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The Ethic of Reciprocity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VF

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

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AN EX-WORD FAITH PREACHER Comes Full Circle: From Baptist, to Baptist bashing Word of faith Preacher and back to Baptist. Go figure

About a month ago I was blessed to have an Ex-Word of faith preacher visit this site. I have posted a couple of his writings from his Blog and have talked with him via email and telephone. AS He and his site are totally awesome. I will be interviewing John Edwards sometimes this week and will have it up for downloading and listening soon after.

I encourage you to visit John’s site. He says he wants to make his Blog into a Book. I believe it will make an excellent book. John needs someone to help him with editing as he wants to self publish. If you or anyone you know has editing talent and would like to help Pastor John. Please give him an e-mail. Faithpreacher.blogspot.com

Here is three of his post that would make a good chapter together. I HOPE YOU FIND HIS STORY AS INTERESTING AS ME. DON’T MISS Johns video above.

I have a short comment AND OPINION POLL at the end.

 

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My Journey Has Come Full Circle

It sure feels good to be a regular guy. That is what I like the most about my new life. I work hard all day with my hands, so my mind has plenty of time to reflect. There are some things that are just now dawning on me. Things are becoming clear, and the purpose of this whole last year is coming into focus.

I was born and raised in the Southern Baptist Church. As soon as I became a teenager, I started going on youth retreats with elements of Briarwood Presbyterian Church. While on the yearly retreats to Gatlinburg, I became a disciple of a guy named Chuck Jones. I attended all of his Bible studies at UAB until I backslid and joined the Marine Corps.

Looking back on my life and my faith, I had been Baptist/Presbyterian all of my life. The teachings of John Calvin and Martin Luther made up my spiritual core.

A lot of my friends were Charismatic, but I always shied away from them when it came to tongues. You know why? Cause they bragged on it and the great power that came with it, but they were involved in all kinds of sexual sin. I could not see any difference between them and me.

I married a girl that was raised Roman Catholic and then became a Charismatic. We would argue over beer and theology for years. She wanted us to attend a Charismatic church so after a few years of not being in church, we went. It was a Charismatic church in Roebuck. A fight broke out right in the middle of the service! I left there convinced that all Charismatics were loony and unstable.

As a Marine, and a Police officer I stayed backslid. I went to church twice in ten years. I was still very Calvinistic in my faith. I was not afraid of being killed on duty. I knew that my days were numbered in Heaven and that nothing could change the Providence of God. I pretty much had no worries in life.

Then in 1994 my wife was exposed to the AIDS virus, and her pregnancy with Brian had some complications. Someone gave me a Kenneth Hagin book. Here was a new religion that promised health, wealth, miracles, supernatural power and all of my prayers answered exactly as I desired with one catch: I just needed to have faith. So that began a 14 year ride on the wild side. Went from being a happy backslidden Calvinist, to a tongue talking, devil stomping, faith healing, scripture speaking, believe ye receive it fanatic. I was so on fire about the Faith Message that I forsook all and headed to Tulsa.

I sat in class at Tulsa hearing about miracles, signs and wonders every single day! All I had to do was to keep sowing seed, be faithful, not criticize, tithe, make the right confessions, speak the right scriptures, listen to all the Cd’s on faith, attend prosperity seminars, faith seminars, special Holy Ghost meetings, laughter meeting, prophetic meetings, special anointed meetings, etc, etc.

I did all of this stuff for fourteen years. It is a bunch of hype. I never saw a miracle, never saw a true healing of a serious disease, never saw the big harvest, never had what I confessed, never felt the goosebumps. Why? Because, 90% of all things Charismatic are HYPE. A bunch of made up stuff, far fetched testimonies, hearsay, and plenty of bad doctrine from loopy people that never went to a reputable seminary. I saw a lot of emotion and a lot of hype. I never saw the Charismatic Word of Faith message work for anyone but the Big Dawgs on TV.

Finally, God opened my eyes to all the junk and error, and led me right back to my spiritual roots of Calvinism. I am back where I started!

But why did I take that wrong exit into that strange and dangerous neighborhood

Because God has a plan bigger than my plan. He wanted me to see the hype and the deception from inside.

Thank God for His care, to rescue from deception and hype, and to bring me back to the True Gospel of the Bible.

I saw a billboard advertising one of the popular recently divorced charismatic word of faith televangelist coming to town and grieved. I thought about how many poor and desperate folks would show up for her meetings, sow their best seed and leave with nothing. It is sad. She will laugh all the way to the bank. I guess they will have to find out for themselves. God is in control, not man.

I advise everyone that reads this blog, to find a good church that teaches Reformed Theology, because that is the theology that Christ and Paul taught. Find yourself a Southern Baptist Church that is Reformed, or find a Presbyterian Church and plug in. And if anyone ever invites you to a Word of Faith church, run like Forrest Gump! Run Forrest Run!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-journey-has-come-full-circle.html

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When I was Baptist

I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church and was very happy in it. I stayed backslid a lot but I loved God and had a tremendous amount of faith in Him. When I was a Baptist I truly believed in the Sovereignty Of God and that He was in total control of my life. I believed that I was eternally saved and that I could never, ever loose my salvation and my relationship with Him no matter how bad I blew it. When I was a Baptist I believed that God had a specific plan and that nothing could ever hinder it. I believed that my steps were ordered of Him and that no matter what God was going to have His way. When I was a Baptist I believed that there was a time written in God’s Providence for me to die and that nothing could change that. I believed that my days were numbered according to His will and purpose. When I was Baptist I was very aware of God’s Awesomeness and my inability. When I was Baptist I was afraid of God in a respectful way. When I was a Baptist I wanted to run things past God before I did them. When I was Baptist I was very concerned about lost people going to Hell. When I was a Baptist I never, ever doubted His existence or His love for me. When I was a Baptist I believed that God was in control of all events in my life and that even the bad ones were some how working for my favor.

When I was a Baptist I had peace and joy. When I was a Baptist my focus was on Jesus.
Then I started reading Word of Faith books. I read every book that I could find. I listened to hundreds of tapes and Cd’s. I was excited about the Word of Faith message. It put me in control of my life. Having been in the Marine Corps and having been a Police Officer, I was used to being in charge of things. I was used to being the Boss. It was a perfect way of thinking for me. The Word of Faith promised me a sickness free life, a long life, and a rich life. It promised me that I could use my words to frame my world. It taught me that I could speak whatever I wanted into existence. The Word of Faith taught me how to get a vision and write it out. It taught me to speak things out and to shoot for the stars. The Word of Faith promised me power and authority of everything in my life and that I could create and rule my world and circumstances with my words.The Word of Faith left God and His Sovereignty out of the picture. All I had to do was to speak and believe what I wanted, money, health, fame, success, the power was in my tongue. The Word of Faith taught me that I was the one responsible for everything that I had in life, that everything in my life was a result of words, good or bad. I learned that I could have what I said. I learned how to twist and manipulate entire passages of the Bible to line it up with health, wealth and victory. I learned how to debunk the whole book of Job. I learned how to get rich God’s way, by planting money seeds and speaking words of prosperity. I learned to ignore symptoms in my body and to think of the pains as lies of the devil.

I lived and believed like this for fourteen years. I taught this for eight years.

I will tell you what the Word of Faith message did for me. It turned me into a self-centered person more concerned with my plans and needs than anything else. Instead of trusting in God I began to trust in my words and in my faith. I dummy downed God. I thought God had to follow my rules of confession. I thought I could boss God around and talk Him into seeing things my way. I became obsessed with myself. I became full of pride. I also began to sink into depression and darkness. The Word of Faith had taught me that it was all about me and that I was in control and that everything good was riding on my faith and confession. Needless to say, I was putting so much pressure on myself to believe that I was miserable. All of the faith formulas and prayer rules that I had learned in the Word of Faith had me so bound in legalistic chains that I could no longer pray or talk to God. I was miserable. God got smaller and smaller in my thinking because I was the one in charge. I stayed frustrated and aggravated because my confessions were not working and my prayers went unanswered. Even worse was that I was teaching hundreds of people the same message and they were having the same results. They still had sickness and lack and problems.

they to began to spiral down into depression and burn out from trying to be perfect in their confessions and acts of faith.

It is a false message. It is cultic. It destroys the concept of God that He wants us to have.
Praise God for His patience and love for me! God has opened my eyes and rescued me from myself and this false religion! I have returned to my roots. I have abandoned the Word of Faith and returned to the Word of God and my relationship with Him. For me God is in control again. His will be done. I am feeling alive again. I can feels God’s love again. I am trusting fully in Him and His ability and in His plan. He is in control. He is on the throne. He is my God again!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/07/when-i-was-baptist.html

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Naming Names and Baptist Bashing

I have been accused of naming names and bashing the Word of Faith Movement. I have been accused of not walking in love. A lot of people I know think Jesus walked around like a sissy. A lot of people I know wouldn’t like Jesus if they ever heard him preach. Jesus was full of love and rebuke. He named names. He called a spade a spade. He was very confrontational. He even bull whipped some folks at church one day, with a whip he made! He called Herod a “Fox” which was slang for homosexual. He called his critics snakes. Love in action.

The Apostle Paul, who wrote the “Love” chapter named names. He would call false teachers by their names and have the letter read out loud to the church.
The Apostle of Love, John, named names.

It is a minister’s right and moral obligation to point out false teachers and false doctrine. A pastor is responsible for his flock. If he sees his flock flirting with the wolves then it is his job to point out the wolf. Love will point out danger.

Paul told Timothy to rebuke with all authority.

Christians are scared to speak out these days. Any time some one does speak out against error they are rebuked for not walking in love.

When I was a Word of Faith teacher, I loved to bash the Baptist Church. I learned how to do this from my main teacher in Bible school. He loved to poke fun at the Baptist. Bless their “darling hearts” and “stupid heads.” Many Word of Faith ministers trash the Baptist. But let someone criticise Kenneth Hagin and all of a sudden the love walk is brought up.

Many Word of Faith people feel vastly superior to the Baptist. When I was a WOFer, I looked down on the Baptist as missing out on the promises and power of God. Over the years it finally dawned on me that our lives were no better than theirs. We were confessing things, believing things, claiming things and calling things that be not as though they were and going no where in a hurry. At the same time the Baptist were doing just fine with out the faith message.

Have you ever noticed that Word of Faith people that claim healing still have to use doctors and medicine just like the powerless Baptist? Did you know that Word of Faith people that claim the baptism of the Holy Ghost and the blessing of praying in tongues still make stupid decisions and fall into deception and false doctrine? Have you also noticed that the Word of Faith people that claim so much revelation knowledge about the Word of God have no more power than the Baptist? They are no more wiser, no more holy and no better off in any way. I have also noticed that although so much emphasis is placed on prosperity, the Word of Faith people are no richer!

I remember visiting a tiny Word of Faith church in Mississippi. We were out in the parking lot burning with envy at the gigantic Baptist Mega Church across the street. That Baptist church was always full of people and money and people getting saved, But they did not have near the revelation knowledge that we had. What was wrong?

By the way, the term revelation knowledge is really a charismatic term referring to special knowledge about God unknowable to Baptist because the Baptist refuse the baptism. What it usually is though is some hokey nonsense doctrine put out by someone on TBN anyhow.

I guess my point is that when I was Word of Faith we loved to criticise and bash denominational Christians and felt vastly superior to them. We were big on love until it came to bashing others. Now that I am pointing out error in the Word of Faith, all of a sudden the table is turned and I’m no longer walking in love. Go figure!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/08/naming-names-and-baptist-bashing.html

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I have to smile when I read this. I have an aunt who is a word faith preacher and I as a Baptist catch grief because of that LOL. It not just Baptist though. They don’t like any “HALF GOSPEL CHURCH”

One day my Aunt told me. “Damon, you’re a very talented theologian. In fact your so talented and knowledgeable about theology that you should be a teacher of theologians.”

Now I will ask you all

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

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

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

Introduction: So What’s The Big Deal?

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GETTING SOME BALANCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nevertheless, the Copeland’s insist:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet Kenneth Copeland allegedly writes:

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

and on his website:

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

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

Yet Copeland writes:

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

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

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

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

The Blessings of Suffering, Sickness, and Hardship

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

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

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

Yet on his website Kenneth Copeland writes:

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

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

Blessed by God?

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Footnotes:
(KCM is short for Kenneth Copeland Ministries)

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

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The Word of Faith Movement and the Cultic Renewal of Indulgences

By J. Danny Hone

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Perhaps there is no greater perversion within the modern Charismatic movement than the perversions surrounding money and its doctrine of seed faith and the hundred fold return. In this article I do not want to discuss the flaws of the prosperity gospel but rather a greater evil. An evil similar to the one that existed within the church 500 years ago. An evil that prompted Martin Luther to nail his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg Germany on October 31st, 1517. An evil that led to a reformation, from which grew the Protestant church.

At the time there were serious abuses within the church. The large administrative structure of the church required a great deal of money to finance it. To obtain this money, the church used many devices that hurt its spiritual nature. During this same time of great need within the church some clergy lived like secular princes, building lavish palaces and indulging in corrupt financial practices. In order to do just that Pope Leo X sent out indulgence peddlers who had been granted by papal power to grant remission of sins according to the amount of money given. Among these peddlers was a man named Johann Tetzel. He began selling “indulgences” in Germany in 1517. Tetzel declared that anyone who bought an indulgence could choose a soul to be freed from purgatory, or shorten his own term in purgatory. He told buyers: “When the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.”

While Luther had other concerns about papal abuse it was the selling of indulgences that prompted him to hold a public debate on the matter. In those days on holidays, such as All Saints Day, it was customary to hold public debates. The subject of the debates were announced by nailing them to the church door. So on October 31st, 1517 Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door little knowing that the can of worms he opened would split the church down the middle and usher in the reformation and with it Protestantism.

The indulgences of old promised that God would pardon people’s sins in exchange for a gift to the church. The indulgences sold today promise a return by God of up to one hundred fold with every gift. At the heart of the matter of the selling of indulgences is the question as to whether God’s favor can be bought or sold. Luther held to the belief that God’s benefits were not for sale.

“Every true Christian, be he still alive or already dead, partaketh in all benefits of Christ and of the Church given him by God, even without letters of indulgence.” (1)

God’s love, favor and blessings to us is based solely on God’s attributes of kindness and grace towards us and not on the works we perform. God’s blessings can not be bought or sold. Those who pretend to do so are involved in a great heresy. They, like Pope Leo X, do so to maintain their “luxurious life of worldliness, and pay for the remodeling of the great Cathedral.” Today our churches build magnificent buildings which stand not for the glory of God but for the praise of men. Many ministers live luxurious lives at the expense of the people. The seed faith teaching is nothing more than heresy against God preached solely as a means to appeal to the greed within others so that ministries can build greater buildings and so it’s founders can live in greater wealth.

In perhaps his boldest Theses, Luther asked:

“Again, why does not the Pope build St. Peter’s Minster with his own money since his riches are now more ample than those of Crassus, rather than with the money of poor Christians?” (2)

Consider these words from the Apostle Paul:

“Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.” (3)

“Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.” (4)

Luther asked the question: “If you, being the man of God, claim to have the heart of God, then why are you taking from the resources of the people for your own unjust gain, instead of, as the Apostle Paul, working night and day so as not to be a burden to the people?”

Luther’s question rings loud today. Perhaps the marking of a true man of God is a person’s beholding to this same attitude as Paul. True ministers of the church are the parents of the church. They do not bleed from the meager resources of the children to fulfill their own lustful desires. True ministers are not in it for themselves. They are moved to win the lost at any cost. Selfishness and greed have become the cornerstone of the modern Charismatic and Word of Faith (WOF) movement. This must cease if we are to be about our Father’s business.

In time Luther’s actions brought him before the diet in Worms, Germany where he was ordered to recant what he had said and written. Luther responded:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise.” (5)

Shortly after this famous speech the emperor signed the Edict of Worms, which declared Luther an outlaw and pardoned from punishment anyone who would kill him.

Luther took a stand on a biblical principle he held to be true. God’s favor can not be bought or sold. Like Tetzel of old many modern preachers, mostly within the Charismatic movement and the WOF movement, in their greed and lust to build bigger buildings and bigger ministries have been selling God’s favor using catchy phrases and twisted scriptures.

Most of the perversions fall under the terms of “seed faith” or “hundred fold return” teachings. The seed faith doctrine was made popular by Oral Roberts. Oral uses the phrase: “Have a need? Plant a seed!”. According to Oral: “God himself has established the law of sowing and reaping, of giving and receiving. Under the New Covenant you can make every act of giving a seed planted which brings you into the SEED-FAITH lifestyle of sowing and reaping which I have been led to call ‘A Blessing-Pact Covenant with God.'” (6)

What is SEED-FAITH and why is it a renewed selling of indulgences? Oral teaches: “The seed of giving is the seed of faith! And the seed has to be planted BEFORE we can speak to our mountain of need to be removed!” (7)

The doctrine of seed faith is giving to a need and expecting from God a return on that gift. Many even teach that you should name your seed before you plant it. They encourage you to put an amount of money into their offering and claim something in return, like your uncle’s salvation or a miracle debt reduction. If you need a healing, plant a seed. If you need more money, plant a seed. How strangely similar to the selling of indulgences.

In many WOF services the “man of God” claims a special word from God that goes something like this: “Before coming to this meeting tonight I was praying in the Holy Ghost in my room and the Spirit of the Lord came on me strongly and revealed to me that there are many people here tonight that are in debt to the point that creditors are calling you up. Some of you have been paying late charges that should be going to advance the kingdom of God. God has told me today that if you obey him this night and plant a seed in faith of $100.00 God is going to get involved and your debt situation will be miraculously turned around! God will rebuke the devourer, and the cankerworm that has eaten holes in your pockets is being destroyed tonight as you give! In Jesus name!”

With promises like that how can one afford not to give! The WOF movement may not be guilty of claiming salvation in exchange for money but it sure does promise everything else in exchange for your giving.

As I was beginning to question the teachings of the WOF movement God brought a book across my path titled “From Ashes to Gold” by Patti Roberts. Knowing that Patti was the first wife of Richard Roberts and that they had a very public ministry before their very public divorce I thought I would read it. She gives the following reflections on the seed money teachings they preached:

“The seed-faith theology that Oral had developed bothered me a great deal because I saw that, when taken to its natural extremes, it reduced God to a sugar daddy. If you wanted His blessings and His love, you paid Him off. Over and over again we heard Oral say, ‘Give out of your need.’ I began to question the motivation that kind of giving implied. Were we giving to God out of our love and gratitude to Him or were we bartering with Him?” (8)

Patti goes on to write:

“The distinction may appear to be too subtle and I know Oral thought I was splitting hairs, but it seemed supremely important to me. If we give to God because we think that by giving we have somehow placed Him in our debt and He is now required to come through for us and meet our needs, we have, I believe, perverted the heart of the gospel. Our only motive for giving should be love. When we encourage people to give in order to have their needs met or so that they will receive “a hundred fold return” I believe we are appealing to their sense of greed or desperation, neither of which seemed admirable to me. It was a wonderful fund-raising tool, but I believe it gave people a very unbalanced view of a very important biblical principle. At the time I was taking a humanities course from the university and my professor was discussing Martin Luther and the Reformation. When we started looking at the abuses in the Catholic church that Luther had wanted to reform, I began to see parallels in our situation. Luther was incensed by the church’s practice of selling indulgences – offering forgiveness of sin and a shorter period of time in purgatory in return for gifts to the church. I had a very difficult time distinguishing between the selling of indulgences and the concept of Seed Faith inflated to the degree to which we had inflated it. Of course, Oral was more subtle. He never promised salvation in exchange for gifts to his ministry, but there were still many people who believed that God was going to look at them in a kindlier way and perhaps that son would get off drugs or they would get their drunken husband into heaven if they gave money to Oral Roberts.” (9)

How close is Seed-Faith to the selling of indulgences? Oral writes: “You know, I sometimes think we have put more faith in a coke machine than we do in God. When you put your coin in the machine you have a contract or covenant with the coke company and the maker of the dispensing machine. Therefore, the moment you put your coin in, you reach down expecting the can to come into your hand. Well, you have a contract or covenant with One greater than a coke machine. When you put in your SEED-FAITH you are to reach out your faith not to men, but to Jesus, expecting to receive more surely from Him than you do from the coke machine.” (10)

Consider also this appeal for money: “If you’re broke, if you’re at your wit’s end, if you’re out of a job, out of work, let me tell ya. Not only are we gonna bless the world and preach Christ to millions and multitudes around the world, but you can be saved, yourself, by planting seed in this fertile soil called TBN.” (11)

Any appeal for money that promises you something from God in return is not true biblical giving and is a perversion of the Gospel. It is a heresy liken unto the selling of indulgences and as Luther drew the line, we too, must draw the line. Salvation, God, and His benefits are not for sale.

Perhaps the greatest dangers of the seed faith theology is not in its similarities to Tetzel’s selling of indulgences but its similarities to the metaphysical cults, specifically the Unity School of Christianity. At least one of Oral Roberts’ devotionals from his “Guide to Seed-Faith Living” came from the Unity School of Christianity. (12)

The Unity School of Christianity was founded by Charles Fillmore in 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri. So the teachings of seed money were not invented by WOF founders but adopted from the cults.

I picked up a book at a rummage sale titled “Seed Money In Action” by Jon P. Speller. It was included in a box full of Charismatic books from the 70’s. At the time I was still involved in a WOF church and had on occasion planted seed money. I briefly thumbed through the book and put it on the shelf next to my John Avanzini and other seed faith books. When I began to question the seed money theology I went to my seed faith books to examine them closer. I picked up this book and began to read those first pages we always skip where the credits are listed. I was shocked to discover in the preface the following credits:

“The Rev. Dr. Henry M. Ellis, who unlocked the secrets of the Scriptures in his ‘BIBLE SCIENCE: THE TRUTH AND THE WAY'”

“Dr. Henry A. Carns, President of The College of Divine Metaphysics, who had added dimensions to the Study of Life and the Word”

“Mrs. Claire Waters, Teacher at the Unity Center of Practical Christianity in New York, a perfect teacher of Truth”

“The Rev. Dr. David N. Moore, a Minister and Practitioner who daily demonstrates his inspiringly high Consciousness” (13)

I had been indoctrinated and influenced by the kingdom of the cults! How could popular Metaphysical cultic teachings have penetrated the WOF movement? The answer I soon discovered is that it didn’t. The WOF was deeply rooted and birthed in the cults because of the Kenyon connection. (For deeper insight into E.W. Kenyon and his cultic origins I recommend “A Different Gospel” by D.R. McConnell.) Kenyon’s teachings have been referred to as “nothing more than as Pentecostal Christian Science” by people who knew him intimately and at one time considered him a mentor.

The practice of seed money is simple. If you plant a kernel of corn you reap two ears full of kernels. So it is said to be with money. If you sow money into good ground (ministries ordained of God) you will receive a return on your giving. So the more you give the more you get. This brings us to the hundred fold teachings made popular by Copeland’s ministry: “You give $1 for the Gospel’s sake and $100 belongs to you. Give $10 and receive $1000. Give $1000 and receive $100,000. I know that you can multipy, but I want you to see it in black and white and see how tremendous the hundred fold return is. Give one house and receive one hundred houses or one house worth one hundred times as much. Give one airplane and receive one hundred times the value of the airplane. Give one car and the return would furnish you a lifetime of cars. In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.” (14)

One can only wonder why Gloria omits the biggest part of the hundred fold return (“brothers, sisters, mothers and children”). To carry out her interpretation of the hundred fold return we can receive a hundred brothers, sisters, mothers and children for each one we give away.

One need only to stop and think about the implications of the hundred fold theology to realize the true falsehoods of such claims. If the law of hundred fold return were true all these ministries would have to do is give away a few thousand dollars and all their financial needs should be met. Instead of them receiving our money they would be knocking down doors to give so that God would bless them one hundred fold. Think of it! Every believer would live in mansions, all poverty would be wiped out and the church would never have lack again.

The danger of the hundredfold return theology is that it appeals to the greed within all of us and paints the wrong picture of God. Instead of God being a loving and giving God towards us He is reduced to a being who must be bribed or otherwise motivated to act kindly on our behalf.

In the book, “The Agony of Deceit”, Joel Nederhood writes that “whenever a religious leader or a church comes up with a scheme that confuses salvation with some kind of monetary payment, you have the worst kind of dishonesty. That is like trying to sell something that is not yours to sell. It is like trying to sell something again that has already been sold and paid for. It is a scam. It’s trickery. It’s self-serving thievery.” (15)

Paul warns us concerning the quest for wealth in the church when he writes: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (16)

Consider these words from Christ:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? . . . And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, o you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (17)

Did you notice any difference between Christ’s preaching and that commonly heard in WOF circles today? Christ is very clear that if we seek first God’s kingdom God will take care of us. Notice his comments on sowing and reaping. One could only wonder if Christ was looking 2,000 years into the future and speaking against the theology of sowing and reaping today. Hey, the birds don’t sow or reap and yet God takes care of them. Are you not worth more to God than a bird? I think so. God’s faithfulness does not rest on our works but rather on His grace. His provisions toward us have more to do with His faithfulness than with our works. Otherwise, God is just a powerforce, and we are the vessels of power. It would not be God’s faithfulness that benefits us but rather our works. Contrary to the teachings of the WOF movement our lack of faith does not nullify God’s faithfulness! (See Romans 3:3) This is the fundamental truth for which Luther took a stand. God’s mercy, God’s provision and God’s faithfulness toward us can not be bought or sold. When Simeon tried to buy a gift from God, Peter responded: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry because your heart is not right with God.” (18)

As shocking as it may seem, there are just some things money can’t buy. God is one of them. He is not for sale. Sadly, today it appears that many ministers have more of the character of Simeon than they do of Peter.

