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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

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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.

link here

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

 

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes? http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200901/1231101182.html

Headline: The How2BecomeAChristian.Info RADIO SHOW with Damon Whitsell AND a very special Guest: YES affirmation to Title Questions. Jan.6 10pm Central http://blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian.

economic

United States of America (Press Release) January 4, 2009 — As one witchcraft site says,,, “The differences between the Christian and witchcraft viewpoint is the difference between being citizens of a society which takes an active role to shape and mold the structure of society or subjects of a society which has the connotation of subordination to the larger group for the benefit of all.

A similar term with very different meanings between Christian and pagan understandings of the word is “self-control”. To those practicing witchcraft they believe that they are the one who has full control over the actions. They do not surrender to another except under very brief, special and voluntary circumstances. Self-control means taking charge, making all decisions relating to oneself, doing anything so long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.

The witch views control as the act of intentionally and positively directing the will toward the achievement of positive goals. The underlying assumption with the witch’s view of self control is that man is inherently valuable, and can achieve good and beneficial ends through the use of will power.” http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/christianity.html

The same Witchcraft website says,,,, “Inanimate nature also obeyed the words of witchcraft and even the creation of the world itself was through a spoken word. The words could tear the earth apart and make water pile up in a heap and even the sun could be stopped in its course by a word uttered in witchcraft.”

Featuring Special Guest, Kenneth Hagin Student, Rhema Bible Training Center Graduate AND Ex-Word of Faith Preacher, John Edwards from faithpreacher.blogspot.com

Subtopics: 1. COULD IT BE THAT?, Americans and the World are now paying the consequences of a false “prosperity gospel“, through economic crises and outrageous personal debt? What will be the end result? 2. Honest, sincere people read and seek the truth. Scared people hide from truth?

This Press release can also be distributed with this URL link: http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com/2009/01/05/special-topic-press-and-listener-release-the-how2becomea-christianinfo-radio-show-with-damon-whitsell-and-a-very-special-guest-topics-1-have-american-christians-accepted-a-false-gospel-that-is-r/

In PART ONE of the series, John and Damon will examine the biblical warnings to beware of false teachers/prophets and BE NOT deceived, because one day God will send a delusion into the world, upon those who love not His truth. They will be delving into the History and Occultic/New Age/Luciferian roots of the Word of Faith Movement. And will be discussing Cult Psychology (why people fall for cults and cultic teachings, including mind control techniques). Do your ears itch?
John Edwards and Damon Whitsell will return on air Tuesday January 13 the following week to cover the assertion made in the Title that the prosperity gospel is to partly to blame for our economic crisis. MORE INFO @ http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com/ AND http://how2becomeachristian.info/

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Special Topic Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Headline: The How2BecomeAChristian.Info Radio show with Damon Whitsell AND a very special Guest: Topics; 1. Have American Christians accepted a false gospel (that is really occultic witchcraft) because they have itching ears for what they want to hear and not a love for God’s Truth? Are some “Christians” practicing Witches, Unaware? 2. Have ”Word of Faith Preachers” and “Word of Faith Believers” contributed to American National Debt and financial woes?

Subtopics: 1. COULD IT BE THAT?, Americans and the World are now paying the consequences of a false “prosperity gospel“, through economic crises and outrageous personal debt? What will be the end result? 2. Honest, sincere people read and seek the truth. Scared people hide from truth?

Biblical Truth and Your Thoughts Aired on the Social Radio Network BlogTalkRadio

Featuring Special Guest, Kenneth Hagin Student, Rhema Bible Training Center Graduate AND Ex-Word of Faith Preacher, John Edwards from faithpreacher.blogspot.com

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This segment episode of The How2BecomeAChristian.Info Radio show with Damon Whitsell AND a very special Guest: “Have American Christians accepted a false gospel (that is really occultic witchcraft) because they have itching ears for what they want to hear and not a love for God’s Truth?”,, will air on January 6, 2009 at 10 p.m. Central Time. It will be informative, exciting, socially and personally challenging to Christians and non Christians alike..

The show will feature both Show Host Damon Whitsell and Special Guest Ex-Word of Faith Preacher; John Edwards, YES AFFIRMATION,, to the title and subtitle questions.

They will offer an examination of what the Bible and Jesus have to say about false teachers and guarding against deception in the last days. A historical and theological critique of the WoF movement that has been all the rage in “big Christianity” and most Charismatic Circles. They will compare the “Word of Faith” teaching that faith and words are a “creative force“, with the exact same occult teaching that has always been the corner stone of witchcraft and the occult.

