do with God??? Honestly, if God is going to contrast the size of our wallet to whether we love & trust in him, then perhaps it’s not us who are putting stock in money, maybe it’s really God! OK, but that sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it??? But equally ridiculous? The notion that God wants, condones, or commands that all believers be LESS than “the world” even if the subject IS MONEY!!! Be HONEST… Do you want to serve a God that “sees” you as not being worthy to have a house BIGGER than a person who OUTWORDLY MOCKS GOD???? – Thanks”

I will do my best to show how Demonknight2 needs a total paradigm shift in his understanding. Because his case is levied against mere strawmen arguments (not the real beliefs of those he opposes) that he has created in his own mind against those that do not believe in the Prosperity Gospel and the Word of Faith Movement.

The Lord has blessed some to be rich and some not. Mainline Christianity does not say that “God does not want us rich” NOR does it posit that “God wants us to live in poverty”. But the Word of God is clear that we cannot serve both God and Money (mammon), and Gods declares “chose this day whom you will serve.” We are not to store up for ourselves treasures on this earth but in heaven. It is harder for a rich man to get to heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of needle. This is not because being rich is a sin. But because earthly riches have earthly strings (the deceitfulness of riches) attached, instead of the pursuit of sanctification (the race set before us), is wrought with many inherent problems. But the Lord does sometimes bless is followers with great material possessions in this world, if it be his will for that believer. Given that they are mature in the faith and have their eyes fixed on Jesus and are serving Him and not “serving money.”

THE BIBLE HAS MANY WARNINGS ABOUT EARTHLY RICHES: 

Ecc 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is an evil disease.

Ecc 6:2 A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honor, so that he Wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is also vanity.

Ecc 12:7-8 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall returned to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity

1Ti 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded; nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Jas 1:10-11 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

THE BIBLE HAS WARNINGS ABOUT THE FLEETINGNESS OF LIFE

Psa 102:11 My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.

Jas 4:13-15 Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Psa 144:3-4 LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

1Ch 29:15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.

TIME IS JUST A PUZZLE PIECE IN ETERNITY!!!

AND Our days are short and do quickly fade Job_14:2; Psa_90:9, Psa_102:11, Psa_144:4; Ecc_6:12; Isa_40:6-8; Jam_4:14

For we are aliens and strangers to this world. This world IS NOT our home!!!

We are merely pilgrims on a pilgrimage and sojourners in a foreign land. Gen_47:9; Psa_39:12, Psa_119:19; Heb_11:13-16; 1Pe_2:11 ; 1Pe_1:17

The Lord tells us in the sermon on the Mount that we are the salt and light of the world. This means He was telling us that this world is not our home. Matthew 5:13-16. 1Corinthians 15 gloriously proclaims the resurrection life that is to come for those who believe (trust, faith is not a force) on Jesus.

BUT UNBELIVERS ARE RESSURECTED TO DIE THE SECOND DEATH Rev. 20:6,14

1Pe 1:23-24 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

Therefore, “Mat 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The Lord is not concerned about big houses in this life. He is concerned that our pursuit of earthly riches in this life will cause us to miss out on the home He has prepared for us in Heaven. If I where to suffer for in abject poverty for a hundred thousand years in this life. It would not compare to the riches of His Eternal Kingdom

I THINK THE QUESTION IS,,,,, WILL YOU HAVE YOUR BEST LIFE NOW,,, OR LATER?

http://thewordonthewordoffaithinfoblog.com/2009/05/13/this-world-is-not-our-home/

Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner, generally known as Marjoe Gortner (born January 14, 1944 (1944-01-14) (age 65) in Long Beach, California), is a former revivalist who first gained a certain fame in the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s when he became the youngest ordained preacher at the age of four, and then outright notoriety in the 1970s when he starred in an Oscar-winning, behind-the-scenes documentary about the lucrative business of Pentecostal preaching. The name “Marjoe” is a portmanteau of the names “Mary” and “Joseph“.

When Marjoe was three, his father, a third generation minister, noticed his son’s talent for mimicry and overall fearlessness of strangers and public settings. His parents claimed Marjoe had received a vision from God during a bath and began training him to deliver sermons, complete with dramatic gestures and emphatic lunges. By the time Marjoe was four, his parents arranged for him to perform a marriage ceremony for a film crew from Paramount studios, referring to him as “the youngest ordained minister in history.” Like much in Marjoe’s early life it is hard to say for sure who exactly ordained him, if his father ordained him, or if he was even ordained at all.

Until the time he was a teenager, Marjoe and his parents traveled the United States, holding revival meetings. As well as teaching him scriptural passages, Marjoe’s parents also taught him several money-making tactics, involving the sale of supposedly “holy” articles at revivals which promised to heal the sick and dying. By the time Marjoe was sixteen, he later estimated, his family had amassed maybe three million dollars; shortly after his sixteenth birthday, Marjoe’s father absconded with the money, and a disillusioned Marjoe left his mother for San Francisco, where he was taken in by and became the lover of an older woman. Marjoe spent the remainder of his teenage years as an itinerant hippie until his early twenties, when, hard pressed for money, he decided to put his old skills to work and re-emerged on the circuit with a charismatic stage-show modeled after those of contemporary rockers, most notably Mick Jagger. Marjoe made enough to take six months off every year, during which he returned to California, surviving on the previous six months’ earnings.

In the late 1960s, Marjoe suffered a crisis of conscience — in particular about the threats of damnation he felt compelled to weave into his sermons — and resolved to make one final tour, this time on film. Under the pretense of making a documentary detailing a viable ministry, Marjoe assembled a documentary film crew to follow him around revival meetings in California, Texas, and Michigan during 1971. Unbeknownst to everyone else involved — including, at one point, his father — Marjoe gave “backstage” interviews to the filmmakers in between sermons and revivals, explaining intimate details of how he and other ministers operated. After sermons, the filmmakers were invited back to Marjoe’s hotel room to tape him counting the money he collected during the day. The resulting film, Marjoe, won the 1972 Academy Award for best documentary.

After leaving the revival circuit, Gortner then attempted to break into both Hollywood and the recording industry. He cut an LP with Columbia Records, entitled “Bad, but not Evil” (Gortner’s description of himself in the documentary), which met with poor sales and reviews. Gortner began his acting career with a featured role in The Marcus-Nelson Murders, the 1973 pilot for the Kojak tv-series. The following year saw him featured in the disaster film Earthquake as a psychotic National Guardsman, and in the television movie Pray for the Wildcats. Oui magazine hired Gortner to cover Millennium ’73, a November 1973 festival headlined by Guru Maharaj Ji who was sometimes called a “boy guru”.[1]

During the late 1970s, Marjoe attempted to self-finance another film, this time a pseudo-fictional drama about an evangelist con-man and based in part on his real-life experiences. The film began shooting in New Orleans, Louisiana, but went bankrupt less than six weeks into production. The film was never completed.

Gortner was married briefly to Candy Clark, from 1978 to December 14, 1979.[2]

Gortner’s most memorable film performance was as the psychopathic, hostage-taking drug dealer in Milton Katselas‘s 1979 screen adaptation of Mark Medoff‘s play When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?, also starring Peter Firth, Lee Grant, and Hal Linden. He also starred in several B-movies such as the television film The Gun and The Pulpit (1974) {also released onto home video as The Gun and the Cross}, The Food Of The Gods (1976), and Starcrash (1978). He appeared frequently on the 1980s Circus of the Stars specials. He hosted an early-1980s reality TV series called Speak Up, America and appeared on Falcon Crest as corrupt psychic-medium “Vince Karlotti” (1986-87) before ending his movie career in 1995 with an appearance in the western Wild Bill in which he played a preacher.

Today he sponsors charity golf tournaments and other events, as well as working as a public speaker.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe_Gortner

 

Promise Keepers, Kenneth Hagan and Freemasonry

Promise Keepers has taken pagan worship one step further. The first exposure of P.K. that I read documented that fact that the Promise Keepers distributed a book filled with sexual imagery of a very perverted sort. This article revolves around the pagan worship of the phallus (male reproductive organ). The story starts in July 1997 when the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of Freemasonry in it’s official publication called ‘The Scottish Rite Journal’ made a call to raise funds to restore the Masonic obelisk in Washington D.C. and also placed it on the cover of the magazine. This vile structure has been worshipped by pagans for centuries and it represents the phallus which is also associated with sun and serpent worship. It was designed by Freemasons, named after a Freemason and the cornerstone laid in Masonic ritual. Therefore it is a sexual, pagan, satanic, Masonic idol that Christians should identify and avoid. But these facts have been ignored and Christians are being deceived about the nature of this idol. Kenneth Hagan followed the Masonic lodge by placing the obelisk on his magazine cover the very next month! I do not believe that this is a coincidence and that a man such as Hagan who is well over 50 years older then me (he just turned 80) and was in Ministry well before I was even born and who has established International Bible colleges would be ignorant of the true nature of the obelisk.

obelisk
This is a photo taken from the ‘Scottish Rite Journal’ published by the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of Freemasonry. 

 

 

The very next month in July 1997, Kenneth Hagan followed after the Mason’s example by placing the Masonic obelisk on the cover of his magazine. The article about the obelisk in the Masonic magazine mentioned that at the Grand Masters Conference held in Tulsa, Oklahoma (the headquarters for both 33rd degree Freemasons Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagan) a call was made to Grand Lodges to raise money to restore the world’s tallest masonry structure. Were Hagan and Roberts present at this meeting? Anyone willing to come forward? Another significant clue is the key word ‘illuminate’ used by the Word of Faith magazine to describe the cover. The Illuminati has been associated with the obelisk a long time before. See the image below, published in 1982, for the obelisk-illuminati connection.

curse

 

wofalbertopk

 

 

Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute. Editor-in-chief, Elliot Miller. Used by permission. For more information on the Christian Research Institute, go to http://web.archive.org/web/20030212144905/http://www.equip.org/.

“Ye Are Gods?”
Orthodox and Heretical Views on the Deification of Man

Robert M. Bowman, Jr.

from the Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1987, page 18. The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research Journal is Elliot Miller.

Is the belief that men were created to be “gods,” either in this life or in some future exaltation, a Christian teaching? Is it in any sense Christian to speak of the “deification” of man – to say that God created or redeemed man in order to become deity? What do various religious groups who use such language today mean? Are they all saying the same thing? Are all who use such terminology heretics? If not, how do we tell the difference? All of these questions will be addressed in this article.

DIFFERENT IDEAS OF DEIFICATION

The first step in answering these interrelated questions is to recognize that talk about men being gods cannot be isolated from basic world views, or conceptions of the world and its relation to God. Norman Geisler and William Watkins have pointed out that there are seven basic world views: atheism (no God), polytheism (many gods), pantheism (God is all), panentheism (God is in all), finite godism (a finite god made the world), deism (a God who does not do miracles created the world), and theism, or monotheism (a God who does miracles created the world), which is the biblical view (and is held by orthodox Jews and Muslims as well as Christians).[1] Not all doctrines can be neatly categorized into one of these seven world views, since some people do hold to combinations of two views; but such positions are inherently inconsistent, and usually one world view is dominant.
            In this article our concern will be with doctrines of deification which claim to be strictly Christian. (This means that we will not discuss, for example, New Age concepts of deification.) Varieties of such “Christian” views on deification can be found among adherents of monotheism, polytheism, and panentheism.

Monotheistic Deification

It may surprise some to learn that a monotheistic doctrine of deification was taught by many of the church fathers, and is believed by many Christians today, including the entire Eastern Orthodox church. In keeping with monotheism, the Eastern orthodox do not teach that men will literally become “gods” (which would be polytheism). Rather, as did many of the church fathers,[2] they teach that men are “deified” in the sense that the Holy Spirit dwells within Christian believers and transforms them into the image of God in Christ, eventually endowing them in the resurrection with immortality and God’s perfect moral character.
            It may be objected that to classify as monotheistic any doctrine which refers to men in some positive sense as “gods” is self-contradictory; and strictly speaking such an objection is valid. Indeed, later in this study it shall be argued that such terminology is not biblical. However, the point here is that however inconsistent and confusing the language that is used (and it is inconsistent), the substance of what the Eastern Orthodox are seeking to express when they speak of deification is actually faithful to the monotheistic world view. The language used is polytheistic, and in the light of Scripture should be rejected; but the doctrine intended by this language in the context of the teachings of the fathers and of Eastern Orthodoxy is quite biblical, and is thus not actually polytheistic.
            Thus, it should not be argued that anyone who speaks of “deification” necessarily holds to a heretical view of man. Such a sweeping judgment would condemn many of the early church’s greatest theologians (e.g., Athanasius, Augustine), as well as one of the three main branches of historic orthodox Christianity in existence today. On the other hand, some doctrines of deification are most certainly heretical, because they are unbiblical in substance as well as in terminology.

Polytheistic Deification

Two examples of polytheistic doctrines of deification are the teachings of Mormonism and Armstrongism, although adherents of these religions generally do not admit to being polytheists.
            The Mormons are very explicit in their “scriptures” that there are many Gods; for example, the three persons of the Trinity are regarded as three “Gods.”[3] Since they believe that many Gods exist but at present worship only one – God the Father – at least one Mormon scholar has admitted with qualifications that their doctrine could be termed “henotheistic.”[4] Henotheism is a variety of polytheism in which there are many gods, but only one which should be worshipped. Thus, the meaning of deification in Mormonism is radically different than that of the church fathers who used similar terms, despite Mormon arguments to the contrary.[5]
            The Worldwide Church of God of Herbert W. Armstrong (who died early in 1986) claims to believe in only one God. However, Armstrongism defines “God” as a collective term (like “church” or “family”) referring to a family of distinct beings all having the same essential nature. Presently this “God family” consists of two members, God the Father and Christ, but it is their plan to reproduce themselves in human beings and so add millions or even billions to the God family.[6] Therefore, by the normal use of words on which our categorizations are based, Armstrong’s world view is also polytheistic.

Panentheistic Deification

An important example of a panentheistic doctrine of deification within professing Christianity is Union Life, founded by Norman Grubb, who at one time was a respected evangelical leader. In 1980 Cornerstone, an evangelical magazine, ran an article arguing that Union Life was teaching pantheism or panentheism.[7] Union Life has attempted to argue[8] that panentheism, unlike pantheism, is not heretical (despite Grubb’s admission that he does not know the definition of pantheism![9]). However, neither pantheism nor panentheism separates the creation from the essential nature of the Creator, though panentheism does posit a differentiation in which the creation is the expression of the Creator. The heretical nature of Union Life is made evident by such statements as, “there is only One Person in the universe,” “everything is God on a certain level of manifestation,” and “Nothing but God exists!”[10] Therefore, Union Life’s claim to following the tradition of the church fathers[11] is no more valid than that of the Mormons.

Positive Confession: Monotheistic or Polytheistic?

Not all views of the deification of man are easily classifiable. Perhaps the most difficult doctrine of deification to categorize into one of the seven basic world views is that of the “positive confession” or “faith” teachers, including Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Frederick K.C. Price, Charles Capps, Casey Treat, and many others.
            In brief, the “faith” teaching maintains that God created man in “God’s class,” as “little gods,” with the potential to exercise the “God kind of faith” in calling things into existence and living in prosperity and success as sovereign beings. We lost this opportunity by rebelling against God and receiving Satan’s nature. To correct this situation, Christ became a man, died spiritually (receiving Satan’s nature), went to Hell, was “born again,” rose from the dead with God’s nature, and then sent the Holy Spirit so that the Incarnation could be duplicated in believers, thus fulfilling their calling to be little gods. Since we are called to experience this kind of life now, we should experience success in everything we do, including health and financial prosperity.
            Some aspects of this teaching have been documented and compared with Scripture in articles published in previous issues of this journal.[12] Regarding the claim that men are “little gods,” there is no question (as shall be demonstrated shortly) that the language used is unbiblical, but are the ideas being conveyed contrary to Scripture as well? Specifically, is the world view of the “faith” teaching monotheistic or polytheistic?
            A simple answer to this question is somewhat elusive. The positive confession teachers have made statements that seem polytheistic, and yet often in the same paragraph contradict themselves by asserting the truth of monotheism.[13] At least two positive confession teachers, Frederick K.C. Price and Casey Treat, have admitted that men are not literally gods and have promised not to use this terminology again.[14] In many cases, the dominant world view appears to be monotheism, with their teachings tending at times toward a polytheistic world view. It seems best, then, to regard the “faith” teaching as neither soundly monotheistic nor fully polytheistic, but instead as a confused mixture of both world views.
            This means that the “faith” teaching of deification cannot be regarded as orthodox. Their concept of deification teaches that man has a “sovereign will” comparable to God’s, and that man can therefore exercise the “God kind of faith” and command things to be whatever he chooses.[15] At least one “faith” teacher, Kenneth Copeland, seems to regard God as finite, since he says, speaking of Adam, “His body and God were exactly the same size.”[16] Again, it is the context in which the doctrine appears that determines whether the teaching is orthodox or heretical. In this case, there seems to be significant evidence to show that some, at least, of the “faith” teachers have a heretical view of God, as well as a heretical view of the nature of the believer. Nevertheless, there also appears to be evidence that not all of the “faith” teachers are heretical in the same sense as, say, Mormonism or Armstrongism.
            At this point we will turn to the biblical teaching relating to this subject to see whether the Bible teaches deification at all.

THE BIBLICAL TEACHING

All of the various doctrines of deification discussed above appeal to the same passages of Scripture and the same biblical themes to validate their teaching. Besides the passages where men are called “gods” or “sons of God,” there are the biblical themes concerning men in the image of God; the close relationship between Christ and Christians; and the statement in 2 Peter 1:4 that Christians are “partakers of the divine nature.” In this article we shall discuss briefly each of these texts and themes.

Are Men Called “Gods” in Scripture?

The Bible in both Old and New Testaments explicitly and repeatedly affirms that there is only one God (e.g.,Deut. 4:35-39; Isa. 43:10; 44:6-8; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Tim. 2:5; James 2:19). Therefore, the Bible most definitely rejects any sort of polytheism, including henotheism.
            The Scriptures also very clearly teach that God is an absolutely unique being who is distinct from the world as its Creator (e.g.,Gen. 1:1; John 1:3; Rom. 1:25; Heb. 11:3). This teaching rules out pantheism and panentheism, according to which the world is either identical to God or an essential aspect of God. Since He is eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient, God is totally unique, so that there is none even like God (e.g.,Ps. 102:25-27; Isa. 40-46; Acts 17:24-28).[17] The Bible, then, unmistakably teaches a monotheistic world view.
            In the face of so many explicit statements that there is only one God, and in light of His uniqueness, it may seem surprising that anyone would claim that the Bible teaches that men are gods. However, there are a few passages in Scripture which seem to call men “god” or “gods.” Most or all of these, however, are irrelevant to any doctrine of deification. In practice, the question of whether the Bible ever calls men “gods” in a positive sense focuses exclusively on Psalm 82:6 (“I said, ‘you are gods'”) and its citation by Jesus in John 10:34-35.
            The usual view among biblical expositors for centuries is that Psalm 82 refers to Israelite judges by virtue of their position as judges representing God; it is, therefore, a figurative usage which applies only to those judges and does not apply to men or even believers in general. If this interpretation is correct, Psalm 82:6 is also irrelevant to any doctrine of Christian deification.
            An alternative interpretation agrees that the “gods” are Israelite judges, but sees the use of the term “gods” as an ironic figure of speech. Irony is a rhetorical device in which something is said to be the case in such a way as to make the assertion seem ridiculous (compare Paul’s ironic “you have become kings” in 1 Corinthians 4:8, where Paul’s point is that they had not become kings). According to this interpretation, the parallel description of the “gods” as “sons of the Most High” (which, it is argued, is not in keeping with the Old Testament use of the term “sons” of God), the condemnation of the judges for their wicked judgment, and especially the statement, “Nevertheless, you will die as men,” all point to the conclusion that the judges are called “gods” in irony.
            If the former interpretation is correct, then in John 10:34-35 Jesus would be understood to mean that if God called wicked judges “gods” how much more appropriate is it for Him, Jesus, to be called God, or even the Son of God. If the ironic interpretation of Psalm 82:6 is correct, then in John 10:34-35 Jesus’ point would still be basically the same. It is also possible that Jesus was implying that the Old Testament application of the term “gods” to wicked judges was fulfilled (taking “not to be broken” to mean “not to be unfulfilled,” cf. John 7:23) in Himself as the true Judge (cf. John 5:22,27-30; 9:39).[18] Those wicked men were, then, at best called “gods” and “sons of the Most High” in a special and figurative sense; and at worst they were pseudo-gods and pseudo-sons of God. Jesus, on the other hand, is truly God (cf. John 1:1,18; 20:28; 1 John 5:20) and the unique Son of God (John 10:36; 20:31; etc.)
            Neither the representative nor the ironic interpretation of Psalm 82 allows it (or John 10:34-35) to be understood to teach that men were created or redeemed to be gods. Nor is there any other legitimate interpretation which would allow for such a conclusion. The Israelite judges were wicked men condemned to death by the true God, and therefore were not by any definition of deification candidates for godhood.
            If, then, the deification of man is to be found in Scripture, it will have to be on the basis of other biblical texts or themes, as Scripture gives men the title of “gods” only in a figurative or condemnatory sense.

The Image of God: An Exact Duplicate?

One biblical teaching upon which great emphasis is usually laid by those who teach some form of the deification of man is the doctrine of man as created and redeemed in the image of God. Of the many examples that could be given, two will have to suffice. Casey Treat’s claim that man is an “exact duplicate” of God is based on his understanding of the meaning of “image” in Genesis 1:26-27.[19] The Mormon apologetic for their doctrine that God is an exalted Man and that men can also become Gods typically appeals to the image of God in man, and to the parallel passage in Genesis 5:1-3 where Adam is said to have begotten Seth “in his own likeness, after his own image” (Genesis 5:1-3).[20]
            These claims raise two questions. Does the creation of man in the image of God imply that God Himself is an exalted man (as in Mormonism), or perhaps a spirit with the physical form or shape of a man (as in Armstrongism)? And does the image of God in man imply that men may become “gods”? There are several reasons why such conclusions are incorrect.
            First, there are the biblical statements which say that God is not a man (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Hos.11:9). Second, there is the biblical teaching on the attributes of God already mentioned, according to which God obviously cannot now or ever have been a man (except in the sense that the second person of the triune God became a man by taking upon Himself a second nature different from the nature of deity). Third, in the context of Genesis 1:26-27 and 5:1-3 there is one very important difference between the relationship between God and Adam on the one hand and Adam and Seth on the other hand: Adam was created or made by God, while Seth was begotten by Adam. To create or make something in the image or likeness of someone means to make something of a different kind that nevertheless somehow “pictures” or represents that someone (cf. Luke 20:24-25). It is therefore a mistake to reason backwards from the creation of man in God’s image to deduce the nature of God. Genesis 1:26-27 is telling us something about man, not about God.
            Besides the passages in Genesis (see also 9:6), the Old Testament says nothing else about the image of God. The New Testament teaches that man is still in God’s image (1 Cor. 11:7; James 3:9), but also says that, in some unique sense, Christ is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15). Christians are by virtue of their union with Christ being conformed to the image of God and of Christ resulting finally (after this life) in glorification (2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:29-30), which includes moral perfection (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10) and an immortal physical body like Christ’s (1 Cor. 15:49; cf. Phil. 3:21).
            Orthodox biblical theologians and scholars do have some differences of opinion as to how best to define and explain what these passages mean by the “image of God.”[21] However, these differences are relatively minor, and do not obscure the basic truth of the image, which is that man was created as a physical representation (not a physical reproduction or “exact duplicate”) of God in the world. As such, he was meant to live forever, to know God personally, to reflect His moral character – His love – through human relationships, and to exercise dominion over the rest of the living creatures on the earth (Gen. 1:28-30; cf. Ps. 8:5-8).
            From the biblical teaching on the image of God, then, there is nothing which would warrant the conclusion that men are or will ever be “gods,” even “little gods,” as the “faith” teachers often put it.