When we give to get in return the heart of giving is changed. That which the Bible teaches should be done in selflessness is done in selfishness. Thus the heart of our giving is changed and with it the purpose. When we give to others solely out of a need to better ourselves we have missed the purpose God established in our giving. Giving to the poor or to the church is not about planting a seed and reaping a hundred fold in this life, it is about helping our brother in need. It is about love. True biblical love. An unselfish love that gives and expects nothing in return.

When the church budget becomes so big that you have to drain the resources of the people to keep the building afloat you have missed the heart of God. Better that you sell the building and meet in a tent than that you bleed your congregation of their resources. Contrary to popular opinion, he who dies with the biggest church does not win. When the church building and its maintenance become a bigger priority than the well-being of the people you have missed the heart of God. When you preach more to gain an offering than you do to win a soul you have missed the heart of God. When the extent of your ministry centers around the extent of your gain you have missed the heart of God. When you rejoice more in a large offering than you do in a changed person you have missed the heart of God. True Christianity is not about what others can do for you but about what you can do for others.

In his Theses Luther brings out some excellent points regarding the importance of charity. Consider these Theses of Luther:

“Christians should be taught, he who gives to the poor, or lends to a needy man, does better than buying indulgences.” (19)

“Christians should be taught, he who sees his neighbor in distress, and, nevertheless, buys indulgences, is not partaking in the Pope’s pardons, but in the anger of God.” (20)

“Christians should be taught, unless they are rich enough, it is their duty to keep what is necessary for the use of their households, and by no means throw it away on indulgences.” (21)

“Wrong is done to the word of God if one in the same sermon spends as much or more time on indulgences as on the word of the Gospel.” (22)

“Therefore, the treasures of the Gospel are nets, with which, in times of yore, one fished for the men of Mammon. But the treasures of indulgence are nets, with which now-a-days one fishes for the Mammon of men.” (23)

It is unquestionable that a type of selling of indulgences has penetrated the church once again. During a recent TBN telethon a prophecy went out that if viewers would sow a seed of $2,000 into TBN God would get them out of debt, most within 90 days. At one point they were bold enough to say that this telethon wasn’t even for TBN’s needs. It was for God’s people, so that as they give they could be set free of their debts. The most shocking statement made came on Sunday morning (4-5-98) at 9:05 EST. The guest minister pointed at his televison audience and said: “Some of you have been reaping from this ministry without a single thought of sowing back into it. When you sow into this ministry you are sowing into the Spirit of Galations that says that when you sow into the Spirit you will reap eternal life.”

My friends, this is heresy. It is the selling of indulgences. It is an insult to all that Jesus came to do. It is a different gospel. Many, in the name of Christ, are seeking once again after the Mammon of men instead of the men of Mammon. Greed and selfishness exist from the least to the greatest. The grace of giving has been recreated into an art of investing. In the pursuit for money the gospel of salvation has been exchanged for a gospel of finances. As a result the moral structure of our church and community is slowly decaying away as the church focuses more on wealth than it does on righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. The cries to win the lost have faded as the pleas for offerings are sounded from the roof tops.

It was Christ who sternly warned us to . . . “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (24)

Paul also warned that among us there must not even be a hint of greed. (25) Peter warned us too when he wrote: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have invented. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (26)

Truly God’s people need to be a giving people. But let us return to giving from a pure heart and not from a motivation of greed. The heresy that has been accepted in the church needs to be repented of and not tolerated. Just as Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door nearly 500 years ago we too must take a stand for righteousness. The selling of indulgences can not be tolerated in the name of Christianity, for neither God, salvation, nor His benefits are for sale. “Every true Christian, be he still alive or already dead, partaketh in all the benefits of Christ and of the Church given him by God, even without letters of indulgence.” (27)

Footnotes

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Wants to be a god?

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

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

“We want to be gods. Jesus said, ‘I said ye are gods’ (John 10:34). It is with the attitude of gods in the world that Jesus wants the Christian to live.” (John G. Lake: His Life His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith, Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1995, p. 13).

Is this the attitude Jesus wants? Not according to Scripture, he wants us to be dependent upon God and deny self and walk humbly, hardly a prerequisite for a god.

Lake also says “I want you to hear what Jesus said about himself. God was in Christ, wasn’t He? An incarnation. God is in you, an incarnation, if you were born again. You are incarnate. “ (ibid p. 196).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Faith healing vs. the Law: Doctor wants legislation appealed that protects parents who rely on faith healing, not medicine

By William McCall THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: November 29, 2008 OREGON CITY, Ore.

When Dr. Seth Asser saw row after row of flat headstones marking children’s graves in a small cemetery not far from the end of the historic Oregon Trail, he knew many of these early deaths should not have happened.

The children’s parents relied on faith healing, instead of doctors.

The pediatrician published a landmark study concluding many of the deaths could have been prevented if the children had received medical care.

“What struck me was the fact that it was obvious from the expressions on the headstones that the children were loved,” Asser said. “So it was especially troublesome they were not afforded the care that most parents would give their children.”

His study 10 years ago brought attention to the issue, and yet today three criminal cases — two in Oregon and one in Wisconsin — have revived concerns about exemptions that most states grant to parents who rely on faith healing instead of doctors to treat sick children.

Faith healing has deep roots in American history, and yet it may seem surprising that in the 21st century, children still die because parents choose not to seek medical help from physicians.

State laws across the nation exempt members of religious groups from prosecution if they choose faith healing over science. Asser and a colleague, Rita Swan, have been trying to get states to repeal such laws, arguing that safety should always come first, no matter what the parents believe.

“We can’t legislate good parenting, but at least we shouldn’t have laws allowing bad parenting,” said Swan, who now heads the advocacy group Children’s Healthcare.

But Swan and Asser have been lonely voices, partly because tragedies are rare and partly because legislators are loath to challenge parental rights, especially when they are intertwined with the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

“There hasn’t been a groundswell of organized advocacy to get the laws changed,” said Shawn Francis Peters, a University of Wisconsin professor and an author of a book on faith healing. “I do think there’s broad public sentiment to do it, but that doesn’t get things through the meat grinder of legislation.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 30 states have specific exemption laws on the books.

What does federal law say? According to HHS, nothing in the amendments to the original 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, can “be construed as establishing a federal requirement that a parent or legal guardian provide any medical service or treatment that is against the religious beliefs of the parent or legal guardian.”

Five states have repealed exemption laws, Swan said: Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska and North Carolina.

Some states have revised their laws, including Oregon in 1999. After a stormy debate in the Oregon Legislature, then-Gov. John Kitzhaber, a doctor, signed a compromise bill into law that eliminated the Oregon spiritual-healing exemption in some manslaughter and criminal-mistreatment cases.

Many of the exemption laws were enacted in the 1970s, promoted by two top advisers to former President Nixon — Bob Haldeman and John Erlichman — and an influential senator, Charles Percy of Illinois, who practiced Christian Science.

The religion, founded by Mary Baker Eddy just after the Civil War, embraces a form of faith healing its adherents say is unique and different from the way it is practiced by some fundamentalists.

The Church of Christ, Scientist, emphasizes that it does not prevent any members from seeking medical care, and it is quick to distance itself from other religious groups that demand prayer be the only method for healing.

“One of the mistakes people make is lumping all these groups together,” said Stephen Lyons, a Boston lawyer who has defended Christian Scientists.

Church leaders also deny their lobbying efforts with state lawmakers across the country have kept the laws on the books, even though Peters and a fellow author on faith healing, Boston College historian Alan Rogers, say that the effort is intense and largely successful.

“It’s remarkable,” Rogers said. “Without exception, it has been the push of the Christian Science church.”

Two pending criminal cases expected to test Oregon’s revised law are against parents belonging to the Followers of Christ Church, the same religious sect that owns the cemetery visited by Asser in 2001.

Jeffrey Dean Beagley, 50, and his 46-year-old wife, Marci Rae Beagley, have been charged with failing to provide adequate medical care, in violation of their duties as parents.

Their 16-year-old son, Neil, died in June from complications of a urinary-tract blockage that triggered heart failure. Doctors said a simple procedure could have saved his life.

In the other Oregon case, Carl Brent Worthington and his wife, Raylene, have pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in the death of their 15-month-old daughter, Ava, who died at home from bacterial pneumonia and a blood infection, conditions the state medical examiner said were treatable.

The Beagleys and the Worthingtons have refused to talk to reporters, and their attorneys have declined to comment, along with prosecutors.

In a third case, in Wisconsin, Leilani and Dale Neumann face reckless homicide charges in the death of their 11-year-old daughter due to complications from diabetes.

Leilani Neumann has said that the family believes in the Bible and that healing comes from God, but she said they do not belong to an organized religion or faith and have nothing against doctors.

The Followers of Christ figured prominently in a state legislative battle over the Oregon exemption that began in 1998 with the discovery of the children’s graves, and the death of an 11-year-old member of the sect from complications caused by diabetes.

The political battle ended with revision of the law, but not its repeal.

“I was there” — for repeal, said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney. And, he notes, so were churches, child health-care advocates, law enforcement and plenty of parents.

What stopped the Legislature from an outright repeal of the law was an effort to protect religious freedom and parental rights and at the same time protect children.

“We tried and tried and tried to figure out a way to speak to, to be sensitive to, and balance all those influences,” Courtney said. “Did we do it? I don’t know.”

“These are extremely sensitive cases nationally,” said Josh Marquis, an Oregon district attorney who has been part of the debate over how to balance those conflicting rights. “It’s where faith meets the law.”

In a 1998 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, Asser and Swan, herself a former Christian Scientist, documented 172 faith-related child deaths in the United States between 1975 and 1995. They found that 140 of the children died from conditions for which survival rates with medical care exceeded 90 percent.

Asser notes that no government agencies systematically collect data, and reliance on faith healing is not a category listed on a death certificate.

Before federal medical privacy laws were tightened, he was able to talk to medical examiners about cases, but that has become more difficult.

Asser has tracked a handful of cases that have gotten media attention in the past decade, including deaths in Philadelphia, Massachusetts and California. But he still learns about many of the deaths only through concerned friends or family members who contact him or Swan.

And death is not the only troubling outcome when children avoid doctors because of their parents’ religious beliefs.

Beth Young, a professor at the University of Central Florida, says her hip dysplasia, which could have been easily corrected when she was an infant, went unnoticed and untreated by her Christian Scientist parents. Young finally went to a doctor in her 20s to find out why it was such a struggle to walk and climb stairs.

She learned her hip joints were deteriorating — but that it was too late for a surgical fix.

“It’s not going to get any better,” Young said in an interview. “I think about that every day. If my parents knew how simple the treatment was, I don’t think they would have ignored it. So I do feel cheated.”

She added: “I can remember times when I would pray and pray and pray, and I would think that maybe I’m healed now, and then I would go check, and I’d go walk in front of a mirror or something, and then I would discover, no I’m not.”

Lyons, the Boston lawyer, has drawn national attention for defending parents in faith healing cases.

He successfuly represented David and Ginger Twitchell, Christian Science parents in Boston who were acquitted of manslaughter charges in the 1986 death of their 2-year-old son from a congenital defect that caused the bowel to twist and become obstructed.

The landmark case caused enough concern to persuade Massachusetts lawmakers to abolish the religious exemption, said Jetta Bernier, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children.

But even when such exemptions are abolished or revised, prosecutions can be difficult so long as parents show they are sincere in their religious beliefs, legal experts say.

“The status quo is very difficult to upset,” said Jesse Choper, the Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2008/nov/29/faith-vs-the-law-doctor-wants-legislation-appealed/living/

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Some Thoughts about Faith Healing

 

Stephen Barrett, M.D. 

The notion that prayer, divine intervention or the ministrations of an individual healer can cure illness has been popular throughout history. Miraculous recoveries have been attributed to a myriad of techniques commonly lumped together as “faith healing. During the past forty years, several investigators have studied this subject closely and written about their findings.

Louis Rose, a British psychiatrist, investigated hundreds of alleged faith-healing cures. As his interest became well known, he received communications from healers and patients throughout the world. He sent each correspondent a questionnaire and sought corroborating information from physicians. In Faith Healing [Penguin Books 1971], he concluded, “I have been unsuccessful. After nearly twenty years of work I have yet to find one ‘miracle cure’; and without that (or, alternatively, massive statistics which others must provide) I cannot be convinced of the efficacy of what is commonly termed faith healing.” [1]

During the early 1970s, Minnesota surgeon William Nolen, M.D., attended a service conducted by Katherine Kuhlman, the leading evangelical healer of that period. After noting the names of 25 people who had been “miraculously healed,” he was able to perform follow-up interviews and examinations. Among other things, he discovered that one woman who had been announced as cured of “lung cancer” actually had Hodgkin’s disease — which was unaffected by the experience. Another woman with cancer of the spine had discarded her brace and followed Ms. Kuhlman’s enthusiastic command to run across the stage. The following day her backbone collapsed, and four months later she died. Overall, not one person with organic disease had been helped. Dr. Nolen reported his findings, which included observations of several other healers, in Healing: A Doctor in Search of a Miracle , a book that I heartily recommend [2].

C. Eugene Emery, Jr., a science writer for the Providence Journal, has looked closely at the work of Reverend Ralph DiOrio, a Roman Catholic priest whose healing services attract people by the thousands. In 1987 Emery attended one of DiOrio’s services and recorded the names of nine people who had been blessed during the service and nine others who had been proclaimed cured. DiOrio’s organization provided ten more cases that supposedly provided irrefutable proof of the priest’s ability to cure. During a six-month investigation, Emery found no evidence that any of these 28 individuals had been helped [3].

The most comprehensive examination of contemporary “healers” is James Randi’s The Faith Healers [4]. The book describes how many of the leading evangelistic healers have enriched themselves with the help of deception and fraud. Some of Randi’s evidence came from former associates of the evangelists who got disgusted with what they had observed.

Randi’s most noteworthy experience was the unmasking of Peter Popoff, an evangelist who would call out the names of people in the audience and describe their ailments. Popoff said he received this information from God, but it was actually obtained by confederates who mingled with the audience before each performance. Pertinent data would be given to Popoff’s wife, who would broadcast it from backstage to a tiny receiver in Popoff’s ear. After recording one of Mrs. Popoff’s radio transmissions, Randi exposed the deception on the Johnny Carson Show. First he played a videotape showing Popoff interacting with someone in the audience. Then he replayed the tape with Mrs. Popoff’s voice audible to illustrate how Popoff used the information.

Randi also exposed the techniques used by evangelist W.V. Grant, who calls out people in the audience by name and describes their ailments. Grant obtains this information from letters people send him and by mingling with the audience before his show. To help his memory, he uses crib sheets and gets hand signals from associates who also use crib sheets. After one performance, Randi was able to retrieve a complete set from the trash Grant left behind! Following another performance, Randi found that some members of the audience had given false information about themselves, their ailments, and their medical care. For example, after “Dr. Jesus” had “put a new heart” into a man supposedly awaiting open-heart surgery, Randi found that the details (including the doctor and hospital named by Grant) could not be corroborated.

Grant’s subjects typically are “slain in the spirit” and fall backward into the arms of his assistants. In 1986 I observed from a few feet away what happened when he encountered an elderly woman who did not wish to fall backward when he touched her forehead. Grant pushed his fingers into her neck so hard that she could not remain standing. I also watched him “lengthen” the leg of a man who limped up to the stage, supposedly because one of his legs was shorter than the other. The audience may have been impressed with this feat, but I was not. Before the show began, I noted that the man was one of Grant’s assistants and walked normally.

Intercessory Prayer

In 1988, two investigators reported that their thorough search of the scientific literature had located only three controlled examinations of the effects of prayer by third parties on people who were unaware of the prayers [5]. Of these, one (the Byrd study described below) claimed benefit but was poorly designed, whereas the others found no benefit and were well designed [6,7]. Surprised by the small number of published studies, Witmer and Zimmerman asked 38 journal editors whether they had ever received but rejected a manuscript on the subject of intercessory prayer. They also asked the editors to ask their readers whether they knew of any such study, published or unpublished. No editor or reader responded affirmatively. Since that time four more studies have been published, two showing no benefit and two claiming a positive result.

The Byrd study, involving patients in the coronary care unit at San Francisco General Hospital, compared 192 patients who were prayed for by Christians located outside the hospital with 201 patients who served as controls [8]. The published report stated that the prayed-for group had fewer complications. However, the author’s tabulation was not valid because he scored interrelated complications separately and therefore gave them too much weight. The average length of hospital stay, which was not subject to this type of scoring error, was identical for the treatment and control groups [5,9].

Another study examined what happened to anxiety, depression, and self-esteem in 406 patients who received intercessory prayer or no prayer. The prayer was offered for 15 minutes daily for 12 weeks. The researcher reported improvement in all of the subjects but found no differences between the prayer and no-prayer groups [10]. A study of the effects of intercessory prayer on 40 recovering alcoholics also found no benefit [11]. A 6-month study of 40 advanced AIDS patients exposed to 10 weeks of “distant healing” reported fewer new illnesses, physician visits, and hospitalizations in the “distant healing” group [12].

In 1999, the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine published a better-designed study of nearly a thousand consecutive patients who were newly admitted to the coronary care unit of a hospital in Kansas City. The researchers created a 35-item score sheet that was used to measure what happened to the patients during a 28-day period in which 15 groups of 5 persons (“intercessors”) prayed individually for about half the patients. The intercessors were given the patients’ first names and were asked to pray daily for “a speedy recovery with no complications.” The prayed-for group had a 10-11% reduction in total scores even though their average length of hospital stay was similar to that of the “usual-care” group. The researchers also noted that: (a) some patients had asked hospital clergy to pray for them; (b) many, if not most patients in both groups were probably receiving intercessory and/or direct prayer from family, friends and/or clergy, so that the study was most likely measuring the effects of “supplementary intercessory prayer”; (c) although the difference would be expected to occur by chance alone only 1 in 25 times such an experiment were conducted, chance still remains a possible explanation of the results; and (d) using the scoring method of the San Francisco study yielded no significant difference between the two groups [13].

The researchers concluded that “the result suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care” and that further studies should be done [13]. I disagree. The “10-11% reduction in the score sheet” may be statistically significant but is not clinically significant and probably occurred by chance.

In 2001, Mayo Clinic researchers have found no significant effect of intercessory prayer (prayer by one or more persons on behalf of another) on the medical outcomes of more than 750 patients who were followed for 6 months after discharge from in hospital coronary care unit. The patients were randomized within 24 hours of discharge into a prayed-for group and a control group. The prayer involved at least one session per week for 26 weeks by five randomly assigned individual or group intercessors [14].

Intercessory prayer studies accomplish nothing. “Believers” won’t change their view if further studies are negative, and nonbelievers won’t change theirs if additional studies appear positive. Prayer may help some people feel reassured when they are worried, but to me it makes more sense to spend one’s time and energy on more constructive health-promoting activities. Although luck is still a significant factor, I think it is more sensible to believe that health is more likely to be influenced by prudent living than by magical thinking. Also, if praying for people worked, would strangers praying against them cause them to become sicker? Or, as one of my religious friends put it, “Is God is so stupid that he or she would respond to popularity contests?”

Fraudulent “Spiritual” Advice

Many “psychics” and “healers” offer to help with life’s problems through the mail or by telephone. Some call themselves Sister, Madame, Reverend, Doctor, Father, Prophet, Madame Queen, Reverent Mother, or Reverend Sister. The purported benefits may include better luck, better health, and/or a financial benefit. Some of these individuals attempt to persuade respondents to send money repeatedly for their services. During the 1970s, for example, a “spiritual reader” who operating as “Mother McGown,” “Mother Luther,” and “Mother Alma” guaranteed help within three days for illnesses, loneliness, and other problems. All respondents to her ads received identical mimeographed letters stating: “I have received your letter and found out that I could help you. I have found that you have hoodoo [bad luck] in your home along with sickness and love life problems. As soon as you read this letter, call me immediately.” Those who telephoned were told that their problems would be solved if they sent a specific sum of money, usually $50 (but no personal checks). Follow-up letters would then ask for more money because the problem was worse than it was initially believed to be. The Postal Service took action in response to complaints from victims who had spent money but received no results. It turned out that the perpetrator belonged to a gypsy clan whose female members operated under various names in many states. The scheme was ended when one of them was prosecuted by the Postal Service and sentenced to three years’ probation by a federal judge in Austin, Texas.

Is Anyone Helped?

Is there any evidence that faith healing works? The first step in approaching this question is to specify what should be considered proof that an ailment has been healed by a supernatural method. In my opinion, three criteria must be met: (1) the ailment must be one that normally doesn’t recover without treatment; (2) there must not have been any medical treatment that would be expected to influence the ailment; and (3) both diagnosis and recovery must be demonstrable by detailed medical evidence.

If I wanted to demonstrate that I had an effective new treatment method, I would take pains to document the basis for my belief. For example, if I thought I could cure cancer with prayer, I would begin by making certain that patients I worked on actually had cancer. I would obtain their records, talk with their doctors, and have independent physicians examine them to determine their current status. After administering my treatment, I would conduct careful, long-range follow-up studies and report the outcome in detail.

Has any “faith healer” ever sent for the medical records of a client? Or had a client examined by a doctor before and after healing is administered? Or inquired about a client’s health months or years after the healing? Or even kept statistics to indicate what percentage of people with various ailments appear to have been helped? Or compiled data that an independent investigator could verify? As far as I know, no healer has ever done any of these things. On the other hand, many cases have been documented in which people with serious disease have died as a result of abandoning effective medical care after being “healed.”

Thus, as far as I am concerned, there is no reason to believe that faith healing has ever cured anyone of an organic disease. What about functional ailments — in which the symptoms are bodily reactions to tension? Some people who visit “healers” may feel better because the experience causes them to relax or because of a placebo effect. But any benefit of this type should be weighed against the fact that people who are not relieved may conclude that they are “unworthy” and become depressed as a result. Money spent for a fruitless experience with a healer is another negative factor.

Christian Science

A number of religious sects favor prayer over medical care. Christian Science is probably the best known of these groups and is the only form of faith healing that is deductible as a medical expense for federal income tax purposes. Christian Science contends that illness is an illusion caused by faulty beliefs, and that prayer heals by replacing bad thoughts with good ones. Christian Science practitioners work by trying to argue the sick thoughts out of the person’s mind. Consultations can take place in person, by telephone, or even by mail. Individuals may also be able to attain correct beliefs by themselves through prayer or mental concentration. “You can Heal,” a pamphlet of the Christian Science Publishing Society, states that “every student of Christian Science has the God-given ability to heal the sick.” Two weeks of class instruction are required to become a practitioner.

The weekly magazine Christian Science Sentinel publishes several “testimonies” in each issue. To be considered for publication, an account must be “verified” by three individuals who “can vouch for the integrity of the testifier or know of the healing.” During the past few years, believers have claimed that prayer has brought about recovery from anemia, arthritis, blood poisoning, corns, deafness, defective speech, multiple sclerosis, skin rashes, total body paralysis, visual difficulties, and various injuries. Most of these accounts contain little detail, and many of the diagnoses were made without medical consultation.

As far as I know, no systematic, medically supervised study of the outcome of Christian Science healing has ever been performed. However, a recent study suggests that devout Christian Scientists, who rarely consult doctors, pay a high price for avoiding medical care. The study was performed by William F. Simpson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at Emporia State University. Dr. Simpson compared alumni records from Principia College, a Christian Science school in Elsah, Illinois, with records from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and published his findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Even though Christian Science tenets forbid the use of alcohol and tobacco, the death rates among those who had graduated from Principia between 1934 and 1948 were higher than those of their University of Kansas counterparts — 26.2% vs. 20.9% in men, and 11.3% vs. 9.9% in women [15]. A subsequent study comparing the mortality of Christian Scientists and Seventh-day Adventists (who also are admonished to abstain from cigarettes and alcohol) found even greater differences [16].

Rita and Douglas Swan, whose 16-month-old son Matthew died of meningitis under the care of two Christian Science practitioners in 1977, are not surprised by these statistics. Angered by their experience, she founded CHILD, Inc., to work for legal reforms that can protect children from inappropriate treatment by faith healers. She and a colleague collected and reviewed the cases of 172 children who died between 1975 and 1995 when parents withheld medical care because of reliance on religious rituals They concluded

  • 140 of the deaths were from medical conditions for which survival rates with medical care would have exceeded 90%. These included 22 cases of pneumonia in infants under two years of age, 15 cases of meningitis, and 12 cases of insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • 18 more had expected survival rates greater than 50%
  • All but three of the remainder would probably have had some benefit from clinical help. [17]

Information about CHILD can be obtained online or by writing to P.O. Box 2604, Sioux City, IA 51106.

Membership in the Christian Science Church has been declining steadily. The number of practitioners and teachers listed in the Christian Science Journal has fallen from about 5,000 in 1971 to about 1,800 in 1996; and the number of churches has fallen from about 1,800 in 1971 to about 1,100 in 2003..

Is Spirituality Helpful?

