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Gnosticism of the 20th Century: The New Age Or An Old Lie?
Craig Branch

Many people are becoming aware of what is commonly referred to as “The New Age Movement.” To most people, these diverse beliefs and practices seemed to grow out of nowhere.

The term “New Age” is somewhat misleading as it actually refers to a coming new era, a new state of existence – the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius.”

Adherents claim that this new state of utopian global bliss and consciousness will occur when enough people are converted or initiated.

Actually the beliefs and practices are very, very old. Their root lies in the dawn of time and began to grow and branch out throughout Biblical and modern history.

As Brooks Alexander writes, “…these presuppositions have been systematically expounded in such esoteric disciplines as astrology, alchemy, reincarnation, yoga, magic, Taoism, tantra and Zen. Today, because of the wide spread cross-fertilization of these and other schools of thought, new forms of this basic world view are being created,” (Special Collection Journal, Spiritual Counterfeits Project, Vol. 6 Number 1, 1984, p. 14).

This basic world view states that all reality is one undifferentiated cosmic energy or consciousness (monism). There is no personal God, but all is God; or God (an impersonal force) is all (pantheism).

Man is therefore a divine entity and “salvation is equated with the discovery of this higher Reality with its laws,” (Ibid, p. 16).

The attainment of this experiential knowledge (gnosis) leads to self-realization which “Leads to the mastery of spiritual technology and the attainment of psycho-spiritual power,” (Ibid).

Matter, sin, and finiteness are therefore an illusion.

Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines gnosis and gnosticism as the gaining of spiritual knowledge reserved only for special initiates, “Distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation or salvation comes through this special knowledge.”

Closely related and associated with gnosticism is occultism.

Classically the word “occult” means hidden or secret teachings and practices. But “by `secret’ it is not meant that the positions taken are not available in most instances. Rather, the beliefs and practices are secret in the sense that performance of the rites is considered to be effective only when performed by those who are deeply initiated in the lore of the cult,” (Cults, World Religions, and the Occult, Ken Boa, p. 139).

Therefore, a working definition of the New Age would be a revival of ancient eastern mystical/occult beliefs and practices based on gnostic roots.

It involves the belief that spirituality or godhood is gained by the use of magical/mystical practices which transcend the illusory physical universe and senses.

This pagan philosophy has its historical root in Genesis 3:1-5. Satan in his temptation of man seduces Eve by questioning the character, benevolent rule and word of God (vs.1).

Satan also denies the reality of death (as does reincarnation), and promises that if man partakes of the forbidden, secret knowledge (occult/gnosis) then he will be raised up on the level of God, independent of Him (vs. 3-5).

“…the tempation of the autonomous and infinitized self remains the alpha and omega of spiritual pride,” (Special Collection Journal, p. 22).

From this unfortunate beginning, the embodiment of this philosophy can be historically traced through the Bible. Ancient Babylon in its mystery religions consistently reflects this heresy.

Throughout the Old Testament, these practices are exposed and condemned (Deut. 18:10-14; Isaiah 47:8-15).

For instance, the Ziggurats of Babel (Genesis 11) and the entire Chaldean culture were deeply rooted in the esoteric science of astrology.

This philosophy expressed in the Samarian and Egyptian cultures as well. God lays bare the deceitfulness of this paganism in Isaiah 47:8-10.

Eschatologically, mystery Babylon demonstrates that it is preeminently a religious system throughout the ages culminating in the final judgment (Revelation 17 and 18).

Continuing to trace the history of this heresy, Paul addresses the Stoic philosophers at Athens (Acts 17:16-34) who were the pantheists of that day. Paul also confronted this heresy in Ephesus (Acts 19:17-20).

Sections of the New Testament, especially in Colossians and 1 John were written specifically responding to the gnostic beliefs of that day.

In more modern times, this gnostic/occultic philosophy has continued to evolve in expressions like Indian Shamanism, transcendentalism, spiritism and spiritualism, New Thought, Rosicrusianism, Theosophy, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zen, Kabala, Sufism, Yoga, Christian Science, Mind Sciences, Unity, Silva Mind Control, Edgar Cayce, Transcendental Meditation, Witchcraft, firewalking, Church Universal and Triumphant, parapsychology and many more.

“That which has been is that which will be, and that which is done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun,” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Historically the effect of the perennial heresy has always been death and so it will be in the future: “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong,” (Revelation 18:8).

As C.S. Lewis cogently remarked, “And Pantheism in that sense has, in the long run, only one really formidable opponent – namely Christianity,” (Miracles, pp. 84-85).

http://www.watchman.org/reltop/gnostic.htm

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HERESIES: THEN AND NOW
By Jason Barker

In 2 Peter 2:1–2, the apostle states, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”

The apostle accurately observed the spread of heresy in the first–century church, and his warning that false teachers would continue to arise can easily be seen in the growth of cults and pseudo–Christian religions in our time. Interestingly, the heresies that are popular today are simply variations of the same heresies that have arisen throughout the history of the Church. This article will briefly examine some of the most influential of these heresies, will list scriptures that refute the heresy, and will list some of the modern groups that continue to promote the heresies.

Judaizers — 1st Century Judaizers, or the Judaizing movements, is not a condemnation of Judaism or ethnic Jews. Instead, it has historically been the label for those who attempt to make observing the Mosaic Law a requirement for Christianity and salvation. The book of Acts refers to such people as “they of the circumcision” (Acts 10:45; 11:2), and the council at Jerusalem decisively ruled against them (Acts 15:23–29).

Despite this biblical ruling, Judaizing movements continue to grow in our time. These movements require such things as strict observance of the Sabbath on Saturday, mandatory tithing, observance of the Jewish feasts, and other regulations in order for a Christian to earn salvation.

Scriptural Refutation: Romans 3:24–28.

Modern Groups: Seventh-Day Adventists; followers of Herbert W. Armstrong.

Gnosticism — 1st and 2nd Centuries The Gnostics promoted three basic teachings: 1) matter is evil, and thus Jesus only appeared to be a man; 2) because the Bible teaches that God created matter, the God of the Old Testament Jews is an evil deity who is distinct from the New Testament God, Jesus Christ; and 3) ultimate Truth is a mystery that is available only to those who are initiated into the secret teachings and practices of the Gnostic groups.

Gnosticism has become popular in the latter half of the 20th century with the 1945 Egyptian discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, a collection of Gnostic writings. One of the most influential books in modern Gnosticism has been Elaine Pagel’s The Gnostic Gospels, an analysis of the Nag Hammadi documents. Modern Gnosticism is commonly found in syncretistic groups, which teach that Truth can be found by combining the beliefs and practices of numerous religions.

Scriptural Refutation: Genesis 1:4, 10, 18, 21, 25, 27; John 10:30; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 1 John 1:1.

Modern Groups: Primarily found in the New Age Movement.

Docetism — 1st – 4th Centuries The name is taken from the Greek word dokein = to seem. The docetics believed that the seeming humanity of Christ, particularly his suffering, were imaginary. They taught that the divine God cannot suffer, and thus, since Christ is divine, his suffering was an illusion to teach humans a valuable lesson about the illusion of matter. Docetism was an integral part of Gnosticism. The heresy was a major impetus for the Chalcedonian Definition of 451, which describes that Christ is one person with two natures: human and divine.

The heresy continues among modern groups that deny the reality of suffering.

Scriptural Refutation: John 1:1–3, 14; Philippians 2:6–8.

Modern Groups: Christian Science, Mind Sciences, the New Age Movement.

Origenism — 3rd Century The career of Origen is one of the more unusual in Christian history. He dedicated himself to defending attacks on Christianity from paganism, Judaism, and Christian heresies. His apologetic book, Against Celsus, remains a classic piece of Christian literature.

Despite his defense of orthodoxy, Origen developed several heretical doctrines that were eventually condemned in 553. His most notable deviant teachings involve the preexistence of human souls, the subordination of the Son to the Father, and universalism. Few groups currently adopt all of Origen’s teachings. Nonetheless, groups influenced by Joseph Smith believe in both the preexistence of souls and the essential subordination of the Son to the Father, and many other groups believe in both the preexistence of souls (usually in the form of reincarnation) and universalism.

Scriptural Refutation: Hebrews 9:27; John 10:30; Matthew 7:13–23; 8:11–12.

Modern Groups: Mormons, Liberal Christianity.

Dynamic Monarchianism / Sabellianism — 3rd Century Although the heresy was first taught in 190 by Theodotus of Byzantium, monarchianism was most notably promoted by Sabellius in the third century. Monarchianism denies the Trinity by teaching that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not separate persons. Instead, the monotheistic God (called a monad) progressively revealed Himself as the creator and lawgiver through the “office” of Father, as the redeemer through the office of Son, and as the source of grace through the office of Spirit.

Scriptural Refutation: John 3:16; 17:22–23; 1 John 5:7–14.

Modern Groups: Oneness Pentecostals.

Arianism — 4th Century Perhaps the most significant heresy faced by the Church, Arianism (named after Arius) taught that, as the Son of God, Christ was created by God the Father. Arius thus denied the Trinity by teaching that Jesus is less than fully divine. This heresy became extremely widespread, even being promoted by many bishops. It was condemned at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 (which proclaimed that Christ is fully divine), and at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 (which proclaimed that the Holy Spirit is divine). Arianism remains one of the most common heresies to afflict the Church. Almost all pseudo–Christian groups deny the full deity of Christ.

Scriptural Refutation: John 10:30; 1 John 5:7.

Modern Groups: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church.

Pelagianism — 5th Century Pelagius, a Welsh monk, taught that humanity does not inherit original sin, and that salvation is earned by following the example of Christ. Grace is not necessary; instead, humans overcome the sin they gradually develop by using God’s grace to assist them in perfecting themselves and thus earning salvation.

This heresy, along with Arianism, is endemic to almost all modern pseudo–Christian groups.

Scriptural Refutation: Romans 3:24–26; 5:11–21.

Modern Groups: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, followers of Herbert W. Armstrong.

Nestorianism and Mono-physitism — 5th Century Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, taught that Mary bore only Jesus’ human nature in her womb, thus implicitly teaching that Christ was not divine while on earth. In an overreaction to Nestorius, the Monophysites taught that Christ was one person with his humanity and divinity fused into a single nature (the Greek roots of the word monophysite are mono = one, and physis = nature), thus implicitly teaching that Christ was neither fully human nor fully divine.

Nestorianism is implicit in those groups who deny the reality of matter. One of the most common forms of the monophysite heresy can be found in the New Age Movement, where many believe that Jesus was a man who developed his “Christ consciousness” and thus fully achieved his divinity.

Scriptural Refutation: Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:6–8.

Modern Groups: the New Age Movement, Christian Science.

Conclusion

Heresy is not new to the Church. The book of Colossians is Paul’s response to the syncretistic heresies present in the 1st century church in Colossae. Colossians 1:15–20, known as the “Christ Hymn,” is one of the best responses to the heresies that attack the deity and work of Christ.

Christians are commanded by God to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). One of the most effective ways to contend for the faith is to know the various ways in which the faith is attacked, and to know the biblical response to these attacks.

http://www.watchman.org/reltop/heresiesthenandnow.htm

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This Seminar video by Justin Peters @ http://www.justinpeters.org/ is the best video I have seen on the Word of Faith movement. Since the seminar is available on you tube. I will be doing a series on the Word Faith Movement. Each one with a video clip from Justin’s seminar.

This FOURTH POST is an article on the word faith and OCCULT groups teachings about positive confession.

I hope you will visit his site and consider buying the whole CD set to show your friends and family, or will consider asking your church about having Justin and his seminar at your church. I am going to buy the series and just may send it to a family member who is a word faith preacher. I only wish that those in the word faith movement would see that the WoF teachings are occultic and not from God. Damon Whitsell

A 30 minute DEMO video of the seminar is @ justins site here http://www.justinpeters.org/demo.htm

Positive Confession BY WATCHAMAN.ORG
Positive Confession is the belief that if a believer speaks “spiritual” or “faith-filled” words then he can have what he says. Unfortunately, this influence has invaded the church and continues to cause much turmoil and confusion.

