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

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

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

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

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

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:

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

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

I. Background

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

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

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

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

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

II. Definition of Autonomous Self

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And therefore, continuing to quote Wells [3]:

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

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

II. Refutation of the Arminian Argument of Autonomous Self

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIME.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Understanding Word-Faith Teaching
by Rob Bowman

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

Hank Hanegraaff (summarizing the Word-Faith teaching)

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

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

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

The Roots, Shoots, and Fruits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Defining the Word-Faith Teaching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human Beings Are Spirits

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

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

God and Humanity

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

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

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

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

Jesus Christ

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

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

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

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

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

Faith, Prayer, and Confession

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

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

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

——————————————————————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Word of Faith: Devastating Impact: Casualties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Soft” Cults

Changing your mind to change your master ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

====

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

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

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

It is important to understand that we need to pray for

a) great wisdom and discernment,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

quote:

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

Other Verses are also helpful:

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

we should remember what Paul said:

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

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The Word of Faith Movement and the Capture of the Mind

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

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

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

1) how to rightly divide the Word of God or

2) how to study the Bible or

3) how to identify important doctrines in the Bible or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A Personal Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Is Not a Vending Machine

Who is Joni ?

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

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What is the Word-Faith Movement ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Specifics on the Word of Faith Movement

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

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About KennethCopelandBlog.com

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

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

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

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

The “Convenient Doctrines” of Preachers in Sin

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Not?

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

Jesus told us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Course, Hypocritical Judgement is Condemned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the Record

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Biblical Basis for This Public Rebuke 

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

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

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

Paranormal Versus Supernatural

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Hagin And His Doctrines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Hagin And The Spirit Of The Serpent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About KennethCopelandBlog.com

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents Listing:

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

I. Introduction

II. The Mysterious Disappearance of Angel Flight 44

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

III. The Senate Finance Committee Investigation

IV. To be announced at a later date…

 V. To be announced at a later date…

VI. To be announced at a later date…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Ethic of Reciprocity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VF

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

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Tuesday nights @ 10pm Central

STARTING JANUARY 6

The How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO SHOW will begin to air on BlogTalkRadio on January 6 at 10pm central. The show will be a mix of pre-recorded live shows and live call in shows. The show will feature interviews with well known Theologians and other professionals in various fields of Study. First up will be Ex-Word of Faith Preacher John Edwards from FaithPreacher.blogspot.com AND Christian Ufologist Guy Malone from alienresistance.org The shows will also do other things besides interviews. I will schedule ONE SHOW a month for people to air their grievances in a live format.

There is NOW a rough draft of a preview show with Pastor John in which I use audio from his video on his site, available for your listening (click the LOGO above). To let you know what to expect. The full and finished show will be finished and released in a few days. I will have MY INTERVIEW with pastor John coming in 1-2 weeks.

There will be 3 points of distribution for the How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO SHOW and it’s Sister show OccultAgendaExposure.Info RADIO which will start sometimes in February.

1. BlogTalkRadio. The shows can be viewed and participated in at this URL http://www.blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian The shows will also be available for download and listening there.

2. There will be shows that WILL NOT air at BTR. Those shows will be distributed at SoundClick.com at this URL http://www.soundclick.com/how2becomeachristian and the BLOGs

3. ALL shows will be broadcast from a respective BLOGPOST for that show episode.

http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com/

AND

http://OccultAgendaExposure.Wordpress.Com

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GUEST WISHLIST:

Scheduled: Guy Malone, John Edwards

Almost Scheduled: Peter Goodgame, Stan Deyo, Patrick Hering, David lowe, john Edwards, Michael heiser, Bill scnoebelen, Dave Ruffino, Jim Wilhelson, Joe Jordan, David Flynn
Wishful yet hopeful: Justin peters, Sandy Simpson, Rick Ross, biblical truth for Mormons, Mormon curtain, 20 truths about Mormonism, Keith and Lorrie Macgragor, and their Trinitarian friend, Ed Decker, Sharon and Derrick Gilbert at peering into the darkness, PID RADIO, Russ Disdar at shatter the darkness, Christ White No Where to Run from Revere Radio Network and Revelation Radio, Ron Rhodes: Reasoning from the Scriptures ministries, Sharon and Derrick Gilbert at Peering into the Darkness PID RADIO, Russ Disdar at Shatter the Darkness, Chris , James Spencer at Maze Ministry, Matt Slick at carm, Kirby Anderson Probe Ministries.

MORE TO ADD SOON. If you would like to submit a name or ministry to this list. Please leave the name or ministry name in the comment field below.

How2BecomeAChristian (with a numeral 2) ministries is a Christian Apologetics Ministry primarily devoted to answering the question “How to become a Christian?” The ministry focuses on Christian essentials but also covers all non essential doctrines and issues concerning Christianity and religion in general. Including all non/Christian religions, aberrant Christian cults, the Occult, the New Age Movement and much more.

All material produced by How2BecomeAChristian (with a numeral 2) ministries IS LICENSED for your FREE USE under Commons Copyright Licensing.

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NEW THOUGHT

by D.J. Quinn

Also See

Esotericism and Biblical Interpretation

Roots of Evil

While the majority of people may be unable to define New Thought, hundreds of thousands are increasingly becoming influenced by it, since it is the cornerstone for most of the formulas for happy and successful living. Reduced it to it’s essentials, New Thought very simply believes that your thoughts play a crucial role in the kind of life you experience. It is unlikely that many Christians are aware of the common roots of some popular beliefs in the church and the New Thought beliefs without. From Clement Stone’s Positive Mental Attitude to Robert Schuller’s Possibility Thinking and Oral Roberts’ seed-faith principles, they all stem from common sources.

What Is New Thought?

“New Thought, as defined in the dictionary, is a modern spiritual philosophy stressing the power of right thinking in a person’s life, the idea that our thoughts and attitudes affect our experience and that God (or whatever other name a person might have for a Higher Power) is within the individual.

New Thought is a logical and scientifically based understanding and method of changing our experience by changing our thinking. New Thought is simple and easy to learn. It has a tradition that reaches back over one hundred years and is founded on principles that embrace many of the world religious and spiritual practices spanning thousands of years.

New Thought recognizes that human beings function on many levels: that the individual is a mental, spiritual, emotional and physical being. In realizing our fullness, our wholeness and maximizing our potential we are, in essence, finding fulfillment…..

New Thought teaches people tools, which put us on the path to fulfillment. The natural extension of this fulfillment is that as an individual’s life is better, their family’s life is better, their community’s life is better and this extends out across the planet”. (ANTN. Affiliated New Thought Network. http://www.newthought.org)

The Origins of New Thought: New Thought originated in part with an unschooled Maine clockmaker and inventor named Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, who believed that he had rediscovered the lost healing methods of Jesus. The loosely organized movement that began with him eventually became known as New Thought, and consisted of a number of independently developed branches such as Unity, Religious Science, and Divine Science. (New Thought: A Practical American Spirituality by C. Alan Anderson and Deborah G. Whitehouse. Chapter 1). However there were other influential people in the progress of New Thought… See Roots of Evil:

Teachers: Two of the best known teachers of New Thought today are Mary Manin Morissey (Living Enrichment Center, Wilsonville Oregon) (on television every Sunday morning) and Della Reese… co-leader of the organization called Upchurch, who has been showcased as a Christian Minister. (See related article [See Touched by an Angel].

New Thought And The Bible: New Thoughters superficially appears to be in tune with Christian doctrine by selectively quoting from the Bible, but a complete reading of the very Scriptures that they maintain forms their “primary textbook” would nullify all their claims. There is no intellectually honest way to carve up the documents according to ones own liking and philosophical preferences. There is overwhelming historical reliability of the extra-biblical and biblical source documents concerning the Bible and Jesus’ life. (See Section A Remarkable Book ).

The simple question could be asked… Whose word is more reliable? Those closest to Jesus who, walked with Jesus, were eyewitnesses, who signed their testimonies with their lifeblood, or those (like Quimby) who are often two thousand years removed from the events and have absolutely nothing to back up any of their claims or teachings? (See The Uniqueness of Jesus and Jesus Plain And Simple).

A ‘Metaphysical’ interpretation of the Bible is little more than an excuse not to respond to the demands of its message, and is often based on preconceived theories, which are themselves unproven or unproveable. (See Esotericism and Biblical Interpretation)

The frequent references to Scripture to back arguments, and the effort to show Jesus to be one with New Thought doctrine is dangerously deceptive. The sheep’s clothing on the outside hides a deeper and more sinister wolf, one that without doubt needs to be kept as far as possible from the pulpits of Christ. Below I have taken some of New Thought’s fundamental beliefs and weighed them against that which the Bible preaches, showing beyond doubt that the two are not only incompatible but are in fact adversaries.

Some New Thought Teachings

THERE ARE ABOUT 20 MORE NEW THOUGHT TEACHINGS AT THE LINK BELOW

New Thought is expressed in Romans 12:2, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” New Thoughters seek nothing less than total life transformation, empowerment through changing their thoughts and keeping them changed. The linchpin of New Thought is the Law of Mind Action: thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. (1)

Unfortunately this is a classic case of taking a verse completely taken out of context thereby altering the meaning.. “ Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. The progress of sanctification, dying to sin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected in glory…. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness”. (Matthew Henry. Emphasis Added)

Romans 12:2 is only a continuation of Romans 12:1 which says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”.

Neither verse has anything to do with ‘empowerment through changing ones thoughts’ but a transformation from sin to righteousness.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“New Thought is what all Christianity could have become if it had been able to avoid the stultifying tendencies needed to become a religion capable of competing with mystery religions for the title of official religion of the Roman Empire. It is what all Christianity could have become if it had allowed freedom of belief, concentrating on following the loving, healing example of Jesus rather than developing a rigid superstructure of teachings about Jesus”. . (1)

No one could show as much love and compassion for humans as the Lord did. Besides dying for us it is true that He healed many many people. However it is selective reading at its best to focus solely on His ‘loving, healing example’. He devoted more than half His parables to God’s eternal judgment on sin. “Of the twelve uses of the word gehenna (the strongest word for hell) in the New Testament, eleven come from the lips of Jesus himself! In fact, the Savior taught more about hell than He did about heaven! Of the more than 1850 verses recording the words of Christ, 13% pertain to the topics of judgment and hell. Of the 40 or so parables uttered by Jesus, more than half relate to God’s eternal judgment on sin. Surprisingly, the much beloved “Sermon on the Mount” contains some of Jesus’ most straightforward words about hell”. (Rick Rood) (See Section on Hell )

Additionally Jesus was a Jew, born to into a religious system that is perhaps one of the most structured and demanding in history. Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Jesus deviated from His commitments as a Jew; much to the contrary we see several examples of Jesus attending the Synagogue, participating the Passover rituals and regularly going to the Temple.

Not only did Jesus command His followers to keep the Old Testament law, He made it harder to do. A classic example of this is the Old Testament commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery”;

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”. (Mat 5:27-28)

“Fundamentalists might have difficulty with the idea that the only Power in the universe is good. New Thought teaches that evil is insubstantial, that it is only immature or misused good. The Devil is the invention of our minds, and goes as fast as he comes. When you walk into a dark room and turn on the light, the darkness vanishes; you don’t have to chase it away. (1)

In the light of such ‘philosophically profound’ belief I find myself at a loss for words. The misguided belief that good is the only force in the universe is indeed an interesting concept, especially when one takes into consideration the book of Job.

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:6-7)

Now according to new thought philosophy, God (the “good power”) Himself is not only having a conversation with ‘immature good’ or an ‘invention of His mind’ and asking where it has come from, but astonishingly, the “immature good” replies to God and says it has been walking to and fro in the earth. An amazing achievement for a thought. Surely God being God should have known that all He had to do was ‘turn a light on’.

There are even more example of the personification of the devil in the Bible … the most notable being …

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread … (Mat 4:11) then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” (Mat 4:3-11)

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:’ (1Pet 5:8)

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev 2:10)

Is one truly expected to believe that the Devil is merely a wrong thought, when faced with the Bible’s indisputable evidence to the contrary? In the Matthew quotation the Devil comes to Jesus and speaks to Him, takes Him to the highest points of earth, tempts Him and eventually leaves Him; In the Peter quotation the Devil is referred to as a roaring lion that seeks to devour/destroy Christians; In the Revelation quotation the Devil casts Christians into prison and makes them suffer tribulation. Thoughts are not capable of roaming the earth, they are not capable of casting someone into prison and persecuting them, they are not capable of physically coming and going of their own accord and they are not a roaring lion (singular) that seeks to devour believers. One of the Devils greatest achievements is to make humanity believe that he does not exist, that he is merely a thought or an invention of the human subconscious, after all why fear that which does not exist… right? To that end New Thought philosophy is in perfect alignment with his strategy and to the believer at least is very dangerous.

The Bible was written by Oriental minds for Oriental minds, and most of it was never intended to be taken literally. Jesus cast out demons, which is to say in the language of today, that he straightened out people’s thinking; and our fear thoughts are demonic indeed”. (1)

The Bible itself contradicts this notion over and over again. The Gospel message contained in the Bible is essentially concerned with God’s future plans for the earth and for mankind. The Bible is the record of God’s continuing activity, centered in the work of His Son Jesus, and leading ultimately to man’s redemption. The Bible is the Word of Salvation, which draws a road map for humanity to come out of the world of sin and into harmony with the will of God. The Bible is God’s will and has a purpose to achieve and will not stop until it has achieved that purpose.

Isaiah 55:11 ‘So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.’

Furthermore God had every intention of the Gospel being spread through out the globe, a fact that clashes with the concept that the Bible was written by Orientals for the Oriental mind.

‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ (Matthew 24:14)

‘And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ (Mark 16:15)

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Revelation 14:6) All emphasis added.

God over and over again stressed to ancient Israel that they must keep His commandments, that the disobedience would bring the strictest punishment and that the wages of sin is death.

“Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD.” (Lev 22:31 )

“Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.” (Deut 6:17)

“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Josh 22:5)

It would have been more than unfair of God to demand obedience to commandments that were ambiguous and hard to understand. God’s commandments were given very clearly and the people understood them perfectly, hence totally negating any possible argument that God’s Word is not to be taken literally. The Bible also comes with a very strict warning about the Scriptures, one that should be carefully considered before deciding to add ‘meaning’ to the recorded words …

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” (Deut 4:2 ‘)

Also see Scientific Facts In The Bible (For those who believe that the Bible is merely symbolic)

Casting out of demons: If Jesus’ casting out of demons was merely straightening out people’s thinking how did the herd of swine come into it? Did the persons wrong thoughts beg Jesus to send them into the swine who then proceeded to commit mass suicide? (Matt 8:28-33). Perhaps the swine’s wrong thinking was that they imagined they were lemmings.

Fear Thoughts: If our ‘fear thoughts’ are demonic I wonder what the Lord meant when He said

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”:(Proverbs 1:7)

“The fear of the LORD prolongeth days” (Proverbs 10:27)

“…fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”.(Matthew 10:28)

But New Thought does not concern itself with most religious doctrines. If the Virgin Birth literally happened, wonderful; if it didn’t, that’s fine, too. (1)

Of course New Thoughters do not concern themselves with religious doctrines… it does not serve their interests to do so. Christianity believes that Christ was the promised Messiah; a fact that depends heavily on His fulfilling ALL the prophesies of the Old Testament, including His being born to a virgin. Likewise Christianity rises or falls on the resurrection and should it be true that Jesus did rise from the dead then the implications are enormous. He is no longer the ‘way shower’ but Almighty God Himself. As C.S. Lewis once said “

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.” (‘Mere Christianity’) (See The Empty Tomb and The Resurrection)

If this is a universe of thought, then changing one’s thought changes the universe, at least a smidgin”. (1)

Reading this comment I had two thoughts… both interesting. The first is what would happen if a New Thoughter found himself/herself in the place of Job, standing before the thunderstorm and God spoke, saying

“Who is this who darkens counsel, by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding …” (Job 38:2-4).

Somehow I find it difficult to believe that even the greatest disciple of New Thought knows the treasury of snow or can send out lightning or restrict the sea to its boundaries. To believe that merely by thoughts man can change God’s eternal plan is not only dangerous and arrogant it also puts man on a collision course with the God of the Universe.

Secondly New Thoughters must have a very ugly vision in mind for the world. With the significant numbers of New Thoughters springing up worldwide surely this earth must be (by now) a mirror image of the sum of their thoughts. A beautiful place of crime, drugs, wars, violence and hate; a world that is rapidly spiraling out of control, on a one-way, nonstop track to Armageddon. Contrary to New Thought doctrine the condition of the world as it is today is a perfect fulfillment of Jesus’ prophesy of the end of times as told in the book of Matthew (Mat 24). See How Old Is Grandma?

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/new_thought.html

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Word of Faith Healing Promises

Another entire category of defective doctrines stemming from the Word of Faith movement are those doctrines concerning the guarantee of physical health.

While most Christians believe God is capable of healing- and does heal, the WOF doctrine teaches that healing is a divine right of every believer in Christ; from the simple headache to heart disease, all are to be healed in the life of a Christian. In fact, the essence of the teaching is that a believer living rightly will not even encounter sickness and disease. If one does, it is the fault of the believer himself, for God has granted the ability for each believer to be free from such physical limitations.

Sickness does not belong to you. It has no part in the Body of Christ. Sickness does not belong to any of us. The Bible declares if the Word of God is in our life, there will be health, there will be healing – divine health and divine healing. There will be no sickness for the saint of God. If Moses could live such a healthy life, so can you… He promises to heal all – every one, any, any whatsoever, everything – all our diseases! That means not even a headache, sinus problem, not even a toothache – nothing! No sickness should come your way.
Benny Hinn (Rise & Be Healed!, p. 14, 32)

The source of this doctrine is noted to come from two sources; the Bible itself, and the workings of one’s exercise of his “word of faith.”

