Thursday, April 2, 2009

Word of Faith Revisionism

The current issue of the Christian Research Journal cover story is Christianity in Crisis 21st Century. The book was released this month so that’s the feature article.

Have you ever wondered why prosperity preachers redefine faith as a force? Why they attempt to talk devotees into believing that Adam was an exact duplicate of God—no difference, no distinction? Why perpetuate the pretext that every born-again person is as much an incarnation as was Jesus Christ of Nazareth? What’s the point?

Well, the answer may surprise you. Turning the Gospel of grace into a gospel of greed takes a complete revision of what Faith preachers describe as “traditional Christianity.” Jesse Duplantis is a classic case in point. Addressing Cornerstone pastor and televangelist John Hagee, Duplantis explains that God is his comforter “because when you got some stuff, it brings you comfort.” Jesse’s reasoning is remarkable to put it mildly.

After clarifying that he is not just a millionaire but a multimillionaire, Jesse says to Hagee, “The Lord, I give him the glory, is my comforter. If he is my comforter, Dr. Hagee, I live in comfort. That’s not only spiritually—that’s physically too. Because when you’ve got some stuff it brings you comfort.” Jesse goes on to pontificate that those who would say otherwise “know nothing about the Bible.” With great aplomb he claims to quote Jesus saying, “The destruction of the poor is their poverty” and challenges those who “know nothing about the Bible” to “explain that!”[1] Talk about biblical revisionism!

Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The Lord then told His disciples the parable of the rich fool who was looking to his possessions for security (vv. 16–21). Jesus did not condemn possessions, but instead pointed out the foolishness of a temporary rather than an eternal perspective. Not mincing words, Jesus quoted His Father as saying to the rich man, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you” (v. 20). The Master’s command was always the same: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:33).

How unlike the message of Duplantis and company! They relentlessly hawk the idea that prosperity is the divine right of every believer—a brand of “Christianity” that is little more than baptized greed garbed in a thin veneer of “Christianese.”

Instead, Jesus said, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry” (Luke 6:24–25). As such, His message is the inverse of that of Duplantis, who pontificates that “poverty is a curse,”[2] or of Hagee who likewise communicates that “poverty is a curse” and that “it is the result of sin.”[3]


Christianity In Crisis 21st Century explores a brand new cadre of faith teachers who have rock star platforms and they command the attention of media moguls. They have platforms that the old faith teachers in the 20th century could only have dreamed of. Their message is proliferating like wild fire. It’s all about having faith in your faith instead of having faith in your God. It is a complete distortion of the biblical message and it now so pervasive that I had to write Christianity In Crisis 21st Century to combat the errors that have gone through a metamorphosis, and have in fact gone from bad to worse. Error begets error and heresy begets heresy and that is precisely what has happened in the faith movement.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hanegraaff,

One question that rises quickly while reading your post is: What is the context surrounding Duplantis's claims? Was he preaching about having a bunch of stuff so that he could enjoy this life, show off his faith, and live in the lap of luxury? Or, was he preaching about the law of giving and receiving, abundant provision, and Jehovah Jireh?

If it was the former, God bless him, he's partially wrong. But if it was about the latter, your heresy hunting has left you blinded to the Spritually revealed Word of God.

First some examples, Cf., Mk. 11:23-24; Phil. 4:19; Ps. 37:4,5; Mal. 3:10; Is. 61:7; Eccl. 2:26; Pr. 28:8; Deut. 28:1-4; Ps. 112:1-3; Ps. 35:27; 3 Jn. 2; Ps. 118:25.
(and, I would suggest doing a referrence search for "giving" and/or "receiving," "sowing" and/or "reaping," and "seed-time" and/or "harvest." What you will see is that they go hand-in-hand.)
Basically, I would recommend that anyone reading this should examine the Bible for its teachings (both Covenants) on giving and receiving and their reciprocal promise.

Further, while I do think some of these "teachers" miss the mark sometimes in their hyperbole and even some of their interpretation (especially regarding BRINGING, not sending, Tithes to the storehouse), they are not so subversive as Mr. Hangegraaff assumes (and would like you as a reader to assume).

God clearly regards covetousness as a cancer among those wealthy (and even some poor) people who are so inclined. However, wealth does not always equal covetousness. For example, every Faith teacher I know is also a joyful giver (and has the IRS AUDITS TO PROVE IT). And since the Bible clearly teaches the principal of giving and receiving, it only makes sense that these people who have given much to glorify and honor the Kingdom of Heaven would have received much as well.