A 1996 poll of 1,000 adults found that 79% believed that spiritual faith can help people recover from disease [18]. This idea is also popular among physicians. Although many studies have found associations between various measures of religiosity and health, no well-designed study has demonstrated that religious beliefs or prayer actually benefit health [19]. In fact, one well-designed study found just the opposite. The study involved patients whose progress was followed for nine months after discharge from a British hospital. They evaluated the outpatient records and the responses of 189 patients to questionnaires. the researchers concluded that the health status of patients with stronger spiritual beliefs were more than twice as likely to be unimproved or worse [20]. Although some studies have found that churchgoers tend to be healthier and to live longer than nonchurchgoers, church attendance itself is unlikely to be responsible for the difference [21].

Recommendations

Can anything be done about faith healing? Believers don’t see it as a problem, while most nonbelievers don’t see it as a priority issue and have little sympathy for its victims. But a few things might help lower faith healing’s toll on our society:

  • Laws to protect children from medical neglect in the name of healing should be passed and enforced. In states that allow religious exemptions from medical neglect, these exemptions should be revoked. Maybe the practice of faith healing on minors should be illegal.
  • Faith healing should no longer be deductible as a medical expense.
  • Reporters should be encouraged to do follow-up studies of people acclaimed to have been “healed.”
  • “Healers” who use trickery to raise large sums of money should be prosecuted for grand larceny.

References

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/faith.html

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WORD OF FAITH

exwordoffaith.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Word of Faith believes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It gets worse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 5 False Doctrines To Avoid

by IMAblogger.net

NUMBER 1 – THE WORD OF FAITH GOSPEL

— What Is This All About ? —

The Word of Faith Doctrine, The Prosperity Gospel, The Name it And Claim It Creed… The list goes on and on with this False Doctrine. This doctrine is probably the greatest weapon that Satan has used in these last several decades to destroy Faith in Christ and His Finished Work. The direction of this doctrine sends the seeker in a wrong direction than what God has intended for believers.

As Judaism was the great hindrance to the Message of Grace during the time of Paul, the so-called “faith Message” is the great hindrance presently. In fact, I believe it is even worse than Judaism.

First of all, the faith which is proposed is really no faith at all, at least that which God will recognize. If our faith isn’t properly in Christ Crucified, we are not truly in “Faith”. ( I Cor. 1:17-18, 21,23; 2:2; Col. 2:14-15; Eph 2:13-18). The “Word of Faith” teaching totally denigrates the Cross. It is referred to as “past miseries,” or even as “the greatest defeat in human history.” It also teaches that the Blood of Jesus Christ didn’t atone. While it will say out of one side of its mouth that the Blood does atone, it will then turn around and say, but not within itself. And with that little hook, people are made to believe that they are teaching and preaching the Blood, which they aren’t.

They teach that Jesus became a sinner while on the Cross, died as a sinner, which means that He died spiritually, thereby went to Hell, and we speak of the burning side of Hell, and there suffered for three days and nights the agony of the damned. At the end of the three days and nights, they continue to teach, God then said, “It is enough,” meaning that He had suffered enough. He was then “born again,” even as any sinner is Born-Again, and then resurrected. So when they talk about a person’s faith in Christ in order to be saved, they’re speaking of trusting Christ and what He did in the pit of Hell as a lost sinner. Incidentally, all of this is pure fiction, with not a shred of it being in the Bible. But sadly, untold millions believe it!

The teaching of the “Word of Faith Message” of which has been written here, is none other than blasphemy. It cannot be construed as anything else. To believe such a doctrine, which is the worst perversion of the Atonement that Satan has ever concocted, is none other than believing a lie. That’s why Paul said:

“Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves, know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?” ( II Cor. 13:5)

These are strong terms as given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle. He is saying that any doctrine, any teaching, that eliminates the Cross, is termed as a reprobate doctrine, which produces “reprobates.” Reprobates in the Greek is “adokimos,” and means, “rejected, worthless, cast away.” So in effect Paul is saying that any other type of faith is a “worthless faith.”

The truth is, anyone who takes unto themselves the false message of the “Word of Faith” doctrine has taken a path that will ultimately lead to spiritual ruin.

— Who Is Involved ? —

wof

Mike Murdock / Paula White / Benny Hinn / Kenneth Copeland / Gloria Copeland / Creflo Dollar / Steve Munsey / Jesse Duplantis / Pretty Much All of the TBN Network / Pretty Much All of the Daystar Network / Marcus Lamb / Joni Lamb / Too Many More To Mention /

NUMBER 2 – THE GOSPEL OF SELF ESTEEM

— What Is This All About ? —

To correct this situation, man (not God) has come up with the false gospel of “self-esteem.” This false way basically teaches that man’s problem is that he does not readily know his self-worth; man consequently needs his self-esteem elevated. If this can be done, they teach, man’s problems will be solved.

In order to place this new teaching into proper perspective, we should realize that so-called “Christian” psychologists and psychiatrists transplanted it from outside the Church and from outside the Bible, and I speak of that which is truly the Bible, preferably the King James Version or another Word for word translation and not a paraphrase. A leading evangelical psychologist, who vigorously promotes self-worth teaching, explains, in one of his books, “You’re someone special:”
“Under the influence of humanistic psychologists, like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, many of us Christians have begun to see our need for self-love and self-esteem.”

Satan’s threefold humanistic plan for world domination is basically simple, and you might be surprised how well it correlates with this new theology:

1. Darwinism (Darwin) — the concept of evolution, as it affects the social man, resulting in abortion, humanism, and the “survival of the fittest.”

2. Marxism (Communism and Socialism) — Satan’s economic foundation, which has been proven the world over to be an unworkable philosophy. It results in nothing but poverty.

3. Freudianism (Psychology) — a profound influence on the morals of man, and leading, one might say, toward immorality. And there you have it! Satan’s three-pronged assault — social, economic, and moral. The self-esteem philosophy comes directly from Freudian principles, and it does demand an entirely different

— Who Is Involved ? —Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen

One of the foremost proponents of the self-esteem gospel, Robert Schuller, has called for a “new reformation,” stating that the Sixteenth Century movement (under Martin Luther and John Calvin) was a “reactionary movement” because it emphasized that men are sinners. Schuller goes on to say,

“Once a person believes he is a ‘unworthy sinner,’ it is doubtful he can honestly accept the Saving Grace God offers in Jesus Christ.”

Schuller then offers his blueprint for bringing sinners to Salvation:

“If you want to know why I make people laugh once in a while, I am giving them sounds and strokes, sounds and strokes, like you would a baby. “It’s a strategy. People who don’t trust need to be stroked. People are born with a negative self-image. Because they do not trust, they cannot trust God.”

Of course, if this man is right, accepted Evangelistic practices, which have brought millions to Christ, are wrong. We should then stop telling people they’re sinners who need Jesus Christ as their Savior. We must no longer convince them of their sin and rebellion against a Holy God. We must never speak of Hell, nor warn of the terrible, eternal consequences of rejecting the wonderful offer of Salvation as an unmerited gift from God.

Instead we should begin to stroke men and women into faith, smile them into the kingdom of God, and elevate their self-esteem. If one knows his Bible, he will agree that this is a major change in Christian perspective. However, the proponent of this false gospel has an even broader concept in mind. He goes on to say:

“A theology of self-esteem also produces a theology of social ethics and a theology of economics — and these produce a theologyof government. It all rises on one foundation: the dignity of a person who is created in the image of God.”

Basically, this self-esteem theology states that we need a new reformation and a new theology.

What it also suggests — but does not openly state — is that we need a new Bible. But, truthfully, without openly saying so, it is now giving the Church a new Bible. I speak of the many new interpretations which are now on the market, such as “The Message Bible,” and scores of others of similar perversion. By no stretch of the imagination can these interpretations be called the “Bible.” Pure and simple, they constitute no more than mere prattle, one might even say drivel, of man. Concerning this new gospel of self-esteem, it strikes at the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The True Gospel states that man is a lost sinner, who cannot save himself, and who thus desperately needs a Redeemer.

One the same steps as Schuller, stands a megachurch leader by the name of Joel Osteen. His charming smile and his personable tone leads many to wonder: “How can this man be wrong”? Well, its all about the message. He will not preach the cross. He will not preach the blood. He will not preach about sin. He will only tell you how great a person you are and how much potential you have in you. He will tell you to repeat phrases to yourself daily for affirmation. He will not direct you to God, but he will lead you to self every time.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

(MARK 8:34) “AND WHEN HE HAD CALLED THE PEOPLE UNTO HIM WITH HIS DISCIPLES ALSO, HE SAID UNTO THEM, WHOSOEVER WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.”

The phrase, “And when He had called the people unto Him with His Disciples also,” speaks of an interval of some period of time between His rebuke of Peter and this present statement. In the previous exchange, only the Disciples were included; but others are now also addressed! What Jesus will say will be the very heartbeat of what it means to a Christian; consequently, the Message is given not only to the Disciples, but also to the people, because it is a requirement for all! The phrase, “Whosoever will come after Me,” refers to those who accept the call. It means to be Born-Again, to become His Disciple, to follow His Teachings, and to enter into His fellowship. If one is to notice, Jesus didn’t say, “Come after the Church,” or “Preacher,” or “Priest,” or “Prophet,” but rather Christ Himself (“Me”). Christianity without Christ is no more than any other philosophy. Such produces the moralist, of which there is an abounding number, but does not produce a changed life. The moralist reduces Christianity to a mere religion, which makes it little different than the other religions of the world. Actually, Christianity, within itself, cannot change anything or anyone. Only Christ can change hearts and lives! He actually makes a new creature of all who come to Him.

When we preach self and how great we humans are, first of all, we are lying and second we are doing the opposite of what Christ taught and what God expects.

NUMBER 3 – THE PURPOSE DRIVEN …

— What Is This All About ? —

The Purpose Driven Life attempts to turn a born again life into one of pragmatism rather than one being led by the Spirit of God. The book series has many “uplifting” stories of giving purpose and hope to a people worldwide. It subverts God’s way in order to push certain agendas that are exposed in the book series. The doctrine is filled with biblical half truths held up by scriptures that are only partial and taken out of context. The quotation of many paraphrase translations of the Word of God are used in order to fit into what The Purpose Driven Life is trying to indoctrinate. The founders of The Purpose Driven series draw their visions from the business world in order to try to grow the church in ways never tried before in the Body of Christ.

— Who Is Involved ? —Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founder and pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He is responsible for writing the Purpose Driven Series while receiving personal help from business guru, Peter Drucker. Between these two characters and other like minded individuals, they founded a new way to “DO” church. These methods brought people into the church in droves, but at the same time threw out all sound doctrine. Warm bodies on the pews seemed to be the only goal at the beginning while now it has expanded to Global domination and an inclusive doctrine.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

Any group who throws out sound doctrine to “tickle the ears” of the saints, has done a great injustice to the work of Christ. When any body refuses to confront sin as sin in order to bring no offense and risk the possibility of losing a member, has compromised the message of Christ and thus became apostate. This group, and many like it, attempt to widen the gate that Jesus Himself calls narrow. Rick Warren’s idea of Salvation is not telling the sinner of their need to repent due to their sins. This is how you get saved in Rick Warren’s mind, according to The Purpose Driven Life book:

‘Dear God, I want to know Your purpose for my life. I don’t want to waste the rest of my life on the wrong things. Today I want to take the first step in preparing for eternity by getting to know You. Jesus Christ, I don’t understand it all, but as much as I know how, I want to open my life to You. I ask you to come into my life and make yourself real to me. Use this series to help me know what You made me for. Thank you. Amen.’

“If you just prayed that prayer for the very first time, I congratulate you. You’ve just become a part of the family of God.”

Those were words from his book, and that is the dogma that is held high by that camp. Avoid this at all costs. Eternal souls are in the balance, and messages like this do nothing to aid in leading people in the correct direction. The focus should be Christ crucified. It should ever be that we glory in the Cross of Christ. Not in the works or programs of man.

NUMBER 4 – THE EMERGENT CHURCH

Preface: I know I will probably get a lot of backlash about this one, but hear me out. The proponents of the Emergent Church will probably say that they have heard my schpiel over and over again, but nonetheless, I “schpiel” on.

— What Is This All About ? —

The Emerging Church is all about change. They vocalize that, as the culture and society of the world changes, so should the Church. The Word of God becomes less true to the Emergent Church because they want to bring unity to the world by compromising the scriptures in order to avoid any offense. There is deep thought to what God “really” thinks about sin and hell. There is much avoidance of mentioning that some other person’s religion might actually bring them down a path to hell. They like to read the scriptures with an attidude of:

“Yea, God did write about hell in the Bible, but how can a loving God actually send people to hell, if it even exists”?

They liken God to a parent who might threaten a punishment or make up the boggie man in order to get the kids in line, while all the while the parent never intends to follow through with the punishment.

— Who Is Involved ? —Brian McLaren is one of the major mouth pieces of the Emergent Church Movement. You may have read a post on this website about some of his escapades. To read more about Brian McLaren read here and here.

— Why Should I Avoid Them ? —

The False Doctrine that the Emergent Church presents about inclusivism and the compromise of the scriptures is addressed as directly contrary to scriptures such as Revelation 2:14-17 where the church of Pergamos is addressed as preaching a False Doctrine. I think the bottom line is, the Word of God stands true now as it has always. We shouldn’t invent new ways to do God’s work. We should just “Do” what God says. We have to tell others about Christ and His Finished Work on Calvary. There is a literal Hell, and souls are going there daily. If the Emergents are right, and there is no Hell, and all roads lead to Heaven, then WOW! Great. But Why did Christ have to die? ….What if the Emergents are wrong??? What if in condoning sin and accepting all religions and celebrating them as on the same road to heaven, they are actually doing the souls of man no good. I am of the belief that Man is sinful and wicked. We are in need of a savior. In Christ we have hope and must accept him, or we will be held accountable for our sins and thus pay an eternal price. I wouldn’t want to be wrong about that one. Not when you are so close.

MATTHEW CHAPTER 7

13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it

NUMBER 5 – THE NEW MYSTICS

—What Is This All About ?—

They claim to be a Christ centered ministry, but warning signs go off when they expound that their vision is to “practice the presence of God”. They are deep into “soaking” in the presence of God (another warning sign). They are heavily into the Signs and Wonders and promote prophetic schools where they can teach you how to function as a prophet including how to receive and deliver revelations, etc.

—Who Is Involved ?—

Probably the most famous of the New Mystics would be John and Lily Crowder and Benjamin Dunn. A simple google or Youtube search will bring up videos of these clowns “getting high” and drunk in the presence of god. They make an open mockery of the Holy Spirit and His giftings. I have posted about one video in particular here. and here.

Another prominent member of this movement is Joshua Mills. You might recognize him from one of my past posts here where Patricia King, another Mystic, builds his lies up until you hear the lies from his own mouth. Joshua mills regularly encounters angels, angel dust, gold dust, diamond dust, diamonds, feathers, and more. He even has oil pour out of his hands and onto other people.

—Why Should We Avoid Them ?—

The Bible says in Acts 17:29:

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Our focus should be on Christ and His Finished Work.  If we are out seeking for signs and wonders we are not obeying God in his call on us to tell the World about Him.  And the simple fact that we think that fake dust signifies the Glory of God, is sad.  If I thought that glitter signified anything Godly, I might think twice about avoiding those strip clubs.  I hear those girls get covered in the stuff.

http://imablogger.net/2008/09/21/top-5-false-doctrines-to-avoid-the-compilation/

 

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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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This Assemblies of God position paper is a response to what the denomination considers to be extremes in the Faith Movement. The denomination is obligated to distance themselves from errors and extremes that have their roots in Pentecostalism.

The Believer And Positive Confession

The Life of Faith

The Assemblies of God from its early days has recognized the importance of the life of faith. It has been given prominent e-mphasis because Scripture gives it prominence.

The writer to the Hebrews points out that without faith it is impossible to please God. Then he describes faith as believing two things–that God is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

All the blessings which God has for His people are received through faith. Salvation (Acts 16:31), baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:15-17), divine preservation (1 Peter 1:5), inheritance of the promises which include healing and provision of material needs (Hebrews 6:12), and motivation for witnessing (2 Corinthians 4:13) are among the many provisions of God’s grace.

Today, as in every generation, it is important for believers to be mindful of the example in Scripture of being strong in faith (Romans 4:20-24). They must be on guard against anything which would weaken or destroy faith. They need to pray for its increase (Luke 17:5) and constantly seek to cultivate it through reading the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

The life of faith is the life of victory (1 John 5:4).

The Believer and Positive Confession

Occasionally throughout church history people have taken extreme positions concerning great Biblical truths. Sometimes teachers have advocated these extremes. On other occasions followers have gone beyond the teachings and reflected adversely on the cause of Christ.

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Positive and negative confession are expressions which in recent years have received acceptance in an extreme form in some circles. Both the definition in writing and the pattern of usage give some insight into the implications of these terms.

The fact that extremes are brought into focus does not imply rejection of the doctrine of confession. It is an important truth. The Bible teaches people are to confess their sin (1 John 1:9). They are to confess Christ (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9, 10). They are to maintain a good confession (Hebrews 4:14; 10:23, ASV).

But when people, in emphasizing a doctrine, go beyond or contrary to the teaching of Scripture, they do not honor that doctrine. Conversely, they bring reproach upon it and the work of the Lord. For this reason it is important to call attention to these excesses and show how they are in conflict with the Word of God.

Some Positions of the Positive Confession Teaching

The positive confession teaching relies on an English dictionary definition of the word confess: “to acknowledge, or to own; to acknowledge faith in.” Confession is also described as affirming something which is believed, testifying to something known, and witnessing for a truth which has been embraced.

This view goes a step further and divides confession into negative and positive aspects. The negative is acknowledging sin, sickness, poverty, or other undesirable situations. Positive confession is acknowledging or owning desirable situations.

While there are variations of interpretation and emphasis concerning this teaching, a conclusion seems to be that the unpleasant can be avoided by refraining from negative confessions. The pleasant can be enjoyed by making positive confessions.

According to this view, as expressed in various publications, the believer who refrains from acknowledging the negative and continues to affirm the positive will assure for himself pleasant circumstances. He will be able to rule over poverty, disease, and sickness. He will be sick only if he confesses he is sick. Some make a distinction between acknowledging the symptoms of an illness and the illness itself.

This view advocates that God wants believers to wear the best clothing, drive the best cars, and have the best of everything. Believers need not suffer financial setbacks. All they need to do is to tell Satan to take his hands off their money. The believer can have whatever he says whether the need is spiritual, physical, or financial. It is taught that faith compels God’s action.

According to this position, what a person says determines what he will receive and what he will become. Thus people are instructed to start confessing even though what they want may not have been realized. If a person wants money, he is to confess he has it even if it is not true. If a person wants healing, he is to confess it even though it is obviously not the case. People are told they can have whatever they say, and for this reason great significance is attached to the spoken word. It is claimed the spoken word, if repeated often enough, will eventually result in faith which procures the desired blessing.

It is understandable that some people would like to accept the positive confession teaching. It promises a life free from problems, and its advocates seem to support it with passages of Scripture. Problems develop, however, when Bible statements are isolated from their context and from what the rest of Scripture has to say concerning the subject. Extremes result which distort truth and eventually hurt believers as individuals and the cause of Christ in general.

When believers study the life of faith and victory God has for His people, it is important, as in all doctrine, to seek for the balanced emphasis of Scripture. This will help to avoid the extremes which eventually frustrate rather than help believers in their walk with God.

Believers Should Consider the Total Teaching of Scripture.

The apostle Paul gave an important principle of interpreting Scripture which calls for “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13). The basic thrust of this principle is to consider everything God’s Word has to say on a given subject in establishing doctrine. Only doctrine based on a holistic view of Scripture conforms to this Biblical rule of interpretation.

When the positive confession teaching indicates that to admit weakness is to accept defeat, to admit financial need is to accept poverty, and to admit sickness is to preclude healing, it is going beyond and is contrary to the harmony of Scripture.

For instance, King Jehoshaphat admitted he had no might against an enemy alliance, but God gave him a marvelous victory (2 Chronicles 20). Paul admitted weakness and then stated that when he was weak, he was strong because God’s strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).

It was after the disciples recognized they did not have enough to feed the multitudes and admitted it that Christ marvelously provided a more than adequate supply (Luke 9:12, 13). It was after the disciples admitted they had caught no fish that Jesus directed them to a most successful endeavor (John 21:3-6).

These people were not told to replace negative confessions with positive confessions which were contrary to fact. They stated conditions exactly as they were rather than pretending they were something else. Yet God marvelously intervened even though they made what some would call negative confessions.

Comparing Scripture with Scripture makes it clear that positive verbal expressions do not always produce happy effects nor do negative statements always result in unhappy effects. To teach that leaders in the early days of the Church such as Paul, Stephen, and Trophimus did not live in a constant state of affluence and health because they did not have the light on this teaching is going beyond and contrary to the Word of God. Doctrine will be sound only as it is developed within the framework of the total teaching of Scripture.

The Greek word translated “confess” means “to speak the same thing.” When people confess Christ, it is to say the same thing as Scripture does concerning Christ. When people confess sin, it is to say the same as Scripture does concerning sin. And when people confess some promise of Scripture, they must be sure they are saying the same thing about that promise as the total teaching of Scripture on that subject.

The words of Augustine are appropriate in this regard: “If you believe what you like in the gospel and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

Believers Should Consider Adequately the Will of God.

When the positive confession doctrine indicates a person can have whatever he says, it fails to emphasize adequately that God’s will must be considered. David had the best intentions when he indicated his desire to build a temple for the Lord, but it was not God’s will (1 Chronicles 17:4). David was permitted to gather materials, but Solomon was to build the temple.

Paul prayed that the thorn in his flesh might be removed, but it was not God’s will. Instead of removing the thorn, God gave Paul sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God’s will can be known and claimed by faith, but the desire of the heart is not always the criterion by which the will of God is determined. There are times when the enjoyable or pleasurable may not be the will of God. James alluded to this when he wrote, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3). The word translated “lusts” does not refer to perverted desire but to pleasure or enjoyment; that which the heart desires. Several translations use the word “pleasure” rather than “lust.”

In Gethsemane Jesus asked that if it were possible the cup might be removed. That was His desire, but in His prayer He recognized the will of God. He said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

The Bible recognizes there will be times when a believer will not know what to pray for. He will not know what the will of God is. He may even be perplexed as Paul sometimes was (2 Corinthians 4:8). Then, rather than simply making a positive confession based on the desires of the heart, the believer needs to recognize the Holy Spirit makes intercession for him according to the will of God (Romans 8:26, 27).

God’s will always must have priority over the believer’s plans or desires. The words of James should be kept constantly in view: “Ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:15).

Getting what the believer wants is not as simple as repeating a positive confession. Pleasant things might be out of the will of God; and, conversely, unpleasant things might be in the will of God. It is important for the believer to say as Paul’s friends did, “The will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:14)–more important than to demand a life free from suffering.

Believers Should Recognize the Importance of Importunate Prayer.

When the positive confession view teaches that believers are to confess rather than to pray for things which God has promised, it overlooks the teaching of God’s Word concerning importunate prayer. According to some who hold this view of positive confession, God’s promises are in the area of material, physical, and spiritual blessings; believers are to claim or confess these blessings and not to pray for them.

The instruction not to pray for promised blessings is contrary to the teaching of God’s Word. Food is one of God’s promised blessings, yet Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Wisdom is a promised blessing of God, yet Scripture states, if any man “lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not” (James 1:5). Jesus called the Holy Spirit the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49), and yet He also taught that God would give the Holy Spirit to them that ask (Luke 11:13).

While there were times God told people not to pray, as in the case of Moses at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15), there are many Scriptures reminding believers to pray, and that, without ceasing (Romans 12:12; Philippians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Jesus emphasized the importance of importunity in prayer. The illustration of the persistent friend who came at midnight asking for bread to set before his guests became the basis for Christ’s statement, “Ask, and it shall be given you” (Luke 11:5-10). The parable of the widow and the unjust judge became the occasion for our Lord to emphasize importunity in prayer (Luke 18:1-8). These people were commended for importunity and not for prayerless positive confession.

While God’s ways are above man’s ways, and we cannot understand the reason for every command in Scripture, we do know that in His wisdom God has ordained prayer as part of the process included in meeting a need. Rather than an indication of doubt, importunate prayer can be an indication of obedience and faith.

Believers Should Recognize They Can Expect Suffering in This Life.

The positive confession teaching advocates reigning as kings in this life. It teaches that believers are to dominate and not be dominated by circumstances. Poverty and sickness are usually mentioned among the circumstances over which believers are to have dominion.

If believers choose the kings of this world as models, it is true they will seek the trouble-free life (although even kings of this world are not free from problems). They will be more concerned with physical and material prosperity than with spiritual growth.

When believers choose the King of kings as their model, however, their desires will be completely different. They will be transformed by His teaching and example. They will recognize the truth of Romans 8:17 which is written concerning joint-heirs with Christ: “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Paul even went so far as to glory in his infirmities instead of denying them (2 Corinthians 12:5-10).

Though Christ was rich, for our sakes He became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). He could say, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

While God in His providence has endowed some with the ability to accumulate greater wealth than others, something is tragically lacking if there is not a willingness to do the will of God and surrender all, if need be, including creature comforts.

Jesus never ceased to be God, and through the power of the Holy Spirit performed many miracles; yet He was not free from suffering. He knew He must suffer many things of the elders (Matthew 16:21; 17:12). He desired to eat the Passover with the disciples before He suffered (Luke 22:15). After His death, the disciples recognized that Christ’s suffering was a fulfillment of prophecy (Luke 24:25, 26, 32).

