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Tag Archives: Paul Crouch

In this video I refute all arguments in support of tithing (mandatory giving of 10% of monetary income), to include the prosperity preachers’ latest scam that Jesus is the High Priest receiving our tithes just as Melchizadek/Melchizedek received tithes from Abram.

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From Faith in Faith
to Faith in Christ

By: Peter Glover

Mark Haville’s is an extraordinary story. Converted into the Pentecostal/Charismatic church he quickly came under the spell of the Word-Faith teaching of men like Kenneth Copeland. But things did not stay that way for Mark…

Still in his mid-20’s, Mark became an itinerant minister travelling the country earning large sums of money through his ability to perform ‘signs and wonders’. Remarkably, he has renounced his former life, his beliefs, and his practices as a Word-Faith minister and is now speaking out boldly against the beliefs and practices of the current Signs and Wonders movement.

(Note: In the text ‘EN’ refers to Evangelicals Now, and ‘MH’ refers to Mark Haville. ‘PG’ is Peter Glover)

EN: “How did you first get involved with Word Faith teaching?”

MH: I was given lots of tapes and books by Kenneth Copeland which everyone was into at my church in North London. I believed that my Christian experience could validate my faith. It convinced me that what I was in was real. I was impressed by the numbers involved, their interest in the media, publications, the money and the general trappings of success – it bred the belief in me that biggest must be best.

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THIS IS THE VIDEO SERIES THAT EVERY CHRISTIAN MUST SEE!!!!!!!

This powerful 2 DVD set contains three full length documentaries exposing the signs and wonders movement. The money scandals, the false miracles and the manipulative methods of the likes of Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Morris Cerullo, John Avanzini and Rodney Howard-Browne are fully revealed on camera. This shocking material is desperately needed as a cure for the mass-hysteria and worldwide deception being perpetrated by this movement. The DVDs feature expert commentary from leading Christian experts in this field. Coded for all regions (such as USA and UK). Nearly 4 hours total running time.

BUY THE WHOLE SERIES HERE

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8laOGcHby-w

Unholy Trinity
Friday, Dec 11, 2009

(By John MacArthur)

I don’t watch much television, and when I do I generally avoid the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). For many years TBN has been dominated by faith-healers, full-time fund-raisers, and self-proclaimed prophets spewing heresy. I wrote about the false gospel they proclaim and the phony miracles they pretend to do almost two decades ago in Charismatic Chaos (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992. See especially chapter 12). I had my fill of charismatic televangelism while researching that book, and I can hardly bear to watch it any more.

Recently, however, while recovering from knee-replacement surgery, I decided to sample some of the current fare on TBN. From a therapeutic point of view it seemed a good choice: something more excruciating than the pain in my leg might distract me from the physical suffering of post-surgical trauma. And I suppose on that basis the strategy was effective.

But it left me outraged and frustrated—and eager to challenge the misperceptions in the minds of millions of unbelievers who see these false teachers masquerading as ministers of Christ on TBN.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.  

more about “Does God want us to be rich and have …“, posted with vodpod

 

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

THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME!!!

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

Demonknight2 SAID,,,,

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

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

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

THE BIBLE HAS MANY WARNINGS ABOUT EARTHLY RICHES: 

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

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

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

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

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

THE BIBLE HAS WARNINGS ABOUT THE FLEETINGNESS OF LIFE

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

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

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

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

TIME IS JUST A PUZZLE PIECE IN ETERNITY!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The bringers of false and strange fire

 

GOD’S GENERALS: The Legacy (includes Todd Bentley, Jim Goll, Benny Hinn, Roberts Liardon, and more)

 

Cessationism is it True?

by coramdeo on Apr.14, 2009, under Religion

benny_hinn1

First I want to say that I do not believe that Cessationism or Continuationism are “essential doctrines”. Meaning I do not think that your salvation relys on what you believe in regard to them. However, like any theology what you believe will have an affect on your life, and closer you are to the truth the better your life will be. So, like in everything we must desire to adhere to the truth, to discover it, and follow it. When it comes to Cessationism I am no expert, but I do wish to bring here what I have learned. I am in no way so stuck on it that I cannot be convinced of another view.

 

I have agreed with Eric Kemp who authors the Blog Apologia at intelligentscience.org to participate in a informal debate on the topic of Cessationism vs Continuationism. I will be arguing for Cessationism and he Continuationism. I will write the first post and he will respond. We welcome your input and questions at any point along the way. This is our way of challenging ourselves while also benefiting you with both sides of the debate.

For your reference I will be using information found in these Sources:

Ligonier: 1. Miracles and 2. God Speaking

Modern Reformation: 3. Spiritual Gifts

Realgospel.org: 4. Cessationism

I will reference material with the preceding number for the source i.e (3).

I do believe, like many, that Cessationism gets a bad rap and that there are many false views, or arguments against it. First I will give a quick summery of Cessationism, then give some bad arguments against it, and lastly give some good arguments for it. I do not plan on going too in depth, but to be concise and if needed go more in depth in my responses.

As a preface I would like to point out that even if all of scripture can be shown to agree with Cessationism to a reasonable degree, that many people will still not believe it, because to be Cessationist means that you got there because you believe other things about the Bible, revelation, early church, apostles, spiritual gifts, Holy Spirit ect, than Continuationists, and if you are Continuationist, in order to become Cessationist you must change your beliefs on all these things and more, so it is no small task. It of course works the other way too, and Cessationists must change many of their beliefs to become Continuationists. This is because each side interprets the Bible differently in many of these non essentials, so you must change how you interpret and view the entire scriptures. Also this is why so many other doctrines are hard for people to change to, because it requires more than just changing your view on one doctrine. So, please just be aware that these discussions may challenge you and frustrate you, but will not necessarily be enough to convince you, because your views are supported by more than one doctrine. I became a Cessationist because of being convinced of other doctrines, of which Cessationism fits in with, and because it fits into how I understand the Bible and its proper interpretation.

Like in the other articles I linked, I too believe that many people do not understand the Cessationist view or have wrong ideas. Its not like we don’t believe in Miracles (1), we believe God is working Supernaturally, just that He no longer uses some of the Spiritual gifts He gave to the early church, because their use is no longer needed. Not all the gifts are gone, just some, just the ones that God gave to build the foundation of His early church and Scripture, and now since they are both done, built, there is no more need for these gifts (3)(4).

The basic belief is that Scripture is complete now, God gave the spiritual gifts of prophecy, tongues, and healings to validate the Apostles teaching while He built the early Church and Scripture. Since they are now built, there is no need for them now. Now God wants us to get direction from His revealed revelation (the Bible) not secret sayings or verbal communication from Him (2). He no longer needs prophecy, healings, or tongues to prove His word is true, we now have Scripture and the Apostles who were shown to be true through their miracles and gifts. Now God can if He wants, give these gifts again, we are not saying that, but that God doesn’t normally or regularly give them like He did in the early Church.

This is one of the main arguments for Cessationism, namely that our understanding of the Gifts and their intended use, differs from Continuationists. Cessationists now rely on scripture alone to hear from God, to prove His Gospel, and to be the catalyst that saves His people. We believe that 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 should be interpreted as signifying that the gifts will cease once the church is built (4). We also believe that Ephesians 4:11-13 seems to say that the Apostles, and Prophets will only be given until the fullness of the church has come, then they will cease (3). We argue that since you do not see Apostles now days, that you wont see Prophets, although you will see teachers, and evangelists. There are a few reasons for this. Apostles have ceased with the 12, Rev 21:14 seems to show that there will only be 12. Also Ephesians 4:11 says that the church will be build on Apostles and Prophets, and thus it can be inferred that when the church is built, these offices will cease. Timothy who is not an apostle is called a pastor / teacher by Paul and is encouraged to continue on even when Paul is gone. I think the N.T is quite evident that Pastors and Teacher are to continue on, but we do not have much evidence that Apostles or Prophets should continue on, and in light of other passages I think it is best to conclude that Apostles and Prophet offices have ceased.