Scriptural Healing according to WOF

As to the scriptural evidence of their doctrines, the most proclaimed passage supposing to teach that healing belongs to every believer is found in Isaiah 53.

Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV)
4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Normally, using the KJV version of verse 5b, “by his stripes we are healed,” the WOF teacher asserts “healing” as a foundational element of the atonement of Christ. We are healed, they say, by the atoning work of Christ on the cross.

There is no debate that Isaiah 53 speaks of the coming Messiah, Jesus, nor is there any debate whether healing is fundamentally established in his atoning work. The issue which must be addressed, however, is the definition of the term “healing” in Isaiah 53.

Healing is clearly established in the text. Verse 4 notes, “he took up our infirmities.” “Infirmities” comes from the Hebrew term, h?olî (kho-lee’), which can refer to sickness or calamity. The term “healed” in verse 5 comes from Hebrew, r?p?? (ra-fah’), which means healed or repaired. The question that needs to be answered is, “healed from what?” The answer, of course, is found in the context of the passage.

If one had a conversation concerning his athlete’s foot problem and noted that he had “been healed” by a certain product which was used, another would not for the reason of the statement “I’ve been healed” think that the person had unilaterally received healing from a cold which he may have had at the same time. The context of the reported healing is the limit of what the term was intended to refer to. Stated another way: if you’re discussing athletes foot and note that you’ve been healed, one would not presume you to also mean that you were healed of all other ailments. You were healed only from the ailment which you referred to within your context.

The context of Isaiah 53 specifically notes a healing or a cure of a specific item from its context. That item is sin. The healing of Isaiah 53 is painfully obvious to one who takes time to read and understand the text!

Isaiah makes four statements. Each statement is a parallel of the others. And, each statement contains the exact same subject matter.

He states in verse 5 a singular truth, using parallelism. Part one of the parallel notes that Jesus paid for our sins. Part two of the parallel stipulates that by his payment, we are free, or “healed.”

§ Jesus paid for our sins:

· “He was pierced for our transgressions”

· “He was crushed for our iniquities”

§ Because of his payment, we are free:

· “The punishment that brought us peace is upon him”

· “By his wounds we are healed.”

The entire context of this text relates to sin and Jesus’ coming atonement for sin. Other than the use of the term “healed,” there is nothing in the text which would make one consider sickness to be an element of what Jesus was to do for mankind. However the term “healed” does not merely refer to sickness. One can be healed from a broken bone. One can be healed from an oppression. Likewise, one can be healed spiritually, as Isaiah 53 speaks of.

Hebrew parallelism is a poetic device whereby a statement is made twice to reaffirm its meaning in verse. In this parallel, “pierced” is equated with “crushed,” “transgressions” is equated with “iniquities,” “punishment” is equated with “wounds,” and “peace” is equated with “healed.”

The healing in the text speaks nothing about earthly illness, but rather a healing from the penalties of sin. Verse 6 confirms the context as it notes,

Isaiah 53:6 (NIV)
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

There is no question concerning Isaiah 53’s intended meaning to one who practices legitimate biblical interpretive method. In fact, in order to get the idea of “healing from sicknesses” from Isaiah 53, one must deliberately misrepresent the text to an audience which is ill-equipped to interpret it for themselves. Isaiah 53 tells one dynamic story from beginning to end: Messiah would come and pay the penalty of man’s sin, as verse 12 concludes the matter,

Isaiah 53:12 (NIV)
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Jesus “bore the sin” of the world and made “intercession” for transgressors. The “healing” noted in verse 5 was a healing from sin. The healing was spiritual in nature, not physical. In fact, the penalty of sin is death. It has been death from the very beginning. God did not say to Adam and Eve “the day you eat of it you will surely get sick,” but “the day you eat of it you will surely die.” If this healing of sin were to be understood as physical in nature in Isaiah 53, one would expect that men would stop experiencing physical death! But they do not- because Isaiah 53 speaks of the healing of man’s spiritual condition. He is healed from sin, being given a substitutionary atonement through the stripes of Christ’s vicarious suffering.

Yet, according to WOF teachers, it is physical healing which Isaiah 53 speaks, and that healing is inherently available to all believers through the suffering of Christ on the cross. If you are a believer, then you have healing at your disposal.

“Salvation and healing are two gifts wrapped up in the same package. For God, healing is just as important and necessary as Salvation.”?Rod Parsley (The Backside Of Calvary, Results Publishing, Columbus, OH, 1991, p. 55)

The “package” Parsley speaks of is that of atonement. He believes that the blood which brought spiritual restoration to mankind also brought healing to the bodies of believers in this lifetime.

Scripture does teach that all believers will receive a new, glorified body which will never get sick and die. But, scripture teaches that the reception of that body is upon the believer’s resurrection from this life, rather than upon one’s salvation.

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 (NIV)
50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

According to Paul, mortality is the nature of the bodies in which we live. To that end, one must understand that the penalty of sin given at the garden of Eden, “the day you eat of it you will surely die,” is something which will endure until that time when one receives the immortal body. Sickness and death came together into existence in a package deal. Sickness is the state of this human body.

To that end, one can say that Christ’s atonement will bring healing upon the completion of one’s life on earth. However, Isaiah 53 speaks nothing of the sort, but refers uniquely of the atonement for sin.

In the end, however, scripture is unnecessary for a WOF teacher to proclaim universal healing, for in their doctrine, whatever one wants, in fact, is accessible by one’s proclamation of one’s word of faith.

Claiming” healing using the word of faith

The second way, then, one receives whatever one wants, it so use one’s inherent abilities via the force of faith to achieve one’s goals. If you don’t have what you think you need, such as healing, according to the WOF teacher, you can speak your creation into existence!

“Say to your body, ‘You’re whole, body! Why, you just function so beautifully and so well. Why, body, you never have any problems. You’re a strong, healthy body.’ Or speak to your leg, or speak to your foot, or speak to your neck, or speak to your back; and once you have spoken and believe that you have received, and don’t go back on it. Speak to your wife, speak to your husband, speak to your circumstances; and speak faith to them to create in them and God will create what you are speaking.”?
Marilyn Hickey (Claim Your Miracles audiotape, #186, side 2)

Hickey uses the exact same formula she uses for wealth, which will be examined in the next section. If you lack wealth, you speak to your wallet! If you lack healing, according to Hickey, you simply “speak to your circumstances.”

Likewise, WOF teachers teach the opposite formula is also true. If one claims to have a headache, for example, that headache will never leave! It is prolonged by the very “word of faith” which claims it to exist.

“The believer should never die before the age of 70. That is the minimum and then they should live to be 120 years. This is done by faith words If you keep talking death, that is what you are going to have. If you keep talking sickness and disease, that is what you are going to have, because you are going to create the reality of them with your own mouth. That is a divine law.”
Fredrick K.C. Price (Realm, 29)

Price contends that if one speaks of sickness and disease, “that is what you are going to have, because you are going to create the reality of them with your own mouth.” When all else fails, these teachers will go back to the rudiments of their theology and put the “word of faith” back in control of their circumstances; in spite of what scripture teaches on a subject. Whether healing, power or cold hard cash, the confession of one’s mouth is the end-all source of receiving according to this doctrine.

Even America’s star, Joel Osteen, has endorsed this bandwagon approach to doctrine.

“Start calling in divine health….You may have sickness in your body; you need to call in health. Words are like seeds; they have creative power.”
Joel Osteen (”Speaking Faith Filled Words”, Tape # 223, 2004)

Suffice it to say, that once one has endorsed the root premise concerning the “word of faith,” one can then assume anything he desires as attainable. In such cases, has not man become God himself? Is it not man, with this powerful force indeed in charge of his own destiny? Is man now God incarnate? This is indeed the synopsis of the WOF teaching.

“As a believer, you have a right to make commands in the name of Jesus. Each time you stand on the Word, you are commanding God to a certain extent because it is His Word.”
Kenneth Copeland (Our Covenant with God, 1987, p. 32)

“Yes! You are in control! So, if man has control, who no longer has it? God.”
Fredrick K.C. Price (”Prayer: Do You Know What Prayer Is … and How to Pray?” The Word Study Bible, 1990 p. 1178)

This leads to the most tragic of all possible doctrines regarding the physical healing of believers. For, according to the WOF teachers, your healing is entirely up to you! If you are not healed, then, there is a problem with your faith and it is entirely your own fault!

“The Bible declares that the work was done 2,000 years ago. God is not going to heal you now — he healed you 2,000 years ago. All you have to do today is receive your healing by faith”
Benny Hinn (Rise and Be Healed, p. 44).

“Sometimes people won’t receive their healing. Sometimes they’re full of fear or doubt or unbelief, and they can’t take what God is giving them.”
Kenneth Copeland (”Believer’s Voice Of Victory”, October 1999, pg. 23).

Thus, it is your faith which heals you. If you are not healed it is because of your own lack of faith. And, in that case, according to Fred Price, you are choosing to live in a body which is unfitting for God’s use!

“How can you glorify God in your body, when it doesn’t function right? How can you glorify God? How can He get glory when your body doesn’t even work? What makes you think the Holy Ghost wants to live inside a body where He can’t see out through the windows and He can’t hear with the ears? What makes you think the Holy Spirit wants to live inside of a physical body where the limbs and the organs and the cells do not function right?”
Fredrick K.C. Price (”Is God Glorified Through Sickness?” audiotape #FP605)

As offensive as it sounds, any doctrine which establishes fully that God will heal any sick person if they have enough faith, or if they ask correctly or if any other number of human-initiated scenarios is done “properly,” is a doctrine which makes the believer ultimately at fault for their own sicknesses.

How would one explain this truth to Joni Ericson Tada, Tony Melendez or any of thousands of believers who serve God faithfully in spite of a debilitating illness or injury? Is God not using their ministry? According to Price, the Holy Spirit would not want to live inside a body that does not function right! Does this, then, eliminate the possibility of salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for sick or injured people?

Luckily, a voice much louder, thoroughly tested and approved than the voices of Price, Copeland, Hinn, Osteen and all other human teachers exists to us in scripture itself.

A Biblical Example of non-healing

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)
7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul notes the receiving of a “thorn in the flesh.” Paul clearly does not speak of a literal thorn, but a metaphorical one. He had an ailment of some sort. He notes this ailment to stem from a “messenger of Satan, to torment me.” “Messenger” is in fact the Greek term, angelos, which is frequently rendered “angel,” depending on the context. If a person sends an angelos to another, the term is usually rendered “messenger.” Yet, for this messenger to be from Satan, it could rightly be understood to represent a demonic affliction of illness, which is a biblical occurrence in several cases. (Matthew 12:22) While this is problematic for some, scripture teaches that God does allow demonic affliction at times, such as Job’s illnesses. Job was a righteous man, yet God allowed Satan to inflict his body with very painful sores. Paul, it appears, had such an illness, himself. It was a physical infirmity of some type, which he noted as coming from a messenger of Satan.

What is fascinating about Paul’s illness is that God chose to allow Paul to suffer with his ailment rather than healing him from it! This is clearly in denial of the WOF teaching that healing is a God-given right for every believer. In fact, God refused to heal Paul based on the premise that Paul could better serve God with his affliction! He stated, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Translation? God wanted Paul to have this particular ailment! For starters, Satan would have had to have obtained permission to afflict Paul, a believer (Luke 22:21, Job 1:8-12; 2:3-6), but more importantly, God indicated that even Paul’s affliction was something He (God) desired. As Paul notes, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Contrary to Fred Price’s false report, scripture teaches that God is actually glorified when a believer endures sickness or bodily malfunction by depending on Christ’s power to achieve that which their less than perfect bodies are unable to do for themselves. How dare Price to bring humility, accusation and disrespect to those temples of the Holy Spirit; some of which could be experiencing God’s grace in their suffering, as Paul did.

The sheer volume of flaw demonstrated by WOF theology only continues to assert the real purpose of its teachers.

Titus 1:11 (NIV)
11 They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain.

In the pursuit of that purpose, they have continually maligned God’s word and have ruined people who are physically hindered by sickness, injury or defect. How devastating to the legitimate body of Christ it is when its weak are destroyed for the sake of the wealthy pretenders among them.

http://www.returningking.com/?p=68

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Is Christian Science Christian?

Of all the biblically based cults in America today, Christian Science is one of the most interesting. Not only does it deny the essential doctrines of Christianity, but it has completely reinterpreted the Bible. It drastically redefines the Bible’s culture and terminology and rips thousands of scriptures out of their historical and biblical contexts. The result is a non-Christian mixture of metaphysical and philosophical thoughts. Christian Science is so foreign to the Bible that, if it didn’t use words like Jesus, Trinity, Love, Grace, Sin, etc., you’d never suspect it had anything to do with the Bible at all. Additionally, the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which is the Christian Scientist’s mainstay of spiritual knowledge, reads with a rhythm of pseudo logical statements that has the tendency to dull the senses when read long enough. Is Christian Science Christian? Definitely not.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the primary interpretive source of the Bible and source guide of Christian Science. It interprets the Bible in a radically different way. It is so different, in fact, that it absolutely rejects the substitutionary atonement of Jesus and states that it had no efficacious value (S&H, 25:6). It denies that Jesus is God, second person of the Trinity (S&H, 361:12-13). It says that sin is a false interpretation of Divine Mind and is nonexistent (S&H, 335:7-15). And it says that the Holy Spirit is Divine Science which is best represented by Christian Science (S & H, 331:31). The list can go on and, unfortunately, it does.

To the Christian Scientist, God (the Father-Mother) is a Principle known as the Divine Mind. It has no personhood and no personality. A catch phrase used in their literature is that God is “All in All.” In other words, God is all that exists and what we perceive as matter is an interpretation of divine mind. Since God is love, it means that sin and sickness are only errors of interpreting the Divine Mind and have no true reality (S & H, 330:25-274; 470:9-14).

To the Christian Scientist, Jesus is a Way-shower. He is someone who epitomized the true principle of the Christ Consciousness which indwells us all. Therefore, Jesus did not really die on the cross. He was not God in flesh. He made no atonement in shedding His blood (S&H, 25:6).

Christian Science teaches that man does not have a sinful nature and is a reflection of Divine Mind. To achieve “salvation,” he needs only to find the true reality of understanding, as revealed in Christian Science teachings. Unfortunately, these teachings are from Mary Baker Eddy a woman who founded the religion in the 1870’s and not from God.

The Christian Scientists consider their philosophy to be consistent with the original teachings of Jesus. They consider truth a matter of higher understanding and learning. But the reality is that Christian Science has only produced unbiblical and false doctrines. Eternal destruction is the only thing that will result from its false teaching. The fires of hell will be a bitter reality for those who have been taught that they don’t exist.

http://www.carm.org/christian_science/cult.htm

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What does Christian Science Teach?

The following doctrines are referenced out of the primary Christian Science work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. It is supposed to be a companion to the Bible. Science and Health together with the Bible are called the Pastor of Christian Science.

God is infinite…and there is no other power or source, S&H, 471:18.

God is Universal Principle, S&H 331:18-19

God cannot indwell a person, S&H 336:19-20

God is the only intelligence in the universe, including man S&H 330:11-12

God is Mind, S&H 330:20-21; 469:13

God is the Father-Mother, S&H 331:30; 332:4

The Trinity is Life, Truth, and Love, S&H 331:26

Belief in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity is polytheism, S&H 256:9-11

Christ is the spiritual idea of sonship S&H 331:30-31

Jesus was not the Christ, S&H 333:3-15; 334:3

“Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared…” S&H 361:12-13

Jesus did not reflect the fullness of God, S&H 336:20-21

Jesus did not die, S&H 45:32-46:3

The Holy Spirit is divine science, S&H 331:31

There is no devil, S&H 469:13-17

There is no sin, S&H 447:24

Evil and good are not real, S&H, 330:25-27; 470:9-14

Matter, sin, and sickness are not real, but only illusions,” S&H 335:7-15; 447:27-28.

Life is not material or organic, “S&H, 83:21

The sacrifice of Jesus was not sufficient to cleanse from sin, “S&H, 25:6.

True healings are the result of true belief, “S&H, 194:6”

Additionally, Christian Scientists prefer not to use doctors, medicine, or immunizations. Christian Science Practitioners are used to help people through the false reality of illness.

Proper prayer and training are employed to battle the “non-reality” of illness.

They have no ordinances like the Lord’s Supper or baptism.

Church services are interspersed with Bible reading and readings from Science and Health.

Mary Baker Eddy is highly regarded as a revelator of God’s word.

http://www.carm.org/christian_science/doctrine.htm
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Questions to Ask Christian Scientists

If God is all in all, then where did evil come from?

If everything is an interpretation of divine mind, then why do people have different understandings of God?

If sickness is an illusion, why do you have practitioners who go out to Christian Scientists in attempts to heal them?

If sin is not real, then why does the Bible say that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23)? As well as, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us,” (1 John 1:8).

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy said, “The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree,’ than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business.” Why would she contradict so plainly the teaching of Scripture that says, “but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Why would Mary Baker Eddy directly contradict the Jesus’ own claim of Himself? She said that “Jesus is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but the Son of God.” (S & H 361:12-13). Is she calling Jesus a liar?

If “Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death” as Eddy said in Science and Health 475:28, then why do people die? Why does the Bible say that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23)?

Why would Mrs. Eddy say Jesus did not die (S&H 45:32-46:3) when the Bible clearly teaches that He died (Rom. 8:34; 1 Thess. 4:13; 1 Cor. 8:11; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 1:7).