Sons of God: Like Begets Like?

Although men are never called “gods” in an affirmative sense in Scripture, believers in Christ are called “sons” or “children” of God (John 1:12; Rom. 8:14-23; Gal. 4:5-7; 1 John 3:1-2; etc.). Based on the assumption that sons are of the same nature as their father, some conclude that since believers are sons of God, they must also be gods. This reasoning is thought to be confirmed by those passages in John’s writings which speak of believers as being “begotten” or “born” of God (John 1:13; 3:5-6; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,4,18).
            As convincing as this argument may seem, it actually goes beyond the Bible’s teaching and is at best erroneous and at worse heretical. The above Scriptures do not mean that the “sonship” of believers is a reproduction of God’s essence in man for the following reasons.
            1/ In one sense all human beings are God’s “offspring” (Acts 17:28), so that even Adam could be called God’s “son” (Luke 3:38); yet this cannot mean that human beings are gods or have the same nature as God, for the reasons already given in our analysis of the “image of God”.
            2/ Paul speaks of our sonship as an “adoption” (Rom. 8:15,23; Gal. 4:5), which of course suggests that we are not “natural” sons of God.
            3/ John, who frequently speaks of Christians as having been “begotten” by God, also tells us that Jesus Christ is the “only-begotten” or “unique” Son of God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). At the very least, this means that we are not sons of God in the same sense that Christ is the Son of God, nor will we ever be. Christ was careful to distinguish between His Sonship and that of His followers (e.g., John 20:17). For this reason Kenneth Copeland’s assertion that “Jesus is no longer the only begotten Son of God”[22] must be regarded as false doctrine.
            4/ Finally, the New Testament itself always interprets the spiritual birth which makes believers sons, not as a conversion of men into gods, but as a renewal in the moral likeness of God, produced by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and resulting in an intimate relationship with God as a Father who provides for His children’s needs (Matt. 5:9, 45; 6:8, 10, 32; 7:11,21; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 4:6-7; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1-5).
            The biblical doctrine that believers in Christ are children of God is a glorious teaching, to be sure, and what it means we do not yet fully know (1 John 3:2). But we do know something about what it means, as well as what it does not mean. It does mean eternal life with Christ-like holiness and love, in which the full potential of human beings as the image of God is realized. But it does not mean that we shall cease to be creatures, or that “human potential” is infinite, or that men shall be gods.

Union with Christ: Are Christians Incarnations of God?

The doctrine that Christians are adopted sons of God is closely related to the doctrine of the spiritual union between Christ and Christian believers. This union is expressed both as a union between Christ and the individual believer and as a union of Christ and the church. Paul in particular teaches that Christians are “in Christ” (a phrase which occurs over 160 times in Paul’s letters), “with Christ” in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension (Rom. 6:3-8; Eph. 2:5-6), corporately the “body” of Christ (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:12; Col. 1:18), that they have Christ, or the Spirit of Christ, dwelling within (Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:17-20; 2 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 3:16-17), and that Christ Himself is their “life” (Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:4). On the basis of this teaching, many have concluded that Christians are in fact either a corporate extension of the Incarnation (as the church) or replications of the Incarnation (as individual Christians). Such a conclusion is often tied to the teaching of some concept of deification. The question is, does the Bible support such a conclusion?
            As with the doctrine of Christians as the sons of God, such ideas go far beyond the teaching of Scripture. To say that believers are “in Christ” means that they are somehow spiritually united to Christ, not that they are Christ. When Paul says that we have been crucified, buried, raised, and ascended with Christ, he is not speaking literally, but means simply that by virtue of our legal identification and close spiritual relationship with Christ we benefit by His death and resurrection. The teaching that the church is the body of Christ is also not to be taken literally, and should not be pressed to imply that the church is Christ or even an essential part of Christ. That the relationship between Christ and the church involves a substantial union without the church becoming Christ is best seen in the figure of the church as the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:28-32): the bride is physically united to her husband, yet they remain distinct. The Spirit indwells the believer, to be sure, but the believer does not become divine as a result, any more than the temple under the old covenant became a part of God simply because His presence filled it (cf. 1 Cor. 3:17). Christ is our life, not in the sense that our individuality is replaced by His person, but in the sense that we have eternal and spiritual life through our union with Him.
            Finally, the notion that each believer is somehow a duplicate of the Incarnation deserves a closer look. The rationale for this view is that an “incarnation” is defined as the indwelling of God in a human being; and since, we are told, this is as true of the Christian as it was of Christ, it follows that the Christian, as Kenneth Hagin puts it, “is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”[23] The error in this reasoning lies in the definition of “incarnation.” Christ was not merely God dwelling in a human being, a heresy (known as Nestorianism) the early church condemned because it meant that the Word did not actually become flesh (John 1:14) but only joined Himself to a human being. Rather, the incarnate Christ was one person in whom were perfectly united two natures, deity and humanity; the Christian is a person with one nature, human, in whom a separate person, God the Holy Spirit (and through Him, the Father and the Son as well), dwells.

Does Partaking of the Divine Nature Make Us Gods?

In 2 Peter 1:4 we are told that through God’s promises Christians may “become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” This text, even more so than Psalm 82, has suggested to many a doctrine of deification. And indeed, if by deification one means simply “partaking of the divine nature,” then such “deification” is unquestionably biblical. The question, then, is what does Peter mean by “partakers of divine nature”?
            Since the word “divine” is used earlier in the same sentence (“His divine power”, verse 3), where it must mean “of God,” “divine nature” must mean God’s nature. The word “nature,” however, should not be understood to mean “essence.” Rather, as the context makes evident, Peter is speaking of God’s moral nature or character. Thus Christians are by partaking of the divine nature to escape the corruption that is in the world because of sinful lust, and are instead to exhibit the moral attributes of Christ (cf. verses 5-11).

DISCERNING ORTHODOX FROM HERETICAL TEACHINGS

It is not always easy to tell the difference between heretical and orthodox doctrines. Often people of different religions use the same or nearly the same words to express widely different ideas. One of the marks of the “cults,” in fact, is the use of Christian terminology to express non-Christian concepts.[24] This is very much the case with deification.
            How, then, can Christians tell the difference? There are four essential elements to an orthodox view of the relationship between God and man, and any doctrine which compromises or denies these teachings is less than soundly orthodox. These four elements are monotheism, trinitarianism, incarnationalism, and evangelicalism.
            Monotheism, as has already been explained, is the view that a single, unique, infinite Being (called God) created all other beings out of nothing, and that this Creator will forever be the only real, true God. Trinitarianism is the distinctive Christian revelation of God, according to which the one God exists eternally as three distinct but inseparable persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[25] Incarnationalism is the teaching that the second person of the Trinity (called the “Word” in John 1:1, 14, and the “Son” in Matthew 28:19), without ceasing to be God, became flesh, uniting uniquely in His one undivided person the two natures of deity and humanity. Evangelicalism is the belief that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
            With these four criteria of orthodoxy in mind, how do the various doctrines of deification measure up? The doctrines of the church fathers, as well as of Eastern Orthodoxy, are, as we have already indicated, thoroughly orthodox on all four points. Mormonism and Armstrongism fail on all four counts, and are therefore heretical. Union Life appears to hold to the Trinity and salvation by grace, but sets these doctrines in the context of panentheism; therefore, it too is heretical.
            But what shall we say about the “faith” teachers? They do affirm a monotheistic world view and generally affirm the Trinity (though there is some evidence of confusion on that score). Some at least of these teachers consider the Christian to be as much an incarnation as Jesus, and thus fail the third test. Most speak unguardedly of man as existing in “God’s class,” of being the same “kind” as God, and so forth, even while occasionally making disclaimers about men never becoming equal to God. Are these teachers heretics, or are they orthodox?
            It may be that a simple black-or-white approach to this question is inappropriate in some cases. Certainly these teachers are not to be placed in the same category as Mormonism and Armstrongism, since the “faith” teachers affirm monotheism and trinitarianism. Yet too many statements have been made by these teachers which can only be called heretical, though it may be that such statements are due to carelessness or hyperbole and not actual heretical belief. It is to be hope that the “faith” teachers will recognize the errors of their unbiblical statements and repent of them. Until that time, their doctrine of men being “little gods” is so far from being orthodox that it should not be placed in that category either. How, then, should we categorize such teachings?
            In recent years ministries which specialize in discerning orthodox from heretical teachings have been using the term “aberrational” to describe teachings which do not fit neatly into either the orthodox or heretical category. Specifically, “heretical” teaching explicitly denies essential biblical truth, while “aberrational” teaching compromises or confuses essential biblical truth. Both are in error, but a heresy is an outright rejection or opposition to truth, while an aberration is a distortion or misunderstanding of truth only. Aberrational teachers affirm the essential doctrines of orthodoxy, and then go on to teach doctrines that compromise or are otherwise inconsistent with orthodoxy, while heretics actually deny one or more of the essentials.
            It we apply this distinction to the cases at hand, their usefulness becomes apparent. Mormonism and Armstrongism both explicitly reject certain essential teachings of orthodoxy; they are therefore heretical. Union Life rejects monotheism in favor of panentheism; it is also heretical. Many of the “faith” teachers affirm the essentials, but then go on to teach doctrines which undermine their professed orthodoxy; their doctrine is aberrational and false. On the other hand, there are, unfortunately, at least some “faith” teachers (for example, Kenneth Copeland) whose teachings are so opposed to orthodoxy that they can only be regarded as heretical.
            It is not always easy to decide whether a teaching is orthodox, aberrational, or heretical. Nevertheless, it can be done, and we should not allow the unpopularity of making doctrinal judgments to deter us from the necessary (if sometimes unpleasant) task of evaluating questionable teaching. In doing so, we must avoid the extreme of labeling as heretics absolutely everyone who uses the term “deification,” as well as the extreme of regarding as Christian any doctrine of deification which makes reference to Christ. It is the substance of each doctrine which must be examined as the basis for discerning whether it is orthodox, aberrational, or heretical. Only in this way can the church’s calling to “test the spirits, to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1) be fulfilled.

NOTES

1 Norman Geisler and William Watkins, Perspectives: Understanding and Evaluating Today’s World Views (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life, 1984).
2 See, for example, Gerald Bonner, “Augustine’s Conception of Deification,” Journal of Theological Studies, n.s., 37 (Oct. 1986): 369-386.
3 Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1966), 317.
4 Van Hale, “Defining the Mormon Doctrine of Deity,” Sunstone 10, 1 (1985), 25-26.
5 See especially Philip Barlow, “Unorthodox Orthodoxy: The Idea of Deification in Christian History,” Sunstone 9 (Sept.-Oct. 1984), 13-18.
6 See “A Summary Critique: Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong,” elsewhere in this issue of CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL.
7 “A Case in Point: Union Life,” Cornerstone, 9, 52 (1980), 32-36.
8 Norman Grubb, “The Question Box,” Union Life 6 (May-June 1981), 23.
9 Norman Grubb, “The Question Box,” Union Life 6 (July-Aug. 1981), 23.
10 See “A Case in Point: Union Life,” 32-33.
11 Tom Carroll, “The Mystery According to St. Augustine,” Union Life 10 (Nov.-Dec. 1985), 20-21.
12 Brian A. Onken, “A Misunderstanding of Faith,” FORWARD 5 (1982), and Onken, “The Atonement of Christ and the ‘Faith’ Message,” FORWARD 7 (1984).
13 E.g., Casey Treat, Complete Confidence: The Attitude for Success (Seattle, WA: Casey Treat Ministries, 1985), 319-324.
14 At private meetings between Walter Martin and Larry Duckworth with Frederick K.C. Price on May 1, 1986, and between Walter Martin and Casey Treat in early April, 1987.
15 Treat, 82-83, 306-327; Holy Bible: Kenneth Copeland Reference Edition (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1972), iii.
16 Holy Bible: Kenneth Copeland Reference Edition, lvi.
17 On the biblical teaching on the nature of God, see The Nature and Attributes of God, by Robert and Gretchen Passantino of CARIS (write to CARIS, P.O. Box 2067, Costa Mesa, CA 92628), or this author’s outline study, “The Attributes of God,” available from CRI (order #DA-250).
18 E. Jungkuntz, “An Approach to the Exegesis of John 10:34-36,” Concordia Theological Monthly 35 (1964):560.
19 Casey Treat, Renewing the Mind: The Arena for Success (Seattle, WA: Casey Treat Ministries, 1985), 90.
20 Barlow, 17.
21 See G.C. Berkouwer, Man: The Image of God, Studies in Dogmatics (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1962), 37-118.
22 Kenneth Copeland, Now We Are in Christ Jesus (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1980), 24.
23 Kenneth E. Hagin, “The Incarnation,” The Word of Faith (Dec. 1980), 14.
24 Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, rev. ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1985), 18-24.
25 Introductory literature on the Trinity is available from CRI.

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Kenneth Hagin Ministries: Where’s the Faith?
by Jay Howard

The United States is known by most nations of the world as a nation of wealth. It should be no surprise that in a country of wealth, there should be a doctrine that helps to establish this concept as a biblical truth on par with salvation and other teachings of Holy Writ.

This teaching is known to many as the Word of Faith. It teaches that by confessing to God that you want a particular thing (wealth, healing, a new car, new house etc.) and having established the proper amount of faith to appropriate the desired item, you can command God to give it to you.

The Word of Faith (WF) teaches that God developed these rules or laws of faith and therefore since He has set them in motion, He must obey his own law. Therefore, all anyone must do is apprehend these laws and God must obey you when you ask for the things that you desire.

The person who is thought of as the father of this teaching is Kenneth Hagin of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He’s so well regarded, that he is often referred to by those who follow WF teachings as “Papa” Hagin. According to his booklets, articles and in his magazine, “The Word of Faith”, he has believed and lived by these teachings for more than fifty years. In this article we will explore the statements of Kenneth Hagin concerning his vows of confession.

We will also attempt to discover whether Hagin himself believes the teachings he claims are biblical and have universal application to all people It is clear that when Hagin speaks of the “laws of faith” he believes that anyone can put them into practice.

“It used to bother me when I’d see unsaved people getting results, but my church members not getting results. Then it dawned on me what the sinners were doing. They were cooperating with the law of God — the law of faith.”1

He says there are four parts to getting from God what you desire. These four are confessing what you want, believing that you have what you want, receiving what you want and telling others you have what you want.

Hagin tells us that Jesus appeared to him in Phoenix, Arizona and revealed the keys for people to get from God what they want.2

Hagin says this about the need for a positive confession, “If you talk about your trials, your difficulties, your lack of faith, your lack of money — your faith will shrivel up and dry up. But bless God, if you talk about the Word of God, your lovely Heavenly Father and what He can do — your faith will grow by leaps and bounds.”3 Presumably you receive what you desire if you confess in a proper manner.

Next you believe that you have it and sometimes you must wed your belief, that you are getting from God what you told Him you want with a particular action. “Jesus dictated to me during my vision, ‘Your action defeats or puts you over. According to your action you receive or you are kept from receiving.'”4

Mr. Hagin is telling us that if you do something wrong in the formula, you perform a particular action or refrain from another particular action you will prevent God from delivering the thing that you have confessed. In other words, you will need to judge for yourself during the process which action will be the correct action to perform that will assure you your confessed goal (be it material goods or physical healing). The corollary would be, if you perform the wrong action, this will negate God’s ability to deliver what you asked. It is all up to you!

Thirdly you must accept the thing you have confessed. “…..I simply acted on Mark 11:23,24. I began to say, “I believe God. I believe I receive healing for the deformed heart. I believe I receive healing for the paralysis….”5

Telling God and yourself is the third component of Hagin’s positive confession formula. As you tell God and yourself you believe, you again are letting God know that he is obligated to give you your petition (If one can use the word loosely because petition denotes something that can be denied).

The last step in this series is to tell others you have been granted the very thing you seek. This must be done before you have tangible evidence that the goods have been delivered. Hagin explains, “Jesus said to me, ‘Tell it so others may believe’..

David knew you can have what you say. He knew you can write your own ticket He is writing it here. He knew God would do anything he would believe Him for.”6

The intent of this article is not to exhaustively refute this theory but rather to see if Hagin himself applies this formula to himself. However, let me say this. God does not answer prayer due to a completion of a set of rules. Jesus for instance told people not to tell others after He healed them (Math. 9:28-29). This would violate rule 4 that Jesus supposedly told Hagin was necessary to receive from God (it is beyond the scope of this article to explore which Jesus actually spoke with Hagin in Phoenix or if there was any vision at all).

The biblical notion of faith is simply trust in God. Jesus many times performed healing with precious little or no faith evident on the part of those who received (Mark 9:24, Luke 17:6, Math. 4:23). In these instances the only thing that was confessed was a father’s fear that he may not have enough belief. These examples openly contradict Rule 1 concerning a positive confession needed to get from God and also Rule 3 that you believe fervently for yourself that you have what you want.

When you look at the Gospels with an open objective mind, you find that Jesus never followed a formulaic approach to anything let alone how He granted the petitions of those who sought his divine help. That should team us that Jesus, who was God while He lived on earth, was still sovereign over all things. (Colossians 1:15-17)

He performed miracles not because He was compelled to like some trained seal performing at his master’s command, but because His creatures implored Him and He felt compassion for them.

Does Hagin Follow His Own Rules?

I receive a monthly magazine from Hagin’s ministry and because I am on his mailing list I also receive every two to three months a letter signed by Kenneth Hagin Senior requesting money that I am to send to his ministry.

In a letter dated June 1995, Hagin requests money for classroom chairs: “We are in need of 5,000 desk chairs for all the classrooms and seminar auditorium… I realize that the total for all 5,000 chairs is a very large sum of money. However, I believe that if all of us work together, we can accomplish this project.”

There was a letter dated October 1995 in which more money was requested: “….That is why we always depend upon the special offerings that we receive as a result of the letter I send to you every October. Your offerings help us catch up on the expenses of the maintenance and preparations during the summer and also help us through the holidays until I write to you again in February.””

This hardly sounds like the same man who wrote the booklets, “How to Write Your Own Ticket with God” and “Having Faith In Your Faith.” He says in those booklets, to obtain wealth, power, possessions, etc. from God, all one needs to do is follow 4 rules or steps as we have quoted previously. He said nothing about sending a letter requesting money from people, as a fifth rule.

Kenneth Hagin has as of 12-21-95 over 500,000 people on his mailing list, according to the public relations office at his headquarters In Tulsa, OK.

The reality is that when it comes to following his own prescription for receiving from God, Hagin fails. There seems to be an easy way to obtain money from WF theology; have a mailing list of half a million. There would be no need to request money if this so called WF formula was truly a biblical mandate.

This not an indictment of Christian ministries that solicit money through the mail (Though some would say there are those that funds, with irritating frequency, bordering on harassment). However, when an organization and or a person proclaims vigorously, as Hagin does, that all you have to do is put into practice this four point formula and God will obligingly respond with whatever you demand from Him; Then turns and sends special requests for money, it is hypocritical and proves that he has no ultimate faith in the efficacy of the formula.

It should be clear at this juncture that WF doesn’t work for Hagin nor anyone else in the movement It is so much smoke and mirrors. It is my prayer that many will see the fruitlessness of the non biblical teaching and repent of its corrupt practices. For true biblical faith is essential to understanding God and walking with Him in a truly balanced Christian life. The WF doctrine is only a diabolical counterfeit and will destroy what it claims to build, the faith of believers.

Bibliography–Footnotes

1. Having Faith In Your Faith, Kenneth Hagin; (Rhema Bible Church) p. 4,5.

2. How to Write Your Own Ticket With God, Kenneth Hagin; (Rhema Bible
Church) p. 1-5.

3. Ibid.p.l0.

5. Ibid.p.l6.

6. Ibid. p.19,23. (Emphasis in the original)

7. Letter from Kenneth Hagin Ministries, dated June1995. pg.2.

8. Letter from Kenneth Hagin Ministries, dated October 1995. Pg.2.

http://www.focusonthefaulty.com/Pages/hagin.html

 

 

The Word of Faith (WF) movement emerged within Charismatic/Pentecostal Christianity in the latter 20th century. The Word of Faith movement as a whole has no formal organization or authoritarian hierarchy, though the movement does have a number of high-profile teachers who heavily influence Word of Faith theology. It’s basic theology is a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism.

Kenneth Hagin is often referred to as the “father” of the Word of Faith movement, but in reality it was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866) who laid the foundations. It was Quimby’s metaphysical teachings that influenced E.W. Kenyon, and it was E.W. Kenyon’s teachings that in turn influenced Kenneth Hagin. Most prominent Word of Faith teachers today draw their inspiration from Kenneth Hagin.

The “force” of faith, an unbiblical view of faith, is the foundation of Word of Faith theology. Proponents believe they can use words to manipulate the faith-force, and thus actually create what they believe Scripture promises (health, wealth, etc.). Laws supposedly governing the faith-force are said to operate independently of God’s sovereign will — God Himself being subject to the “laws” of faith.

Doctrines considered essential by historic Christianity are not necessarily considered essentials in Word of Faith theology. Word of Faith teachers often redefine or reinterpret Christian essentials in order to fit them into their own peculiar theological systems. These reinterpretations are often derived from “revelation knowledge” (i.e. special revelations supposedly from God, given specifically to the WF teacher). Placing “revelation knowledge” above Scripture is one reason why WF teachers often blatantly contradict Scripture (and often each other). For example, one WF teacher, when speaking of God said, there are nine of them; and yet another WF teacher, when speaking of Jesus said, I (Jesus) never claimed to be God.