Many of the teachers of the word-faith movement believe that words are so powerful that they can influence the physical and spiritual worlds. For example:

In The Tongue, a Creative Force (1976), positive confessionist Charles Capps, teaches that there are powerful “spiritual” words. Such words, which are ordinary words, can under certain circumstances, become vehicles for creative or supernatural power.

When “faith-filled” spiritual words are spoken (as words of power), they can alter the physical and spiritual world. Capps says, “You see there is more to it than just saying it. The words must originate from the inner man where spiritual power is released through words.”

He goes on to state that “spirit words can control both the spirit world and the physical world. Because the words themselves have power, they will work for either God or man in the same manner.” He goes on:

“The spirit of man is not of this world, it is of the spirit world. The creative ability of man comes through his spirit. He speaks spirit words that work in the world of the spirit. They will also dominate the physical world. He breathes spirit life into God’s Word and it becomes a living substance, working for him as it worked for God in the beginning. These spirit words dominate the natural world” (p. 117-118).

What Capps is alluding to in the above statement is his teaching that since God, “by His faith” (using words) spoke this physical world into existence; the believer, using faith, can do the same. That is, the believer can speak things into existence. However, God’s word is already “quick and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12), and it is referred to as the “Word of Life” (Phillipians 2:16). It is not necessary to activate it by speaking words of faith as though it were asleep or dead! Rather, it is by hearing the “living” word that one is brought to salvation through faith in Christ. (Romans 10:17)

A number of the prosperity teachers believe that the spiritual world controls and continually forms the physical world. So, if one can learn to control the spiritual world, then he can learn to control the physical world as well. This teaching then becomes the foundation for securing individual prosperity.

That is why in Releasing the Ability of God, Capps states, “You can have what you say! (because) the powerful force of the spiritual world that creates the circumstances around us is controlled by the words of the mouth. This force comes from inside us; the confession of our mouth will cause you to possess it” (pp. 98-99, parenthesis mine). This is why he teaches, “Discipline your vocabulary,” and “today your word is god over your circumstances” (pp. 101-104).

Capps also teaches that the power within a Christian, within one’s spirit, functions according to unchangeable laws. He says “These principles of faith are based on spiritual laws. They work for whosoever will apply these laws” (The Tongue, p. 103).

D. R. McConnell, in his book, A Different Gospel, directly traces the origin the spiritual laws taught in positive confession to the metaphysics of E.W. Kenyon, a man of 50-60 years ago whose theology was that of Pentecostal Christian Science (A Different Gospel, pp. 3-56).

McConnell records Kenneth Copeland in The Laws of Prosperity (p. 98, 101) as saying, “You can have what you say! In fact, what you are saying is exactly what you are getting now. If you are living in poverty and lack and want, change what you are saying. It will change what you have. Discipline your vocabulary. God will be obligated to meet your needs because of His word. If you stand firmly on this, your needs will be met” (Ibid., p. 173).

McConnell further states, that E.W. Kenyon’s New Thought classmate, Ralph Waldo Trine, attributes the confession of prosperity to “Occult power.” He says that “Trine believed that thought is a force, and it has Occult power of unknown proportions when rightly used and wisely directed” (Ibid., p. 174).

The usage of Occult powers is, of course, a practice that the Word-Faith teachers would publicly reject. Of course, this is not to say that those offering these teachings are Occultists. They are teachers who may never have thought through the implications of the practices they advocate. They may be unaware of the similarities between certain aspects of positive confession and Occulict practices. Nevertheless, the similarities do exist, and these practices are neither Biblical nor Christian.

John Ankerberg’s issue of News and Views, June 1988, p. 1, reports that these words are used in religious rituals to influence both the spirit world and the material world. The report quotes Occult magician David Conway discussing the power of magical words to affect these worlds:

“Unseparable from magical speculation about words is the theory of vibrations, which supposes that certain sounds have a powerful acoustic impact on both the spiritual and astral worlds. Like the spiritual world and astral plane can in some circumstances be affected by sound, so that verbal magic may be said to derive its power not only from the idea contained in certain words, but from the peculiar vibrations these words create when spoken” (Magic: an Occult Primer, pp. 74-75).

Occultists, of course, have long claimed the true inner nature of man is powerful, capable of exercising divine ability. This is why New Ager Benjamin Creme says, for example, “One doesn’t pray to oneself, one prays to the God within. The thing is to learn to invoke that energy which is the energy of God. Prayer and worship as we know it today will gradually die out and men will be trained to invoke the (inner) power of deity” (The Reappearance of Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, pp. 135-136, parenthesis mine).

The reason that positive confessionists can place so much emphasis on the inner man and his divine power is that they think the believer is a god. Kenneth Copeland says, “You don’t have a god in you, you are one” (Copeland’s sermon tape The Force of Love). And Kenneth Hagin says, “The believer is as much an incarnation of God as Jesus Christ” (Hagin, Word of Faith, p. 14).

To the positive confessionist, scripture passages such as Proverbs 18:21, “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue;” and James 3:8-10 are taken as proof of this doctrine, because they believe as “little gods” they have the same power as God through their own words.

Is it any wonder that Charles Capps says “The confession of your mouth even after you have prayed correctly will determine whether or not you receive. You can release the ability of God through the words of your mouth” (Releasing the Ability of God, 1978, pp. 93, 96).

For Christians words and faith are important, but there is a limit to what words can do.

It can help or hurt a close friend or a total stranger by what one says, but to treat words as if they were some “star wars” type weapon by which one alters or manipulates reality is not biblical, but Occultic. If one could change reality by the power of words spoken, then that would put man on the same level with God. This is exactly what teachers of the “positive confession,” or word-faith movement, claim.

We are told by God Himself that He spoke the creation into existence (Genesis 1). He has not given that power to anyone else!

http://www.watchman.org/reltop/posconf.htm

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This Seminar video by Justin Peters @ http://www.justinpeters.org/ is the best video I have seen on the Word of Faith movement. Since the seminar is available on you tube. I will be doing a series on the Word Faith Movement. Each one with a video clip from Justin’s seminar.

This THIRD POST is an article from Let Us reason.org on the word faith and other groups teachings about MEN BEING GODS.

I hope you will visit his site and consider buying the whole CD set to show your friends and family, or will consider asking your church about having Justin and his seminar at your church. I am going to buy the series and just may send it to a family member who is a word faith preacher. I only wish that those in the word faith movement would see that the WoF teachings are occultic and not from God. Damon Whitsell

A 30 minute DEMO video of the seminar is @ justins site here http://www.justinpeters.org/demo.htm

Who Wants to be a god? by LetUsReason.org

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

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

“We want to be gods. Jesus said, ‘I said ye are gods’ (John 10:34). It is with the attitude of gods in the world that Jesus wants the Christian to live.” (John G. Lake: His Life His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith, Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1995, p. 13).
Is this the attitude Jesus wants? Not according to Scripture, he wants us to be dependent upon God and deny self and walk humbly, hardly a prerequisite for a god.
Lake also says “I want you to hear what Jesus said about himself. God was in Christ, wasn’t He? An incarnation. God is in you, an incarnation, if you were born again. You are incarnate. “ (ibid p. 196).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://letusreason.org/Wf36.htm

This Seminar video by Justin Peters @ http://www.justinpeters.org/ is the best video I have seen on the Word of Faith movement. Since the seminar is available on you tube. I will be doing a series on the Word Faith Movement. Each one with a video clip from Justin’s seminar.

This SECOND POST is an article about Justin and his seminar. I hope you will visit his site and consider buying the whole CD set to show your friends and family, or will consider asking your church about having Justin and his seminar at your church. I am going to buy the series and just may send it to a family member who is a word faith preacher. I only wish that those in the word faith movement would see that the WoF teachings are occultic and not from God. Damon Whitsell

A 30 minute DEMO video of the seminar is @ justins site here http://www.justinpeters.org/demo.htm

Minister with Cerebral Palsy critiques Word-Faith movement By Brent Thompson

VICKSBURG, Miss. (BP) — When Justin Peters was born in Vicksburg, Miss., in 1973, the doctors knew right away that something was wrong. They decided not to tell Peters’ parents, who proudly took their first-born son home. It wasn’t long before they, too, noticed something was different about their baby boy. At the age of 1, Peters was formally diagnosed as having cerebral palsy.

“Don’t expect much from Justin,” the doctor told his parents. When Peters tells that story today, a smile spreads across his face.

“Jesus always has the last word,” he says.

Today, Peters has two master’s degrees from Southwestern Seminary and is a staff evangelist at First Baptist Church in Vicksburg, the church where he grew up and was saved at the age of 7.

Southwestern Seminary

Years ago Justin Peters questioned his faith when he wasn’t healed of cerebral palsy after attending a word of faith healing service. Today, the Southwestern Seminary graduate and staff evangelist at First Baptist Vicksburg (Miss.) leads seminars on the dangers and heresies of the so-called word of faith, or health and wealth, movement.
Cerebral palsy typically impacts body movement and muscle coordination, although Peters said it affects different people in different ways. For him, it limits use of his arms, hands, and legs. But he lives, travels, and ministers needing very few accommodations for his disabilities. He gets nearly everywhere he needs to go either on his motorized wheelchair or on his crutches. He drives his specially equipped van or flies on commercial airlines to get to his speaking engagements and revivals.

“It isn’t degenerative,” Peters said of his cerebral palsy. “The way I am now is pretty much the way I have always been.”

He is unperturbed by his physical limitations. In fact, he is thankful to God for them, and says he likely would not be in full-time ministry if not for the effects of cerebral palsy.

Hope and struggle

“Sometimes there is something better than physical health,” Peters said. “That is, like Paul said, ‘God’s sufficient grace.’”

But Peters has not always felt that way. When he was 16 years old, a well-intentioned family friend came to him.

“Justin, God has told me He is going to heal you,” the friend said, adding that Nora Lam, a word of faith healer from China, was going to be holding a healing service at a nearby Holiday Inn.

“The prospect of being healed really resonated with me because, at the time, I could not drive, play football, or do all the things I believed were so important at that age,” Peters said.

He went to see Nora Lam as well as other faith healers, but after each encounter he came away in the same physical condition. He left those encounters struggling with his own perceived spiritual deficiencies.

“I was told that physical healing is always God’s will and that I would receive that healing if I had enough faith,” Peters said. “I not only doubted my faith but for a season I doubted my very salvation.”

Supportive parents, church, and prayer preserved Peters during those dark spiritual days. He graduated from high school, and then went on to Mississippi State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics. Along the way Peters saw the error of Nora Lam and her colleagues. It was at MSU that Peters felt God calling him into full-time, vocational ministry. So, he headed to Southwestern Seminary, thinking he was going to be a pastor.

By 2000, Peters had obtained a master of divinity degree. During his days of seminary studies, Peters received invitations to preach revival services. This is no surprise given his preference for expository sermons, not to mention his authoritative yet conversational speaking voice.

In his preaching ministry, Peters devoted a small segment of his sermon series to address the topic of the word of faith movement. Also known as the “health and wealth” movement, the most well-known word of faith preachers are televangelists such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, and, more recently, Joel Osteen.

“I found the response to that segment of my revival sermons was just overwhelming,” Peters said. Soon, what was supposed to be a small segment of his preaching turned into a bigger segment. It wasn’t long before people were inviting him to preach just on the subject of the word of faith movement. He felt the Lord leading him to do additional master’s studies, this time for the more academically oriented, thesis-based master of theology degree.

As he focused his theological training on the word of faith theology, what he discovered troubled him deeply.

“Health and wealth are among the most universal of human desires,” Peters said. “These people play on those desires.”

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Eventually, Peters narrowed his academic focus to one word of faith preacher: Benny Hinn. Perhaps more than the others, Hinn holds himself out to be a faith healer. Over the years millions of people have flocked to Hinn’s live events held in huge auditoriums and stadiums around the world; tens of millions more have tuned in to Hinn’s This Is Your Day television program, seen in more than 190 countries.

Unsecure roots

As Peters dug into the theology and history of the word of faith movement, he was more convinced than ever that Christians needed to know the truth about it. He discovered that the movement’s origins are not at all Christian; instead its roots can be traced directly to the metaphysical cults of the 19th century, Unitarianism, Christian Science, New Thought, and even back to the early-church heresy known as Gnosticism.