If our physical senses do not tell us the truth about the material world then how can we trust them when we read the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures or hear its message with our ears?

http://www.carm.org/christian_science/questions.htm
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Interesting Quotes from Mary Baker

The following quotes are from Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures

“One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner’s part. That God’s wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son, is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is man-made” (S&H, p. 23:3-7).

“The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree,’ than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business” (S&H, 25:6-8).

“His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while he was hidden in the sepulcher, whereas he was alive . . .” (S&H, p. 44:28-29).

“. . . his body was not changed until he himself ascended, — or, in other words, rose even higher in the understand of Spirit, God . . .and this exaltation explained his ascension, and revealed unmistakably a probationary and progressive state beyond the grave” (S&H, p. 46:15-17; 20-24).

“His students then received the Holy Ghost. By this is meant, that by all they had witnessed and suffered, they were roused to an enlarged understanding of divine Science” (S&H, p. 46:30-32).

“A scientific mental method is more sanitary than the use of drugs, and such a mental method produces permanent health” (S&H, 79:7-9).

“It is contrary to Christian Science to suppose that life is either material or organically spiritual” (S&H, 83:21-22).

“The admission to one’s self that man is God’s own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea” (S&H 90:24-25).

“The theory of three person in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or Tri-unity) suggest polytheism . . .” (S&H, p. 256:9-11).

“Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (S&H, p. 332:4-5.).

“The word Christ is not properly a synonym for Jesus, thought it is commonly so used” (S&H, p. 333:3-4).

“Mind is the I AM, or infinity. Mind never enters the finite. . .but infinite Mind can never be in man . . .a portion of God could not enter man” (S&H, p 336:1-2,13,19-20).

“. . . and recognize that Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God” (S&H, p 361:11-13).

Speaking of Gen. 2:7, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,” Eddy says, “Is this addition to His creation real or unreal? Is it the truth, or is it a lie concerning man and God? It must be a lie, for God presently curses the ground…”(S&H, p. 524:13-27).

In describing what the Devil is, it says, “Evil; a lie; error; neither corporeality nor mind; the opposite of Truth; a belief in sin, sickness, and death; animal magnetism or hypnotism; the lust of the flesh, which saith: ‘I am life and intelligence in matter. There is more than one mind, for I am mind, – a wicked mind, self-made or created by a tribal god and put into the opposite of mind, termed matter, thence to reproduce a mortal universe, including man, not after the image and likeness of Spirit, but after its own image.” (S&H, p. 584:17-25).

“If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me.” (The First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany, pp. 318, 319).

http://www.carm.org/christian_science/quotes.htm

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WORD OF FAITH

exwordoffaith.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Word of Faith believes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It gets worse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Cult or Church? Woman questions Order of Christ~Sophia
Last Edited: Wednesday, 19 Nov 2008, 9:31 AM EST
Created On: Tuesday, 18 Nov 2008, 9:53 PM EST

New Haven (WTNH) – Is there a cult climate around one church in New Haven? One woman fears her mother has been lost to a cult in the Elm City.

Theresa Biagiarelli has boxes and boxes of photos her mother took of her. And that’s not all.

“My little photo album. Her photo album her father made for her. All our family things. And all of her clothes.”

She has them, because her mother Julia got rid of them.

“She brought it to my aunts house and just left it there,” she said.

“It made me feel terrible to know my mother didn’t want to have any pictures of me as a baby anymore.”

“Did you question ‘what did I do?'”

“At that point it was more like what did they do.”

They are the Order of Christ~Sophia or the Center of Light. The group has chapters across the U.S. including New Haven at an unassuming building on Grand Avenue, where some members, including Theresa’s mother Julia, live.

Reverend Michael runs the group locally and says no one, including Theresa’s mother, is a prisoner here.

“People are free to come and go. Julia has an apartment here in the building as I do,” Reverend Michael said.

They call themselves Christian Mystics, but some experts on mind control like Steve Hassan, call them “a destructive mind control cult where dependence and obedience is demanded.”

The fact is the founder of the group, Peter Bowes, doesn’t shy away from the term “cult”. He even talks about it on a YouTube posting.

“A cult is a new religion that people hate,” he says on the video. “I think we can say we are one then.”

Peter Bowes’ was a psychologist in Wisconsin until he surrendered his license. Is there sometimes strain between members and their families? Yes, he says.

“We don’t take people away from their parents, but sometimes the relationship is so bruised,” Bowes said.

“What he was doing and saying about being honest reminds me of Chinese Communist brain washing techniques of the 1950’s when people would have to be honest and refute their families,” Hassan said.

“Do you ever wonder what kind of faith would result in you becoming disassociated with the dearest people to you?”
“Well, everything I have ever learned about Christian values shows you you should become closer to your family,” Theresa said.

Theresa’s mother, a teacher, wouldn’t talk to News Channel 8, but her picture is right on the group’s New Haven web site. That web site also shows members working booths at community events, with face painting for kids or selling smoothies. The group often leaves fliers in area coffee houses.

“We teach meditation and we have classes on the bible,” Reverend Michael said.

But Theresa asks where in the bible does it say leave those you love behind? “What it seems to me is that they are being taught to judge the people closest to them who have known them for years, and they are being taught to take in these new people as almost a replacement for the family that they used to have.”

Steve Hassan says a lot of people who belong to these groups are able to hold down regular 9-5 jobs. One we’re told is a doctor at a local hospital.

http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/news_wtnh_newhaven_cult_or_church_200811182159

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THE PROSPERITY MOVEMENT:Wounded Charismatics by Roger L. Smalling, D.Min

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The “God” in the Mirror

Chapter 2: Faith or Fiction

Chapter 3: Sovereignty and Suffering

Chapter 4: Origins of Word of Faith

Chapter 5: Positive Confession

Chapter 6: Wounded Faith

Chapter 7: Just Like Your Soul Prospers

Chapter 8: As Rich As Abraham

Chapter 9: Sufficiency, Yes!

Chapter 10: The Jesus Died Spiritually Heresy

Chapter 11: Job and the Kingdom

Chapter 12: The Psychology Behind the Word Movement

Chapter 13: Denying the Symptoms: Is it valid?

Chapter 14: Did Jesus Heal Them All?

Chapter 15: How To Grow in Faith

Appendix A: Comparative Chart, Word of Faith vs Bible Appendix B: On “Divine Nature” 2Pe.1:3-4  Appendix C: 150 Verses Word of Faith Cultists Don’t Like to Hear

http://www.smallings.com/Books/ProspENG.htm#Ch4 

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Chapter 4: The Origins of Word of Faith

Word of Faith has its roots in a pagan cult that rivaled Christianity during the first three centuries of the Christian era, known as Gnosticism. The early Church fathers, such as Iranaeus eventually refuted and destroyed it.

Various Gnostic cults existed, but all held to a form of Dualism. This meant matter is bad and spirit is good. The Bible, however, teaches God created both realms and called all creation, spiritual and material, ‘good’.

Some Gnostics even taught two gods: An evil one which governed the material realm and a good one, the spiritual. All, however, held that a series of spiritual laws exist between the two dimensions by which both realms could be controlled. Certain spiritually elite people were endowed with a special “gnosis” or “revelation knowledge” by which they could learn to manipulate these laws to their advantage … even to controlling their own spiritual destinies.

A Gnostic goal was to attain to divinity and become a kind of creative “god.” This was through the “releasing” of his spirit from the material realm through his special “knowledge” of the mystical forces governing the universe.

Iranaeus, one of the third century fathers who combated Gnosticism in his book Against Heresies, comments on the spiritual pride characteristic of Gnostics:

They consider themselves ‘mature’, so that no one can be compared with them in the greatness of their Knowledge, not even if you mention Peter or Paul or any of the other apostles…” (I, XIII, 6)

.”..such a person becomes so puffed up that he … walks with a strutting gait and a supercilious countenance, possessing all the pompous air of a cock! (III, XV, 2)

The parallels between ancient Gnosticism and Word of Faith are too striking to ignore. But how did Gnosticism get transported into the 20th Century?

For this information, we are deeply indebted to Judith Matta, author of The Christian Response to Gnostic Charismatic Heresies.[29]Judith is probably the foremost expert in the U.S. today on the Gnostic origins of Word of Faith. She is a graduate of Talbot Theological seminary and a first-class scholar.

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In 1875, Mary Baker Eddy published Science and Health, thus launching the Christian Science sect. The First Church of Christ Scientist was founded in Boston in 1879. Eddy had adapted many of the early Gnostic concepts in her writings, which included the denial of the reality of illness and matter.

One of the early converts to Christian Science, and a member of the Mother Church from 1903 until his death in 1908, was Dr. C.W. Emerson. He founded a college in Boston around the turn of the century called Emerson School of Oratory. This was a prep school for boys, not a Bible school.

One of the early students of Emerson’s school was a young man by the name of E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon picked up some of the Gnostic concepts and incorporated them into his own writings later on.

The terms, “Word of Faith” and “Revelation Knowledge” are found throughout Kenyon’s books. Positive rhetoric characterized his style and much of what he wrote is legitimate. He exalts the power and lordship of Christ skillfully and expounds certain aspects of the authority of the believer. Unfortunately, errors abound in nearly every chapter.

His booklet, Two Kinds of Knowledge, is especially dangerous because of its subtlety. In it, he falls into the usual Gnostic and mystic trap of using reason to deny the validity of reason. Information derived from our five senses, he terms “sense knowledge” and the correlation of that information is done by logic. But “revelation knowledge” comes directly to our spirit, bypassing both reason and five senses. Kenyon believed that since God is spiritual, it is impossible to understand God or spiritual truth without this special “revelation.”

Through this, a dangerous and subtle error enters. If a person swallows it, then the Bible itself comes to be judged by the standard of the “revelation knowledge” that one experiences subjectively. Subtly and unconsciously, the reader of Kenyon becomes his own standard of truth.

Kenyon forgot the eye that reads the Bible, the ear, which hears it, and the brain that correlates it are all physical organs. The Bible is a human book as well as Divine. Bypassing the senses and reason inevitably leads to bypassing the Bible also. Untrained Christians eager for supernatural experiences can easily fall into Kenyon-style mysticism.

Kenyon died in 1948, but the Gnostic torch didn’t die with him. It was embraced by a young Pentecostal hungry for the supernatural, Kenneth Hagin … the recognized founder and leader of the Word of Faith movement.

Hagin praises Kenyon to the skies in one of his first books, The Name of Jesus, and confesses his deep indebtedness to him. Hagin later passed on these teachings to Kenneth Copeland. Through Copeland came Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, and others. T.L. Osborn also expressed deep debt to Kenyon in a letter to Kenyon’s granddaughter in 1972, calling an him “an Apostle.”

Though Hagin based his views largely on Kenyon, he himself contributed some interesting “revelations” of his own along the way. In the introduction to one of the older editions of his “Art of Intercession,” he describes his eighth “visitation” of Christ. A spirit being, identifying itself as “Jesus Christ,” came into Hagin’s room, sat down and talked for about an hour and a half.

During this visit, the supposed Jesus-spirit gave him a startling “revelation.” All the theologians in the past who taught that God was in absolute control of all things were wrong. Hagin claims, “God is not ruling in this world … And God cannot do anything unless somebody down here asks him.”

This “being” apparently forgot to do its homework before categorically denying the Sovereignty of God.

Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth… Psalm 135:6

That the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men…” Daniel 4:17

In Hagin’s seventh “visitation,” the spirit being told him not to pray for his needs any more but to command the angels to get them. Again, this “being” missed some key scripture. Our Father in heaven…give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 In the context, the Jesus of the Bible commands us to pray to the Father for the fulfillment of our needs.

Am I implying that the “being” who visited Kenneth Hagin and gave him the Word of Faith revelations is not really Jesus Christ, but a deceiving demon? Be assured, I am not implying it. I’m stating it as a fact.

The Hagin hijack: How these teachings entered the Charismatic movement

The Charismatic movement took root in the late ‘60’s and ‘70’s. Sometimes styled ‘Neo-Pentecostalism,’ it was characterized by a rejection of the dead orthodoxy in some traditional denominations, in favor of a new emphasis on the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. [30]

In its beginnings, the Charismatic movement was innocuous. Nothing is wrong with seeking new fillings with the Holy Spirit or spiritual gifts. In fact, we are commanded by scripture to do so. A fundamental flaw in the movement, however, was the lack of solid theological foundations.

Charismatics had rejected dead orthodoxy. However, many failed to appreciate the alternative….live orthodoxy. Instead, a mindless mysticism developed. Hagin’s teachings found fertile ground in the new movement.

Many Charismatics were middle-class Evangelicals. While interested in exciting experiences, they were less enthusiastic about joining with traditional Pentecostals. Classical Pentecostals were often from a poorer and less educated class.

Charismatics were ripe for fresh teaching within their own sociological context…a scenario primed for a Hagin hijack.

Though Hagin was the acknowledged leader, he was not as articulate as some followers. His country accent, poor grammar and obvious lack of formal education had little appeal to the middle classes.

The movement gained momentum with the more articulate and younger Kenneth Copeland. His book Laws of Prosperity launched him to Faith Movement stardom, offering a new worldview that filled in the theological gaps left by an abandoned orthodoxy.

Books by “faith” teachers flooded the market and the new Charismatics snapped them up like starving fish after bait. Sadly, cash flow rather than truth determined what books appeared in the Christian market. Those with a dissenting voice found it difficult to get their books published.

An even bigger boon for the Prosperity Movement came in the 80’s when Paul Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), announced the faith movement was the route he would take in his programming.

Jim Bakker of the PTL Network and Paul Crouch endorsed the faith movement’s concepts, giving it worldwide exposure. Result: Gnosticism, disguised under the banner of “faith,” began to root itself deeply into the psyche of American Charismatics.

A Roman-American parallel

As with the United States today, Rome had been a prosperous society. In the first three centuries as Christianity was taking root, Rome was in its declining years. The society was rife with corruption. Established governmental and religious institutions seemed helpless to stem perversity throughout society.

The culture struggled in vain to recover a sense of strength and dominance as before. A subtle but widespread insecurity permeated the population. In its wars, Rome began to struggle harder to defeat weak enemies than it did to overcome stronger ones before. We see this in America today. [31]

The middle and upper classes of any society, whether ancient or modern, are used to controlling their own lives. Under insecure social conditions, optimism about the future weakens and their sense of control begins to slip.

These conditions generate a psychological crisis. American Christians today are subject to similar pressure. The dilemma: How to experience the comforts of the gospel while maintaining the sense of control to which they are accustomed. As in Rome, this provides fertile ground for a Gnostic-style pseudo-Christian movement like Word of Faith to take root.

As a convenient byproduct, the teachers reap a financial harvest. Middle and upper-middle classes have money and are responsive to the positive rhetoric and fresh revelations. Everyone seems happy…except God.

The influence of the Prosperity Movement has been partially stemmed by three factors. First, the Assemblies of God, the largest and most influential Pentecostal denomination in the world, repudiated the Word of Faith teachings in an official position paper. [32]

Second, two books warning about the movement were published and became well known: Hank Hanegraaf’s, Christianity In Crisis[33] and Dave Hunt’s Seduction of Christianity.[34]

Finally, the most serious blow came with the fall of Jim Bakker (PTL) in the late ‘80’s, and similar scandals among American TV evangelists. These events, however, were only a trimming of the branches and failed to penetrate the roots of the movement, namely Hagin and Copeland and their false god. Though weakened, the tree still flourishes in the U.S. today.

An historical irony has occurred. The same pagan Gnosticism which rivaled Christianity in the first centuries, which early fathers fought to destroy, has resurrected once again to infect the Church today.

From this chapter we learn…

• The Prosperity Movement is a revival of Gnostic concepts, translated into Christian language.

• These Gnostic ideas were conveyed by Mary Baker Eddy and her Christian Science cult, to Dr. Emerson of Boston. Eventually, E.W. Kenyon merged them with Christian doctrines.

• Kenneth Hagin embraced Kenyon’s teachings and transmitted them to Kenneth Copeland and others.

• The Word of Faith movement found fertile soil in the Charismatic Movement and virtually hijacked it.

• The movement’s popularity can be explained in sociological terms. Conditions in the United States today are similar to those which fueled Gnosticism in ancient Rome.

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Winking, Wiggling and the Power of Words

Gregory Koukl

What do “Bewitched”, “I Dream of Jeannie” and Genesis 1:1 have in common? Quite a lot!

I got this crazy picture in my mind the other day. I don’t even know what causes these thoughts to come to mind when they do. I imagine there are times the Lord does that. But other times, who knows what causes those things to come to mind? This picture in my mind’s eye was off Jeannie, from “I Dream of Jeannie” fame. Remember her? Remember how she used to blink her eyes and make her magic happen? About that same time I was thinking about Samantha on “Bewitched.” What would she do? She’d wiggle her nose. (I wonder how many of you just did that.) She would wiggle her nose and then she’d make her little magic happen.

I got to reflecting about whether in their minds–of course they are fictitious characters–but if in their minds they were really doing something magical with their noses or eyes when they did that. In other words, if Samantha had not wiggled her nose do you think she could have still accomplished her magical feats? I imagine so. Or if Jeannie didn’t blink her eyes do you think she could still have accomplished what she meant to accomplish? After all, she was a genie, wasn’t she? She could do that kind of thing.

In other words, it doesn’t seem like there was anything magical in their actions. If there were then all of you out there who just wiggled your nose would have had something magical happen. But nothing did, so it’s not in the wiggling of the nose.