In the magazine Hank, you wrote glowingly about Matthew 6:3, "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, . . ." However, you conveniently left out the next verse, "that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." My guess is that this omission was a purposeful evasion of the whole Word, in order to further your assertion that any mention of giving's reciprocal is occultic heresy. This is only an assumption, but one based on your other examples of out-of-context rhetorical response.

Brother, I love you as myself. I wish you nothing but joy and peace. Your words on the other hand, are woefully inadequate.

Love in Christ,

Lucas L. Thompson

Anonymous said...

Lucas,

Anyone can quote scripture. These false prophets do it. Satan does it. The question is, what are they saying, and how does that compare to what the Bible says. You are being led astray if you believe Adam was equal to the Creator and we can become equal too. And faith is not a force. It is a gioft from God. Jehovah Jireh PROVIDES. He does not overindulge. Paul said he has learned to be content whether he is loaded or struggling to find a meal. That is NOT the prosperity gospel. That is the WORD of God.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (may I call you that?),

First, I will resist taking the bait and decline to dignify your comparison of Word teachers (and myself) to Satan, with any response. But as long as we are talking about quotes, Scripture, and the Word of God, it might help you to accurately quote Word of Faith adherents, Scripture, and the Word of God. I have not written anything that cannot be objectively researched by anyone with a Bible. As for you, Anonymous, you have not written anything that CAN be researched objectively by someone with a Bible. After all, it is the Bible we are discussing, right? And not your own presuppositions? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it is your (and Mr. Hanegraaff’s) presuppositions we should be discussing. So, I will do both below.

“You are being led astray if you believe Adam was equal to the Creator and we can become equal too.” That statement presupposes both that Word of Faith teacher teach such an idea, and that it’s wholly wrong (for to be lead “astray” something must be wrong).

Hagin wrote, “In the beginning, Adam had the dominion over this world, and in that sense, Adam was made the ‘god’ of this world.” Is this blasphemy? One critic of the Word of Faith movement, the Alliance Commission on Unity and Truth among Evangelicals (ACUTE), says the following:
“However, we should be careful not to overreact to Hagin’s claim that ‘Adam was the god of this world’. On the one hand, there are a number of things that this sort of statement clearly does not mean. It does not mean, for example, that humans were not created or that they possess any of the infinite attributes of deity or that they are worthy of worship. On the other, the statement is connected in Hagin’s argument to the thought of Adam’s dominion over the earth… What Hagin appears to mean by the phrase, therefore, is that Adam’s dominion over the earth was derived from and compatible to God’s greater sovereignty as Creator.”

A much fairer response than to connect Hagin to Satan.

Quoting from another source;

“Benny Hinn has also attempted to clarify his ‘little gods’ statements. In response to his critics on a TBN broadcast, Hinn said, ‘We’re not God, we’re the children of God. We’re God-like in our spirit man….’ It is clear that Hinn is not deifying man, yet some may still be troubled by his belief that man is ‘god-like’ in spirit. The late Baptist preacher, A. J. Gordon (1836-1895) made a similar statement:

‘But now God comes with the veritable promise that they shall, through faith, be made god-like, sharers of His nature and conformed to His image. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, is the promise of the gospel. And this means not simply that our natural life shall be prolonged into endless duration; but that we shall be endowed with a supernatural life; that God's own immortal nature and being shall be communicated to us through regeneration.’”
Martin Luther sounded off with this:

“This is what I have often said, that faith makes of us lords, and love makes of us servants. Indeed, by faith we become gods and partakers of the divine nature and name, as is said in Psalms 82,6: "I said, Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High." But through love we become equal to the poorest. According to faith we are in need of nothing, and have an abundance; according to love we are servants of all. By faith we receive blessings from above, from God; through love we give them out below, to our neighbor. Even as Christ in his divinity stood in need of nothing, but in his humanity served everybody who had need of him. Of this we have spoken often enough, namely, that we also must by faith be born God's sons and gods, lords and kings, even as Christ is born true God of the Father in eternity; and again, come out of ourselves by love and help our neighbors with kind deeds, even as Christ became man to help us all.”

For more, and for the citations to the above references, go here: http://www.victoryword.100megspop2.com/tenrsn/tenrsn5.pdf

I could provide this kind of fair, documented evidence for your other claims, but since you didn’t provide any evidence for your claims (and believe it or not yours are just claims which must be ready to be tested), I won’t. But I will indulge you in part.