“These preachers blur the line between the Creator and the created,” Peters said. “They demote God and deify man … To them, faith is not placed in God; faith is a force you direct at God to make Him do what you want Him to do. It is a very man-centered gospel which makes it a different gospel…. All this has been wrapped in a Christian terminology to make it more palatable.”

Peters accumulated literature, video collections, and numerous articles about Hinn and other word of faith preachers. He attended several Hinn healing services and has watched myriads of programs on Trinity Broadcasting Network. He even went to Hinn’s headquarters twice, seeking an interview. He was denied both times.

“Unfortunately, I had to support many of their ministries by buying their books and DVDs,” Peters said, laughing.

A strong call

The faculty of Southwestern’s school of theology accepted his master’s thesis titled “An Examination and Critique of the Life, Ministry, and Theology of Healing Evangelist Benny Hinn.” In December 2002, Peters was awarded a master of theology degree.

Shortly thereafter, Peters became a staff evangelist at FBC Vicksburg and formed Justin Peters Ministries (www.justinpeters.org). Through his ministry, he goes to speaking engagements with a three-part seminar called “A Call for Discernment.”

During his seminars, he leads audiences through an examination of the word of faith movement. The first session, titled “Dangerous Doctrines,” examines the metaphysical cultic origins of the movement and the doctrines it espouses, which deviate from orthodox Christianity. The second session, “Mangled Manifestations,” explores the more dramatic elements of the movement such as the abuse of tongues, being ‘slain in the Spirit,’ and false prophecies. The third session, the one to which he relates to most personally, is “The Hurt of Healing” and deals solely with physical healing.

Using clips from video tapes and DVDs, Peters doesn’t just tell Christians what the health and wealth preachers claim: He lets them see and hear for themselves what they are really teaching during their crusades and television programs.

Peters believes God is allowing this brand of blatant, dangerous heresy to continue for a purpose.

“It’s a sign of the End Times,” Peters said. “The Scriptures are clear that in the last days false prophets and false christs will rise ‘so as to deceive even the elect.’ Too many Christians today want teachers who tickle their ears.”

Peters said the newest popular Health and Wealth teacher is Joel Osteen.

“[Joel Osteen’s] teachings are of a slightly different stripe, but they are just another version of the prosperity gospel,” Peters said. “Joel Osteen was on Larry King Live when he admitted that he doesn’t use the word ‘sinner.’ How can you preach the gospel of Jesus Christ if you don’t first get people to realize they have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? I don’t doubt that Osteen is sincere, but sincerity is not the issue – truth is the issue.”

God has changed lives at his seminars, Peters said. After a recent session in Alabama, a woman told him about her 8-year-old son with muscular dystrophy.

As Justin told it, “With tears streaming down her face she said, ‘Justin, I’ve been told by so many that if I had enough faith my son would be healed. I’ve been told that if I loved him enough he would be healed. All of these years, I have blamed myself for my son’s illness. But for the first time I now realize it’s not my fault.’

“Hearing stories like this makes it all worthwhile for me,” Justin said. “Next to my salvation, my cerebral palsy is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me.

“One of the tragedies of the prosperity gospel is that it robs believers of experiencing God’s sufficient grace and strength made perfect in weakness.”

http://www.christianindex.org/3627.article

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This Seminar video by Justin Peters @ http://www.justinpeters.org/ is the best video I have seen on the Word of Faith movement. Since the seminar is available on you tube. I will be doing a series on the Word Faith Movement. Each one with a video clip from Justin’s seminar. This first POST just gives an introduction and outline to the seminar. I hope you will visit his site and consider buying the whole CD set to show your friends and family, or will consider asking your church about having Justin and his seminar at your church. I am going to buy the series and just may send it to a family member who is a word faith preacher. I only wish that those in the word faith movement would see that the WoF teachings are occultic and not from God. Damon Whitsell

A 30 minute DEMO video of the seminar is @ justins site here http://www.justinpeters.org/demo.htm

A Biblical Critique of the Word of Faith Movement (more commonly known as the Health and Wealth or Prosperity Gospel) http://www.justinpeters.org/

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.” (Romans 16:17-18)

In addition to expository preaching, another aspect of Justin’s ministry is the three session seminar which he has developed entitled A Call for Discernment. This seminar is a fair, comprehensive, biblical critique of the modern Word of Faith movement. Word of Faith theology (WoF) dominates Christian satellite and cable television and is making alarming inroads into our Baptist churches. This seminar contains dozens of audio and video clips (primarily the latter) of various WoF leaders such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jessie Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, etc. incorporated into a PowerPoint format. This format allows people to see and hear for themselves what these individuals are actually teaching. Everything then is, in turn, balanced with Scripture.

Each session is approximately 70 to 75 minutes in length. A Call for Discernment can be structured and scheduled according to the desires of the pastor or conference organizer.

Session 1: Dangerous Doctrines
Metaphysical Cultic Origins
Phineas P. Quimby
Essek W. Kenyon
William Branham
Kenneth Hagin Sr.
Doctrines of the WoF Movement
Positive Confession
Substance of Faith
Little gods Doctrine
the Fall
Jesus Christ
Just a Man?
Spiritual Death of Jesus (SDJ)
Sin Becomes Him
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies..”
~ 2 Peter 2:1
Session 2: Mangled Manifestations
Abuse of Tongues
Spectacular Claims
Heavenly Encounters
Bizarre Behavior
Slaying in the Spirit
Divine Revelation Knowledge
Occultic / Demonic
False Prophecies
“…that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written…”
~ 1 Corinthians 4:6
Session 3: The Hurt of Healing
Things to Consider
Healing:
Is It Always God’s Will?
Healing in the Atonement?
The Biblical Record
Requirements for Healing:
Sense of expectation
Money
“Right Heart” and Perseverance
Why are They Sick?
Hindrances to Healing:
Lack of Faith
Not Saved
Conclusion
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

A PERSONAL NOTE ABOUT A CALL FOR DISCERNMENT

A Call for Discernment is not intended as a personal attack on anyone, it is simply, as the name implies, a call to the church for discernment. It would be easy to make the assumption that this is an anti-charismatic seminar. Such is not the case. When it comes to the fundamental tenets of orthodox Christianity, charismatics are in agreement with me as a Southern Baptist. I am not charismatic, but neither am I anti-charismatic. The Word of Faith Movement, however, does at times denigrate and even deny some of the fundamental, non-negotiable truths of the Christian Faith (as documented in the seminar, especially in Sessions 1 and 2). It may be said that all Word of Faith adherents are charismatic, but not all charismatics are Word of Faith. I have had a number of charismatic pastors to attend my seminars and, to a man, they have found little, if any, with which they would disagree.

When it comes to minor, peripheral issues of the faith, we as believers in the Lord Jesus may have differences of opinion and still call one another brother and sister in Christ. When it comes to the fundamentals, however, we must all unite in stalwart defense.

I have presented A Call for Discernment in eighteen states thus far to churches of widely varying sizes. Regardless of the size of the church there are always people who will approach me telling me how either they themselves or one of their loved ones has been adversely affected by this movement. It is making alarming inroads even to our Baptist churches. One mother whose son has Muscular Dystrophy recently told me, ‘Justin, ever since my son was diagnosed with M.D., I have blamed myself for his condition because I have been told that if I just had enough faith or if I loved him enough that he would be healed. Now for the first time I realize that his illness is not my fault.’ It is for ladies like her and millions of others that I take the stand that I do.

Not everything that the Word of Faith teachers teach is wrong. Some of it is right. Therein, however, lies the seduction. It is a craftily packaged counterfeit gospel made to look like the real thing. A Call for Discernment is being used by God to bring clarity and understanding to a complicated and confusing issue.
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Justin’s Credentials

Throughout his years as a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Justin studied at great depth the Word of Faith movement. The thesis he wrote for his Master’s of Theology (Th.M.) degree is entitled An Examination and Critique of the Life, Ministry and Theology of Healing evangelist Benny Hinn.
In addition to his academic research, Justin also has attended numerous Benny Hinn crusades and has been witness first hand to the harm, both physical and spiritual, that the Word of Faith movement inflicts upon so many. As a teenager, Justin himself attended faith-healing services in hopes of being delivered from his Cerebral Palsy. Though the potential was there to shake his faith in the Lord, in the long run, these experiences had the opposite effect. Says Justin:

Some have made the charge against me that I am just bitter about not being healed. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. Next to my salvation, my Cerebral Palsy is one of the greatest gifts (an imperfect word to be sure) God has ever allowed me to have. He has used it to keep me dependent upon Him and through it has shown me His “sufficient grace” and “strength made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

In 2004, Justin was featured as an expert witness for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s documentary on Benny Hinn entitled Do You Believe In Miracles
In 2006 Justin was interviewed for the documentary entitled Suffer the Children produced by Trevor Glass. This documentary shows the profound harm, both physical and spiritual, that the Prosperity gospel inflicts upon so many.
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Endorsement:

“The dangers of the Word of Faith Movement are as real as they are pervasive. The message from thousands of pulpits is that God wants you to be happy, healthy, and rich. But this is not biblical Christianity, as Justin Peters so adequately demonstrates in his exceptional presentation. With clarity and credibility, Peters exposes the Word of Faith Movement for what it really is—a farce. Local churches will benefit greatly from his personal experience and vast research on this important topic.”

Dr. John MacArthur
Pastor, Grace Community Church
Sun Valley, CA

http://www.justinpeters.org/

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “State of the Pulpit – Joel Osteen“, posted with vodpod

 

 

The Leaven of Lakewood

“‘I don’t want this to sound arrogant, but I believe one day we’re going to have 100,000 a weekend,” says Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston .’”[1]

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 The Kudos

I want to begin this article by giving credit where credit is due.  When it comes to the Lakewood charismatic mega-church there are aspects of this ministry which must be cited as worthy.  To begin with the church was originally started by John Osteen, who was originally a Southern Baptist pastor but after receiving the “baptism” in/with the Holy Spirit he became enamored with the charismatic renewal movement in its early stage and eventually became associated with the Word of Faith (WOF) cult.  The following commentary was taken from the official web site of Lakewood Church :

 The late John Osteen served the Lord Jesus Christ as pastor, evangelist, author, and teacher for sixty years. Ordained as a Southern Baptist, he received the baptism in the Holy Ghost in 1958, an experience which revolutionized his ministry into a worldwide outreach…John Osteen began Lakewood Church in a dusty, abandoned feed store on Mother’s Day 1959…John Osteen was driven by an amazing love for people of all ages, races, nationalities and walks of life.[2]

One thing is certain in a time of racial division John Osteen opened wide the doors of his church to all people, and all shades and classes of people came.  John, even though he had rejected his Baptist theology (he did actually earn a Masters degree from Northern Baptist Seminary) he never lost sight of the need for foreign missions and his congregation supported and still supports a great deal of foreign mission work.  At the time of his death Lakewood Church had risen to 8,000 members.

I must be honest with you; out of all the WOF teachers my wife and I listened to we enjoyed John Osteen more than most.  He did have a genuine pastor’s heart and a desire to see people come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  We have many of John Osteen’s books and tapes in the DMI archives.  It seems that his seminary education helped keep John from espousing some of the most heretical doctrines that are commonly taught by WOF teachers today.

However, I am under no illusions regarding the WOF “leaven” which John propagated and is unfortunately being further magnified through his son Joel Osteen who took over as Pastor when his father died in 1999.  John was a big crusader for the error of positive confession.  This is a metaphysical belief that we can either create or change our reality by the power of our words, for example he stated the following:

 When they say like they did to Smith Wigglesworth, “How are you feeling today?” He said “Listen, I don’t ask my body how it’s feeling; I tell it how to feel.” And your words should not be to describe the situation; your words should be given to change the situation. And so, read it, meditate upon it, and speak it[3]

I am the sum total of what I have been confessing through the years. My children are the best children that ever lived on the face of the earth.  They are blessed of God.  They are the sum total of what Dodie and I have confessed and loved them into being[4]

 Osteen is on record as fully endorsing the WOF errant concepts surrounding financial prosperity:

It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life[5]

 In the above sermon we can see the Health & Wealth “gospel” summed up three sentences.  So despite the good things that John Osteen did as a Pastor he got ensnared by the subtlety of false teaching and ended up misleading millions before his death.