Why did Jeannie blink her eyes and Samantha wiggle her nose? Well, I’ll tell you. It was a sign to the viewers who were watching that Samantha and Jeannie were causing something to happen right then at that moment. You know that they’re determining to do something and then she blinks her eyes, wiggles her nose and then it happens. In other words, it’s an external manifestation which connects their act of will with what occurs. You can’t see their act of will can you? You can’t see something happening inside them willing something to happen. But you can see the eye blinking and the nose wiggling, so then you see the result of this thing appearing or disappearing–their magic occurring. We know that the person that blinked or wiggled caused this other event to happen. It’s a sign. In fact, if she didn’t blink her eyes or wiggle her nose how would we know that they had acted in their wills, which is the thing that we can’t see at all. Or when something appeared how would we be able to credit that to their actions? Maybe it just popped into existence. The wiggling of the nose signified that she was the source of the action that resulted in this thing happening.

One could ask, “Why didn’t they just speak something?” They could have. They could have said something like abracadabra or some magic word. But it fulfils the same function. The speaking in this case is no different than the wiggling of the nose or the blinking of the eyes. The speaking would merely signify an act of the will and no one else blinking their eyes or wiggling their nose or speaking by itself could make magic happen. In other words here, the power was not in the winking, blinking or speaking. The power was in the person who did those things. Those things merely signified and act of the will.

Now what does that have to do with anything? Well, there is actually a spiritual application in this–as is often the case, though not always on this show. All of this relates to the concept of the power of words–identified in the church as the positive confession movement, and identified in the world at large as positive thinking. Now I’m not against those things per se , and I’ll clarify what I mean by that because in fact it does depend what you mean by that–positive confession or positive thinking–whether that thing is bad, or damaging or not, or invalid. I think there is value if we understand them correctly.

Here is what we must understand. The first thing is that words do not have power. There is no power in words. There is no more power in the words themselves than in the wiggling of the nose or the blinking of the eyes as in Samantha and Jeannie. There is no power there. There is nothing about the sound of a word per se that carries with it any force. Even when you read in the Scriptures, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue,” it doesn’t mean that the sound of the word creates the power. The tongue is an agent of the person. It’s not talking about the word spoken in itself, it’s talking about the tongue representing the agent–the person–that’s involved. Words that injure don’t do harm because of any quality of the word itself. Some in both the positive confession movement and in the positive thinking movement in some form or another hold to that belief. That words themselves have power.

Simply put, I’m making an observation here, not a judgment. This is a occultic view of words. The word “occult” means hidden, and when we hold that words have hidden powers in themselves we are saying they have occultic powers. This is contrary to the Christian understanding because, according to the Bible and Christianity, things like words don’t have powers; only acting, willing agents have powers in that sense. It’s not the word or the sound of the word which carries the hidden force. When you believe that, well, that’s occultic.

This is why, by the way, when the word carries the force, it doesn’t matter who uses it. Anyone can use the word has the force because it is the word that has the power. Someone says, “It’s the name of Jesus that has power”. What they mean is that the word or phrase “The name of Jesus” has power. If that were the case then anyone could recite that sound, just like anyone could stand in front of the cavern and say “Open sesame” and the cavern would open. Or anyone could say abracadabra, and since the magic is in the word then the event would happen because of the force of the word itself. There is no magic in the phrase “In the name of Jesus”. There is only power in the person of Jesus.

Words are very important. They do a couple of things. This is why I am willing to give some ground to the idea of positive confession or positive thinking, whether you are thinking of this issue in secular or religious terms. I will give ground as long as you understand, as I mentioned, that first of all, the words themselves have no power. Power is in persons. Second, what words do is signify acts of the will.

I was very bothered when a fairly well known person suggested that even God had to speak in order to create. It really sounded like he was saying that the words had the power that even God was subject to, and God couldn’t created unless He spoke.

Now listen, I want to ask you a very important question. Does God have a mouth? No. Neither does He have lungs or vocal chords. Therefore He cannot speak in that sense. When the Scriptures say that God spoke and the worlds were created, I don’t think that He said a magic word. I suspect that the notion of God speaking in that sense is the same as Jeannie and her blinking and Samantha and her wiggling. In other words, it was an event that signifies for us an act of will. God didn’t have to speak to create. He merely willed it to happen and it was so. Now, how do we know of that act of will? We know of it because it is referred to in terms of speaking, but it was the personal act of will that made the difference. When God said, “Let there be light,” He willed that. “Be still.” “Come out of him.” It isn’t the words themselves, it is the willing of the person with the power that makes the difference, not the words. As I mentioned, even the phrase “In the name of Jesus” is not magical. What “In the name of Jesus” means is that someone is acting according to the power and the authority of Jesus Christ. Words signify acts of the will.

Words can also be used to focus the will, and this is where we move more into the area of positive thinking that I think can be very helpful. If a person is going to think positively and repeat these words of success because in speaking the words themselves they will magically bring about the desired end, then they are wrong. Words don’t have that power. But if they are setting a goal and repeating their goals to themselves on a regular basis–getting up every morning and saying this is my goal–I think that is good if we understand that the words are being used to focus the will which makes the difference. In fact, if you make goals in January for the rest of the year and you never look at them for the next twelve months, chances are pretty good that you aren’t going to accomplish your goals because you don’t remember them and your will is not focused on them to accomplish. However, if you write out your goals, get up every single day, repeat them out loud and then you imagine in your mind the steps you have to go through to accomplish that goal, the word is not functioning there as magic. What you are doing is disciplining your mind and using words to focus your will so that your will then can accomplish these goals.

There’s no magic in words, just power in the will that acts. Words can signify acts of the will. Words can also be used to focus the will. And finally, words can be used to convey personal attitudes.

I think this is the sense in which the biblical authors often speak of the power of the tongue. “Death and life in the power of the tongue”. Why? Because of magical words that fall off your lips? No. But because your words convey your attitudes, and when people learn through your words that your attitudes are either good or ill that could be destructive or supportive depending on the case. So if your words are “I hate you” to your wife or your child, you destroy those people. Not because of the words, but because of the attitude in your heart that is communicated with the action of using the words. If you say, “Well done good and faithful servant. I love you.” When you put your arms around your child and say good things to them, the power is not in the words per se but in that the words convey to that person your feeling.

Words have power, after a fashion. We speak words to identify acts of the will. We use words to help focus our will. And we use words in either a constructive or a destructive way to convey personal attitudes. But there is no power in the words themselves. For those who are involved in the positive confession movement, if you think the power is in the words and that you must get that word spoken into daylight, as it were, then you are practicing the occult. You are not practicing Christianity.

If you are being helped by positive thinking material I think that can be helpful if you understand that the only thing that changes things for you personally apart from the direct help of God is your will. No magic words. You use words to help focus your will to accomplish important things. Then you are training your mind in a good way. But if you are using words because you think there is something magic about getting the word out into the air like “success” or “$1 million a year” or “Cadillac, Mercedes” or something like that then you are practicing the occult, and that’s not going to get you any where.

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Ten Reasons for Rejecting Word-of-Faith Teachings

by Tricia Tillin Intotruth.org

REASON ONE:

It requires ‘revelation knowledge’.

Like the gnostic heresies all through the ages, Word-of-Faith needs special knowledge in order to be effective. Leaders see themselves as having a commission to bring new spiritual revelation to the Body, and they condemn ‘sense-knowledge’ as inadequate. In this scheme, it is not sin and disobedience that causes us to fail, but ignorance of the Word. Moreover, this revelation knowledge is limited to the few who can receive it; the less intelligent are at a disadvantage. This is elitism.

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REASON TWO:

It makes the Almighty God and Creator a weak ‘faith-being’ who is at the mercy of His own universal laws.

Although Word-of-Faith ministers speak of God in a personal way, they treat Him like an impersonal ‘energy source’ with ‘forces’ that can be operated by the use of laws – laws which even God has to obey in order to create and run His universe. God, they say, has left the control of the planet in man’s hands and is powerless to intervene without a covenant partner. God’s omnipotence and sovereignty is damaged by these teachings.

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REASON THREE:

It makes the Divine Son of God into a born-again man who had to die in Hell to pay the price for our treason.

Jesus, according to Word-of-Faith doctrine, discarded His divine powers and walked earth as a mere man filled with The Spirit. He had to use the Word and the laws of faith to do miracles. When He died, His blood did not atone, but He had to take upon Himself the very sin-nature of the Devil, causing His spirit to die, and suffer three days and nights of hellish torment AS A MAN before the Father gave the command for Him to be re-created as a re-born man. Thus, they say, Jesus was just the first of many sons, the Pattern for us all to follow.

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REASON FOUR:

It elevates man to equality with Jesus.

A consequence of the ‘Jesus-died-spiritually’ doctrine is that all born-again Christians stand in the same place of power and authority as Jesus – not by virtue of their unity with Him, but in themselves, as men filled with the Spirit. This would mean that we have already been resurrected from the dead and it only remains for us to gain ‘knowledge’ of our new condition in order to discard the trappings of the fleshly body and begin living as spiritual gods on earth!

Thus, the Christian walk is one of education in using the same spiritual laws as Jesus in order to dominate the circumstances and do miracles. In Word-of-Faith teaching, believers do not depend on God’s own power, nor submit to His will, but feel they have the right to develop their own powers, and to discover the laws governing creation and dominion on the earth.

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REASON FIVE:

It makes man a god.

To understand the special position that Word-of-Faith gives to man, we need to know their interpretation of the Creation. In their teaching, man HAS NO NATURE OF HIS OWN but takes his nature from his ‘lord’. When God was his Lord, then man had a divine nature – for he was created as god of the earth, they say – but after man’s fall, he took the sin-nature of the Devil and became like Satan. (All this, of course, is contrary to scripture). So, Word-of Faith believers would reason that a born-again man has regained his divine nature. Thus, he is entitled to use the attributes of his divinity, such as creative powers and domination of the environment etc.

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REASON SIX:

It makes the redemption into a restoration of dominion for mankind.

Word-of-Faith teachers stress the loss of dominion over the earth, not sin, as the root problem. So, salvation becomes a matter of re-discovering one’s place of godhood and learning to rule as kings on earth. The role Jesus had to play in redemption was that of a substitute Adam, coming to earth to fulfill all that Adam failed to do, demonstrating the possibilities of dominion, and then taking Adam’s place in Hell to let mankind ‘off the hook’. The worship given to Jesus by Word-of-Faith believers is more from a sense of gratitude than a recognition of His divinity. It also misses the whole point of redemption: that Jesus HIMSELF is the Life and Salvation of mankind and that we are only saved in union with Him.

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REASON SEVEN:

Its goal is the transformation of the earth by spiritual dominion.

Because Word-of-Faith believers see themselves as having returned to their god-like dominion of the earth, they foresee the time coming when – by sheer force of numbers, probably – all mankind has to bow the knee to God. They teach that all the wealth of the world will flow to the Church, and that the laws, government and entire social structure of the world system will have to change. Despite scriptural warnings of apostasy and increasing wickedness in the end-times, they foresee a great victory for the Church in the future, as the Spirit sweeps millions into the ‘kingdom’ on earth. Whether or not they claim to believe in the end-times plan of Revelation, the Rapture, the Millennium or any of these things, they still seem to be able to fit a scheme of global Church unity and triumph into the plan of the ages.

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REASON EIGHT:

It replaces prayer with confession, and God’s will with the manipulation of ‘forces’.

Word-of Faith teaches Christians to draw upon powerful ‘forces’ that reside in the human spirit – such as the force of faith – to bring certain laws into operation. They emphasise the word (not the Son of God, but the scriptures) as the power used to operate all these spiritual laws. So, learning and confessing the Word continually is the method used to obtain anything we want. This self-rule leads to pride and greed. But a Christian must deny himself and submit to the entire will of God, as revealed moment-by-moment by the Holy Spirit.

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REASON NINE:

It denies the reality of sin and sickness.

Word-of-Faith ministers teach that the only true reality is spiritual, and the earthly senses are deceptive. Thus, believers are led to deny that they are ill, poor or in any way below par. They are taught to overcome adversity by confessing a suitable ‘positive’ scripture, instead of seeking God’s guidance. Also, the reality of sin, and the need for forgiveness is glossed over by teaching that a simple confession of the Lordship of Jesus will effect a change of lifestyle.

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REASON TEN:

It focuses on self and the world instead of God and Heaven.

The emphasis in Word-of-Faith doctrine is all on success, prosperity, advancement, gain, health and strength. There is little compassion for those who fail to come up to these exacting standards. Any adversity is said to be a ‘lack of faith’ to confess the appropriate Word. This is a great misunderstanding of the wisdom of God, and His plan to bring his children to glory, for if we refuse to share in the trials, setbacks and persecutions of Jesus, we are not ready to share His glorification. [Rom 8:17]

Some of the Word-of-Faith teachers and ministries have been the worst offenders in bringing the Name and the cause of Jesus Christ into disrepute. Ministries that emphasise prosperity have ended up in greed, manipulating believers into giving money they can little afford. Over-emphasised teaching about God’s healing has led to extravagant claims for miracles that have been exposed as hyperbole and sham. Doctrines about man’s godhood and superhuman abilities have led to arrogance, self-will and the use of psychic powers to perform miracles instead of a simple dependency on the Holy Spirit. Also, teachings about faith have become rituals and formulas for producing instant result; and many who could not or would not go down this road were derided and rejected as “having no faith”.

Legions of hurt people have testified to their bad experiences, both personally and corporately, with Word-of-Faith extremes and excesses. Indeed, the very root of this teaching is bad, coming as it does from Christian Science and the metaphysical schools of thought.

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CONCLUSION:

What we can learn from the Word-of-Faith doctrines is really no more than straight-forward biblical teaching in the first place – faith in God and in His Word, belief in divine intervention in our affairs, a positive outlook based on the promises of God, and a knowledge of the defeat of satanic powers in Jesus – all this and more is good and sound, but the Word-of-Faith movement today has gone far beyond these boundaries and created a monster that is devouring both its leaders and followers alike.

It is not necessary to buy into a Word-of-Faith system in order to benefit from the plain teaching of scripture. Any who are followers of Word-of-Faith ministers should think very carefully about their position as followers of men and of a dubious man-inspired system of formulas, and also should be wary of the manipulation to give gifts and tithes to these ministries. It would be better to support your own church, or more humble and doctrinally sound Christian works, and to seek for scriptural inspiration from the Holy Spirit who is our only Guide and Teacher.

http://www.francesandfriends.com/Ten-Reasons-to-Reject-WOF

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The True Father of the Modern Faith Movement
from A Different Gospel
by D.R. McConnell

People frequently credit my father, Kenneth E. Hagin, with being the “Father” of the so-called faith movement. However, as he points out, it’s nothing new; it’s just the preaching of the simple ageless gospel. But he has had a great effect on many of the well-known faith ministers of today. Almost every major faith ministry of the United States has been influenced by his ministry. Kenneth Hagin, Jr., “Trend toward the Faith Movement,” Charisma (Aug. 1985), 67.

They’ve [the Faith teachers] all copied from my Dad [E. W. Kenyon]. They’ve changed it a little bit and added their own touch. . . , but they couldn’t change the wording. The Lord gave him [Kenyon] words and phrases. He coined them. They can’t put it in any other words. . . It’s very difficult for some people to be big enough to give credit to somebody else. Ruth Kenyon Houseworth, taped interview, Lynnwood, Wash., Feb. 19, 1982.

The Relationship Between Kennth Hagin and E. W. Kenyon

The founding father of the Faith movement is commonly held to be Kenneth Erwin Hagin, the man termed by Charisma magazine as “the granddaddy of the Faith teachers,”1 and “the father of the Faith movement.”2With his country Texan accent and a disarming “good ol’ boy” charm, Hagin’s teachings on faith, healing, and prosperity have been foundational for almost every major minister of the Faith movement.3 Even the other heavyweights of the Faith movement readily admit that Hagin’s teaching and leadership were the key both to their own success, and that of the movement.

For instance, the heir apparent to Hagin’s throne, Kenneth Copeland, frequently acknowledges Hagin as his spiritual father. Although he briefly attended Oral Roberts University, Copeland points to Hagin as his mentor, not Roberts. Ken Hagin, Jr., recounts the beginning of Copeland’s relationship with his father this way:

A poverty-stricken student from Oral Roberts University attended my father’s Tulsa seminars in the mid ’60s and got turned onto the Word of God. The student was deeply in debt, but he desperately wanted my father’s tapes. He offered to trade the title to his car for them. Buddy Harrison, my brother-in-law, was managing the ministry then. He took one look at the old car and told him, “Just go ahead and take the tapes. Bring the money when you can.” So young Kenneth Copeland memorized those tapes and another great ministry was launched.4

According to recent polls and press, Copeland is now the ex officio leader of the Faith movement. Nevertheless, at least in spiritual matters, when Hagin speaks, Copeland still listens.

Frederick K. C. Price, a prominent Faith preacher and founder of the 14 thousand member Crenshaw Christian Center of Inglewood, California, can make the incredible claim that “Kenneth Hagin has had the greatest influence upon my life of any living man.”5 Price received a great deal of help from Hagin in the early days of his Faith ministry, and Hagin is still a frequent speaker at his church in California.

Many other ministers of the Faith movement also acknowledge Hagin as their spiritual father. Charles Capps, who bills himself as “a Spirit-filled farmer from England, Arkansas,” and who speaks at many national and local Faith conferences, states that “most of my teaching came from Brother Kenneth Hagin” and that Hagin was “the greatest influence of my life.”6 Even so prominent a preacher of charismatic renewal as John Osteen, pastor of the Lakewood Outreach Center, Houston, Texas, gratefully acknowledges Hagin as his introduction to the Faith movement and proclaims, “I think Brother Hagin is chosen of God and stands in the forefront of the message of faith.”7

Indeed, not only does Kenneth Hagin stand in the forefront, for many in the Faith movement he is also “the Prophet”: the Revelator of the gospel of faith, health, and wealth. As we will see in chapter 4, Hagin claims to be the man who first received the “revelation” on which the Faith movement is based. Even though in popularity and power the younger Copeland has overtaken his elder Hagin, in the eyes of his disciples, the man who is referred to as “Dad Hagin” at Rhema Bible Institute is still the grand old man of Faith.