As one witchcraft site says,,, “The differences between the Christian and witchcraft viewpoint is the difference between being citizens of a society which takes an active role to shape and mold the structure of society or subjects of a society which has the connotation of subordination to the larger group for the benefit of all.

A similar term with very different meanings between Christian and pagan understandings of the word is “self-control”. To those practicing witchcraft they believe that they are the one who has full control over the actions. They do not surrender to another except under very brief, special and voluntary circumstances. Self-control means taking charge, making all decisions relating to oneself, doing anything so long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.

The witch views control as the act of intentionally and positively directing the will toward the achievement of positive goals. The underlying assumption with the witch’s view of self control is that man is inherently valuable, and can achieve good and beneficial ends through the use of will power.” http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/christianity.html

The same Witchcraft website says,,,, “Inanimate nature also obeyed the words of witchcraft and even the creation of the world itself was through a spoken word. The words could tear the earth apart and make water pile up in a heap and even the sun could be stopped in its course by a word uttered in witchcraft.”
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In PART ONE of the series, John and Damon will examine the biblical warnings to beware of false teachers/prophets and BE NOT deceived, because one day God will send a delusion into the world, upon those who love not His truth. They will be delving into the History and Occultic/New Age/Luciferian roots of the Word of Faith Movement. And will be discussing Cult Psychology (why people fall for cults and cultic teachings, including mind control techniques). Do your ears itch?

John Edwards and Damon Whitsell will return on air Tuesaday January 13 at 10pm Central Time (same bat time, and channel) the following week to cover the assertion made in the Title and Subtitle, that our current economic crises can be proven to be, at least indirectly, related to the Word of Faith Movement and it’s false “Prosperity Gospel” of greed and self centeredness. And the Word of Faith movements veritable catch 22/Double bind of, “Prove your faith by breaking out your credit card and check book, for God (or at least the “Man of God’ on T.V.)“. You will get 100 or 1000 times a return on your money (that you send to them) GO AHEAD!!! You deserve it!!! (Rev. 3: 13 & 19)

Read this for your own good. The Evil of Usury ß link The TV Word of Faith Ministers are not the only ones USING YOU and Us.

“Who goeth a borrowing goeth a sorrowing” — Benjamin Franklin.

If your not aware that the OCCULT is real and has an agenda, maybe you should check out the other H2bac.Info (with a numeral 2) ministry sites. http://occultworldexposure.wordpress.com/  AND http://www.freewebs.com/occultworldexposuregat/  Also look for a corresponding Radio Show by Damon Whitsell to start in February or March on BlogTalkRadio. Visit DeceptionInTheChurch.com

In PART TWO of the series, John and Damon will also play and critique audio clips from prominent Word of Faith Teachers false, heretical, aberrant and damnable teachings. And Damon has some tough Questions for John as he will play devils advocate with John to wrap up the second show. Both Damon and John have been strongly affected by the Word of Faith movement and have much to say on the subject.

Damon’s take on the Word of Faith Movement is: “Because my uncle is a Mormon bishop, I have studied the occult extensively. All secret occult groups have one thing in common, freemasonry as a recruiting ground. AND as several prominent freemason writers have claimed, the Cabbala is the source of freemasonry and all of the ancient mystery religions.

It just blows me away, and testifies to the veracity of the bible and its end time apostasy claims, in that so many today would agree with Satan (believe lies taught by demons) in saying Genesis 3:22 (And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever) is their favorite bible verses.

I know not many say it is their favorite verse, but the Word of Faith movement (WoF) stuff falls apart without it, Gen3:22 is what it is built on.Gen3:22 is known as the occult secret doctrine. BUT in occult circles, this so called occult truth, is only for the adept, initiated and illuminated. Freemasonry and other occult traditions practice secrets within secrets and secret groups within secret groups. These groups are split between the adept and the un-adept. SO your average WoF believer is more adept to occult teachings than most freemasons and members of other occult groups.