Jesus in speaking to His disciples warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees in the following discussion:

Mt 16:6,11-12

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees… How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?  Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Even though it seems to us that His disciples were a little slow on the “uptake” at times Jesus makes His point crystal clear to them — He was warning them to beware[6], to be on guard against the danger of their doctrinal errors, which Jesus likens to leaven in bread.  Jesus knew that if left unchecked, like leaven in bread, their doctrinal error would spread.  The leaven of false doctrines which he instilled in his son are now expanding and misleading more people than John Osteen could have ever imagined.

The Concerns

Joel Osteen Master of Marketeering

Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or experience to be a pastor.  Charismatic pulpits are filled with people who feel “called” to the pastorate and that is enough for them and those who follow them.  They attempt to build congregations on the “strength” of their calling.  Some charismatic leaders may go on to some unaccredited “ Bible School ” for a year or two, none (which encompasses a large group of ministers) that we were ever acquainted with attended any legitimate seminary.

Would you allow a surgeon to operate on you because he felt “called” to be a surgeon as a child, but never went on to medical school?  Or would you allow someone to build your house who firmly believed God had called him to be an architect yet had never gone on to college to study architectural design?  Of course not, it would be the height of foolishness!

Yet millions of professing Christians are more than willing to follow a man (or woman) who says “God” has called them and has supernaturally equipped them to be ministers. (FWM doesn’t agree with this statement as we believe God can and has called many a man to the Ministry and has used them greatly who never attended any type of Bible College, but we do agree that those same men studied their Bibles daily and learned the Word.)  These especially anointed men and women have no need to study Church history, hermeneutics, systematic theology and struggle through Greek and Hebrew as other ministers do.  They hear directly from God (this is especially true for the sign-gift[7] pastors, most seeker-sensitive churches are led by seminary educated individuals).

So my first main concern is that we have a man in the pulpit of the largest congregation in America , being beamed around the world that has no biblical education or training for the vocation he says he has!  To me we have a clear case of the blind leading the blind (read Luke 6:39) with the end result being masses of people falling into the ditch of spiritual ignorance, abuse and/or extremism.

Joel Osteen made the following statement which ought to be enough to drive 1,000’s of people away from his church:

 Osteen’s upbeat style is deliberate and authentic. ‘Make church relevant,’ he says. ‘Give them something to be able to take away.  I find today people are not looking for theology.  There’s a place for it, [But] in your everyday life you need to know how to live.[8]

 That statement is loaded with seeker-sensitive “code.”  My wife and I left a North American Baptist church of over 1,000 members which had as its acronym “GPARS” which stood for: (1) Grace; (2) People; (3) Authenticity; (4) Relevance and (5) Small groups.

Of course Osteen’s “style” is upbeat, would you expect negativity from a positive confession devotee?  No!  Deliberate, absolutely, he really believes much of the WOF nonsense his father taught him all his life, not to mention whatever offbeat spirituality he may have gleaned from his two years at Oral Roberts University .  Authentic?  Without a doubt!  What you see is what you get.  Joel Osteen is a man without any biblical education but an admitted talent for marketing. 

To be a success in marketing you have to know where people itch and scratch it.  Or, you have to create a desire in them by creating a hunger for something they currently do not have nor formerly knew they needed.  All commercials can be condensed down to one of these two truths.

So to become a mega-church a pastor has to make church relevant.  He has to give the people what they want, something that soothes that spiritual itch.  In order to be a “success” (i.e. large masses of people and money) pastors must preach unchallenging messages that uplift rather than convict.  He must pander to the lowest common denominator and make sure that whatever is taught does not offend anymore at anytime.  What we are seeing is really nothing new, it is a simply fulfillment of 2Ti 4:3-4

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 This is exactly where multitudes of people are spiritually today.  The above text also helps explain the phenomena of people like Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and now, Joel Osteen.

Osteen goes on to say that “I find today that people are not looking for theology.”  Well that is obvious because if they were they would not find any sound theology at Lakewood !  Although he does not reveal to the readers where he found this astonishing fact out, it appears the folks he has talked to have no interest in theology.

Lest you think me a bit harsh let me remind you that theology simply means “the knowledge of God.”  In essence Osteen has said that people are really not interested in learning about God.  Somehow (undoubtedly due to his lack of biblical education) he has made a disconnect between knowing the God of the Bible via sound biblical theology and “knowing how to live.” 

Brothers and sisters, my wife and I can testify to you that the more accurately you understand God within the biblical context the better life you will live before Him.  Tracy and I have a daughter, she does not like to eat certain vegetables but we MAKE her eat them from time to time.  Why?  As her parents, even though somewhat distasteful to her we know that eating them will be beneficial.

The same is true for every man who mounts a pulpit!  God does not tell us to feed the sheep what they want to eat.  Jesus told Peter “feed My sheep,” (see John 21:16).  Jesus said “feed” the sheep not “entertain” them!  We are to give them the Word of God in its totality.  Any pastor can fall into the trap of becoming a people pleaser.  This is why Paul, through the Holy Ghost warned young Timothy in the verse just above the one I cited:  2Ti 4:-2

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

 Timothy is WARNED to be steadfast in his proclamation of the Gospel to be ready and in his preaching to: (1) REPROVE; (2) REBUKE; (3) EXHORT the people according to the Scriptures.  How? We are to preach with all longsuffering (because such preaching is unpleasant to people’s carnal nature) and with doctrine.  GASP!  Doctrine?  I can hear the seeker-sensitive pundits saying “oh come now, Rev. Liichow, surely you know preaching doctrinal messages is passé?”  Osteen would do well to heed the word of the Lord from a genuine prophet who stated:  Eze 34:2 -3

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel , prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?  Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock.

 There are many biblical themes which are very “unpopular” and even politically “incorrect” yet the faithful pastor/teacher will expound on these topics as well so that the flock under his care is receiving a balanced spiritual diet and is able to walk in the full light of God’s Word and not in the shadows.

What is Joel’s educational background and experience?  Since we know his training is not theological, what is it?  He did attend Oral Roberts University for two years, but his area of study had to do with television production and marketing.

 Meanwhile, son Joel, one of six children, was learning the business of television… ‘Growing up, I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be involved in TV production,’ he says. ‘That was just my passion.’  In 1981 he came home from Oral Roberts University (ORU) to start the Lakewood TV ministry.[9]

 For seventeen (17) years Joel was behind the scenes handling all the television and marketing of his father’s ministry.  The next statement from the Charisma article is very revealing:

The younger Osteen’s television-marketing talents and his dad’s preaching skills resulted eventually in the church churches being aired on stations nationwide and in more than 100 countries.[10]

             Joel Osteen had the ability to get his father’s heavily WOF influenced message out all over America and into 100 foreign markets.  Due to this dynamic-duo of folksy preaching/teaching and highly visible presence on television Lakewood Church grew to close to 8,000 members at the time of John Osteen’s death in 1999.

            With his father sick in the hospital, John asks his son, Joel, to preach for him that Sunday.  Initially Joel balked at the idea and said “no.”  He then relented and here are Joel’s own words concerning his preaching that day:

 I just got up there and told stories.  I was so glad when it was over, I said, ‘I’ll never do this again in my life.’[11]

That was the beginning of his public ministry; he just got up and told “stories.”  Joel has been telling stories that have been tickling the ears of the multitudes ever since. Here is how the article describes Joel’s style of preaching:

 The appealing style of Osteen’s personality in the pulpit is unmistakable.  It is part of the reason for the Lakewood ’s current level of success.[12]

Everyone agrees Osteen’s preaching is a key ingredient.  Descriptions of his style include ‘simple,’ ‘down-to-earth,’ ‘practical,’ ‘relatable,’ ‘easy,’ ‘folksy,’ ‘humble.’[13]

It’s 10 a.m. when he began his sermon.  The theme is practical as he gives example after example of the importance of following God’s timing rather than one’s own.  He keeps the tone cheerful, optimistic. ‘God doesn’t want anybody walking out of here today heavy-hearted and downcast,” Osteen says.[14]

Joel Osteen is charismatic in his personality.  He is not a bad looking man, his delivery is as non-threatening as the positive messages he delivers.  Perhaps I am reading in to much yet when I read “practical” it makes me think that he believes teaching theology is somehow “impractical.”  The example after example simple means he tells a lot of stories and anecdotes that somehow relate to the message in which he may cite one or two proof texts to make his point.

It also concerns me when a pastor can make the statement that God does not want anybody walking out of here “heavy-hearted.” My Bible says “godly sorrow worketh repentance…” (see 2 Cor. 7:10).  At times God does want us to walk out of a service “heavy-hearted” if we have been sinning against His will.  We should allow the Word (when properly expounded) and the Spirit (when genuinely present) to break us, to convict us of sinful attitudes and practices. 

However if all you hear is “upbeat,” “cheerful,” and “optimistic” messages there is little opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work conviction in the hearts of the hearers.  This folksy down home non-confrontational type of message also goes a long way in explaining the huge crowds that gather to be entertained. 

Let Us Entertain You

Entertained?  Oh yes, it is not only Joel’s preaching style but the music of Lakewood is an important ingredient in drawing large hoards of people. Once Joel took command of Lakewood ’s already large congregation (between 6,000 to 8,000 members) he began to expand the musical talent as well.

Four years ago, when Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff — former member of the Dove Award-winning Cruse Family gospel group — became Lakewood’s minister of music, the church had only one Sunday morning service…Soon after Cruse-Ratcliff arrived Lakewood expanded when two Sunday morning services were added…’The growth was extremely rapid,’ says Cruse-Ratcliff, who still serves on the 200-member Lakewood. Staff.[15]

 “Star power” brings people to churches as well, especially musical stars and Joel is not ignorant of this fact.  As minister of music Ms. Ratcliff knows people in the contemporary music scene and she no doubt help add to the musical strength of this mega-church by helping bring in some more musical talent:

 Helping to spice up that mix are two of the most prominent names in worship music.  Marcos Witt, who fills stadiums in Latin America for worship concerts was tapped in 2002 to pastor Lakewood ’s 3,000 member Hispanic congregation.  Also adding diversity to the Lakewood staff is Israel Houghton, whose soulful worship anthems are sung around the world.[16]

The music at Lakewood is contemporary.  They have musical stars that appeal to Hispanic (Witt), African-American (Houghton) and Caucasian members (Ratcliff).  The musical team writes many of their own songs and nothing in the article is ever mentioned about hymns.

This is not surprising when you consider that (to our knowledge) no seeker-sensitive or WOF congregation use hymnals at all, apart from the occasional singing of Amazing Grace.  The charismatic movement’s brand of music has infiltrated almost all evangelical congregations that have forsaken the use of the historic hymns.  At our former seeker-sensitive Baptist church we sang songs that originated from the Toronto “revival” and from the Vineyard movement, two examples of some of the wildest expressions within the renewal movement.

Musically speaking there is a method “to their madness” at Lakewood and other mega-churches.  They have a strong emphasis to cut all ties with traditional Christianity.  The classic, highly theological hymns and hymnals virtually scream out the dreaded word “traditional.

Out With the Old, In With the New

  Lakewood and all seeker congregations do not want to be associated with any denominational trappings or any forms of liturgical worship[17].  Many of these churches have even removed crosses from behind their pulpits lest they appear to be too churchy to the seeker. 

In all our time spent among both Pentecostal believers and seeker-sensitive groups we never recited the Lord’s prayer as part of our worship.  We never recited any of the historic creeds of the orthodox Church.  I doubt there are three people who attend Lakewood who could recite the Apostles or Nicene Creeds, probably few know the Lord’s Prayer.  Catechism classes?  You’ve got to be kidding!  In its place some groups may offer a new member’s class, but these classes are usually just general introductions to what the church has to offer the “seeker.”  Osteen being a sign-gift believer offers classes which promote the concept of a second baptism in/with/by the Holy Spirit, but this aspect seems to be soft-peddled as well.

 What Is the Key to Osteen’s Success?

Osteen I believe is probably the first of many WOF devotee’s who has melded the successful marketing techniques of the seeker-sensitive mega-churches with their positive confession health & wealth message.  The blend becomes a potent hybrid that appeals to both sign-gift believers (sort of “charismatic lite”) and baby-boomer seekers.