Not everyone in the Faith movement, however; is willing to concede to Hagin the role of patriarch and founder. Ruth Kenyon Houseworth, president of the Kenyon Gospel Publishing Society, Lynnwood, Wash-ington, contends that her father, E. W. Kenyon, who died in 1948, is the man who really deserves the title, “father of the Faith movement.” Mrs. Houseworth charges that the 18 books written by her father and published by her society have been pilfered, both in idea and word, by the other preachers of the movement.8

Houseworth says of her father’s lack of acknowledgement by the Faith movement:

His first book was printed in 1916, and he had the revelation years before that. These that are coming along now that have been in the ministry for just a few years and claiming that this is something that they are just starting, it makes you laugh a little bit. It is very difficult for some people to be big enough to give credit to somebody else.9

Although Mrs. Houseworth is extremely gracious when asked about her father’s lack of recognition, she is decidedly not “laughing” about it, not even “a little bit.” She feels hurt that the Faith teachers have failed to give credit where credit is due. Moreover; the Kenyon Gospel Publishing Society has been exploited financially by the massive popularity of Hagin (whose first book was not published until 1960), Copeland, et al. Houseworth can no longer afford to publish its newsletter because of what she sees as the injustice done to her father.

The injustice done to Kenyon has not gone unnoticed by others who knew him. For instance, one man who both knew and occasionally ministered with Kenyon, John Kennington, pastor of Emmanuel Temple in Portland, Oregon, says this of his role in the Faith movement:

Today Kenyon’s ideas are in the ascendancy. Via the electronic church or in the printed page I readily recognize not only Kenyon’s concepts, but at times I recognize pure plagiarism, for I can almost tell you book, chapter, and page where the material is coming from. Kenyon has be-come the “father” of the so-called “faith” movement.10

Kennington claims that plagiarism of Kenyon’s writings is a fairly common occurrence in the charismatic movement. “In fact,” he says, “one prominent Pentecostal minister hired a writer or writers to rewrite Kenyon’s books and put his name on those books.”11 Because of these many plagiarisms, Kennington agrees with Houseworth that her father is also the father of the Faith movement.

Hagin may have the reputation of being “the granddaddy of the Faith teachers,” but in the eyes of Mrs. Houseworth, he is just another young preacher who has “borrowed” her deceased father’s writings. Kenyon was 70 years old when Hagin was licensed as an Assemblies of God pastor in 1937 at the age of 20. Hagin himself, however, has gone on record with the claim that he was teaching his message on faith and healing long before he ever heard of E. W. Kenyon.

Mr. Kenyon went home to be with the Lord in 1948. It was 1950 before I was introduced to his books. A brother in the Lord asked me, “Did you ever read after Dr. Kenyon?” I said, “I’ve never heard of him.” He said, “You preach healing and faith just like he does.” He gave me some of Kenyon’s books. And he did preach faith and healing just like I do. After all, if someone preaches the new birth, and somebody else preaches the new birth, it has to be the same. Likewise, if you preach faith and healing – and I mean Bible faith and Bible healing – it has to be the same. We may have different words to express it, but if it is according to the word of God, it is the same truth.12

Hagin claims that it was not until 1950 that he came into contact with Kenyon, some 17 years after he had gotten “the revelation” that launched his ministry. Any similarities between himself and Kenyon are to be attributed, says Hagin, to the fact that both are merely “using different words to express” what the Bible has to say on “the same truth.”12

At first glance, this statement may appear a reasonable explanation, but does it account for the amazing similarities between Hagin’s writings and Kenyon’s? Unfortunately, no, for as this chapter unfolds the reader will be presented with seemingly undeniable evidence that E. W Kenyon is the true father of the Faith movement, a position which has been unjustly usurped by Kenneth Hagin. As Mrs. Houseworth has testified, the Faith movement in general and Kenneth Hagin in particular have used Kenyon’s many books and pamphlets without ever acknowledging that he is the author of their teachings and the founder of their movement.

Hagin’s Plagiarism of Kenyon

Hagin, of course, would deny any plagiarism of Kenyon. He maintains that it was not until after his discovery of the truths of the Faith gospel that he was introduced to Kenyon’s writings. There is reason to believe however, that he was acquainted with Kenyon earlier than 1950, perhaps much earlier. For example, Hagin remembers reading a book in 1949 with the following quotation: “It seems that God is limited by our prayer life, that He can do nothing for humanity unless someone asks Him to do it. Why this is, I do not know.”13 This quotation comes from E. W. Kenyon’s book, The Two Kinds of Faith.14 Even the “revelation” supposedly given to Hagin on his deathbed is described by him with an undocumented and plagiarized quotation from The Two Kinds of Faith.15

Such confusion over when Hagin read various materials by Kenyon is fairly common. For instance, Hagin says that, in February of 1978, the Lord told him to prepare a teaching seminar on “the name of Jesus.” Only after he began his research does Hagin admit that he discovered Kenyon’s book, The Wonderful Name ofJesus. At his request, Mrs. Houseworth gave Hagin permission to quote from Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus. Hagin’s book, The Name of Jesus, was first published in 1979. Concerning his indebtedness to Kenyon, Hagin writes:

At the time [1978], I had one sermon I preached on this wonderful subject, but I had never really taught on it at length. I began to look around to see what I could find written on the subject. For others, you see, have revelations from God. I was amazed how little material there is in print on this subject. The only good book devoted entirely to it that I have found is E. W. Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus. I encourage you to get a copy. It is a marvelous book. It is revelation knowledge. It is the Word of God.16

This is one of the few candid, direct acknowledgments of Kenyon to appear in any of Hagin’s writings. The problem is that two years prior to 1978, the first date that Hagin admits to having read Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus, he had already copied extensively from this book for an article published in his magazine in 1976.17 That article never mentions the name of E. W. Kenyon.

Nor is Kenyon mentioned where his words and thoughts appear in numerous other books and articles by Hagin. Whereas Hagin appears to have copied only occasionally from sources other than Kenyon,18 he has plagiarized Kenyon both repeatedly and extensively. Actually, it would not be overstated to say that the very doctrines that have made Kenneth Hagin and the Faith movement such a distinctive and powerful force within the independent charismatic movement are all plagiarized from E. W. Kenyon. This is a most serious charge and one that will be substantiated by ample evidence. Part 2 of this volume will examine the fact that all of the major thoughts and ideas of Faith theology are taken from Kenyon. At this point in our study, it is sufficient to say that the writings of Kenneth Hagin are verbally dependent upon Kenyon. The accusations of plagiarism by Houseworth and Kennington are absolutely correct. In many instances, Hagin has, indeed, copied word-for-word without documentation from Kenyon’s writings. The following excerpts of plagiarisms from no less than eight books by E. W. Kenyon are presented as evidence of this charge. This is only a sampling of such plagiarisms. Many more could be cited.

Kenneth Hagin

The 22nd Psalm gives a graphic picture of the crucifixion of Jesus – more vivid than that of John, Matthew or Mark who witnessed it.

E. W. Kenyon

The twenty-second Psalm gives a gnphic picture of the crucifixion of Jesus. It is more vivid than that of John, Matthew or Mark who witnessed it.

Kenneth Hagin

He utters the strange words “But thou art holy.” What does that mean? He is becoming sin. His parched lips cry, “I am a worm and no man.” He is spiritually dead – the worm. Jesus died of a ruptured heart. When it happened, blood from all parts of His body poured through the rent into the sack which holds the heart. As the body cooled, the red corpuscles coagulated and rose to the top, the white serum settled to the bottom. When that Roman spear pierced the sack, water poured out first, then the coagulated blood oozed out, rolling down his side onto the ground. John bore witness of it. (“Christ our Substitute,” The Word of Faith [Mar., 1975], pp. 1, 4, 5, 7)

E. W. Kenyon

But He says the strangest words, “But thou art holy.” What does that mean? He is becoming sin. Can you hear those parched lips cry, “I am a worm and no man.”? He is spiritually dead. The worm. Jesus had died of a ruptured heart. When that happened, blood from all pats of the body poured in through the rent, into the sack that holds the heart. Then as the body cooled, the red corpuscles coagulated and rose to the top. The white serum settled to the bottom. When that Roman soldier’s spear pierced the sack, water poured out first. Then the coagulated blood oozed out, rolled down His side onto the ground, and John bore witness of it. (What Happned from the Cross to the Throne [Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1969], 44 – 45)

Kenneth Hagin

What does identification mean?
It means our complete union with Christ.
This gives us the key which unlocks the great teachings of identification. Christ became one with us in sin that we might become one with Him in righteousness. He became as we were to the end that we might become as He is now. He died to make us live. He became weak to make us strong.
He suffered shame to give us glory. He went to hell to take us to heaven. He was condemned to justify us. He was made sick that healing might be ours. (“The Resurrection! What it Gives Us.. .” The Word of Faith [Apr., 1977], p. 5) E. W. Kenyon
At once you ask, “What does identification mean?”
It means our complete union with Him in His Substitutionary Sacrifice.
This gives us the key that unlocks the great teaching of identification. Christ became one with us in sin, that we might become one with Him in righteousness. He became as we were to the end that we might become as He is now. He died to make us live He became weak to make us strong.
He suffered shame to give us glory. He went to hell to take us to heaven. He was condemned to justify us. He was made sick that healing might be ours. (Identfication: A Romance in Redemption [Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1968], 6, 7) Kenneth Hagin

Here is a picture of Christ in awful combat with the hosts of darkness. It gives us a glimpse of the tremendous victory He won before He rose from the dead. The margin of King James reads, “He put off from Himself the principalities and the powers.” It is quite obvious and evident that whole demon hosts, when they had Jesus within their power intended to swamp Him, to overwhelm Him, and to hold Him in fearful bondage. But the cry came forth from the throne of God that Jesus had met the demands of Justice, that the sin problem had been settled, that man’s redemption was a fact. And when that cry reached the dark regions, Jesus arose and threw back the host of demons and met Satan in awful combat. God has made this investment for the church. He has made this deposit on which the church has a right to draw for her every need. Oh that our eyes would open, that our souls would dare to rise in the realm of the omnipotent where that name would mean to us all that God the Father intended it to mean! In one sense, this is practically unexplored table land in Christian experience. (“The Name of Jesus: The More Excellent Name,” The Word of Faith [Apr., 1976], pp. 4-6)

E. W. Kenyon

The picture here is of Christ… in awful combat with the hosts of darkness. It gives us a glimpse of the tremendous battle and victory that Jesus won before He rose from the dead. The margin reads: Having put off from Himself the principalities and powers.” It is evident that the whole demon host, when they saw Jesus in their power simply intended to swamp Him, overwhelm Him, and they held Him in fearful bondage until the cry came forth from the throne of God that Jesus had met the demands of justice; that the sin problem was settled and man’s redemption was a fact. When this cry reached the dark regions, Jesus rose and hurled back the hosts of darkness, and met Satan in awful combat. God has made this investment for the benefit of the Church: He has made this deposit on which the Church has a right to draw for her every need. Oh, that our eyes were open; that our souls would dare rise into the realm of Omnipotence where the Name would mean to us all that the Father has invested in it. This is practically an unexplored tableland in Christian experience. (The Wonderful Name of Jesus [Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1927], 8, 9, 11)

Kenneth Hagin

God’s method of physical healing is spiritual. It is not mental as Christian Science, Unity and other metaphysical teachers claim. Neither is it physical as the medical world teaches. When man heals, he must do it either through the mind or through the physical body. When God heals He heals through the human spirit, for God is a Spirit. Life’s greatest forces are spiritual forces. Love and hate, faith and fear, joy and peace, are all of the spirit. (“Spirit, Soul, & Body; Part Three: God Heals through the Spirit of Man” Word of Faith [Dec., 1977], p. 5)

E. W. Kenyon

You must have seen as you have studied this book that healing is spiritual. It is not mental as Christian Science and Unity and other metaphysical teachers claim. Neither is it physical as the medical world teaches. When man heals, he must either do it through the mind . . . or he does it through the physical body. . . When God heals He heals through the spirit. We can understand that the greatest forces in life are spiritual forces. Love and hate, fear and faith, joy and grief, are all of the spirit. (Jesus the Healer [Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1940], p. 90)

Kenneth Hagin

The fact that there is enmity between Satan and the woman is seen through woman’s history. She has been bought and sold as common chattel. Only where Christianity has reached the heart of the country has woman been elevated above the brute creation. Woman’s seed is Christ. Christ was hunted from His babyhood by Satan’s seed until finally He was nailed to the cross. From the resurrection of Jesus until this day, the church has been the subject of the bitterest persecution and enmity of the world. “and it. . . shall bruise thy head” (the head of Satan). In Oriental languages “bruising the head” means breaking the lordship of a ruler. “The heel” is the Church in its earth walk. . . . The long ages of persecution of the Church by the seed of Satan are today merely a matter of history. (“Incarnation” Word of Faith [Dec., 1978], p. 4)

E. W. Kenyon

That is, there will be enmity between Satan and woman. This is proved by woman’s history. She has been bought and sold as common chattel. Only where Christianity has reached the hearts of a country has woman ever received any treatment that would lift her above the brute creation. …and woman’s seed is Christ. Christ was hunted from His babyhood by Satan’s seed until finally they nailed him to the cross; and from the resurrection of Jesus until this day, the church has been the subject of the bitterest persecution and enmity of the world. “He shall bruise thy head” – that is, the head of Satan. In all Oriental languages the term “bruise the head” means breaking the lordship of the ruler. “The heel” is the Church in its earth walk. The long ages of persecution of the Church by the seed of Satan are a matter of history. (The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption [Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1969], p. 58)

Kenneth Hagin

Here in Genesis, God refused to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until He had talked it over with Abraham, His blood covenant friend. Abraham’s prayer is one of the most suggestive and illuminating prayers of the Old Testament. Abraham was taking his place in the covenant. Abraham had, through the covenant, received rights and privileges which we very little understand. The covenant Abraham had just solemnized with Jehovah gave him a legal standing with God. . . . we hear him speaking so plainly “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” All through the Old Testament we find men who understood and took their place in the covenant. Joshua could open the Jordan. He could command the sun, moon and stars to stand still in the heavens. Elijah could bring fire out of heaven to consume the altar as well as the sacrifice. David’s mighty men were utterly shielded from death in time of war as long as they remembered the covenant. (Plead Your Case [Tulsa: Faith Library, 1979], pp. 4-9; cf. pp. 23-32)

E. W. Kenyon

…in Gen. 18 when God refused to destroy Sodom and Gomornh until He had talked it over with His blood covenant friend, Abraham. Abraham’s prayer. . . is one of the most illuminating and suggestive prayers in the Old Covenant. . . . Abraham was taking his place in the covenant. Abraham had through the Covenant received rights and privileges that we little understand. The Covenant that Abraham had just solemnized with Jehovah gave him a legal standing with God. We hear him speak so plainly, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” All through the Old Covenant we find men who understood and took their place in the Covenant. Joshua could open the Jordan. He could command the sun, moon and stars to stand still in the heavens. Elijah could bring fire out of heaven to consume the ofiering as well as the altar. David’s mighty men were utterly shielded from death in their wars. They became supermen as long as they remembered the covenant. (The Two Kinds of Faith [Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1969], pp. 76-84)

Kenneth Hagin In John 1:4 we get the first intimation of what this life will do for us: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” There are four different Greek words translated “life” in the New Testament. First, there is zoe. Then there is psuche. That means natural or human life. Bios means manner of life. And anastrophee means confused behavior. It seems strange that the church has majored on “manner of life” or “behavior” rather than eternal life, which determines in a very large way the manner of life. Receiving eternal life is the most miraculous incident in life. Often we call it conversion or the new birth. Some call it “getting religion,” but that’s not what it is, really. It is, in reality, God imparting His very nature, substance, and being to our human spirits. (The God Kind of Life [Tulsa: Faith Library, 1981], pp. 1-2, 9)

E. W. Kenyon

Jesus gave us the first intimation of what this Life would do for man. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” There are four Greek words translated “life” . . . in the New Testament. The first one is psuche which means natural, human life. The second is bios which means manner of life The third is anastrophee which… means “a confused behavior.” It is a strange thing that the Church has majored in “manner of life” or “behavior” rather than Eternal Life which determines in a very large way “the “manner of life.” Receiving Eternal Life is the most miraculous incident or event in life. It is called conversion, the New Birth and the New Creation. Some have called it “getting religion.” It is, in reality, God imparting His very Nature, Substance, and Being to our human spirits. (Two Kinds of Life [Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1971], pp. 2-3)

Kenneth Hagin

Man is a spirit who possesses a soul and lives in a body. He is in the same class with God. We know that God is a Spirit. And yet [He] took upon Himself a man’s body… when God took upon Himself human form, He was no less God than when He didn’t have a body. Man, at physical death, leaves his body. Yet he is no less man than he was when he had his body. (Man of Three Dimensions [Tulsa: Faith Library, 1973], no page)

E. W. Kenyon

Man is a spirit being, he has a soul, and he lives . . . in a body. He is in the same class as God. We know that God is a spirit and He became a man and took on a man’s body, and when He did it He was no less God than He was before He took the physical body… Man, at death, leaves his physical body and is no less man than he was when he had his . . . body (The Hidden Man [Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1970], p. 40; Two Kinds of Faith, p. 3)

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The primary purpose of revealing Hagin’s plagiarisms is to prove his verbal and doctrinal dependency upon Kenyon. This book will offer neither theories as to why Hagin plagiarized Kenyon, nor indictments as to the fact that he did so. When he was once confronted with the plagiarism of another writer, Hagin claimed that the appropriate documentation giving credit to the author was omitted from his book “in error.”19 Because of the number and extent of Hagin’s plagiarisms of Kenyon, it seems unlikely that all of them are an oversight. But we are more than willing to concede such a possibility, particularly if Hagin were to admit the extent of his dependency upon Kenyon. His honesty in doing so would give credibility to any claim of having plagiarized Kenyon by accident. It would also do much towards righting the injustice done to the Kenyon Gospel Publishing Society.