Word of Faith teachers are notorious for teaching everything from the heretical to the downright ridiculous. For example, one WF teacher (who recently renounced WF) once stated that Adam could fly, and women were originally designed to give birth from their sides. Many sincere Christians within the WF movement are unaware that their favorite teachers are teaching doctrines that flatly contradict the Word of God. One reason for this lack of discernment is that followers are told that questioning the teacher is synonymous with “touching God’s anointed,” or “quenching the Spirit.” They are unaware that Scripture encourages us to test all teaching by the written Word of God.

The Word of Faith movement is a serious threat to the Church — this because WF is assaulting Christianity from within the Church. What follows is a comparison of Word of Faith theology, as espoused by many of these prominent teachers, with the teachings of historic Christianity. Since this pamphlet represents a cross-section of Word of Faith teachings, Word of Faith adherents will believe some, but not necessarily all of these unbiblical doctrines.

GOD

WF: God is not sovereign. God needs permission to act. “Satan had gained ascendancy in the earth by gaining Adam’s authority, and God was left on the outside. God couldn’t come here in His divine power and wipe them out. He had to move in an area where it would be ruled legal by the Supreme Court of the Universe” (Capps, Authority in Three Worlds, p. 51).

BIBLE: God is sovereign over all creation. Man does not control God. “‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Romans 9:15-16).

JESUS CHRIST

WF: You control Jesus with your mouth. “You create the presence of Jesus with your mouth….He is bound by your lips and by your words … Remember that Christ is depending upon you and your spoken word to release His presence” (Cho, The Fourth Dimension, Vol. I, p.83).

BIBLE: Christ is sovereign over all creation. Man does not control Christ. “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation….You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:14, 17).

THE ATONEMENT

WF: Word of Faith theology has completely rewritten and redefined the atonement. In WF, Jesus suffered and died on the cross, descended into hell (supposedly the seat of Satan’s government), spent three days serving a sentence in hell (where He was tortured by demons), was then born again and released from hell on a technicality.

When Jesus was in the pit of hell, in that terrible torment, no doubt the Devil and his emissaries gathered around to see the annihilation of God’s Son. But in the corridors of hell, there came a great voice from heaven: “Turn Him loose! He’s there illegally!” And all of hell became paralyzed. (Capps, Authority in Three Worlds, p. 143, emphasis in original)

Jesus was born again before his eyes! (Ibid, p. 189, emphasis in original)

BIBLE: Jesus was not “born again.” He could not be born again since He did not have a sinful nature. The sacrifice had to be perfect — Christ alone had no sin nature. “(B)ut with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:19-20).

Christ did not descend into hell. He descended into Hades (Sheol) and preached to the Old Testament saints in paradise. “The he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise'” (Luke 23:42-43).

Hell (Gehenna) is not the seat of Satan’s government. Hell is currently unoccupied. Hell is a place of punishment and torment where Satan, demons, and the unregenerate will eventually be cast. Christ did not serve a sentence in hell; He atoned for our sins on the cross. “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished (tetelestai).’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).

MAN

WF: Man is a god, though a lesser god than God the creator. “Adam was an exact duplication of God’s kind!….Adam was subordinate to God. God created him, gave him all this authority and power, and said to him, ‘Be god over the earth as I am God over the heavens'” (Capps, Authority in Three Worlds, pp. 16-17).

BIBLE: Man is not, nor ever will be, a god. There is only one true God (John 17:3); if man is a god then man has to be a false god. “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me” (Isaiah 43:10).

FAITH

WF: Faith is a force. “Faith is a power force. It is a tangible force. It is a conductive force” (Copeland, The Force of Faith, p.13).

Words activate the force. “The force of faith is released by words. Faith-filled words put the law of the Spirit of life into operation” (Ibid. p. 18).

BIBLE: Faith is not a force. Faith is trusting in the promises of God. Faith is synonymous with ‘being sure’: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). We exercise faith when we trust in the promises of God.

http://www.gospeloutreach.net/whatwordfaith.html

AGAINST THE THEOLOGY OF GLORY

 © 2001 R. S. Clark. All Rights Reserved.

Introduction

Many Christians today take it as an article of faith that God must deliver Christians from trials and tribulations. This is an age in which Benny Hinn’s ridiculous books have sold millions and he is but the latest charlatan selling health and wealth to gullible Christians. Why is such a view, that God wants us to be healthy and wealthy and not to suffer so plausible to so many? There are a variety of answers.

The first answer is that this is nothing new. There have always been competitors to the Christian teaching on suffering. Martin Luther railed against what he called “the theology of glory,” i.e., a theology which replaces Christ with something else or seeks to get to God without Christ the Mediator. The theology of glory I have in mind is the reigning American triumphalism of revivalist (and Reformed) evangelicalism. Almost weekly some well-meaning evangelical announces that there is a coming revival. Bill Bright has been announcing a revival for years. Meanwhile real, weekly, church attendance rests at 10% (weekly) and rather less who attend to the means of grace in two services.

If there is precious little empirical evidence for this alleged revival, why the apparent excitement? Another partial answer is the powerful influence of Modernity upon American Christians. One of the chief doctrines of Modernity has been the doctrine of progress, that things are getting better every day in every way. As a schoolboy I remember teachers reciting this as a mantra. Such an idea of progress, whether personal or corporate (social or ecclesial) is not Biblical. Its founded in the doctrines of the universal Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man. Its founded in the notion that God has left the world to us, and we must make of it what we will. Its founded in a denial of the doctrine of original sin.

The Modern doctrine of progress has fit hand-in-glove with inherent flesh- and world-denying tendencies of American fundamentalism. Fundamentalists are famous, of course, for what they are (or used to be) against. In days past, they were against movies, cards and liquor. Now they make movies and produce cards with Jesus’ picture on them. I guess liquor is still mostly taboo, but they have often identified the “world” not as an ethical category, but an ontological category, so that they have identified the “world” with creation so that it is their very flesh they must overcome. This is, of course, a mild sort of gnosticism and it is not hard to find Gnostic strains through fundamentalism in the modern period to this very day.

Some years ago, in Chicago, I heard on one radio station, a fundamentalist offering secret knowledge (gnosis) about how to speak in tongues, for $29.95, “send now before midnight.” On the other end of the dial, at the same time, I heard a hyper-dispensationalist explaining how the Pauline epistles are “not for today.” He too would give me the secret insights for a sum. It was dueling mystery religions and, ironically, the combatants would deny they had anything in common at all.

Both, however, are children of the “higher life” movement. Both were offering, in their own ways, the secret to overcoming my humanity. Like the old monks (whom they would repudiate) both were calling me not to trust in Christ and his righteousness imputed to me, but to take that next step toward the blessing, whatever it might be.

So it is that both are also the children of Modernity, both are more or less Pelagian, both really believe in Progress (personally, morally, if not socially) but both are also selling world-flight. Doubtless both of them also hold the sort of premillennial eschatology which features deliverance from the tribulation through the rapture, followed by a seven-year tribulation, a sort of purgatory/second chance for those who missed the first bus, followed by the earthly millennium — during which Jesus, the Lamb of God, offered once for all, is said to reign on an earthly throne, in Jerusalem, watching Jewish priests offer sacrificial memorial lambs. The golden age is said to be followed by Armageddon and then, eventually the judgment. The point here is that, the view that God ought to deliver his people from rather than through tribulation has been fed and made plausible by the Modern American desire to conquer nature through the use of technology.

Part of the attraction of Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth is that it is a form of esoteric knowledge. The other part of the attraction is that the rapture is said to come before suffering and in order to deliver Christians from suffering. It is not surprising that this view has gained such immense popularity at the same time as the rise of Modernity.

One of the most obnoxious forms of triumphalism to afflict the American church is reconstructionist postmillennialism. It is most ironic that reconstructionist postmillennialism, is actually quite like dispensational premillennialism in significant ways. Like the hyper-dispensationalist and the Pentecostal, they are more closely related than they might like to acknowledge.

The other side of world-denying premillennialism is the rise of a new version of postmillennialism which, though somewhat more world affirming, also features a golden-age, in their view, brought about by the preaching of the gospel. Though some versions, at least, teach a great apostasy in the church before golden-age, postmillennialism has similar attractions as premillennialism, secret, esoteric knowledge, a future earthly golden-age and progress. The influence of the Modern doctrine of progress is even more obvious in the case of contemporary postmillennialism.

In recent decades, however, under the formulations of David Chilton, R.J. Rushdoony, G. Bahnsen and others, a “world-flight” of another sort has become more prominent. These reconstructionist postmillennialists (in distinction from the more traditional Postmillennialism of C. Hodge and B.B. Warfield) are deny the necessity of suffering for the Christian. Instead they argue that the suffering described for the church was actually completed prior to A.D. 70. This new postmillennial school is now advocating a version of what appears to be triumphalism.

By triumphalism I mean the attitude which tends to think of the church as “irresistibly conquering throughout the centuries…seemingly more interested in upholding its own rights and privileges than in promoting the salvation of all.” (P.F. Chirco, s.v., in The New Catholic Encyclopedia vol. 14, 1967, Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press)

There is evidence that Scripture itself addresses and rejects triumphalism. One writer describes Paul’s opponents at Philippi as having the following positions, “…the attaching of little significance to the Cross, a confident triumphalist theology, a strongly realized eschatology, and religious and moral perfectionism through obedience to Torah, especially circumcision. (C. Mearns, New Testament Student, vol.3, 1987,194-204.)

It is the contention of this essay that both versions of triumphalism/world-flight are mistakes. Rather, the Christian ethic and eschatology entails that we affirm this world as essentially good, if fallen, and that we are called not to flee (or be secretly raptured from) suffering for Christ between the first and second advents. Suffering for Christ is not an exception, it is the rule for Christians, it is a mark of this inter-adventual age. Our model is the incarnation itself. All true Christians affirm that Jesus was true man and true God. The Apostle John says that anyone who denies the humanity of Christ is anti-Christ. Jesus, the God-Man, the true man, the Second Adam, actively obeyed his Father and suffered through his entire life, and especially in his passion and death. This is the pattern for the Christian life.

Amillennialists, who hold that there is no earthly golden-age, that we are now in the millennium (i.e., Rev. 20 symbolically describes the inter-adventual period) predictably, find themselves between these two poles. There is a great deal which has been fulfilled by the first advent of Jesus. Thus Paul says all the promises of God have their yea and amen in Christ. Yet there is a great amount of tension between what has been fulfilled in principle and what is yet to be consummated. A. Hoekema, an amillennialist, finds a great deal of incentive for godly living in the tension produced by the amillennial stress both on the “already” aspect and the “impending” (consummation) aspect of eschatology.

For instance, this tension implies that the struggle against sin continues throughout this present life. Yet the struggle is to be engaged in, not in defeat, but in the confidence of victory. We know that Christ has dealt a death blow to Satan’s kingdom, and that Satan’s doom is certain. (The Bible and the Future, 71)

This is true not only on an individual level, but a cosmic level as well. The relationship between the already and the not yet is not one of absolute antithesis, but rather one of continuity. The former is a foretaste of the latter. The New Testament teaches that there is a close connection between the quality of our present life and the quality of the life beyond the grave. To indicate the way in which the present life is related to the life to come the New Testament uses such figures as that of the prize, the crown, the fruit, the harvest, the grain, and the ear, sowing and reaping, (see. Gal.6.8) Concepts of this sort teach us that we have a responsibility to live for God’s praise to the best of our ability even while we continue to fall short of perfection. (The Bible and the Future, 71)

It is in response to popular trend of reconstructionist triumphalism that I offer a brief examination of the role of suffering in the New Testament as a mark of the progress of Redemption and the impact eschatology upon the ethics of the New Testament. The purpose of this study is not to be exhaustive, but suggestive of a third way of viewing our relationship to this world and the question of “world-flight.”

Far from being a mere adjunct to the Christian life, suffering is, in the New Testament, an almost essential mark of the Christian life. Contrary to triumphalism, it is suffering which more often than not is a sign of blessing, not wealth or power. The relation of suffering to the personal eschatological questions has not been totally ignored by the church. The eschatological necessity of suffering is implied in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. We are first to persevere through sin and temptation. Secondarily we are to persevere through persecution. This is a reflection of the Biblical doctrine of suffering.

Suffering is a pervasive theme in the NT. Several factors figure prominently in this theme of the suffering of Christians in the NT. A brief look at a few passages should be enough to establish the thesis that in the New Testament that suffering is eschatologically necessary. That is, Christian suffering is a mark of the New Covenant.

It is a commonplace among NT writers that when those who are opposed to Christ lash out at us, it is, actually Christ who they seek to hurt. It was understood in the NT that the same rejection of Christ which led to his crucifixion would continue. So expected was it among the church that Paul tells the Thessalonians in 3.4 that he foretold that “we are about to suffer, just as also it occurred and you know.” (Barker Lane and Micheals, The New Testament Speaks, 153)

Such a common notion lies behind such passages as Phil 1.13,20 and esp. vs.29; Romans 5.1-11; 8.35-38; 2 Cor 1.3-11 and especially vs.5 where he makes the striking statement that the “sufferings of Christ overflow unto us”.

I. Key Terms

The key verbs are Anechomai, Pascho, Adikeo, and their derivatives. Anecho has reference to relieving words (Heb. 13.22) and other objects. It often has reference to receiving things from men, or in the case of 2 Timothy 4.3 not receiving or bearing with sound doctrine. Though the word is middle in form and thus we would expect it to be deponent in meaning, it is used as a passive exclusively in the N.T. Anechomai is not used often in the NT to refer directly to suffering. It is worth noting where it does, because of the passive force of the word. In 1 Corinthians 4.12 It has the sense of “enduring or receiving” sufferings. In 2 Thessalonians 1.4 the word is used to describe the Thlipsin which the Thessalonians endured.

Adikeo generally is used to designate “hurting” “injuring” someone. In Acts 25.10, Paul declares that he has not injured (Edikesa) the Jews. The first text using this verb which tends toward the idea of enduring hurt is 1 Corinthians 6.7 where, using the passive form, Paul exhorts them to be willing to be wronged, (Adikeisthe). In 2 Corinthians 7.12 he uses the verb to describe a “wronged” party in a dispute.

This term also occurs in the Apocalypse. In 2.11 the Lord promises that the second death will not harm (Adikethe) the overcomer. In 6.6 it refers to “damaging” the oil and the wine. 7.3 uses it of doing “harm” to the earth. The only deviation from this pattern is in 22.11 where John characterizes some one who acts unjustly with this verb.

Pascho of course is the NT verb associated most often with our Lord’s vicarious suffering. Of the three this word occurs most frequently in the NT. In Matthew 16.21, 17.12, (see. parallels Mark 8.31, 9.12), Luke 22.15, 24.26,46, Acts 1.3, 3.18, 17.3, Hebrews 2.18, 5.8, 9.26, 13.12, Pascho refers to the suffering of Christ on the cross. Thus, in these contexts, given the centrality of the cross in the gospels, the message of the cross provides the core meaning for this word in the NT.

This verb, however, is not applied just to Christ. In Acts 9.16 Luke records the words of the ascended Lord which Ananias is to carry to Paul, “I will show him how much it is necessary (Dei ) to suffer for my name.” Applied to us, the word has a derivative meaning. We suffer not the outpouring of God’s wrath, for Christ has suffered eschatologically once for all, but in the NT epistles especially we suffer the outpouring of the wrath of the world, Satan, and the powers of this age.

The verb Dei, is the term most often used to communicate necessity. It is also central to the thesis of this paper. It is relatively easy to demonstrate the force of Dei in the N.T. The clearest example is John 3.14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so also it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up.” It is necessary in that it is the requisite for salvation. (v.15) It has this sort of force in many places throughout the New Testament. It with passages like John 3.14,15 in mind that we are speaking of “eschatological necessity”.

Theologically we speak of consequent necessity. It was not necessary for God to save man, but having willed to save some, the cross became a necessity to the accomplishment of the Divine will. Our suffering does not have the same necessity. But it does have a derived necessity. It is derived from our union with Christ. I hope to show that union with Christ, in the NT, necessarily entails suffering. We suffer because of our union with Christ. We suffered and died in Him. So also do we now suffer subsequent to His suffering.

II. Exposition

Nowhere in the gospels, perhaps nowhere in the NT is the union between Christ and believers and its implications taught so clearly than in John 15.1-17 Jesus outlines the fact that He is the vine and those who are united to Him by the Holy Spirit, true faith, bear fruit. Jesus says he will consummate this union by laying down his own life for his friends, those whom he has chosen.

Beginning with v.18 he outlines the implications which union with Christ has for believers. “If the Kosmos hates you, keep in mind that the Kosmos hated me first.” The world does not hate those who are “united” ethically to it. The servant is not greater than the master. The master suffered, so the servant should not expect to escape a similar fate. Jesus is describing a normal part of the Christian life. That Christians in any era should be free of suffering is, as we will see, an aberration.

In Rom 5:1-11, (especially vs.4) where Paul takes it as a given that identification with the death of Christ entails suffering. It is the almost casual way he goes about describing the relationship of suffering to the glories of the Gospel that it is striking. (see. Galatians 3.4)

Paul says in v.3 that because of our relation to Jesus, we boast in suffering. Robert Schuller is wrong. Paul is not saying that “when things get tough, the tough get tougher.” Rather he is saying that our sufferings (Thlipsis), demonstrate the eschatological (and consequently) ethical antithesis between the Christian and the World. Suffering is an affirmation of our union with Christ. This is the prelude to the locus classicus for the doctrine of imputation, which is another aspect of our union with Christ.

Romans 8.18ff. Paul compares the sufferings (Pathemata) of the present age semi-eschatological with the glory to be revealed in us. For this revelation creation itself is anxious. What is the object of the anxiety? The redemption of our bodies. (v.24) He is looking for the resurrection. Because of our weakness and groanings (because of suffering?) the Spirit intercedes for us. Vs.35: Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Thlipsis or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

These are not just random selections of difficult things used in contrast with Christ’s love. These are real life experiences shared by the Roman Christians before and after the reception of the letter. The references are unmistakable. This is part of the reason Paul turns their attention for comfort to the unbreakable golden chain of God’s decrees in 8.28-30.

In 1 Cor 13.3 Paul lists things with which perhaps the Corinthians are familiar. Among them is giving one’s body over to be burned. Clearly there is a reference here to martyrdom. It was apparently common enough in the first century, that Paul could casually mention it as an example, without having to explain that Christians sometimes were martyred for the faith.

In 2 Corinthians 1.3ff, Paul’s doxology to the Father, one of the things for which Paul is grateful is deliverance from Thlipsis (vv.4ff.). We are familiar with the benefits of suffering from this passage, namely patience, but this is not the only reason Paul mentions it.

In vv.4,5 he is contrasting the comfort God gives to his saints through the Holy Spirit, with the sufferings which are ours of a course. He even speaks of Christ’s Pathemata abounding, or overflowing to us. Paul even identifies his (and our) sufferings with Christ’s. What does he mean?

We saw in the gospels with reference to Christ, Pascho has a technical meaning. This is proof of the derivative meaning I posited earlier. Paul is arguing that identification and mystical union with Christ necessarily means that we endure persecution at the hands of those who still hate Jesus. Because of that identification and union our sufferings become, in one sense, part of a continuum with Christ’s. The discontinuity is that his are perfect and propitiatory and ours derivative. (see. W. Michealis, TDNT vol.5, s.v. Pascho )

The comfort we relieve comes from Jesus. A reciprocal relationship is envisioned. In v.7 Paul says that his hope for the Corinthians is firm because he knows they are experiencing this reciprocal relationship.

Phil 1.29. This passage establishes unshakably that in the mind of Paul, there was a necessary correlation between election in Christ and suffering. Let me quote the passage beginning with vs.27

Only this, conduct yourselves worthily of the gospel of Christ, then whether coming, I see you or being absent hear about you, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit (in the One Spirit?) working as one man for the faith of the gospel, and not being frightened in any way by the ones opposing you, which opposition is proof of their destruction, and of your salvation, and this salvation is from God. Because it has been granted to you not only to believe but to suffer on behalf of Christ, having the same struggle which you saw regarding me and now hear regarding me.

Several things become abundantly clear in this passage. First, Paul correlates opposition to the gospel and adherence to the gospel. Both are proofs. Opposition is proof that one is reprobate. Adherence and “co-working”, Sunerchomai is proof of salvation. This destruction is proleptic. The opponents are still opposing.

So also the salvation is proleptic, since we are still struggling (Agona) In v.29 he argues that the cause of this antagonistic relationship is that being in union with Christ necessarily entails suffering.

We cannot fail to notice the second correlation, that of the grant to believe and also to suffer. Just as there exists a corollary between belief and unbelief, so also there is a corollary between election and suffering. We can no more escape suffering than election. For Paul both are sovereign donations of God. Neither can suffering be limited to the first century by some artificial construction, since in that case we would have to restrict election to the first century.

The force of 2 Thessalonians 1:5 is equally clear. Paul praises God for their faith and he boasts in their perseverance. Notice that he does not boast in their dominion but in their perseverance. The notion of “eschatological necessity” explains why Paul uses the phrase “counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.”

The kingdom here is both present and future. The present suffering indicates membership in the present kingdom and inheritance of the future kingdom. If there are three marks of the true church, then perhaps this is a mark of the true Christian, suffering.

Paul is not the only writer in the NT to make use of this notion. In 1 Peter 2.19-23 Peter contrasts two kinds of suffering, that which is incurred justly and that which is incurred unjustly. The former is commendable, the latter is not. What is important to notice here is that first suffering is commendable, and second, (v.21) he says “you were called to this”, i.e. suffering. Why? Because Christ is our eschatological-ethical example, and because of our union with Him we are to follow in his footsteps. Peter places suffering in the category of Christian duty. (see 1 Peter 3.14-18.) It is clearer nowhere else than in 1 Peter 4.12ff. that suffering is the normal lot of the Christian, because of our Spiritual connection to the ascended Christ.

With all this common NT background it should not surprise us to see it reappear in the Apocalypse. If for the sake of argument the recapitulation reading of chapter 12 is allowed, then the relationship of the Dragon to the Woman is colorful allegory of the didactic truth which we have clearly seen elsewhere. Indeed, the entire Apocalypse is a series of progressive parallels intended to explain to suffering Christians (Rev. ch’s 1-3) in the cities of Asia Minor, why it was, Jesus having ascended to his royal glory, they continued to suffer at the hands of opponents and authorities. Jesus’ explanation, through the visions given to John, is that it is, in effect, a mark of this age. This is the age of the tribulation, the slaying of the prophets, the wasting of God’s people, so that only a remnant will remain at the coming of the Lamb in wrath.

Conclusion

The doctrine which I have tried briefly to establish in this paper is the eschatological necessity of suffering. Suffering, because of our union with Christ, is consistently represented in the NT as a fruit and proof that we are united with him. Because we are Christ’s body, and the antithesis between Christ and the World continues, the world pours out its hatred for Christ upon us. We in turn receive assurance of faith, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit as we fill up and share in Christ’s sufferings.