The message that God wants to bless His children with complete physical health, to give them great financial wealth and to demand little of them regarding their spiritual life is a highly appealing message.  When you combine this with well known Gospel singers, highly orchestrated praise and worship teams in a decidedly non-church atmosphere it will appeal to even a wider audience.

We cannot forget to mix in the vast television footprint that Lakewood church promotes, along with its web site, daddy John Osteen’s books are still in almost all Christian bookstores so it is not difficult to understand how it can gather 30,000 people in Lakewood ’s rented 16,000 seat arena, formerly the home of the Houston Rockets.

What saddens me the most is that one hears little, if any, Law & Gospel proclaimed by Joel at Lakewood Church .  To quote something I remember hearing “dad” Hagin say: “how do you poison a dog?  You put the poison in with the good meat.”  I do not want to press the analogy too far but the reality is that 30,000 people are not being biblically fed a balanced spiritual diet that will promote true growth in their lives.  What you do hear is a synthesis of WOF concepts wrapped up in a seeker-friendly environment by a young man with a winsome smile.

Lastly, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a certain synergy builds with any church when it begins to reach such a size.  People, who have no solid doctrinal foundation, will want to attend the place where “something” is happening (throw in a coffee bar, ice rink and gym does not hurt either).  In America , bigger is better.  After all, many posit, if Joel was not being used of the Lord then why would God allow all these people to come to Lakewood church?

Could it be a sign of God’s judgment on His people who have forsaken His ways?  Often we think of God’s judgment as some divine catastrophe, yet often, and just as catastrophic, is when He simply allows people to have own way.  I believe the words of Jeremiah are applicable to many in the Church today: Jer 2:12-13

Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.  For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

 As much as Joel no doubt believes the growth they’ve experienced is due to the blessing of God it really boils down to three simple things, which have nothing to do with God at all: (1) his father’s legacy and an already existing mega-church; (2) Joel’s slick marketing abilities; (3) a biblically errant, but hugely popular message which appeals to the masses seeking to have their ears tickled and experience a “good time” in church.  Please pray for Joel Osteen, like it or not, he currently has a tremendous impact on many people.  Pray the Lord open his eyes to biblical truth and may he take as bold a stand to expose error.

Thank you Rev. Liichow

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Word Faith teaching- A spiritual copy of the Mind Sciences by LetUsReason.org

I HAVE WHAT I THINK AND SAY I HAVE (SPEAKING THINGS INTO EXISTENCE) by LetUsReason.org

THE WORD OF FAITH and the Mormon Connection by Larry Hall

Word Faith Movement heresies on GOD, in their own words (audio clips) BY H2bac.info

Walter Martin’s Word Faith Movement WARNING: w/GOSPEL OF GREED Big Steele: get-it/get-it slideshow by H2bac.info I think I did a good job on this ASLIDSHOW. What do you think?

How the Health and Wealth Gospel Twists Scripture

 

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more about “Prosperity Pimps – Part 3“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

THIS IS A PART 2 OF THIS POST

 
 

Word Faith teaching- A spiritual copy of the Mind Sciences by LetUsReason.org Look for other post on the Word faith movement on this blog!

 

Power has always been attractive and one doesn’t have to be religious to want it. Many are trained to scan the scriptures for God’s promises then speak the word of faith for it to materialize. While the Bible does show those who had faith for a miracle and healed, this is not a general promise where all one has to do is have faith enough to move the mountain and it occurs. Jesus said it was faith only of a mustard seed that is needed. Its not the amount of faith as if it needs to hit the Richter scale to be effective in the natural realm. It is true faith to trust and believe in a promise. Its faith in the God who can move mountains, not the power of our faith.

Well known Pentecostal, David Wilkerson, writes in the late Keith Green’s Last Days Ministries newsletter, that he too has seen many Christians “throughout our nation, whose faith is shipwrecked” because of the “faith” movement. He writes that they began to “believe that getting every desire of the heart depended simply on getting their formulas correct. They were challenged to launch out in God for prosperity, perfect health, and whatever else their minds could conceive. “Conceive then believe. That includes removing from your vocabulary any negative thoughts, words, or confessions.”

Interesting that James says though our tongue is a small member yet it boasts great things. Many word of faith teachers give testimony of all the things they received or made happen by speaking words with faith. Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. To want and covet shows what is inside these people’s hearts. I’m not saying everything is spent on themselves, but listen to the attitude and what they are saying, its a dead giveaway.

To word faith teachers faith is a force, a substance that is unseen, but can be tapped into, it is putty in the hands of the user even if they are a believer or not. it works the same for all. Confession brings possession.

Positive confession…

Your confession is your possession

Does God approve of such a thing?

Fred Price says,  “When 1 first got saved they didn’t tell me I could do anything. What they told me to do was that whenever I prayed I should always say, ‘The will of the Lord be done.,’ Now, doesn’t that sound humble? It does. Sounds like humility, it’s really stupidity. I mean, you know, really, we insult God. 1 mean, we really do insult our Heavenly Father. We do; we really insult Him without even realizing it. If you have to say, ‘If it be thy will or’ Thy will be done’-if you have to say that, then you’re calling God a fool because he’s the One that fold us to ask…. If God’s gonna give me what He wants me to have, then it doesn’t matter what I ask. I’m only gonna get what God wants me to have. So that’s an insult to God’s intelligence.”  (Ever Increasing Faith” program on TBN November 16 ,1990)

Benny Hinn has said “Never, ever, ever go the Lord and say, ‘If it be thy will….’ Don’t allow such faith-destroying words to be spoken from your mouth” (Rise and Be Healed! 1991, p.47-48).

If its not God’s will then whose is it? Yours!

This practice has commonly been practiced in occult groups and various Eastern pagan religions such as the Buddhist sect Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism.

The Church Universal and Triumphant a New Age group also teaches “the scientific use of the mantra or the dynamic decree of the Word,” otherwise known as “the exercise of God’s power according to the spoken Word” (Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, The Lost Teachings of Jesus 2: Mysteries of the Higher Self [Livingston, MT: Summit University Press, 1988], 144, 207; cf. 103.)You can often hear them chanting I Am, or call on the healing power through the violet consuming flame.

 Benny Hinn actually claims that 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.” (B. Hinn,  December 1, 1990, Orlando Christian Centre, WACX-TV Channel 55. Quoted in The Facts on the Faith Movement, J. Ankerberg & J. Weldon, Harvest House, 1993, p.23)

Benny Hinn said, “confession activates heaven”, and that “confession releases the spirit world.” (November 6, 1990 sermon telecast on TBN)

K.Copeland says “He am healin’, He am deliverance, He am financial prosperity, mental prosperity, physical prosperity, family prosperity. It’s terrible grammar, but you understand what I’m sayin’. I’m sayin’ it to effect my mind.” (Believer’s Voice of Victory Broadcast, 7/9/1987)

But it is not our mind that will give the answer but God . Otherwise it is not prayer but occult affirmations, metaphysical science.

“Jesus said He had the God-kind of faith; He encouraged His disciples to exercise that kind of faith; and He said that .whosoever’ could do it…. That is why Jesus said, ‘whosoever shall say and shall not doubt IN HIS HEART. (Having Faith in Your Faith Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1988, 3.)

“In the first place-and this will help you don’t pray about money anymore; that is, the way you’ve been praying. Claim whatever you need. (Metaphysical Elements In The Faith Movement, Compiled by Leon D. Stump, p.55, from the word of faith magazine, “How God Taught Me About Prosperity, “ Kenneth Hagin).

Copeland is not shy in his boasting of what he can claim by faith “Well, now, you need balance in this. get out there in that hyper faith. that name-it-and-claim-it- that blab-it-and-grab-it.” YEAH! We named it and claimed it and got it. (crowd cheers)-Blabbed it and grabbed it and still got it ! Hallelujah! And our bills are paid. (Aug 18,1999)

Creflo Dollar says, “I know what I’m talking about, I’m qualified to preach what I’m preachin tonight. I am qualified to say what I’m sayin’ tonight. Somebody says how are you qualified? You are sitting in a building. That manifested because of so great faith.”(10/4 /99)

So Creflo got his building not because of God but attributes it to the power of his own belief.  Creflo tells us he has control over the weather and circumstances “I bind you, satan.  I bind tragedy, I bind car wrecks, I bind cancer, sickness and disease.  I release miracle healings.”( first service Our Equality with God Through Righteousness Creflo Dollar 1/21/2001)  “The shingles fell off my roof one time, I said that ain’t happening no more. Newsman talking about this storm getting ready to come and it was black and nasty outside, the wind was blowing and the tree, I had a tree that needed to be cut. That thing wasn’t going to fall. Not on my stuff. I went outside and said in the name of Jesus, I command this storm to turn and it will not hurt my property. My neighbors out saying “that fools standing on the porch again”. I’m going to tell you what, trees fell but they knew the boundary of my house. Today, you can go in the back and trees fell but they stopped at an inch of my fence. Wouldn’t come across my property. Praying in the Holy Ghost until you tap the wisdom of God and spend time calling those things that are not as though they were.” (2nd service Our Equality with God Through Righteousness Creflo Dollar 1/21/2001)

“It is unscriptural to pray, ‘If it is the will of God.’ When you put an ‘if’ in your prayer, you are praying in doubt.( K.Hagin Exeedingly growing faith 2nd ed. P.10 )

 ”I will”, not God’s will, has become the spiritual cliche’ of our time. It is the same trap of the “I wills” of Lucifer that made him fall. Isa. 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’

Ps.12:2-4: “Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things,”  Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”

James says in 4:13 about boasting what one will do to be successful and rebukes them because they have no control over tomorrow and their life is short, “Instead you ought to say “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this and that.” He then tells them they are arrogant and this type of speaking is EVIL. In chpt. 5 he rebukes them for being rich letting them know this will be their downfall 5:5 “you have fattened your hearts as in the day of slaughter.” 1 John 5:14 clearly says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (also Matthew 6:10; 26:39; ).

Was God a negative confessor when he said to Adam the day you eat of this fruit you will die!  Numerous warnings are in Scripture that would seem to not be positive in its statement, but certainly in effect.

Biblically you can’t have strength until you admit your weak, this is an attitude of true humility; without it, God cannot fill one up with His power until what is hindering is taken out of the way. It is self that is our biggest block, and it is self that is being proclaimed in the faith movement  disguised as the power of God. The faith in the word faith movement is disguised self esteem. It is centeerd on man having the power to declare and attract

At a healing crusade when people believe they are healed before they are,  is this Biblical faith by not looking at the symptoms and just claiming your healing. No! K. Hagin says if your sick ignore the symptoms and watch the word.” E.W. Kenyon said the same thing “confession always goes ahead of healing…symptoms are not the disease.” To deny the symptoms is to lie to yourself and God, he never said, say it as a methodology. If this is true then someone who goes to a doctor for medicine because of their sickness or they go into surgery to have a tumor removed would not be cured because its not real, its only their symptom. Not only that, it would not be faith to go to a doctor, since one is not standing on the word for their healing but trusting in medical science for a cure. The Bible teaches that God can use other means besides supernatural healing to heal.

Hagin says if your sick the solution is easy “Often you create your own negative situations yourself with wrong thinking, wrong believing, and wrong speaking. So start believing according to God’s Word. Then begin making positive confessions of faith and victory over your life. … You will never receive anything from God beyond the words you speak. … If you don’t like what you have in life, then begin to change the way you are thinking, believing, and speaking. Instead of speaking according to natural circumstances out of your head, learn to speak God’s Word from your spirit. Begin to confess God’s promises of life and health and victory into your situation. Then you can begin to enjoy God’s abundant life as you have what you say!” ( The Word of Faith, “You Can Have What You Say”)

“As a born-again believer, you are equipped with the Word. You have the power of God at your disposal. By getting the Word deep into your spirit and speaking it boldly out your mouth, you release spiritual power to change things in the natural circumstances.” (Kenneth Copeland, The Power of the Tongue, 15.)

“What you are saying is exactly what you are getting now. If you are living in poverty and lack and want, change what you are saying…. The powerful force of the spiritual world that creates the circumstances around us is controlled by the words of the mouth.” (The Laws of Prosperity, Kenneth Copeland, Ft. Worth: Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1974).