Is Faith a force? “Faith is a force” makes for a good bumper sticker, but it WAY oversimplifies the truth about what Word of Faith teachers believe. What Mr. Hanegraaff attempts to do in his writings is take the culmination of what is usually weeks and weeks of teaching on God’s covenants with man, and take one statement out of context. Here is a great summation of what the Bible says, and what Word of Faith adherents believe:

“God has sovereignly chosen to allow men to influence Him by their actions. Those who embrace a hyper-Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty deny that the actions of men have an effect on God in spite of the Bible’s teaching that He desires to have reciprocal relationships with man (Ex. 32:9-14; 2 Kings 20:1-7; Isa. 1:18-20; 43:25, 26; Jer. 18:7-10; Micah 6:2; Matt. 7:7-11; Mark 11:25, 26; James 1:5; 4:2, 8; and others).”

“Because God has sovereignly chosen to have reciprocal relationships with men, He has made covenant promises and invites us to claim them (1 Cor. 1:20; Heb. 6:12; 11:33; 2 Pet. 1:3, 4). He has made these promises dependent upon our faith and prayer (2 Chron. 7:14; Ezek. 36:37; Matt. 7:7-11; 21:21, 22; Mark 9:23; 11:24; Heb. 11:6; James 1:5-7; 5:16-18; 1 John 5:14, 15). If we do not pray and believe, we should not expect to receive (Mark 6:5, 6; James 1:5-7; 4:2).”

“To encourage our participation in these reciprocal relationships, God has bound Himself by covenant to perform the very promises that He has made (Psalm 89:33-36; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:12-19). Because of His holiness and integrity, God cannot lie (Ps. 89:35). Therefore, once He makes a statement, He is bound to its performance when His conditions are met (Num. 23:19). God makes a binding oath concerning His promise in order to strengthen our faith:

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: (Heb. 6:17, 18)”

I do not agree with your oversimplification that Faith is simply a gift. Faith is clearly something that comes to us when we hear the Word of God AND act according to His Word and His promises.

“Jehovah Jireh PROVIDES. He does not overindulge. Paul said he has learned to be content whether he is loaded or struggling to find a meal. That is NOT the prosperity gospel. That is the WORD of God.”

You kind of answer yourself when you say Paul is content when he has a lot or a little (assuming “loaded” means “an abundance”). That implies (as does Paul himself) that there were times when he had an abundant supply. Paul also spoke with groups about the principle of giving and receiving. Always giving AND receiving. They are equal and reciprocal. Paul taught this because the Holy Ghost intended for the principle to be taught this way. How do I know that? Well, Did Jesus ever talk about sowing without talking about reaping? Or giving without receiving. In case you aren’t aware, the answer is no.

When Word teachers teach about abundant provision they are simply illustrating the principles which I referenced with Scripture yesterday.

Abundant provision, however, does not equal greed. In fact, I partly think those who accuse on that basis are doing so, because of a self-reflection. But I could be wrong, and, Anonymous, I hope I am. The following sums this up very well:

“God cannot be pleased apart from faith (Heb. 11:6) and doubt will certainly prevent one from receiving from Him (James 1:5-7; Matt. 21:21, 22). The words of our mouth are a good indicator of what is in our heart (Matt. 12:34-37). Therefore, in Word-Faith theology, confession does not replace prayer, but is vital to confident praying.”

I know I referenced a lot of Scripture, but I only do so for your own convenience. If I were being subversive I would leave out the references and just hope against hope that you believe what I say without any substance. If you knew me, you would know that isn’t who I am as a person OR an attorney.

Love in Christ,

Lucas L. Thompson

Pastor Michael said...

Heresy is stating things that are clearly not the Truth of God, and not in line with the Word of God, His character or His will. God is obligated to His covenants not because we demand it. He is obligated because of His holy character and His Word. God DOES listen to the prayers of the righteous. He was moved by Moses, David, Abraham and many others' prayers. He continues to be moved by prayer.

He is NOT, however, obligated to bless everyone with an overabundance of financial and temporal prosperity because they ask for it. God is not Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Anyone who tells stories to itching ears with a little bit of the word of God mixed in there is not a true prophet.