Christian suffering, which the Apostle Peter distinguishes sharply from suffering for the sake of wrongdoing, is part and parcel of being a Christian. It is to be expected. Inasmuch as it is a mark of this age, for the Christian, it is necessary. Therefore we ought to expect it. We ought not be surprised when “fiery trials” come upon us.

This view is in stark contrast with both premillennialists who find that Christ’s teachings in Matt 5-7 do not apply today (for whatever bizarre reason) and those postmillennialists (e.g., Gary North) who regard Jesus’ sermon as applicable only for those who are oppressed so that they will not apply in the coming golden age. The view advocated in this essay rejects both these approaches as, at once too other worldly and not heavenly minded enough. Just as Christ our Savior suffered in his flesh, so shall we. Just as he was raised, if he tarries, so shall we be raised. Just as he has been glorified, so shall we be glorified, where glory belongs, in heaven, with the Savior.

http://www.wscal.edu/clark/suffering.php

 
 
‘Bailout’ vs. prosperity
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Posted on Oct 3, 2008LOUISVILLE, Ky.
(BP)–Now that the economic “bailout” plan has been passed by Congress, expect all parties involved to claim credit if it appears to work and deny blame if the crisis worsens. Though the primary problem is a crisis in the credit markets and the financial sector, the entire economy feels the crunch. The crisis now may lie in the awareness of uncertainty — and no one likes uncertainty when it comes to matters economic.
The public is also bracing for more bad news. Just today (Oct. 3), the state of California announced that it might need a $7 billion bailout. The state’s credit rating is not the problem, but the state has been unable to get the short-term money it needs, given the constriction of credit. Who is next?

There are a host of issues to be considered here. Many Americans are just waking up to the basic facts of economics. Most, sad to say, remain oblivious. Some among the more curious are discovering how much borrowing and lending goes on in the course of business — and among their neighbors.

Niall Ferguson, one of the world’s most influential historians, puts much of this into perspective in an essay published in the current issue of TIME magazine. In “The End of Prosperity?” Ferguson argues that another Great Depression — a “Depression 2.0” — is avoidable. Nevertheless, a period of far less material prosperity is almost surely at hand.

He explains: “The U.S. — not to mention Western Europe — is in the grip of a downward spiral that financial experts call deleveraging. Having accumulated debts beyond what’s sustainable, households and financial institutions are being forced to reduce them. The pressure to do so results from a decline in the price of the assets they bought with the money they borrowed. It’s a vicious feedback loop. When families and banks tip into bankruptcy, more assets get dumped on the market, driving prices down further and necessitating more deleveraging. This process now has so much momentum that even $700 billion in taxpayers’ money may not suffice to stop it.”

The unavoidable reduction of debt is traumatic at every level. Excessive and unsustainable valuations led to bad decisions and the illusion of free money. It never lasts. The “deleveraging” we are now witnessing will take some time to run its course. And that course is still unpredictable.

The most interesting part of Ferguson’s analysis has to do with the causes and course of the Great Depression as compared to the present crisis. His historical precision and honesty are helpful — even as his analysis is bracing.

One of the most interesting paragraphs in Ferguson’s essay has to do with the credit crisis at the household level. Consider this: “In the case of households, debt rose from about 50% of GDP in 1980 to a peak of 100% in 2006. In other words, households now owe as much as the entire U.S. economy can produce in a year. Much of the increase in debt was used to invest in real estate. The result was a bubble; at its peak, average U.S. house prices were rising at 20% a year. Then — as bubbles always do — it burst. The S&P Case-Shiller index of house prices in 20 cities has been falling since February 2007. And the decline is accelerating. In June prices were down 16% compared with a year earlier. In some cities — like Phoenix and Miami — they have fallen by as much as a third from their peaks. The U.S. real estate market hasn’t faced anything like this since the Depression. And the pain is not over. Credit Suisse predicts that 13% of U.S. homeowners with mortgages could end up losing their homes.”

We can only wonder how many Americans realize that total household borrowing now amounts to the productivity of the entire U.S. economy for a year. That is a staggering reality. Such borrowing levels are economically unsustainable. At the level of the individual household, this downturn can be catastrophic.

The Christian tradition has been very suspicious of credit and borrowing. Usury laws and a bias against borrowing and lending dissuaded most Christians from borrowing except in a dire emergency. Until fairly recently, the widespread use of consumer credit was unimaginable among Christians. Evidence that this is no longer the case can be found the popularity of so many Christian financial advisers who have been calling for believers to get out of debt.

In another article — fascinating on its own — TIME’s David van Biema looks at the influence of prosperity theology in the current credit crisis. His article, “Did God Want You to Get That Mortgage?” starts with a punch: “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.”

Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, explained it this way: “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.”

It is easy to see how prosperity theology could lead to these unwarranted assumptions. Prosperity theology is a lie, and a false Gospel. We are not promised economic or financial prosperity in the Gospel. We are promised what money cannot buy and poverty cannot take away.

It is also easy for non-charismatic critics of prosperity theology to look down on those who were so susceptible to its false promises. Many devotees of prosperity theology are desperate in ways the more privileged cannot understand, and they are prey to both lenders and preachers promising prosperity.

I must wonder how many other Christians — far removed theologically from Charismatic prosperity theology — might have bought into a very different prosperity theology. Have we all been seduced by the idea that prosperity is a given? Do we now think that prosperity is our right? Do we associate prosperity with the blessings we receive in the Gospel?

Perhaps we all need a refresher course in Christian economics and Christian theology. Niall Ferguson argues from the record of history in looking to the current crisis. Perhaps we should remember our own history lesson — that far more believers in Christ have been and are now among the poor, rather than among the wealthy. We should hear Jesus warn against materialism and Paul remind us that we are to be content when we have plenty and when we have little. We should know that the Christian virtue of thrift is incompatible with the lies of those who push consumer credit.

We are not promised prosperity. When we do enjoy prosperity, we should be thankful stewards — not peddlers of our own prosperity theology.
–30–
R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. This column first appeared on his blog at www.AlbertMohler.com

http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=29071

My next few post will come from http://www.dyingtoliveabundantlife.com/entry/teachings 

ABOUT Dying to live the Abundant Life. 

 

 

 

Have you ever wished you could die? Of course, you didn’t really want to kill yourself. You just didn’t want to be here anymore! When life gets painful, who has not wished they could just go somewhere and leave it all behind? In one of his Psalms, David expressed it like this: “O, that I had wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.”

Even the great apostle Paul, when imprisoned in Rome, said it would be better to die so he could be with the Lord. And when listing the many trials he had to endure through his life, Paul said he had “despaired of life.”

This “death wish” is a natural human response to seemingly endless trials. As a counselor for 25 years, I have met many persons who felt this way, even some who were suicidal. But as I counseled suicidal people, I learned this:

There is a right way and a wrong way to die!

When people say they want to die, they mean that they want to escape their painful circumstances. They are disappointed that life is not turning out as they had expected. And the greater their expectation, the greater their disappointment. Many have turned away in anger toward God! Who of us has not felt this way?

And it is not just the BIG things in life that cause us to feel this way. Daily we deal with these disappointments. We are angry because the paper was late this morning; the toilet stopped up again; the car needed to go in the shop for the third time this month. And we say, “I would rather die than live like this.” Wait a minute, you say! What’s wrong with wanting these things? My friend, that is the wrong question! The question is not whether it is wrong to want these things. The real question is: what will you do when you don’t get them? What will you do with your disappointment? And your anger?

The irony is that these hard times are meant to show you that there is something you need to die to, or said differently, to let go of. As children of God, we must learn there is a right way to “die” (let go) and a wrong way to “die” (let go).

This is the point of this webiste.

The real death blow is to give up, or die to, stop insisting on your own way, that is, your expectations of how things should be. This is what it means to die to self. Jesus said, unless a grain of wheat…dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears MUCH fruit. Jesus meant that you cannot be alive to this abundant life He offers unless you are willing to die to your own. When you give up your right to be in charge of your own life, that is, be your own god, you allow God to be God. And the life that He will give you is marked by contentment and peace instead of anger and depression.

Jesus suffered and died and then rose up to be seated at the right hand of His father where He lives a glorious eternal life. He extends that life to us right now – in time. It is called Abundant Life. Jesus invited you to have it, but you have to die to experience it. He calls you to deny yourself, to pick up your cross and follow Him. Picking up your cross means you are taking your place with Jesus, to die to your own will.

Jesus said “I can do nothing on my own…” Why should it be any different for you and me?

Dietrich Bonheoffer says “when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” There can be no full receiving of this “new” life while we are unwilling to let go of the “old.”

Are you hungry for more of God? Are you eager to have the abundant life that Jesus offered? Are you dying to live the abundant life?

Jesus said: I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

Through pertinent articles written by Dr. Greg Burts and some of his favorite authors and teachers, you may read more about this “dying to live abundant life” truth. And this is why Greg has written his book Are You Dying to Live the Abundant Life?.

May God bless your journey to Abundant Living!

 

 

http://www.dyingtoliveabundantlife.com/home 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dr. Greg Burts is the Founder and Director of the Center for Biblical Counseling.

Greg says, the Lord called me to the ministry of biblical counseling after my own journey away from God because of confusion and ignorance about my identity in Christ. Upon discovering these truths, he became passionate to advance personal spiritual growth in the church through the ministry of biblical counseling. Although Dr. Burts holds a Masters degree in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Azusa Pacific University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from California Coast University, his therapeutic approach is singularly biblical.

You can learn more about Dr. Greg Burts’ ministry of Biblical counseling and training through his website at www.centerforbiblicalcounseling.org.

Dr. Burts is author of two books:

Strategic Biblical Counseling and Are You Dying to Live the Abundant Life?  

While both of these books present and explain the truths contained on this website, the latter was written specifically to accompany the Dying to Live seminar, taught by him in various locations several times a year.

Dr. Burts’ wife Altha, Founder and Executive Director of Well of Life Ministries, has written a book of her own journey of transformation and healing, called Come Up Higher. She has also written a strategic Bible study called Treasures of Truth, which can be viewed online at www.well-of-life.org, where you can also hear Altha’s testimony and learn more about her ministry.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

 

An End of Ourselves, by Zac Poonen

It is not the size of a work that impresses God. The world looks for size and numbers. But God is looking for works of faith – even if they be the size of mustard seeds.

And so, when God brings us to an end of ourselves, hedging us in on every side and shattering our hopes, let us take heart! He is preparing us for greater usefulness by bringing us first to the place of impotence. He’s equipping us to produce Isaacs.

This was how Jesus prepared His apostles for His service. What do you think was the purpose of His training them for three and a half years? They were not being coached to write scholarly theses that would earn each of them a doctorate in theology. That’s how some people today feel they can be equipped to serve the Lord. But Jesus didn’t train His apostles for that. None of the twelve disciples (except perhaps Judas Iscariot!) would have qualified for a basic theological degree (by our standards), even if they had tried. Jesus trained them to learn one lesson primarily – that, without Him they could do nothing (John 15:5). And, I tell you, a man who has learned that lesson is worth more a hundred theological professors who haven’t learnt that lesson.

Total dependence upon God is the mark of the true servant of God. It was true even of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He was on earth, as the Servant of Jehovah. In a prophetic reference to Him in Isaiah 42:1, God says, ” Behold My Servant, whom I uphold.” He does not stand in His own strength; He is upheld by God. Because Christ emptied Himself thus, God put His Spirit upon Him, as the next verse says (Isa. 42:2). Indeed, it is only on those who have come to an end of themselves and who have emptied themselves of self-confidence and self-sufficiency, that God pours out His Spirit.

Look at some of the remarkable statements that Jesus made, which clearly show how emptied of self He was:
” The Son can do nothing of Himself ” (John 5:19). ” I can of Mine own self do nothing ” (John 5:30). ” I do nothing of Myself ” (John 8:28). ” I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father Who sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak ” (John 12:49). ” The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself ” (John 14:10).

Amazing! The perfect, sinless Son of God lived by faith. Emptied of all dependence upon His own self, He depended entirely on His Father. It is thus that God calls us to live too.

When we are self-sufficient, we try to use God to help us serve Him. But when we are emptied, God can use us.

© Copyright – Zac Poonen

This article has been copyrighted to prevent misuse. It should not be reprinted or translated without written permission from the author. Permission is however given for this article to be downloaded and printed , provided it is for FREE distribution, provided NO ALTERATIONS are made, provided the AUTHOR’S NAME AND ADDRESS are mentioned and provided this COPYRIGHT notice [“Copyright by Zac Poonen”] is included in each printout.

http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/word_for_the_week.php?display=12_04&year=02

 

My next few post will come from http://www.dyingtoliveabundantlife.com/entry/teachings  

ABOUT Dying to live the Abundant Life.  

Have you ever wished you could die? Of course, you didn’t really want to kill yourself. You just didn’t want to be here anymore! When life gets painful, who has not wished they could just go somewhere and leave it all behind? In one of his Psalms, David expressed it like this: “O, that I had wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.”

Even the great apostle Paul, when imprisoned in Rome, said it would be better to die so he could be with the Lord. And when listing the many trials he had to endure through his life, Paul said he had “despaired of life.”

This “death wish” is a natural human response to seemingly endless trials. As a counselor for 25 years, I have met many persons who felt this way, even some who were suicidal. But as I counseled suicidal people, I learned this:

There is a right way and a wrong way to die!

When people say they want to die, they mean that they want to escape their painful circumstances. They are disappointed that life is not turning out as they had expected. And the greater their expectation, the greater their disappointment. Many have turned away in anger toward God! Who of us has not felt this way?

And it is not just the BIG things in life that cause us to feel this way. Daily we deal with these disappointments. We are angry because the paper was late this morning; the toilet stopped up again; the car needed to go in the shop for the third time this month. And we say, “I would rather die than live like this.” Wait a minute, you say! What’s wrong with wanting these things? My friend, that is the wrong question! The question is not whether it is wrong to want these things. The real question is: what will you do when you don’t get them? What will you do with your disappointment? And your anger?

The irony is that these hard times are meant to show you that there is something you need to die to, or said differently, to let go of. As children of God, we must learn there is a right way to “die” (let go) and a wrong way to “die” (let go).

This is the point of this webiste.

The real death blow is to give up, or die to, stop insisting on your own way, that is, your expectations of how things should be. This is what it means to die to self. Jesus said, unless a grain of wheat…dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears MUCH fruit. Jesus meant that you cannot be alive to this abundant life He offers unless you are willing to die to your own. When you give up your right to be in charge of your own life, that is, be your own god, you allow God to be God. And the life that He will give you is marked by contentment and peace instead of anger and depression.

Jesus suffered and died and then rose up to be seated at the right hand of His father where He lives a glorious eternal life. He extends that life to us right now – in time. It is called Abundant Life. Jesus invited you to have it, but you have to die to experience it. He calls you to deny yourself, to pick up your cross and follow Him. Picking up your cross means you are taking your place with Jesus, to die to your own will.

Jesus said “I can do nothing on my own…” Why should it be any different for you and me?

Dietrich Bonheoffer says “when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” There can be no full receiving of this “new” life while we are unwilling to let go of the “old.”

Are you hungry for more of God? Are you eager to have the abundant life that Jesus offered? Are you dying to live the abundant life?

Jesus said: I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

Through pertinent articles written by Dr. Greg Burts and some of his favorite authors and teachers, you may read more about this “dying to live abundant life” truth. And this is why Greg has written his book Are You Dying to Live the Abundant Life?.

May God bless your journey to Abundant Living! 

 

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Dr. Greg Burts is the Founder and Director of the Center for Biblical Counseling.

Greg says, the Lord called me to the ministry of biblical counseling after my own journey away from God because of confusion and ignorance about my identity in Christ. Upon discovering these truths, he became passionate to advance personal spiritual growth in the church through the ministry of biblical counseling. Although Dr. Burts holds a Masters degree in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Azusa Pacific University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from California Coast University, his therapeutic approach is singularly biblical.

You can learn more about Dr. Greg Burts’ ministry of Biblical counseling and training through his website at www.centerforbiblicalcounseling.org.

Dr. Burts is author of two books:

Strategic Biblical Counseling and Are You Dying to Live the Abundant Life?  

While both of these books present and explain the truths contained on this website, the latter was written specifically to accompany the Dying to Live seminar, taught by him in various locations several times a year.

Dr. Burts’ wife Altha, Founder and Executive Director of Well of Life Ministries, has written a book of her own journey of transformation and healing, called Come Up Higher. She has also written a strategic Bible study called Treasures of Truth, which can be viewed online at www.well-of-life.org, where you can also hear Altha’s testimony and learn more about her ministry.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

The Way of the Cross, by Zac Poonen

Jesus, as our Forerunner (One Who has run the same race ahead of us), has opened a way for us to enter the Father’s presence and dwell there all the time. This way is called “the new and living way” (Heb.10:20).

Paul speaks of it as “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus” (2 Cor.4:10). He once said, as his personal testimony, that he was crucified with Christ and lived himself no longer. It was Christ that now lived in him, because he himself had died on Calvary. This was the secret of his amazing life and usefulness to God.

Jesus always walked the way of the cross – the way of death to Self. He NEVER pleased Himself even once (Rom.15:4). To please oneself is the essence of all sin. To deny oneself is the essence of holiness.

Jesus once said that no-one would be able to follow Him, unless he decided to deny himself DAILY and to die to himself DAILY (Lk.9:23). That is clear. It is impossible to follow Jesus if we don’t deny ourselves daily. We may be cleansed in Christ’s blood, have received the Holy Spirit and have a deep knowledge of the Word. But if we don’t die to ourselves daily, we cannot follow the Lord Jesus. That is certain.

Jesus once spoke of those who seek to patch up an old garment with a new patch. This He said would tear the garment. What was needed was to get rid of the old garment and get a brand new one. In another parable, He spoke of making the tree itself good, if we wanted the fruit to be good. It was no use just cutting off the bad fruit.

All these parables have basically one lesson: The old man cannot be improved. He has been crucified by God (Rom.6:6). Now we must agree with God’s judgment on him, and put him off, and put on the new man.

The way of the cross is the way of spiritual progress. If you are not overcoming sins like anger, irritation, impatience, lustful thinking, dishonesty, jealousy, malice, bitterness, and the love of money etc., the answer lies here : You have avoided the way of the cross.

A dead man does not stand up for his rights. He does not fight back. He does not care about his reputation. He will not take revenge. He cannot hate anyone or have a bitterness against anyone.

This is what it means to die to Self.

This way of the cross, like all the other provisions that God has made for our spiritual growth, is also something that we need DAILY, if we are to make spiritual progress.

© Copyright – Zac Poonen

This article has been copyrighted to prevent misuse. It should not be reprinted or translated without written permission from the author. Permission is however given for this article to be downloaded and printed , provided it is for FREE distribution, provided NO ALTERATIONS are made, provided the AUTHOR’S NAME AND ADDRESS are mentioned and provided this COPYRIGHT notice [“Copyright by Zac Poonen”] is included in each printout.

http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/word_for_the_week.php?display=01_05&year=06

 

ABOUT Dying to live the Abundant Life.
Have you ever wished you could die? Of course, you didn’t really want to kill yourself. You just didn’t want to be here anymore! When life gets painful, who has not wished they could just go somewhere and leave it all behind? In one of his Psalms, David expressed it like this: “O, that I had wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.”

Even the great apostle Paul, when imprisoned in Rome, said it would be better to die so he could be with the Lord. And when listing the many trials he had to endure through his life, Paul said he had “despaired of life.”

This “death wish” is a natural human response to seemingly endless trials. As a counselor for 25 years, I have met many persons who felt this way, even some who were suicidal. But as I counseled suicidal people, I learned this:

There is a right way and a wrong way to die!

When people say they want to die, they mean that they want to escape their painful circumstances. They are disappointed that life is not turning out as they had expected. And the greater their expectation, the greater their disappointment. Many have turned away in anger toward God! Who of us has not felt this way?

And it is not just the BIG things in life that cause us to feel this way. Daily we deal with these disappointments. We are angry because the paper was late this morning; the toilet stopped up again; the car needed to go in the shop for the third time this month. And we say, “I would rather die than live like this.” Wait a minute, you say! What’s wrong with wanting these things? My friend, that is the wrong question! The question is not whether it is wrong to want these things. The real question is: what will you do when you don’t get them? What will you do with your disappointment? And your anger?

The irony is that these hard times are meant to show you that there is something you need to die to, or said differently, to let go of. As children of God, we must learn there is a right way to “die” (let go) and a wrong way to “die” (let go).

This is the point of this webiste.

The real death blow is to give up, or die to, stop insisting on your own way, that is, your expectations of how things should be. This is what it means to die to self. Jesus said, unless a grain of wheat…dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears MUCH fruit. Jesus meant that you cannot be alive to this abundant life He offers unless you are willing to die to your own. When you give up your right to be in charge of your own life, that is, be your own god, you allow God to be God. And the life that He will give you is marked by contentment and peace instead of anger and depression.

Jesus suffered and died and then rose up to be seated at the right hand of His father where He lives a glorious eternal life. He extends that life to us right now – in time. It is called Abundant Life. Jesus invited you to have it, but you have to die to experience it. He calls you to deny yourself, to pick up your cross and follow Him. Picking up your cross means you are taking your place with Jesus, to die to your own will.

Jesus said “I can do nothing on my own…” Why should it be any different for you and me?

Dietrich Bonheoffer says “when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” There can be no full receiving of this “new” life while we are unwilling to let go of the “old.”

Are you hungry for more of God? Are you eager to have the abundant life that Jesus offered? Are you dying to live the abundant life?

Jesus said: I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

Through pertinent articles written by Dr. Greg Burts and some of his favorite authors and teachers, you may read more about this “dying to live abundant life” truth. And this is why Greg has written his book Are You Dying to Live the Abundant Life?.

May God bless your journey to Abundant Living! 

 

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

Dr. Greg Burts is the Founder and Director of the Center for Biblical Counseling.

Greg says, the Lord called me to the ministry of biblical counseling after my own journey away from God because of confusion and ignorance about my identity in Christ. Upon discovering these truths, he became passionate to advance personal spiritual growth in the church through the ministry of biblical counseling. Although Dr. Burts holds a Masters degree in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Azusa Pacific University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from California Coast University, his therapeutic approach is singularly biblical.

You can learn more about Dr. Greg Burts’ ministry of Biblical counseling and training through his website at www.centerforbiblicalcounseling.org.

Dr. Burts is author of two books:

Strategic Biblical Counseling and Are You Dying to Live the Abundant Life?  

While both of these books present and explain the truths contained on this website, the latter was written specifically to accompany the Dying to Live seminar, taught by him in various locations several times a year.

