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THE HARMFUL TEACHINGS OF KENNETH AND GLORIA COPELAND Written by Cedric Hohnstadt

(NOTE: I want to be honest and fair, so all quotes are footnoted. Any time I used a quote that I could not personally verify, it is preceeded by the word “allegedly”, as in “Copeland allegedly said…”. Also, in August 2004 I submitted an early draft of this article to the Kenneth Copeland ministry and asked for their feedback. I have yet to receive a response.)

Why worry about doctrine anyway? Click HERE to see what the Bible says.

Introduction: So What’s The Big Deal?

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland teach some wonderful things: We must have confidence in God’s Word and obey it; we must resist the Devil; we should praise God, and boldly pray, and have faith; we should serve God and love others and give sacrificially. But the Copeland’s also have some dangerous teachings that are not only unbiblical, but unhealthy and even harmful.

I have no desire to slander a well-meaning ministry. But I believe the Copeland’s teaching is very flawed–so flawed that, if followed wholeheartedly, it can only lead to disappointment, frustration and disillusionment…or worse. That bothers me. The Bible is very clear that false teachings are harmful and should be exposed (in humility and love). But don’t take my word for it; turn to the Scriptures. I will quote a lot of Scripture in this article. Please click on the links so you can test what I am saying. God’s Word is more powerful than any words I can come up with.

The Copeland’s are leaders in what is commonly referred to as the Word of Faith Movement or the “Prosperity Gospel”, which (falsely) teaches that God’s will for believers is always prosperity, health, and victory—no matter what. When hard times hit (and they eventually do), what are we to make of them? Could it be that God has some sovereign reason for suffering, or that He uses it to teach us or to help us grow? Copeland says no! In Word Faith theology failure, sickness, and hardship are always attacks from Satan and are never God’s will.

Copeland is wrong. The Bible clearly tells us that sometimes it is actually God’s will that we suffer (1 Peter 3:17; 4:19; Hebrew 12:7).

Here are twelve reasons why I believe this teaching is very harmful, followed by a critique of three false promises of Copeland’s prosperity gospel:

What’s Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel?

1. Materialism keeps people out of heaven.
The Copeland’s tout the Gospel as a way to live “the good life” and claim wealth is a sign of spiritual maturity. Such a message appeals only to our sinful, selfish nature. True Christians are not to love the world or anything in the world (1 John 2:15). Jesus repeatedly warned that wealth can be dangerous to our souls (Luke 8:14; 12:15) and even keep us out of heaven (Matthew 19:21-24; Ephesians 5:5). Rather than indulging ourselves with material “blessings”, the true Christian message is to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ, for “you cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

2. Lack of true peace.
Word of Faith preachers teach that God is just waiting to bless us. So if the believer isn’t experiencing “victory”, the problem must somehow be with the believer. This false teaching causes the believer to constantly strive harder, sacrifice harder, confess harder, and believe harder in order to achieve some mystical level of pure, unpolluted faith. The believer has no true peace until this “victory” is achieved.

In reality the Bible does NOT promise constant prosperity and victory (see below, False Promise #3: Victory and Success for Believers). Sometimes it is actually God’s will that we suffer (1 Peter 3:17; 4:19; Hebrew 12:7). The apostle Paul was able to proudly rejoice in his sufferings (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)! The mark of the true Christian is not freedom from suffering but peace in the midst of suffering (2 Thess. 3:16; Phil. 4:6-7; John 14:27; 16:33; Romans 8:6; 15:13; Heb. 12:11).

Despite what the Copeland’s say, pain and hardship need not shake our faith or rob us of our peace!

3. Unnecessary guilt and worry.
Copeland’s teaching makes God’s blessing conditional on our ability to strive and perform. On their website Gloria Copeland writes: “So our protection depends on our walking in fellowship with God and obedience to His Word.”6 and “Your security will be determined by how much time and attention you give to God and His Word in this life”.7 This is not only unbiblical (our security is in Christ, not our efforts), it is the exact opposite of grace! The Copeland’s also insist we must tame our tongues to secure God’s blessing,8 even though the Bible says that is impossible (James 3:8).