So we believe that God had a time for the Apostles and Prophets, and the gifts of tongues, healings, and prophecy, namely to build His Church and Scripture, but now that they are both built, we have no need for any of them. We are to now rely upon Scripture alone for our revelation from God, we are to pursue love, faith, and joy and not prophecy, tongues, or healing. We are not to rely on experiences, but the evidence found in Scripture as our bases for truth and revelation. God still does work miraculously especially in His work to save people, and might at times even work miracles as responses to prayer, or just to do the work He wishes to do. However, we do not believe that He has gifted specific people with these gifts to use them all the time. Nor do we believe one miracle to evidence that the gifts are back, but that God is working still in this earth. We have a hard time believing the gifts are still here in the same power they were with the Apostles because we don’t see people being raised from the dead (like Peter did) or lame people being healed (like Peter did), or the blind given sight. We hear about such things, but we see no quantifiable evidence that they are real, or that they are consistent, meaning not a once in a while supernatural occurrence. If these gifts were still working today, considering the number of true Christians now days, one would think he would see tons of miracles happening everywhere, all the time, since we do not, it’s safe to say the gifts have ceased.

Bad Arguments against Cessationism:

1. “I have see people prophecy, heal, or speak in Tongues”.

First experiences should never trump scripture, and you should never interpret scripture from your experiences. Why? Well first our hearts are deceptively wicked, and who can really trust our feelings (4). Second we are called to test the spirits 1 John 4:1, and if we need to test them with Scripture, why is there a need to quote something other than scripture (4)? We are meant to use scripture, to test what other people are speaking, what “spirit” are they speaking / teaching in, does it align with scripture? Experiences can support scripture, but they should never contradict, and if they do, either your interpretation or your experience is wrong.

Second other religions speak in “tongues” or “prophecy” or do “healings”, so it seems they can be contrived, and not the real thing. Also people can be insane and hear voices or contrive such things, how are you sure you are sane or that person is?

Third I have found no proof for any true “healing” miracle to be done, at least the kind like done by apostles. This is more for other people to prove, but in all my study I have not seen a person who was blind, not bad sight, but blind, proven by doctors and others, who was given 20/20 vision instantly and proven by others / doctors. Or a person who had a shrived hand or leg, who was restored instantly in front of witnesses proven by doctors. Or a person raised from the dead. Not that miracles do not happen medically, or that things do not happen to people that cannot be explained, but as far as I can tell this kind of thing happens to non Christians and Christians alike. What I am saying is I have not seen or heard proven that any so called Miracle healer being able to actually perform true healing miracles like my examples before, and more often than not these healers have been proven to be charlatans. If this gift is not performed in power, given to specific people who have done it multiple times in big ways, then I do not think there is evidence for it. If it is sparse, given to random people for a specific time, well that doesn’t prove that the gift of healing has continued, but that God works Supernaturally in this world and answers prayers. A good article on this is Faith Healing and the Sovereignty of God.

2. “No where in the Bible is it specifically said that only Apostles and Prophets will cease along with Tongues and Healings”.

No where in the Bible is the word Trinity also, but we infer from careful study of Scripture that the concept is taught clearly. So it is with Cessationism, we believe that although it is not specifically taught, it is taught by inference.

3. “You guys don’t see miracles because you do not have enough faith.”

Where in the N.T does it say that the gifts are only given to people with enough faith? Where does it define enough faith? How do you know how much faith I have? You are assuming to know something you don’t, you are begging the question. You are asserting what you are trying to claim. You are saying “because gifts are for today, and because you don’t see or perform them, you must not have enough faith, because gifts are for today”. That doesn’t prove anything, it is just an assertion. Just like I could say that you do not have enough faith to see Santa Clause, thus you do not see him. It proves nothing, stop oppressing people with this statement. So many people who “could not” be healed by faith healers were told, “well you just don’t have enough faith”, not “it’s not God’s will for you to be healed” or “I’m a big fat liar”, but “God cannot work unless you let Him” (Faith Healing and the Sovereignty of God). Besides not proving anything, it is actually not Biblical. God doesn’t need your permission, or faith to work. Sometimes He seemingly doesn’t work because a person doesn’t have faith, but other times He does. Take Paul, Paul didn’t have faith in Jesus, didn’t want anything to do with Jesus, yet that didn’t stop Jesus from intervening and giving Paul faith, and changing him. Yes, God doesn’t need you, you are not God’s keeper or boss. This is the biggest problem with this response, namely it brings God down, and makes Him our servant, and brings man up, and makes him God’s boss.

Think about this too. The early church didn’t believe in Tongues, so they didn’t have “faith” in them, but then bam! Flames of fire and the Holy Spirit descending on them in the upper room, and then they spoke in Tongues. So faith doesn’t need to exist first, meaning faith in that Gift, only Faith in God. Thus, if only Faith in God is enough, there are plenty of people around with enough Faith in God, yet God doesn’t give any “gifts” to them in the way you want. Thus your only two options are: you are wrong, or you are pessimistic about how many people are truly saved, when the Bible seems to say a great number of people will be saved, uncountable number. Since you think there are so few people with true faith now days.

Things Continuationists must respond to:

1. If you are going to claim that Prophecy, Tongues, and Healings exist now, then you also are going to have to claim that Apostles and Prophets exist now. But in order to be an Apostle you must have seen the risen Lord in person. Commonly called the 5 pillars of the church, Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, and Evangelists.

2. Prophecy is adding to scripture. The nature of O.T Prophecy is communication directly from God, thus it is added to Scripture. The Canon is closed, God is not adding to the Bible any more, so there is no need for this type of Prophecy. And this type of Prophecy would only be adding to Scripture, and if true, on the same ground as Scripture. It was appropriate for the Apostle’s time because Scripture was not finished yet, but now that its finished, there is no need for it. All we need is Scripture as our authority, and it would be undermined if people were running around Prophesying.

3. Is the Canon closed or not? Is God still adding to scripture or not? If no, then why would he need the gifts of Tongues, Prophecy, and Healing now? If yes, then why haven’t we added any more books to the Bible? Are you saying that the Bible isn’t sufficient now? It must not be if you think that the canon is still open.

4. I think the biggest point is that the Bible seems to teach that God would build His church on the Apostles teachings, and that once He has built the foundation of His church on them, He would no longer call people as Apostles nor gift them like He used to. You must argue against this language, and then defend why God would need to add to His Scripture more, because it seems that Apostles and the gifts were meant for that main purpose, namely the creation of the N.T.

In conclusion your beliefs will ultimately be determined on what you believe on certain issues (I am only going to do either or, although there might be many more beliefs, I am going to take the mains ones:

Either you believe that God has given us Scripture alone as His means to teach us, and spread His Gospel, or you believe that God uses the Bible with Prophecy, Tongues, and Healings. But then why not Church leadership too like the Catholic Church? Or why discount Mormons and other false religions, because they speak in Tongues and Prophecy?

Either you believe the Bible is complete or it isn’t. But if it isn’t how do you know what things should be added, and why haven’t we added anything more?

You either believe God gave certain gifts in power for the building of His church, or you believe He gave those gifts for all church ages, even though there is little use, or evidence that they are here, and have to argue that they are limited because of the lack of faith. But again where is it in the Bible? There are plenty of people with faith, why aren’t they all acting accordingly?