When believers realize that reigning as kings in this life is to take Christ as the model of a king, they will recognize suffering can be involved; that sometimes it is more kingly to stay with unpleasant circumstances than to try to make all circumstances pleasant.

Paul had been shown he would suffer (Acts 9:16). Later he rejoiced in his sufferings for the Colossians. He saw his suffering as filling up “that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).

God promises to supply the needs of believers, and He knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation; but reigning in life as Christ did may also include suffering. The committed believer will accept this. He will not be disillusioned if life is not a continual series of pleasant experiences. He will not become cynical if he does not have all the desires of his heart.

He will recognize the servant is not greater than his Master. To follow Christ requires denying ourselves (Luke 9:23). This includes denying our selfish desires and may include admitting our problems.

Problems are not always an indication of lack of faith. To the contrary, they can be a tribute to faith. This is the great emphasis of Hebrews 11:32-40:

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy: they wandered in deserts, and in mountains and in dens and caves of the earth.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

To hold that all suffering results from negative confessions and indicates a lack of faith contradicts the Scripture. Some heroes of faith suffered greatly, some even died through faith, and they were commended for it.

Believers Should Recognize the Sovereignty of God.

The positive confession emphasis has a tendency to include statements which make it appear that man is sovereign and God is the servant. Statements are made about compelling God to act, implying He has surrendered His sovereignty; that He is no longer in a position to act according to His wisdom and purpose. Reference is made to true prosperity being the ability to use God’s ability and power to meet needs regardless of what the needs are. This puts man in the position of using God rather than man surrendering himself to be used of God.

In this view there is very little consideration given to communion with God in order to discover His will. There is very little appeal to search the Scriptures for the framework of the will of God. There is little emphasis on the kind of discussion with fellow believers which results in two or three agreeing what the will of God might be. Instead, the desire of the heart is viewed as a binding mandate on God. It is seen as constituting the authority of the believer.

It is true that Jesus said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). But Scripture also teaches that the asking must be in harmony with the will of God. “This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14, 15).

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) is still an important injunction today. God is God. He will not surrender His glory or sovereignty to anyone. No one will compel God to action.

The authority of the believer exists only in the will of God, and it is the believer’s responsibility to discover and conform to the will of the sovereign God even in the things he desires. Paul’s words are still applicable: “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).

When believers recognize the sovereignty of God and properly become concerned with the will of God, they will not talk in terms of compelling God or using God’s power. They will speak of becoming obedient servants. They will desire to become yielded instruments in the hands of God.

Believers Should Apply the Practical Test.

In reviewing the efforts of those who advocate this positive confession teaching it is evident that the basic appeal is to those who are already Christians living in an affluent society. They encourage a spiritual elitism in which adherents say, “We believe the same things you do. The difference is that we practice what we believe.”

A practical test of a belief is whether it has a universal application. Does the teaching have meaning only for those living in an affluent society? Or does it also work among the refugees of the world? What application does the teaching have for believers imprisoned for their faith by atheistic governments? Are those believers substandard who suffer martyrdom or grave physical injury at the hands of cruel, ruthless dictators?

The truth of God’s Word has a universal application. It is as effective in the slums as in suburbia. It is as effective in the jungle as in the city. It is as effective in foreign countries as in our own nation. It is as effective among deprived nations as among the affluent. The test of fruit is still one way of determining whether a teacher or teaching is of God or of man. “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

Believers Should Accurately Deal With the Word Rhema.

Because there is very little literature among those who espouse the positive confession teaching concerning the Greek word rhema, it is necessary to consider it as used primarily in oral communication.

A distinction is generally made by proponents of this view between the words logos and rhema. The first, it is claimed, refers to the written word. The second, to that which is presently spoken by faith. According to this view whatever is spoken by faith becomes inspired and takes on the creative power of God.

There are two major problems with this distinction. First, the distinction is not justified by usage either in the Greek New Testament or in the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament). The words are used synonymously in both.

In the case of the Septuagint both rhema and logos are used to translate the one Hebrew word dabar which is used in various ways relative to communication. For instance, the word dabar (translated, word of God) is used in both Jeremiah 1:1 and 2. Yet in the Septuagint it is translated rhema in verse 1 and logos in verse 2.

In the New Testament the words rhema and logos are also used interchangeably. This can be seen in passages such as 1 Peter 1:23 and 25. In verse 23, it is “the logos of God which . . . abideth for ever.” In verse 25, “the rhema of the Lord endureth for ever.” Again in Ephesians 5:26 believers are cleansed “with the washing of water by the rhema.” In John 15:3 believers are “clean through the logos.”

The distinctions between logos and rhema cannot be sustained by Biblical evidence. The Word of God, whether referred to as logos or rhema, is inspired, eternal, dynamic, and miraculous. Whether the Word is written or spoken does not alter its essential character. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

A second problem also exists among those who make a distinction between the words logos and rhema. Passages of Scripture are sometimes selected without regard to context or analogy of faith which they claim to speak by faith. In this kind of application of the so-called rhema principle, adherents are more concerned with making the Word mean what they want it to mean than in becoming what the Word wants them to become. In some instances it becomes obvious they love God more for what He does than for who He is.

It is important for believers to avoid any form of Christian existentialism which isolates passages of Scripture from the context or makes some passages eternal and others contemporary.

Conclusion

In considering any doctrine it is always necessary to ask whether it is in harmony with the total teaching of Scripture. Doctrine based on less than a holistic view of Biblical truth can only do harm to the cause of Christ. It can often be more detrimental than views which reject Scripture altogether. Some people will more likely accept something as truth if it is referred to in the Word of God, even if the teaching is an extreme emphasis or contradicts other principles of Scripture.

God’s Word does teach great truths such as healing, provision for need, faith, and the authority of believers. The Bible does teach that a disciplined mind is an important factor in victorious living. But these truths must always be considered in the framework of the total teaching of Scripture.

When abuses occur, there is sometimes a temptation to draw back from these great truths of God’s Word. In some cases people even lose out with God altogether when they discover that exaggerated emphases do not always meet their expectations or result in freedom from problems.

The fact that doctrinal aberrations develop, however, is not a reason for rejecting or remaining silent concerning them. The existence of differences of opinion is all the more reason why believers should continue diligently to search the Scriptures. It is why servants of God must faithfully declare the whole counsel of God.

http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_4183_confession.cfm

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

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The “God” in the Mirror

Chapter 2: Faith or Fiction

Chapter 3: Sovereignty and Suffering

Chapter 4: Origins of Word of Faith

Chapter 5: Positive Confession

Chapter 6: Wounded Faith

Chapter 7: Just Like Your Soul Prospers

Chapter 8: As Rich As Abraham

Chapter 9: Sufficiency, Yes!

Chapter 10: The Jesus Died Spiritually Heresy

Chapter 11: Job and the Kingdom

Chapter 12: The Psychology Behind the Word Movement

Chapter 13: Denying the Symptoms: Is it valid?

Chapter 14: Did Jesus Heal Them All?

Chapter 15: How To Grow in Faith

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

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

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Chapter 4: The Origins of Word of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hagin hijack: How these teachings entered the Charismatic movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Roman-American parallel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From this chapter we learn…

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

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

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

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

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

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Winking, Wiggling and the Power of Words

Gregory Koukl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5724

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Ten Reasons for Rejecting Word-of-Faith Teachings

by Tricia Tillin Intotruth.org

REASON ONE:

It requires ‘revelation knowledge’.

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

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REASON TWO:

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

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

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REASON THREE:

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

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

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REASON FOUR:

It elevates man to equality with Jesus.

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

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

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REASON FIVE:

It makes man a god.

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

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REASON SIX:

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

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

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REASON SEVEN:

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

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

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REASON EIGHT:

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

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

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REASON NINE:

It denies the reality of sin and sickness.

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

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REASON TEN:

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

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

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

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

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CONCLUSION:

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

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

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

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8 Characteristics of a Counterfeit Christian Church
By Eric Johnson

With the leaders of thousands of different religions and churches attempting to make their beliefs appear authentic, it behooves a person to carefully ascertain truth from error. In fact, many leaders of these faiths may call themselves “Christian” and even attempt to convert Christians into their churches.

After all, Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” This is why John warned the believers in 1 John 4:1 to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:21 adds, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23:27 that they were “like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” How can we tell whether or not a particular religious leader (like the Pharisees) ought to be believed, especially when such a person may appear authentic and even claim to be Christian? Let’s then consider eight basic doctrinal characteristics of counterfeit groups.

1. Denial in the true nature of God
The rejection of fundamental Christian tenets such as the historical definition of God should be a major warning sign to any perceptive believer. Groups that deny the Christian viewpoint of the deity of Christ and the Trinity typically follow in point-by-point succession each of the other characteristics in this article. One example is The Way International, a group founded by Victor Paul Wierwille, (He once served as a former evangelical pastor. In fact, several cult leaders had their start in authentic Christian denominations and churches.) Wierwille’s view of God is Unitarian rather than Trinitarian as he denies that there are three persons in the Godhead. He also claims that Jesus was not God, teaching that the deity of Christ was not a Christian teaching for the Christian church’s first 300 years. This is a common (though false) assertion of many cult leaders. Because Wierwille and his church deny the very essence of what makes God who He is, this is a group to avoid.

2. Works-emphasis salvation
Although a counterfeit’s doctrine may include the idea that God’s grace is important in the role of salvation, the leader normally emphasizes the idea that “salvation” ultimately comes through one’s own efforts. Take the Hare Krishna devotees, for instance. These dedicated followers believe that they are in the middle stage of their reincarnation cycle. The way for a dedicated devotee to be born into the next level of existence is to deny himself on this earth while performing good works, including the repetition of the Hare Krishna mantra a total of 1,728 times a day. It may take a devotee who wakes up at 4 A.M. several hours a day to maintain this goal. Those who belong to such work-oriented groups are normally told that they can never know if their works are good enough to please God; instead, they are told to keep trying even harder.

3. The true church
Counterfeit Christian churches often make it a point to cast doubt and suspicion on other churches or denominations, with the leader oftentimes claiming that only his church is true. While many groups hold that the Christian churches do have partial truth, it is taught that full truth has somehow been lost and can now only be found in the “one true church.” This may involve utilizing Christian terminology while having a different meaning behind those particular words. An example is the Watchtower Society, also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This group, founded by Charles Taze Russell in the 19th century, teaches that those who belong to any church outside of “Jehovah’s” church are doomed to annihilation. Only those who belong to the Watchtower organization have a chance to attain “Paradise Earth.” This is why Jehovah’s Witnesses are adamant in sharing their faith door to door, even attempting to convert those who already attend Christian churches. The Jehovah’s Witnesses will often use words that sound reasonable to a nominal Christian (i.e. “Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses,” “salvation,” “Jesus Christ,” etc), but they are usually reluctant to tell potential converts that the meanings behind these words are completely different than what has been historically meant.

4. Authoritative leadership
A group where the leader(s) has an authoritative role, even to the extent that they say they speak for God, is another cause for concern. Such leaders claim to have special revelation with God, and their words hold special precedence over their followers. A classic example is Jim Jones, who led almost 1,000 followers to their deaths in the jungle of Guyana in 1978. When men in his charge killed Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA), a congressman who was visiting “Jonestown” in response to complaints from the relatives of church members, Jones called for his followers to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. The majority of the people willingly followed his commands because they had come to accept his words as truthful and from God. Those who refused were shot. Trusting someone so much that you listen to any command, even to the point of moving to another country and then taking your own life, is something that God never intended.

5. Regimented giving requirement
Another heretical trait is when a church regulates the giving of its people or requires a certain amount of financial giving in order to receive certain privileges related to salvation. For example, the Church of Scientology teaches that people need to discover their true nature through a process called “auditing.” This is accomplished by “clearing Engrams” from one’s life. One Los Angeles Times article on Scientology religion estimated that it would cost a full “Operating Thetan 8” participant between $200,000 to $400,000 from the beginning of the lessons to the completion. Without these courses, the adherent is unable to clear himself of these unwanted “Engrams.” Using finances as a requirement to reach salvation goals is much different than what Jesus, Paul, and Peter preached.

6. Loss of salvation for leaving
Many counterfeit Christian churches insist that if a member decides to leave the group, for whatever reason, they jeopardize their salvation before God. One group with such a belief is the Boston Church of Christ, also known as the International Churches of Christ. The leaders of the ICC teach that there should only be one church in any particular city, which they say is the New Testament model. Members who decide to leave are considered spiritually lost and their salvation is considered negated. This is true even for those who leave because they decide to attend a Christian church outside the ICC network. Since the ICC does not recognize the baptisms of other denominations, and since the doctrine of baptism is considered a necessity in order to receive salvation, leaving the ICC negates the baptism that was given when the person joined the church. Holding a person’s salvation hostage in such a way is certainly not biblical.

7. Authority beyond the Bible
Although the Bible is sometimes utilized and even considered beneficial by a number of counterfeit groups, it is not considered as a completely authoritative scripture. Therefore, extrabiblical writings are necessary. Normally these scriptures are considered to have more authority than the dated Bible. The Christian Science religion is one example. Those who inquire into this religion are told that Mary Baker Eddy’s 1875 pantheistic book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is a “reference book for life,” which is needed by a person who hopes to discover “practical, spiritual answers for health and healing, security, and lasting relationships.” This book must be studied in order to ascertain full truth. When the Bible contradicts Eddy’s book, then the Bible is considered to be wrong or misunderstood.

8. Unique truths never before revealed
The idea that a hidden mystery or new truth is available through a particular church should be taken as a strong sign that this group is a counterfeit Christian religion. In addition, many such groups may change their doctrines over time. Christians believe that God has very clearly shown His truth through the pages of the Bible; therefore, new or fluctuating doctrine—especially that which contradicts the Bible—ought to be taken with a great deal of caution. The Unification Church (numerous front names include “Association of Families for Unification and World Peace” or “Family Federation for World Peace and Unification”) was founded by Korean “Rev.” Sun Myung Moon. He teaches that Jesus never fulfilled his mission. Therefore, Moon says that he was commissioned to finish the job that Jesus never finished. Moon’s followers (often known as “Moonies”) accept Moon as a Christ-like representative on earth whose teachings supersede the Bible. The Unification Church theology has evolved over time, and there may be some drastic changes once he dies in the very near future.

Conclusion
Not all counterfeits may be characterized by every one of these traits. However, a person should be cautious when considering a church that is marked by one or two of these characteristics, especially any of the first three in the list. Churches with three or more of the above characteristics ought to be avoided at all cost. In addition, there are some Christian churches that may not have doctrinal problems but are rather sociological abusers. For instance, some churches have controlling “discipleship” programs or church memberships with high levels of guilt or feelings of inadequacy. These types of groups also ought to be avoided. If you believe that your church has problems in either doctrinal or sociological areas, you would be wise not to get involved. If you are already a member, you need to consider leaving. As John 8:32-33 says, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

http://www.mrm.org/topics/introductory-issues/8-characteristics-a-counterfeit-christian-church

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

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

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

The Relationship Between Kennth Hagin and E. W. Kenyon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hagin’s Plagiarism of Kenyon

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Hagin

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

E. W. Kenyon

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

Kenneth Hagin

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

E. W. Kenyon

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

Kenneth Hagin

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

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

E. W. Kenyon

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

Kenneth Hagin

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

E. W. Kenyon

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

Kenneth Hagin

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

E. W. Kenyon

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

Kenneth Hagin

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

E. W. Kenyon

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

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

E. W. Kenyon

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

Kenneth Hagin

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

E. W. Kenyon

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

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

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

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

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

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NOTES

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

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

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

4. Ibid.; italics added for emphasis.

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

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

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

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

9. Ibid.

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

11. Ibid.

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

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

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

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

16. Hagin, The Name of Jesus, preface.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It gets better!

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have to decide what the truth is for yourself. If you can continue to follow Kenneth Copeland with a clear conscience, then please do so. But I cannot. My conscience demands that I stand up, say something, and oppose what I see as a Gnostic-Shepherding preacher who is leading many sheep into destruction.

http://exwordoffaith.blogspot.com/2008/02/our-experiences-with-kenneth-copeland.html

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How2BecomeAChristian.info BLOG was blessed to have Ex-word of Faith preacher John Edwards visit the other day. He has a blog @ Faithpreacher.blogspot.com which is devoted to sharing his experience as he says “My journey through and my deliverance from the deceptive and dangerous Word of Faith Movement”.

I have really enjoyed everything I have read at his blog and will be featuring more of his writings. I also ask John to let me interview him and he agreed to share his story with us. So in the next few weeks I will have a post featuring our interview. I am thrilled to talk to him and hear his full story.

The following article was instrumental in Pastor Johns coming out of the Word of faith movement. John gives a link to this article on his blogpost and says “This link is what God used to really open our eyes to the deception and fear that we were living in. If you are not afraid of the Truth, then dig in and read.”

JOHN’S COMMENTARY about this article is very very good stuff. BUT posting them together would make this post far too long. SO here is the link to John’s commentary.

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/10/kenneth-hagins-visions.html

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This post will set the context for you. John was a student of Kenneth Hagins.

THE TULSA TEASE: A preachers disappointment and departure from the Word of Faith movement

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The Counterfeit Dreams and Visions of “Prophet” Kenneth Hagin ©Rev. Robert Liichow 1998

Kenneth E. Hagin is the acknowledged “father” of the modern Word of Faith Movement and is viewed by charismatic Christians globally as a true prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ. Kenneth Hagin has been active in ministry since the late 1930’s and worked around the fringes of the Pentecostal healing revival of the 1940’s through late 1950’s.

Kenneth Hagin started out in the ministry holding evangelical meetings as a Baptist (1934-1937) and then was licensed by the Assemblies of God in 1937 and began to Pastor from 1937-1949). Beginning in 1949 brother Hagin was an itinerant evangelist and Bible teacher.

“As a result of his final vision in 1963, he set up his own office at his home in Garland, Texas, for the distribution of his tapes and books. . .Hagin founded Rhema Bible Training Center in 1974. By 1988 more than 10,000 students had graduated, and his daily radio program, “Faith Seminar of the Air,” was being broadcast on more than 180 stations in thirty-nine states, with a short-wave audience in about eighty other nations. By this time more than three million of his eighty-five books and almost half a million cassette tapes of his sermons have been distributed annually.

Kenneth Hagin is a man with no formal seminary training or college education, yet his school is viewed as the premier Bible training school among charismatic believers. Rev. Hagin’s teachings are accepted without question by the rank and file charismatic and many of the most popular charismatic ministers acknowledge Hagin as their spiritual father. Some of those who publicly acknowledge their debt to “Dad” Hagin include Fred Price, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Norval Hayes, Buddy Harrison, and Keith Butler, to name only a few.

One of the reasons Kenneth Hagin and his message has been so widely accepted is because of the claims he himself makes as to the origin of his teachings. His ministry since 1950 has been based upon several alleged visionary encounters with Jesus Christ.

“As a prophet, Hagin communicates revelation that is received by way of divine voice, vision, or visitation. As a teacher, he exposits the Scripture in a plain and often humorous fashion. When both office are combined, the result is a ministry that appears utterly supernatural, and yet thoroughly biblical.”

Brother Hagin’s ministry consists of two basic ingredients: (1) The teachings of E.W. Kenyon, whose work he intentionally or unintentionally plagiarized. (2) The revelations he supposedly received via direct communication through visions with the Lord Jesus Christ. For the purpose of this writing I will confine myself to considering the visions of Rev. Hagin and their content.

Rev. Hagin is among the most mystical preachers of international status alive today. His life as a visionary began at age 15. On April 22, 1933 at 7:40 PM Rev. Hagin died and descended to hell:

“Then the inner man rushed out of my body and left my body lying dead, with the eyes set and the flesh cold. . .I have proof that I was actually dead. My eyes were set, my heart stopped beating, and my pulse had ceased. . .Finally, far below me, I could see lights flickering on the walls of the caverns of the damned. The lights were caused by the fires of hell. . .Upon reaching the bottom of the pit, I became conscious of some kind of spirit being by my side. . .a voice spoke from far above the blackness, above the earth, and above the heavens. I don’t know if it was the voice of God, Jesus, or an angel, or who. . .I slipped back into my body as easily as a man slips into his trousers in the morning – through my mouth.”

According to Hagin he died and was taken down to the very gates of hell by some creature. Upon reaching the gates of hell a loud speaks from far above in an unknown tongue and Hagin is released by the creature and he floats back up and into his body via his mouth!

If words mean anything what we have is a person who died and was the resurrected from the dead. He stated he was dead (page 5) and then was supernaturally brought back from hell into his body (page 6).

“My heart stopped beating for the second time. . .I felt the blood cease to circulate. The tips of my toes went numb – then my feet, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, and heart. I leaped out of my body and began to descend: down, down down. . .The voice spoke from heaven and again my spirit came up out of that place – back to my room and back into my body. The only difference this time was that I came up at the foot of the bed.”

For the second time Rev. Hagin “dies” and leaves his body. Again, he descends into the pit, and again some voice speaks from above and Hagin is “resurrected” and re-enters his body via the foot of his bed.

Hagin upon coming back to his body this time leaves parting words for his sister and two brothers. Why parting words? Because Hagin is about to die for a third time and descend into hell.

“…my heart stopped for the third time. I could fell the circulation as it cut off again – and I leaped out of my body and began to descend. . .Thank God that voice spoke. I don’t know who it was – I didn’t see anybody – I just hear the voice. . .I began to pray, “O God! I come to you in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ. I ask You to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all sin. . .That was the very hour I was born again due to the mercy of God through the prayers of my mother.”

This time on his way down Hagin begins to cry out to God that he is a church member, that he has been baptized in water. . . all to no avail. Yet God spoke again and Hagin begins to rise from the gates of hell. This time Hagin repents of his sins and calls on the name of Jesus and he is saved!

I am very glad that brother Hagin was saved but I have a problem when a person says that they were saved after they had died physically. Based on what he has stated we are to believe that he (1) died, (2) went down to hell, (3) and was born again while out of his body.

I realize that Hagin has probably not thought through some of the implications, but I have considered some of them. If what Hagin is saying is in fact true, the theological implications are staggering! This means a lost person can die, and on their way to hell repent of their sins and be born again. In fact, in Hagin’s case he died three times! What is important to keep in mind is that Hagin does not say that he thought he died, or that he simply left his body. No, he emphatically states that he died. “My experience of being brought back from the dead is not new. Jesus raised three people from the dead.” He equates his experiences on par with those of whom Jesus raised from the dead in the Bible.

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If Hagin’s testimony is true then the Scriptures pertaining to the condition of lost people are wrong! How so? To begin with you have a lost man is dead in sin (Eph. 2:5) and without hope (Eph 2:12). In fact, the lost man does not love God nor does he seek after Him (Rom 3:10). Jesus said that He chose us, we did not chose Him (Jh 15:16).

What we see in Hagin’s experience is the exact opposite to what the Scripture plainly teach. We have a lost man, thus a spiritually dead man, crying out to a God he does not know or love to save him. We have a lost man choosing Christ, a man who hates the light (Jh 1:5) and does not understand the things of the spirit (2 Cor. 2:14). We have a man whose mind and will are at enmity with God (Rom 8:7) and cannot please God . . . doing that which please God, he calls upon Him!

In this testimony brother Hagin relates a couple key ingredients of standard Word of Faith (WOF) doctrine. First, to adherents of WOF teachings, it is no problem to believe that a person can die and be born-again in hell (or in Hagin’s case on the way down to hell). After all, Jesus was born-again man in the pit of hell. Hagin and all the clones after him agree with Kenyon’s theology:

“You can now understand that He uttered the sentence, “It is finished.” You can now understand that He did not mean that He had finished His Substitutionary work, but that He had finished the work the Father gave Him to do first. . .If Jesus paid the penalty of Sin on the cross, then Sin is but a physical act. If Hid death paid it, then every man could die for himself. Sin is in the spirit realm. His physical death was but a mean to an end. . .When Jesus died, His spirit was taken by the Adversary and carried to the place where the sinner’s spirit goes when he dies. . .He is the first born out of spiritual death, the first person who was ever born again. . .His spirit absolutely became impregnated with the sin nature of the world. . .He was made to be sin.”

So it is no stretch for them to accept that Hagin, like Jesus died a sinner, and was raised from the dead a righteous born-again man.

The second WOF concept is seen when Hagin states “I looked at the clock and saw it was 20 minutes before 8 o’clock. That was the very hour I was born again due to the mercy of God through the prayers of my mother.” (underlining bold type added)

I was taught (and taught) that God cannot do anything in the earth unless His people pray. So yes God was merciful, but that mercy was able to be released on Kenneth Hagin’s behalf because his mother prayed. If she had not prayed God would not have been able to show His mercy to Hagin. God’s ability is released through our prayers, this is standard WOF teaching regarding prayer and the authority we have as humans and as believers.

Certainly God answers prayer, He uses prayer as a means to His ends, yet God is not bound or loosed by our prayers. He is totally sovereign (Is 45:22) and He moves according to His free will and He is in no way dependent upon us for anything. He is the Creator and we are the creation, this fact is sorely misunderstood by most Charismatics.

On September 1950 in Rockwall Texas Hagin is holding a tent revival. He and the participants were praying around the platform.