Dr. Burts’ wife Altha, Founder and Executive Director of Well of Life Ministries, has written a book of her own journey of transformation and healing, called Come Up Higher. She has also written a strategic Bible study called Treasures of Truth, which can be viewed online at www.well-of-life.org, where you can also hear Altha’s testimony and learn more about her ministry.

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Bearing the Cross
By John Woodward
May 17, 1999

The story is told of a child in a church service who was intrigued by the hymn, “Gladly, the Cross I’d Bear”. Some time following church, the little one told his mother that he really liked the song they sang about the bear. “What song did we sing about a BEAR?” she asked. The child responded, “You remember, “Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear”! Hopefully his mom could enlighten him. . .

Perhaps we too feel a little confused about the various facets of the Cross. Andrew Murray noted two fundamental aspects of the Cross. Christ died for us–that is the REDEMPTION of the Cross: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18).

Believers died with Christ–this is the FELLOWSHIP of the Cross: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(Gal 2:20).

Since our theme this month is “the flesh”, let us study some verses that relate the cross to “the flesh”. Galatians 5:24 states “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” In other words, because the believer is united with Christ, THE AUTHORITY OF THE FLESH HAS BEEN BROKEN! We are free!

Now I think we need to answer two questions arising from Galatians 5:24. First, Does this verse teach that the flesh is no longer present in the believer? No; the context indicates that the believer needs to “walk in the Spirit” to avoid the “works of the flesh” (v.13,16,17-see previous issue). [However, the “old man” (our unregenerate human spirit) WAS crucified with Christ and IS NO LONGER IN THE PICTURE because it was replaced with “the new man” (the regenerate human spirit) — Rom 6:6, Col 3:9,10, 2 Cor 5:17] .

Second, Does Galatians 5:24 teach that the believer somehow directly crucified his flesh? I propose that this crucifixion of the flesh is a consequence of our union with Christ at salvation. Our part was to repent and believe; God’s part was to unite us with Christ and BREAK THE AUTHORITY OF SIN in our lives–(John 8:32).

The believer’s indirect “crucifixion of the flesh” is comparable to the indirect use of “save” found in 1 Corinthians 9:22. Paul wrote, “To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means SAVE some.” Here Paul aims to “save some” through his preaching of the gospel. Would Paul directly save them? No; God would save them THROUGH Paul’s witness. Similarly, believers “have crucified the flesh” indirectly as a consequence of being united with Christ: “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor 6:17). So through Christ, THE AUTHORITY OF THE FLESH BEEN NULLIFIED BY GOD!

This truth is also taught in Colossians using the symbolism of circumcision: “And you are complete in Him [Christ], who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Col 2:10-12). Circumcision was the Old Testament sign of the covenant relationship with God. It conveyed the idea of putting off the sin inherited from Adam, and anticipating the promised Seed who would come–Christ (Gal 3:16). Those who are redeemed by Him are spiritually “circumcised”. As the prophet foretold, “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:33). When we walk in the Spirit we are living in accordance with our “new heart”.

There is another use of “putting to death” of the flesh that needs to be examined. In Romans 8:13 we read, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you PUT TO DEATH the deeds of the body, you will live.” Charles Solomon explains, “When flesh is in the ascendancy or control we are functionally (though not organically) separated from the Source of Life which results in a STATE of death (Rom 8:6) while having a STANDING of Life (Col 3:4)”. In other words, if the believer “walks according to the flesh” he does not lose his salvation, but he does hinder fellowship with God. (Fleshly thoughts and actions grieve the Holy Spirit–Eph 4:30).This “putting to death” the deeds of the flesh differs from the FACT of our crucifixion with Christ and the blessings that flow from it (as described above). Rather, Paul exhorts us in Romans 8:13 to apply the Cross to the flesh patterns which still exist in the soul.

Our POWER SOURCE for this is the Holy Spirit: “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [for holy living] through His Spirit who dwells in you.”(Rom 8:11).

OUR STRATEGY is to set our minds on the truth, on our freedom, on Christ, and on the Spirit’s active ministry in us: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Rom 8:5).

One concluding reference to the cross in the believer’s life is Luke 9:23: “Then He (Jesus) said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Here our Savior calls us to say “no” to our will and “yes” to God’s will–no matter how difficult the consequences. The Lord Jesus demonstrated this commitment in His prayer in Gethsemane (Mark 14:36).

Are we gladly willing to bear His Cross? This involves reckoning our true identity and freedom in Christ. Thankfully, we can rely on His Resurrection life in us to live according to God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will. This is the life God calls us to live–a life without regrets.

Our gracious God, we thank you for the freedom from the authority of the flesh that is our birthright in Christ. As we stand in grace, we choose to live by grace. In Christ’s victory we pray, amen.

JBW May 17, ’99 vol 2 # 20

http://www.gracenotebook.com/pub/163

ABOUT the Center for Biblical Counseling

Dr. Greg Burts, Founder and Director of the Center for Biblical Counseling and Altha Burts, Founder and Executive Director, Well of Life Ministries
 
The Center For Biblical Counseling is a non-profit organization, incorporated by the State of California to provide counseling and counselor training.

For 2000 years, the church has been the recognized community resources for counsel and advice. But, unfortunately, modern day “Christian psychotherapy” has become a replacement for what-used-to-be a pastoral function of caring for souls. The Christian psychology movement is marginalizing pastors and church leaders who are no longer being taken seriously with respect to counseling. Secular psychology has slipped in through the back door of the church; it is chipping away at the foundation of absolute truth with emphasis on self-esteem, self-love, and self-forgiveness. It is time to return the ministry of pastoral care and counseling to the church.

While most pastors want to meet this increased demand, they feel overwhelmed by the need.

The SOLUTION, many churches have found, is to establish Biblical counseling ministries, where mature, gifted persons within the church are able to do this work of pastoral care.

Gifted Biblical counselors can meet this need, and also free the pastor’s time and energy for other pastoral duties.

This website offers you a strategy for your church’s counseling ministry. The objective is spiritual growth through a Christ-centered proclamation of transformation. Biblical Counseling is about relationship with Jesus; the goal of Biblical counseling is Christ-likeness.

Vision

The vision is for lay biblical counseling in every church.

  • Lay Biblical Counselors can extend the effectiveness of the pastors’ shepherding responsibilities by providing one-on-one ministry to hurting individuals.
  • Lay Biblical Counselors promote a spiritual perspective, as they help counselees to apply the Word of God to issues.
  • Biblical Counselors have the advantage of working within the context of the church and can avail themselves of all the associative resources: small groups, bible studies, recovery ministries, to name a few.

About Dr. Greg Burts

Author of two books

“I have written a book to help you understand how to do biblical counseling. Strategic Biblical Counseling, available at Amazon.com or Winepress. I have also recently published a book on personal transformation called Are You Dying to Live the Abundant Life? also available at Winepress or Amazon.com. Also visit my website at Dying to Live the Abundant Life.com.

The Lord’s Calling

The Lord “called” me into biblical counseling after my own journey away from God because of confusion and ignorance about my identity in Christ. Upon discovering these truths, I became impassioned to advance personal spiritual growth in the church through the ministry of biblical counseling.

Twenty-five Years Experience In Biblical Counseling My approach provides a biblical content combined with solid therapeutic techniques that strengthen the counselee’s relationship with Jesus Christ. Although I have a masters degree in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Azusa Pacific University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from California Coast University, my therapeutic approach is singularly biblical.

Pastoral and Counseling Experience

Over the last 25 years, I have been a pastor in two churches. One was very small and one very large. Therefore, I understand the needs of pastors of all kinds of congregations! My wife Altha and I have been involved in many Bay Area churches to assist them in training and equipping individual counselors, and establishing church counseling ministries. My wife Altha is Director of Well of Life Ministries in Sunnyvale and has written a book of her own spiritual journey, Come Up Higher.

Dr. Burts is available to pastors, by email, for consultation.

http://www.centerforbiblicalcounseling.org/about

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SOME TESTIMONIES

Pastors Testimonials

October 15, 2005

John Headley, Cell Director
Pastoral Care
GateWay City Church

To Pastors and Church Leaders,

While creating a peer counseling ministry in our Church we asked Dr. Greg Burts to come in and teach a counseling course. He did, and we are greatly pleased with what he did. We are a Cell Church and our ministry is made up of many small groups. He strengthened leaders to handle situations previously handed over to the Pastoral Staff. Our counseling load is diminishing as leaders are stepping up to the task. They are happily released into victorious ministry and we are enjoying the fruit of it.

I would highly recommend his ministry to you as it is Biblically based, clear and simple, and it can be applied realistically in almost every situation where counsel is needed. Dr Burts is easy to work with and has shown himself to be flexible, according to the needs of the particular Church or ministry he is serving. Thank you.

May 6, 2005

Steve Aurell, Pastor
Recovery and Biblical Counseling Ministries
Central Peninsula Church

In 2002, as our church was expanding in both size and need, the pastoral staff was grappling with how to best utilize God’s resources to help those in times of spiritual crisis. Although our staff would be considered large by most standards the counseling needs were far greater than our capacity to manage. For the most part, when we couldn’t connect them to bible studies, community or recovery groups we would then refer into professional counseling services as the only other option. Unfortunately, for many this is a costly alternative. But the cost is not merely financial for the body of Christ. For the church is called to be a place of restoration where the neglected and rejected sojourner finds peace in the midst of the storm. We cannot afford to take this calling lightly. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

Well, God had a plan for us. I don’t know why I’m surprised. He always seems to act when the need is in line with His vision. This particular plan began to unfold as various circumstances put us in touch with Greg Burts. After meeting with our elders, we bought into his vision for Biblical Counseling ministry. Greg then trained our first round of counselors; many of whom are still ministering in that capacity today. That was September of 2002. We hung our “shingle” shortly thereafter and have been operating at capacity ever since. Greg came back to train the second round of counselors in 2004 and provided us with the tools necessary to then replicate further trainings and internships on our own. Today we have 15 counselors on staff and are in the process of adding 5 more. Our relationship with Greg continues as he often provides support and consultation when difficult counseling issues surface within the ministry.

We are eternally indebted to Greg for his willingness to both equip and empower lay ministers to be an extension of pastoral care. Therefore, I highly recommend the Center for Biblical Counseling to any pastors who are struggling to meet the counseling needs of the church. We have found this approach deeply rooted in the truth of God’s word, intentional in design, and simple to apply. More importantly the Biblical Counseling ministry mirrors God’s compassion for His people. He is the One who works in the deep places of the soul. We are merely the conduits. And when we, as God’s servants, allow His Spirit to both reveal and empower His plan in our lives there can be peace in the midst of life’s storms.

June 15, 2002

Paul E. Sheppard, Senior Pastor
Abundant Life Christian Fellowship
Menlo Park, CA

Dear Fellow Pastors:

Several years ago when our church was understaffed and I was overextended, I began looking for Christian counselors in the Bay Area to whom I could refer some of our members. After my first meeting with Greg Burts I was convinced that God was going to use him to help lighten my load and effectively counsel some of my members, and he did. We found his counseling ministry to be Bible-based, Christ-centered, and rooted in the value of helping people discover who they are and what they have as children of God.

Later, I asked Dr. Burts to help us launch an in-house Biblical counseling ministry. He helped us recruit prospective counselors from the ranks of church members/attendees, led a series of training sessions, and supervised the internship of those selected from the class to be counselors. To this day, Dr. Burts continues to serve as a consultant to our counseling ministry and its director.

I’m convinced that churches will be healthier and pastors more effective when we equip and release lay people to do the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12). It’s a win-win proposition. Believers are given a forum in which to exercise their spiritual gifts, church members/attendees receive genuine help by meeting several times with a caring and qualified Biblical counselor, pastoral oversight is maintained because the counselors are known and approved by the pastor or ministry director, and the pastor is free to focus more time and attention on the ministry of the Word.

Therefore, I highly commend CBC and its training program to every pastor with limited time, giftedness, or inclination to meet with all of the people in your church who desire and deserve to be helped through Biblical counseling.

Students Testimonials

“I prayerfully & patiently waited for this course for one year and it was well worth the wait!”

It has exceeded my expectations because of how my very spirit, eyes, heart and soul have been exposed to powerful truths from God’s word. This class is more of a journey than a mere class because it is lead by the Spirit of God through Dr. Burts. Because of this exposure my life is forever changed; “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” Hebrews 4:12 . I can truly say that I am eternally grateful that I am a beneficiary of Dr. Burt’s Ministry. I love him and his wisdom, humor, candor, intellect, knowledge and how he challenged our class to be transformed by God’s word.

Doris Stanley
Manager, Human Resources
Deloitte & Touche

“An uncompromising approach to Biblical Counseling. I was challenged to “higher” heights in God’s Word.”

Florence Wilson
Counselor – Abundant Life Christian Fellowship
Menlo Park, CA

“Dr. Burts’ training has equipped our church with the necessary tools to establish a lay counseling ministry…”

Dr. Greg Burts provided a very simple biblical approach for helping people find answers to very complex issues facing them today. Dr. Burts’ training has equipped our church with the necessary tools to establish a lay counseling ministry, also providing techniques that have been effective in bringing about change and helping people grow in their relationship with the Jesus Christ.

I recommend this training to any Pastor who wants to better meet the counseling needs of their parishioners.

Cora Harper
Director Abundant Life Christian Fellowship
Biblical Counseling Ministry

“Biblical counseling approach is the answer to my prayers”

A perfectly practical, profound yet simple, system of applying truth: Dr. Greg Burts’ Biblical counseling approach is the answer to my prayers personally, as well as for the church.

Geraldine Wilson
Biblical Counselor
Abundant Life Christian Fellowship

link here

Thoughts On the Current Economic Crisis

by Isaiah on October 13, 2008

wallstreetThe world around us, and as we know it, is falling to pieces. There’s panic at every corner — the financial crisis is sending ripple waves across the world and being felt by millions at an unprecedented speed; there’s war (Iraq, Afghanistan) and rumors of war (Iran, Israel), political uncertainty, and the list goes on.

To many, it’s doom and gloom – time to hunker down and try to ride out the crisis as best as we can, while counting on the governments and experts to devise manners in which to bring the world out of the mess caused by unbridled greed and lust for mammon.

Many who have already been affected, and will be affected, will be Christians — at this juncture it doesn’t matter if they are real Christians or those who just profess to be Christians. Looking at Christendom in the past several years, one wonders if much of the teachings coming from pulpits are setting up Christians to be some of the biggest losers in the crisis and perhaps even cause a great falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Look at what we have today — Christ-less Christianity that has adopted the world’s preoccupation with the self, and subsequently a feel-good “gospel” that’s all about me. God wants me to have good self image; God wants me to be successful; God wants me to be rich; God wants me to be the head and not the tail in the marketplace and the list goes on — me, me, me, and just me.

Instead of teachings on separation from the world, a denial of the flesh, and carrying one’s own cross, today many churches are teaching exactly the opposite. The flesh is to be gratified — the natural desires of man to be fulfilled through the accumulation of wealth and power. Instead of separation from the world, the filthiest, God-denying, forms of entertainment are brought into churches with the excuse that they have inherent Christian messages in them.

And then there are some of the biggest scammers in history fleecing thousands upon thousands of not-so-discerning Christians who provide a continuous stream of income for the former simply because these so-called pastors are able to quote Scripture and twist them to achieve the desired effect, much like at the beginning when the serpent told Eve, “You shall not surely die.” (Genesis 3:1-6).

These pastors — wolves in sheep’s clothing — play on the desperation of people and appeal to their natural desires. After all, who in their right mind in the natural human state doesn’t want to be rich or powerful? And if there’s a god who can give me all that in 100-fold (or more) returns if only I give up a sizable amount of my income as a tithe or building fund, oh yes, I’ll definitely worship that god!

It worries me that in these bad times, when desperation is high, that more would be drawn to such false promises. Most would think that some folks, after realizing that the promises were empty, might abandon the teachings and return to Biblical truth but I fear that the opposite might actually be more probable.

Mind you, I’m not making light of the desperation that some of these folks might have and the extreme poverty and hardships they might face, but it is my opinion that it is in desperate times that people will turn to desperate measures, including falling chin-deep into such mire. We might therefore see some of these tricksters flourishing, fleecing what little the desperate have for their own gains with twisted Scripture and false promises.

In fact, I’d even go as far as to state that such men aren’t very much different from the scammers many of us have at one time or another received an email from at our email accounts. In order for you to claim the promised prize(s), you first have to give and give till it hurts. Their version of Matthew 7:9-11 goes something like this (added words in italics):

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him after you give what money you have in your bank account as tithe or to the fund.

I am not speculating, but have seen how, even in dire times, many who buy into the prosperity and self-serving messages encourage one another to continue giving despite the pain and desperation. On a blog where the writer preaches the prosperity message, he advises a woman on the brink of a breakdown after failure in her business and calamities in her personal life to “not give up” but continue to give, believing that she will ultimately reap the returns in due time. As recent as this past Sunday, the senior pastor of a mega-church in Singapore has been telling his congregation to pledge more to the building fund and tithe more, backed up by testimonies of folks who have done so and are now rich and prosperous.

While I fear that more will fall into the traps strategically set up by such tricksters, there will also be those who will leave, disillusioned with the faith and angry with God. Most likely they will not blame themselves (for not many will), but their hearts will cry and curse God for not delivering on His promises (according to the pastors). And so, even if there was seed planted that grew a little in their hearts, whatever little bud or fruit there was would be ripped up and thrown away. In many ways, folks who have professed to be Christians but are now disillusioned and bitter are, in most cases I’ve come across, worse than militant atheists.

Finally, what is the true Bride of Christ to do? I very much believe that many in the world need to hear the Gospel — even those who have professed to be Christians but have not the fruits to identify them as being so. Perhaps what’s even more needed and necessary is for many churches to return to Biblical, Christ-centered Christianity. This is a time of cleansing and discipline when we need to pray that the will of the Lord our God be done, and we pray that part of His will is to rid His bride of the impurities of the messages of Self and Mammon.

It is also a time for Christians to be Christians — many, even those who have a good grasp of theology and see themselves as being Biblical, are Christians until they hear someone call out for financial help or other forms of assistance which might inconvenience their normal routines. Perhaps many of us are not too keen to lend without expecting anything back (Luke 6:34-35), or even offer a fellow Christian and even a non-Christian a meal or two but it is in such dire times that, I believe, true Christianity is, and should be, in action. I’m not emphasizing a social gospel, vis-a -vis Rick Warren, but the truth is that the Bride of Christ in recent times has to a certain degree been quite ensconced in our own little bubbles.

There’s no doubt in my mind that God has allowed this unprecedented financial crisis for a reason — that His Bride for His beloved Son Jesus Christ returns to an ethos that solely relies on Him, forsaking the temporal treasures of this world for His kingdom, and defines success as He defines it. As members of the body of Christ Jesus’ bride, we’ll do well to rejoice even in these troubling times, with the full knowledge that God is in control, as we encourage one another and as we pray for many to receive salvation and find true contentment in Him alone.

Maranatha!

http://wordnverse.com/2008/10/13/thoughts-on-the-current-economic-crisis/

prosperitygospeldropouts

(Cartoon from the Back Pew)

 http://hermansmith.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/prosperity-gospel-dropouts-they-need-the-mentorship-of-fred-price/

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The Wages of Unrepented Greed and Pulpit Peddling is Death

prosperity-kills

http://hermansmith.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-wages-of-unrepented-greed-and-pulpit-peddling-is-death/

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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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Coming to THIS BLOG and

//www.blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

Tuesday nights @ 10pm Central

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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/

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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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“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 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.

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AN EX-WORD FAITH PREACHER Comes Full Circle: From Baptist, to Baptist bashing Word of faith Preacher and back to Baptist. Go figure

About a month ago I was blessed to have an Ex-Word of faith preacher visit this site. I have posted a couple of his writings from his Blog and have talked with him via email and telephone. AS He and his site are totally awesome. I will be interviewing John Edwards sometimes this week and will have it up for downloading and listening soon after.

I encourage you to visit John’s site. He says he wants to make his Blog into a Book. I believe it will make an excellent book. John needs someone to help him with editing as he wants to self publish. If you or anyone you know has editing talent and would like to help Pastor John. Please give him an e-mail. Faithpreacher.blogspot.com

Here is three of his post that would make a good chapter together. I HOPE YOU FIND HIS STORY AS INTERESTING AS ME. DON’T MISS Johns video above.

I have a short comment AND OPINION POLL at the end.

 

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My Journey Has Come Full Circle

It sure feels good to be a regular guy. That is what I like the most about my new life. I work hard all day with my hands, so my mind has plenty of time to reflect. There are some things that are just now dawning on me. Things are becoming clear, and the purpose of this whole last year is coming into focus.

I was born and raised in the Southern Baptist Church. As soon as I became a teenager, I started going on youth retreats with elements of Briarwood Presbyterian Church. While on the yearly retreats to Gatlinburg, I became a disciple of a guy named Chuck Jones. I attended all of his Bible studies at UAB until I backslid and joined the Marine Corps.

Looking back on my life and my faith, I had been Baptist/Presbyterian all of my life. The teachings of John Calvin and Martin Luther made up my spiritual core.

A lot of my friends were Charismatic, but I always shied away from them when it came to tongues. You know why? Cause they bragged on it and the great power that came with it, but they were involved in all kinds of sexual sin. I could not see any difference between them and me.

I married a girl that was raised Roman Catholic and then became a Charismatic. We would argue over beer and theology for years. She wanted us to attend a Charismatic church so after a few years of not being in church, we went. It was a Charismatic church in Roebuck. A fight broke out right in the middle of the service! I left there convinced that all Charismatics were loony and unstable.

As a Marine, and a Police officer I stayed backslid. I went to church twice in ten years. I was still very Calvinistic in my faith. I was not afraid of being killed on duty. I knew that my days were numbered in Heaven and that nothing could change the Providence of God. I pretty much had no worries in life.

Then in 1994 my wife was exposed to the AIDS virus, and her pregnancy with Brian had some complications. Someone gave me a Kenneth Hagin book. Here was a new religion that promised health, wealth, miracles, supernatural power and all of my prayers answered exactly as I desired with one catch: I just needed to have faith. So that began a 14 year ride on the wild side. Went from being a happy backslidden Calvinist, to a tongue talking, devil stomping, faith healing, scripture speaking, believe ye receive it fanatic. I was so on fire about the Faith Message that I forsook all and headed to Tulsa.

I sat in class at Tulsa hearing about miracles, signs and wonders every single day! All I had to do was to keep sowing seed, be faithful, not criticize, tithe, make the right confessions, speak the right scriptures, listen to all the Cd’s on faith, attend prosperity seminars, faith seminars, special Holy Ghost meetings, laughter meeting, prophetic meetings, special anointed meetings, etc, etc.