You have to believe that either man is dependent on God for gifts like even Faith Eph. 2:8, or God is dependent on men’s Faith to act. Either God gives us the faith, and then we exercise it and He works, or else He waits for us to have faith (apart from Him) and then He works. One seems pretty Biblical one doesn’t.

In the end, we all can be brothers and sisters in Christ and still disagree on these things. But like I said before I do believe that they will have huge ramifications on your own life, joy, and spiritual growth. Let us be Biblical, and gracious to each other, and seek the truth. Let us lay aside our pride, and where we are wrong admit, and where we are right humbly assert. Let us not be so reliant on experiences for our evidence that we miss what God is actually saying in His holy Word. This article is by not means comprehensive, but is intended to spark conversation and debate. I will respond to any criticisms or questions to the best of my ability.

The Ball is in your court Eric. Have fun!

http://www.imthebeggar.com/index.php/archives/cessationism-is-it-true/

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http://www.thewordonthewordoffaith.com/

THE WORD TVCHECK OUT  THE 24/7 STREAMING/LINIAR LINE UP OF 60+ HRs OF THE VERY BEST Word of Faith EXPOSURE VIDEO AT

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WATCHING TOO MUCH OF THIS HERASY IN ONE SITTING, CAN MAKE YOU PUKE!!! PACE YOUSELF!!!!!!!

http://thewordonthewordoffaithinfoblog.com/2009/04/16/the-word-on-the-word-of-faith-tv/

THIS IS THE VIDEO SERIES THAT EVERY CHRISTIAN MUST SEE!!!!!!!

This powerful 2 DVD set contains three full length documentaries exposing the signs and wonders movement. The money scandals, the false miracles and the manipulative methods of the likes of Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Morris Cerullo, John Avanzini and Rodney Howard-Browne are fully revealed on camera. This shocking material is desperately needed as a cure for the mass-hysteria and worldwide deception being perpetrated by this movement. The DVDs feature expert commentary from leading Christian experts in this field. Coded for all regions (such as USA and UK). Nearly 4 hours total running time.

BUY THE WHOLE SERIES HERE

Promise Keepers, Kenneth Hagan and Freemasonry

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

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

 

 

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

curse

 

wofalbertopk

 

 

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

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

Robert M. Bowman, Jr.

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

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

DIFFERENT IDEAS OF DEIFICATION

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

Monotheistic Deification

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

Polytheistic Deification

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

Panentheistic Deification

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

Positive Confession: Monotheistic or Polytheistic?

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

THE BIBLICAL TEACHING

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

Are Men Called “Gods” in Scripture?

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

The Image of God: An Exact Duplicate?

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

Sons of God: Like Begets Like?

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

Union with Christ: Are Christians Incarnations of God?

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

Does Partaking of the Divine Nature Make Us Gods?

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

DISCERNING ORTHODOX FROM HERETICAL TEACHINGS

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

NOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does Hagin Follow His Own Rules?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bibliography–Footnotes

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

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

3. Ibid.p.l0.

5. Ibid.p.l6.

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOD

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

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

JESUS CHRIST

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

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

THE ATONEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAN

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

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

FAITH

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

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

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

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

AGAINST THE THEOLOGY OF GLORY

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I. Key Terms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. Exposition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, explained it this way: “It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, ‘if you give this offering, God will give you a house.’ And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

http://www.dyingtoliveabundantlife.com/home 

ABOUT Dying to live the Abundant Life. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the point of this webiste.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless your journey to Abundant Living!

 

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

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

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

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

Dr. Burts is author of two books:

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

 

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

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

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

Salvation from Self-Centeredness, Zac Poonen

Jesus came to save us from sin. In other words, He came to save us from self-centredness. Put the word “self-centredness” instead of the word `sin’ in the New Testament and you’ll see what meaning comes up in many passages. “Sin shall not be master over you” becomes “Self-centredness will not be master over you” (Rom. 6:14). That’s God’s desire for His people. And yet if we examine our lives, we’ll find that even in our most sacred desires, there is self-centredness. To ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit can be a self-centred desire, if we want this power in order to be a great preacher, or a great healer etc., That’s as self-centred a desire as wanting to be great in this world. Do you see how sin enters even into the most holy place? That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, first of all, not even that we might be filled with the Spirit, but that God’s name might be hallowed.

Only a truly spiritual man can pray this prayer in sincerity. Anyone can repeat this prayer, of course. Even a parrot can do that. But to really mean it, from the depths of our hearts, will require a total devotion to God, where He is first in our lives, where we are centred in Him, and where we are not seeking His blessing as much as Himself. If He gives us His gifts, well and good; and if He does not give us any gifts that’s all right with us too, because we long for God Himself, and not His gifts.

Why did God teach the Israelites to love Him with all their hearts and to love their neighbour as themselves? Only to deliver them from their self-centredness.

There is an acrostic on the word joy that says, “Put J – Jesus first, O – others next, and Y – yourself last. Then you can have joy.” God is perpetually full of joy. There is no sorrow or anxiety in heaven, because everything is centred in God. The angels are always rejoicing, because they are centred in God.

The reason we lack joy, peace, and so many other spiritual virtues is because we haven’t found our proper centre. We tend to use God for our own ends. Our prayers reveal how self-centred we are.

“Delight yourself in the Lord” the Bible says, “and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psa. 37:4). To delight ourselves in the Lord is to put God at the centre of our lives. And so it is only a God-centred person who can have all the desires of his heart. “No good thing, will God withhold from those who walk uprightly (that is, from those who are walking with their head on top – who have God controlling their lives)” (Psalm 84:11).

“The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much” – and the righteous man is the God-centred man (James 5:16). On the contrary, the fervent prayer of the self-centred man, even if he prays all night is going to avail nothing. It is the type of life we live that gives value to the prayer we pray. That’s why the first three longings of our life should be : “Father, Your Name should be hallowed. Your kingdom should come. Your will should be done.”

We may have many other requests such as, “Heal me of my backache, help me to find a better house to live in, help my son to get a job,” etc. These are all good requests. But if you can say, “Father, even if you don’t grant these requests, my primary desire is that Your Name will be glorified” – then you’re a spiritual man.

© Copyright – Zac Poonen

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

http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/word_for_the_week.php?display=04_03&year=01

 

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

ABOUT Dying to live the Abundant Life.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the point of this webiste.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless your journey to Abundant Living!

 

http://www.dyingtoliveabundantlife.com/home

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

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

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

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

Dr. Burts is author of two books:

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

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

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

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

 

Reckoning On Our Death With Christ
By John Woodward
August 24, 1998

The believer in Christ should glory in what the Lord Jesus accomplished on Calvary’s cross! The apostle Paul might have boasted in his sensational experiences, revelational knowledge, and missionary achievements, but instead he wisely gave credit to whom credit is always due: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .” (Gal 6:14a).

We rejoice that Christ died for us and fully paid for our sins once for all. (Heb 10:10). Yet we are prone to overlook the wonderful reality that we died with Christ, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Rom 6:6). Although we still have the world, the flesh, and the devil to contend with, we are fully equipped through our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. “(God’s) divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness . . . “(2 Peter 1:3 ).

Depend upon the fact that through our death with Christ we have been set free from sin’s dominion, from the law’s condemnation, and from the world’s values (Rom Ch 6,7, Gal 6:14b).

How can we be more consistent in living this new quality of life? We must reckon these spiritual realities as ours in Christ (Rom 6:11).