“I began to pray in other tongues, and I heard a voice say, “Come up hither” . . .I thought everybody heard it. “Come up hither,” the voice said again. Then I looked and saw Jesus standing about where the top of the ten would be. As I looked again, the tent had disappeared . . .God had permitted me to see into the spirit realm. Jesus was standing there, and I stood in His presence. He was holding a crown in His hands. . .It seemed as if I went with Him through the air until we came to a beautiful city. . .The Jesus turned to me and said, “Now let us go down to hell.” Jesus told me, “warn men and women about this place,”. . .He then brought me back to earth. I became aware I was knelling on the platform. . .As he stood there, He talked to me about my ministry. He told me some things in general that He later explained in more detail in another vision.”

“Jesus” appears to Kenneth for several reasons. First He shows him the soul winners crown. “Jesus” tells him it is for all His children, but many are too busy and because of this “souls are lost because they will not obey Me.” So again, we encounter salvation depending upon man and not God. First we saw God’s mercy released via his mother’s prayers. Now we are told by “Jesus” not less, that souls are lost because His people do not obey Him and witness to them! Without going any further I can assure the reader fully that the being portraying himself as Jesus Christ, was not the Biblical Jesus. If this was the real Jesus, then He has changed His theology since the Holy Spirit had the Apostle John pen the following text:

John 6:37-40 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

6:37. Jesus then gave the ultimate explanation of their lack of faith: the Father works sovereignly in peoples lives. There is an election of God which is the Fathers gift to the Son. The Son has no concern that His work will be ineffective, for the Father will enable people to come to Jesus. Jesus has confidence. But people may have confidence also. (Cf. the crippled mans response to Jesus question, Do you want to get well? [5:6-9]) One who comes to Jesus for salvation will by no means be driven away (cf.{cf. confer, compare} 6:39). 6:38-39. Jesus then repeated His claim about His heavenly origin. The reason He came down from heaven was to do the will of the Father who sent Him. The Fathers will is that those whom He gives to the Son will not suffer a single loss and all will be raised to life in the resurrection (cf. vv. 40, 44, 54). This passage is strong in affirming the eternal security of the believer. 6:40. This verse repeats and reinforces the ideas of the previous verses. One who looks and believes on Jesus for salvation has his destiny secure. The divine decree has insured it (cf. Rom. 8:28-30). He has eternal life (John 6:47, 50-51, 54, 58) and will be raised at the last day (cf. vv. 39, 44, 54).

Jesus plainly taught that He would not lose one person whom the Father had given Him! So for “Jesus” to come to Hagin in 1950 and tell him that people are in hell because of their disobedience would be a direct contradiction of His own teaching. Salvation is not left up to men, but is the work of God. After this startling revelation “Jesus” takes Hagin up to see a beautiful city. They do not enter the city, just take a look. Then the being turns to Hagin and says “let us go down to hell.” Hagin sees people engulfed in flames and is told to warn people about this place. Then Hagin is brought back to his revival meeting and Jesus hangs around revealing to him future aspects of his ministry. Then “Jesus” disappears. Up to this point brother Hagin wants us to believe the following:

C He leaves his body and meets Jesus in person above his revival tent
C Jesus shows him the soul winners crown and instructs him about our obligation to save the lost
C Jesus takes Hagin to some celestial city
C Jesus takes Hagin to hell
C Jesus takes Hagin back into his body
C Jesus reveals to Hagin further gnosis about his future ministry

However, Hagin goes on the tell us that the revelations did not stop there:

“About that time the Holy Spirit came upon me again. It seemed as if a wind were blowing on me, and I fell flat on my face on the platform. As I lay under the power of God, it seemed as if I were standing high on a plain somewhere in space and I could see for miles and miles around me. . .I felt so lonely. I was not conscious of my earthly surroundings. As I looked to the west, I saw what appeared to be a tiny dot on the horizon. . .Soon I could see it was a horse. . .When the horseman came to me, he pulled on the reins and stopped. . .He passed the scroll from his left hand to his right hand and handed it to me. As I unrolled the scroll, which was a roll of paper 12 or 14 inches long, he said, “Take and read.” At the tope of the page in big bold, black print were the words “WAR AN DESTRUCTION.” I was struck dumb. He laid his right hand on my head and said, “Read, in the Name of Jesus Christ.” I began to read what was written on the paper, and as the words instructed me, I looked and saw what I had just read about.”

Next we are told that the Holy Spirit transports Hagin to some cosmic plain where he is alone and he sees a rider approaching from the west. The rider comes up to him and gives him a scroll which he is commanded to read. Hagin is struck dumb and needs this supernatural rider to lay hands on him and commands him to read in the Name of Jesus Christ, the revelations on the scroll. As he read the scroll he was able to see what he read coming to pass before his eyes.

“The scroll was written in the first person, and seemed as if Jesus Himself were speaking. I read, “America is receiving her last call. Some nations already have received their last call and never will receive another. . .”THE TIME OF THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND”. . .Jesus also said this was the last great revival. He went on the say, “All the gifts of the Spirit will be in operation in the Church in these last days, and the Church will do greater things than even the Early Church did. It will have greater power, signs, and wonders than were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. . . More and more miracles will be performed in the last days which are just ahead, for it is time for the gift of working of miracles to be more in prominence. . .Many of my own people will not accept the moving of my Spirit, and will turn back and will not be ready to meet Me at my coming. many will be deceived by false prophets and miracles of satanic origin. But follow the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and Me, and you will not be deceived. I am gathering my own together and am preparing them, for the time is short. ” bold type added)

What is interesting to me about the message the scroll contained is that it is in complete agreement with the current doctrinal error that was sweeping Pentecostalism at that time. Percy Hunt and George Warnock had been teaching what came to be called Latter Rain Doctrines since 1947 (actually the doctrinal roots go back as far as 1910). Hagin’s scroll parrots these teachings to the letter. Latter Rain proponents emphasized the outpouring of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit on the remnant of God. These gifts would be manifest to a degree that would exceed those of the original Apostles. They also stressed that the last great revival was on (keep in mind 1950 was just about the middle of the healing revival) and that America was heading towards judgment. “Warn this generation, as did Noah his generation, for judgment is about to fall. And these sayings shall be fulfilled shortly, for I am coming soon.” Jesus repeated, “This is the last great revival.”

Those Christians who question, and do not accept the coming signs, wonders, and miracles apparently will not be ready to meet Jesus at His return. So according to Hagin’s scroll the criteria for Christian readiness is to embrace “the moving of my Spirit.” The Bible does not teach this at all!

1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

What prepares the believer to meet Christ is the unshifting hope we have in Him, not the embrace of present day truth or the current move of the Spirit.

It is also interesting that the scroll warns of false prophets and miracles of satanic origin. Most of the visions I have studied usually add this caveat in them, to watch out for demonic counterfeits. What amazes me is that none of those who relate their dreams and visions ever take time to consider whether or not they themselves have been blinded by an angel of light (2 Cor 11:13). Yet when you take an objective Biblical look at the content of the dreams and visions and see what is alleged to have been said by Jesus, an Angel, etc. you will find that the statements are either contra-biblical or extra-biblical.

Hagin goes on to say that people present in the tent meeting said he read from the scroll aloud for 30 minutes. When he finished reading it, he gave it back to the rider, who galloped off back to wherever he had come from. Hagin says he was then conscious of the fact that he was still flat on his face on the floor (I wonder how people could hear him read for 30 minutes in that position?). Now we can add to our list these aspects of his experience:

C Hagin is knocked on his face by the Holy Spirit
C He is taken out of his body (again)
C Hagin is transported to a flat, barren plain, devoid of all life
C Hagin sees a rider approach
C The rider gives Hagin a scroll and tells him to read
C Hagin reads and sees the events of the scroll, people present hear him “read” the scroll
C Hagin comes back to himself realizes he is still face down on the floor

The Lord isn’t finished His revelatory work yet. While Hagin is face down on the floor he hears a voice say:

“Come up hither. Come up to the throne of God! Again I saw Jesus standing about where the top of the ten should be. . .When I reached Him, together we continued on to heaven. We came to the throne of God, and I beheld it in all its splendor. I was not able to look upon the face of God; I only beheld His form.

Hagin leaves his body, has a personal meeting with Jesus, returns to his body, gets taken out of his body, meets a rider on horseback, is given a prophetic scroll, reads it, is returned to his body, then “Jesus” calls Hagin out of his body again, he ascends to the throne of Almighty God. This would normally strain the credulity of most Christians, yet the average charismatic believer fully accepts his account. After the Lord explains the four phases of brother Hagin’s ministry to him he is given a special anointing from the Lord of glory:

“Then the Lord said to me, “Stretch forth thine hand!” He held His own hand out before Him and I looked into them. . .Instead of scars I saw in the palms of His hands the wounds of the crucifixion – three-cornered, jagged holes. Each hole was large enough for me to have put my finger in it. . .As I looked upon the wounds in His hands. . .He laid the finger of His right hand in the palm of my right hand and then my left. The moment He did, my hands began to burn as if a coal of fire had been placed in them. Then Jesus told me to kneel down before Him. When I did, He laid His hands upon my head, saying that He had called me and had given me a special anointing to minister to the sick. He went on to instruct me that when I pray and lay hands on the sick, I was to lay one hand on each side of the body. If I felt the fire jump from hand to hand, an evil spirit or demon was present in that body causing the affliction. . .If the fire, or the anointing, in my hands did not jump from hand to hand, it was a case needing healing only. I should pray for the person in Jesus Name, and if he would believe and accept it, the anointing would leave my hands and go into that person’s body, driving out the disease and brining healing.”

There is a great deal which bears scrutiny in this segment of brother Hagins’s account. To begin with he sees holes in the palms of “Jesus” hands. It is a physical impossibility for a person to be nailed to a cross with the nails going through their palms. The weight of the human body could not be supported by nails in the palms. Archeologists agree that the nails used probably were placed just behind the wrists of Jesus:

But new light has been thrown on the subject by archaeological work in Judea. In the summer of 1968 a team of archaeologists under V. Tzaferis discovered four Jewish tombs at GivÔat ha-Mivtar (Ras el-Masaref), Ammunition Hill, near Jerusalem, where there was an ossuary containing the only extant bones of a (young) crucified man, dating from probably between ad{ad anno Domini} 7 and ad{ad anno Domini} 66, judging from Herodian pottery found there. Thorough research has been made into the causes and nature of his death and may throw considerable light on our Lord’s form of death. The young man’s arms (not his hands) were nailed to the patibulum, the cross-beam, which might indicate that Lk. 24:39; Jn. 20:20, 25, 27 should be translated ‘arms’. The weight of the body was probably borne by a plank (sedecula) nailed to the simplex, the upright beam, as a support for the buttocks. The legs had been bent at the knees and twisted back so that the calves were parallel to the patibulum or cross-bar, with the ankles under the buttocks. One iron nail (still in situ) had been driven through both his heels together, with his right foot above the left. A fragment shows that the cross was of olive wood. His legs had both been broken, presumably by a forcible blow, like those of Jesus’ two companions in Jn. 19:32. (Bold type added)

Brother Hagin attempts to validate his visionary experience by citing John 20:25 where Thomas says “. . .except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails. . .” What Hagin failed to realize is that the Jews considered the “hand” to be any part from the elbow down. On the physical evidence alone the being brother Hagin was speaking to could not have been the Biblical Jesus.

More astounding than the nail scarred palms is the alleged commission that Jesus gives brother Hagin. The purpose for Hagin coming up to the throne room of heaven was to be personally commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ with a special anointing to heal the sick. “Jesus” lays his hands on Hagin’s head and tells him that “he” has called him to minister to the sick via a special anointing.

Whenever brother Hagin lays his hands on sick people he will (from this point on in 1950) be able to discern whether the person is sick due to (1) an evil spirit, (2) a demon, or (3) just physically ill. He will know this because the anointing fire will jump (or not jump) from hand to hand! If Hagin can get the sick person to believe this, then the anointing will flow out of Hagin’s hands into the sick person and he, Hagin, will know they are healed!

The anointing given to Kenneth Hagin is so special it is not found anywhere in the Bible. He has received, personally, from the nail-pierced hands of Jesus a power not given to any of the people within the confines of the written Word. Nowhere in Scripture is such an “anointing” spoken of. Nowhere in Scripture do we read on Jesus giving anyone the ability to discern the cause of an illness by the physical sensation of fire jumping from hand to hand! Yet does anyone within the Pentecost/charismatic circle question this?

In fact, I find it interesting that during the healing revival (1940-1950’s) the main healing evangelists all claimed to have been given a tangible healing anointing which was felt in their hands. Probably the two most famous healing evangelists of that time who made such claims were Oral Roberts and William Branham. With this in mind brother Hagin’s claim to feel the fire jump from hand to hand was not hard for people to swallow. Bigger evangelists than he had already been making claims of that nature for almost five years prior to his being “anointed” to heal.

After this special call by “Jesus,” the laying on of hands, and the imparting of this special anointing Hagin begs not to be sent into the healing ministry. Jesus rebukes him and Hagin relents and agrees to obey this divine charge:

“I’ll go with you and stand by your side as you pray for the sick, and many times you will see Me. Occasionally I will open the eyes of someone in the audience and they will say, “Why, I saw Jesus standing by that man as he prayed for the sick.”

“Jesus” personally commits to be with Hagin when he prays for the sick. In fact, many times Hagin will personally get to see Jesus standing by his side and Jesus will open the eyes of revival participants and allow them to see Him. After this throne room experience they head back to earth:

“Jesus then journeyed with me back to the earth, and I realized that I still lay on my face on the floor. he talked with me there a moment and then disappeared. My hands burned for three days just like I had a coal of fire in each of them. Now when I wait upon the Lord in prayer and fasting, the same anointing comes upon me again.”

Brother Hagin gives no explanation why they went up to the “throne room” of heaven, or why Jesus did not commission him when He first appeared to Hagin earlier that day. Hagin does explain that this special anointing can come and go; “if the anointing leaves you, fast and pray until it comes back” . When he feels the anointing has left him all that he has to do is some fasting and praying and it will come back. There is no explanation about what would cause this anointing to leave, all we know is what Hagin must do to get it back. Before I go onto brother Hagin’s next gnostic experience it is necessary to take some time and consider what the Bible has to say about the anointing and compare it to what Pentecostal and charismatics mean when they use that term.

The working charismatic definition of “the anointing” is an ineffable supernatural power given by the Holy Spirit to accomplish a task or ministry. The anointing is felt by the minister and can be transmitted to others through the laying on of hands. It is this tangible power flowing from the minister to the recipient which causes them to “fall under the power” when prayed for. Sometimes the anointing is described as power, heat, electricity, or fire. The anointing comes upon a minister and can lift from him. One can gain the anointing through fasting and prayer (as in Hagin’s case) or it can be bestowed on a person via another “anointed” vessel.

Strong’s Dictionary defines anointing as: chrisma, khris’-mah; from Greek 5548 (chrio); an unguent or smearing, i.e. (figurative) the special endowment (“chrism”) of the Holy Spirit :- anointing, unction. In the New Testament the term(s) for anointing are used only seven times. Four of the seven are direct references to the Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry (Lk. 4:18; Acts 4:27, Acts 10:38, and Heb. 1:9).

The other three times refer to the work of the Holy Spirit in teaching us as God’s children (1 Jh. 2:20, 27) and in keeping us in Christ (2 Cor. 1:21). Nowhere does the Bible speak of the anointing being felt as fire, heat, electricity, or power. Nowhere do we read of the anointing flowing out of Paul or Peter, i.e. being transmitted and people falling down under the power of the anointing. Every believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) and that same Holy Spirit is the anointing (1 Jh. 2:27). Thus every believer in “anointed” with the Holy Spirit. If a believer has any of the Spirit, he must then have all of the Spirit, because God is not divisible.

Nowhere are we told how to increase this anointing, how to get more of it, how to release it, or how to transmit it to others. From a simple reading of the New Testament all of these concepts are false. Charismatic teachers have developed an entire doctrine on the anointing which separate the anointing from the Holy Spirit. The anointing to them is a power given by The Spirit versus being synonymous with the Holy Spirit. This is very important to understand. If the anointing is separate then it can be lost, increased, transmitted, etc. If however, the anointing and The Spirit are one in the same, as the Bible teaches (Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18), then obviously, these things cannot occur.

UNCTION. In its three NT{NT New Testament} occurrences, i.e. 1 Jn. 2:20, 27 (twice), Authorized Version King James, 1611 renders Greek chrisma, unction, and Revised Standard Version : NT, 1946; OT, 1952; Common Bible, 1973 has anointed, *anointing. Christians who, by virtue of their unction (vv.{vv. verses}20, 27), are all able to discern schism (v.{v. verse} 19) and heresy (denial of the incarnation, v.{v. verse} 22) are exhorted to adhere to the apostolic message (v.{v. verse} 24), which led them to confess the Father and the Son. Grammatically, unction must be either (a) that which is smeared on (so B. F. Westcott, The Epistles of John, 1892); or (b) the act of anointing (so A. E. Brooke, ICC{ICC International Critical Commentary}, 1912); but in either case the word refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit, of which baptism is the outward sign, and whose sensible reception, leading to awareness of dangers to the church, is the consequence of true incarnational faith. This exegesis is compatible with, though not necessarily proving, the belief that the anointing of the Spirit leads to spoken prophecy within the church. (Bold type added by author). Thus the majority of what Charismatic ministries teach about the anointing must be placed under the category of false teaching. The following internationally known ministries propagate erroneous concepts about the anointing:

C Kenneth E. Hagin Understanding the Anointing

C Benny Hinn The Anointing
God’s Anointing for You
Understanding the Anointing
The New Anointing
Double Portion Anointing

C Creflow A. Dollar The Anointing of El Shaddai
Anointed Because of His Blood

C Lori Wilke The Costly Anointing

C Kenneth Copeland The Anointing

When a person has been taught that the anointing and the Holy Spirit are not the same it is easy to understand why people can believe that Jesus personally gave Kenneth Hagin a “special anointing” in the area of divine healing. On the other hand, when one correctly sees that the Holy Spirit and the anointing are one in the same, then you can readily see that what brother Hagin received (if he indeed received anything) did not come from the Lord Jesus. Which leads me to conclude that his experience, although a real experience, is both extra-Biblical and anti-Biblical in nature and must be rejected.

A month later at another revival meeting Jesus appears to Hagin again. In this instance Hagin is attempting to cast a demon out of a man. After laying hands on him, the man is still bound by the demon and Hagin looks over his shoulder and sees Jesus

“I saw Jesus standing there as plainly as any man I had ever seen in my life! I thought everybody saw Him, but I learned later that no one in the congregation saw or heard Him except me. The congregation heard what I said, but they did not see or hear anyone else.”

Jesus rebukes Hagin for his lack of faith reminding him that He said “I said in my Name the demons will go.” Hagin realizes he has been in unbelief through his confession (he had asked the man to see if he could stand up) and has the man come back. This time he lays hands on him and commands him to stand up and he does!

Jesus appears to teach Hagin that his words have power, that he was saying “if” versus commanding the result. Hagin learns no matter how many gifts a person has, or how much power, it all works by faith, i.e. belief in the right words.

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December 1952 in Broken Bow Oklahoma Hagin is staying at a Pastor’s house. As he was getting on his knees to pray with the pastor, he was instantly “in the spirit.”

“On this night in 1952 in the parsonage kitchen, my physical senses were suspended. At that moment I didn’t know I was kneeling beside the kitchen chair. It seemed as if I was kneeling in a white cloud that enveloped me. Immediately I saw Jesus. . .”I am going to teach you concerning the devil and demons, and demon possession. . .from this night forwards, what is known in My Word as the gift of discerning of spirits will operate in your life when you are in the Spirit.”

One thing that is prominent in the visions Hagin receives is the element of being personally taught by the Lord Jesus Himself. Hagin takes his understanding of Scripture to the highest point possible, being personally taught by God, mouth to mouth! Hagin’s understanding of doctrine and the Bible does not come from mere man, or a seminary somewhere. No, his comes from the very lips of the risen Christ Himself! This places Hagin and his teachings on a very high plain, which possibly explains why he is so revered among Charismatics today.

The problem with this is manifold. To begin with much of what Jesus is teaching (or showing) him is simply not Biblical. Secondly, we have no record of anyone being personally taught doctrine by the risen Christ after the closing of the canon of Scripture. We know of a certainty that it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to teach us (Jh. 16:13) and that God has placed Pastor Teachers in the Body (Eph. 4:11-12). We do know that John saw Jesus and wrote down what he saw and heard. Apart from John no one else was personally taught by Christ. Paul was taken to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2) although he does not say Jesus taught him anything. So Hagin’s experiences place him above Paul, Peter, James, Luke, and others.

“The Lord said, “There are four divisions: (1) principalities, (2) powers, (3) rulers of the darkness of this world, (4) and wicked spirits in high places or in the heavenlies. . .The highest types of demons with which you have to deal with on earth, the rulers of the darkness of this world, rule all unsaved people, all who are in darkness. They rule over them and dominate them.”

Hagin’s Jesus goes on the reveal to him that people do the wicked things they do because of these spirits. This is the classic “the devil made me do it” of Flip Wilson given now divine verification! Certainly Satan is the Tempter (Matt. 4:3), but people sin because they are desperately wicked and are totally depraved. When Satan and his demons are locked up for one thousand years why does Jesus have to rule with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:15)? Because those who survive the great tribulation and are alive when Jesus returns are still fallen people and without any external force (demons) they will sin – it is their nature. All sin cannot be laid at the feet of Satan or his demons, much of what is sinful is based within the heart of man.

Then Jesus shows Hagin (in the spirit) a women who is a minister of the gospel, and is even used in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit (pg. 75). In the end, this woman listens to the demons speaking to her, she leaves her husband, and takes up with another man and renounces Jesus Christ.

“Lord what will happen to her?” . . She will spend eternity in the regions of the damned, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”. .And in the vision I saw her go down into the pit. I heard her awful screams.”

This is an important vision because in this one Jesus contradicts His own teaching concerning His sheep. Jesus said He would not loose any of the people given to him by the Father (Jh. 6:39). The Bible Jesus also stated that Jesus gives His sheep eternal life and they shall never perish (Jh. 10:27,28).

Hagin’s Jesus now reveals to us that a person can be saved, in ministry, and then decide to reject Christ and be lost. So somehow Christians can break the seal of the Holy Spirit, and by an act of their will undo all that God has wrought in them at the moment of salvation. This being speaking with Hagin is not the True Christ of the Bible, but some cleaver demonic counterfeit.

Jesus goes on to reveal to Hagin the true meaning of 1 John 5:16 and that we are not to pray for those who commit such sins, i.e. the sin unto death. Now we know that the sin unto death is the sin which leads to eternal damnation. In fact, Jesus goes onto the elucidate to Hagin the five ingredients which comprise the sin unto eternal damnation:

“1. Be enlightened (or convicted) to see his lost states, and to know that there is no way for him to be saved except through Jesus Christ. 2. Taste of the heavenly gift, which is Jesus. 3. Become partaker of the Holy Spirit, or be filled with the Holy Spirit. 4. Grow enough out of the babyhood stage to have tasted of the good Word of God. 5. Have the powers of the world to come – the gifts of the Spirit – operating in his life.”

Jesus gives Hagin (and us through Hagin) facts which again contradict the teaching of Scriptures. What Hagin has been taught is that a person is convicted of their lost condition and receives Jesus, the heavenly gift. They then go onto to get filled with the Holy Spirit – please understand that this for Hagin and most charismatics is a subsequent experience after salvation. This charismatic believer grows up having tasted the good Word of God (is any of It bad?) and has the gifts of the Holy Spirit operate in their lives. Then after this they willfully turn their backs on God and end up in hell!

The Bible teaches that the believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). Philippians 1:6 encourages us that He, God, who began the good work of salvation, shall complete this work in us. I Thessolonians 5:23, 24 we are assured that God will keep us blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus. Paul assures us that the Lord who called us will do it! The text Hagin claims Jesus taught him does not apply to blood-washed Christians. Furthermore the text in First John does not teach that we are not to pray for those who have committed a sin worthy of death.

Concerning this (peri ekeines). This sin unto death. That he should make request (hina erotesei). Sub-final use of hina with the first aorist active subjunctive of erotao, used here as in John 17:15, 20 (and often) for request rather than for question. John does not forbid praying for such cases; he simply does not command prayer for them. He leaves them to God. (Bold type the authors).

During this lenghty vision brother Hagin receives further startling revelations which have become cornerstones of his ministry. Jesus continues to speak to Hagin and lo-and-behold a monkey shaped demon jumps up between them and starts causing a ruckus. Hagin can see Jesus is speaking but he cannot hear what He is saying. Hagin waits for Jesus to command the demon to go, but He does not. Finally Hagin commands the demon to shut up and begone . . . and the demon flees in terror from him.

“I was still wondering why Jesus had not stopped this evil spirit from interfering, and of course Jesus knew what I was thinking. He said, “If you hadn’t done something about that, I couldn’t have.”

Hagin immediately corrects Jesus by telling Him surely He meant wouldn’t have. Jesus says no He could not have done anything. Hagin protests some more and Jesus tells him “sometimes your theology needs upending” (pg. 87). Then Hagin decides to get theological with Jesus and says:

“Lord, even though I am seeing You with my eyes, even though I hear your voice speaking to me as plainly as any voice I have ever heard, I cannot accept that unless You prove it to me by the Word of God. . . I will not accept any vision, I will not accept any revelation, if it cannot be proved by the Word of God.”

It is obvious that for brother Hagin proving something by the Word of God consists of finding a text, regardless of its context, and thus proving the validity of a concept by mere proof-texting, which is no proof at all.