“Words are the most sacred things….This is a word planet…governed by words…created by words….Words cause it to function…cause life…cause death….Words go on forever….Words are holy.” (The Abrahamic Covenant, side 1.)

Gods word is eternal and holy, not mans. Jesus said we would be accountable for the words we speak, which means we do not speak correctly, truthfully nor Godly all the time.

Words are so powerful that we have the same ability that God does “You have the same creative faith and ability on the inside of you that God used when he created the heavens and the earth.” (Kenneth Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2.)

In this World of using Scripture to gain access the wealth and health it only makes a difference in how ye thinketh.

“It makes a great deal of difference what one thinks. I believe that is why many people are sick, even though they are prayed for by everyone in the country. They get in every healing line and still never receive healing. The reason they are not getting healed is that they are thinking wrong.” (Kenneth Hagin, Right and Wrong Thinking , 1978 pg 19.)

Say it like you mean it, believe until it rises up out of your heart and your convinced that you are healed. Don’t listen to anyone saying otherwise, just keep on believing. I’ve been to these services where people say they are healed of a limp as they limp out of there. Actually there are just as many faith teachers who are sick and have died than us mere Christians who do not know how to use “the laws of faith.” So its not working for them either, but they just won’t tell you this!

E.W. Kenyon in his book the Hidden man on pg. 99 “I know that I am healed because I said that I am healed and it makes no difference what the symptoms may be in my body.” If they are coughing and you say you have a cold they say no I don’t, haven’t had a cold in years. That’s called denial at best and lying at worst. To say I’m healed even though their can be in tremendous pain. when your not telling the truth isn’t that called lying.

K. Hagin in his book “In the name of Jesus says In teaching on divine healing and health , I have so often said, I haven’t had a headache in so many years (45 to be exact) I guess the devil got tired of hearing me say it. Just a few months ago, as I left the office building and started home, suddenly my head started hurting, someone might say, “well, you had a headache. No, I didn’t have one! I don’t have headaches. I haven’t had a headache since August 1934. 45 years have come and gone .and I haven’t had a headache…but if I had a headache, I wouldn’t tell anybody. And if somebody asked me how I was feeling, I would say, I’m fine, thank you.” (In the name of Jesus, p.44) Notice he says he wouldn’t tell you how he really feels because words override the pain. Is this honest ? What do call this when someone acts in this way. If I went into a restaurant and ordered an expensive meal with only a dollar in my pocket and I didn’t tell the waiter that I couldn’t pay, what would you call this? …That’s exactly what you should call what Hagin is saying.

Faith teachers get sick also they have a headaches and stomach aches, they  stub their toes and bang their hand just like anyone else. They deny it despite what is certainly there. What they are saying is what you confess you will possess but you didn’t confess a headache to get it in the first place, it just came. So they need to put blame on someone and it usually is the devil. This is why they command Satan to leave their body. What one needs to ask is how did he get in there in the first place? Doesn’t this mean they were not walking in faith for him to invade them like this.

Would you go around saying that your the president of the company that you are just an employee of because you desire that position. If you were caught doing that they would say your lying . Try cashing a check as that president when your not and see what happens. What of scriptures such as God saying let there be light can someone of the faith movement ever say these same words and change the darkness of night to day, have you seen anyone move any mountains lately if not they do not have the faith of God.

What if this concept of healing were being brought to its logical conclusion. If you get a flat tire. Are you going to confess the tire is fixed and round again. Speak it back to restoration. No of course not. So why would you not do the same for anything else. If it doesn’t work for the inorganic. it won’t work for the organic either.

If one takes the Scripture by faith confessing God s word, why stop with healing? Why not go all the way and confess not dying as in John 11:26:”And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Then one will never die. While all the promises of God are yea and amen. They are not for all people all the time. Many were given to specific people for a specific purpose.

The Force of faith

“Faith activates the force of God fear is a force that activates the Devil. Copeland says, God did not create the world out of nothing, He used the Force of His Faith.’ (Spirit, Soul and Body, #01-0601, Tape #1)

New Ager Benjamin Creme says, for example, “One doesn’t pray to oneself, one prays to the God within. The thing is to learn to invoke that energy which is the energy of God. Prayer and worship as we know it today will gradually die out and men will be trained to invoke the (inner) power of deity.” (The Reappearance of Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, pp. 135-136)

The New Age has the exact same methodology for success. This is not ignored by the word/faith promoters since they believe anyone can use this power, saint or sinner. In like manner this power is used to influence themselves, others, ( achieving their own self-interests), their environment  or what they deem as reality .

Techniques used are visualization which they internally create the form and project its image into the outer world. The word spoken as it is first incubated in thought it will become reality when continually spoken.

Copeland agrees and states, You can have what you say! In fact, what you are saying is exactly what you are getting now. If you are living in poverty and lack and want, change what you are saying. It will change what you have…. Discipline your vocabulary. Discipline everything you do, everything you say, and everything you think to agree with what God does, what God says, and what God thinks. God will be obligated to meet your needs because of His Word…. If you stand firmly on this, your needs will be met.” ( D.L. McConnell p.173)

A.W.Tozer wrote… “imagination projects unreal images out of the mind and seeks to attach reality to them. Faith creates nothing; it simply reckons upon that which is already there.”

God has  some interesting things addressed to this type of nonsense. Lam 3:37-50 “Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?   Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?   Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?   Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD;   Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.   We have transgressed and rebelled; you have not pardoned.   You have covered Yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain and not pitied.  You have covered Yourself with a cloud, that prayer should not pass through.  You have made us an offscouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples.  All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. Fear and a snare have come upon us, desolation and destruction. My eyes overflow with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people.  My eyes flow and do not cease, without interruption, Till the LORD from heaven looks down and sees.” Like in Jeremiahs day this is the state of our present day church.

Creative faith for miracles

“Words are spiritual containers,” (Kenneth Copeland, Forces of the Recreated Human Spirit, 15; cf. 14.)

“Faith was the raw material substance that the Spirit of God used to form the universe.” (Kenneth Copeland, Authority of the Believer II (Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987, audiotape #01-0302), side 1.) He doesn’t say this a few times but is a consistent teaching in his theological bent.

“Faith is God’s source of power.” (Freedom From Fear, 1983. p12.)

Not only does God use this faith but we can as well “You have the same creative faith and ability on the inside of you that God used when he created the heavens and the earth.” (Kenneth Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2.) Copeland explains to Hinn how this all works “The law of faith, faith work by certain elements and when those elements from the word of God are put in, in release and in power than it always brings the same results , and I don’t care who it is I don’t care where you are or where you from  I don’t care what culture you come from, I don’t care what color your skin is I don’t care whether your rich man poor man beggar man or thief. When you put those elements into operation they will come connect to the anointing and the results will come Benny Hinn “MY GOD!” (so its not by God’s will but by ours). Copeland and B. Hinn this is your day  Aug.10,1999)

So this law that is suppose to be universal like gravity works even if you’re an unbeliever and a thief. how can one who is not right with God use faith? Because its not the same as biblical faith it is a natural law as Copeland explains. So it really has nothing to do with God, because he is not obligated to give a sinner any request lest he repents.

When we use the spiritual laws that God has set up, God must obey what we request.” (Praise the Lord, TBN 2/5/86)

“Words create pictures, and pictures in your mind create words. And then the words come back out your mouth….And when that spiritual force comes out it is going to give substance to the image that’s on the inside of you. Aw, that’s that visualization stuff! Aw, that’s that New Age! No, New Age is trying to do this; and they’d get somewhat results out of it because this is spiritual law, brother.” (Believer’s Voice of Victory (television program), TBN, 28 March 1991.)

“God used words when He created the heaven and the earth….Each time God spoke, He released His faith — the creative power to bring His words to pass.” (The Power of the Tongue (Fort Worth: KCP Publications, 1980), 4.)

Isn’t it funny that not once will you find the word faith in the OT especially in the creation narrative of Genesis attributed to God. Nowhere does it say God used faith. Why? Because it is man who needs faith not God!

Recently on John Hagee’s program Copeland said, “The very faith that God used when He created, and what we read there in the first 2 chapters of Genesis, is the faith that’s burning in your spirit. But now if you’ve made Jesus the Lord of your life, it’s the same faith. Well, He created all those planets, how come you can’t create something? You don’t know as much about it as He does. He has a greater working knowledge of that faith than you do. But we’re learning. Our time is coming. And in some ways its already here.” (Aug 18,1999 )

Notice he says its coming because they don’t have the knowledge yet. But he’s been saying this as a fact for years! The only difference between God’s ability and ours is that He has a greater knowledge.

Kenneth Hagin: “Jesus used the fig tree to demonstrate that He had that God-kind of faith, then He said to the disciples-and to us-‘You have that kind of faith.’. . . Jesus said He had the God-kind of faith; He encouraged His disciples to exercise that kind of faith; and He said that .whosoever’ could do it…. That is why Jesus said, ‘whosoever shall say and shall not doubt IN HIS HEART. ‘ “ (Having Faith in Your Faith, Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1988 1, 3)

Mk.11:22 “Have the faith of God (in) This unclear passage is determined by other clear passages. The word ‘in’ is missing so it reads have faith God. This is a Hebraism: to have strong faith, or the strongest faith. When things look impossible. There is no such thing as a God kind faith. It means a faith that is wholly reliant on God.

Jesus had already stated, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”   (Matt 19:26)

But the faith movement states with ones words in faith we can change anything. Which means this faith is with man and not God. They believe that a failure to get what they ask for is a failure in faith.

This unclear passage is determined by other clear passages. However, this verse must not be isolated from other verses on prayer, and it is always important to make certain that we incorporate everything the Bible teaches on any one point before drawing our conclusions.

Throughout the Scripture it tells us to have faith in Christ John 14:1” Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”   Faith means trust, its object is always God, If faith is put in any other object no matter how sacred it will fail. Does God have faith? No! Faith has an object. The Christian faiths object is God, not faith itself. It means to trust in someone other (in our instance greater) than oneself. If God has faith to create then whom did He trust in? This concept destroys the very nature of God Gods name is I Am that I am, the self sufficient self- existent one. He is perfect needing nothing outside Himself, He is a non dependent being not needing anything from anyone else. God is not using His faith as His power there is no such thing. God is able to do all things we are not. We cannot speak more stars into existence nor can we change a boy into a girl by our words. When Jesus spoke the words let it be according to your faith the individual was asking for a specific act from Jesus when he was physically present with him. He did these miracles to prove His personhood as God, it was not a blank check for anyone to say it to receive it. Is it really faith to demand our rights from God or is it pride and immaturity to demand things as spoiled little children. The faith in the word of faith movement is misplaced faith. Real faith involves time, it produces character as we go through our trials. It builds us up giving us endurance not by demanding God but from relying on his provision as we go through we have his assurance he is with us. Faith is only as good as the object it is placed in. Matthew 21:22 must be taken with I John 5:13-15, which also points out that God hears us only if we ask according To -will” in other words, if we make a request that is not His will to grant, no amount of faith will effect that petition. Prayer is unlimited in its possibilities except one, God’s will. If you are praying for something that is not God’s purpose, no amount of prayer will change it.

V.23.having a mountain removed and cast into the sea, is to have a thing to be far removed. It is not speaking of physical but spiritual obstacles to the progress of His kingdom. [the expression ‘rooting up mountains’ is in common Rabbinic use as a hyperbole for doing the impossible or the incredible.   [Babha B. 3 b; for the latter   Ber. 64 a; Sanh. 24 a; Horay. 14 a.]. Mountains in biblical symbolism means kings or kingdoms (Mt.17:20). This is why you have never seen a mountain thrown in the sea.

Jesus makes it clear in v. 24-26 “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Faith gives anticipation in prayer that God hears us and that he will answer.   Faith is to have an absolute, yet simple assurance of God’s promise.  Mark also gives a condition for the Lords acceptance to our prayer. Mark connects the promise to move mountains with forgiveness our reconciliation with brothers, v.25-26

This principle is found when the disciples tried to cast out a demon with the authority Jesus gave them but were unsuccessful.