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In admitting that he took his theology from the writings of Kenyon, Hagin would also have to acknowledge that his teaching is of human origins. As we shall see, Hagin claims to have received most of the Faith gospel by divine visitation, visions, and revelation. Much of his reputation as a “prophet” in the Faith movement rests upon these experiences. His reputation and revelation aside, however, it must be said that Hagin’s theology has historical roots, and these may be traced directly to Kenyon, whose writings predate Hagin’s by more than thirty years. The word-for-word correspondences between Hagin’s writings and Kenyon’s cannot be attributed to coincidence, nor can they be attributed to a miracle of inspiration by the Holy Spirit. It is inconceivable that the Holy Spirit would inspire Hagin to use another man’s words without also informing him as to who first wrote those words. That man was E. W Kenyon.

In conclusion, it must be admitted that Hagin is the man who single-handedly took Kenyon’s teachings and from them forged a movement, the Faith movement. Hagin’s influence is omnipresent in Faith circles. His mark is printed indelibly upon his countless disciples, such as Copeland, Price, and Capps. Hagin’s son, Ken, Jr., is quite correct in his statement cited earlier that “almost every major faith ministry of the United States has been influenced by his ministry.” What Hagin’s son does not say is that his father plagiarized the majority of his teaching from E. W. Kenyon. If this is true, however, then through the person of Kenneth Hagin, E. W. Kenyon’s teachings are the foundation of the entire Faith movement. Hagin was the key player in the early Faith movement. But Kenyon was the author of its major doctrines.

Consequently, we cannot agree that Hagin’s leadership thereby merits him the title of “father of the Faith movement.” Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin provided the leadership to transform communism into an international movement, but Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels first taught the doctrines on which communism came to be based. Thus, they are today considered the founding fathers of the Communist movement. Likewise, Hagin was the primary leader of the early Faith movement, but he was not the man who first taught its doctrines and thus was not its founding father. Consequently, we must agree with Ruth Kenyon Houseworth that since her father, B. W. Kenyon, was the man who first authored its teachings, he is, in fact, “the True Father of the Faith movement.”

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NOTES

1. Sherry Andrews, “Kenneth Hagin: Keeping the Faith,” Charisma (Oct., 1981), p. 24.

2. E. S. Caldwell, “Kenneth Hagin, Sr.: Acknowledged as Father of the Faith Movement,” Charisma (Aug., 1985), p. 116. It is interesting to note that in a random sampling of Charisma readers concerning those ministers who influenced them the most, Kenneth Hagin was third, ranked only behind TV kingpin and presidential aspirant, Pat Robertson, and the heir apparent of the throne of the Faith movement, Kenneth Copeland. Faith preachers Marilyn Hickey and Fred Price were ranked sixth and ninth respectively, and Robert Tilton, John Osteen and Norvel Hayes were in the top 24. The Faith movement was listed as one of the ten “decatrends” of the charismatic movement. See Kenneth Hagin, Jr., “Trend toward the Faith Movement:’ Charisma (Aug., 1985), pp. 67-70.

3. Hagin, Jr., “Trend toward the Faith Movement,” p. 67

4. Ibid.; italics added for emphasis.

5. Fred Price, taped correspondence, lnglewood, Calif., Feb. 18, 1982.

6. Charles Capps, taped correspondence, England, Ark., Feb. 17, 1982.

7. John Osteen, taped phone interview, Pastor of Lakewood Outreach Center, Houston, Tex., Feb. 24, 1982.

8. Ruth Kenyon Houseworth, taped phone interview, Lynnwood, Wash Feb. 19, 1982.

9. Ibid.

10. John Kennington, “E. W Kenyon and the Metaphysics of Christian Science,” unpublished written statement, Portland, Ore., July 8. 1986.

11. Ibid.

12. Kenneth Hagin, The Name ofJesus (TuIsa: Faith Library, 1981), preface.

13. Kenneth Hagin, The Art of Intercession (Tulsa: Faith Library, 1980), p. 1.

14. E. W. Kenyon, The Two Kinds of Faith (Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1969), p. 76.

15. Cf., Hagins Six Hindrances to Faith (Seattle: Kenyon’s Faith Library, [n.d.]) to Kenyon’s Two Kinds of Faith, p. 67.

16. Hagin, The Name of Jesus, preface.

17. Cf., Kenyon, The Wonderful Name of Jesus, pp. 8-11, with Kenneth Hagin, “The Name of Jesus: The More Excellent Name,” The Word of Faith (April, 1976), pp. 4-6.

18. Two other authors from whom Hagin has plagiarized are John A. Ma-Millan and Finis Jennings Dake. See ch. 4, pp. 69-71.

19. See ch. 4, pp. 70ff.

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Taken from A Different Gospel, copyright 1995. Used by permission of Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA 01961. You can order A Different Gospel for a total of $14 by calling the Issues, Etc. resource line at 1-800-737-0172.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It gets better!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MORE WORD OF FAITHPOST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C Kenneth E. Hagin Understanding the Anointing

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

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

C Lori Wilke The Costly Anointing

C Kenneth Copeland The Anointing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Secret Seduction
Dave Hunt
June 30, 2007

The latest occult scam to capture the imagination of the West is called The Secret. The book by that name, a top New York Times bestseller, has quickly sold more than 6 million copies and the DVD over 2 million copies. Both contain numerous errors, misrepresentations, false premises, and false promises. Who cares? You should. With the following information, you could rescue someone from hell.

The numerous misrepresentations begin with the title itself. The Secret is not a secret at all, but recycled Hinduism, shamanism, and New Age folly. One of many huge lies is its claim: “You create your own reality with your mind.” This was the serpent’s false promise to Eve-the promise of godhood (Gen 3:5). Embracing that delusion cost Eve and her descendants Eden’s paradise-and would have barred mankind from heaven had not Christ died for the sins of the world. In the 6,000 years since Eden, the serpent’s promise has not been fulfilled in even one person’s life.

Misinformation and false claims follow one another in a dizzying parade of absurdities. Sprinkled throughout the book and DVD is the claim that the Secret is scientifically proved to be true. For example, “It has been scientifically proven that an affirmative thought is hundreds of times more powerful than a negative thought.”1 When? Where? How?

No scientific tests ever measured positive and negative thoughts, nor could there be any such tests because thoughts are nonphysical and their “power” cannot be measured. Thoughts exist outside the realm of physical science. Nor is there any such thing as “mental science” or a “science of the mind.” That fact is only one of many reasons why psychology could never be a science, in spite of decades of claiming that it is.

The bait on the hook of The Secret is stated repeatedly: “The Secret gives you anything you want: happiness, health, and wealth….You can have, do, or be anything you want….We can have whatever it is that we choose.”2 Common sense replies, “Thanks, but no thanks.” But millions being introduced to the Secret are excited and eager to make it work for them.

The foundational lies are basically that there is no personal God who created the universe and who makes laws that man must obey. The universe has always been here, yet we create it with our minds through numerous occult laws that exist to serve our selfish desires. One of the most enticing is “the law of attraction”: whatever thought (health, wealth, disaster, gain, loss, pain, joy, etc.) you hold in your mind, you will attract to yourself as a reality of your life. We are all gods who create our individual destinies with our thoughts.

The amorality of the Secret ought to be evident to anyone who stops to think. Hitler was no more responsible for the Holocaust than were its victims who collectively created it with their minds. So it was with the Titanic, the crash of every plane, and the victims of every rape and murder.

The book and DVD are based upon nothing more than statements of a number of supposed experts in the area of success motivation and positive thinking. Who are they? A “nonaligned, transreligious progressive…spiritual luminaries…teacher of spiritual metaphysics…Feng Shui master…successful business leaders…founders of the New Thought movement…a modern-day spiritual messenger, et al.” They are certainly not in the same class as Jesus Christ, who proved His deity with His sinless life and miracles, died for our sins, and rose from the dead. The “experts” cited and quoted in The Secret are not a group into whose hands anyone should trust their lives, much less their eternal destiny.

In the book and DVD, like a broken record, the same appealing but transparent lie is repeated over and over: “There isn’t a single thing that you cannot do with this knowledge…the Secret can give you whatever you want…if you see it in your mind, you’re going to hold it in your hand…you create your life with your thoughts…your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant…your life is in your hands…what you think about you bring about….You will attract everything that you require. If it’s money you need you will attract it…like Aladdin’s Genie, the law of attraction grants our every command… the moment you begin to ‘think properly’…this power within you that’s greater than the world…will take over your life…feed…clothe…guide…protect…direct you, sustain your very existence. If you let it. Now that is what I know, for sure….”

Now this is what I know for sure: while the historic individuals named and quoted in the book and DVD achieved some temporary material possessions and success, they all failed in that which is far more important: health. Yes, most, but not all, maintained a satisfactory level of good health most of their brief lives, but the health of every one of them eventually failed. One mark of failure they all share: they all died. In the end, the Secret could not keep them alive, though they tried every technique it offered. And those proponents of the Secret still alive today will inevitably suffer the same fate.

According to what these supposed masters of the Secret all declare with great confidence, they should not have died. If the Secret were true and they properly applied it-“The Secret can give you whatever you want”-they should all still be alive. In fact, none of the masters of the Secret even exceeded the normal life expectancy-but they surely should have if the Secret were true. The obvious fact is that the Secret is a deception that offers a false hope, which continues to deceive mankind-and an unconscionably amoral hope at that.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these “masters of the Secret.” Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most highly praised. He declared, “The secret is the answer to all that has been, all that is, and all that will ever be.” But Emerson lived in a state of deteriorating health and financial need for his last 10 years. He died at age 79. Surely he wanted to live a longer, healthier, happier life. Why didn’t he hold such thoughts and, by the law of attraction, bring what he wanted into actuality? For the same reason that no one else ever has or ever will. “The Secret” is a lie from Satan, “the father of lies” (John 8:44). It keeps those who believe it from faith in the true God and the salvation He provided for sinners through Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of all mankind upon the Cross.

What about Prentice Mulford, another of the supposed masters of the Secret and a founder of the New Thought movement, which is based upon the same delusion? He said that there is a material mind and a Spiritual mind; a lower self and a higher Self, and the latter receives thoughts from the “Supreme Power.”

But that “Power” failed him. It gave him the thought that he wanted to be a member of the California State Assembly. Mulford was nominated, but lost the election. Why didn’t his thoughts bring about his desire? The Secret, and New Thought, its mirror image, didn’t work for him, one of the “experts” held up as an example in the book and DVD. Finally, the Secret failed him entirely: he died at the age of 57-surely a shorter life than he had hoped to live.

Or what about Wallace Wattles, a diligent student of the Secret most of his short life and another founder of New Thought? His most famous book was The Science of Getting Rich, yet he lived most of his life in poverty. This crowning achievement of his life was published in 1910. He died in 1911 at the age of 51. Wouldn’t he have wanted to live longer to see the success of that book and to write more about the marvelous benefits of “the Secret,” though it failed him? But he couldn’t add one minute to his life. The Secret didn’t work for Wattles, one of its chief proponents.

The book and DVD also contain factual errors. The statement is made that through applying the Secret, the Babylonians, “became one of the wealthiest races in history.” No, it was through their military might at the cost of the lives, torture, and slavery of multitudes of victims. Babylon was one of the cruelest empires in history. And this commends the Secret? Thankfully, Babylon is no more. Why did it fall? Did the Secret fail the Babylonians, or did they fail to apply it? The evidence is overwhelming: the Secret is a lie.

This delusion that reality is created by the mind has been offering false hope to mankind for thousands of years. It is the standard teaching of Christian Science, the Church of Religious Science, Unity School of Christianity, New Thought, and other Mind Science cults. Never before, however, has it been packaged so attractively and cleverly for promotion to the general public as in The Secret. Disillusionment of multitudes will follow.

Most of the quick spread of this new presentation of the ancient and well-known supposed Secret is due to promotion by Larry King and Oprah Winfrey. Millions of their fans bought the book and DVD. On April 5, 2007, Oprah Winfrey discussed the Secret with alleged nonphysical entities “channeled” by Secret promoter, Esther Hicks. As we have often shown, so-called “spirit communication” with the dead that used to occur in séances (strictly forbidden in the Bible as demonic – Deut 18:11, Lev 20:6) is now called “channeling” and has long been promoted openly on radio and TV.

Anyone with even a small amount of common sense would recognize many moral and practical problems. What The Secret promotes is completely amoral and self-centered: “The law [of “attraction”] responds to your thoughts, no matter what they may be….People who have drawn wealth into their lives…think thoughts of abundance and wealth…nothing else exists in their minds.” “You’ve got to feel good about money to attract more to you….Start to say and feel…I am a money magnet. I love money.” (The Bible says not money itself but “the love of money is the root of all evil” – 1 Tim 6:10).

What about selfless love, kindness, mercy, goodness, charity, compassion, generosity, sharing with others? Such thoughts would interfere with the single-minded goal of drawing wealth to oneself. The Secret, believed and applied, cannot help but increase one’s selfishness and bring those applying it into conflict with one another.

Let’s say that “Jones” believes that the Secret will give him anything he wants. Wanting to be the president of the X corporation where he works, and using the “law of attraction” to get what he wants, Jones holds in his mind the thought, “I am the president of X Corporation.” Will Jones’s thoughts oust the current president and put himself in his place? Suppose there happen to be twenty other ambitious and avaricious people, from factory workers to janitors, from secretaries and bookkeepers to the vice president, who also want to be president of X corporation and are each relying upon the Secret’s “law of attraction” to fulfill their passion. To help accomplish their selfish desire, they each visualize themselves in the president’s chair behind the big desk in his plush office. Will the Secret simultaneously make each of them the president? Who will win this battle of minds in the selfish competition that this ancient, amoral, alleged secret has spawned?

One of the supposedly successful practitioners of the occult principles who is quoted in the book, Lisa Nichols, is described as a “powerful advocate of personal empowerment”-more selfishness. She says, “Thank God that there’s a time delay, that all your thoughts don’t come true instantly.”3 What “God” does she mean? Where would God fit into a universe He neither made nor controls and that is being recreated by human thoughts continually-a universe that stands ever ready to give mankind whatever selfish desires are directed toward it?

Advocates of the Secret and New Thought do not believe in the personal, living God of the Bible, who asks for man’s love and submission to His will. Their god is impersonal, a sort of Star Wars Force or universal Mind that has no mind of its own but exists solely to give us whatever we want. Joe Vitale is another one of the expert practitioners of the Secret quoted in the book and DVD. On Larry King Live a caller asked, I’m just curious, where does God come into “the Secret”?

Vitale responded, “God is all of us. God is the secret and everything about it. This is a law from God.”4 This, of course, is nonsense, the ancient religion of pantheism: you’re God, I’m God, the tree is God, everything is God. Then “God” is both good and evil, death as well as life, has no morals, etc. If everything is “God,” then “God” means nothing. Pantheism is virtual atheism.

Another ancient occult technique used by shamans for thousands of years is visualization: the belief that a mental picture held firmly in the mind will eventually manifest itself in the physical universe. Of course, this too is a delusion. No one has ever been able to demonstrate this ability. If we all had the power that The Secret promises, ours would be a terrifying existence with billions of Darth Vaders and Obe Wan Kenobies zapping one another with mind power!

Many Christians, as we have seen, teach basically the same occultism taught to C.G. Jung by “familiar spirits” (1 Sam 28:9; Isaiah 8:19). Yonggi Cho has taught and practiced the same for years, as have numerous Christian psychologists and charismatic leaders. Visualization to create one’s own reality was the heart and soul of all that Norman Vincent Peale taught and practiced: “The idea of imaging…has been implicit in all the speaking and writing I have done….”5 Robert Schuller has long taught the same occultism: “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.”6

Cho, pastor of the largest church in the world, claims that the Holy Spirit told him that he must visualize a clear picture of what he was praying for, or his prayer could not be answered. But all Cho could hold in his mind was the gross outline of what he wanted; he could not “see” or even imagine the atomic structure of these objects, which was their underlying reality.

Anyone who is willing to believe that mankind creates the universe with its collective thoughts (or that any individual, by visualization, can bring into existence anything that would be part of daily experience) has willfully given himself over to Satan and is susceptible to any other lie he offers. Obviously, the universe was here before man. To believe that the vast expanse of the cosmos with its trillions of stars and moons that no man has ever seen, including the many subatomic particles no one has even imagined, is all being created and held together with the collective thoughts of humanity, is to commit intellectual, moral, and spiritual suicide.

Those who believe such lies as The Secret offers have deliberately turned from the true God who has revealed Himself in each conscience and in the universe He made and have opened themselves to demonic delusion that will eventually lead them to eternal separation from the God who loves them and the Christ who died to redeem them. Let’s rescue as many as we can! TBC

Endnotes

1. Rhonda Byrnes, The Secret (New York: Atria Books, 2006), 1.
2. Ibid., 22.
3. Ibid., 194.
4. Larry King Live, March 8, 2007.
5. Norman Vincent Peale, Positive Imaging (Fawcett Crest, 1982), Introduction.
6. Robert Schuller booklet, The Power of the Inner Eye.