The WoFM transformed the Latter Rain Movement into the Manifest Sons of God Movement. AND it saddens me that the biggest outlet for occultic teachings, is now the Christian Church. I see it in the bible and I see it in occult writings. Almost every big name writer in the occult has written about how they intend on invading the Christian church and change it from inside out. Christianity will be the end time one world religion. Not the faith once delivered though. They say Christianity is to be invaded and turned into the religion of apotheosis (men become gods) or Luciferianism. AND it has happened,,,, and the ground work for the abomination of desolation is set. People that call themselves Christians (occultist have always claimed to be the true Christians because they claim to be little gods or little Christ) will soon chose to openly worship Lucifer over God,, saying as occultist do,,,,, ‘the great rebel Lucifer blazed the path to Godhood for us all‘, and they will worship him for it. The WoF crowd will be the easiest to deceive. Because they already are! Maybe more than the Mormons and more obvious occult groups.”
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Callers are welcome to join the conversation after the first hour of the show by calling (347) 215-6795. If caller demand warrants it, more shows on the subject will be scheduled. The live, Internet talk-radio show will stream from the host page and there is an interactive chat room available @ http://blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

An archive will be available at the same link immediately following the show or listeners can subscribe to the archives via the RSS feed located on the same host page.

Read and learn more about cults and cultic movements @ http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com  AND http://how2becomeachristian.info

ATTENTION: A pre-recorded interview between Damon and John is available for listening and downloading at http://www.soundclick.com/how2becomeachristian

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The How2BecomeAChristian.Info Radio show with Damon Whitsell and it’s sister sites are a How2BecomeAChristian.Info (with a numeral 2) Ministry.

How2BecomeAChristian.Info (with a numeral 2) Ministries are websites primarily devoted to answering the question “How to become a Christian?” The site focuses on Christian essentials but also covers all non essential doctrines and issues concerning Christianity and religion in general. Including all non/Christian religions, aberrant Christian cults, the Occult, the New Age Movement and much more. The ministry serves as an apologetic information portal, equipping you with the information you need to defend God’s word and the historical./orthodox Christian faith; while reaching out to those who need to be reached. The sites feature the research and writing of other bible students. BUT is the main source for publishing (Ministry Manager) Damon Whitsell’s personal bible studies and research.

The show is live every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. Central Time. The show is hosted on BlogTalkRadio (BTR). !!!

*****Don’t forget to request for a SHOW REMINDER email at the BTR profile page, reminding you to listen in the day the show will air!*****
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Word of Faith Movement Refutation

What do you say to a person who tells you that you don’t have the Holy Spirit, even though you are a Christian? What should you do if you think something is wrong, or your conscience is bothering you about something that was said or done at a church? The answer? Go to the Scriptures!

The Bible has all the answers to your questions. Great deception is afoot in the Church today. In this paper, I will attempt to deal with a few statements you may hear from people who have become involved in the Third Wave revival movement. By “Third Wave? I am referring to teachers, “prophets?and any meeting associated with the Toronto “Blessing? Brownsville Assemblies of God, Rodney Howard-Browne, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Rod Parsley, Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyers, and many others who appear on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the 700 Club on TV.

Hopefully, the statements and answers here will set you off on an investigation of your own into the Word of God. Paul praised the Bereans because they “were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things,that Paul taught, “was so” We must do the same in our day!

Statement 1: “You need to come to a meeting where this man can lay hands on you and give you the Holy Spirit anointing. You may be born again, but you may not have the Holy Spirit.?

Answer: I am a born again Christian, therefore I am already sealed (Eph 1:13, 4:30; 2 Cor 1:22) and baptized (1 Cor 12:13) by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is working (1 Cor 12:11; 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2) within me (John 7:38; 1 John 3:24, 4:13; Jam 4:5; 2 Tim 1:14) convicting (1 Thes 1:5; John 16:7-8), empowering (Eph 3:16), sanctifying (2 Thes 2:13; 1 Pet 1:12), bestowing grace gifts (1 Cor 12:4-11), and producing fruits (Gal 5:22). The Holy Spirit of God is sovereign (Heb 2:4; 1 Cor 12:11) and He cannot be transferred “by?human hands, which was the misconception of Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:18-23). A few times in Acts the Spirit was given “at?the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17; 19:6), which was always done in submission to the will of God and in agreement with His purposes (1 John 2:17). The Holy Spirit, in this age, immediately indwells all who believe (Eph 1:13-14), which does not necessitate the laying on of hands.

Statement 2: “We are seeing a great revival in these last days, where millions will be saved in preparation for the return of Christ.?

Answer: The Bible does not indicate a great end times revival or awakening, but rather a great deception (Mark 13; 2 Thes 2:9-12; 2 Pet 2:1; Matt 24:4), delusion (2 Thes 2:9-12), and the love of people growing cold (Matt 24:12). The end times are marked by many false prophets and teachers (2 Pet 2:1; Matt 7:15, 24:24; 1 John 4:1), false Christs (Matt 24:24; Mark 13:22), a different spirit (2 Cor 11:4, 1 John 4:3), false doctrines (2 Tim 4:3; 1 Tim 4:1, 6:3-5).