Mt. 17:19-21 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast him out?” “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” It wasn’t just a lack of faith but they needed to ask and fast. The mountain Jesus interprets for us are those things opposing His kingdom; in this case a demon who had kept someone in bondage.

Paul writes in Romans can the potter talk back to the clay, I’ve never seen this happen until our time. They can order and decree from God whatever they please, even the shape of their own lives. Deceptive power does not come without a price. I have yet to see someone change a flat tire to round, much less actually move a mountain which the scripture mentions!

Heb.6:12: “That you not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.’ He then goes into Gods promise to Abraham and that he swore by himself because there is no one greater. Notice it is God’s promise and that we are to wait on him to fulfill it by having patience and faith. Not stand on it and demand it. In God’s timing and his way, just as he did for Abraham.

Real faith is neither a blind leap into the unknown nor is it mustering up belief for our own wants to possess something. A.C.Gabeleian says. “Faith is not blind confidence that demands to get whatever we want. For this is in effect, as one has said, would dethrone God, and place the scepter in our hands, making God obedient and irresisting power to do our unwise bidding (The Healing question pp.124-125) Faith is not in what we speak but in the God who spoke and the universe leaped into existence. True faith is in the one who can keep his word.

If faith is based on the immutable law of God in nature then even unbelievers can use it (Which is exactly what they say). Then it is without exception. So every time someone says something negative believing it, then it will come to pass. The last time I looked at the Bible and reality I have not seen God put this kind of power in the hands of sinful or saved men.

Faith is not telling a person they can see when they can’t or tell someone they are healed when they are dying. This cannot accomplish what is being said anymore than telling a person he can fly when he can’t fly or walk through walls when they can’t. Faith involves an assent to what is truth, not what is false.

Our faith is not what we speak using incantations from the word, but in the word and the one who spoke the word.  Praying in Jesus name is not a warranty to receive everything we say and we can certainly thank Him for that. He doesn’t want spoiled little children, but mature heavenly minded people who look at His Word and are willing to be conformed to His likeness even if it’s uncomfortable.  Those that can trust him in His decisions He can entrust to answer.  To pray in his name means “in his authority” according to his will, to ask in the understanding of what God wants to accomplish on earth. Romans 8.27: “ And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” We need to line up our will with His, then we can be confident he hears us because it is what he wants to accomplish. So you must have the right kind of faith mixed with patience and trust to be “in the faith “ and be a true son of Abraham.  The faith Movements faith is not “Biblical faith”, it is defective and flawed, because it is self- focused on our wants, not trusting in God’s decisions. Until they learn this simple biblical lesson they will continue to expand their errors being deceived and deceiving others!

 

 

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Recently the book and DVD called “the secret” has become popular. It was promoted by Oprah Winfrey, a mind science adherent. It has made a large impact in a short time in America and throughout the world. “The Secret” Book is a bestseller, on the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller lists. 6 million copies of the book have been sold so far. The Secret is also an 80 minute DVD that is the top-seller on Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com; 3 million copies have been bought. In other words this is in its beginning.

Many have accepted it as the newest success in life technique. It is really a potpourri of occult and metaphysical ideas. It is the basic message of the New age Movement- HUMAN POTENTIAL, which has its roots in mind science teachings. In this series of articles I want us to look at the similarities of the teachings of “the Secret” and its source and compare it to the word faith movements teachings.

The 29 co-contributors quoted by the author Rhonda Byrne of “The Secret.” All the authors agree with the metaphysical worldview and practice the concepts presented in the book and DVD.

Rhonda Byrne sums up “The Secret” as: “The law of attraction is the most powerful law.” “like attracts like. … The law of attraction is giving you what you are thinking about. It is working all the time.What we do is we attract into our lives the things we want, and that is based on what we’re thinking and feeling,”we create our own circumstances by the choices we make in life. And the choices we make are fueled by our thoughts—which means our thoughts are the most powerful things we have here on earth.” That’s something to really think about.

How does it work? Everything and everyone in the universe is energy and our thoughts put out a vibration, then things are attracted to us like a magnet

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John Walsch of the Secret states Thoughts are like magnets, drawing effects to you.” (p. 188)

Michael Beckwith states on the DVD that this has been scientifically proven”, Bob Proctor says this law” is– “energy attracts like energy.” They seem to have overlooked that opposites attract in magnetism, like repels like. Oh well, so much for being scientific.

This concept is not exclusive to the Secret book- New Age participants have known this for years. John Randolph Price agrees; in his book “The Superbeings” he says: “Like attracts like. What you think in your mind will produce in your experience. … All the Power of the Universe is within you and this Power you can have anything on earth you desire.  (xv The Superbeings John Randolph Price 1981 Quartus foundation)

To put it simply in there own words- the ‘universal mind’ is energy … which is everywhere, and we are all ‘One’ with it, and have power to control our reality. There is no personal Holy God in “The Secret,” instead they use the universe as a substitute, in fact- the closest they come to calling something God is by saying you are God.

P.46 of “The Secret” states “you are the master of the Universe the law obeys you.” — “Your wish is my command. We are toldThis law listens to everything we think and act.” You have got to be kiddin’, the law is an “it” but it has ears. It has a mind but none of its own, it obeys us.

Mind science promoter Robert Collier wrote about the same concepts in his books The God in You, The Secret Power, The Magic Word, and The Law of the Higher Potential. In his book “Secret of the Ages” he writes: “Being a part of Universal Mind, shar­ing that Universal Mind’s all-power, it has only to put the Creative Force all about it into the mold of your thought and bring the object into being” (Secret of the Ages p.62).

As we will see the word faith teachers are not far from the original tree that bore this fruit.

When and where did these ideas begin? In the middle of the 19th century to the early 1900’s a small spiritual revolution began, it used a mystical interpretation of Bible and combined other concepts to form a new type of spiritual system- it was called “New Thought.” Today we categorize it as the new age movement.

The founder of New Thought philosophy was Phineas Quimby, he was a student of spiritism, occultism, hypnosis and other expressions of parapsychology. His ideas gained prominence, and from his ideas was born Christian Science, Religious Science and became the basis for a number of cults, which include Unity School of Christianity.

New Thought’s basic teaching is that everything is in the mind. We create our own world of good or evil, health or sickness, prosperity or lack by our thoughts. Mary Baker Eddy was one of the early patients Quimby “healed” and she began a new interpretation of the Bible called “Christian science” that was based upon Quimby’s teachings-which she never admitted to. Her ideology was God is “Divine Mind,” and illness results from being out of tune with “Divine Mind.” Christian Science makes sickness an illusion and one overcomes it with correct thinking, it is the same thing in the word faith movement, they believe their body is lying to them. They disbelieve the symptoms, and stand on continual positive confession of the word to relieve them-selves.

The Unity School of Christianity (also known as Unity) was founded in 1889 by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. Charles Fillmore is quoted in The Secret along with other New Thought teachers. One of Fillmore’s quotes in the book states: “Divine Mind is the one and only reality.” It is important to note that Phineas Quimby is the man who E.W. Kenyon studied and embraced his ideas. These same concepts were later embraced and copied by Kenneth Hagin. Both he and his disciple Kenneth Copeland popularized these teachings in the church. Kenyon denied that he taught religious science. Yet it is a fact that his schooling were from those who practiced that philosophy. His influence came through years attending the Emerson College School of Oratory. Charles Wesley Emerson was an adherent of New Thought metaphysics. Emerson joined Christian Science in 1903 and remained in that religion until his death in 1908.

 

Another New Thought church is Religious Science whose founder Ernest Holmes based his “Science of Mind” on the same concepts: Holmes doubted the answers he got in church. He discovered the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Reading Emerson is like drinking water to me.” He pursued his metaphysical studies which involved literature, science, philosophy, and religion. And finally embraced the Christian Science teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. He then came upon the works of Ralph Waldo Trine, Horatio Dresser and Phineas Quimby. He moved from Christian Science teachings to Larson’s works.

Ernest Holmes patterned his Science of Mind on: “Man, by thinking, can bring into his experience whatsoever he desires ….” all is mind and that everything is governed by law, there comes another thought: it is that he can create, or have created for him from his own thinking. He can create such a strong mental atmosphere of success that its power of attraction will be irresistible. He can send his thought throughout the world and have it bring back to him whatever he wants” ( “Creative Mind and Success” by Ernest Holmes).

 

 

More recently-Norman Vincent Peale, a student of Holmes brought these same concepts into the church. He too based his positive-thinking principles on New Thought. Peale said as a youth he had “the worst inferiority complex of all,” and developed his positive thinking philosophy to help himself. Peale is what is known as a “progressive in religion-” one who did not believe in the bibles testimony of Jesus being the only way. In 1984, on the Phil Donahue program, Peale said, “It’s not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine …I’ve been to Shinto shrines, and God is everywhere:” Shocked, Phil Donahue responded, “But you’re a Christian minister; you’re supposed to tell me that Christ is the way and the truth and the life, aren’t you?” Peale replied, “Christ is one of the ways. God is everywhere.” (Christian News (May 12, 1997), 11.Peale taught “Your unconscious mind … [has a] power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough.” ( Norman Vincent Peale, Positive Imaging (Fawcett Crest, 1982), p. 77.)He also taught: “God is energy. As you breathe God in, as you visualize His energy, you will be reenergized!” (Norman Vincent Peale, PLUS: The Magazine of Positive Thinking, 37:4, May 1986, Part 11, 23.) Similarly, John Walsch of “the Secret” states “God is the energy you call imagination.” p. 198).

These same concepts/teachings permeate the mind sciences.

Peale recommendation to visualizing this energy to permeate one’s being; inhale this energy as God

Is found in new age (occult) they visualize energies circulating around or through their body. The vineyard churches a number of years ago would scoop the air around people to bring it toward them calling the Holy spirit to fill them. This is known as pantheism, and is more like Hinduism’s prana, where one breathes the air in their yoga exercise for energizing themselves.

Peale is known to be a 33rd degree Mason. When a Mason reaches this level of illumination he is taught that the god of the Bible is really a false god and Lucifer the lightbearer is the true God.

Robert Schuller attributed to Peale to be the man who had the greatest influence upon his theology and ministry, (He even claimed Peale starting the positive thinking movement). Schuller changed the term positive thinking to Possibility thinking and continued to contain the principles of these same ideas.

There are Spiritual winds that blow from the same source in the same direction. We have watched the church copy the world but when the world starts to mimic the church- we need to pay attention. ‘The Secret’ DVD and book is sweeping the secular world. The word faith teachers in the church originally got their teaching from the new thought movement over one hundred years ago – both are from the same source.

Some of you may be surprised that Christians are attracted to the Secret (no pun meant). Why Not? Word faith teachers have been using these very same concepts inside the church for years and now they are acceptable because of their promotion on major Christian TV networks.

As we continue we are going to see a thread of commonality in the teachings of mind science and word faith. Interesting note- They both use many of the same scriptures.

 

Quotes from the Secret:

Whatever is going on in your mind is what you are attracting
We are like magnets – like attract like. You become AND attract what you think
Every thought has a frequency. Thoughts send out a magnetic energy
Those who speak most of illness have illness, those who speak most of prosperity have it.
When you get the hang of this, before you know it you will KNOW you are the creator…You are the only one that creates your reality….Play the picture in your mind – focus on the end result. “It’s OK that thoughts don’t manifest into reality immediately
….“VISUALIZE!!! Rehearse your future…VISUALIZE!!! See it, feel it! This is where action begins.
Create a Vision Board .. pictures of what you want to attract .. every day look at it and get into the feeling state of already having acquired these wants.
Decide what you want .. believe you can have it, believe you deserve it, believe it’s possible for you.
Close your eyes and visualize having what you already want – and the feeling of having it already….Checks are coming in the mail regularly’… or change your bank statement to whatever balance you want in there… and get behind the feeling of having it.

 

Mind science teacher W. Clement Stone, is quoted in the Secret: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve” Kenneth Copeland tells people to visualize: “Any image that you get down on the inside of you that is so vivid when you close your eyes you see it, it’ll come to pass. When God came at the Tower of Babel, He said, ‘Anything they can imagine, they can do.’“ (Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2)

Indeed the Lord did say at the Tower of Babel in Gen. 11:6: “now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” It wasn’t a good thing.