Jessie Penn-Lewis anticipated our potential objection: ” ‘ But I have reckoned thus, and it seems nought but reckoning a lie,’ cries some longing heart. Ah, soul, maybe your eyes are in the wrong direction. You are looking within, occupied more with your ‘reckoning’ than with the work of your Saviour. The Holy Spirit will not bear witness to your ‘ reckon ‘, apart from the object of your reckoning. Look away to Calvary. The Lord Jesus died on your behalf, and as your Representative carried you with Him to His Cross. Are you honestly determined to part with every known sin, and willing for the death with Christ to be wrought out in your experience? Then from this crucial moment See yourself as nailed to the tree with your crucified Lord. Relying upon the Holy Spirit, and in faith in the word of God, ‘Let not sin therefore reign’. . . Hidden in Christ upon His Cross, and joined to Him in His life, thy part, O child of God, is the continual choice of thy will . . . Do not struggle with aught that comes to thee, but hand over all to Him Whose life thou dost share, and thou shalt find that He is able to deliver and to keep thee day by day.” (The Cross of Calvary p. 28)

Hallelujah for the triumph of the Crucified One!

Our Father, forgive us for boasting in anyone but You. Thank You for the profound truths of our spiritual union with Christ. We accept this testimony of the rewards of Calvary and ask You to make them effectual in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Christ’s name, amen.

JBW August 24, ’98

http://www.gracenotebook.com/pub/123

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

ABOUT Dying to live the Abundant Life. 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the point of this webiste.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless your journey to Abundant Living!

 

 

http://www.dyingtoliveabundantlife.com/home 

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

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

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

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

Dr. Burts is author of two books:

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

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

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

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An End of Ourselves, by Zac Poonen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Copyright – Zac Poonen

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

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

 

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

ABOUT Dying to live the Abundant Life.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the point of this webiste.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless your journey to Abundant Living! 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Dr. Burts is author of two books:

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

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

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

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The Way of the Cross, by Zac Poonen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what it means to die to Self.

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

© Copyright – Zac Poonen

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the point of this webiste.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless your journey to Abundant Living! 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Dr. Burts is author of two books:

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

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

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

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Bearing the Cross
By John Woodward
May 17, 1999

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JBW May 17, ’99 vol 2 # 20

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

ABOUT the Center for Biblical Counseling

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vision

The vision is for lay biblical counseling in every church.

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

About Dr. Greg Burts

Author of two books

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

The Lord’s Calling

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

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

Pastoral and Counseling Experience

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

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

http://www.centerforbiblicalcounseling.org/about

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SOME TESTIMONIES

Pastors Testimonials

October 15, 2005

John Headley, Cell Director
Pastoral Care
GateWay City Church

To Pastors and Church Leaders,

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

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

May 6, 2005

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

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

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

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

June 15, 2002

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

Dear Fellow Pastors:

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

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

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

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

Students Testimonials

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

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

Doris Stanley
Manager, Human Resources
Deloitte & Touche

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

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

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

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

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

Cora Harper
Director Abundant Life Christian Fellowship
Biblical Counseling Ministry

“Biblical counseling approach is the answer to my prayers”

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

Geraldine Wilson
Biblical Counselor
Abundant Life Christian Fellowship

link here

 

 

A Response to, “The Prosperity Gospel in Nigeria: A Re-Examination of the Concept, Its Impact, and an Evaluation” (Note: Click on the title to see the article being discussed).

 

Although I am not familiar with the author of this article in online theological journal, Cyberjournal For Pentecostal-Charismatic Research (http://www.pctii.org/cyberj/), I am familiar with pentecostal-charismatic theology in general and with the prosperity gospel in particular. Having spent ten years or more of my life within the pentecostal-charismatic movement, I feel that I am qualified to comment on the doctrinal aberrations and distinctions of various traditions within the broader movement. Additionally, my theological training was completed at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in Lakeland, Florida. (Now known as Southeastern University, a mostly liberal arts college). Although my seminary training was completed at Asbury Theological Seminary, I was a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies for two years.

As a young pentecostal I at first accepted uncritically most of the things which were being taught in my new local church, which was a member of the Assemblies of God denomination, and in home prayer group meetings and Sunday school classes. Although I was well read in the Scriptures, I thought that these folks knew something that I did not since I was only a new Christian having recently accepted Jesus Christ as my savior at age twenty-five. But the longer I was a member of the church and the more I read Holy Scripture some things did not seem to agree with what the total context of Scripture seemed to say. However, I continued to set aside my reservations under extreme peer pressure and group control.

In my opinion the severe control tactics of pentecostal-charismatic groups approaches the level of spiritual abuse and maybe even the level of cults like the Moonies or the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Those who question the doctrines or practices of the group are severely attacked and forced out.

The theological roots of the pentecostal-charismatic movement lies within the Wesleyan holiness movement of the 19th century and its later influence upon those on the more Augustinian/Calvinist side of things in the so-called Keswick or Higher Life movement. The Wesleyan holiness movement further developed its theology from John Wesley’s theology of entire sanctification, which was apparently an adaptation from the Anglican doctrine of confirmation and from an Eastern Orthodox doctrine of deification.

While Wesley’s doctrine of justification by faith alone was taken from the Reformed views of the Moravians, his other doctrinal innovations came from a more semi-pelagian view of things via William Law and Eastern Orthodoxy. The real problem with Wesley’s doctrine of entire sanctification, however, is that it leads to a division between ordinary Christians and those who are “carnal” or “baby” Christians. While Wesley himself never claimed to have attained the state of entire sanctification it is almost certain that he believed he was in such a state. Later holiness theology of the 19th century went beyond Wesley in saying that a second work of grace or entire sanctification could be instantaneously received much like a conversion experience, whereas Wesley taught that entire sanctification was a gradual process and at some culmination later a state of entire sanctification or sinless perfect was reached. Phoebe Palmer, a female lay preacher with the Free Methodist Church, is credited with making this innovation of an instantaneous experience of entire sanctification, thereby laying the groundwork for the pentecostal revival of the 20th century. The Keswick higher life movement borrowed from the Wesleyans and led to such groups as the Moody Bible Institute and the Christian Missionary Alliance.

All this essentially created two groups of Christians, those who were in the know and those who were barely saved by the skin of their teeth. A spiritual elite, if you will, and a not so spiritual second class level of Christians who needed more. This, combined with the extreme emphasis on eschatology and the end times, led to the emphasis on the restoration of all the New Testament spiritual gifts from the apostolic period, including the supernatural gifts of healing, miracles, signs, wonders, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, prophecy, tongues and interpretation, etc. This emphasis on hidden knowledge available only to the spiritual elite sounds an awful lot like gnosticism.

Which brings us to the beginning of a second innovation that sprang up out of the pentecostal revival. From the initial pentecostal revival beginning in Topeka, Kansas and the Bible institute run by Charles Parham to the spread to the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, California with the black holiness preacher, William J. Seymour, the pentecostal movement was prone to heterodoxy and even outright heresy. In 1914 the Assemblies of God was forced to formulate a basic doctrinal statement emphasizing traditional trinitarian theology in response to the so-called “New Issue.” The Jesus Only baptism movement had led directly to a denial of the trinity and the separation of many churches into several anti-trinitarian pentecostal groups.

A third heretical group arose from the theology of the 1940’s healing movement under ministers like Kenneth Hagin and William Branham. Hagin in particular is known as the father of the Word of Faith movement. Hagin initially claimed to have received his doctrines by “revelation knowledge” or by direct revelation from God. Later, however, scholars like D.R. McConnell, formerly a professor of New Testament at Oral Roberts University, exposed the fact that Hagin had instead plagiarized word from word from works by E.W. Kenyon, a baptist minister who had accepted the doctrine of divine healing. The trouble was that Kenyon himself had syncretized his baptist theology with Christian Science and New Thought doctrines he had picked up while a student of oratory at Emerson College in Boston.