Matthew 24:14 says that the gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth, but it does not say millions will be saved. Rather, those who believe are a little flock (Luke 12:32) who have little strength (Rev 3:8)–a few who find the small gate and the narrow road (Matt 7:14). Jesus also asked, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth??(Luke 18:8)

Statement 3: “Come with us to an exciting event where God is doing a new thing, and where there is new revelation not really mentioned in God’s Word.

Answer: God may do a “new thing”(Isa 43:19), but it will always be consistent with His unchangeable character (Heb 13:8), His testimony (Isa 8:20) and his unchanging (Heb 6:17), unbreakable Word (John 10:35). We are commanded not to add to or take away from Scripture (Rev 22:18-19) or to go “above that which is written?(1 Cor 4:6). We should daily search the Scriptures to discern truth from error (Acts 17:11). New revelation that does not meet the above criteria must not be accepted (Deut 13:3). We do not need to be afraid of false prophets who make up new exciting things (Deut 18:22; Jer 23:25) and prophesy falsely in the name of God (Jer 27:15), for these prophets and those who follow them will perish.

Statement 4: “Don’t be afraid of being ‘slain in the spirit? because a Christian can’t be demonized or deceived.?

Answer: There is ample evidence, both scriptural and experiential [Anyone know what this means –Ed.] that believers can be demonized, also known as POSSESSED (Job 1:8-9, 2:3, 2:7; 1 Sam 16:14-16, 18:10, 19:9; Matt 15:22-28, 16:22-23; Mark 1:23; Luke 9:52-56, 13:11-16; John 6:70-71, 13:27; Acts 5:1-11, 8:9-24; 1 Cor 5:1-5, 10:12-14; 2 Cor 2:10-11, 11:3-4, 12:7; Gal 3:1; Eph 4:25-27; 1 Thes 2:18; 1 Tim 1:19-20, 3:6-7, 4:1-2; 2 Tim 2:24-26; 1 Pet 5:8-9).

Christians can also be deceived (Matt 24:5, 11, 24; Eph 5:6; 2 Thes 2:3; 1 Cor 6:9; 2 Cor 11:3; Jam 1:16), give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27), shipwreck their faith (1 Tim 1:19) and fall away (Luke 8:13; Gal 5:4).

Statement 5: “If you don’t come to the ‘revival?meeting, you might miss a blessing from God.

Answer: Christians are already experiencing blessings from God because of the gospel (1 Cor 9:23) of Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3) through the Holy Spirit (Isa 44:3; Gal 3:14). I also do not believe that revival comes before repentance (Acts 3:19). Repentance only comes as a result of the gospel message being clearly preached (Col 1:28, 4:4; 1 Thes 1:5) which is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom 1:16). The only way we can miss a blessing from God is to fail to “contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints?(Jude 1:3) and to no longer follow Jesus (John 6:66), being “carried about with divers and strange doctrines”(Heb 13:9).

Statement 6: “It is easier for a person to receive the ‘anointing?if they stop analyzing so much and empty their minds. ‘God offends the mind to reveal the heart.?

Answer: Christians are never to empty their minds. Our minds allow us to know God’s will (Rom 12:2), show God we love Him (Matt 22:37), and be kept in perfect peace (Isa 26:3). We need to fill our minds with the Word of Christ (Col 3:16). Emptying your mind is an occult technique used by Hindus and other false religions. God created our minds (Gen 1:27; 1 Tim 4:4), which are always to be submitted to His will (Matt 6:10, 26:42). Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “God offends the mind to reveal the heart.” However, if we are offended by the “offence of the cross? we had better check to see if we are saved (Gal 5:11).

Statement 7: “Come and sit under the teaching of latter day apostles and prophets who are even greater than the Apostles and Prophets of Scripture.

Answer: The Bible says that the church is built on the Cornerstone, which is Christ Jesus (1 Pet 2:6) and the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (Eph 2:20). The spiritual building of the church is in its last phase. We must not and cannot lay another foundation for a house that Christ has already built on the Cornerstone and the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. Another question to ask is: are these people they are talking about persecuted and being put to death for the cause of Christ (2 Cor 4:8-9, 6:4-10; Heb 11:36-37)”Or are they making a name for themselves and becoming rich” It is likely you will find they are “talkers and deceivers?who “subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”(Titus 1:10-11)

Statement 8: “God used the ‘force of faith” to speak the universe into existence, so we can also use the ‘force of faith” to speak health, wealth and anything else into being. Never pray ‘Thy will be done” because it shows you have a lack of faith.