I did all of this stuff for fourteen years. It is a bunch of hype. I never saw a miracle, never saw a true healing of a serious disease, never saw the big harvest, never had what I confessed, never felt the goosebumps. Why? Because, 90% of all things Charismatic are HYPE. A bunch of made up stuff, far fetched testimonies, hearsay, and plenty of bad doctrine from loopy people that never went to a reputable seminary. I saw a lot of emotion and a lot of hype. I never saw the Charismatic Word of Faith message work for anyone but the Big Dawgs on TV.

Finally, God opened my eyes to all the junk and error, and led me right back to my spiritual roots of Calvinism. I am back where I started!

But why did I take that wrong exit into that strange and dangerous neighborhood

Because God has a plan bigger than my plan. He wanted me to see the hype and the deception from inside.

Thank God for His care, to rescue from deception and hype, and to bring me back to the True Gospel of the Bible.

I saw a billboard advertising one of the popular recently divorced charismatic word of faith televangelist coming to town and grieved. I thought about how many poor and desperate folks would show up for her meetings, sow their best seed and leave with nothing. It is sad. She will laugh all the way to the bank. I guess they will have to find out for themselves. God is in control, not man.

I advise everyone that reads this blog, to find a good church that teaches Reformed Theology, because that is the theology that Christ and Paul taught. Find yourself a Southern Baptist Church that is Reformed, or find a Presbyterian Church and plug in. And if anyone ever invites you to a Word of Faith church, run like Forrest Gump! Run Forrest Run!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-journey-has-come-full-circle.html

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When I was Baptist

I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church and was very happy in it. I stayed backslid a lot but I loved God and had a tremendous amount of faith in Him. When I was a Baptist I truly believed in the Sovereignty Of God and that He was in total control of my life. I believed that I was eternally saved and that I could never, ever loose my salvation and my relationship with Him no matter how bad I blew it. When I was a Baptist I believed that God had a specific plan and that nothing could ever hinder it. I believed that my steps were ordered of Him and that no matter what God was going to have His way. When I was a Baptist I believed that there was a time written in God’s Providence for me to die and that nothing could change that. I believed that my days were numbered according to His will and purpose. When I was Baptist I was very aware of God’s Awesomeness and my inability. When I was Baptist I was afraid of God in a respectful way. When I was a Baptist I wanted to run things past God before I did them. When I was Baptist I was very concerned about lost people going to Hell. When I was a Baptist I never, ever doubted His existence or His love for me. When I was a Baptist I believed that God was in control of all events in my life and that even the bad ones were some how working for my favor.

When I was a Baptist I had peace and joy. When I was a Baptist my focus was on Jesus.
Then I started reading Word of Faith books. I read every book that I could find. I listened to hundreds of tapes and Cd’s. I was excited about the Word of Faith message. It put me in control of my life. Having been in the Marine Corps and having been a Police Officer, I was used to being in charge of things. I was used to being the Boss. It was a perfect way of thinking for me. The Word of Faith promised me a sickness free life, a long life, and a rich life. It promised me that I could use my words to frame my world. It taught me that I could speak whatever I wanted into existence. The Word of Faith taught me how to get a vision and write it out. It taught me to speak things out and to shoot for the stars. The Word of Faith promised me power and authority of everything in my life and that I could create and rule my world and circumstances with my words.The Word of Faith left God and His Sovereignty out of the picture. All I had to do was to speak and believe what I wanted, money, health, fame, success, the power was in my tongue. The Word of Faith taught me that I was the one responsible for everything that I had in life, that everything in my life was a result of words, good or bad. I learned that I could have what I said. I learned how to twist and manipulate entire passages of the Bible to line it up with health, wealth and victory. I learned how to debunk the whole book of Job. I learned how to get rich God’s way, by planting money seeds and speaking words of prosperity. I learned to ignore symptoms in my body and to think of the pains as lies of the devil.

I lived and believed like this for fourteen years. I taught this for eight years.

I will tell you what the Word of Faith message did for me. It turned me into a self-centered person more concerned with my plans and needs than anything else. Instead of trusting in God I began to trust in my words and in my faith. I dummy downed God. I thought God had to follow my rules of confession. I thought I could boss God around and talk Him into seeing things my way. I became obsessed with myself. I became full of pride. I also began to sink into depression and darkness. The Word of Faith had taught me that it was all about me and that I was in control and that everything good was riding on my faith and confession. Needless to say, I was putting so much pressure on myself to believe that I was miserable. All of the faith formulas and prayer rules that I had learned in the Word of Faith had me so bound in legalistic chains that I could no longer pray or talk to God. I was miserable. God got smaller and smaller in my thinking because I was the one in charge. I stayed frustrated and aggravated because my confessions were not working and my prayers went unanswered. Even worse was that I was teaching hundreds of people the same message and they were having the same results. They still had sickness and lack and problems.

they to began to spiral down into depression and burn out from trying to be perfect in their confessions and acts of faith.

It is a false message. It is cultic. It destroys the concept of God that He wants us to have.
Praise God for His patience and love for me! God has opened my eyes and rescued me from myself and this false religion! I have returned to my roots. I have abandoned the Word of Faith and returned to the Word of God and my relationship with Him. For me God is in control again. His will be done. I am feeling alive again. I can feels God’s love again. I am trusting fully in Him and His ability and in His plan. He is in control. He is on the throne. He is my God again!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/07/when-i-was-baptist.html

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Naming Names and Baptist Bashing

I have been accused of naming names and bashing the Word of Faith Movement. I have been accused of not walking in love. A lot of people I know think Jesus walked around like a sissy. A lot of people I know wouldn’t like Jesus if they ever heard him preach. Jesus was full of love and rebuke. He named names. He called a spade a spade. He was very confrontational. He even bull whipped some folks at church one day, with a whip he made! He called Herod a “Fox” which was slang for homosexual. He called his critics snakes. Love in action.

The Apostle Paul, who wrote the “Love” chapter named names. He would call false teachers by their names and have the letter read out loud to the church.
The Apostle of Love, John, named names.

It is a minister’s right and moral obligation to point out false teachers and false doctrine. A pastor is responsible for his flock. If he sees his flock flirting with the wolves then it is his job to point out the wolf. Love will point out danger.

Paul told Timothy to rebuke with all authority.

Christians are scared to speak out these days. Any time some one does speak out against error they are rebuked for not walking in love.

When I was a Word of Faith teacher, I loved to bash the Baptist Church. I learned how to do this from my main teacher in Bible school. He loved to poke fun at the Baptist. Bless their “darling hearts” and “stupid heads.” Many Word of Faith ministers trash the Baptist. But let someone criticise Kenneth Hagin and all of a sudden the love walk is brought up.

Many Word of Faith people feel vastly superior to the Baptist. When I was a WOFer, I looked down on the Baptist as missing out on the promises and power of God. Over the years it finally dawned on me that our lives were no better than theirs. We were confessing things, believing things, claiming things and calling things that be not as though they were and going no where in a hurry. At the same time the Baptist were doing just fine with out the faith message.

Have you ever noticed that Word of Faith people that claim healing still have to use doctors and medicine just like the powerless Baptist? Did you know that Word of Faith people that claim the baptism of the Holy Ghost and the blessing of praying in tongues still make stupid decisions and fall into deception and false doctrine? Have you also noticed that the Word of Faith people that claim so much revelation knowledge about the Word of God have no more power than the Baptist? They are no more wiser, no more holy and no better off in any way. I have also noticed that although so much emphasis is placed on prosperity, the Word of Faith people are no richer!

I remember visiting a tiny Word of Faith church in Mississippi. We were out in the parking lot burning with envy at the gigantic Baptist Mega Church across the street. That Baptist church was always full of people and money and people getting saved, But they did not have near the revelation knowledge that we had. What was wrong?

By the way, the term revelation knowledge is really a charismatic term referring to special knowledge about God unknowable to Baptist because the Baptist refuse the baptism. What it usually is though is some hokey nonsense doctrine put out by someone on TBN anyhow.

I guess my point is that when I was Word of Faith we loved to criticise and bash denominational Christians and felt vastly superior to them. We were big on love until it came to bashing others. Now that I am pointing out error in the Word of Faith, all of a sudden the table is turned and I’m no longer walking in love. Go figure!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/08/naming-names-and-baptist-bashing.html

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CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

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I have to smile when I read this. I have an aunt who is a word faith preacher and I as a Baptist catch grief because of that LOL. It not just Baptist though. They don’t like any “HALF GOSPEL CHURCH”

One day my Aunt told me. “Damon, you’re a very talented theologian. In fact your so talented and knowledgeable about theology that you should be a teacher of theologians.”

Now I will ask you all

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CLICK THE LOGOS ABOVE TO GO TO THE HOME PAGE AND LISTEN TO THE RADIO SHOW

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Even though I have been negatively affected by other Cults and false teachings, since before I knew what a Cult and False teaching was, I am going to use MY WORDS TO HEAL those deluded by the WoF movement. Because the WoF teaching that faith is a force is not only a false teaching, But also A VERY DANGEROUS and sometimes deadly OCCULTIC PARADIGM SHIFT.

So I have decided (willed) to USE THE POWER OF MY WORDS to heal you. I will be constantly Chanting YOUR HEALED,YOUR HEALED, YOUR HEALED. So don’t make any negative confessions, least Thee over power my positive confessions, JUST RECEIVE AND BE HEALED. 

You know I am just joking, being sarcastic and a little facetious right?
 
But If I weren’t, think of the ramifications of the idea that words have magical creative power.
 
We hear Word of Faith believers say “Life and death is in the power of the tongue” BUT THAT DON’T MEAN that actions don’t have consequences, AND WORDS are more powerful than WHAT WE DO, and sometimes think. Just think how delusional and illogical the idea is that words have more power than our actions do.
 
The first thing we learn as a Kid is that actions have consequences. If we stick our finger in the fire, we find the fire is HOT, not because someone SAID FIRE IS HOT, but because fire is hot by it’s nature. As a baby,,, we cannot even understand our parents say the fire is Hot. And fire was hot WAY BEFORE cavemen quit grunting and grumbling and started talking. And we usually don’t find the real power in words until we use the wrong words, on the wrong people,,, and get a bop on the nose for it. Our words have some power, but not literal creative power.

And certainly God could have created everything,,, without a single word, because He IS GOD. THE Creator. 

Man has never created anything Ex-nihilo (out of nothing), much less with mere words. Although words can uplift, encourage and build self esteem, and our words can insult, degrade and devalue a person. Words have never actually killed anyone. It is impossible to die from saying “I am laughing myself to death”

Have you ever noticed that ALL BRIDGES ARE SLIPPERY WHEN WET? Even if they don’t have a warning sign saying so. OR SOMEBODY SAID SO. Have you ever noticed that in contradiction against the obvious implications of the Word of Faith teaching,,, deaf and speaking impaired people get sick and have problems that RESULT FROM THEIR ACTIONS,,,,, not words TOO?

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WHO SPOKE THE MAJIC WORD FIRST? 

In other words, WHERE DOES THE IDEA THAT WORDS HAVE POWER COME FROM?

If you seek out the answer to this question, you will find that the WoF teaching comes from Kenneth Haggin, who got it from EW Kenyon, who in turn got it from Mary Baker Eddy (of Christian Science) through Charles Emory. And Mary Baker Eddy got the words have power teaching from Phineas Qumby, the Father of New Thought or Mind Science .

There is a few things you should know about Mr. Quimby before you continue to try and create realities with your words.

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From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Quimby

Phineas Quimby was known as a philosopher, magnetizer, mesmerist, healer, and scientist. Quimby’s focus of attention was philosophy of mind, on which he held the dualist position. (See also Cartesian dualism).

He approached the mind-body problem by reasoning that mind was “spiritual matter”, observing that man “exists outside himself,” and that mind and body, although of two different natures, interact with each other.

Quimby claimed that disease is not the cause of illness, but the effect of a conflict existing within the mind; he claimed that all mental and most physical diseases were the result of faulty reasoning. He said “the explanation is the cure.”

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The above WiKipedia article also says that Mrs. Eddy was a patient of Mr. Quimby’s and shared his view that disease is rooted in a mental causation. The Article also tries to claim that Quimby did not mix his “System of healing” with religion. But Quimby’s own words prove otherwise.  http://www.phineasquimby.com/concerning_use_medicine.html

From the article above, Mr Quimby was a philosophical dualist who said “Medicine contains nothing to me, except as an effect – and if a patient believes he must use it, I sometimes allow him to do so; but I always tell him the cure is in himself (or in his belief), and not in the medicine.”

Philosophical dualism states that matter and mind are different. Mind is more akin to Spirit than Matter. So when Quimby would assert that “the cure is in himself (or in his belief)”,,, he was basically saying that Mind is a spiritual force that can be “tapped into” or manipulated, if you just “think rightly“, to affect sickness and disease.

WHAT ARE WORDS? Expression of thought.

Words ARE NOT a tool to manipulate a so called “force of faith” as so many Word of Faith teachers arrogantly proclaim. 

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WORDS ARE FOR WITCHES (silly rabbit) and God is for Christians

I read every article I post on this blog and probably 5-6 articles for every 1 that I do post. Many WoF expose articles will show the origins of this false teaching to go back to EW. Kenyon. Some trace it further back to Marry Baker Eddy and some go back to Quimby. But most fail to show the real source of the teaching. Satan and the Occult.

Yes,, there are many articles that show the WoF teaching of positive confession to be the same as the occultic New Age “Law of Attraction”. And anyone can see the similarities of the NEW AGE Mega-book “THE SECRET” AND the WoF teachings.

A few articles rightfully mention that the WoF teachings is akin to witchcraft without quoting any witches. Looking at the definitions of Magic, Spells and Incantation will show the WoF is witchcraft like And many article list quotes from Prominent Word of faith teachers saying that “if the occult can get results out this force of faith,, why can’t Gods children?“ Don’t that show JUST a little (wee) bit of a lack of discernment.

BUT I WOULD LIKE TO GO FURTHER THAN THAT.

Because my Uncle is a Mormon Bishop and because Joseph Smith was a Freemason, I have studied the Occult extensively. Witchcraft and other forms of the Occult IS ALL ABOUT POWER. People don’t become witches to make their parents angry. NO THEY WANT THE POWER TO CONTROL THEIR LIFES AND OTHERS.

Instead of throwing themselves to the mercy of a sovereign God and living life to please him. They seek to manipulate their reality with “spiritual forces”. But as Jesus said, “Father, If it be thy will” is what Christians should pray. God only gives us WHAT HE WILLS. No matter what we ask for?

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STRAIGHT FROM THE WITCHES MOUTH 

Here is some text from a website on witchcraft.

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/ 

“Mankind has always attempted to know the unknowable and control it by his own actions. At the same time, it was recognized that there were powers beyond his ability to control. Throughout history, certain people have been accepted as being better at controlling the powers that represent natural forces such as earthquake, wind, flood,fire and disease.

In some cases, these powers were named as gods or goddesses, at other times the forces themselves were named and summoned and controlled by the will of humans known as witches in modern day language.

The power possessed by a witch or shaman skilled in the art and working of witchcraft was assumed to be almost limitless. By saying certain words or power names in the correct manner and correct tone of voice, the witch could heal the ill, and cast out the evil spirits which caused pain and suffering in those who were diseased.

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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Witchcraft vs Christianity; Learn the similarities and differences of the two 

“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

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EVEN WITCHES DON’T HAVE FAITH IN FAITH 

“People who are just beginning witchcraft don’t have the understanding or the ability to actually practice medicine, but witchcraft is the belief system which is outstripping all others in popularity. It is expected that young people who are practicing witches may soon be preparing for degrees in medical fields and thus improve the chances of being healed through witchcraft as well as more mainstream means and medications.

Modern scientists have documented the term called the placebo effect. When some people receive healing from illnesses which in some cases are considered terminal illnesses after being given a pill made of sugar rather than the test drug, the healing is due to the placebo effect. Others would say that they were healed by faith, the patient believed that they would be healed due to the medication, and so they were healed, in spite of the fact that they received no medication. So, faith regardless of whether the faith comes from belief in the drug, belief in God or belief in witchcraft.”

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/spells.html

A WICHES FAITH IS in the force of WITCHRAFT,,, Not faith or God.

There is no force called faith. Faith (trust) is only as good as the object of that faith.

 

An interesting study is to get a few bible dictionaries and do a word search and study on “god of forces” I have several books on demonology by Merrill F. Unger. He has a whole chapter devoted to the “god of forces” in one of them, so he might have a really good definition in his bible dictionary. I will look when I get more of my books out of storage.

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IN CLOSING 

I have about a dozen witchcraft websites bookmarked that are speaking about “creating your own future with the power of words” or “use your words to make yourself rich and powerful” BUT I will not make anymore quotes from them in this article.

INSTEAD I ask you to take a intellectual peek into the matter for yourself,, after you have prayed for spiritual protection over your heart.

Control, Power, and creating so called “realities” out of non physical realities (words and thoughts) is the very basis of all Occult philosophies. USE THE POWER LUKE, AM I YOUR FATHER?

The Word of Faith movement is nothing more than Gnosticism/Occultism invading the Christian Church tempting the Modern Christian to attempt to be in control of his own destiny and well being,,,, instead of FULLY RELYING ON GOD.

Have you bought into the lies, Do you still buy into the lies, OR WAS YOU HEALED BY THE POWER (reasoning) OF MY WORDS? Or maybe it was the power words in the title?

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CHECK OUT more WoF post on this blog

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more about “word of faith movement“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WORD OF FAITH

exwordoffaith.blogspot.com

I used to wonder why Shepherding reappeared in the Charismatic churches considering that the founders pretty much shut it down around 1990, and publicly repented. It didn’t make sense why it not only lingered, but began thriving again. I have lately found out why it reappeared. It snuck in through the teachings of the Word of Faith, one of the most influential movements since the Azusa Street Revival of 1906. The Word of Faith may be influential, but it is also an apostasy, and carries Shepherding clinging to it like a leech.

I was a follower of the Word of Faith doctrine from 1990 until 2005. Even when I began to break with the Word of Faith over the extremes of the Prosperity Gospel, I still maintained connections with them. I was a licensed minister through a Word of Faith church from 2004 through 2007, and my wife worked for Kenneth Copeland Ministries from 2003 until late 2007. During that time, I noticed more and more spiritual abuse, things that reminded me of Shepherding. I began to wonder, “Is the Word of Faith in general, and Kenneth Copeland Ministries in particular, Shepherdist, or merely spiritually abusive, or am I nuts?”

Early this year (2008), I found out that I am not nuts!

In his book A Different Gospel, D.R. McConnell points out the origins of the Word of Faith. This is not a rant by a Fundamentalist preacher. This book began as McConnell’s master’s thesis when he was a student at Oral Roberts University. He is a Charismatic pastor, so this is an insider’s look at something he finds disturbing.

McConnell says that today’s Word of Faith preachers (Kenneth Copeland, John Avanzini, Creflo Dollar, etc.) base their doctrine on the works and teachings of Kenneth Hagin. We knew that.

McConnell then says that Hagin based (some say plagiarized) his doctrines on the works of E.W. Kenyon. We knew that, too.

But then McConnell drops a 2,000 megaton bombshell, ripping through my views of the Word of Faith like a lawnmower through Bermuda grass. He states that Kenyon based his teachings and beliefs on what he was taught in college, at the hands of teachers who were Gnostic and Christian Scientist.

Whoa! That makes the whole doctrine pretty much suspect from the beginning!

Kenyon attended the Emerson School of Oratory in 1892. There, he was under the influence of Charles Emerson, a Christian Scientist; R.W. Trine, a Gnostic who wrote one of the major books on New Thought; and M.J. Savage, a Unitarian whose church Kenyon attended.

Let’s look at those beliefs and see how the Word of Faith dovetails into them.

Gnosticism is a complex system of beliefs hammered together from earlier ones. It has existed as far back as before the time of Christ and was a real problem to the Church as early as the time of John and Peter. To summarize Gnosticism, it believes that salvation is through knowledge of mysteries (gained through intuition), that all matter is evil and that only spirit is good (a belief called Dualism), that Jesus could not have been purely good because He was in a human body, that Jesus was a mere man, that God created lesser gods, and that only Gnostics, “people who knew,” were guaranteed salvation. They also believe that God could only be reached through gnosis, through the divine revelation of mysterious knowledge. Gnostics also believe that God is a hermaphrodite; half male, half female. Gnostics believed in a divine formula, that once understood, would destroy the power of evil.

Gnosticism’s more modern offshoot, New Thought, states that Spirit is the ultimate reality, the true human self is divine, divinely attuned thought is a positive force for good, most disease is mental in origin, and that right thinking has a healing effect. While that may sound Biblical, it is actually a form of early Humanism, and was founded on pantheism, occultism, spiritualism, and the basics of Gnosticism.

Christian Science is founded on the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. This system believes a lot of things that are Biblical, but some of the things that they believe that aren’t include “mind over matter,” the idea that all things are spiritual and the material world is an illusion, and the denial of physical ailments. Please note that Christian Science is not Scientology.

Hmmm … I see parallels already. Let’s review some of them.

The Word of Faith believes:

— Divine Revelation: well, I believe in it, too, but all divine revelation has to mesh perfectly with the Bible. Word of Faith preachers teach that they are the dispensers of this revelation, and imply that only they are capable of giving it. They will rely more on what “God told them” than on what was written in the Bible, despite their insistence that we, the congregation, must find three scripture verses to support what we want to do. This is not unlike the Gnostic belief in mysterious knowledge.

— They put God in a box: Word of Faith preachers deny God’s sovereignty and actually mock the concept. They make God a slave to “spiritual laws” that even He can’t break. They teach that we can twist God’s arm to get what we want, enabling us to write our own ticket with Him (Kenneth Hagin’s term), or turn God into a vending machine (Richard Roberts’ term). The concept of spiritual laws and the idea that God is at our beck and call is definitely Gnostic.

— Jesus died spiritually: while the idea that Jesus went to Hell is as old as the Church, the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds do NOT say that Jesus died spiritually and had to be born again. If Jesus did die spiritually, then Jesus was a mere man, and not God incarnate. Again, this is a Gnostic belief — that Jesus was a mere man.

— Spiritual laws: Word of Faith is founded on the concept that there are spiritual laws in the Bible, that even God is bound to obey. These spiritual laws include things like reciprocity, sowing and reaping, the law of sin and death, the law of the tongue, etc. Once these laws are understood and worked with, then Satan has no more power over the Christian. That may be true, and I’m not saying that it is, but it sounds an awful lot like the Gnostic belief in divine formulas.

— God is as much female as He is male: I don’t know where they get this from Biblically, but more than one Word of Faith has said this. They also teach that Adam was both male and female at the same time, and God removed Adam’s female half, not just a rib. If this were true, then the pronoun for God in the Bible would be either “it” or “s/he,” not “he.” A hermaphroditic view of God is pure Gnosticism.

— Man is equal with Jesus and God: the idea that we are made in God’s image is Biblical, but the Word of Faith teaching that we are little gods, or that we are made in God’s class is not. Being equal with God is Gnostic at best, Lucifer’s rant at worst.