This extreme emphasis on visualization and speaking positive confessions sounds like Christian Science precisely because that is the original source of such aberrant thinking. If you will forgive the pun, the Word of Faith Movement is “stinking thinking” in and of itself! I would agree with D.R. McConnell that the Word of Faith movement is indeed a heresy of the first order and that those involved in the movement are in need of a conversion to Christ. The health and wealth gospel or prosperity gospel is really a different gospel and completely foreign to biblical theology.

When the charismatic renewal struck the mainline denominations in the 1960’s, beginning with Dennis Bennett, a Episcopal minister in Van Nuys, California, the pentecostal theology of spirit baptism and spirit gifts was adapted by dropping the pentecostal insistence on the “initial physical evidence of speaking in tongues” as evidence of receiving the second work of grace or Spirit baptism. Unfortunately, liberal mainline converts to the charismatic movement did not forsake their tendencies to accommodate to culture and liberal theology. They also apparently had no problem with Christian Science or the Word of Faith movement as this was readily assimilated as well. Additionally, the traditional classical pentecostal denominations were one by one subdued by the charismatic movement, though they did “officially” stick to their doctrines of initial physical evidence and second or even third works of grace.

Thus, what we see today is a hodgepodge of theology within the charismatic-pentecostal movement at large such that the prosperity gospel is almost synonymous with the charismatic-pentecostal movement. I might also mention that classical pentecostalism has been assimilated into the charismatic movement for the most part. Thus, most pentecostal churches look and sound more like charismatic churches than pentecostal churches. The former emphasis on biblical exposition has given way to an extreme emphasis on the supernatural to the point that experience is the source of doctrine rather than Scripture. It is therefore no surprise that heretical movements within the pentecostal-charismatic tradition have arisen many times since the turn of the twentieth century. I might mention the Latter Rain Movement, the oneness pentecostal movement, the Word of Faith Movement, Kingdom Now, the Shepherding Movement, etc., et. al.

What I find particularly troubling about the article referred to in the link in the title is that the author, Dr. George O. Folarin, seems to have no problem accepting the prosperity gospel as biblical. He as much as admits there are problems with the doctrine in statements like these:

A major problem with the prosperity gospel as presently practiced in Nigeria is that it is not fully delivering on its promises. There are still many sincere Christians who are financially poor, sick, and/or demon oppressed. For Christians who believe in the truth of Scripture, the fault cannot be with God and his promises. It must be the interpretations that prosperity gospel preachers use to justify the theology that are wrong. Some Christians tend to believe that in the attempt to provide answers to the existence of evil on earth despite belief in an all-powerful and all-good God, preachers of prosperity have sometimes ended up creating a truncated gospel of salvation. http://www.pctii.org/cyberj/cyberj16/folarin.html 

The problem is that the prosperity gospel is based more on the confirmation by ecstatic experiences of charismatics or pentecostals than on a sound exposition of Holy Scripture. If Holy Scripture is the final word in matters of faith and doctrine, then experience must take a backseat to Scripture. Also problematic is the origin of the prosperity gospel in the Word of Faith movement, which is itself a syncretization of Christian Science and New Thought doctrines with Christianity.

Dr. Folarin also admits that many adherents, teachers and preachers within prosperity gospel circles have not been discipled in basic Bible theology or traditional Reformed understanding of the Holy Scriptures:

The prosperity gospel, as it stands, however, has serious weaknesses. Some of these are theological. These weaknesses are the results of the faulty hermeneutics that prosperity preachers adopt. Many of them never attended standard theological schools that could help them approach Bible interpretation more systematically. Unfortunately, many of them also never passed through good Sunday School classes that could have helped them in their formative years. Worse still, many prosperity preachers never underwent discipleship training after conversion. If they had been discipled, a fair grasp of biblical theology would have influenced their formulation of prosperity theology. http://www.pctii.org/cyberj/cyberj16/folarin.html

There are other serious flaws in the prosperity gospel, including its understanding of God and Satan as almost equals, which implies dualism rather than the sovereignty of God over all forms of evil (see Isaiah 45:7). The Word of Faith understanding of Jesus as merely a Spirit-empowered man sounds like they either have a deficient understanding of the hypostatic union or they have adopted a doctrine of kenosis which goes beyond merely the voluntary non use of the Son’s divine prerogatives. Thus, the prosperity gospel denies both the sovereignty of God and uses subtle deviations to describe a completely different Jesus from the Jesus described in Holy Scripture. Other issues that go beyond the scope of this brief post could be mentioned. However, I will leave that for another day. It should suffice, however, to note that Anglicans who think the charismatic movement is somehow “conservative” have misplaced their loyalties and joined ranks with those advocating heterodoxies and even outright heresies. If Christ had not said, “Upon this rock I will build my church,” I would have cause to despair.

May the peace of God be with you.

Thoughts On the Current Economic Crisis

by Isaiah on October 13, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maranatha!

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

prosperitygospeldropouts

(Cartoon from the Back Pew)

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

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The Wages of Unrepented Greed and Pulpit Peddling is Death

prosperity-kills

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

The Thought-terminating Cliché

Clichés are the simplistic, thought-negating, tired, and generally vague notions, ideas, images, and expressions that people use in place of true thought. Dictionaries typically define clichés as trite phrases or expressions, for example:

“You only get out of life what you put into it.”
“There you go!”
“Time takes time.”

What do these clichés really mean? When they are put in equivolent words their inanity emerges. For example:

  • “I’m a work in progress.” = “I’m still not dead.”
  • “Life is a journey.” = “In my life I will go places and do things.”
  • “It is what it is.” = “It exists.”
  • “It will be what it will be.” = In time something will change, or else it won’t.”

In other words these clichés are empty of thought beyond the transparently obvious truth they express. So why are they used so often. Perhaps it is becuase when real thought is desired to truly express the distinct meaning appropriate to a unique situation (a predicament that calls upon some reflection and search for appropriate expression – appropriate to thinker and his/her context) these clichés spring to mind. They come to relieve you of the difficulty of thinking for yourself: they’ll think for you. The more you use them the harder they are to get rid of. Keep in mind that clichés also include the ideas that they express! This is the true danger of using them. By doing so you relinquish your own awareness, feeling, and ideas and surrender yourself to the vagueness of the cliché. Thinking then becomes thought via “clipthoughts”.

Robert Jay Lifton calls this surrender to the cliché “thought-terminating cliché”. When such a cliché is used it does not permit analysis, or discussion. The conversation is over. It is characteristic of totalitarian regimes and totalitarian approaches to relationships. When someone trots out one of the following during the analysis of a complex human problem you know the conversation has ended. These clichés are by nature highly reductive, definitive-sounding, easily memorized, and easily expressed. They are also totally empty in that there is no relationship between the words, their meanings, and the topic or person at hand. Here are some we all have bumped into:

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion.”
“We will have to agree to disagree.”
“Such is life.”
“We are just different.”