Answer: You’ve been watching too much Star Wars buddy. You have also been listening to heretical teachers like Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. God did not use any “force of faith?to create the world. He did so by His Word (2 Pet 3:5), His power (Isa 20:46), and by His will (Rev 4:11). We do not command God, but we may ask, seek and knock (Matt 7:7). However, we must ask according to His will (1 John 5:14) as long as His words remain in us (John 15:7). I do not believe in ordering God to do our bidding, like Balaam attempted to do on behalf of Balak (Num 22:8, 2 Pet 2:15, Jude 1:11). That is witchcraft, which God forbids (Deut 18:10, Gal 5:19-21). We always pray “Thy will be done? just as Jesus, John, David, Peter, Paul, James and the Holy Spirit did (Matt 6:10, 26:42; Luke 11:2; 1 John 2:17, 5:14, 15; Ps 40:8; Heb 10:7; Rom 8:27; 1 Pet 3:17; Col 1:9, Jam 4:13-16).

Statement 9: “Listen to all the positive testimonies. They are a good indication that God is doing a work of revival in these meetings.”

Answer: Testimonies are subjective. That is, they are not easily proven. What really happened? Was the person really healed and for how long? Positive testimonies of life changing experiences and miracles can be found in every religion and cult in the world. Testimonies are nice, but we must not base our faith on them. The first way we are to judge a person or movement is by their doctrinal teachings. If they are teaching false doctrine, you can be sure that it is not a revival from God. Here are some discernment questions to ask:

1) Are the revival leaders “workers of righteousness’ or “workers of iniquity’ Does financial greed or good works characterize them? (Matt 23:25; 1 Thes 2:5) Good doctrine or fables? (1 Tim 4:1-8) Deep Christian character, or selfish ambition? (Jam 3:14-18) Are they “law-full?or “lawless’ (Matt 7:15-23)

2) What are the long term fruits in terms of Christian character–especially faithfulness, truth, love, mercy, and righteousness? (Matt 7:16-20; Gal 5:22, 23; Eph 5:9; Jam 3:14-18)

3) Does the revival as a whole display a love of sound doctrine? What is the revival leader’s attitude about Scripture? (2 Pet 3:13-18; 1 Tim 4:1-8)

4) Does the revival have a clear aim? Is it taking people somewhere? Can the results of the movement be built on by later generations? Is it a “house of straw?or a well-constructed foundation for the future? Is it built on Christ–that is, the historical Jesus of Scripture? (Matt 7:15-29; 1 Cor 3:10-17)

5) Are the revival leaders sound morally? Does the revival manage to avoid the twin dangers of immorality on one hand, or overbearing legalism on the other? (Col 2:18-23; Jude 1:4)

6) What is the attitude of the revival to the rest of the body of Christ? Is it humble or proud? Is it boastful? Does it separate itself?

Statement 10: “Did you know that since you belong to Christ you are a ‘little god?or a ‘little messiah? You are everything that God is. You are ‘I Am”

Answer: We believers are all children of God (John 1:12), sons of God (Gal 3:26), and together the bride of Christ (Rev 19:7). We are not Christ Himself, nor are we God. If we are little gods, then the statement that there is only on God would be untrue (Rom 3:30). There is also only one Father’s Son, who is Jesus Christ (2 John 1:3). This “little gods?teaching by people like Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn is a doctrine of demons because it is one of the first lies Satan told Eve (Gen 3:5) and the sin of Satan himself (Isa 14:13-14). Also, the body of Christ is no Christ Himself. Christ is the Head of His church (Eph 1:10). Jesus is 100% man and 100% God for all eternity and physically sits at the right hand of God in His glorified body (Rom 8:34; Col 2:9). He is coming again bodily to rule and judge the earth (Rev 11:15).

Statement 11: “Those who question the teachings of the leaders of the revival may end up cursed.

Answer: It is true they may be cursed, but not by God. Many revival leaders have cursed any person to death that disagrees with what they are doing and teaching. Benny Hinn has done this many times, as well as John Kilpatrick, Steve Hill and Michael Brown of Brownville, and Paul Crouch of TBN. God commands us to discern truth from error (Luke 12:57; 2 Pet 3:17, John 7:24), test the spirits (1 John 4:1), check what is taught with the Scriptures (Acts 17:11; 1 Cor 10:15, Isa 8:20; 1 Cor 4:6), and reject heretics (Titus 3:10). We are also commanded of God not to curse, like these men curse and persecute us, but to bless. (Rom 12:14)

Statement 12: “The Bible says: ‘Judge not lest you be judged.’ Don’t judge this move of God or its leaders. ‘Touch not the Lord’s anointed.’