— Our words can change time, space and matter: this is known as “Name It and Claim It.” Sure, our words can change attitudes and maybe our bodies, but not to the extent that we are the “prophets of our own lives.” This is Christian Scientist “mind over matter,” retooled for modern times.

— Emphasis on Dominion over the Earth instead of forgiveness of sins and the need to love others: Most Word of Faith theology is rooted in having dominion over the Earth, and that Adam was the god of this planet. Do I have to go into that? Gnostics believed that they were gods.

— The reality of sickness and sin is denied: The Word of Faith says that they do not deny sickness and sin, but deny sickness and sin’s place in their bodies. It’s the same thing. Christian Science denies sickness, often to the point of dying instead of taking medicine. Word of Faith preachers do the same thing, often mocking doctors and medicine, despite having them on their daily television shows.

— Prayer is replaced by confession: Prayer connects us with God. Confession connects us with us. In other words, confession, whether it is what we desire or a Bible verse, is a Gnostic practice of mumbling chants and spells, replacing God with our own minds, because we have the knowledge it takes to save ourselves.

— God can only be pleased by faith: This is based on a verse in Hebrews. The implication is that if we are not standing on three scriptures from the Bible, believing we receive, and holding God to the spiritual laws, then God is not pleased with us. This is very similar to the Gnostic concept that the only way to God is through gnosis (in this case, the only way to God is through the strict definition of faith that the preacher uses). This totally rules out the concept that the way to God is through Jesus Christ.

— Dualism: The Word of Faith stresses that everything is spiritual, and that the physical is not important. They mock education and creatitivy and the five human senses. They hate sex (Kenneth Copeland said that we were supposed to speak our children into existence, Gloria Copeland said that sex was a product of the fall of Adam, and Benny Hinn said that women were originally supposed to give birth from their armpits). Despite their obsession with healing, they hate the human body, calling it an “earth suit.” Dualism is a Gnostic belief. Sure, you find the same teaching in the works of St. Augustine, but remember, he was a Gnostic before becoming a Christian.

I should have seen all this from the beginning, but I didn’t. I fell for the teaching that I could get rich quick and that I didn’t have to be sick a day in my life. There is a sucker born every minute! The reason the Word of Faith fooled me, and millions of other Christians, is that there is a lot of Biblical truth in it. Much of what Word of Faith preachers teach is sound. But what they teach that is sound is nothing more than the truths found in the Pentecostal movement of 1906 and the Charismatic Renewal of 1967. It’s the rest that’s poisoned; the part that orginated with Kenyon, was modified by Hagin and has been perpetuated by Copeland.

Another reason the Word of Faith fooled me, and millions of others, is that the preachers are genuinely sincere Christians who love Jesus! Kenyon, Hagin, Copeland, Dollar and others have helped millions of people know Christ better. They really believe that what they preach is totally Biblical. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Kenyon fought against the metaphysical religions of Christian Science and New Thought, denying their more obvious unbiblical teachings. Yet, he ended up embracing enough of these unbiblical teachings to turn the Word of Faith from what should have been a new branch of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement into a genuine cult.

I know, I know … there are Word of Faith apologetics that refute every one of these observations. The thing for me is this — I was an insider and saw this firsthand. I saw the abuses, and the apostasies, and people running around chanting their mantras, and I had enough. McConnell’s claims make sense to me. They explain what I saw. You have to decide for yourself.

This does not make the Word of Faith a heresy. Heresy is a rebellion against the doctrines of an established church. The Word of Faith is its own denomination, so it has nothing to rebel against. It is instead, an apostasy! An apostasy is nothing less than a rebellion against God Himself.

It gets worse.

There is a direct link between the Word of Faith and Shepherding.

Tricia Tillin, in her online testimony, shows this direct link. She lives in Great Britain, and was involved with KCM and the Word of Faith during the latter part of the 20th Century. In her blog, she writes that in 1985, she visited the UK headquarters for KCM and had a conversation with the worker there. During this conversation, Mrs. Tillin brought up how she was relieved that Kenneth Copeland was so opposed to Shepherding. Mrs. Tillin expected the worker to agree with her. Instead, Mrs. Tillin writes “She was evasive, would not condemn Shepherding doctrines, and then said that there had been a change of heart and the Copeland ministry would now be working more closely with the Shepherding leadership, and we should be praying for unity between them. This was devastating! Formerly they agreed Shepherding was in error, but now they’d changed their minds, and were going to work alongside each other!”

Then there is Stephen Parson’s book Ungodly Fear. Parson writes that in 1985 (the same year that Mrs. Tillin visited the KCM headquarters in Great Britain), at a convention of the Network of Christian Ministries, Kenneth Copeland said the Word of Faith and the Shepherding doctrines ought to be merged.

So, two different sources identify that the Word of Faith and Shepherding married each other. This does, at least to me, explains what I saw during my tenure with KCM and the Word of Faith. If the Word of Faith was so far from the truth to begin with, then it’s easy to understand how it could so easily embrace another apostasy like Shepherding.

And it also explains how Shepherding has made so many inroads into the Charismatic churches and ministries. Kenneth Copeland is a highly respected and influential teacher among many Charismatics. They are simply doing what they see his ministry and church do.

http://exwordoffaith.blogspot.com/2008/02/truth-about-word-of-faith.html

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How2BecomeAChristian.info BLOG was blessed to have Ex-word of Faith preacher John Edwards visit the other day. He has a blog @ Faithpreacher.blogspot.com which is devoted to sharing his experience as he says “My journey through and my deliverance from the deceptive and dangerous Word of Faith Movement”.

I have really enjoyed everything I have read at his blog and will be featuring more of his writings. I also ask John to let me interview him and he agreed to share his story with us. So in the next few weeks I will have a post featuring our interview. I am thrilled to talk to him and hear his full story.

The following article was instrumental in Pastor Johns coming out of the Word of faith movement. John gives a link to this article on his blogpost and says “This link is what God used to really open our eyes to the deception and fear that we were living in. If you are not afraid of the Truth, then dig in and read.”

JOHN’S COMMENTARY about this article is very very good stuff. BUT posting them together would make this post far too long. SO here is the link to John’s commentary.

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/10/kenneth-hagins-visions.html

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This post will set the context for you. John was a student of Kenneth Hagins.

THE TULSA TEASE: A preachers disappointment and departure from the Word of Faith movement

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The Counterfeit Dreams and Visions of “Prophet” Kenneth Hagin ©Rev. Robert Liichow 1998

Kenneth E. Hagin is the acknowledged “father” of the modern Word of Faith Movement and is viewed by charismatic Christians globally as a true prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ. Kenneth Hagin has been active in ministry since the late 1930’s and worked around the fringes of the Pentecostal healing revival of the 1940’s through late 1950’s.

Kenneth Hagin started out in the ministry holding evangelical meetings as a Baptist (1934-1937) and then was licensed by the Assemblies of God in 1937 and began to Pastor from 1937-1949). Beginning in 1949 brother Hagin was an itinerant evangelist and Bible teacher.

“As a result of his final vision in 1963, he set up his own office at his home in Garland, Texas, for the distribution of his tapes and books. . .Hagin founded Rhema Bible Training Center in 1974. By 1988 more than 10,000 students had graduated, and his daily radio program, “Faith Seminar of the Air,” was being broadcast on more than 180 stations in thirty-nine states, with a short-wave audience in about eighty other nations. By this time more than three million of his eighty-five books and almost half a million cassette tapes of his sermons have been distributed annually.

Kenneth Hagin is a man with no formal seminary training or college education, yet his school is viewed as the premier Bible training school among charismatic believers. Rev. Hagin’s teachings are accepted without question by the rank and file charismatic and many of the most popular charismatic ministers acknowledge Hagin as their spiritual father. Some of those who publicly acknowledge their debt to “Dad” Hagin include Fred Price, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Norval Hayes, Buddy Harrison, and Keith Butler, to name only a few.

One of the reasons Kenneth Hagin and his message has been so widely accepted is because of the claims he himself makes as to the origin of his teachings. His ministry since 1950 has been based upon several alleged visionary encounters with Jesus Christ.

“As a prophet, Hagin communicates revelation that is received by way of divine voice, vision, or visitation. As a teacher, he exposits the Scripture in a plain and often humorous fashion. When both office are combined, the result is a ministry that appears utterly supernatural, and yet thoroughly biblical.”

Brother Hagin’s ministry consists of two basic ingredients: (1) The teachings of E.W. Kenyon, whose work he intentionally or unintentionally plagiarized. (2) The revelations he supposedly received via direct communication through visions with the Lord Jesus Christ. For the purpose of this writing I will confine myself to considering the visions of Rev. Hagin and their content.

Rev. Hagin is among the most mystical preachers of international status alive today. His life as a visionary began at age 15. On April 22, 1933 at 7:40 PM Rev. Hagin died and descended to hell:

“Then the inner man rushed out of my body and left my body lying dead, with the eyes set and the flesh cold. . .I have proof that I was actually dead. My eyes were set, my heart stopped beating, and my pulse had ceased. . .Finally, far below me, I could see lights flickering on the walls of the caverns of the damned. The lights were caused by the fires of hell. . .Upon reaching the bottom of the pit, I became conscious of some kind of spirit being by my side. . .a voice spoke from far above the blackness, above the earth, and above the heavens. I don’t know if it was the voice of God, Jesus, or an angel, or who. . .I slipped back into my body as easily as a man slips into his trousers in the morning – through my mouth.”

According to Hagin he died and was taken down to the very gates of hell by some creature. Upon reaching the gates of hell a loud speaks from far above in an unknown tongue and Hagin is released by the creature and he floats back up and into his body via his mouth!

If words mean anything what we have is a person who died and was the resurrected from the dead. He stated he was dead (page 5) and then was supernaturally brought back from hell into his body (page 6).

“My heart stopped beating for the second time. . .I felt the blood cease to circulate. The tips of my toes went numb – then my feet, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, and heart. I leaped out of my body and began to descend: down, down down. . .The voice spoke from heaven and again my spirit came up out of that place – back to my room and back into my body. The only difference this time was that I came up at the foot of the bed.”

For the second time Rev. Hagin “dies” and leaves his body. Again, he descends into the pit, and again some voice speaks from above and Hagin is “resurrected” and re-enters his body via the foot of his bed.

Hagin upon coming back to his body this time leaves parting words for his sister and two brothers. Why parting words? Because Hagin is about to die for a third time and descend into hell.

“…my heart stopped for the third time. I could fell the circulation as it cut off again – and I leaped out of my body and began to descend. . .Thank God that voice spoke. I don’t know who it was – I didn’t see anybody – I just hear the voice. . .I began to pray, “O God! I come to you in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ. I ask You to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all sin. . .That was the very hour I was born again due to the mercy of God through the prayers of my mother.”

This time on his way down Hagin begins to cry out to God that he is a church member, that he has been baptized in water. . . all to no avail. Yet God spoke again and Hagin begins to rise from the gates of hell. This time Hagin repents of his sins and calls on the name of Jesus and he is saved!

I am very glad that brother Hagin was saved but I have a problem when a person says that they were saved after they had died physically. Based on what he has stated we are to believe that he (1) died, (2) went down to hell, (3) and was born again while out of his body.

I realize that Hagin has probably not thought through some of the implications, but I have considered some of them. If what Hagin is saying is in fact true, the theological implications are staggering! This means a lost person can die, and on their way to hell repent of their sins and be born again. In fact, in Hagin’s case he died three times! What is important to keep in mind is that Hagin does not say that he thought he died, or that he simply left his body. No, he emphatically states that he died. “My experience of being brought back from the dead is not new. Jesus raised three people from the dead.” He equates his experiences on par with those of whom Jesus raised from the dead in the Bible.

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MORE WORD OF FAITHPOST

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If Hagin’s testimony is true then the Scriptures pertaining to the condition of lost people are wrong! How so? To begin with you have a lost man is dead in sin (Eph. 2:5) and without hope (Eph 2:12). In fact, the lost man does not love God nor does he seek after Him (Rom 3:10). Jesus said that He chose us, we did not chose Him (Jh 15:16).

What we see in Hagin’s experience is the exact opposite to what the Scripture plainly teach. We have a lost man, thus a spiritually dead man, crying out to a God he does not know or love to save him. We have a lost man choosing Christ, a man who hates the light (Jh 1:5) and does not understand the things of the spirit (2 Cor. 2:14). We have a man whose mind and will are at enmity with God (Rom 8:7) and cannot please God . . . doing that which please God, he calls upon Him!

In this testimony brother Hagin relates a couple key ingredients of standard Word of Faith (WOF) doctrine. First, to adherents of WOF teachings, it is no problem to believe that a person can die and be born-again in hell (or in Hagin’s case on the way down to hell). After all, Jesus was born-again man in the pit of hell. Hagin and all the clones after him agree with Kenyon’s theology:

“You can now understand that He uttered the sentence, “It is finished.” You can now understand that He did not mean that He had finished His Substitutionary work, but that He had finished the work the Father gave Him to do first. . .If Jesus paid the penalty of Sin on the cross, then Sin is but a physical act. If Hid death paid it, then every man could die for himself. Sin is in the spirit realm. His physical death was but a mean to an end. . .When Jesus died, His spirit was taken by the Adversary and carried to the place where the sinner’s spirit goes when he dies. . .He is the first born out of spiritual death, the first person who was ever born again. . .His spirit absolutely became impregnated with the sin nature of the world. . .He was made to be sin.”

So it is no stretch for them to accept that Hagin, like Jesus died a sinner, and was raised from the dead a righteous born-again man.

The second WOF concept is seen when Hagin states “I looked at the clock and saw it was 20 minutes before 8 o’clock. That was the very hour I was born again due to the mercy of God through the prayers of my mother.” (underlining bold type added)

I was taught (and taught) that God cannot do anything in the earth unless His people pray. So yes God was merciful, but that mercy was able to be released on Kenneth Hagin’s behalf because his mother prayed. If she had not prayed God would not have been able to show His mercy to Hagin. God’s ability is released through our prayers, this is standard WOF teaching regarding prayer and the authority we have as humans and as believers.

Certainly God answers prayer, He uses prayer as a means to His ends, yet God is not bound or loosed by our prayers. He is totally sovereign (Is 45:22) and He moves according to His free will and He is in no way dependent upon us for anything. He is the Creator and we are the creation, this fact is sorely misunderstood by most Charismatics.

On September 1950 in Rockwall Texas Hagin is holding a tent revival. He and the participants were praying around the platform.

“I began to pray in other tongues, and I heard a voice say, “Come up hither” . . .I thought everybody heard it. “Come up hither,” the voice said again. Then I looked and saw Jesus standing about where the top of the ten would be. As I looked again, the tent had disappeared . . .God had permitted me to see into the spirit realm. Jesus was standing there, and I stood in His presence. He was holding a crown in His hands. . .It seemed as if I went with Him through the air until we came to a beautiful city. . .The Jesus turned to me and said, “Now let us go down to hell.” Jesus told me, “warn men and women about this place,”. . .He then brought me back to earth. I became aware I was knelling on the platform. . .As he stood there, He talked to me about my ministry. He told me some things in general that He later explained in more detail in another vision.”

“Jesus” appears to Kenneth for several reasons. First He shows him the soul winners crown. “Jesus” tells him it is for all His children, but many are too busy and because of this “souls are lost because they will not obey Me.” So again, we encounter salvation depending upon man and not God. First we saw God’s mercy released via his mother’s prayers. Now we are told by “Jesus” not less, that souls are lost because His people do not obey Him and witness to them! Without going any further I can assure the reader fully that the being portraying himself as Jesus Christ, was not the Biblical Jesus. If this was the real Jesus, then He has changed His theology since the Holy Spirit had the Apostle John pen the following text:

John 6:37-40 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

6:37. Jesus then gave the ultimate explanation of their lack of faith: the Father works sovereignly in peoples lives. There is an election of God which is the Fathers gift to the Son. The Son has no concern that His work will be ineffective, for the Father will enable people to come to Jesus. Jesus has confidence. But people may have confidence also. (Cf. the crippled mans response to Jesus question, Do you want to get well? [5:6-9]) One who comes to Jesus for salvation will by no means be driven away (cf.{cf. confer, compare} 6:39). 6:38-39. Jesus then repeated His claim about His heavenly origin. The reason He came down from heaven was to do the will of the Father who sent Him. The Fathers will is that those whom He gives to the Son will not suffer a single loss and all will be raised to life in the resurrection (cf. vv. 40, 44, 54). This passage is strong in affirming the eternal security of the believer. 6:40. This verse repeats and reinforces the ideas of the previous verses. One who looks and believes on Jesus for salvation has his destiny secure. The divine decree has insured it (cf. Rom. 8:28-30). He has eternal life (John 6:47, 50-51, 54, 58) and will be raised at the last day (cf. vv. 39, 44, 54).

Jesus plainly taught that He would not lose one person whom the Father had given Him! So for “Jesus” to come to Hagin in 1950 and tell him that people are in hell because of their disobedience would be a direct contradiction of His own teaching. Salvation is not left up to men, but is the work of God. After this startling revelation “Jesus” takes Hagin up to see a beautiful city. They do not enter the city, just take a look. Then the being turns to Hagin and says “let us go down to hell.” Hagin sees people engulfed in flames and is told to warn people about this place. Then Hagin is brought back to his revival meeting and Jesus hangs around revealing to him future aspects of his ministry. Then “Jesus” disappears. Up to this point brother Hagin wants us to believe the following:

C He leaves his body and meets Jesus in person above his revival tent
C Jesus shows him the soul winners crown and instructs him about our obligation to save the lost
C Jesus takes Hagin to some celestial city
C Jesus takes Hagin to hell
C Jesus takes Hagin back into his body
C Jesus reveals to Hagin further gnosis about his future ministry

However, Hagin goes on the tell us that the revelations did not stop there:

“About that time the Holy Spirit came upon me again. It seemed as if a wind were blowing on me, and I fell flat on my face on the platform. As I lay under the power of God, it seemed as if I were standing high on a plain somewhere in space and I could see for miles and miles around me. . .I felt so lonely. I was not conscious of my earthly surroundings. As I looked to the west, I saw what appeared to be a tiny dot on the horizon. . .Soon I could see it was a horse. . .When the horseman came to me, he pulled on the reins and stopped. . .He passed the scroll from his left hand to his right hand and handed it to me. As I unrolled the scroll, which was a roll of paper 12 or 14 inches long, he said, “Take and read.” At the tope of the page in big bold, black print were the words “WAR AN DESTRUCTION.” I was struck dumb. He laid his right hand on my head and said, “Read, in the Name of Jesus Christ.” I began to read what was written on the paper, and as the words instructed me, I looked and saw what I had just read about.”

Next we are told that the Holy Spirit transports Hagin to some cosmic plain where he is alone and he sees a rider approaching from the west. The rider comes up to him and gives him a scroll which he is commanded to read. Hagin is struck dumb and needs this supernatural rider to lay hands on him and commands him to read in the Name of Jesus Christ, the revelations on the scroll. As he read the scroll he was able to see what he read coming to pass before his eyes.

“The scroll was written in the first person, and seemed as if Jesus Himself were speaking. I read, “America is receiving her last call. Some nations already have received their last call and never will receive another. . .”THE TIME OF THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND”. . .Jesus also said this was the last great revival. He went on the say, “All the gifts of the Spirit will be in operation in the Church in these last days, and the Church will do greater things than even the Early Church did. It will have greater power, signs, and wonders than were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. . . More and more miracles will be performed in the last days which are just ahead, for it is time for the gift of working of miracles to be more in prominence. . .Many of my own people will not accept the moving of my Spirit, and will turn back and will not be ready to meet Me at my coming. many will be deceived by false prophets and miracles of satanic origin. But follow the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and Me, and you will not be deceived. I am gathering my own together and am preparing them, for the time is short. ” bold type added)

What is interesting to me about the message the scroll contained is that it is in complete agreement with the current doctrinal error that was sweeping Pentecostalism at that time. Percy Hunt and George Warnock had been teaching what came to be called Latter Rain Doctrines since 1947 (actually the doctrinal roots go back as far as 1910). Hagin’s scroll parrots these teachings to the letter. Latter Rain proponents emphasized the outpouring of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit on the remnant of God. These gifts would be manifest to a degree that would exceed those of the original Apostles. They also stressed that the last great revival was on (keep in mind 1950 was just about the middle of the healing revival) and that America was heading towards judgment. “Warn this generation, as did Noah his generation, for judgment is about to fall. And these sayings shall be fulfilled shortly, for I am coming soon.” Jesus repeated, “This is the last great revival.”

Those Christians who question, and do not accept the coming signs, wonders, and miracles apparently will not be ready to meet Jesus at His return. So according to Hagin’s scroll the criteria for Christian readiness is to embrace “the moving of my Spirit.” The Bible does not teach this at all!

1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

What prepares the believer to meet Christ is the unshifting hope we have in Him, not the embrace of present day truth or the current move of the Spirit.

It is also interesting that the scroll warns of false prophets and miracles of satanic origin. Most of the visions I have studied usually add this caveat in them, to watch out for demonic counterfeits. What amazes me is that none of those who relate their dreams and visions ever take time to consider whether or not they themselves have been blinded by an angel of light (2 Cor 11:13). Yet when you take an objective Biblical look at the content of the dreams and visions and see what is alleged to have been said by Jesus, an Angel, etc. you will find that the statements are either contra-biblical or extra-biblical.

Hagin goes on to say that people present in the tent meeting said he read from the scroll aloud for 30 minutes. When he finished reading it, he gave it back to the rider, who galloped off back to wherever he had come from. Hagin says he was then conscious of the fact that he was still flat on his face on the floor (I wonder how people could hear him read for 30 minutes in that position?). Now we can add to our list these aspects of his experience:

C Hagin is knocked on his face by the Holy Spirit
C He is taken out of his body (again)
C Hagin is transported to a flat, barren plain, devoid of all life
C Hagin sees a rider approach
C The rider gives Hagin a scroll and tells him to read
C Hagin reads and sees the events of the scroll, people present hear him “read” the scroll
C Hagin comes back to himself realizes he is still face down on the floor

The Lord isn’t finished His revelatory work yet. While Hagin is face down on the floor he hears a voice say:

“Come up hither. Come up to the throne of God! Again I saw Jesus standing about where the top of the ten should be. . .When I reached Him, together we continued on to heaven. We came to the throne of God, and I beheld it in all its splendor. I was not able to look upon the face of God; I only beheld His form.