When suffering persists, Prosperity teaching actually creates doubt and worry (“What am I doing wrong?”; “When have I done enough?”) and destroys any real confidence in God’s sovereignty and mercy.

4. Unnecessary fear.
Anything negative, especially doubt, will supposedly cancel out your faith and short-circuit God’s blessing in your life. As a result, when hardships come the believer puts pressure on himself to do the impossible: to never have a negative thought. The result is bondage to a constant, superstitious fear of anything negative.

Actually, faith grows stronger if we ask questions and wrestle honestly with our doubts. The Bereans were commended for their healthy skepticism (Acts 17:11). We are to search for wisdom as for hidden treasure (Prov. 2:3-5) and test everything (1 Thess. 5:21).

Fear of anything negative shows how weak and fragile a person’s faith really is, and keeps it from growing stronger.

5. Emotional stress.
The Copeland’s teach that sadness, grief, anger, or frustration are signs of a lack of faith. According to Gloria Copeland, “If you are sad and depressed, that means you’re not believing God”9 . As a result, believers may stuff their true feelings and/or live in denial of them. This can create a host of unhealthy emotional and relational problems.

God knows our hearts better than we do (Psalm 44:21; Romans 8:27). When we mourn He does not shame us–He comforts us (Matthew. 5:4). He is “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” (2 Cor. 1:3). He desires that we be open and honest with Him about our negative feelings (as David did in the Psalms) so that He can help us to deal with them and overcome them with His peace.

6. Avoidance of serious problems.
Likewise, some people may avoid properly dealing with their problems. Simply accepting life’s difficulties supposedly shows a lack of faith. So when problems arise some feel they must prove their faith by patiently waiting for the “victory” they have been promised. An extreme example of this would be parents who let their children die rather than take them to the doctor, because they are claiming God’s promises to heal and taking them to the doctor would show a sinful “lack of faith”. How tragic!

When problems arise, we are to face them prayerfully with responsibility and wisdom, and then trust God to work all things out for His good (Romans 8:28).

7. A false view of God.
In Prosperity teaching, you must never pray “…if it be Your will”. To consider the possibility of a “no” answer from God supposedly shows a lack of faith (even though both Jesus and Paul did so–Luke 22:42; Acts 18:21; also James 4:13-15). Apparently Copeland’s God is a fickle being who is swayed into holding back blessing simply by praying one wrong phrase (“if it be Your will”). Copeland also allegedly believes God is not all-powerful: “God cannot do anything for you apart or separate from faith”.10 Such a God is not the true God!

8. Raising man and lowering God.
Copeland says believers have the same authority as God: “You have obtained an inheritance, and in that inheritance you have been given all authority.”11 He also says our future is in our own hands: “With [God’s] truth we can set our course…for a life full of success”;12 “You are the prophet of your own life…Your words in your life decide your future”.13 Apparently it is ultimately up to us (not God) to decide what is good for us and what blessings we should have.

Copeland’s God is also weakened by humans because he cannot truly bless us without our believing prayers and confession. So the real power is in our ability to “release the power of faith”. We must have “faith in our faith”14.

The roles are reversed–in a sense we become the masters and God becomes the servant. Copeland allegedly wrote, “As a believer, you have a right to make commands in the name of Jesus. Each time you stand on the Word, you are commanding God to a certain extent because it is His Word”.15 This is a backward, man-centered theology and is outright blasphemy. God is the King, we are but humble servants (Luke 17:10). Copeland’s emphasis is (wrongly) on our ability to drum up enough faith, when instead the emphasis should be on Christ to lead us, provide for us, and empower us to serve Him as He sees fit.

9. A distorted prayer life.
Copeland teaches that just as there are laws of physics that control the power of electricity, there are also spiritual laws that control the power of faith. The secret to the the victorious Christian life is learning how to master these supposed “faith laws” through speaking and believing God’s promises. As a result prayer becomes a constant mantra of “taking authority” and “rebuking Satan” and “speaking faith” and “rebuking doubt”–none of which is a true interaction with God. Prayer sadly gets twisted into a magical, manipulative formula rather than a loving, trusting relationship with Jesus.