Answer: The kind of judging in Matt 7:1 is hypocritical judgment. In other words, judging someone for what they are doing while you are doing the same thing. However, there are many ways in which we ARE called to judge. We are to judge what people teach (1 Cor 10:15, Acts 17:11), judge between right and wrong morally (1 Cor 5:11-13; Luke 12:57; 2 Pet 3:17; John 7:24), test the spirits (1 John 4:1). If a person or movement is teaching false doctrine or making false prophecies, we are to rebuke them (Titus 1:13). If they do not repent, we are to come away from them (Rev 18:4), mark them and avoid them (Rom 16:17), have no fellowship with them (Eph 5:1), withdraw from them (2 Thes 3:6), turn away from them (2 Tim 3:5-7), separate ourselves from them (2 Cor 6:17), and not even receive them into our homes (2 John 10, 11). As to the “touch not the Lord’s anointed?argument, David did not “touch?or kill Saul. But he did rebuke him in front of his entire army on two separate occasions. Though we do not kill false prophets as they did in the Old Testament (Deut 17:2-5; Lev 24:11-14), we are called to test them, rebuke them, and avoid them if they do not repent.

Statement 13: “Gamaliel advised ?..let them alone: for if…this work be of men, it will come to naught: But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it…?Just wait and see how this revival turns out in the end. Don’t stand against it.”

Answer: Gamaliel was a highly respected Pharisee and teacher of the day, but he was no friend of the Christians. While his advice had saved the apostles, Gamaliel had actually given some bad advice to his fellow council members. Were people to follow this advice, one would never speak out against error. One could never stand up and say about a group claiming Jesus Christ as their leader that, for instance, Mormonism is wrong. We are called as Christians to discern error (Luke 12:57; 2 Pet 3:17; John 7:24) and to mark and avoid (Rom 16:17) those who are divisive [Tending to create discord or dissension . . . in other words a “troublemaker’-Ed. ] and heretical (Titus 3:10).

Statement 14: “A great end time revival is preparing the earth to be subdued by the anointed. All authority will be given to the ‘manchild?and then Christ can return in His Church.

Answer: As I stated previously, the Bible does not indicate a great end times revival or awakening, but rather a great deception (Mark 13; 2 Thes 2:3; 2 Pet 2:1; Matt 24:4), delusion (2 Thes 2:9-12), and the love of people growing cold (Matt 24:12). Our place as Christians is not to subdue the earth, as Christ will do that when He returns (Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27, 19:15). Our job is to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15; 1 Cor 9:16; 2 Cor 9:13) and take care of the less fortunate, keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world (Jam 1:7). All authority is given to Christ (Matt 28:18). Any authority we have is based on obedience to the will of the Father (Col 2:10, Rom 15:18). We will not have authority over the nations during the millennial reign of Christ unless we overcome by faith and do God’s will to the end (Rev 2:26)

Statement 15: “It is better to have the devil manifesting in a meeting than for that meeting to be dead.

Answer: Rodney Howard-Browne said: “I’d rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything…and if the devil manifests, don’t worry about that, either. Rejoice, because at least something is happening.?(Rodney Howard-Browne, The Coming Revival. 1991, pg.6) What an awful thing to say. It does look like the devil has been “manifesting?in many Third Wave meetings because the following have been observed: uncontrollable laughing, crying, shaking, running around the church building, fast dancing, running followed by collapse, barking-howling, trances, drunkenness, falling out, oinking, being “hot? fanning self or blowing, walking like chickens, horse noises, mooing and crowing, swimming, women going through imaginary birth pains, loss of consciousness, trying to soar like eagles, hissing and moving like a snake, inability to speak, involuntary body spasms, kung fu-like stances, vomiting, head banging, and stripping off clothes (I’ve seen most of these).

God is not a God of disorder, so we must conduct ourselves in an orderly way (1 Cor 14:33). These are not manifestations of the Holy Spirit because the Spirit builds us up to be more like Christ, not lowering us to animal behavior (Rom 8:9; Phil 1:27; 1 Thes 5:23). These manifestations are more like demonization described in Scripture (1 Sam 16:14, 18:10; Matt 8:28, 9:32, 12:22; Mark 1:23, 26, 7:25, 9:25; Luke 4:33-35, 8:29, 9:42; Acts 19:16).