Here Big Frank is making reference to the verbal clues (clichés) to the vacuousness of the thought. There are also visual clues, clipart, for example. Perhaps the key notion here is one of awareness of self and the world coupled with an ability to express one’s individual way of seeing things. It requires effort. Here’s William Stafford’s view on discovering his own way of looking at things, which he characterizes in almost romantic terms as finding his MUSE.

http://bigfrankdickinson.blogspot.com/2008/07/clichs-are-simplistic-thought-negating.html

  

 

 

The Cone of Silence

Controlling churches often have unspoken codes of conduct. In the Word of Faith we had a “code of silence” which was the result of some doctrinal combinations: faith, positive confession and submission to authority. Exercising faith through words is an important component of the WOF. We wanted to plant God’s Word in our hearts and “have what we say.” To stay strong in faith, we avoided talking in a way that could be construed as unbelief or doubt of God’s Word or what we believed His promises were. We did not want to have an attitude of disrespect or harbor grudges against other Christians (a.k.a.”Walk in love”). Not only did we believe it would have an adverse effect on your faith, but also it was implied that it could cause a person to fail in life or even die.

The end result was that there were a whole lot of things that we did not talk about. If you felt sick, you were experiencing “symptoms” (but you were NOT going to admit you were sick). If you were broke you found some way to infer that you were low on cash besides saying “I can’t afford it.”

You can imagine the disaster that awaits someone who needs serious medical treatment that is trying to fight “symptoms”. It was okay to use doctors and medicine, just take your healing confessions with you to read while you are in the waiting room. But what if someone is afraid to go to the doctor? They might put off medical attention with “faith” alone as their excuse only to find themselves in a terrible situation (We didn’t confess fear, by the way). We could also do a separate post on people in desperate financial straits giving money into offerings that can’t afford while making their prosperity confessions. You can see that there could be a variety of unexpected consequences from this faith teaching.

But one truly unexpected consequence (for me, anyway) is the culture that is created in a church where these teachings are the norm: If there is a problem that reflects poorly on the leadership, you can’t talk about it! The way we treated ministers and leaders in our old church seems based on the assumption that leaders do not err. So if there is, for example, a serious question about how church finances are handled, you are not being submissive to God’s appointed leader by bringing it up. Not only are you rebelling if you persist with such questions, you are harming your faith by failing to “walk in love”! This would probably play out differently if there was transparency in the church power structure. However, the pastor is presented as the visionary of the church and the pinnacle of the power structure. If there are moral issues or financial questions, or problems that stem from nepotism, you are just supposed to tolerate it. You might even find yourself blackballed by the leadership and some congregants for speaking out.

The code of silence is widespread. There are many ministers in the WOF that understand there is a problem but most don’t “rock the boat”. I understand now why the prophets and Jesus himself had to continually confront the error of the religious establishment.

Looking back, it was really more like the cone of silence for the program Get Smart. We were in our little cones of silence as if we were in our own worlds…with Charles Capps minibooks in our pockets.

 

Heresies of the Word Faith Movement

Have you heard of Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Fred Price, Paul Crouch, Kathryn Kuhlman, or Marilyn Hickey? There are many proponents of the Word Faith Movement, which currently endorse a great number of heresies and blasphemies.

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

The Scriptures mandate that we mark those who teach doctrine which is contrary to the Holy Word of God…AND AVOID THEM.

Below is a listing of the afore mentioned Word Faith Preachers/Teachers. Next to each of their quotes we’ve countered with the Truth as found in the Word of God. Read for yourself, take it to the Lord, and you decide what you are going to do regarding Romans 16:17-18.

 

Joyce Meyer
I no longer sin“I’m going to tell you something folks, I didn’t stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn’t a sinner anymore. And the religious world thinks that’s heresy and they want to hang you for it. But the Bible says that I’m righteous and I can’t be righteous and be a sinner at the same time…All I was ever taught to say was, ‘I’m a poor, miserable sinner.’ I am not poor, I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. That is what I was and if I still am then Jesus died in vain. Amen” (Doctrinal Ambiguity of a Wandering Star-The Changing views of Joyce Meyer, G. Richard Fisher and Paul R. Belli) “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). “It is Christ’s righteousness imparted to us, not ours, that makes us righteous” (Ibid.).    

Christ’s redemptive work culminated in Hell and not ultimately and completely on the Cross?“There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth I am presenting. You cannot go to heaven unless you believe with all your heart that Jesus took your place in hell” (The Most important Decision You will Ever Make, 1991, Joyce Meyer).”His spirit went to hell because that is where we deserved to go. Remember in the very beginning of this, I said, ‘When you die, only your body dies. The rest of you, your soul and spirit, goes either to heaven or hell'” (Ibid.).”During that time He entered hell, where you and I deserved to go (legally) because of our sin. He paid the price there…no plan was too extreme…Jesus paid on the cross and in hell” (Ibid., pg. 35).”Jesus went to hell for you” (Ibid., pg. 38).  

 

 

“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. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:” (Colossians 1:20-22, KJV)
Using Gamaliel logic as authoritative“It amazes me, and not only does it amaze me, it aggravates me. These people who think they’ve got a ministry of exposing what’s wrong with everybody else…Why is it that people think that it’s their call to go around and find out what’s wrong with everybody else and print it? Do you know when people were try to stop Jesus, finally some very wise man said, ‘Why don’t you just leave us alone? If it’s of God, you’re not gonna stop it. And if it’s not God, it won’t last too long anyway.’ Hallelujah! I mean, that’s just the way I feel about it” (“Like a Mighty Wind”, Joyce Meyer) “[Gamaliel] concludes that a genuine work of God will succeed, but a religion of human origin will fail. Gamaliel’s logic is seriously flawed because he allows for only two possible sources or explanations for these religious movements–Human or Divine…The Scriptures warn of demonic or Satanic origin to much counterfeit religious belief and even miraculous phenomena. Using Gamaliel’s logic, we would have to conclude that religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and modern cults such as the Mormons, Baha’i and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are all inspired by God because they have not ‘failed.’…Gamaliel is not a model of godly wisdom that Christians should emulate. His counsel, both in terms of what he advised the Sanhedrin to do and believe, was seriously flawed and most likely inspired by Satan” (Banner Ministries Mainstream Newsletter, Spring 1995, pg. 10)Romans 16:17-18 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (KJV)    

Blab it and Grab it“Remember then, that the Word of God is both spirit and life, use wisdom and begin speaking life to your situation” (The Name, the Word, The Blood, Joyce Meyer, pg. 38).”Words are containers for power” (Ibid., pg. 37)    

“…Word-Faith teachers advocate that through speaking and positive affirmations we can create our own reality. They usually refer to Genesis 1 and show that God spoke the world into existence and extrapolate that we, too, can speak creative words and can speak reality into existence. The fact that the premise breaks down because we are not God, does not deter Meyer…” (Doctrinal Ambiguity of a Wandering Star-The Changing views of Joyce Meyer, G. Richard Fisher and Paul R. Belli)

 