Jesus then shows Hagin texts where Jesus gave the believer authority over Satan and demons. Jesus tells Hagin no place in the New Testament are we to ask Jesus to fight Satan or demons on our behalf. The reason Almighty God cannot do anything about Satan is because He has given His authority to the Church. Unless we deal with Satan the job will not get done. Jesus has done all He is going to concerning the devil and now it is up to the Body of Christ to enforce his defeat by using our authority in Jesus name. The subject of our authority over Satan and demons became a thrust of Hagin’s ministry. So much so he wrote a book entitled “The Authority of the Believer.” A main problem with this book, apart from the bad theology, is the fact that he plegerized the vast majority of it.

The believer does not act autonomously in the spiritual life. Any power or ability we possess comes from God, it is in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). When the gospel is preached and people are saved – who saved them, the evangelist or the Lord? The Lord. If you do pray for the sick and they are genuinely healed by God, who healed them? The one who prayed or the Lord? The Lord. If an evil spirit is indeed cast out, who cast it out, the individual or the Lord? The Lord. In all cases, it is the Lord operating by His Spirit through His servant. He alone gets the glory. As in the other cases, what Hagin claims Jesus has taught him is at variance with the Scripture and in most cases with logic.

In 1958 in Port Natches Texas Hagin is singing in other tongues during a meeting and Jesus suddenly appears on the platform to him. This time Jesus is not alone, He has come with Hagin’s angel –

“Then, pointing to the angel standing beside Him, He said, “This is your angel.” ” My angel?” I asked. “Yes, your angel, and if you will respond to him, he will appear to you as I will at times; and he will give your guidance and direction concerning the things of life, for angels are ministering spirits who are sent to minister for those who are heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14).

Obviously is Jesus is busying running some other aspect of the universe He will now have His angel come and guide brother Hagin in the affairs of life. Nowhere does the New Testament validate an experience of this type. Angels do not give individuals guidance and direction concerning the things of life. Last time I checked that ministry was reserved for the Holy Spirit alone.

We do read some warnings concerning angels however, which brother Hagin would do well to heed:

Col. 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

2 Cor. 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Galatians 1:8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

No one in the Bible is told by God that an angel will guide them in the affairs of life. Angels do minister, they do the bidding of God, but they are not personal advisors. Earlier we read where brother Hagin is given a special anointing, an anointing so special it is not found in Scripture. Next we read that he is personally doctrine by the Head of the Church. Now we read that he is given a personal guide, a spirit-guide if you will, who will guide him in the affairs of life, if he will open himself up to this spirit-being. It would seem that brother Hagin has had more supernatural experiences than all the apostles of the Bible combined!

February 1959, we find brother Hagin in the hospital with an injured elbow. Around dinner time he hears some footsteps coming towards his room and he looks up and it is Jesus!

“As I looked closer, I saw it was Jesus! It seemed as if my hair stood on end. Cold chill bumps pooped out all over my body, and I couldn’t say a word. . .I am going to talk to you now about the prophets ministry. You have missed it and have only been in my permissive will because you have reversed the order, putting the teaching ministry first and the prophet’s ministry second.”

Brother Hagin was operating in the permissive will of God, which is why the devil was allowed to hurt his elbow. Jesus came to speed up the healing process but also to get brother Hagin on track, i.e. to get him to flow in the office of a prophet more so than that of a teacher. Jesus went on to reveal to brother Hagin that the ministry of the prophet and apostle are still for the Church today (since the late 1940’s Pentecostals had accepted this erroneous belief). Jesus then defines the ministry of the prophet:

“Jesus went on the talk to me about the ministry of the prophet, explaining that a prophet is one who has visions and revelations; things revealed to him. . .Therefore the word of knowledge and the discerning of spirits plus prophecy are operating in my ministry when I am in the Spirit. This constitutes the office of the prophet.”

Now after almost two thousand years we have further divine revelation into what exactly makes one a prophet. All we need do is accept what brother Hagin says Jesus taught him. A prophet has visions and revelations. A prophet operates in the word of knowledge, which Pentecostals define as the supernatural ability to know what is currently happening in a person’s life or at times a city or nation. A prophet operates in the discerning of spirits, the supernatural ability to see into the realm of the spirit, literally see angels and demons at work. Lastly, they will naturally prophesy. All of which, as we have read, are active in brother Hagin’s life. So obviously, he is a prophet as well as an evangelist and teacher, and pastor.

Brother Hagin is not just an ordinary run-of-the-mill preacher. He is the prophet of the Lord God and people had better listen to him . . . or else:

“He went on to say that if a Church wouldn’t accept the ministry of a prophet, they wouldn’t accept His Word. He added that if a pastor wouldn’t accept this message, judgment would come to him. The Lord said that if He gave me a message or a revelation for a pastor, I should deliver it; and if He gave me a message for a church or an individual, I should deliver it. . .If you give a message for an individual, church, or a pastor, and they don’t accept it, you will not be responsible. They will be responsible. There will be ministers who won’t accept it and who will fall dead in the pulpit.”

Two weeks later brother Hagin finished preaching somewhere and the pastor did not accept his message and fell dead! Naturally, writing this has caused me sleepless nights. NOT!

As before, there is nothing in the New Testament to support this concept. The Biblical Jesus did say in Mark 6:11 to shake the dust off your feet if your witness is not received. He did not say “they will die if they reject your message.” In fact, Jesus rebuked John and James when they wanted to call lightening down on a town which rejected Jesus . . . like Jesus I say to brother Hagin “you do not know of what spirit you are” when you make statements like these.

http://www.discernment.org/wordfaith/kenhagin.htm

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The Secret Seduction
Dave Hunt
June 30, 2007

The latest occult scam to capture the imagination of the West is called The Secret. The book by that name, a top New York Times bestseller, has quickly sold more than 6 million copies and the DVD over 2 million copies. Both contain numerous errors, misrepresentations, false premises, and false promises. Who cares? You should. With the following information, you could rescue someone from hell.

The numerous misrepresentations begin with the title itself. The Secret is not a secret at all, but recycled Hinduism, shamanism, and New Age folly. One of many huge lies is its claim: “You create your own reality with your mind.” This was the serpent’s false promise to Eve-the promise of godhood (Gen 3:5). Embracing that delusion cost Eve and her descendants Eden’s paradise-and would have barred mankind from heaven had not Christ died for the sins of the world. In the 6,000 years since Eden, the serpent’s promise has not been fulfilled in even one person’s life.

Misinformation and false claims follow one another in a dizzying parade of absurdities. Sprinkled throughout the book and DVD is the claim that the Secret is scientifically proved to be true. For example, “It has been scientifically proven that an affirmative thought is hundreds of times more powerful than a negative thought.”1 When? Where? How?

No scientific tests ever measured positive and negative thoughts, nor could there be any such tests because thoughts are nonphysical and their “power” cannot be measured. Thoughts exist outside the realm of physical science. Nor is there any such thing as “mental science” or a “science of the mind.” That fact is only one of many reasons why psychology could never be a science, in spite of decades of claiming that it is.

The bait on the hook of The Secret is stated repeatedly: “The Secret gives you anything you want: happiness, health, and wealth….You can have, do, or be anything you want….We can have whatever it is that we choose.”2 Common sense replies, “Thanks, but no thanks.” But millions being introduced to the Secret are excited and eager to make it work for them.

The foundational lies are basically that there is no personal God who created the universe and who makes laws that man must obey. The universe has always been here, yet we create it with our minds through numerous occult laws that exist to serve our selfish desires. One of the most enticing is “the law of attraction”: whatever thought (health, wealth, disaster, gain, loss, pain, joy, etc.) you hold in your mind, you will attract to yourself as a reality of your life. We are all gods who create our individual destinies with our thoughts.

The amorality of the Secret ought to be evident to anyone who stops to think. Hitler was no more responsible for the Holocaust than were its victims who collectively created it with their minds. So it was with the Titanic, the crash of every plane, and the victims of every rape and murder.

The book and DVD are based upon nothing more than statements of a number of supposed experts in the area of success motivation and positive thinking. Who are they? A “nonaligned, transreligious progressive…spiritual luminaries…teacher of spiritual metaphysics…Feng Shui master…successful business leaders…founders of the New Thought movement…a modern-day spiritual messenger, et al.” They are certainly not in the same class as Jesus Christ, who proved His deity with His sinless life and miracles, died for our sins, and rose from the dead. The “experts” cited and quoted in The Secret are not a group into whose hands anyone should trust their lives, much less their eternal destiny.

In the book and DVD, like a broken record, the same appealing but transparent lie is repeated over and over: “There isn’t a single thing that you cannot do with this knowledge…the Secret can give you whatever you want…if you see it in your mind, you’re going to hold it in your hand…you create your life with your thoughts…your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant…your life is in your hands…what you think about you bring about….You will attract everything that you require. If it’s money you need you will attract it…like Aladdin’s Genie, the law of attraction grants our every command… the moment you begin to ‘think properly’…this power within you that’s greater than the world…will take over your life…feed…clothe…guide…protect…direct you, sustain your very existence. If you let it. Now that is what I know, for sure….”

Now this is what I know for sure: while the historic individuals named and quoted in the book and DVD achieved some temporary material possessions and success, they all failed in that which is far more important: health. Yes, most, but not all, maintained a satisfactory level of good health most of their brief lives, but the health of every one of them eventually failed. One mark of failure they all share: they all died. In the end, the Secret could not keep them alive, though they tried every technique it offered. And those proponents of the Secret still alive today will inevitably suffer the same fate.

According to what these supposed masters of the Secret all declare with great confidence, they should not have died. If the Secret were true and they properly applied it-“The Secret can give you whatever you want”-they should all still be alive. In fact, none of the masters of the Secret even exceeded the normal life expectancy-but they surely should have if the Secret were true. The obvious fact is that the Secret is a deception that offers a false hope, which continues to deceive mankind-and an unconscionably amoral hope at that.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these “masters of the Secret.” Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most highly praised. He declared, “The secret is the answer to all that has been, all that is, and all that will ever be.” But Emerson lived in a state of deteriorating health and financial need for his last 10 years. He died at age 79. Surely he wanted to live a longer, healthier, happier life. Why didn’t he hold such thoughts and, by the law of attraction, bring what he wanted into actuality? For the same reason that no one else ever has or ever will. “The Secret” is a lie from Satan, “the father of lies” (John 8:44). It keeps those who believe it from faith in the true God and the salvation He provided for sinners through Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of all mankind upon the Cross.

What about Prentice Mulford, another of the supposed masters of the Secret and a founder of the New Thought movement, which is based upon the same delusion? He said that there is a material mind and a Spiritual mind; a lower self and a higher Self, and the latter receives thoughts from the “Supreme Power.”

But that “Power” failed him. It gave him the thought that he wanted to be a member of the California State Assembly. Mulford was nominated, but lost the election. Why didn’t his thoughts bring about his desire? The Secret, and New Thought, its mirror image, didn’t work for him, one of the “experts” held up as an example in the book and DVD. Finally, the Secret failed him entirely: he died at the age of 57-surely a shorter life than he had hoped to live.

Or what about Wallace Wattles, a diligent student of the Secret most of his short life and another founder of New Thought? His most famous book was The Science of Getting Rich, yet he lived most of his life in poverty. This crowning achievement of his life was published in 1910. He died in 1911 at the age of 51. Wouldn’t he have wanted to live longer to see the success of that book and to write more about the marvelous benefits of “the Secret,” though it failed him? But he couldn’t add one minute to his life. The Secret didn’t work for Wattles, one of its chief proponents.

The book and DVD also contain factual errors. The statement is made that through applying the Secret, the Babylonians, “became one of the wealthiest races in history.” No, it was through their military might at the cost of the lives, torture, and slavery of multitudes of victims. Babylon was one of the cruelest empires in history. And this commends the Secret? Thankfully, Babylon is no more. Why did it fall? Did the Secret fail the Babylonians, or did they fail to apply it? The evidence is overwhelming: the Secret is a lie.

This delusion that reality is created by the mind has been offering false hope to mankind for thousands of years. It is the standard teaching of Christian Science, the Church of Religious Science, Unity School of Christianity, New Thought, and other Mind Science cults. Never before, however, has it been packaged so attractively and cleverly for promotion to the general public as in The Secret. Disillusionment of multitudes will follow.

Most of the quick spread of this new presentation of the ancient and well-known supposed Secret is due to promotion by Larry King and Oprah Winfrey. Millions of their fans bought the book and DVD. On April 5, 2007, Oprah Winfrey discussed the Secret with alleged nonphysical entities “channeled” by Secret promoter, Esther Hicks. As we have often shown, so-called “spirit communication” with the dead that used to occur in séances (strictly forbidden in the Bible as demonic – Deut 18:11, Lev 20:6) is now called “channeling” and has long been promoted openly on radio and TV.

Anyone with even a small amount of common sense would recognize many moral and practical problems. What The Secret promotes is completely amoral and self-centered: “The law [of “attraction”] responds to your thoughts, no matter what they may be….People who have drawn wealth into their lives…think thoughts of abundance and wealth…nothing else exists in their minds.” “You’ve got to feel good about money to attract more to you….Start to say and feel…I am a money magnet. I love money.” (The Bible says not money itself but “the love of money is the root of all evil” – 1 Tim 6:10).

What about selfless love, kindness, mercy, goodness, charity, compassion, generosity, sharing with others? Such thoughts would interfere with the single-minded goal of drawing wealth to oneself. The Secret, believed and applied, cannot help but increase one’s selfishness and bring those applying it into conflict with one another.

Let’s say that “Jones” believes that the Secret will give him anything he wants. Wanting to be the president of the X corporation where he works, and using the “law of attraction” to get what he wants, Jones holds in his mind the thought, “I am the president of X Corporation.” Will Jones’s thoughts oust the current president and put himself in his place? Suppose there happen to be twenty other ambitious and avaricious people, from factory workers to janitors, from secretaries and bookkeepers to the vice president, who also want to be president of X corporation and are each relying upon the Secret’s “law of attraction” to fulfill their passion. To help accomplish their selfish desire, they each visualize themselves in the president’s chair behind the big desk in his plush office. Will the Secret simultaneously make each of them the president? Who will win this battle of minds in the selfish competition that this ancient, amoral, alleged secret has spawned?

One of the supposedly successful practitioners of the occult principles who is quoted in the book, Lisa Nichols, is described as a “powerful advocate of personal empowerment”-more selfishness. She says, “Thank God that there’s a time delay, that all your thoughts don’t come true instantly.”3 What “God” does she mean? Where would God fit into a universe He neither made nor controls and that is being recreated by human thoughts continually-a universe that stands ever ready to give mankind whatever selfish desires are directed toward it?

Advocates of the Secret and New Thought do not believe in the personal, living God of the Bible, who asks for man’s love and submission to His will. Their god is impersonal, a sort of Star Wars Force or universal Mind that has no mind of its own but exists solely to give us whatever we want. Joe Vitale is another one of the expert practitioners of the Secret quoted in the book and DVD. On Larry King Live a caller asked, I’m just curious, where does God come into “the Secret”?

Vitale responded, “God is all of us. God is the secret and everything about it. This is a law from God.”4 This, of course, is nonsense, the ancient religion of pantheism: you’re God, I’m God, the tree is God, everything is God. Then “God” is both good and evil, death as well as life, has no morals, etc. If everything is “God,” then “God” means nothing. Pantheism is virtual atheism.

Another ancient occult technique used by shamans for thousands of years is visualization: the belief that a mental picture held firmly in the mind will eventually manifest itself in the physical universe. Of course, this too is a delusion. No one has ever been able to demonstrate this ability. If we all had the power that The Secret promises, ours would be a terrifying existence with billions of Darth Vaders and Obe Wan Kenobies zapping one another with mind power!

Many Christians, as we have seen, teach basically the same occultism taught to C.G. Jung by “familiar spirits” (1 Sam 28:9; Isaiah 8:19). Yonggi Cho has taught and practiced the same for years, as have numerous Christian psychologists and charismatic leaders. Visualization to create one’s own reality was the heart and soul of all that Norman Vincent Peale taught and practiced: “The idea of imaging…has been implicit in all the speaking and writing I have done….”5 Robert Schuller has long taught the same occultism: “I have practiced and harnessed the power of the inner eye and it works….Thirty years ago we started with a vision of a church. It’s all come true.”6

Cho, pastor of the largest church in the world, claims that the Holy Spirit told him that he must visualize a clear picture of what he was praying for, or his prayer could not be answered. But all Cho could hold in his mind was the gross outline of what he wanted; he could not “see” or even imagine the atomic structure of these objects, which was their underlying reality.

Anyone who is willing to believe that mankind creates the universe with its collective thoughts (or that any individual, by visualization, can bring into existence anything that would be part of daily experience) has willfully given himself over to Satan and is susceptible to any other lie he offers. Obviously, the universe was here before man. To believe that the vast expanse of the cosmos with its trillions of stars and moons that no man has ever seen, including the many subatomic particles no one has even imagined, is all being created and held together with the collective thoughts of humanity, is to commit intellectual, moral, and spiritual suicide.

Those who believe such lies as The Secret offers have deliberately turned from the true God who has revealed Himself in each conscience and in the universe He made and have opened themselves to demonic delusion that will eventually lead them to eternal separation from the God who loves them and the Christ who died to redeem them. Let’s rescue as many as we can! TBC

Endnotes

1. Rhonda Byrnes, The Secret (New York: Atria Books, 2006), 1.
2. Ibid., 22.
3. Ibid., 194.
4. Larry King Live, March 8, 2007.
5. Norman Vincent Peale, Positive Imaging (Fawcett Crest, 1982), Introduction.
6. Robert Schuller booklet, The Power of the Inner Eye.

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How2BecomeAChristian.info BLOG was blessed to have an Ex-Word of Faith Preacher named John Edwards visit and comment on one of the post today. He has a blog @ http://www.faithpreacher.blogspot.com/ that is dedicated to sharing his, as he says “My journey through and my deliverance from the deceptive and dangerous Word of Faith Movement”.

Pastor John’s video above is a MUST SEE

This is a post from Pastor John’s blog in which he details his disappointing experience at Kenneth Hagin’s RHEMA BIBLE TRAINING CENTER in Tulsa Oklahoma. And the subsequent years that he taught the WoF teachings he learned there. BUT PRAISE BE TO JESUS, He delivered Pastor John and brought him out of the WoF deception.

Now pastor John shares his experience with others trying to get them to see the WoF teachings are a lie. GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER JOHN.

TULSA TEASE ( A preachers disappointment and departure from the Word of Faith movement.)

Back in 1994, I was listening to every Kenneth Hagin tape that I could get my hands on. I also read all of his books that I could find. As the year went on I began to also listen to all of his cronies tapes. I must of heard a thousand testimonies of miracles and healings. All I heard about was this Spiritual City in Oklahoma called Tulsa. The name Tulsa was synonymous with signs, wonders and miracles. It sounded like a Christian Disneyland to me, plus it was the home of the greatest Prophet that the Body of Christ had had in two thousand years. It was also home to the greatest seminary on the planet. It seemed like if you were ever gonna get anywhere in the Word of Faith scene, then you had to move to Tulsa.

So I did. I quit the Birmingham Police Department, packed up all of junk and took my family with me. My dream and goal was to get up there in that atmosphere of faith and let it rub off on me. I wanted faith. I wanted God’s tangible power in my life. I wanted to learn from the prophet himself.

I stayed up there for almost three years. I never saw a miracle. I never saw anyone get healed. I never heard the angels sing. I never heard the voice of God. I never felt nor saw God’s Glory Cloud. My wife Coni was a Chemo nurse at the Cancer hospital there. She witnessed team after team of faith healers doing their thing. She didn’t see anything.

Of course, the whole time we were up there we heard all kinds of testimonies, but we never saw anything. We attended all of the special hyped up Holy Ghost Meetings, but we never saw anything extraordinary happen, ever.

We learned all of the Faith Formulas, all of the Scriptures on faith and healing out of context, and we even learned how to do the Tulsa Holy Ghost dance. We did learn how to run in church, how to sow all kinds of financial seeds. We learned how to make confessions. We learned that Jesus told the Prophet that clapping was not praise or worship.

Imagine sitting in class always hearing all of this wild stuff but never seeing it!

After graduation we returned to Alabama to share all the Faith Formulas and testimonies. We started our own church. We had Holy Ghost Meetings, Healing Meetings, Anointing Meetings and nothing happened. For ten years nothing happened. You always heard the spectacular testimony, but never saw one.

You want to know why? Because it was all bogus. It was the power of suggestion at work hand in hand with peer pressure. God has only moved in the miraculous three times in history. I am talking about God moving regular with great tangible power among his people. 1) In delivering Israel from Egypt, 2) Through the Prophets prior to the captivity of Israel and 3) The earthly ministry of Jesus and then a few more years through the Original Apostles.

I am not saying that God does not heal or that He will not do a miracle. What I am saying is that the Age of miracles and Gifts of the Spirit are over for now. God has written a Book. The Holy Spirit chose the Words and the Apostles wrote it down. We now have a complete instruction manual for all of life’s problems. In addition, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

All this other stuff that people are looking for and chasing will never be found. Oh they will hear that it is happening, but close investigation will render these signs and wonders as bogus. The latest proof of this was the Lake Land Outpouring. It was troublesome to see desperate people flock to the display of flesh, lies, and mass hysteria.

Want to experience God? Read His Book and do what it says. That is the only thing that is real.

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Because the WoF teachings and the harm they do, I feel it is real important to expose them. Therefore, this blog will continue to Post on the WoF movement. I have sent Pastor John an email and hope to be posting more material from him. I asked him to share his full testimony with me, and with his permission I will share it with you. As I find more stuff on his site to post, I will do so. TY for visiting and fighting for the truth.

Here are more WoF post on this blog.

Kenneth Hagin and “Positive Confession”

THE ERRORS OF POSITIVE CONFESSION: Verses against Positive Confession/Word Faith Movement/ Mind Science

The Power of the Spoken Word – Biblical or Occult Law? PART 1

The Power of the Spoken Word – Biblical or Occult Law? PART 2

Exposing Doctrinal Errors: Heresy Hunting or Biblical Mandate?

Word Faith Movement heresies on GOD, in

The Leaven of Lakewood Church and Joel

Walter Martin’s Word Faith Movement WARN

I HAVE WHAT I THINK AND SAY I HAVE (SPEA

THE WORD OF FAITH and the Mormon Connect

There are probably 8-10 more WoF post on this blog that I will add to this list when I can. I am having computer problems today. TY for visiting.

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Kenneth Hagin and “Positive Confession”
By Dave Hunt
(from Occult Invasion, Harvest House, 1998)

Among charismatics, the largest churches and the most popular ministers on radio and TV tend to be those associated with what is known as “Positive Confession,” or the “Faith movement.” Positive Confession is simply Norman Vincent Peale’s Positive Thinking carried one step further: expressing the thoughts aloud. Kenneth Hagin is generally credited with founding this latter movement, and his teachings have an authority among his followers almost equal to that of Mary Baker Eddy among hers.

Frederick K. C. Price says: “Kenneth Hagin has had the greatest influence upon my life of any living man… his books … revolutionized and changed my life.” Charles Capps gives a similar testimony: “Brother Hagin was the greatest influence of my life.”26 Kenneth Copeland credits Hagin’s tapes with having revolutionized his ministry.27

Kenneth Hagin’s gospel can be traced back to the writings of E.W. Kenyon, who first taught “the positive confession of the Word of God”28 and must be recognized as the real founder of today’s Positive Confession movement. Kenyon studied at the Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, a hotbed of the emerging New Thought philosophy.29 Kenyon’s teaching about “the power of words” and his warnings never to make a “negative confession”30 deeply influenced Hagin and many others who are recognized today as leaders of this movement. Kenyon also taught that man is a little god “in God’s Class” and therefore can use the same faith-force that God does.31 We allegedly create our own reality with the words of our mouths: “What I confess, I possess.”32

Hagin complains that people often think he is teaching Christian Science. He claims he is not, yet he teaches that the power of God works according to laws. Science is based upon laws. Thus, if what Hagin teaches about God’s power being governed by laws is indeed “Christian,” then it must be “Christian Science.”

“Positive Confession” means to verbalize positive thought and speak it aloud—precisely what shamans have believed and practiced for thousands of years in all cultures. The connection with the Positive/Possibility Thinking taught by Peale and Schuller is acknowledged by Kenneth Hagin, Jr.:

Somebody will argue, “You’re talking about positive thinking!” That’s right! I am acquainted with the greatest Positive Thinker who ever was: God…!

The two most prominent teachers of positive thinking [Peale and Schuller] are ministers.33

The entire “Faith movement” rests upon the occult belief that “faith is a force just like electricity or gravity”34 which obeys laws, and thus even non-Christians can use it. David Yonggi Cho, pastor of the world’s largest church, located in Seoul, Korea, declares: “Think positively and prosper.” Cho’s brand of Christian Science is based upon “the law of the fourth dimension,” a law which both Christians and non-Christians can follow in order to create miracles. He says, “Sokagakkai [a Buddhist sect] has applied the law of the fourth dimension and has performed miracles… .”35 The Sokagakkai are occultists.

The Wall Street Journal observed that Cho’s Christianity has elements of Korean shamanism in it.36 Kenneth Hagin also acknowledges that his variety of Christian science (as must be the case with any science) likewise allows non-Christians to obtain miracles by 2 scientifically applying its laws. Hagin writes: It used to bother me when I’d see unsaved people getting results [miracles], but my church members not getting results. Then it dawned on me what the sinners were doing: They were cooperating with this law of God—the law of faith.37

A “Law of Miracles”?