Statement 16: “Well, there are unusual things going on at the revival meeting! God can do anything He wants to do. Don’t put God in a box!

Answer: Is it possible for any person to put God in a box? What a ridiculous statement! God is sovereign, almighty, omnipresent, and omniscient. However, God did limit the way He evidences Himself and the way He works in this creation. God could have made people purple with green hair. He could have made reincarnation true. But He didn’t. What He did do was put His Word and Testimony in the Scriptures (Isa 8:20), which we are not to go beyond (1 Cor 4:6). He set down His will in His Law in the Old Testament (Ex 24:12), and the Law of Christ in the New Testament, which is grace (Gal 6:2). God’s character is consistent and faithful (Rev 3:14, 9:11; Ps 33:4) and He does not change (Num 23:19; Heb 13:8). If something unbiblical is happening in a meeting or to an individual, it is not from God.

Statement 17: “I have been praying for the ‘power?to come upon me for a long time and it is here. I can feel it! It has changed my life for the better.

Answer: There is no place in the Bible where we are told to pray for power. Therefore this is a very dangerous prayer. We also should not summon the Holy Spirit to meetings, because He is already present where two or three are gathered together (Matt 18:20). Summoning or invoking is sorcery. The Scriptures do show us what to pray for. Here are some examples:

1) Pray for the people of your nation (Num 21:7)
2) Pray for your city (Jer 29:7)
3) Pray for peace in Jerusalem (Ps 122:6)
4) Pray for your persecutors (Matt 5:43-44; Luke 6:28)
5) Pray for children (Matt 19:13)
6) Pray for escape from judgment (Luke 21:36)
7) Pray that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40)
8) Pray for Christians (Job 17:9; 1 Thes 5:25; Heb 13:18)
9) Pray for boldness in proclaiming the gospel and for God to do miracles in people’s lives (Acts 4:29-31)
10) Pray all the time, be alert, pray for the saints (Eph 6:18)
11) Pray for fearless preaching (Eph 6:20)
12) Pray to be filled with the knowledge of His will (Col 1:9)
13) Pray for open doors for the gospel (Col 4:3)
14) Pray that the Word of God may be glorified (2 Thes 3:1)
15) Pray for deliverance from evil men (2 Thes 3:2)
16) Pray for everyone, kings, authorities, peace, quiet, godliness, holiness (1 Tim 2:1,2)

There are other things we are taught to pray for in Scripture, but the point is that we need to follow the Scriptural model of prayer.

There are only two places where the “prayer’ and “power?are mentioned. “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power? (2 Thes 1:11)

He was not praying for them to get power, but that God by His power would “fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness? This is by the sovereign will of God, which if followed will produce good works. If God’s will is not followed, it can only produce fleshly or demonic fruit. The second reference is this: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth all knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.?(Eph 3:16-19)

Here again, Paul is praying for the Ephesians, not for himself. He prays that the indwelling Holy Spirit will show them how much Christ loves them, so they may be “filled with all the fullness of God.?This speaks of empowerment to have love and faith and to understand Christ in a deeper way, not power to perform miracles or for an ecstatic experience. There is no prayer for “power?to found in the Bible. Christians need to pray according to the will of God and leave empowerment up to the Holy Spirit in His time.

Statement 18: “Why don’t you come and be healed at the revival meeting? God guarantees healing for everyone who has enough faith.

Answer: First of all, there are all kinds of healing. When God heals, He does true creative miracles that last (John 12:1-10; Matt 11:5). There are also “healings’ that are just people getting excited and thinking they are healed, but when the excitement wears off, they are just as bad or worse than before. Remember, the enemy can also heal (Rev 13:14) as well as cause sickness (Job 2:7). Healings and miracles by the devil are temporary and do not last very long, or are false miracles (2 Thes 2:9-10). Those who allow people who are not living in obedience to God’s will to lay hands on them for healing give the enemy a foothold in their lives (Eph 4:27) that he will not let go of without repentance and deliverance. By very careful of those who claim they can heal you. You had better know a whole lot about them before you allow them to lay hands on you (1 John 4:1). Secondly, God does not guarantee healing for everyone who believes (Job 2:2-4; 2 Cor 12:7). Sometimes He allows sickness and difficulties in our lives to teach us lessons such as: our weakness and His strength (2 Cor 12:10, 13:4), our dependence on His grace (Rom 9:16), our need for an overcoming faith (Rev 3:12). It is true that we are told to pray for the sick in faith and the Lord will heal and forgive (Jam 5:15) but sometimes we must also suffer sickness and persecution (1 Pet 1:6, 4:14-19; 2 Cor 1:6). Trials are used by God to develop perseverance and faith. (Jam 1:2-4)