Here are a few quotes to consider:

"Jesus didn't come as God, he came as a man, and he did not come perfect. Perfect in the sense that he didn't need to be added to."
Creflo Dollar

excerpts from Creflo Dollar's program Jesus' Growth into Sonship, dated December 8, 15, 2002

"God's reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself. And in the Garden of Eden, He did just that. He [Adam] was not a little like God, He was not almost like God, He was not, um, subordinate to God even.... Adam is as much like God as you could get. Just the same as Jesus...Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh."

Kenneth Copeland

"Following the Faith of Abraham I" (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989), audiotape #01-3001, side1.

“Jesus was a rich man. He had to have been, in order to have supported his disciples and their families during his ministry.”

T.D. Jakes

Kaylois Henry, “Bishop Jakes Is Ready. Are You?”--The Dallas Observer magazine, June 20-26, 1996, p. 22

"...Jesus lived in great prosperity..."

“Why do you need to know that? Because until you know that Jesus was prosperous, you won't be either. You may have His kindness, you may have His gentleness, you may have all His other attributes, but you'll never have His prosperity."

John Avanzini

John Avanzini, “Was Jesus Poor?”--Believer's Voice of Victory, Jan. 1996, p. 8

"If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 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."

I Timothy 6:3-10

Anonymous said...

You prove my point with your last part, Pastor.

"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."

So everyone who has an abundance has fallen into temptation and a trap? Well, then you write this:

"Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."


So now it's some? Which is it? Have you any proof that the men you quoted have fallen from faith or into temptation?

The LOVE of money is the root of all evil. You and Mr. Hanegraaff assume these adherents have a "love" of money. This couldn't be further from the truth. These men and women receive in abundance because they give in abundance according to the WORD!!

There is a canyon between covetousness and abundant blessing. I suggest you examine the possibility that I am right, because I don't really understand what you are leaving room for. Are you saying poverty equals piety somehow more so than wealth?

Why did Jesus have abundance on earth? I propose it was because he gave and received 10-fold. Was he covetous? Hardly. The more he received, the more he gave and the more he traveled and spread His Word. He obviously had an overabundance because he always had sufficient supply even though while Judas was giving out money to the poor he was skimming off the top.

Do some BIBLICAL research of what I propose here Pastor, not just research of what Mr. Hanegraaff purports.


Lucas L. Thompson

Brian G said...

Hank is right in his analysis of the false teaching of the word faith teachers. A friend of mine who died of cancer was so tormented by word faith teachings on healing that she questioned whether or not God loved her because he wasn't healing her. She took all the blame onto herself because that is what they teach, a man-centered faith. Their teaching on faith, healing and God's will is cruel and heartless and is the true spirit of false religion, i.e. man earning his way into God's blessings. It is amazing to me that they all claim to hear from the Holy Spirit on regular occasions, yet they speak so little of the excellency of Jesus Christ the LORD who said; '13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.' John 16: 13-15. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will bring glory to Him (Jesus). The "Holy Spirit" of the word faith teachers rarely points people to Christ Himself, they point their followers to their own power of faith. They have a "man-centered" faith, not a Christ-centered faith.

Anonymous said...

Brian,

I say this with love and a spirit of correction, what you just wrote is absurd.

I have known no other group of ministers who exault Jesus as deservedly high as do "word of faith" ministers. They preach on the power of the blood nearly nightly, they teach faith, hope, and love more than any other group I have witnessed.

I won't be able to change hardened hearts on this blog, that is for the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. But if you sincerely believe your points and wouldn't mind testing them against a reasoned discussion, go here: http://www.victoryword.50megs.com/healing_g.pdf

If that isn't your interest, examine your heart and meditate on the Word. If stand on the Word, God's Word will work for you. His Word is his promise. Neither I, nor anyone I worship with believe any less.

With love in Christ,

Lucas L. Thompson

Brian G said...

Lucas,

I believe that AB Simpson's portrayal of the "Full Gospel" as Jesus being Savior, Healer, Sanctifier and Coming King is right. I have watched hours and hours of PTL, Benny Hinn crusades and more recently the Lakeland meetings with Todd Bentley and I have also watched Billy Graham Crusades and Greg Laurie Harvest crusades and it is clear that the later - Graham & Laurie are preaching the gospel, Jesus Christ crucified, buried, risen and ascended as their keynote. Peace with God through Jesus is the clear message of the Bible. As to the former - Word Faith Teachers, I have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel even 1 single time, never. I have heard over and over again the 100 fold blessing, seeds of faith, the financial harvest to come to those who will just send their love offering now, they never miss an opportunity to talk about that. They do not exhalt Jesus. For the record there is no spirit of correction there is the one on only Holy Spirit and then there are all other false spirits.