Rhonda Byrne, in her book and DVD, The Secret, tells how her daughter gave her a copy of The Science of Getting Rich, a book written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles. She believes she discovered the success of “the greatest people in history.” This book inspired Byrne to create her bestselling DVD. Wattle’s explains that the: “universal mind” underlies and permeates all creation. Through the process of visualization we can engage the law of attraction, impressing our thoughts upon “formless substance” to bring the desired result. . Once a person learns and obeys these laws, he will get rich with mathematical certainty.”Byrne, the author of The Secret, is also greatly influenced by a couple named Jerry and Esther Hicks‘. In the Acknowledgements of The Secret, she thanks them for the teachings of Abraham. On the Hicks website, we find: “Abraham, a group of obviously evolved teachers, speak their broader Non-physical perspective through the physical body of Esther” In other words this is channeling- spirit possession.

On April 5, 2007, Oprah Winfrey discussed the Secret with these spirits “channeled” by Secret promoter, Esther Hicks. Not that we should be surprised, “channeling” has long been promoted openly on Oprah’s TV show.

What do the Hicks teach—

‘You are a creator; you create with your every thought. Anything that you can imagine is yours to be or do or have.”

This is straight out of Mind Science

Jerry Hicks had also been a devotee of the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Napoleon Hill said of his book– “This book contains the secret” (Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich p.9). Hill was taught the same occult principles by demons who posed as Ascended Masters from a School of Wisdom on the astral plane. Hill stated “I know I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” (Think and Grow Rich p.215-) – this is word for word from Charles Fillmore’s book “Dynamics for Living,” and Ernest Holmes Creative Mind and Success.

Ernest Holmes founder of Religious Science also came upon the same “Supreme Se­cret” that was revealed to Napoleon Hill- “Science of MIND teaches that Man controls the course of his life … by mental processes which function according to a Universal Law …”Rhonda Byrne’s book is connected to both Wattles and the Hicks. The Hicks is connected to Napoleon Hill.

So we see a common source for “the Secret” teaching- it is dictated by spirit guides. We will confirm that these same teachings permeate the word faith movement.

We are warned that the teaching of demons will come into the church 1 Tim. 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” The reason for this is found in 2 Tim. 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables”.The secret teaches visualization- so do the mind sciences. Certain Christian leaders have been teaching visualization for years. In his booklet, The Power of the Inner Eye, Robert Schuller corrupts the Scripture by claiming that it advocates the occult technique of visualization. In an article dealing with . . . visualization …. “This is the vision that the Bible is talking about in the verse,Where there is no vision the people perish.”. . . I have practiced and harnessed the power of the inner eye and it works …. Thirty years ago we started with a vision of a church. It’s all come true.” (May, 1985, issue of Psychology Today, “In the Mind’s Eye.”)

 

So he admits to practicing this occult technique.

Schuller wrote the forward of Yonggi Cho’s book “The Fourth Dimension,” which is filled with promoting new age visualization “I discovered the reality of that dynamic dimension in prayer that comes through visualizing….. Don’t try to understand it. Just start to enjoy it! It’s true. It works. I tried it.”

Visualization is one of the fastest ways to open oneself up to the spiritual realm—Cho teaches praying is not sufficient that “We should always try to visualize the end result as we pray…. If you have not visualized clearly in your heart exactly what you hope for, it cannot become a reality to you….” …. Through visualizing and dreaming, you can incubate your future and hatch the results” (The Fourth Dimension, Volume Two, pp. 25-28, 68, p. 44)

Aside from some Christian terms, I could mix up their quotes and you could not tell which is from mind/religious science and from the church.

David Cho explains of his four step plan for the incubation formula: 1) Visualize a clear-cut goal or idea in your mind; 2) have a burning desire for your objective; 3) pray until you get the guarantee or assurance from God that what you desire is already yours; 4) speak or confess the end result into existence.”

This the same formulae used in the secret- Play the picture in your mind – focus on the end result” VISUALIZE!!! Rehearse your future” “ VISUALIZE!!! See it, feel it! This is where action begins”
Create a Vision Board .. pictures of what you want to attract .. every day look at it and get into the feeling state of already having acquired these wants.
Decide what you want .. believe you can have it, believe you deserve it, believe it’s possible for you.
Close your eyes and visualize having what you already want – and the feeling of having it already.
Bothj cho and the Secret are nearly identical of mind science teacher Robert Collier “There is no limit, you know, to Mind. Visualize this thing that you want. See it, feel it, BELIEVE in it. Make your mental blue-print, and begin to build! (Robert Collier, The Law of Higher Potential, p. 368 (1947).

 

 

Cho states “In that way, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can incubate that which we want God to do for us…. We should always try to visualize the end result as we pray. If you have not visualized clearly in your heart exactly what you hope for, it cannot become a reality to you…. (Yonggi Cho, The Fourth Dimension, Volume One (So. Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, 1979), 9-35; vol. 2, 18-33)

“We have taught our people how to … visualize success …. Through visualizing and dreaming, you can incubate your future and hatch the results.”

(P. Yonggi Cho 4th Dimension p.44, vol.2, pp.25-28, 68)

This is what the Holy Spirit taught me.” (The Fourth Dimension p. 39-44)

How did the Holy Spirit teach him something that the Christian church never had in Scripture or was taught to the apostles for the early church? Occultists have been practicing this for thousands of years. It is one thing to receive a vision from God it is another to conjure it up oneself and expect God to obey.

What is the difference between someone seeing in the mind what they would want and have it materialize, and for example, seeing a picture to draw a blueprint of a house? The architect is not using the image or his mind to actually create the house- they are using they hands, physical labor to create it. The spiritual dimension (mind) is not controlling the material world.

Neither Jesus, Paul or anyone else used techniques as imaging or visualization for prayer or healing.

These same concepts – manipulating the spiritual realm though images or words to influence the physical world to materialize results has been used by shamans, witch doctors and occultists for millennia.

As mind Science teacher Fillmore said- “substance is first given form in the mind”Laura Cabot, a witch calls visualization, magic, contact with unconscious materials and images occur spontaneously. Imaginative possibilities are more sharply focused… For these reasons witches do most of their magical work in alpha” (Power of The Witch, p. 175 Laura Cabot).

In the occult: the “law of manifestation,” declares that thoughts held firmly in the mind, spoken aloud, or visualized will “manifest’ in the physical world. We will see the concepts and idea of visualization  is carried into the word faith teaching of speaking and confessing.

 

Pt.2 speaking things into existence

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The New Age Movement

Kerby Anderson


 

 

Rudyard Kipling once wrote that “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” But that can no longer be said now that a pantheistic Eastern philosophy has spread to this country. The primary vehicle for this transmission of ideas has been the New Age Movement.

Evidence of Eastern philosophy’s arrival can certainly be seen in many ways. Statements by movie stars, the growth of Eastern cults, and the popularity of films like the Star Wars trilogy testify to the growing influence of New Age ideas. In the movie The Empire Strikes Back, for example, Yoda espouses pantheistic ideas to his Jedi disciple, Luke Skywalker: “You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you and me. Between the rock . . . everywhere. Yes, even the land.”

Defining the New Age

The New Age Movement has taken on a variety of names including the Human Potential Movement, the Third Force, the Aquarian Conspiracy, Cosmic Consciousness, and Cosmic Humanism. Although most refer to it as the New Age Movement, many in the movement do not like that label, and many others would not even consider themselves part of the movement, even though they may hold to many of the core beliefs of the New Age Movement.

Accurately defining the New Age is a formidable task for several reasons. First, the New Age Movement is eclectic and diverse. It is not a cohesive movement but is exceedingly diverse in its composition and ideology. The unifying factors are shared ideology rather than a shared organizational structure.

Second, the New Age Movement is difficult to define because it emphasizes and encourages change. The New Age Movement is syncretistic and therefore evolutionary in its nature. Many proponents change their perspectives, and so it is frequently difficult to pin down the major beliefs of the New Age Movement.

Major Tenets of the New Age

Even given the diversity and transitory nature of the New Age Movement, there are still a number of major tenets generally held in common by most groups within this movement.

First is the belief in monism. New Agers believe that “all is one.” Everything and everyone is interrelated and interdependent. Ultimately there is no real difference between humans, animals, rocks, or even God. Any differences between these entities are merely apparent, not real.

Second is the belief in pantheism. Since New Agers already believe that “all is one,” the next logical assumption would be that “all is god.” All of creation partakes of the divine essence. All of life (and even non-life) has a spark of divinity within.

The third major tenet of the New Age follows as a logical conclusion from the other two. If “all is one” and “all is god,” then we should conclude that “we are gods.” We are, according to New Agers, ignorant of our divinity. We are “gods in disguise.” The goal, therefore, of the New Age Movement is to discover our own divinity.

Fourth, we discover our own divinity by experiencing a change in consciousness. The human race suffers from a collective form of metaphysical amnesia. We have forgotten that our true identity is divine and thus must undergo a change of consciousness to achieve our true human potential (hence the name, the Human Potential Movement).

A fifth tenet is reincarnation. Most New Agers believe in some form of reincarnation. In its classic form, the cycles of birth, death, and reincarnation are necessary to work off our bad “karma” and to reach perfection. The doctrine of karma says that one’s present condition is determined by one’s actions in a past life.

The Western version of reincarnation held by many New Agers places much less emphasis on bad karma and postulates an upward spiral towards perfection through reincarnation. This view has been espoused by such people as Shirley MacLaine, Sylvester Stallone, George Patton, and Henry Ford.

A final major tenet is moral relativism. New Agers think in terms of gray, rather than black or white. Denying the law of non- contradiction, New Agers will often believe that two conflicting statements can both be true. They will therefore teach that “all religions are true” and “there are many paths to God.”

A Biblical Evaluation

When the tenets of the New Age Movement are examined, they are not really new at all. The New Age is really old occultism in new linguistic garb. Many of these concepts can be found in basic form in Genesis 3. Notice these statements made to Eve in the Garden: “You will be like God” (pantheism), “You will not surely die” (reincarnation), “Your eyes will opened” (change of consciousness), and “Did God really say” (moral relativism).

First, a Christian view of reality rejects the concept of monism. The Bible teaches that God’s creation is not an undivided unity but a diversity of created things and beings. The creation is not unified in itself but held together by Christ in whom “all things hold together” (Col. 1:17).

Second, Christianity is theistic, not pantheistic. New Agers teach that God is an impersonal force, while the Bible teaches that God is an imminent, personal, triune, sovereign God. God is separate from His creation rather than merely a part of the creation as pantheism would teach.

Third, we are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26) and therefore have dignity and value (Psalm 8). New Agers teach that we are gods and thus have divinity within our humanity.

Fourth, New Agers flirt with the occult in their attempt to achieve a change in consciousness. Although these practices are frequently described in benign terms such as parapsychology, they involve direct contact with spiritual entities. The Bible warns against the danger of these practices and lists such activities as divination and spirit channeling as detestable practices (Deut. 18:9-13) that are to be avoided.

Fifth, the Bible teaches resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 15), not reincarnation of the soul. Likewise, the doctrine of karma is foreign to the gospel. Salvation comes from grace, not through the works in this life (Eph. 2:8-9) or in any other alleged past life. We will not be reborn after death. Hebrews 9:27 clearly teaches that “it is appointed for men to die once and after this come judgment.”

Finally, the Bible teaches absolute truth. God has clearly communicated to us his moral law (Ex. 20:1-17), which we are to obey. Contrary to the New Age teaching that “there are many paths to God,” Jesus clearly taught “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

© 1992 Probe Ministries


 

About the Author

Kerby Anderson is the president of Probe Ministries International. He received his B.S. from Oregon State University, M.F.S. from Yale University, and M.A. from Georgetown University. He is the author of several books, including Genetic Engineering, Origin Science, Living Ethically in the 90s, Signs of Warning, Signs of Hope, and Moral Dilemmas. He also served as general editor for Marriage, Family and Sexuality.He is a nationally syndicated columnist whose editorials have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury, and the Houston Post.
He is the host of “Probe,” and frequently serves as guest host on “Point of View” (USA Radio Network). He can be reached via e-mail at kerby@probe.org.

 
 

 

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