Statement 19: “You should come to the meetings, because there is a prophet there who will prophesy over you if you ask him. He has been wrong a couple of times, but then prophets today do not have to be 100% correct, only about 60% as prophet Bob Jones prophesied’

The Bible is clear on this: “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him (Deut 18:20-22).?br> This precept is not cancelled out in the New Testament. Bob Jones is a false prophet who conveniently ignored the Word of God so he could continue to prophesy falsely. The Scriptural precept of 100% accuracy for a prophet is for our own protection. Many Christians mistake human intuition and even demonic voices, whether they are correct or incorrect, for the “still small voice?of the Spirit. It is a dangerous thing to promote what you are saying as a direct word from God. Once you say, “Thus saith the Lord?’ what you have prophesied does not come true, then you are a lying false prophet and church discipline must be applied. Only God can truly forgive false prophecy when a person chooses to speak directly for Him. The church should ignore false prophets (Jer 23:16). People who continue to sit under their teachings are opening themselves up to deception (Jer 23:10-12).

Statement 20: “The speaker last night had a wonderful vision where Elijah appeared to him and told him what happen in our land. Listen to what he said…

Answer: If any dead person is allegedly appearing and giving messages, that is expressly forbidden in Scripture for believers. “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of the times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer (Deut 18:10-11). Talking to dead people is necromancy, or being a medium. Talking to the dead is actually talking to demons. Benny Hinn has done this on numerous occasions, seeing dead people (a la The Sixth Sense) like Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson. He even visits their graves to get more of the “anointing? Stay far away from people who are into necromancy, whether they claim to be a believer or not. “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead’ To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isa 8:9-10).?

Statement 21: “The teachers at the revival meetings teach some things that are a little different from what the Bible says, but they are so powerful and sure of themselves. It must be of God’

Answer: If teachers do not hold to the basic doctrines of the church, they are not true believers. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15; Acts 20:29). There are many doctrines, but there are five at the core of Christianity.

1) The Trinity: God must be one “What?and three “Whos? with each “Who?possessing all the
attributes of Deity and personality.
2) The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.
3) The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.
4) Salvation: It is by grace through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE.
5) The Scripture: It is ENTIRELY INERRANT and INFALLIBLE, sufficient for all Christian life

Study what they teach carefully. They may state that they agree with the above doctrines, but by what they teach and “do’ a false teacher will deny one or all of these core doctrines. The Third Wave teachers have proven over time that they do not hold to these doctrines by teaching heresy that undermines them. For instance, when they treat the Spirit as a substance, an “it? both Deity and personality is denied, thus denying the Triune nature of God. Or when they preach a gospel of “repent and come to Jesus’ without mentioning the cross and resurrection, salvation by grace through faith in Christ is denied. Be on the alert and “study to show thyself approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).?

Stand firm in your faith! Always be discerning by checking everything with the Word of God.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle (2 Thes 2:15). yes” Stand up for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

Don’t ever let anyone cause you to stop doing that. “Beloved, when I gave you all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:3-4).

Be aware that many false teachers have gone out today. Test their teachings in the Word, because they are deadly dangerous. “But there are false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who provably shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet 2:1).

Finally, correct, rebuke and encourage because many are turning from true faith in Christ to heresy. Endure hardship from those who persecute you and tell you that you need to get involved in some “new?thing. Preach the gospel and live in obedience to the Word and Will of God. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry (2 Tim 4:2-5).

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_wordoffaith.htm#force

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Ten Reasons for Rejecting Word-of-Faith Teachings

by Tricia Tillin Intotruth.org

REASON ONE:

It requires ‘revelation knowledge’.

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

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REASON TWO:

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

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

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REASON THREE:

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

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

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REASON FOUR:

It elevates man to equality with Jesus.

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

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

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REASON FIVE:

It makes man a god.

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

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REASON SIX:

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

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

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REASON SEVEN:

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

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

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REASON EIGHT:

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

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

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REASON NINE:

It denies the reality of sin and sickness.

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

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REASON TEN:

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

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

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

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

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CONCLUSION:

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

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

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