Hagin leaves his body, has a personal meeting with Jesus, returns to his body, gets taken out of his body, meets a rider on horseback, is given a prophetic scroll, reads it, is returned to his body, then “Jesus” calls Hagin out of his body again, he ascends to the throne of Almighty God. This would normally strain the credulity of most Christians, yet the average charismatic believer fully accepts his account. After the Lord explains the four phases of brother Hagin’s ministry to him he is given a special anointing from the Lord of glory:

“Then the Lord said to me, “Stretch forth thine hand!” He held His own hand out before Him and I looked into them. . .Instead of scars I saw in the palms of His hands the wounds of the crucifixion – three-cornered, jagged holes. Each hole was large enough for me to have put my finger in it. . .As I looked upon the wounds in His hands. . .He laid the finger of His right hand in the palm of my right hand and then my left. The moment He did, my hands began to burn as if a coal of fire had been placed in them. Then Jesus told me to kneel down before Him. When I did, He laid His hands upon my head, saying that He had called me and had given me a special anointing to minister to the sick. He went on to instruct me that when I pray and lay hands on the sick, I was to lay one hand on each side of the body. If I felt the fire jump from hand to hand, an evil spirit or demon was present in that body causing the affliction. . .If the fire, or the anointing, in my hands did not jump from hand to hand, it was a case needing healing only. I should pray for the person in Jesus Name, and if he would believe and accept it, the anointing would leave my hands and go into that person’s body, driving out the disease and brining healing.”

There is a great deal which bears scrutiny in this segment of brother Hagins’s account. To begin with he sees holes in the palms of “Jesus” hands. It is a physical impossibility for a person to be nailed to a cross with the nails going through their palms. The weight of the human body could not be supported by nails in the palms. Archeologists agree that the nails used probably were placed just behind the wrists of Jesus:

But new light has been thrown on the subject by archaeological work in Judea. In the summer of 1968 a team of archaeologists under V. Tzaferis discovered four Jewish tombs at GivÔat ha-Mivtar (Ras el-Masaref), Ammunition Hill, near Jerusalem, where there was an ossuary containing the only extant bones of a (young) crucified man, dating from probably between ad{ad anno Domini} 7 and ad{ad anno Domini} 66, judging from Herodian pottery found there. Thorough research has been made into the causes and nature of his death and may throw considerable light on our Lord’s form of death. The young man’s arms (not his hands) were nailed to the patibulum, the cross-beam, which might indicate that Lk. 24:39; Jn. 20:20, 25, 27 should be translated ‘arms’. The weight of the body was probably borne by a plank (sedecula) nailed to the simplex, the upright beam, as a support for the buttocks. The legs had been bent at the knees and twisted back so that the calves were parallel to the patibulum or cross-bar, with the ankles under the buttocks. One iron nail (still in situ) had been driven through both his heels together, with his right foot above the left. A fragment shows that the cross was of olive wood. His legs had both been broken, presumably by a forcible blow, like those of Jesus’ two companions in Jn. 19:32. (Bold type added)

Brother Hagin attempts to validate his visionary experience by citing John 20:25 where Thomas says “. . .except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails. . .” What Hagin failed to realize is that the Jews considered the “hand” to be any part from the elbow down. On the physical evidence alone the being brother Hagin was speaking to could not have been the Biblical Jesus.

More astounding than the nail scarred palms is the alleged commission that Jesus gives brother Hagin. The purpose for Hagin coming up to the throne room of heaven was to be personally commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ with a special anointing to heal the sick. “Jesus” lays his hands on Hagin’s head and tells him that “he” has called him to minister to the sick via a special anointing.

Whenever brother Hagin lays his hands on sick people he will (from this point on in 1950) be able to discern whether the person is sick due to (1) an evil spirit, (2) a demon, or (3) just physically ill. He will know this because the anointing fire will jump (or not jump) from hand to hand! If Hagin can get the sick person to believe this, then the anointing will flow out of Hagin’s hands into the sick person and he, Hagin, will know they are healed!

The anointing given to Kenneth Hagin is so special it is not found anywhere in the Bible. He has received, personally, from the nail-pierced hands of Jesus a power not given to any of the people within the confines of the written Word. Nowhere in Scripture is such an “anointing” spoken of. Nowhere in Scripture do we read on Jesus giving anyone the ability to discern the cause of an illness by the physical sensation of fire jumping from hand to hand! Yet does anyone within the Pentecost/charismatic circle question this?

In fact, I find it interesting that during the healing revival (1940-1950’s) the main healing evangelists all claimed to have been given a tangible healing anointing which was felt in their hands. Probably the two most famous healing evangelists of that time who made such claims were Oral Roberts and William Branham. With this in mind brother Hagin’s claim to feel the fire jump from hand to hand was not hard for people to swallow. Bigger evangelists than he had already been making claims of that nature for almost five years prior to his being “anointed” to heal.

After this special call by “Jesus,” the laying on of hands, and the imparting of this special anointing Hagin begs not to be sent into the healing ministry. Jesus rebukes him and Hagin relents and agrees to obey this divine charge:

“I’ll go with you and stand by your side as you pray for the sick, and many times you will see Me. Occasionally I will open the eyes of someone in the audience and they will say, “Why, I saw Jesus standing by that man as he prayed for the sick.”

“Jesus” personally commits to be with Hagin when he prays for the sick. In fact, many times Hagin will personally get to see Jesus standing by his side and Jesus will open the eyes of revival participants and allow them to see Him. After this throne room experience they head back to earth:

“Jesus then journeyed with me back to the earth, and I realized that I still lay on my face on the floor. he talked with me there a moment and then disappeared. My hands burned for three days just like I had a coal of fire in each of them. Now when I wait upon the Lord in prayer and fasting, the same anointing comes upon me again.”

Brother Hagin gives no explanation why they went up to the “throne room” of heaven, or why Jesus did not commission him when He first appeared to Hagin earlier that day. Hagin does explain that this special anointing can come and go; “if the anointing leaves you, fast and pray until it comes back” . When he feels the anointing has left him all that he has to do is some fasting and praying and it will come back. There is no explanation about what would cause this anointing to leave, all we know is what Hagin must do to get it back. Before I go onto brother Hagin’s next gnostic experience it is necessary to take some time and consider what the Bible has to say about the anointing and compare it to what Pentecostal and charismatics mean when they use that term.

The working charismatic definition of “the anointing” is an ineffable supernatural power given by the Holy Spirit to accomplish a task or ministry. The anointing is felt by the minister and can be transmitted to others through the laying on of hands. It is this tangible power flowing from the minister to the recipient which causes them to “fall under the power” when prayed for. Sometimes the anointing is described as power, heat, electricity, or fire. The anointing comes upon a minister and can lift from him. One can gain the anointing through fasting and prayer (as in Hagin’s case) or it can be bestowed on a person via another “anointed” vessel.

Strong’s Dictionary defines anointing as: chrisma, khris’-mah; from Greek 5548 (chrio); an unguent or smearing, i.e. (figurative) the special endowment (“chrism”) of the Holy Spirit :- anointing, unction. In the New Testament the term(s) for anointing are used only seven times. Four of the seven are direct references to the Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry (Lk. 4:18; Acts 4:27, Acts 10:38, and Heb. 1:9).

The other three times refer to the work of the Holy Spirit in teaching us as God’s children (1 Jh. 2:20, 27) and in keeping us in Christ (2 Cor. 1:21). Nowhere does the Bible speak of the anointing being felt as fire, heat, electricity, or power. Nowhere do we read of the anointing flowing out of Paul or Peter, i.e. being transmitted and people falling down under the power of the anointing. Every believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) and that same Holy Spirit is the anointing (1 Jh. 2:27). Thus every believer in “anointed” with the Holy Spirit. If a believer has any of the Spirit, he must then have all of the Spirit, because God is not divisible.

Nowhere are we told how to increase this anointing, how to get more of it, how to release it, or how to transmit it to others. From a simple reading of the New Testament all of these concepts are false. Charismatic teachers have developed an entire doctrine on the anointing which separate the anointing from the Holy Spirit. The anointing to them is a power given by The Spirit versus being synonymous with the Holy Spirit. This is very important to understand. If the anointing is separate then it can be lost, increased, transmitted, etc. If however, the anointing and The Spirit are one in the same, as the Bible teaches (Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18), then obviously, these things cannot occur.

UNCTION. In its three NT{NT New Testament} occurrences, i.e. 1 Jn. 2:20, 27 (twice), Authorized Version King James, 1611 renders Greek chrisma, unction, and Revised Standard Version : NT, 1946; OT, 1952; Common Bible, 1973 has anointed, *anointing. Christians who, by virtue of their unction (vv.{vv. verses}20, 27), are all able to discern schism (v.{v. verse} 19) and heresy (denial of the incarnation, v.{v. verse} 22) are exhorted to adhere to the apostolic message (v.{v. verse} 24), which led them to confess the Father and the Son. Grammatically, unction must be either (a) that which is smeared on (so B. F. Westcott, The Epistles of John, 1892); or (b) the act of anointing (so A. E. Brooke, ICC{ICC International Critical Commentary}, 1912); but in either case the word refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit, of which baptism is the outward sign, and whose sensible reception, leading to awareness of dangers to the church, is the consequence of true incarnational faith. This exegesis is compatible with, though not necessarily proving, the belief that the anointing of the Spirit leads to spoken prophecy within the church. (Bold type added by author). Thus the majority of what Charismatic ministries teach about the anointing must be placed under the category of false teaching. The following internationally known ministries propagate erroneous concepts about the anointing:

C Kenneth E. Hagin Understanding the Anointing

C Benny Hinn The Anointing
God’s Anointing for You
Understanding the Anointing
The New Anointing
Double Portion Anointing

C Creflow A. Dollar The Anointing of El Shaddai
Anointed Because of His Blood

C Lori Wilke The Costly Anointing

C Kenneth Copeland The Anointing

When a person has been taught that the anointing and the Holy Spirit are not the same it is easy to understand why people can believe that Jesus personally gave Kenneth Hagin a “special anointing” in the area of divine healing. On the other hand, when one correctly sees that the Holy Spirit and the anointing are one in the same, then you can readily see that what brother Hagin received (if he indeed received anything) did not come from the Lord Jesus. Which leads me to conclude that his experience, although a real experience, is both extra-Biblical and anti-Biblical in nature and must be rejected.

A month later at another revival meeting Jesus appears to Hagin again. In this instance Hagin is attempting to cast a demon out of a man. After laying hands on him, the man is still bound by the demon and Hagin looks over his shoulder and sees Jesus

“I saw Jesus standing there as plainly as any man I had ever seen in my life! I thought everybody saw Him, but I learned later that no one in the congregation saw or heard Him except me. The congregation heard what I said, but they did not see or hear anyone else.”

Jesus rebukes Hagin for his lack of faith reminding him that He said “I said in my Name the demons will go.” Hagin realizes he has been in unbelief through his confession (he had asked the man to see if he could stand up) and has the man come back. This time he lays hands on him and commands him to stand up and he does!

Jesus appears to teach Hagin that his words have power, that he was saying “if” versus commanding the result. Hagin learns no matter how many gifts a person has, or how much power, it all works by faith, i.e. belief in the right words.

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December 1952 in Broken Bow Oklahoma Hagin is staying at a Pastor’s house. As he was getting on his knees to pray with the pastor, he was instantly “in the spirit.”

“On this night in 1952 in the parsonage kitchen, my physical senses were suspended. At that moment I didn’t know I was kneeling beside the kitchen chair. It seemed as if I was kneeling in a white cloud that enveloped me. Immediately I saw Jesus. . .”I am going to teach you concerning the devil and demons, and demon possession. . .from this night forwards, what is known in My Word as the gift of discerning of spirits will operate in your life when you are in the Spirit.”

One thing that is prominent in the visions Hagin receives is the element of being personally taught by the Lord Jesus Himself. Hagin takes his understanding of Scripture to the highest point possible, being personally taught by God, mouth to mouth! Hagin’s understanding of doctrine and the Bible does not come from mere man, or a seminary somewhere. No, his comes from the very lips of the risen Christ Himself! This places Hagin and his teachings on a very high plain, which possibly explains why he is so revered among Charismatics today.

The problem with this is manifold. To begin with much of what Jesus is teaching (or showing) him is simply not Biblical. Secondly, we have no record of anyone being personally taught doctrine by the risen Christ after the closing of the canon of Scripture. We know of a certainty that it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to teach us (Jh. 16:13) and that God has placed Pastor Teachers in the Body (Eph. 4:11-12). We do know that John saw Jesus and wrote down what he saw and heard. Apart from John no one else was personally taught by Christ. Paul was taken to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2) although he does not say Jesus taught him anything. So Hagin’s experiences place him above Paul, Peter, James, Luke, and others.

“The Lord said, “There are four divisions: (1) principalities, (2) powers, (3) rulers of the darkness of this world, (4) and wicked spirits in high places or in the heavenlies. . .The highest types of demons with which you have to deal with on earth, the rulers of the darkness of this world, rule all unsaved people, all who are in darkness. They rule over them and dominate them.”

Hagin’s Jesus goes on the reveal to him that people do the wicked things they do because of these spirits. This is the classic “the devil made me do it” of Flip Wilson given now divine verification! Certainly Satan is the Tempter (Matt. 4:3), but people sin because they are desperately wicked and are totally depraved. When Satan and his demons are locked up for one thousand years why does Jesus have to rule with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:15)? Because those who survive the great tribulation and are alive when Jesus returns are still fallen people and without any external force (demons) they will sin – it is their nature. All sin cannot be laid at the feet of Satan or his demons, much of what is sinful is based within the heart of man.

Then Jesus shows Hagin (in the spirit) a women who is a minister of the gospel, and is even used in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit (pg. 75). In the end, this woman listens to the demons speaking to her, she leaves her husband, and takes up with another man and renounces Jesus Christ.

“Lord what will happen to her?” . . She will spend eternity in the regions of the damned, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”. .And in the vision I saw her go down into the pit. I heard her awful screams.”

This is an important vision because in this one Jesus contradicts His own teaching concerning His sheep. Jesus said He would not loose any of the people given to him by the Father (Jh. 6:39). The Bible Jesus also stated that Jesus gives His sheep eternal life and they shall never perish (Jh. 10:27,28).

Hagin’s Jesus now reveals to us that a person can be saved, in ministry, and then decide to reject Christ and be lost. So somehow Christians can break the seal of the Holy Spirit, and by an act of their will undo all that God has wrought in them at the moment of salvation. This being speaking with Hagin is not the True Christ of the Bible, but some cleaver demonic counterfeit.

Jesus goes on to reveal to Hagin the true meaning of 1 John 5:16 and that we are not to pray for those who commit such sins, i.e. the sin unto death. Now we know that the sin unto death is the sin which leads to eternal damnation. In fact, Jesus goes onto the elucidate to Hagin the five ingredients which comprise the sin unto eternal damnation:

“1. Be enlightened (or convicted) to see his lost states, and to know that there is no way for him to be saved except through Jesus Christ. 2. Taste of the heavenly gift, which is Jesus. 3. Become partaker of the Holy Spirit, or be filled with the Holy Spirit. 4. Grow enough out of the babyhood stage to have tasted of the good Word of God. 5. Have the powers of the world to come – the gifts of the Spirit – operating in his life.”

Jesus gives Hagin (and us through Hagin) facts which again contradict the teaching of Scriptures. What Hagin has been taught is that a person is convicted of their lost condition and receives Jesus, the heavenly gift. They then go onto to get filled with the Holy Spirit – please understand that this for Hagin and most charismatics is a subsequent experience after salvation. This charismatic believer grows up having tasted the good Word of God (is any of It bad?) and has the gifts of the Holy Spirit operate in their lives. Then after this they willfully turn their backs on God and end up in hell!

The Bible teaches that the believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). Philippians 1:6 encourages us that He, God, who began the good work of salvation, shall complete this work in us. I Thessolonians 5:23, 24 we are assured that God will keep us blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus. Paul assures us that the Lord who called us will do it! The text Hagin claims Jesus taught him does not apply to blood-washed Christians. Furthermore the text in First John does not teach that we are not to pray for those who have committed a sin worthy of death.

Concerning this (peri ekeines). This sin unto death. That he should make request (hina erotesei). Sub-final use of hina with the first aorist active subjunctive of erotao, used here as in John 17:15, 20 (and often) for request rather than for question. John does not forbid praying for such cases; he simply does not command prayer for them. He leaves them to God. (Bold type the authors).

During this lenghty vision brother Hagin receives further startling revelations which have become cornerstones of his ministry. Jesus continues to speak to Hagin and lo-and-behold a monkey shaped demon jumps up between them and starts causing a ruckus. Hagin can see Jesus is speaking but he cannot hear what He is saying. Hagin waits for Jesus to command the demon to go, but He does not. Finally Hagin commands the demon to shut up and begone . . . and the demon flees in terror from him.

“I was still wondering why Jesus had not stopped this evil spirit from interfering, and of course Jesus knew what I was thinking. He said, “If you hadn’t done something about that, I couldn’t have.”

Hagin immediately corrects Jesus by telling Him surely He meant wouldn’t have. Jesus says no He could not have done anything. Hagin protests some more and Jesus tells him “sometimes your theology needs upending” (pg. 87). Then Hagin decides to get theological with Jesus and says:

“Lord, even though I am seeing You with my eyes, even though I hear your voice speaking to me as plainly as any voice I have ever heard, I cannot accept that unless You prove it to me by the Word of God. . . I will not accept any vision, I will not accept any revelation, if it cannot be proved by the Word of God.”

It is obvious that for brother Hagin proving something by the Word of God consists of finding a text, regardless of its context, and thus proving the validity of a concept by mere proof-texting, which is no proof at all.

Jesus then shows Hagin texts where Jesus gave the believer authority over Satan and demons. Jesus tells Hagin no place in the New Testament are we to ask Jesus to fight Satan or demons on our behalf. The reason Almighty God cannot do anything about Satan is because He has given His authority to the Church. Unless we deal with Satan the job will not get done. Jesus has done all He is going to concerning the devil and now it is up to the Body of Christ to enforce his defeat by using our authority in Jesus name. The subject of our authority over Satan and demons became a thrust of Hagin’s ministry. So much so he wrote a book entitled “The Authority of the Believer.” A main problem with this book, apart from the bad theology, is the fact that he plegerized the vast majority of it.

The believer does not act autonomously in the spiritual life. Any power or ability we possess comes from God, it is in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). When the gospel is preached and people are saved – who saved them, the evangelist or the Lord? The Lord. If you do pray for the sick and they are genuinely healed by God, who healed them? The one who prayed or the Lord? The Lord. If an evil spirit is indeed cast out, who cast it out, the individual or the Lord? The Lord. In all cases, it is the Lord operating by His Spirit through His servant. He alone gets the glory. As in the other cases, what Hagin claims Jesus has taught him is at variance with the Scripture and in most cases with logic.

In 1958 in Port Natches Texas Hagin is singing in other tongues during a meeting and Jesus suddenly appears on the platform to him. This time Jesus is not alone, He has come with Hagin’s angel –

“Then, pointing to the angel standing beside Him, He said, “This is your angel.” ” My angel?” I asked. “Yes, your angel, and if you will respond to him, he will appear to you as I will at times; and he will give your guidance and direction concerning the things of life, for angels are ministering spirits who are sent to minister for those who are heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14).

Obviously is Jesus is busying running some other aspect of the universe He will now have His angel come and guide brother Hagin in the affairs of life. Nowhere does the New Testament validate an experience of this type. Angels do not give individuals guidance and direction concerning the things of life. Last time I checked that ministry was reserved for the Holy Spirit alone.

We do read some warnings concerning angels however, which brother Hagin would do well to heed:

Col. 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

2 Cor. 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Galatians 1:8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

No one in the Bible is told by God that an angel will guide them in the affairs of life. Angels do minister, they do the bidding of God, but they are not personal advisors. Earlier we read where brother Hagin is given a special anointing, an anointing so special it is not found in Scripture. Next we read that he is personally doctrine by the Head of the Church. Now we read that he is given a personal guide, a spirit-guide if you will, who will guide him in the affairs of life, if he will open himself up to this spirit-being. It would seem that brother Hagin has had more supernatural experiences than all the apostles of the Bible combined!

February 1959, we find brother Hagin in the hospital with an injured elbow. Around dinner time he hears some footsteps coming towards his room and he looks up and it is Jesus!

“As I looked closer, I saw it was Jesus! It seemed as if my hair stood on end. Cold chill bumps pooped out all over my body, and I couldn’t say a word. . .I am going to talk to you now about the prophets ministry. You have missed it and have only been in my permissive will because you have reversed the order, putting the teaching ministry first and the prophet’s ministry second.”

Brother Hagin was operating in the permissive will of God, which is why the devil was allowed to hurt his elbow. Jesus came to speed up the healing process but also to get brother Hagin on track, i.e. to get him to flow in the office of a prophet more so than that of a teacher. Jesus went on to reveal to brother Hagin that the ministry of the prophet and apostle are still for the Church today (since the late 1940’s Pentecostals had accepted this erroneous belief). Jesus then defines the ministry of the prophet:

“Jesus went on the talk to me about the ministry of the prophet, explaining that a prophet is one who has visions and revelations; things revealed to him. . .Therefore the word of knowledge and the discerning of spirits plus prophecy are operating in my ministry when I am in the Spirit. This constitutes the office of the prophet.”

Now after almost two thousand years we have further divine revelation into what exactly makes one a prophet. All we need do is accept what brother Hagin says Jesus taught him. A prophet has visions and revelations. A prophet operates in the word of knowledge, which Pentecostals define as the supernatural ability to know what is currently happening in a person’s life or at times a city or nation. A prophet operates in the discerning of spirits, the supernatural ability to see into the realm of the spirit, literally see angels and demons at work. Lastly, they will naturally prophesy. All of which, as we have read, are active in brother Hagin’s life. So obviously, he is a prophet as well as an evangelist and teacher, and pastor.

Brother Hagin is not just an ordinary run-of-the-mill preacher. He is the prophet of the Lord God and people had better listen to him . . . or else:

“He went on to say that if a Church wouldn’t accept the ministry of a prophet, they wouldn’t accept His Word. He added that if a pastor wouldn’t accept this message, judgment would come to him. The Lord said that if He gave me a message or a revelation for a pastor, I should deliver it; and if He gave me a message for a church or an individual, I should deliver it. . .If you give a message for an individual, church, or a pastor, and they don’t accept it, you will not be responsible. They will be responsible. There will be ministers who won’t accept it and who will fall dead in the pulpit.”

Two weeks later brother Hagin finished preaching somewhere and the pastor did not accept his message and fell dead! Naturally, writing this has caused me sleepless nights. NOT!

As before, there is nothing in the New Testament to support this concept. The Biblical Jesus did say in Mark 6:11 to shake the dust off your feet if your witness is not received. He did not say “they will die if they reject your message.” In fact, Jesus rebuked John and James when they wanted to call lightening down on a town which rejected Jesus . . . like Jesus I say to brother Hagin “you do not know of what spirit you are” when you make statements like these.

http://www.discernment.org/wordfaith/kenhagin.htm

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