The blessings of God’s natural order (sun, rain, etc.) fall “on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). His miracles, however, are special blessings of His grace which are reserved for those who know and love Him. God will not extend His grace and blessing to those who reject Him. The “laws of faith,” however, according to the Positive Confession leaders, work for anyone, saint or sinner, just like the laws of science.

The teaching that non-Christians can create miracles by following “God’s laws of faith” or the “laws of the fourth dimension” is a serious heresy. Tragically, this tempting lie opens the door into the occult, where evil spirits gladly respond with a seeming “miracle” in order to deceive and seduce the unsuspecting into further delusions.

Charismatic leaders who imagine they have discovered laws of faith are promoting a Christianized version of naturalism. Their “God” is not the transcendent Creator who exists outside of the physical universe which He created out of nothing (as Sir James Jeans argues must be the case). The “faith God” is tied to this physical universe and bound by its laws. John and Paula Sandford, well- known practitioners of “inner healing,” profess this irrational heresy as clearly as anyone:

Miracles happen by the cooperation, union, and interplay of spirit and matter together…. Confused… men have thought… there had to be a violation of principles for miracles to happen…. What rot and bunk! Miracles happen by releasing power within matter according to God’s principles…. Nature, being filled with the Spirit of God, has immeasurable power, locked within its tiniest cells…. Miracles happen by the operation of the Holy Spirit within principles far beyond our ability to comprehend but nonetheless scientific…. I have sometimes been called a Christian Scientist when lecturing on these
subjects.…38

The Charismatic’s “Mary Baker Eddy”

The Sandfords studied under Agnes Sanford, the charismatic’s Mary Baker Eddy. She is the founder of the Inner Healing movement in the church. Her serious heresies are too numerous to recite here, yet she remains highly honored in the evangelical church to this day. John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, enthusiastically promoted her books until his recent death. Much like Norman Vincent Peale, Sanford calls God “the very life-force existing in a radiation of an energy… from which all things evolved.”39 She declares that “God… made everything out of Himself and somehow He put a part of Himself into everything.”40 This is pantheism.

To substantiate such heresies, Sanford cites Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as her authority. Declared a heretic even by the Roman Catholic Church, Chardin was known as the father of the New Age movement. Sanford taught that the “God-force” can be turned on in one’s life by simply saying to it, “Whoever you are—whatever you are—come into me now!” What a great invitation to Satan! The true God, who identifies Himself clearly in Scripture and must be known and acknowledged for who He is, would not answer such a call—but Satan and his minions, who hide behind any mask, would gladly accept that invitation. 3

Bringing occultism into the church, Sanford taught that everything is a matter of thought vibrations which if “negative” make us ill, and if “positive” heal us. Indeed, “positive thought vibrations” projected upon sinners can even turn them into Christians. Sanford wrote, “A new age is being born… when love-power [projected] at the command of ministers [and others] is sufficient to change hearts… we [have] an inner source of power that can be tapped at will.”41

Notes:
26. Taped interviews on file at the Holy Spirit Research Center, Oral Roberts University
cited in Daniel Ray McConnell, The Kenyon Connection: A Theological and Historical
Analysis of the Cultic Origins of the Faith Movement a thesis submitted to the Theological
Faculty Oral Roberts University Tulsa, OK, May1982, p. 11.
27. McConnell, Kenyon Connection, p. 11.
28. E.W. Kenyon and Don Cossett, The Positive Confession of the Word of God (Tulsa:
Custom Graphics, 1981), pp.133-37, 152-55.
29. John Coffee and Richard L. Wentworth, A Century of Eloquence: The History of
Emerson College, 1880-1980 (Alternative Publications, 1982).
30. Kenyon and Gossett, Confession, pp. 129-36, 152-55, 182-85, etc.
31. E.W. Kenyon, what Happened from the Cross to the Throne? (Kenyon, 1945, 5th ed.),
pp. 62, 173-76.
32. E.W. Kenyon, The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Subconscious Mind (Kenyon,
1970), p. 98.
33. The Word of Faith magazine, November 1984, p. 3.
34. Kenneth Copeland on TBN interview with Paul and Jan Crouch, February 5, 1986.
35. Dr. David Yonggi Cho, The Fourth Dimension (Bridge-Logos International, 1979), pp.
30, 64.
36. Urban C. Lehner, “New Faithful: Static in Some Nations, Christianity is Surging Among
South Koreans,” in The Wall Street Journal , May 12, 1983.
37. Kenneth Hagin, Having Faith in Your Faith (Rhema, 1980), pp. 3-4.
38. John and Paula Sandford, The Elijah Task (Logos International, 1977), pp. 142-3.
39. Agnes Sanford, The Heating Gifts of the Spint (Fleming H. Revell, 1966), p. 22.
40. Ibid., p. 27.
41. The Healing Light, 1947 edition, pp. 21-22, 60, 75.
3NAHunt1100

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Walter Martin: The Errors of Positive Confession – 7 of 7

 

 

Is health, wealth, and prosperity always the will of our Father?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verses against Positive Confession/Word Faith Movement/ Mind Science

By Dwayna Litz

(My notes from a radio interview with True News to expose the occult, February 7, 2007)

Ex. 4:11—“Who had made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not the Lord?”
John 11:4—“This sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified.”
Matthew 16:24—Self denial. If anyone wishes to come after Jesus he must deny himself.
Acts 4:28—God is sovereign. We see a plan that He has predestined, and whatever He has predestined will occur.
Can anyone change His sovereign plan? Isaiah 43:13—“I act and who can reverse it?”
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Warning: Hosea 4:14—people without understanding are ruined.
Matthew 7:14—The way is narrow
Jer. 17:15—Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
Flesh profits nothing—John 6:63
The mind set on the flesh is hostile towards God —Romans 8:7
WE RENOUNCE THE HIDDEN THINGS—2 Cor. 4:2
The days are evil (which goes against the world peace movement and one world religion)—Eph. 5:16
Romans 16:20 (for the world peace movement)—The God of peace will crush Satan under our feet!

The spirit of the world is not God—1 Cor. 2:12
Satan is the prince of the power of the air—Ephesians 2:2
Satan is the god of this world—2 Cor. 4:4
The whole world lies in the power of the evil one—1 John 5:19
Recommend “Errors of Positive Confession” by Walter Martin at www.waltermartin.com

The worship of talismans—Rev. 6:15-17—The “great men” of the earth will cry out to the rocks to save them instead of the Lord!
Stop regarding man: Isaiah 2:22
He must increase; I must decrease—John 3:30
Christian boasts in the cross—Gal. 6:14

Repentance: Luke 24:47; Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; we must FOLLOW Jesus to have saving faith, not just believe. Mark 10:21; if we follow Him we will suffer—Luke 17:25; We are called to suffer—Phil. 1:29
Flesh sets itself against the spirit—Gal. 5:17
All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted—2 Timothy 3:12
Psalm 50:21—“You thought I was just like you”

We don’t get the truth from within:
Matt. 15:18-19—the heart is evil
Prov. 14:12—there is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death
Prov. 28:26—“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool”
Psalm 111:10—“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”
Jer. 17:5—“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind”
Jer. 17:9—The heart is deceitful and wicked
Prov. 3:5-6—Do not lean on your own understanding

Test the spirits—1 John 4:1

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The Power of the Spoken Word – Biblical or Occult Law? PART 2

We Learned in Part One about The Power of The Spoken Word being made out as Witchcraft. The discussion continues in this post.

I can of Mine Own Self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is Just; because I seek not Mine Own Will, but the Will of the Father Who has sent Me” (Jn. 5:30).

As we mentioned previously, “Word of Faith” proponents teach that the purpose for believing in the power of the spoken word is so that one may learn to activate creative forces within him that will affect the circumstances and course of his life. New Agers and others follow the “Law of Attraction” to acquire exactly the same kind of power. In other words, the occult world is literally trying to offer mankind the powers of creation and lordship, powers that we as Believers know belong to God alone! God is the One and Only Creator and the One and Only Lord! God never gave man the right to be his own master and live according to his own will. Yet, this is precisely what those promoting occult spiritual laws want. It is, in fact, the exact same offer the serpent brought to Adam and Eve in the Garden — powers that will make you “like God.”

“And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4-5).

Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, stated, “Science of Mind teaches that Man controls the course of his life . . . by mental processes which function according to a Universal Law. . . .1

Kenneth Hagin said that through the discovery of the “spiritual laws” established by God to run the universe, the Believer can begin to put the laws to “work” for his own use: “In the spiritual realm God has set into motion certain laws just as He set laws in the natural realm. Those laws in the natural realm work don’t they? Just as you get into contact with those natural laws or put them into practice, they work for you. Over in the spiritual realm, the same thing is true. I have come to the conclusion that the law of faith is a spiritual law, that God has put this law into motion, and that as surely as you come in contact with it, it will work for you.”2

In other words, the “law of faith” is to the spiritual realm what the law of gravity is to the physical realm. Whenever the law is set into motion, it works. Thus, anybody, Christian or non-Christian, can plug into this universal law of faith and get “results.” “It used to bother me,” explains Hagin, “when I’d see unsaved people getting results. Then it dawned on me what the sinners were doing: they were cooperating with the law of God — the law of faith.”3

Since the law of faith is impersonal, just like the law of gravity, it works regardless of who the person is or of where he or she stands with Christ.

FORMULAS?

Essentially, faith teachers are recommending “formulas” that a person should follow in order to get whatever he/she wants from God. And, of course, Scripture Verses are taken out of context and misused in order to try to justify these formulas. One Verse misused is Romans 10:10, which states, “For with the heart man believes unto Righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto Salvation.”

Actually, word-faith theology’s view of spiritual laws and formulas can really only be understood in light of the doctrine of god in the metaphysical cults. The “god” that the metaphysical cults believe in is not a personal God who sovereignly governs the universe, but an impersonal force — “the Force,” “the Infinite Power,” “the Spirit of Infinite Life,” and “the Infinite Intelligence.” This infinite, but impersonal, force rules the universe indirectly through “immutable laws” rather than directly through his presence and wisdom. Through his book, “The Force Of Faith”, Kenneth Copeland has made popular the term “faith force.” What he has really done is no less than turning Christianity into a fictional game of Star Wars, where Believers think they fight evil through “the Force.” “Faith is a power force. It is a conductive force.

It will move things. Faith will change things. Faith will change the human body, it will change the human heart. Faith will change circumstances . . . the force of faith is released by words. Faith-filled words put the law of the Spirit of Life into operation.” 4

Copeland also teaches that since “God is a Faith being” and man is “a faith being,” man has the faith to operate in the same way that God operates. What could be more blasphemous than thinking we have the same power as the Lord? In chapter 1 of his book, The Fourth Dimension, Yonggi Cho says: “What becomes pregnant in your heart and mind is going to come out in your circumstances. Watch your heart and mind more than anything else. Do not try to find the answer of God through another person, for God’s answer comes to your spirit, and through your spirit the answer comes to your circumstances. Claim and speak the word of assurance, for your word actually goes out and creates. God spoke and the whole world come into being. Your word is the material which the Holy Spirit uses to create.”

Similarly, in chapter 1 of his book, Your Best Life Now, Joel Osteen says, “We have to conceive it on the inside before we are ever going to receive it on the outside.”

And similarly, Charles Capps has said:
“In August of 1973 the word of the Lord came unto me saying, ‘If men would believe me, long prayers are not necessary. Just speaking the Word will bring what you desire. My creative power is given to man in word form. I have ceased for a time from my creative work and have given man the book of my creative power. That power is still in my Word.’”5

So, through “creative faith” man becomes not only a god, but a creator. Charles Capps is actually expanding on E.W. Kenyon’s concept of “creative faith” to the point that man, not God, is the only creator left in the universe.

New Thought advocate, Ralph Waldo Triune, said:
“This Infinite Power is creating, working, ruling through the agency of great immutable laws and forces that run all through the universe, that surround us on every side. Every act of our everyday lives is governed by these same great laws and forces . . . In a sense, there is nothing in all the great universe but law.”6

H. Emile Cody, one of the early founders of the Unity School of Christianity, said:
“The mental and spiritual world or realms are governed by laws that are just as real and unfailing as the laws that govern the natural world. Certain conditions of mind that are so connected with certain results that the two are inseparable. If we have one, we must have the other as surely as night follows day.”7

In other words, as Cody explains, “every thought of the human mind causes an effect in the universe through the operation of spiritual laws.”

In such teachings, man does not have to deal with a personal God, but rather with impersonal laws that can be manipulated by anyone regardless of their standing with God. When E.W. Kenyon refers to “the great spiritual laws that govern the unseen forces of life,” he is espousing the metaphysical version of deism, a universe governed by spiritual laws instead of by God.

So, in practice, the Word of Faith “god” differs not at all from the god of the metaphysical cults. Both must do the bidding of universal governing laws that are activated by human faith.

THIS KIND OF GOD

But this kind of “god” is nothing more than the proverbial genie in a bottle, whose power is limited to the demands of human beings who think they are little masters! In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill quotes from a poem entitled Invictus (meaning “unconquerable” in Latin), by British poet William E. Henley. The latter portion of this poem, which Hill trumpets repeatedly says, “. . . It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” Hill says the reason we are the “master of our own fate” is because we have the ability to control our own thoughts.8 Jerry and Esther Hicks, whom Rhonda Byrne acknowledged for their contribution to her book, The Secret, teach on their website: “You are a creator; you create with your every thought. Anything that you can imagine is yours to be or do or have.” What a rude awakening these people will have on Judgment Day. The True God of the Bible does the bidding of no man or any of man’s imaginary laws!

“Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the Earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the Word is gone out of My Mouth in Righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isa. 45:22-23).

THE OPPOSITE OF CHRISTIANITY

These occult teachings are the exact opposite of Christianity! The Devil’s teachings always bring man back to his own will rather than the Will of God. They encourage man to create his own destiny rather than submit to the Plan God has laid out for his life. Even Jesus forsook His Own Will for the Will of the Father.

“And He went a little farther, and fell on His Face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will” (Mat. 26:39).

Are we surprised, then, that Satan would directly contradict the Christian life as modeled by Christ? In fact, it was demon spirits which taught the men who claim to have learned the secrets for mastering their fates.

Many of these individuals have even given us firsthand testimony regarding their spirit guides. It is quite obvious that Satan has specifically instructed his minions to plant these teachings into the minds of all men who are willing to listen. God’s Word specifically warned us, however, that this would occur.

“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the Faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1).

If we listen to the teachings of familiar spirits, we stand without excuse before God, because the Lord has repeatedly told His Followers never to have any part of communication with spirits (or the dead.)
“Regard not them who have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19:31).

1 (http://www.letusreason.org/WF48.htm)
2 (Hagin “The Law of Faith” Word of Faith. Nov. 1974, p. 2 CF “The Secret of Faith,” March 1968, p. 2)
3 (Hagin, “Having Faith in Your Faith,” p. 3-4)
4 (Ibid., p. 10, 16)
5 (Capps. “God’s creative power will work for you” p. 5-6; Capps. “The Tongue: A Creative Force” p. 8-14)
6 (Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With the Infinite. 1910, at sacred-texts.com)
7 (H.E. Cody, “Lessons in Truth,” p. 64-65)
8 (Napoleon Hill. Think and Grow Rich p.32)
September 2008 issue of The Evangelist

http://imablogger.net/2008/09/27/the-power-of-the-spoken-word-biblical-or-occult-law-part-2/

 

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The Power of the Spoken Word – Biblical or Occult Law? PART 1

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Many today in both the secular world and professing church world claim that there are universal spiritual “laws” which exist and that any person may learn to utilize, causing the spirit realm to work on their behalf. Supposedly, these “laws” will work for anyone from any walk or persuasion of life, whether Christian or non-Christian. One of the most popular and all-encompassing of these laws is what New Agers refer to as the “law of attraction.” You will hear it mentioned, however, under a variety of different terms. In the business world, you may hear it termed “the power of positive thinking” or “unlimited human potential.” In the church world, you may hear teachings such as the “word of faith,” the “fourth dimension,” or the “confession principle.” In witchcraft, it is the formula, “as above, so below” (meaning, as it is in the spiritual, so it is in the natural). And, as you may have already realized, these teachings actually go much deeper than mind science religions and philosophy. It is clear that these so-called spiritual laws originated in the occult world and came directly from Satan himself. We will discuss exactly how in more detail later.

THE LAW OF ATTRACTION?

Essentially, the “law of attraction” works by a concentrated focus upon a desire that one longs to have manifest in his life. This focus, of course, must eventually tap into the spirit realm in order to bring the desire into the physical realm. Part of this process involves the person developing a “consciousness” of belief that the benevolent “universe,” which many consider to be “god,” is bringing that desire to him. And, to ensure that his newfound faith doesn’t waver, the individual must think about, speak about, dream about, and even visualize his desire until it materializes in the physical/natural realm. According to one self-proclaimed pagan witch and supporter of the earth-goddess movement, “To work magic is to weave the unseen forces into form, to soar beyond sight, to explore the uncharted dream realm of the hidden reality . . . to leap beyond imagination into that space between the worlds where fantasy becomes real; to be at once animal and god . . . Spells [and magic] . . . require the combined faculties of relaxation, visualization, concentration, and [mental] projection . . . To cast a spell is to project energy through a symbol.”1 Oprah Winfrey has recently promoted a book entitled The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, which teaches this “law of attraction.” In it Byrne says, “Nothing can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts.”2 Another important aspect of practicing this law is the belief that there is power in the words you speak. You see, the words we say are considered the tangible version of the thoughts we are thinking. Our words, therefore, have the power to create or destroy our destinies. So, in order to successfully practice this, one should confidently declare the “faith-thoughts” he has been meditating upon, even, at times, speaking about them as if they have already come to pass. Anything else is considered doubt in “god” or the “universe” (or doubt in “oneself,” since some believe that “god” and “self” are one in the same).

ALTERED CONSCIOUSNESS?

In fact, one must never speak a negative word or thought aloud because such can bring negative things into one’s life. In essence, they say, people will attract into their lives whatever things they consistently think and feel. “The law of attraction is the law of creation . . . You create your life through your thoughts.”3 And what becomes of the sin problem in this case? Well, a confession of sin would be considered a “negative confession,” so one would simply deny that there is even any sin in his life to worry about. People are led to believe that if they think about sin, they will bring more sin into their lives. Under this law, the confession and repentance of sin is eliminated! Therefore, Salvation is eliminated as well! “Science of Mind teaches that there is a favorable physical reaction, an effect, which follows a pattern of thought incorporating ideas of health, for the law of cause and effect governs everything. Similarly, it is held that right thinking will result in a greater experience of success and abundance. A successful person thinks success, and the law of mind that reacts has no other choice than to produce an effect corresponding to the causative idea.”4 It’s similar to the idea of karma, except that the action which brings the result is the person’s meditative (spiritual) thoughts. Actually, the dangerous reality of what can occur when a person repeatedly thinks and speaks the same thoughts is a state of altered consciousness. It is really a form of self-hypnosis brought about by mantra-like repetition and an obsession with one’s desired goal. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit is astounding as the Bible warns us of such a practice: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do . . .” (Mat. 6:7). For example, many motivational/success tapes, lectures, and seminars start you off by helping you make your thoughts repetitive.

Altered consciousness is another subject in itself, which we may also discuss in more detail later. It may cause a person to perform certain tasks with much greater efficiency. It may also act as a defense mechanism for dealing with the uncertainties and hardships of life by giving someone an ability to simply deny a problem even exists and continue on in their state of blind confidence, hence the reason many have ended up with some serious consequences such as total bankruptcy or the loss of a marriage! Most importantly, in this case, altered consciousness is a door into the spirit realm.

CONFESSION?

The “Word of Faith” teachers are probably the most recognized in the church world for believing in and practicing this heretical, and formally esoteric, doctrine. You see, until the recent past, formulas such as this were kept hidden from the general public because they would have been identified as sorcery and witchcraft, and the laws of the land would have punished the practice. So, members of such cults and societies were sworn to secrecy. Times are certainly different now; if anything, our society celebrates witchcraft, often believing that there are “good” or redeeming aspects to the practice. But, remember the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the Garden? Man wanted to be like God. Man wanted the “knowledge” that would enable him to operate in the spiritual realm. God, however, told Adam and Eve not to eat from any of the tree, whether the so-called “good side” or the “bad side.” God knew the entire tree was evil, and partaking of it eventually brought about the entire fall of man! Today, the church has fallen so far into darkness that she cannot recognize divination when it is practiced right within her own walls. Those who practice “Word of Faith” are functioning by the same occult “law of attraction,” while thinking they have discovered the key to victorious Christian living. They use the “confession” principle, by their definition, meaning that when one confesses a verse of Scripture or a promise from the Lord, the forces of good (God or angels) are released on his behalf. They believe that confessing the words of Scripture activate the Lord’s supernatural Power. “Christ and the Cross are completely ignored, with the avenue of success being ensconced in the proper Scriptures being chosen and properly confessed.”5

WITCHCRAFT

You see, teachers inside the professing church will incorporate Scriptures whereas secular society simply uses whatever else they may hold sacred and/or believe to possess great wisdom. However, the practical application and overall philosophy is exactly the same! It is nothing less than practical magic. Popular preacher, Joel Osteen, says “Your circumstances will line up with your words.” “Words are like seeds, they have creative power . . . The more you talk about it the more you call it in . . . You can use your words to bless your life or curse your life.”6 Joel Osteen was influenced by the “Word of Faith” teachings of Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. Osteen also stated in his best-selling book, Your Best Life Now, “We have to conceive it on the inside before we’re ever going to receive it on the outside. If you don’t think you can have something good, then you never will. The barrier is in your mind. It’s not God’s lack of resources or your lack of talent that prevents you from prospering. Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God’s best.”7 A non-charismatic version of “Word of Faith” teaching may be more along the lines of Robert Schuller’s “positive thinking” gospel. Christians must realize that it is not automatically a noble deed in the eyes of God to believe the positive.

Righteousness strives to know what is true, whether positive or negative. Not one of these so called “spiritual laws” or teachings is found in Scripture! God has already given us the law through which His Power (which is the Power of the Holy Spirit) works: “For the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the Law of Sin and Death” (Rom. 8:2). The Holy Spirit works only through the shed Blood of Christ! Instead, what these men have done is ignore the true Source of Power, which is the Cross, and literally transformed the Bible into a witch’s book of spells. The Wikipedia on-line dictionary defines a spell as “A word or formula believed to have magic power.” “Word of Faith” even goes so far as to admit that the unredeemed can tap into these laws if they follow the right rules. But, make no mistake, the Lord does not function through magic! It completely ignores His Sovereign Will for a person’s life as the individual attempts to operate within particular “laws” to bring about what he desires for his own life.

Attempting to operate outside the Will of God and/or rebelling against His Will is witchcraft, pure and simple! “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft . . .” (I Sam. 15:23).

THE NEW THOUGHT MOVEMENT

In The Secret, Byrne “introduces Prentice Mulford (1834-1891) as ‘one of the earliest writers and founders of the New Thought movement’ . . . This quote from Thoughts are Things summarizes his ‘mental and spiritual laws’: ‘. . . In the future some people will draw so much of the higher quality of thought to them, that by it they will accomplish what some would call miracles. In this capacity . . . lies the secret of what has been called ‘magic.’ During the 20th century, such thinking inspired ‘positive thinking’ gurus like Norman Vincent Peale who, in turn, converted Robert Schuller and countless other leaders who are now pastoring churches or marketing the deception through church-related programs around the world. John Maxwell and other global change agents demonstrate the subtle influence of this feel-good, self-empowering ideology.”8 This is exactly the same teaching that motivational trainers like Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, have been saying for years. Hill teaches that “whatever can be conceived in one’s mind can be obtained. He teaches that the desired thing should be visualized in one’s mind, and done so repeatedly.”9 Hill also states: “Christianity is the single greatest force which influences the minds of men . . . it is because of faith.” “Faith is the head chemist of the mind. When faith is blended with the vibration of thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into the spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.”10 Another promoter of this law is Yonggi Cho, “pastor” of probably the largest church in South Korea. His term for the power source reached through this universal law is the fourth dimension. “The fourth dimension is the Holy Spirit . . . Men, by exploring their spiritual sphere of the fourth dimension through the development of concentrated visions and dreams in their imaginations, can brood over and incubate the third dimension, influencing and changing it.”11 Norman Vincent Peale was another major proponent. “Peale pioneered the merger of theology and psychology which became known as Christian Psychology . . . Peale said, ‘through prayer you . . . make use of the great factor within yourself, the deep subconscious mind . . . [which Jesus called] the kingdom of God within you . . . Positive thinking is just another term for faith.” He also wrote, “Your unconscious mind . . . [has a] power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough.”12 Peale even said this concerning occultic automatic writing: “It little matters if these writings come from Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus of Jane [co-author Jane Palzere], they are all the same consciousness and that consciousness is God. I am a part of God, and Jane [is] part of that same God.”13

BIBLICAL FAITH IS NOT MAGIC

So, now not only do we have the words of Scripture being used as magical spells, we have Faith itself being defined as a magic power. Faith is not magic! Yes, God does send His Power as a result of proper Faith, but Faith is not the Power of God in and of itself. Neither does “speaking words of faith” exercise the Power of God. God exercises His own Power. No human can direct or command the Power of God. Humans only receive what the Lord sovereignly supplies. Also, Faith is not the power of the mind, nor an attitude of mind over matter. Faith is trust and rest, specifically in the Work Jesus did at Calvary! Jesus addressed all our problems there. That is what the Lord wants us to believe in, trust in, and rest in. True Faith is not an exercise of speaking certain words or thinking certain thoughts. It is an assurance of Christ in one’s heart, knowing that because He has paid the price, He will work out everything for our good in His perfect Way and Time. This is the perfect Peace of Christ! “Great peace have they which love Your law: and nothing shall offend them” (Ps. 119:165). When Jesus said to the woman with an issue of blood that her Faith had made her whole, He meant that because she now had the correct Object of Faith (Christ and Him Crucified) that she had all she needed to be whole (Mk. 5:25-34). Jesus did not commend the woman for her positive confession or positive thinking. He commended her for her complete and utter trust that her Source of healing was in Him! It was proper Faith that made the woman whole, not proper confession!