10. A false road to maturity.
For Copeland, spiritual maturity equals prosperity. The Bible says the opposite: spiritual maturity comes by persevering through trials (James 1:2-4). Jesus warned strongly against prosperity. Rather than strengthening our faith, wealth can actually choke it out (Luke 8:14), pull us away from God (Matt. 6:24) and even keep us out of heaven (Matt. 19:21-24; Eph. 5:5). “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:24).

Instead of following after prosperity, we grow in maturity as we “put to death the desires of the flesh” (which includes greed–Col. 3:5) and take up our cross and follow Christ.

11. It promotes laziness and irresponsibility.
If simply claiming God’s promises entitles us to a life of victory, health, and wealth, then why bother with hard work, education, discipline, exercise, etc.? To the poor and uneducated his teachings may have the same appeal as the phony get-rich-quick philosophy promoted by lotteries, casinos, and other hucksters.

12. It is a trap that leads to disillusionment.
Tragedy and suffering strike everyone sooner or later. When they do, no amount of believing or giving tithes or rebuking the devil can get us out of them. Believers either become trapped in a constant cycle of striving and sacrificing until things improve, or they become bitter and disillusioned and leave Word of Faith teaching (and perhaps Christianity) altogether. Either way, the believer is kept from resting in the true inner peace and comfort that Christ promises in the midst of life’s tragedies.

GETTING SOME BALANCE

Copeland repeatedly bends Scripture to fit his beliefs rather than bending his beliefs to fit Scripture. Let me take three of Copeland’s biggest false promises and balance them with Scriptures that he usually (and conveniently) ignores:

False Promise #1: Financial Prosperity for Believers
The Copeland’s insist that true faith will bring the believer loads of money, despite a long list of Scriptures that teach otherwise. On their website Gloria Copeland writes:

“God’s will concerning financial prosperity and abundance is clearly revealed in the Scriptures”. 16

But what did Jesus teach about prosperity and abundance? While He never condemned money outright, He did warn us not to store up earthly treasure (Matt. 6:19) and preached that those who serve God must despise money (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:15) because their hearts will be wherever their treasure is (Matt. 6:21). He said giving is better than receiving (Acts 20:35). He warned that wealth is deceitful and can choke out our faith (Matt. 13:5,22; Luke 8:14), and to be on guard against self-indulgence and greed in all its forms (Matthew 23:25; Mark 7:21-23; Luke 12:15). He preached woe to the wealthy (Luke 6:24) and said it is almost impossible for the rich to enter heaven (Matt. 19:21-24). Jesus commands all his followers to lay down their lives in self-denial (Matt. 16:24) and told a wealthy would-be disciple to sell all his possessions (Matt. 19:21-24). Jesus himself did not even have a bed to sleep on (Matt. 8:20).

Yet Kenneth and Gloria Copeland teach that if we shun wealth we are sinning against God:

“The man who holds to poverty rejects the establishment of the covenant. The man who holds to the covenant rejects poverty. Faith in the covenant pleases God. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” 17 and (allegedly), “Poverty is an evil spirit”18 .

What about the Apostles–did they put a lot of emphasis on financial prosperity? Paul once described himself as “poor” and “having nothing” (2 Cor. 6:10). He wrote that a Christian must flee the desire to get rich (1 Tim. 6:10-11), because greed is idolatry (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). We must purge every hint of greed from our lives (Eph. 5:3) and be content with whatever little we have (Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:6-8).

The desire to get rich is a trap that brings ruin, destruction, and all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:9-11). We are to have nothing to do with greedy people (Eph. 5:5-7). A true Christian leader must not be a lover of money (1 Tim. 3:2-3), and a greedy teacher may exploit his flock (2 Peter 2:3). Those who think godliness leads to financial gain have been corrupted (1 Tim. 6:5). A Christian must not focus his mind on earthly things (Col. 3:2) or love anything in the world (1 John 2:15-16). He must not pray for money to spend on pleasure (James 4:3), but rather be content with whatever little he has (Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:6-8). Being poor is a high position while being rich is a low position (James 1:9-10).