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Kenneth Hagin and “Positive Confession”
By Dave Hunt
(from Occult Invasion, Harvest House, 1998)

Among charismatics, the largest churches and the most popular ministers on radio and TV tend to be those associated with what is known as “Positive Confession,” or the “Faith movement.” Positive Confession is simply Norman Vincent Peale’s Positive Thinking carried one step further: expressing the thoughts aloud. Kenneth Hagin is generally credited with founding this latter movement, and his teachings have an authority among his followers almost equal to that of Mary Baker Eddy among hers.

Frederick K. C. Price says: “Kenneth Hagin has had the greatest influence upon my life of any living man… his books … revolutionized and changed my life.” Charles Capps gives a similar testimony: “Brother Hagin was the greatest influence of my life.”26 Kenneth Copeland credits Hagin’s tapes with having revolutionized his ministry.27

Kenneth Hagin’s gospel can be traced back to the writings of E.W. Kenyon, who first taught “the positive confession of the Word of God”28 and must be recognized as the real founder of today’s Positive Confession movement. Kenyon studied at the Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, a hotbed of the emerging New Thought philosophy.29 Kenyon’s teaching about “the power of words” and his warnings never to make a “negative confession”30 deeply influenced Hagin and many others who are recognized today as leaders of this movement. Kenyon also taught that man is a little god “in God’s Class” and therefore can use the same faith-force that God does.31 We allegedly create our own reality with the words of our mouths: “What I confess, I possess.”32

Hagin complains that people often think he is teaching Christian Science. He claims he is not, yet he teaches that the power of God works according to laws. Science is based upon laws. Thus, if what Hagin teaches about God’s power being governed by laws is indeed “Christian,” then it must be “Christian Science.”

“Positive Confession” means to verbalize positive thought and speak it aloud—precisely what shamans have believed and practiced for thousands of years in all cultures. The connection with the Positive/Possibility Thinking taught by Peale and Schuller is acknowledged by Kenneth Hagin, Jr.:

Somebody will argue, “You’re talking about positive thinking!” That’s right! I am acquainted with the greatest Positive Thinker who ever was: God…!

The two most prominent teachers of positive thinking [Peale and Schuller] are ministers.33

The entire “Faith movement” rests upon the occult belief that “faith is a force just like electricity or gravity”34 which obeys laws, and thus even non-Christians can use it. David Yonggi Cho, pastor of the world’s largest church, located in Seoul, Korea, declares: “Think positively and prosper.” Cho’s brand of Christian Science is based upon “the law of the fourth dimension,” a law which both Christians and non-Christians can follow in order to create miracles. He says, “Sokagakkai [a Buddhist sect] has applied the law of the fourth dimension and has performed miracles… .”35 The Sokagakkai are occultists.

The Wall Street Journal observed that Cho’s Christianity has elements of Korean shamanism in it.36 Kenneth Hagin also acknowledges that his variety of Christian science (as must be the case with any science) likewise allows non-Christians to obtain miracles by 2 scientifically applying its laws. Hagin writes: It used to bother me when I’d see unsaved people getting results [miracles], but my church members not getting results. Then it dawned on me what the sinners were doing: They were cooperating with this law of God—the law of faith.37

A “Law of Miracles”?

The blessings of God’s natural order (sun, rain, etc.) fall “on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). His miracles, however, are special blessings of His grace which are reserved for those who know and love Him. God will not extend His grace and blessing to those who reject Him. The “laws of faith,” however, according to the Positive Confession leaders, work for anyone, saint or sinner, just like the laws of science.

The teaching that non-Christians can create miracles by following “God’s laws of faith” or the “laws of the fourth dimension” is a serious heresy. Tragically, this tempting lie opens the door into the occult, where evil spirits gladly respond with a seeming “miracle” in order to deceive and seduce the unsuspecting into further delusions.

Charismatic leaders who imagine they have discovered laws of faith are promoting a Christianized version of naturalism. Their “God” is not the transcendent Creator who exists outside of the physical universe which He created out of nothing (as Sir James Jeans argues must be the case). The “faith God” is tied to this physical universe and bound by its laws. John and Paula Sandford, well- known practitioners of “inner healing,” profess this irrational heresy as clearly as anyone:

Miracles happen by the cooperation, union, and interplay of spirit and matter together…. Confused… men have thought… there had to be a violation of principles for miracles to happen…. What rot and bunk! Miracles happen by releasing power within matter according to God’s principles…. Nature, being filled with the Spirit of God, has immeasurable power, locked within its tiniest cells…. Miracles happen by the operation of the Holy Spirit within principles far beyond our ability to comprehend but nonetheless scientific…. I have sometimes been called a Christian Scientist when lecturing on these
subjects.…38

The Charismatic’s “Mary Baker Eddy”

The Sandfords studied under Agnes Sanford, the charismatic’s Mary Baker Eddy. She is the founder of the Inner Healing movement in the church. Her serious heresies are too numerous to recite here, yet she remains highly honored in the evangelical church to this day. John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, enthusiastically promoted her books until his recent death. Much like Norman Vincent Peale, Sanford calls God “the very life-force existing in a radiation of an energy… from which all things evolved.”39 She declares that “God… made everything out of Himself and somehow He put a part of Himself into everything.”40 This is pantheism.

To substantiate such heresies, Sanford cites Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as her authority. Declared a heretic even by the Roman Catholic Church, Chardin was known as the father of the New Age movement. Sanford taught that the “God-force” can be turned on in one’s life by simply saying to it, “Whoever you are—whatever you are—come into me now!” What a great invitation to Satan! The true God, who identifies Himself clearly in Scripture and must be known and acknowledged for who He is, would not answer such a call—but Satan and his minions, who hide behind any mask, would gladly accept that invitation. 3

Bringing occultism into the church, Sanford taught that everything is a matter of thought vibrations which if “negative” make us ill, and if “positive” heal us. Indeed, “positive thought vibrations” projected upon sinners can even turn them into Christians. Sanford wrote, “A new age is being born… when love-power [projected] at the command of ministers [and others] is sufficient to change hearts… we [have] an inner source of power that can be tapped at will.”41

Notes:
26. Taped interviews on file at the Holy Spirit Research Center, Oral Roberts University
cited in Daniel Ray McConnell, The Kenyon Connection: A Theological and Historical
Analysis of the Cultic Origins of the Faith Movement a thesis submitted to the Theological
Faculty Oral Roberts University Tulsa, OK, May1982, p. 11.
27. McConnell, Kenyon Connection, p. 11.
28. E.W. Kenyon and Don Cossett, The Positive Confession of the Word of God (Tulsa:
Custom Graphics, 1981), pp.133-37, 152-55.
29. John Coffee and Richard L. Wentworth, A Century of Eloquence: The History of
Emerson College, 1880-1980 (Alternative Publications, 1982).
30. Kenyon and Gossett, Confession, pp. 129-36, 152-55, 182-85, etc.
31. E.W. Kenyon, what Happened from the Cross to the Throne? (Kenyon, 1945, 5th ed.),
pp. 62, 173-76.
32. E.W. Kenyon, The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Subconscious Mind (Kenyon,
1970), p. 98.
33. The Word of Faith magazine, November 1984, p. 3.
34. Kenneth Copeland on TBN interview with Paul and Jan Crouch, February 5, 1986.
35. Dr. David Yonggi Cho, The Fourth Dimension (Bridge-Logos International, 1979), pp.
30, 64.
36. Urban C. Lehner, “New Faithful: Static in Some Nations, Christianity is Surging Among
South Koreans,” in The Wall Street Journal , May 12, 1983.
37. Kenneth Hagin, Having Faith in Your Faith (Rhema, 1980), pp. 3-4.
38. John and Paula Sandford, The Elijah Task (Logos International, 1977), pp. 142-3.
39. Agnes Sanford, The Heating Gifts of the Spint (Fleming H. Revell, 1966), p. 22.
40. Ibid., p. 27.
41. The Healing Light, 1947 edition, pp. 21-22, 60, 75.
3NAHunt1100

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“The Jesus of the New Age Movement”
Part Two in a Two-Part Series on New Age Christology PART 1 is HERE
by Ron Rhodes

In her best-selling book, Out on a Limb, Shirley MacLaine recounts how a friend once said to her: “You know that nothing is recorded in the Bible about Christ from the time he was about twelve until he began to really teach at about thirty years old. Right?” “Yes,” MacLaine replied, “I had heard about that and I just figured he didn’t have much to say until he got older.” “Well, no,” her friend responded, “a lot of people think that those eighteen missing years were spent traveling in and around India and Tibet and Persia and the Near East. They say he became an adept yogi and mastered complete control over his body and the physical world around him[he] tried to teach people that they could do the same things too if they got more in touch with their spiritual selves and their own potential power.”[1]

Did Jesus travel to the East to study under gurus? Did He become “the Christ” as a result of what He learned and accomplished there? Are there mystical “gospels” that have been suppressed by the church, keeping us from knowing the real Jesus? In this article, we will look at these and other important questions related to the Jesus of the New Age movement. We begin by examining the claims of a controversial Russian writer.

THE LIFE OF SAINT ISSA

As the story goes, in 1887, Nicolas Notovitch – a Russian war correspondent – went on a journey through India. While en route to Leh, the capital of Ladakh (in Northern India along the Tibetan border), he heard a Tibetan lama (i.e., monk) in a monastery refer to a grand lama named Issa (the Tibetan form of “Jesus”). Notovitch inquired further, and discovered that a chronicle of the life of Issa existed with other sacred scrolls at the Convent of Himis (about 25 miles from Leh).

Notovitch visited this convent and was told by the chief lama that a scroll did in fact exist which provided details about the Prophet Issa. This holy man allegedly preached the same doctrines in Israel as he earlier did in India. The original scroll, the lama said, was written in the Pali language and later translated into Tibetan. The Convent of Himis possessed the Tibetan translation, while the original was said to be in the library of Lhassa (the traditional capital of Tibet).

Notovitch eventually persuaded the lama to read the scroll to him, and had it translated from Tibetan by an interpreter. According to Notovitch, the literal translation of the scroll was “disconnected and mingled with accounts of other contemporaneous events to which they bear no relation,” and so he took the liberty to arrange “all the fragments concerning the life of Issa in chronological order and [took] pains to impress upon them the character of unity, in which they were absolutely lacking.”[2] He went without sleep for many nights so he could order and remodel what he had heard.

From the scroll, Notovitch learned that “Jesus had wandered to India and to Tibet as a young man before he began his work in Palestine.”[3] The beginning of Jesus’ alleged journey is described in the scroll this way:

When Issa had attained the age of thirteen years, the epoch when an Israelite should take a wife, the house where his parents earned their living began to be a place of meeting for rich and noble people, desirous of having for a son-in-law the young Issa, already famous for his edifying discourses in the name of the almighty. Then it was that Issa left the parental house in secret, departed from Jerusalem, and with the merchants set out towards Sind, with the object of perfecting himself in the Divine Word and of studying the laws of the great Buddhas.[4]

According to Notovitch, the scroll proceeds to explain how, after briefly visiting with the Jains, young Issa studied for six years among the Brahmins at Juggernaut, Rajagriha, Benares, and other Indian holy cities. The priests of Brahma “taught him to read and understand the Vedas, to cure by aid of prayer, to teach, to explain the holy scriptures to the people, and to drive out evil spirits from the bodies of men, restoring unto them their sanity.”[5]

While there, the story continues, Issa sought to teach the scriptures to all the people of India – including the lower castes. The Brahmins and Kshatriyas (higher castes) opposed him in this, and told him that the Sudras (a lower caste) were forbidden to read or even contemplate the Vedas. Issa denounced them severely for this.

Because of Issa’s controversial teachings, a death plot was devised against him. But the Sudras warned him and he left Juggernaut, establishing himself in Gautamides (the birthplace of the Buddha Sakyamuni) where he studied the sacred writings of the Sutras. “Six years after, Issa, whom the Buddha had elected to spread his holy word, had become a perfect expositor of the sacred writings. Then he left Nepal and the Himalayan mountains, descended into the valley of Rajputana, and went towards the west, preaching to diverse peoples the supreme perfection of man.”[6] Following this, we are told, Issa briefly visited Persia where he preached to the Zoroastrians. Then, at 29, he returned to Israel and began to preach all that he had learned.

According to Notovitch’s “scroll,” by the end of Issa’s three-year ministry, Pilate had become so alarmed at his mushrooming popularity that he ordered one of his spies to accuse him falsely. Issa was then imprisoned and tortured by soldiers to force a confession which would permit his being executed. The Jewish priests tried to act in Issa’s behalf, but to no avail. Issa was falsely accused and Pilate ordered the death sentence:

At sunset the sufferings of Issa came to an end. He lost consciousness, and the soul of this just man left his body to become absorbed in the Divinity. Meanwhile, Pilate became afraid of his action and gave the body of the saint to his parents, who buried it near the spot of his execution. Three days after, the governor sent his soldiers to carry away the body of Issa to bury it elsewhere, fearing otherwise a popular insurrection. The next day the crowd found the tomb open and empty. At once the rumor spread that the supreme Judge had sent his angels to carry away the mortal remains of the saint in whom dwelt on earth a part of the Divine Spirit.[7]

Following this, some merchants in Palestine allegedly traveled to India, came upon some people who had known Issa as a casual student of Sanskrit and Pali during his youth in India, and filled them in on Issa’s demise at the hands of Pilate. And, as the story concludes, The Life of Saint Issa was written on a scroll – author(s) unknown – three or four years later.

Reactions to Notovitch

This alleged manuscript generated a number of lively responses. Let us briefly look at a sampling of these.

F. Max Muller. In October 1894, preeminent Orientalist Max Muller of Oxford University (who himself was an advocate of Eastern philosophy and therefore could not be accused of having a Christian bias) published a refutation of Notovitch in The Nineteenth Century, a scholarly review. Four of his arguments are noteworthy: (1) Muller asserted that an old document like the one Notovitch allegedly found would have been included in the Kandjur and Tandjur (catalogues in which all Tibetan literature is supposed to be listed). (2) He rejected Notovitch’s account of the origin of the book. He asked how Jewish merchants happened, among the millions of India, to meet the very people who had known Issa as a student, and still more “how those who had known Issa as a simple student in India saw at once that he was the same person who had been put to death under Pontius Pilate.”[8] (3) Muller cites a woman who had visited the monastery of Himis and made inquiries about Notovitch. According to a letter she wrote (dated June 29, 1894), “there is not a single word of truth in the whole story! There has been no Russian here. There is no life of Christ there at all!”[9] And (4) Muller questioned the great liberty Notovitch took in editing and arranging the alleged verses. Muller said this is something no reputable scholar would have done.

Notovitch promptly responded to Muller’s arguments in the preface to the London edition of The Life of Saint Issa which was published the following year (1895). But his response did little to satisfy his critics. He said: (1) The verses which were found would not be in any catalogues because “they are to be found scattered through more than one book without any title.”[10] (But in his first preface he said the Convent of Himis contained “a few copies of the manuscript in question.”[11]) (2) Regarding the unlikeliness of Jewish merchants encountering those who knew Issa as a child in India, Notovitch said “they were not Jewish but Indian merchants who happened to witness the crucifixion prior to returning home from Palestine.”[12] (Even so, it would still be unlikely that – among the millions in India – the merchants would come upon the precise people who knew Issa as a child.) (3) As for editing and arranging the verses in The Life of Saint Issa, Notovitch said that the same kind of editing was done with the Iliad and no one ever questioned that. (But how does this legitimize Notovitch’s modus operandi?) (4) As to the refusal by the lama of Himis to affirmatively answer questions about the manuscript (as he apparently did with the lady who wrote Muller), Notovitch says this was because “Orientals are in the habit of looking upon Europeans as robbers who introduce themselves in their midst to despoil them in the name of civilization.”[13] Notovitch succeeded only “because I made use of the Eastern diplomacy which I had learnt in my travels.”14 (This was a convenient rationalization, for Notovitch could always point to a lack of “Eastern diplomacy” on the part of a European challenger whenever a monk refused to corroborate the Issa legend.)

Assuming (wrongly) that his response to Muller laid criticism of his work to rest, Notovitch suggested that in the future his critics restrict themselves solely to the question: “Did those passages exist in the monastery of Himis, and have I faithfully reproduced their substance?”[15]

J. Archibald Douglas. J. Archibald Douglas, Professor at Government College in Agra, India, took a three-month vacation from the college and retraced Notovitch’s steps at the Himis monastery. He published an account of his journey in The Nineteenth Century (June 1895), the bulk of which reproduced an interview with the chief lama of the monastery. The lama said he had been chief lama for 15 years, which means he would have been the chief lama during Notovitch’s alleged visit. The lama asserted that during these 15 years, no European with a broken leg had ever sought refuge at the monastery.

When asked if he was aware of any book in any Buddhist monastery in Tibet pertaining to the life of Issa, he said: “I have never heard of [a manuscript] which mentions the name of Issa, and it is my firm and honest belief that none such exists. I have inquired of our principal Lamas in other monasteries of Tibet, and they are not acquainted with any books or manuscripts which mention the name of Issa.”[16] When portions of Notovitch’s book were read to the lama, he responded, “Lies, lies, lies, nothing but lies!”[17]

The interview was written down and witnessed by the lama, Douglas, and the interpreter, and on June 3, 1895, was stamped with the official seal of the lama. The credibility of The Life of Saint Issa was unquestionably damaged by Douglas’s investigation.