1 (Starhawk, The Spiral Dance. New York: Harper & Row, 1979. p. 62)
2 (Rhonda Byrne, The Secret p.43)
3 (Ibid p.15)
4 (from Visions Center of Religious Science website: http://www.visions-center.com/)
5 (Jimmy Swaggart. False Doctrine Study Guide p.137)
6 (Joel Osteen. “Speaking Faith Filled Words,” Tape # 223 May 2, 2004)
7 (Joel Osteen. Your Best Life Now, ch.1 ‘Enlarging Your Vision’) (http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac29.htm)
8 (Berit Kjos. A New Mask for An Ancient Secret.) (http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/secret.htm#1)
9 (Jimmy Swaggart. False Doctrine Study Guide p.133)
10(Ibid p.49)
11(Ibid p.45)
12(http://normanvincentpeale.wwwhubs.com/)
13(http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/guidepo/mag.htm)

August’s issue of The Evangelist.

http://imablogger.net/2008/07/22/the-power-of-the-spoken-word-biblical-or-occult-law/

PART 2 is here –>>https://how2becomeachristian.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/the-power-of-the-spoken-word-biblical-or-occult-law-part-2/

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The following are some of the major false doctrines that are a particular danger to Bible-believing churches in our day and a concise biblical refutation of them. We use the following to train our church members.

SOME BIBLE FACTS ABOUT FALSE TEACHERS

1. Jesus warned about false teachers (Matt. 7:15-17).

2. Paul warned about false teachers (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Tim. 3:13; 2 Tim. 4:3-4).

3. Peter warned about false teachers and said that many will follow them (2 Pet. 2:1-2).

4. John warned about false teachers (1 John 2:18-20).

5. Jude warned about false teachers (Jude 3-4).

SOME BIBLE FACTS ABOUT DOCTRINE

1. The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

2. We are to continue in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).

3. Preachers are to give themselves to doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13).

4. No false doctrine is to be allowed (1 Tim. 1:3).

5. Our doctrine is to be uncorrupt (Titus 2:10).

6. We are to separate from false doctrine (Rom. 16:17).

SOME OF THE FALSE DOCTRINES THAT CHURCHES MUST CONFRONT TODAY

1. The false teaching that salvation is by grace plus works (Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Church of Christ, Roman Catholic Church)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says salvation is by grace without works and that works follows after salvation (Rom. 4:1-6; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-8).

b. The Bible says that grace and works cannot be mixed together (Rom. 11:6).

c. Grace means a free gift. Salvation is called a gift 16 times in the New Testament. If salvation requires some works, then it is not a true gift. The gift of God is free for the sinner because Jesus Christ purchased it at great price with His blood and death on the cross.

2. The false teaching that Jesus is not God (Jehovah’s Witnesses)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible plainly says that Jesus is God

(1) Isaiah called Jesus God (Is. 7:14; 9:6).

(2) Matthew called Jesus God (Matt. 1:23).

(3) Jesus called Himself God (Jn. 5:17-18; 8:58-59; 10:30-33; Rev. 1:8).

(4) John called Jesus God (Jn. 1:1; 1 John 3:16; 5:20).

(5) Thomas called Jesus God (Jn. 20:28).

(6) Paul called Jesus God (Acts 20:28; Phil. 2:5-6; 1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13).

(7) God the Father called Jesus God (Heb. 1:8-10).

b. In His incarnation the Lord Jesus Christ “made himself of no reputation” and became a lowly servant to God and man (Phil. 2:7). The Greek word for “made himself of no reputation” is “kenoo,” meaning “to empty, to abase, to make of none effect” (Strong). Jesus did not cease to be God. Phil. 2:6 plainly states that He is God, but the Son of God willingly laid aside His glory for the purpose of redeeming man by the cross.

c. There is an order to the Trinity. God the Son submits to God the Father, even though they are equal.

3. The false teaching that God is not a Trinity (Jehovah’s Witnesses)

Bible Answer:

a. The term “trinity” is not in the Bible, but the doctrine is (Mt. 28:19; Jn. 14:16,26; 16:7-15; 2 Co. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Jn. 5:7).

b. The O.T. teaches that God is one in a plurality. Though the Old Testament does not fully reveal the doctrine of the Trinity, it does teach us that God is a plurality. It is left for the New Testament to open up this revelation fully.

Genesis 1:1. The Hebrew word for God here is elohim. This is a plural noun, but the verb is singular, teaching that there is one God in a plurality.

Genesis 11:6-7. Here again God is spoken of in the plural and in the singular at the same time.

Deuteronomy 6:4. This verse could be translated, “Jehovah our elohim is a united Jehovah.” The word “one” refers to a unity. The same word for one is used in Gen. 2:24, speaking of the oneness of a husband and wife. This verse summarizes the Bible’s teaching about God. He is one but exists in three Persons.

Psalm 45:6-7. According to Heb. 1:8-9, God the Father is speaking in Psalm 45, and He is referring to the Son as God. Sometimes people ask, “If Jesus Himself was God, why did He address the Father as God?” The answer is that Jesus addressed the Father as God for the same reason that the Father addressed the Son as God—because they are both God!

4. The false teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation (Church of Christ)

Bible Answer:

a. Paul taught that baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3-4). It is the blood and death of Christ that takes away our sins, not water or religious rituals.

b. Paul says that baptism is not the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17). The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Baptism only symbolizes the gospel.

c. The book of Acts teaches us that baptism follows salvation (Acts 8:36-38; 16:30-33; 18:8).

d. Acts 2:38 does not teach that baptism is a part of salvation, because Peter later taught that baptism is a symbol (1 Pet. 3:21). Acts 2:38 teaches that we are baptized because we have been forgiven of our sins not in order to be forgiven.

5. The false teaching that infants should be baptized (Church of Christ)

Bible Answer:

a. Baptism is only for those who believe (Mk. 16:15; Acts 8:36-38). When a child is old enough to believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, then he can be baptized. But an infant cannot do this.

b. No infants were baptized in the New Testament.

Some say that there must have been infants baptized in the case of Cornelius since his kinsmen and friends were present (Acts 10:24, 47). Contrariwise, Acts 11:17 says that those who were saved and baptized with Cornelius were those “who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Obviously these were not infants.

What about the case of Lydia and her household (Acts 16:14-15). Nothing is said about infants in this passage, and it is highly unlikely that this busy merchant woman would have had babies. There is no evidence here whatsoever for the practice of infant baptism.

What about the Philippian jailer and his household (Acts 16:30-34). This passage clearly says that Paul spoke the Word of God to the entire household (v. 32) and that the entire household “believed” (vv. 32-33). This could not be said of infants.

What about the household of Crispus (Acts 18:8)? Those who were saved and baptized in this family were all believers, for we are told, “Crispus … believed on the Lord with all his house…” Obviously they were not infants.

What about the household of Stephanas (1 Cor. 1:16)? Again nothing is actually said about infants being present or baptized. In 1 Cor. 16:15 we are told that this household addicted themselves to the ministry. This could not be said of infants.

6. The false teachings of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement (Assemblies of God, etc.)

6a. The false doctrine that tongues speaking is for today

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says tongues were a real language (Acts 2:3-11).

b. The Bible says tongues were a sign to the unbelieving Jews (1 Cor. 14:21-22). After Israel rejected God’s sign of tongues and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Jews were scattered to the ends of the earth, the need for tongues as a sign was finished.

c. Biblical tongues had to be used according to the teaching of the apostles, yet the Pentecostals and Charismatics do not submit to these restrictions:

(1) Women are not allowed to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 14:34)

(2) Tongues were to be spoken only by course (1 Cor. 14:27)

(3) Tongues must be interpreted (1 Cor. 14:27)

(4) There is to be no confusion (1 Cor. 14:33)

(5) Everything is to be decent (1 Cor. 14:40)

(6) Everything is to be orderly (1 Cor. 14:40)

d. Tongues were not spoken by every believer even in the days of the apostles (1 Cor. 12:28-30).

e. Biblical tongues were not sought after but were sovereignly given by God (1 Cor. 12:11).

f. There is no instruction in the Bible about HOW to speak in tongues. Those who believe in tongues speaking today claim that they can teach people who to do it.

g. The Bible says tongues speaking, prophesying, and words of knowing will pass away (1 Cor. 13:8). When the New Testament was completed, there was no further need for these particular gifts.

6b.The false doctrine that healing is promised in the atonement

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says that not all sicknesses are healed (2 Cor. 12:97-10; 1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20).

b. The Bible says that the physical part of our salvation is for the future (Rom. 8:17-25.

c. Peter says that Isaiah 53:5 refers to spiritual healing of the soul (1 Pet. 2:24-25).

6c. The false doctrine that miracles should be sought

Bible Answer:

a. Jesus warned that it is not good to seek miracles (Mat. 12:39).

b. The miracles performed by the apostles were special (2 Cor. 12:12). Not every Christian could perform miracles.

c. Faith does not come from miracles but from God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). Multitudes witnessed Jesus’ great miracles, but most did not believe.

6d. The false doctrine that the Holy Spirit baptism follows salvation

Bible Answer:

a. Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) and this was fulfilled in Acts 2 for the Jews and in Acts 10:44-47 for the Gentiles.

b. Since then, every believer receives the Holy Spirit when he believes (Eph. 1:12-14).

c. The book of Acts is a transitional book. Not everything that happened then is the pattern for the rest of the church age.

d. In the epistles, the reception of the Holy Spirit is always mentioned in the past tense (Rom. 8:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13).

6e. The false doctrine that we should exalt the Holy Spirit

Bible Answer:

a. The Lord Jesus Christ foretold what role the Holy Spirit would have in the church age (John 16:13-15). In this passage we learn that the Holy Spirit does not exalt Himself and the Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself.

b. There is no example in the N.T. of praying to the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father, not to the Holy Spirit (Matt. 6:6,9; Jn. 16:23). The Apostle Paul taught us to pray to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:8; 7:25).

c. There is no example in the New Testament of inviting the Holy Spirit to work. Neither Jesus nor the apostles did that.

6f. The false doctrine that we should not test the Holy Spirit with the Bible

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible warns that there are false spirits and that the devil tries to deceive (2 Cor. 11:4; 1 Jn. 4:1). Therefore we must test everything carefully or we will be deceived.

b. The Bible commands us to prove all things (1 Thess. 5:21).

c. The Bible commended the Bereans because they tested everything by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11)

6g. The false doctrine that the believer can be rid of his sin nature

Bible Answer:

a. Paul taught that the believer still has the struggle with sin (Rom. 7:14-21; Gal. 5:16-17).

b. John teaches that the believer still has sin (1 John 1:8, 10).

6h. The false doctrine that victory in the Christian life comes through unusual baptisms and experiences

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible does not exhort us to make spiritual leaps through unusual experiences. Rather, it exhorts us to GROW in Christ (1 Pet. 2:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:18).

b. The apostles wrote many epistles instructing the believers about how to deal with sin an spiritual problems, but they never instructed the believers to seek a second baptism or other such special experiences.

6i. The false doctrine that visions and prophecies are for today

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says the faith was completed in the days of the apostles (Jude 3).

b. The Bible says that the Scriptures are sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

c. The Bible says that Scripture is more sure than visions (2 Pet. 1:16-21).

d. The Bible says that prophecies will pass away (1 Cor. 13:8).

7. The false teaching that death is a sleep and not a journey (Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The Old Testament plainly says that death is a journey (Gen. 25:8; 35:18; Nu. 27:13; 2 Sa. 12:23; 1 Ki. 17:21-22).

b. The New Testament plainly says that death is a journey:

(1) Jesus said death is a journey (Lk. 16:19-23; 23:42-43). That Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable is evident by the fact that Jesus named the names of Abraham and Lazarus. He never named names when He was giving parables. Further, even if it were a parable, it would still teach literal truth.

(2) Paul said death is a journey (2 Cor. 5;6-7; Phil. 1:23; 2 Tim. 4:6).

(3) Peter said death is a journey (2 Pet. 1:13-15).

(4) The fact that the dead saints return with Christ from heaven at the time of the rapture shows that dead saints go to Heaven at death (1 Th. 4:14).

(5) John’s heavenly visions show that dead saints are conscience in heaven prior to the resurrection and during the Great Tribulation on earth (Re. 6:9-11).

(6) Moses’ and Elijah’s appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration proves that the dead have conscious existence between death and resurrection. Moses and Elijah, though dead, were allowed by God to appear in time on that mountain and to converse about events which were soon to take place in Jerusalem (Mt. 17:1-3; Lk. 9:30-31).

c. The Bible sometimes speaks of death as a “sleep,” but it is the body that sleeps not the spirit (Jam. 2:26).

d. Ecclesiastes sometimes speaks of death as nothingness (i.e., Ecc. 9:5), but this is because Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of the man “under the sun” (Ecc. 1:3, 9, 14, etc), the perspective of man looking at life the way it appears apart from divine revelation. To the natural man who does not have the revelation of the Scriptures, death appears to be the end of things. But other portions of the Bible tell us that this is not the case. Even the book of Ecclesiastes itself, in its conclusion, says that death is a journey (Ecc. 12:7).

e. The Old Testament speaks of the “spirit” as the breath once or twice, but usually the “spirit” of man is that non-material part which is separate from the body and which lives on after death (1 Thess. 5:23). False teachers make the mistake of refusing to allow the context to define Bible words and instead they put their own preferred definition on the word and force that definition into every context.

8. The false teaching that Hell is not eternal torment (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The doctrine of death and hell were not fully revealed in the Old Testament; these were brought to light with the coming of Christ (2 Tim. 1:10).

b. The New Testament plainly teaches that hell and the lake of fire are places of eternal torment:

(1) Jesus said hell is a place where the worm does not die (Mark 9:43-44).

(2) Jesus said the rich man was in torment in hell (Lk. 16:24). This is not a parable, because Jesus named the names of Lazarus and Abraham.

(3) Revelation says those who receive the mark of the antichrist will be tormented forever (Rev. 14:10).

(4) Revelation says Satan, the Antichrist, and false prophet will be tormented forever (Rev. 20:10).

(5) Revelation says all the unsaved will be cast into the same lake of fire (Rev. 20:15), and since the antichrist and false prophet are not burned up but are tormented forever in the lake of fire, it is obvious that other sinners cast there will have the same experience.

c. The Bible says the punishment of the unsaved will be worse than violent death (Mk. 9:42). This proves the punishment is not annihilation, but is eternal torment. 3. Jesus said it would have been better if Judas had never been born (Mt. 26:24). Jesus’ words make no sense if Judas was only going to be annihilated.

9. The false teaching that Sabbath worship is for the churches today (Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The sabbath, though mentioned in Gen. 2:2-3, was not delivered to man until it was given to Israel in the wilderness (Neh. 9:13-14).

b. The sabbath was given, not to mankind in general, but to Israel alone as a special covenant sign between her and God (Ex. 31:13,17).

c. Jesus kept the sabbath because He was born under the law to fulfill the demands of the law (Gal. 4:4-5).

d. The apostles and early churches met on Sunday.

(1) On the first day Jesus rose from the dead and first appeared to His disciples (Mk. 16:9). The sabbath is associated with the old creation; the first day is associated with the new creation.

(2) On the first day Jesus met with the disciples at different places and repeatedly (Mk. 16:9-11; Mt. 28:8-10; Lk. 24:34; Mk. 16:12-13; Jn. 20:19-23).

(3) On the first day Jesus ascended to Heaven, was seated at the right hand of the Father and was made Head of all (Jn. 20:17; Eph. 1:20).

(4) On the first day the Holy Spirit descended (Acts 2:1). Pentecost was on the 50th day after the sabbath following the wave offering (Lev. 23:15,16). Thus Pentecost was always on a Sunday.

(5) The Christians met to worship on the first day (Acts 20:6,7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

e. The New Testament plainly teaches that the Christian is not bound to the sabbath law (Col. 2:16-17).

10. The false teaching that the Prophecies of Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-22 are not for the future but are being fulfilled today (Roman Catholic, most Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian and Lutheran, etc.)

Bible Answer:

a. The timing of the events of Matthew 24 are plainly given:

(1) Jesus said that the prophecy of Matthew 24 pertains to the end of the age and to the time of His return (Matt. 24:3-4). This includes the rule of the antichrist (v. 15) and the Great Tribulation (v. 21).

(2) Jesus said the events of Matthew 24 will occur just prior to His return (Matt. 24:29-30).

b. Paul also taught that the antichrist is a real man who will rule the world just prior to Christ’s return (2 Thess. 2:2-9).

c. The judgments of Revelation are the wrath of God (Rev. 6:16; 15:1), whereas Paul said the church-age believers are not appointed to wrath (1 Thess. 5:9-10).

11. The false teaching that God is finished with the nation Israel; that the church has replaced Israel (Roman Catholic, most Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian and Lutheran, etc.)

Bible Answer:

a. God’s covenants with Israel are eternal (Jer. 31:31-37).

b. Paul said that Israel has been set aside temporarily, and that God will fulfill His promises to Israel after He completes His plan for the church (Rom. 11:25-29).

12. The false teaching that God chooses who will be saved and that only those who are chosen can be saved (Calvinism)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says that God wants all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-5; 2 Pet. 3:9).

b. Jesus died for the sins of all men, not just some who are pre-chosen (1 John 2:1-2).

c. God has ordained that every person who believes on Christ will be saved (Jn. 6:40).

d. God has commanded that the gospel be preached to every person (Mark 16:15).

e. The Holy Spirit convicts every sinner and Jesus draws and gives light to every sinner (Jn. 1:9; 12:32; 16:7-8).

f. Believers are the elect of God, but that does not mean that God chooses some to be saved and the others not to be saved. Election is based on God’s foreknowledge (1 Pet. 1:2).

13. The false teaching that the believer can only eat certain things (Seventh-day Adventist)

Bible Answer:

a. Dietary laws in the New Testament are a mark of false teachers (1 Tim. 4:1-5).

b. The New Testament believer has liberty in such things (Rom. 14:1-4; Col. 2:16).

14. The false teaching that there should only be one church in each village and city

Bible Answer:

a. This idea has no support in the Bible. There is no such commandment in the New Testament.

b. This idea is contrary to Christ’s Great Commission. Jesus commanded all believers to preach the gospel and baptize every nation and individual (Matt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15). This commandment was not given just to one church in each area. Believers do not have to ask other churches for permission to preach the gospel and baptize and establish churches. We have authority from Jesus Christ.

c. If this idea is true, how can it be accomplished? Such an principle would mean that one church would be able to forbid other churches to preach, but Jesus said we are not to forbid others (Lk. 9:49-50).

d. If there is only one church in each city, what church would it be? Who will have control to say which church it should be? This is what the Roman Catholic Church claims for itself and what the cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim for themselves.

November 3, 2005 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) –

http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/major-falsedoctrines.html

 

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Faith Healing or Mesmerism?

You believe that evangelist Benny Hinn is anointed of God? In reality, he uses mesmerism! That’s a shock for some of you, I know, but I’ll prove it to you. This technique was formulated by Franz Anton Mesmer, a physician and healer who achieved remarkable cures comparable to cases presented in today’s Miracle Crusades, although – remember this – Mesmer never used God’s name in his practice. This German physician successfully developed a method to relieve the pain of his patients, believing in an invisible, curative fluid pervading the universe that could influence the human body. Some kind of an “anointing” if you will that acts on the mind of the person. This was the foundation of hypnotism.

Therefore, he spent a great deal of effort in trying to master that “invisible fluid.” He developed the method, which is defined as follows: The capacity of raising the emotional state of an individual, or a crowd, to an abnormal, but controllable intensity. How is this accomplished? Mainly through music. Yes, emotional, repetitive music plays a role in the control of the mind and nervous system of the followers. The verb to mesmerize means: to hypnotize, to spellbind. It entered the language of the West as a synonym for “to throw into a trance” because the subjects would fall into a state of semi-consciousness. The technique is now being used in religious circles but disguised in different terms.

Compare the Two Men in Action…

Mesmer conducting a magnetic séance

Mesmer conducting a magnetic séance

Mesmer practicing in his apartment

Mesmer practicing in his apartment

Mesmerist Benny performing on stage in a crusade

"Mesmerist" Benny performing on stage in a crusade

Benny waving his hand over a magnetized subject

Benny waving his hand over a "magnetized" subject

You compare these two men above and you take a serious look at the healing testimonies presented by this televangelist. First, nothing comes close to those cases found in the Bible. Moreover, his power to heal the sick does not exceed that of the mesmerists of old or other faith healers who practice under a label other than Christianity. He appeals to many because he’s more entertaining than others but is his anointing from God? More of my observations are listed below.

Read these Similarities

FRANZ MESMER put together ideas like suggestion and auto-suggestion in a scientific, systematic method, then popularized his concept for anyone to use. Considered the early pioneer of modern hypnotism, he performed his healing practice in the same manner faith healers operate their ministries today, achieving similar results perhaps even more extraordinary. Though this method has its benefits, please keep in mind that it is far from being inoffensive and harmless. Once people are mesmerized, they can no longer analyze.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes? <-link

 

 

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He also exercised the laying on of hands. In his view, cures were induced through “magnetic passes” of the operator’s hands. Yes, the pain would go away and people believed they were cured. At times he would point at a patient standing many feet away from him; the next instant, the patient’s body would lie on the floor in convulsions. He also had a peculiar ability to throw his subjects into a state between sleep and wakefulness, and became a master of it.

BENNY HINN emulates his idol Kathryn Kuhlman. The only difference I’ve been able to observe is that Miss Kuhlman wore a white dress and he wears a white suit. He claims his anointing comes from God. Isn’t strange that he cannot produce biblical healings? In over 25 years of ministry there’s never been one single leper cured, or a person raised from the dead! His theatrics and emotional crusades take pain away leading his admirers to believe they’re healed. From what? asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, blood and heart conditions, etc. How about the paraplegics, those who’ve suffered terrible burns or have been left crippled after a serious stroke? They don’t get healed. Do they all lack faith? Wouldn’t you agree that his “anointing” is selective and quite limited?

He regularly uses his staff members to set the example for those unfamiliar with the “slaying in the spirit” phenomenon. They all fall down giving the impression that an anointing emanates from his hands. I have video clips showing individuals stretching their arm out to break the fall or bending their knees because the men behind them failed to catch them in the usual manner. Isn’t strange? I have seen his wife Suzanne pull her jacket back down over her stomach as she “fell in the spirit.” If she had been “slain in the spirit” would she have cared about her appearance?

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MESMER was renowned for his musical knowledge and refined playing. In his séances, he used an elaborate arrangement of music, lights, and other paraphernalia as stage properties to set the mood and relax his patients. He was also convinced that it intensified the communication of this “universal fluid” – the famous anointing, so he profusely used it. Under his commands, musicians shifted from stormy to soft music to induce the mesmeric state through the music’s sharp penetrative tones and vibrations. And people walked out thinking they were healed!

HINN has learned his routine from Miss Kuhlman. Very often during the course of the service, he will order his official organist to change the tempo of the music, and to quickly flow with him in the same spirit! His performance includes melodious whispers and fearful shouts. And he has some angelic music played whenever he prays to give a feeling of divine atmosphere. He puts on, we have to admit, a very entertaining performance. Once he confessed to a Canadian reporter that he’s an artist, that he’s always been an artist…and that’s how you should consider him.

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MESMER and his disciples achieved remarkable cures of functional disorders. Thousands believed that such treatments were responsible for the recovery from back troubles, arthritis, paralysis, liver or stomach problems, epilepsy, stuttering, and even blindness. Followers also reported prickly sensations or tingling going through them as the operator exercised the ritual. These phenomena also occur in today’s crusades.

HINN often tells his followers that they can lose their miracle. For instance, he recommends that they should read verses and confess their healing to remain “healed.” If they get sick again, well…it’s not his fault. I suggest to you that they’ve never been healed in the first place. When God heals, He heals instantly, completely, and permanently. I believe in miracles. I also believe that God acts regardless of the environment and He hears the cry of His children. But while some want to give God the glory when blessed, Benny Hinn walks away with the credit when a person gets better.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030414165447/http://www.fakefaithhealers.com/Hinn_Mesmer.htm

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Wants to be a god? by LetUsReason.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://letusreason.org/Wf36.htm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southwestern Seminary

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

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

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

Hope and struggle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unsecure roots

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

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

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

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

A strong call

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A PERSONAL NOTE ABOUT A CALL FOR DISCERNMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.justinpeters.org/

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The Leaven of Lakewood

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

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 The Kudos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mt 16:6,11-12

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

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

The Concerns

Joel Osteen Master of Marketeering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let Us Entertain You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out With the Old, In With the New

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

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

 What Is the Key to Osteen’s Success?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Rev. Liichow

http://www.forgottenword.org/osteen.html

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