Nevertheless, the Copeland’s insist:

“Prosperity is a major requirement in the establishment of God’s will,” and “God’s will for His people today is abundance”19.

This is easy for them to say, because the Copeland’s themselves don’t really live by faith at all.

Instead they live lavishly off the donations of poor, struggling Christians who are “sowing” what little they have for the promise of “reaping a hundredfold blessing”20 . If the Copeland’s really believe giving reaps such an increase, shouldn’t they be giving away their own wealth? By asking for donations don’t they show a lack of faith?

False Promise #2: Health and Healing for Believers
On their website Gloria Copeland writes:

“[God’s Word is] so powerful it can cure every sickness and disease known to man. It has no dangerous side effects. It is safe even in massive doses. And when taken daily according to directions, it can prevent illness altogether and keep you in vibrant health.”21

Is this incredible claim really true? If so, are things like wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, and having surgery unnecessary or even sinful?

While God can and does heal, the Bible is clear that it is not His will in every situation. Paul suffered a “thorn in his flesh” which God refused to remove in order to keep Paul humble….and rather than chide himself for lack of faith, Paul rejoiced! (2 Cor. 12:7-10). God used an illness of Paul’s to bring the gospel to the Galatians (Gal. 4:13), and Paul probably suffered from poor eyesight (Gal. 6:11). Timothy was sick frequently (1 Tim. 5:23), but rather than telling Timothy to “claim a healing” or “rebuke the devil”, Paul simply instructs him to add wine to his diet (wine was used as a form of medicine). Paul also left a man named Trophimus sick in Miletus, without healing him (2 Tim. 4:20).

Pastor and author John MacArthur lists the three primary reasons why Christians get sick:

Some sicknesses are from God. “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11). God made the disabled and infirm. Babies are born every day with defects. Many children grow up with congenital deformities. Some people have illnesses that last for years. While it is unexplainable according to our human logic, it is all part of God’s sovereign, loving plan.

Some sicknesses are from Satan. (Luke 13:11-13). God may allow Satan to inflict illness for His own sovereign reasons. The classic example is Job (Job chapter 1).

Some sickness is God’s chastisement for sin. (Numbers 12; Deut. 28:20-22; 2 Kings 5). “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word” (Ps. 119:67)22

Other examples include God tormenting the Egyptians with skin boils (Ex. 9:8-12), inflicting King Jeroboam with leprosy (2 Kings 15:5), and striking Saul with blindness (Acts 9:1-19).

The Bible also tells us plainly that God disciplines the Church through sickness, hardship, and even death (1 Cor. 11:28-30; Heb. 12:7; Acts 5:1-11) and that we should joyfully accept trials “of many kinds” because God uses them to make us mature (James 1:2-4; Psalm 119:71,75). Clearly God allows and even causes sickness for His own sovereign purposes.

Yet Kenneth Copeland allegedly writes:

“Tradition has taught that God uses sickness, trials and tribulation to teach us. This idea, however, is not based on the Word of God. God HAS NEVER used sickness to discipline His children and keep them in line. Sickness is of the devil, and God doesn’t need the devil to straighten us out!”23

and on his website:

“God never inflicted anyone with disease or anything listed under the curse. SATAN WAS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN THE ONE WHO KILLS,  STEALS, AND DESTROYS (see John 10:10).” 24

Copeland is wrong, and he is on dangerous ground because He is taking the work of God and attributing it to Satan. That is blasphemy!

False Promise #3: Victory and Success for Believers
On their website Gloria Copeland writes,

“God’s prosperity isn’t just financial blessings. It also includes healing, protection, favor, wisdom, success, well-being and every good thing you could possibly need—all the good things Jesus paid for you to have.”25

and

“It just boils down to this: We have to live by faith and trust in God. In Him we have already been delivered from the whole curse. We’re protected from danger, sickness, lack or any other bad thing that’s under the curse. God promised us in Psalm 91, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect
those who trust in my name’ (verse 14, New Living Translation).”26

Despite what Copeland says, the Bible is very clear that following Christ does not lead to an easier life, but rather to an increase in hardship.