Nicholas Roerich. In The Lost Years of Jesus, Elizabeth Clare Prophet documents other supporters of Notovitch’s work, the most prominent of which was Nicholas Roerich. Roerich – a Theosophist – claimed that from 1924 to 1928 he traveled throughout Central Asia and discovered that legends about Issa were widespread. In his book, Himalaya, he makes reference to “writings” and “manuscripts” about Issa – some of which he claims to have seen and others about which people told him. Roerich allegedly recorded independently in his own travel diary the same legend of Issa that Notovitch had seen earlier.

Per Beskow – author of Strange Tales About Jesus – responded to Roerich’s work by suggesting that he leaned heavily on two previous “Jesus goes East” advocates: “The first part of his account is taken literally from Notovitch’s Life of Saint Issa, chapters 5-13 (only extracts but with all the verses in the right order). It is followed by ‘another version’ (pages 93-94), taken from chapter 16 of Dowling’s Aquarian Gospel.”[18] (We will consider the Aquarian Gospel shortly.)

Edgar J. Goodspeed. Notovitch’s The Life of Saint Issa refused to die; it was republished in New York in 1926. This motivated Edgar J. Goodspeed, Professor at the University of Chicago, to publish a Christian response. He commented that “it is worthwhile to call attention to [The Life of Saint Issa] because its republication in New York in 1926 was hailed by the press as a new and important discovery,”[19] even though first published over thirty years earlier (1894).

Three of Goodspeed’s arguments are noteworthy. (1) Goodspeed suggests a literary dependency of The Life of Saint Issa on Matthew, Luke, Acts, and Romans. This would not be odd except that The Life of Saint Issa was allegedly written three or four years after the death of Christ, whereas Matthew, Luke, Acts, and Romans were written two or three decades later. An example of this dependency relates to how The Life of Saint Issa attempts to fill in the silent years of Jesus between the ages of twelve and thirty: “these two ages are taken for granted by the author of this work, who unconsciously bases his scheme upon them. We know them from the Gospel of Luke alone, and the question arises: ‘Has the author of Issa obtained them from the same source?'”[20]

(2) Notovitch describes Luke as saying that Jesus “was in the desert until the day of his showing unto Israel.” This, Notovitch says, “conclusively proves that no one knew where the young man had gone, to so suddenly reappear sixteen years later.” But, says Goodspeed, “it is not of Jesus but of John that Luke says this (1:80), so that it will hardly yield the conclusive proof Notovitch seeks. At this point in Luke’s narrative, in fact, Jesus has not yet appeared.”[21]

(3) Goodspeed comments that The Life of Saint Issa does not purport to have been deciphered and translated by a competent scholar: “The lama read, the interpreter translated, Notovitch took notes. He could evidently not control either the lama or the interpreter, to make sure of what the Tibetan manuscripts contained.”[22]

Throughout the twentieth century, many individuals have responded positively to the work of Notovitch, including Janet and Richard Bock (makers of the film, “The Lost Years of Jesus”), Swami Abhedananda, Sai Baba, Paramahansa Yogananda of the Self-Realization Fellowship, and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Evidence abounds that the Issa legend is alive and well today.

Max Muller, J. Archibald Douglas, and Edgar J. Goodspeed have all presented solid refutations of the legend. These should challenge any serious Issa advocate to reevaluate his or her position. I shall offer further arguments later. But first, it is necessary to examine additional features in the New Age profile of Jesus.

THE AQUARIAN GOSPEL OF JESUS THE CHRIST

Another major source for the New Age Jesus is The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, written by Civil War army chaplain Levi Dowling (1844-1911). The title page of this “gospel” bears the words: “Transcribed from the Book of God’s Remembrances, known as the Akashic Records.” (Occultists believe the physical earth is surrounded by an immense spiritual field known as “Akasha” in which is impressed every impulse of human thought, will, and emotion. It is therefore believed to constitute a complete record of human history.) Hence, unlike Notovitch whose conclusions were based on an alleged objective ancient document, Levi’s book is based on an occult form of subjective (nonverifiable) illumination.

The bulk of Levi’s gospel, first published in 1911, focuses on the education and travels of Jesus. After studying with Rabbi Hillel (a Jewish scholar), Jesus allegedly traveled to India where he spent years studying among the Brahmins and Buddhists.

Jesus supposedly became interested in studying in the East after Joseph (Jesus’ father) hosted Prince Ravanna from India. During his visit, Ravanna asked “that he might be the patron of the child; might take him to the East where he could learn the wisdom of the Brahms. And Jesus longed to go that he might learn: and after many days his parents gave consent.” So “Jesus was accepted as a pupil in the temple Jagannath; and here he learned the Vedas and the Manic laws.”[23]

Jesus then visited the city of Benares of the Ganges. While there, “Jesus sought to learn the Hindu art of healing, and became the pupil of Udraka, greatest of the Hindu healers.”[24] And Jesus “remained with Udraka until he had learned from him all there was to be learned of the Hindu art of healing.”[25]

Levi proceeds to chronicle a visit to Tibet, where Jesus allegedly met Meng-ste, the greatest sage of the East: “And Jesus had access to all the sacred manuscripts, and, with the help of Meng-ste, read them all.”[26]

Jesus eventually arrived in Egypt, and – in what must be considered a climax of this account of the “lost years” – he joined the “Sacred Brotherhood” at Heliopolis. While there, he passed through seven degrees of initiation – Sincerity, Justice, Faith, Philanthropy, Heroism, Love Divine, and THE CHRIST. The Aquarian Gospel records the bestowal of this highest degree: “The hierophant arose and said, upon your brow I place this diadem, and in the Great Lodge of the heavens and earth you are THE CHRIST. You are a neophyte no more; but God himself will speak, and will confirm your title and degree. And then a voice that shook the very temple said, THIS IS THE CHRIST; and every living creature said, AMEN.”[27]

Later, following his three-year ministry as THE CHRIST and his subsequent death, Jesus’ resurrection is described by Levi in terms of a “transmutation” which all men may accomplish. He made many appearances to people all over the world to substantiate this transmutation. For example, he appeared to the “Silent Brotherhood” in Greece and said: “What I can do all men can do. Go preach the gospel of the omnipotence of man.”[28]

THE READINGS OF EDGAR CAYCE

Like Levi, Edgar Cayce claimed the ability to read the Akashic Record while in a trance. During his life, he gave over 16,000 readings, 5,000 of which deal with religious matters. It was from the Akashic Record that Cayce set forth an elaborate explanation of the early years of Jesus.

The person we know as Jesus, Cayce tells us, had 29 previous incarnations: “These included an early sun worshipper, the author of the Book of the Dead, and Hermes, who was supposedly the architect of the Great Pyramid. Jesus was also Zend (the father of Zoroaster), Amilius (an Atlantean) and other figures of ancient history.”[29] Other incarnations include Adam, Joseph, Joshua, Enoch, and Melchizedek.

This particular soul did not become “the Christ” until the thirtieth incarnation – as Jesus of Nazareth. The reason Jesus had to go through so many incarnations is that he – like all other human beings – had “karmic debt” (sin) to work off.

Jesus received a comprehensive education. Prior to his twelfth year, he attained a thorough knowledge of the Jewish law. “From his twelfth to his fifteenth or sixteenth year he was taught the prophecies by Judy [an Essene teacher] in her home at Carmel. Then began his education abroad. He was sent first again into Egypt for only a short period, then into India for three years, then into that later called Persia. From Persia he was called to Judea at the death of Joseph, then went into Egypt for the completion of his preparation as a teacher.”[30] During his alleged studies abroad, Jesus studied under many teachers (including Kahjian in India, Junner in Persia, and Zar in Egypt), and learned healing, weather control, telepathy, astrology, and other psychic arts. When his education was complete, he went back to his homeland where he performed “miracles” and taught the multitudes for three years.

JESUS THE CHRIST AND HIS TEACHINGS

There are many differing views regarding how Jesus attained “Christhood.” As we have seen, Levi said Jesus went through seven degrees of initiation, the seventh being THE CHRIST. Cayce said Jesus became “the Christ” in the thirtieth incarnation. Many modern New Agers say the human Jesus merely “attuned” to the cosmic Christ, or achieved at-one-ment with the Christ by raising his own “Christ-consciousness.” But, however, Jesus attained “Christhood,” New Agers agree that he was a teacher par excellence of New Age “truths.”

New Agers generally do one of two things with the teachings of Jesus. Some merely reinterpret the gospel sayings of Jesus to make it appear that Jesus was actually teaching New Age “truth.” Others add that long-lost (New Age) sayings of Jesus have been rediscovered. These “rediscovered” sayings can have one of two sources: reputed ancient extracanonical writings (like the “Gnostic gospels” which were allegedly suppressed by the early church and rediscovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945) and the Akashic Record. Let us now consider samplings of each of these.

The Gospel Sayings of Jesus. According to New Agers, we must all seek first the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 6:33), recognizing that the “kingdom” has reference to our inner divinity.[31] For indeed, Jesus said “Ye are gods” (John 10:34). The parable about those who foolishly build a house on sand (Matt. 7:24-27) teaches us that those who fail to recognize their divinity will not be able to stand against the storms of life.[32] But if we come unto Jesus, we will find rest, for his yoke (i.e., yoga) is easy and his burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).[33]

“Newly Discovered” Sayings from Extracanonical Sources. Jesus taught a form of pantheism according to The Life of Saint Issa, for he said that “the Eternal Spirit [God] is the soul of all that is animate.”[34] He also taught that all humans have unlimited potential: “I came to show human possibilities; that which I am, all men will be.”[35] And, according to the Gnostic gospels, Jesus spoke of “illusion and enlightenment, not of sin and repentance.”[36] Indeed, man can save himself: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.”[37]

“Newly Discovered” Sayings from the Akashic Record. According to Levi’s Aquarian Gospel, Jesus was just a way-shower: “And all the people were entranced, and would have worshipped Jesus as God; but Jesus said, I am your brother man just come to show the way to God; you shall not worship man.”[38] Jesus also taught pantheism and monism: “The universal God is one, yet he is more than one [i.e., he takes many forms]; all things are God; all things are one.”[39] Jesus also tells us that “the nations of the earth see God from different points of view, and so he does not seem the same to every one.”[40]

THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN RESPONSE

A Christian response to the New Age rendition of Jesus may begin with the observation that the accounts of Jesus going East have irreconcilable contradictions. This fact alone should make any objective investigator suspicious of the reliability of these documents.

Each of the accounts differ, for example, regarding the beginning of Jesus’ trek. The Life of Saint Issa portrays Jesus departing secretly from his parent’s house with some merchants on their way to India so he could perfect himself by studying the laws of the great Buddhas. Levi’s Aquarian Gospel depicts Prince Ravanna from India asking Jesus’ parents if he can escort Jesus to India where he can learn Indian wisdom. Cayce’s reading of the Akashic Record has an Essene teacher sending Jesus to India to study astrology and other psychic disciplines.

What is particularly revealing is that both Cayce and Levi allegedly obtained their “revelations” by reading the Akashic Record, yet their readings blatantly contradict each other. Since both Cayce and Levi are highly respected in New Age circles, how do New Agers account for the obvious failure of at least one of them to properly “read” the Akashic Record? Furthermore, if one of these top-rated New Age seers cannot be trusted, which one can be?

Not only do the accounts disagree with each other, they all disagree with the gospel accounts in the New Testament. And the New Testament has solid, irrefutable manuscript evidence – something that should be considered by those wanting to replace it so easily with Gnostic gospels or alleged ancient manuscripts claiming that Jesus went East.

The New Testament gospels are based on eyewitness testimony. Moreover, they were written very close to the time of the events which they report. It is crucial to recognize that the four canonical gospels are all dated much earlier than the Gnostic gospels. The earliest Gnostic gospels date from A.D. 150 to 200. The New Testament gospels date from A.D. 60 to 100 – approximately one century earlier. Clearly, the New Testament gospels are the authentic and reliable source for information on the life and teachings of Jesus.

On the other hand, all of the “Jesus goes East” accounts contain historical inaccuracies, several of which have already been mentioned. Other examples include: (1) Levi’s Aquarian Gospel said Herod Antipas was ruler in Jerusalem. Antipas, however, never ruled in Jerusalem but in Galilee. Dowling meant to say Herod the Great. This is especially significant since Levi’s transcriptions are claimed to be “true to the letter” in the introduction of his Aquarian Gospel![41] (2) Levi’s reference to Jesus visiting with Meng-ste was probably meant to be the great Chinese sage, Meng-tse (tse, not ste). Dowling apparently didn’t realized, however, that Meng-tse died in 289 B.C.

The deeper one probes, the clearer it becomes that the Jesus of the New Age movement lacks any basis in history. To many, The Life of Saint Issa appeared to provide this. However, the world still awaits bona fide hard evidence that can be physically examined by all interested parties. Even a photograph would be helpful. But as Notovitch lamented: “During my journey I took a considerable number of very curious photographs, but when on arrival at Bombay I examined the negatives, I found they had all become obliterated.”[42] I don’t want to be cynical, but

In order to find a New Age Jesus in authentic documents, New Agers are forced to deal with the language of the New Testament in a manipulative fashion. Tal Brooke comments: “It is a little like the problem of the Marxist who wishes to change the common understanding of the United States Constitution so that a gradualist skewing of word meaning can enable a socialistic interpretation of words whose intended meanings in the original were clearly different.”[43]

Though the New Testament does not directly address this issue, there are strong indirect evidences that Jesus never traveled East for eighteen years. First, Jesus was well-known as a carpenter (Mark 6:3) and as a carpenter’s son (Matt. 13:55). That His carpentry played a large role in His life up to the time of His ministry is clear from the fact that some of His parables and teachings drew upon His experience as a carpenter (e.g., building a house on rock as opposed to sand, Matt. 7:24-27). Moreover, the people in and around Nazareth displayed familiarity with Jesus, as if they had had regular contact with Him for a prolonged time. At the beginning of His three-year ministry, Jesus “went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read” (Luke 4:16). After He finished reading, “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked” (Luke 4:22). This implies that those in the synagogue regarded Jesus as a local resident.

It is important to note that when Jesus stood up to read, He did so from the Old Testament Scriptures. And the Old Testament – for which Jesus often displayed reverence (cf. Matt. 5:18) – (1) contains numerous warnings and admonitions about staying away from false gods and false religious systems (cf. Exod. 20:2; 34:14; Deut. 6:14; 13:10; 2 Kings 17:35); (2) clearly distinguishes between the creation and the Creator, unlike Eastern thought; and (3) taught the need for redemption, not gnosis (knowledge). It is no coincidence that Jesus is often seen quoting from the Old Testament in the gospels, but not once does He quote from (or even mention) the Vedas!

While some in Nazareth were impressed at the graciousness of Jesus’ words, others were offended that He was attracting so much attention. They seemed to be treating Him with a contempt born of familiarity. We read in Matthew 13:54-57: “Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?…Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at him.”

Among those that became angriest at Jesus were the Jewish leaders. They accused Him of many offenses, including breaking the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-14), blasphemy (John 8:58-59; 10:31-33), and doing miracles in Satan’s power (Matt. 12:24). But they never accused Him of teaching or practicing anything learned in the East. The Jews considered such teachings and practices to be idolatry and sorcery. Had Jesus actually gone to the East to study under “the great Buddhas,” this would have been excellent grounds for discrediting and disqualifying Him regarding His claim to be the promised Jewish Messiah.

It is noteworthy that the self-concept of the New Age Jesus is that he is just a man who became enlightened in the East, eventually achieving Christhood. The self-concept of the New Testament Jesus, however, is one in which He singles Himself out as God (cf. John 8:58).

It is understandable why the “Jesus who went East” refused to accept worship (cf. Dowling). The New Testament Jesus, by contrast, accepted worship on numerous occasions because He knew Himself to be the one and only God (note especially Matthew 28:17). Of course, only God can be worshiped (cf. Ex. 20:4-5; Deut. 6:4-5, 13). It is thus significant that even when Jesus was just a babe, the Magi (from the East) “fell down and worshiped Him” (Matt. 2:11).

The final word on this matter must belong to God the Father, for there is no higher authority in the universe. He Himself is quoted as saying to Jesus: “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever” (Heb. 1:8). It is Jesus – the second Person of the Trinity – that we as Christians look forward to seeing; ‘we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). And, as Christians, we exult in the truth that Jesus has a name that is above every name, and that at His name, every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Phil. 2:9-10).

A CLOSING REFLECTION

What if – despite all the arguments presented above – a manuscript should one day surface in India which speaks of Issa? Would this prove that Jesus did in fact go East during His youth?

Christians acknowledge that news of Jesus eventually reached India and Tibet as a result of the missionary efforts of the early church. It is conceivable that when devotees of other religions heard about Jesus, they tried to modify what they heard to make it appear that Jesus and His teachings were compatible with their own belief systems. It is possible that – sometime between the first and nineteenth centuries – these unreliable legends were recorded on scrolls and circulated among the convents in India. This would not be unlike the distorted versions of the life of Jesus that emerged among the early Gnostics (and recorded in the Gnostic gospels).

But for such a manuscript to be convincing, it would have to have the same kind of irrefutable manuscript evidence as the New Testament, the same quality of eyewitness testimony, and be written very close to the events on which they report like the New Testament. Until such an authoritative document surfaces, is it wise to base one’s eternal destiny on a manuscript that has as little evidential support as Notovich’s?

Douglas Groothuis issues this challenge: “Should any supposed record of Jesus’ life come to the fore, let it marshal its historical merits in competition with holy writ. The competitors have an uphill battle against the incumbent.”[44]

NOTES AND GLOSSARY ARE HERE
http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/JesusNAM.html