Kenneth Hagin
Suggestive, Hypnotic Healing Methods“The Lord said to me, ‘This is the primary way you are to minister, with the healing anointing. However, the healing anointing will not work unless you tell the people exactly what I told you. That is, you tell the people exactly what I told you. Tell them that you saw me. Tell them that I spoke to you. Tell them that I laid the finger of my right hand in the palm of each of your hands.’ Then Jesus smiled and added, ‘The anointing is not in your feet-I did not tell you to lay your feet on anybody. The anointing is not in your head-I did not tell you to lay your head on anybody. It is in your hands. Tell the people that I told you to tell them that if they belief that-that is, you are anointed-and will receive that anointing, that power will flow from your hands into their bodies, and it will drive out their sickness or their disease, and it will affect a healing and a cure in them’ (The Toronto Blessing, Slaying in the Spirit-The Telling Wonder, Nader Mikhaeil, Southwood Press Pty Limited, Australia, pg. 175) “This kind of talk-‘Tell people that I appeared to you, that I spoke to you, that I laid the finger of my right hand in your palm’-is designed to increase, and to heighten the expectation of the sick person who will be more susceptible to the suggestion of Hagin. Such techniques are essential to any hypnotic process. Hypnotists differentiate between what they call intimate conviction, and good intention of their subject. It is this intimate conviction that is needed to obtain better results. This manner of speaking-‘tell them…tell them…’-is designed to achieve this intimate conviction. When the apostle Peter met the paralyzed man at the beautiful gate of the temple, he did not give him a lengthy pep talk to heighten his expectations of a miracle…Peter simply said: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ AND THE MAN WALKED” (Ibid., pp. 175-176)!
Jesus Christ’s Healings are not forever?“During the great healing revival, evangelists would hold short meetings, and I’d come along behind them with longer meetings. By the time I got there, I often found people who had been healed in those meetings already had lost their healing. That happened in my meetings too..That is why I changed my ministry and did more teaching. Yes, I could advertise my vision, fill up an auditorium, and get many people healed-but they wouldn’t keep their healing…” (Ibid., pg. 176) “The Bible, the Word of God, is the Word of Truth. The Bible did not omit any aspect of truth that we ought to have known. Had there been any relapsed healings during the ministry of the Lord Jesus, or even during that of one of the Old Testament prophets and had the Bible not given an account of it, the Bible would be charged with hiding the truth, for half truth is not truth at all…But there are no relapsed healings in the Word of God. A relapse is not the mark of the hand of God” (Ibid., pp. 176-177).
Twisting the Scriptures regarding Healing…“Hagin describes one incident in which he was visiting one of his church members. This man had been healed some nine months before from back pain which he had suffered for twenty-five years. Hagin noticed that the back pain had returned and the man seemed even worse than before. Hagin wanted to convince the man that the Lord had actually healed him. But the man said, ‘I’ll tell you what I believe: I believe if God ever does anything, it’s done. If God ever heals anybody, they’re healed forever.’ Hagin said, ‘You mean if a fellow ever gets healed, then he’s always healed?’ Yeah’, the man replied. Hagin replied, ‘Well, isn’t that something? Jesus did not know that. He didn’t know you couldn’t lose your healing or the blessings of God. When He appeared in a vision to John on the Isle of Patmos and gave him a message for one of the churches in Asia Minor he told them to ‘hold fast’ to what they had. Why hold fast to it if you can’t lose it?…Hagin then stood there teaching that man for over an hour….” (Ibid., pp. 177-178). “The word ‘hold’ refers to the teaching they have received, not to healing. For some in the church in Pergamum were holding the doctrine of Balaam, and the Nicolaitans. In the church in Thyatira there was a false prophetess who was introducing seductive teachings. The Lord was warning the church not to listen to her but to hold fast to the true teaching, not to hold fast to a healing. What a degrading of the power of God! Can you imagine any of the blind men Jesus healed becoming blind again? What a ”laugh” that would be. The high priests and the Jewish leaders would have found enough cause to kill the Lord Jesus for being a magician or wizard. However, they could not find one reason to kill him, except in their claim that he blasphemed by saying that He was the Son of God. If there was one healing that relapsed that would have been strong evidence that Jesus was a false healer, a trickster” (Ibid., pg. 178).
Prayer is ‘Negative Confession’? Many times you lose by praying! You lose by turning in your prayer requests. That might startle you, but what you are doing is confessing, I don’t have it” (Ibid., pg. 180). “Does this not fly in the face of what the Bible plainly teaches? …What of Paul, who exhorted his readers to, ‘pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you .’ (1 Thess. 5:17-18)…Or what then of James, who said that ‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’ (James 5:16)…John encourages us by saying: ‘And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.’ (1 John 5:15)” (Ibid., pp. 180-181).
Handkerchiefs impart Spiritual Rebirth?“Hagin recorded a very telling story about the source of the manifestations brought by his hands. A mother came to him, asking him to his hands on a handkerchief. The mother the traveled 300 miles to a hospital where her daughter lay unconscious. The doctors were planning to remove a tumor from the daughter, who was also diabetic. The mother went to where her daughter lay and ‘under the oxygen tent, laid the handkerchief on her daughter’s chest. The minute it touched her, she revived. She was healed, born again, filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, all in one application” (Ibid., pg. 188). “Hagin tells us that this daughter was healed, born again, filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues as soon as his handkerchief was placed on her chest. We have no difficulty believing that the daughter could be healed because of the handkerchief. But how could she be born again…? Believing comes by hearing the word of God and believing it, not by touching a handkerchief. In Romans 10:17 Paul says, ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’…The healing did not make her a child of God. Hagin had to say that this daughter was born again. How could an unbeliever speak in tongues? …If an unbeliever can speak in tongues these tongues cannot be from God. Hagin was forced to state that the daughter was born again…which is completely unscriptural” (Ibid., pg. 189).

 

Kenneth Copeland
Jesus died Spiritually? (JDS) “The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. And at the moment that He did so, He cried, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?’ You don’t know what happened at the cross. Why do you think Moses, upon instruction of God, raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me. I said, “Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there-the sign of Satan? Why didn’t you put a lamb on the pole?’ And the Lord said, ‘Because it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.’ He said, ‘I accepted, in My own spirit, spiritual death; and the light was turned off.‘” (Christianity in Crisis, Hank Hanegraaff, Harvest House, Oregon, pp. 157-158). “Numerous passages in God’s Word attest that our sins have been dealt with ‘through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10; cf. Romans 7:4; Colossians 1:22; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; 4:1). This poses three difficult questions for the Faith teachers’ view of the atonement. First, why is there no explicit mention of Christ’s alleged “spiritual” death, while the Bible is replete with details on the fact and significance of His physical death-especially if it was His spiritual death that did away with the curse? Second, why does the Bible place so much emphasis on Christ’s physical death-to the exclusion of His alleged spiritual death-if His physical death was not the factor that eradicated sin? Third, why is it that Christ Himself told us to remember the sacrifice He made with His body and blood (both of which are essentially physical), while saying nothing about any spiritual sacrifice (cf. Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26)? All the biblical evidence indicates that Jesus never died spiritually and that His physical death paid the price for humanity’s sin” (Ibid, pp. 161-162).
Anybody could do what Jesus did on the Cross? Jesus had to go through that same spiritual death in order to pay the price. It wasn’t the physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin. Because if it had of been any prophet of God that had died for the last couple of thousand of years before that could have paid that price. It wasn’t physical death. Anybody could do that.” (“What Satan saw on the day of Pentecost” tape #02-0022) Romans 5:9-10 – Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (KJV)Revelation 1:5 – And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,(KJV) If Kenneth Copeland really believes this, he is lost in his sins and cannot be a born-again Christian.
We are gods? Shirley McClaine Teachings?“He is a spirit. And Jesus said the time will come and time now is that they that worship him worship him, in spirit and in truth. And he imparted in you when you were born again…Peter said it just as plain, he said we are partakers of the divine nature. That nature is life eternal in absolute perfection. And that was imparted, injected into your spirit man and you have that imparted into you by God just as same as you imparted into your child the nature of humanity. That child wasn’t born a whale…born a human. Isn’t that true? Well now you don’t have a human, do you? No, you are one. You don’t have a god in you, you are one” (“The Force of Love”, tape #02-0028) Genesis 3:4-5And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 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. (KJV)Isaiah 14:12-14 – 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. (KJV)
Copeland says that he’s the Christ?“He am healing. He am deliverance. He am financial prosperity, mental prosperity, physical prosperity, family prosperity. It’s terrible grammar, but you understand what I’m saying. I’m saying it to effect my mind. He am whatever He hath to be. Because he said he’d meet my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus and I’m walking around saying, ‘Yes my needs are met according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Glory to God. I’m cousin and kin to the need maker. I’m cousin and kin to the need meeter. I’m cousin and kin to the I AM. Hallelujah. [applause] And I say this with all respect so that it don’t upset you too bad. But I say it anyway. When I read in the Bible where he says “I AM” I just smile and say, “I AM too.” [applause] (“Believers Voice of Victory” broadcast, TBN 7/9/87). Matthew 24:4-5 – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (KJV)