Jesus said that we are actually blessed not through victory and success but through mourning, persecution, insults, poverty, hunger, weeping, hatred and rejection (Matt. 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-23; John 15:18-20). He said that those who follow Him may see their family members become their enemies (Matt. 10:34-36; Luke 14:25-26), and that the world would hate them (Matthew 10:22; John 15:18). All who follow Jesus must give up everything (Luke 14:33) and deny themselves and take up a cross (Matt. 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23), which means embracing an instrument of torture and death.

Throughout the book of Acts the disciples were persecuted, hauled into courts, threatened, imprisoned, beaten, flogged, stoned to death and put to the sword. They faced riots and mobs. False witnesses were brought against them. They were scattered from their homes (Acts 8:1) and some believers even had their property confiscated (Heb. 10:34).

At one point Paul was imprisoned for two years (Acts 24:27). According to 1 Cor. 4:9-13, he and his companions suffered hunger and thirst, their clothing was reduced to rags, they were brutally treated, they were homeless, cursed, persecuted, slandered, and they compared themselves to scum and refuse. They was “hard-pressed”, “perplexed”, “persecuted”, “struck down”, and “always given over to death” (2 Cor. 4:8-11). They faced troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, hunger, dishonor, bad report, beatings, sorrow, and poverty. (2 Cor. 6:4-10). Paul himself was chained and imprisoned frequently, flogged five times, beaten with rods three times, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, and was constantly on the move from danger. Cold and naked, he sometimes went without food, water or sleep. (2 Cor. 11:23-27) At one point in his ministry everyone deserted him (2 Tim. 4:16), and at another time the pressure and despair was so great that he no longer wanted to live (2 Cor. 1:8-9).

Yet Copeland writes:

“The only suffering we encounter in sharing His victory is spiritual. That’s what the Word is talking about when it says we are to be partakers of Christ’s suffering. In other words, the only suffering for a believer is the spiritual discomfort brought by resisting the pressures of the flesh, not a
physical or mental suffering. Jesus has already borne for us all the suffering in the natural and mental realms. . .That’s why it’s to God’s glory when we are healed or delivered physically and mentally, for we only have to fight in the spirit realm.”27

Apparently Paul just never learned how speak to victory into his life. Are we to assume Copeland is a stronger man of faith than Paul was?

Hardly. Paul understood the essential Christian doctrine of self-denial. He was willing to take up his cross, put to death his sinful nature, and face persecution and death daily as a bondslave of Christ and for the benefit of others. Yet this crucial Christian concept is strangely absent in Copeland’s prosperity teaching.

Hebrews 11:35-39 describes men of God who were tortured, jeered at, flogged, chained, imprisoned, stoned, sawed in two, and put to death by the sword. They wore sheepskins and goatskins and wandered the deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground. The were destitute, persecuted, and mistreated. The Copelands would say these were people of weak faith, but verse 39 says they were commended for their faith!

The Blessings of Suffering, Sickness, and Hardship

Suffering can be a blessing (Matt. 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-23; 1 Pet. 3:14; 4:14). Christians should not be surprised at suffering (1 Peter 4:12; 1 John 3:13; 1 Thess. 3:3-4; Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Thess. 3:4) but embrace it joyfully (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:13). Godliness and suffering go hand in hand (2 Tim. 3:12). Sometimes suffering is actually God’s will (1 Peter 3:17; 4:19; Hebrew 12:7) and He uses it to bring about many positive results, such as:

A greater dependance on God (2 Cor. 1:9; 12:7-10)
Joy (Matt. 5:10-12; Luke 6:22-23; Acts 5:41; Rom. 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Col. 1:24; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Peter 4:13; Heb. 10:34; James 1:2-4)
Patience (2 Cor. 1:6; James 5:10; Rev. 1:9)
Courage (Matt. 10:28; Phil. 1:28; 1 Thess. 2:2; Rev. 2:10)
Freedom from Shame (2 Tim. 1:8,12; 1 Peter 4:16)
Perseverance/Endurance (Rom. 5:3; 1 Cor. 4:12; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:3; 2 Tim. 4:5; Heb. 10:32,36; 12:7; James 1:2-4,12; 1 Peter 4:19; Rev. 1:9, 2:3,10,13)
Character (Rom. 5:3-4)
Hope(Rom. 5:3-4)
A harvest of righteousness and peace (Heb. 12:11)
Closeness to Jesus and a longing for heaven (Rom. 8:17; Phil. 3:10; Heb. 11:26,35; 12:2-3; 13:13; 1 Peter 4:1; Rev. 21:4)
Thankfulness (1 Thess. 5:18)
Blessing and Kindness (1 Cor. 4:12-13)
Gentleness and Respect (1 Peter 3:14-17)
Opportunities to show forgiveness to others (Matt. 5:39-45; 2 Tim. 4:16)
Blessings and Comfort for others (1 Cor. 12:25-26; 2 Cor. 1:3-7; 8:2-4; Eph. 3:13; Phil. 1:14; Col. 1:24; 1 Thess. 3:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:8-10; Heb. 13:3)

Rather than being a sign of “lack of faith”, suffering can be one of the greatest tools God uses for strengthening our faith, and a sign that we are indeed living according to His will!

Yet on his website Kenneth Copeland writes:

“Over the years, this unscriptural doctrine of suffering for God by submitting to such works of the devil as sickness, lack and oppression has become a veritable sacred cow. But it’s time we knocked that cow in the head.”28

One has to wonder if Copeland is even reading the same Bible as the rest of us.

Blessed by God?

Does God desire to bless us? Absolutely!!! But the greatest blessings of God are not the things this world admires, for “what is highly esteemed among men is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:15).

We are blessed through suffering and persecution (Matt. 5:10-12; 1 Pet. 3:14; 4:14). We are blessed through being meek and pure in heart, through showing mercy and making peace (Matt. 5:1-10). We are blessed through faithful devotion to Christ (Matt. 11:6) and in understanding who Christ really is (Matt. 16:17). We are blessed by giving to others (Acts 20:35) and by helping the hungry, lonely, naked, sick, imprisoned, poor, crippled, lame and blind (Matt. 25:34-36; Luke 14:13-14). We are blessed by obeying the word of God (Luke 11:28; John 13:17; James 1:25) and by persevering through trials (James 1:12; 5:11). We are blessed by believing in Christ (John 20:29) and through repentance (Acts 3:26). We are blessed through the forgiveness Christ purchased for us on the cross (Rom. 4:6-8) and the hope of eternal life (Titus 2:13; Rev. 20:6)

Conclusion

There are good reasons why the Bible commands us to “test everything” and “preserve sound doctrine”, and warns us repeatedly about false teachers. While the Copeland’s have some good things to say, we must remember that Satan does not feed us poison outright— he hides it in the meat.

Whether they mean to or not, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland mislead people with false promises. Their supposed “life of victory” ultimately breeds guilt, fear, confusion, worry, disillusionment, and lack of true peace.

They keep people from dealing properly with the struggles of life. They present a false view of God, give man control of his own destiny, and attribute some of God’s work to Satan. They turn prayer into manipulation. They lead people to put their faith in the wrong thing and then prevent that faith from truly growing stronger.

They preach a gospel of materialism instead of self-denial, and make it harder for people to learn what God wants to teach them through suffering. Their theology is sloppy and they are misleading many for their own financial gain.

For all of this the Copeland’s must be held accountable. God holds teachers and prophets to very high standards (James 3:1; Deut. 18:20), and so should we.

Footnotes:
(KCM is short for Kenneth Copeland Ministries)

http://www.cedricstudio.com/personal/copeland.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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