 

Paul Crouch
Paul Crouch is a god? “Do you know what else that has settled then tonight? This hue and cry and controversy that has been spawned by the devil to try and bring dissension within the Body of Christ. That we are gods. I am a little god. I have his name. I’m one with him. I’m in covenant relationship. I am a little god. (Kenneth Copeland: “You are anything that he is.”) Yes.” (“Praise the Lord” TBN, recorded 07/07/86). Genesis 3:4-5And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 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. (KJV) Isaiah 14:12-14 – 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. (KJV)
In meekness instructing those…“I want to say to all you scribes, Pharisees, heresy hunters, all of you that are going around picking little bits of doctrinal error out of everybody’s eyes and dividing the body of Christ and arguing over splinters and doctrinal hairs and dissipating and wasting all of our time when the world is all going to hell. I say “Get out of God’s way! Quit blocking God’s bridges! Or God’s gonna shoot you if I don’t” (“Praise-a-thon” TBN, recorded 04/02/91). 2 Timothy 2:24-25 – And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (KJV)Titus 3:1-2 – Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. (KJV)
Doctrine is not important?“I refuse to argue any longer with any of you out there. Don’t even call in if you want to argue doctrine. If you want to straighten somebody out over here. If you want to criticize Ken Copeland for his preaching on faith or Dad Hagen. Get out of my life. I don’t want to even talk to you or hear you. I don’t want to see your ugly face. Get out of my face in Jesus’ name” (“Praise-a-thon” TBN, recorded 04/02/91). 2 Timothy 4:3-4For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (KJV)

 

Fred Price
God has displeasure in the poor?“Yeah, God has pleasure in the prosperity. So he must have displeasure in the poverty. So if he does, then poverty couldn’t be from God. Yeah, but Brother Price, but God allows it. God lets it happen. You’re right, he does. He does, because you do. He can’t do anything about it” (“Ever Increasing Faith” recorded 11/16/90). James 2:5 – Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (NIV)
Following Jesus’ steps is driving a Rolls Royce?“The whole point is I’m trying to get you to see to get you out of this malaise of thinking that Jesus and the disciples were poor and then relating that to you thinking that you as a child of God have to follow Jesus. The Bible says that he has left us an example that we should follow his steps. That’s the reason why I drive a Rolls Royce. I’m following Jesus’ steps” [Amen, All Right from congregation] (“Ever Increasing Faith” recorded 12/09/90, tape #CRA2). Philippians 2:4-8 – Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (KJV)
Jesus called God a fool?“When I first get saved, they didn’t tell me I could do anything. What they told me to do is whenever I prayed I should say “The will of the Lord be done.” Now doesn’t that sound humble? It does. Sounds like humility. It’s really stupidity. I mean you know, really, we insult God. We really insult our heavenly father. We really insult him without even realizing it. If you have to say, ‘If it be thy will’ or ‘Thy will be done.’ If you have to say that, you are calling God a fool. Luke 11:1-2 – And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (KJV)

 

Benny Hinn
We are christs? We are gods?“When you say ‘I am saved,’ what are you saying? You are saying I am a Christian. What does that word mean? Means that I am anointed. Do you know what anointed means? It means Christ. When you say I am a Christian, you are saying…I am a little messiah walking on the earth in other words. That’s a shocking revelation…His spirit and our spirit man are one. United. There is no separation, it is impossible. The new creation is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. The new man is after God, like God, God-like, complete in Christ Jesus, the new creation is just like God. May I say it like this, you are a little god on earth running around” (“Praise-a-thon” TBN, recorded November, 1990). Matthew 24:4-5 – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (KJV)Genesis 3:4-5And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 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. (KJV)
We are as God is?“…Kenneth Hagen has a teaching. A lot of you have problems with it, yet it is absolute truth. Kenneth Copeland has a teaching. Many Christians have put holes in it, but it’s divine truth. Hagen and Copeland say, “you are god”, “ye are gods”-“I can’t be God!” Hold it, let’s bring balance to this teaching. The balance is being taught by Hagen. It’s those that repeat it that mess it up. The balance is being taught by Copeland, who is my dear friend…You see dear brother, when Jesus was on Earth, the Bible says that first he disrobed himself of the divine form. He, the limitless God became a man, that we men may become as he is” (“Our Position in Christ” tape #A031190-1) Isaiah 14:12-14 – 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. (KJV)

 

Kathryn Kuhlman
Origins of Slain in the Spirit“The New Testament, which is our perfect pattern, records no events where a minister caused people to fall on the floor. This particular phenomenon appears, from my research, to have actually commenced with Miss Kuhlman and a handful of other healing evangelists …Usually the person was caught by those who were called catchers…and they remained on the floor only briefly. With Kathryn Kuhlman, there appeared no distinction as to who was slain, including Jewish Rabbis, Catholic priests and nuns, unsaved individuals or simply whosoever might get…special prayer” (Kathryn Kuhlman & Her Spirit Guide, Joseph R. Chambers, Paw Creek Ministries, North Carolina, pg. 8). “That in itself is enough to forever settle the absence of validity and biblical support. The Holy Spirit never acts indiscriminately in His Holy touch on human lives. Second, whatever He does brings honor only to Jesus Christ and always has deep and profound purpose. The Kingdom of God does not play with human emotions and sensational activities. The overwhelming factor is that this questionable phenomenon has spread all over the church world and has followed exactly the pattern commenced by Miss Kuhlman. Benny Hinn actually tells of an individual slain in the Spirit/spirit with a cigarette in his mouth.” (Ibid., pg. 8).
Catholic Priests created the proper climate?“She had a special love for doctors, and wanted them either on the stage or on the front rows of the auditorium. The same was true of priests and nuns -especially if they were ‘in uniform.’ Nothing thrilled Kathryn more than to have thirty or forty Catholic clergymen, especially if they wore clerical collars, or, better yet, cassocks, sitting behind her while she ministered. Somehow it seemed to lend authenticity to what she was doing-and helped create the proper climate of a trust and understanding which was so necessary for a miracle service” Ibid., pg. 7). “Kathryn Kuhlman was apparently the first minister within the Evangelistacl/Pentacostal world that laid a foundation for the new unity movement of religions. It was said by her official biographer, Buckingham, that Miss Kuhlman did not like to conduct her services without Catholic priests on her platform” (Ibid., pg. 7).

 

Marilyn Hickey
Blab it and Grab it? God is not the only Creator?“What do you need? Start creating it. Start speaking about it. Start speaking it into being. Speak to your billfold. Say, ‘You big, thick billfold full of money.” Speak to your checkbook. Say, ‘You checkbook, you. You’ve never been so prosperous since I owned you. You’re just jammed full of money” (Christianity in Crisis, Hank Hanegraaff, Harvest House, Oregon, pg. 351). “Hickey’s teachings are for the most part a blend of the theologies of Tilton, Hagin, Copeland, and a host of other ‘prosperity personalities.’ Her message is peppered with such Faith jargon as ‘the God-kind of faith’ and ‘confession brings possession.’ Hickey’s theology has not only been influenced by the kingdom of the cults, but the world of the occult as well. In fact, her most direct exposure to occultism may well have come from serving on the board of Paul Yonggi Cho” (Ibid., pg. 352).