I pray in Jesus' name that He would bless you and pour out His grace, mercy, truth and love upon you and all you care for.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian, I meant "spirit of correction" as in, sense of correction. But in any case you are wrong. We have a spirit (notice, as in my post, spirit here is not capitalized).

See:

Luke 1:47
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

Luke 23:46
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Acts 2:17
‘ And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,Your young men shall see visions,Your old men shall dream dreams.

Acts 2:18
And on My menservants and on My maidservantsI will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.

Acts 7:59
And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Romans 1:9
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,

1 Corinthians 5:4
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Corinthians 14:14
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

1 Corinthians 16:18
For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

2 Corinthians 2:13
I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.


So I guess your spirit is a false one?

Listen, I understand what you are trying to do (like in the "spirit" statement you make), but the problem is, I am only using Scripture. I'm not a Mormon who is trying to tell you to trust your feelings or anything like that. I am simply stating that Scripture (obviously from your post) says a lot more than you (or Hank) are giving it credit for.

The Gospel is vital to our life, but if the New Covenant was meant to be only four pieces, then it would be, but it is not. Paul wa inspired by the Holy Ghost to write much more for our edification. But just as he spoke of "soft food" or baby Christians then, there are many today who are satisfied that the story ended at the cross, and that simply isn't true.

That doesn't diminish Jesus's atonement and sacrifice at the cross, it simply reiterates that there is much which occured after the cross which is neccesary for us as well.

Maybe you haven't heard the messages of the blood and the cross, because you weren't listening. In fact, you can look up Mark Hankins online and you won't get more than a minute into things before you will see a message about the blood.

But the part of the Covenant that many were missing out on when the Word of Faith movement began was the rest of God's promises. Thus, it was there that many teachers like Hagin, studied and wrote and taught about to people who maybe hadn't ever heard it before even though it has been in the Word for millenia.

Lucas L. Thompson

Brian G said...

Lucas,

My comment about there being One Spirit was a reference to the Bible - we are baptized into One Spirit and that is the only Spirit to have as a guide. My apologies for not being more specific. And to answer your question, yes my spirit can be a false spirit if I do not submit to the One and Only Holy Spirit. I don't always quote the verse I am referencing, I trust that God can help you find it.

Where do you stand on the teaching of Jesus finishing the atonment in hell as opposed to the cross?

Where do you stand on the teaching that God has lost legal entry into his own creation?

Where do you stand on the teaching that we are "gods" and made to be an exact replica of God, making Him to be in apperance like a man of approximately 6'2" to 6'3" and weighing around 200lbs?

Do you think that Jesus making the observation about the Kingdom suffering violence as violent men take a hold of it is a compliment?

What do you make of Jesus warning the disciples that in the last days there will be great deception, so great that even the elect could be fooled if it were possible?

What I am saying is that Dad Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, et al have made heretical statements that they claim were under the direct inspiration and annointing of the Holy Spirit that are in fact heretical. I have never heard any of them repent of such statements in regard to the atonement in particular, which to me is the most troubling.

We are to test everything, not some things, but everything to see if it measures up to the true revelation, which we call the Bible. When you test many of their teachings to the teachings of the Bible they are found to be in error, that is the Word Faith Teachers are frequently in error.

Just in case you are wondering I am charasmatic and believe that all the gifts are in operation today as God chooses to use them through His Body - the Body of Christ, us.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

You have not convinced me that you ARE willing to test EVRYTHING against the Word. But if you are, go here: http://www.victoryword.100megspop2.com/index.html

and it will well answer the questions you have asked me. Especially helpful is the long explanation of Christ's descent into hell, his suffering there, and resurrection as part of the full redemption.

I could not begin to change a hardened heart, that is for the Holy Ghost. But if you want to really discuss the full context of these teachings let me know. . . after you examine the cite I posted with at least half of exuberence you expend on Hank's information.

Brian G said...

This atonement teaching is a heretical teaching, that Christ suffered in hell and died a spiritual death. This teaching is based on "revelation" given to Hagin and repeated by others that God didn't seem to feel was necessary to include in the Bible. Interestingly this teaching can also be found in the writings of EW Kenyon. I know they use Bible verses, but it is amazing that what they "teach" is on what the Bible isn't saying as proof of their theory. This teaching of the atonement is what Paul calls another Gospel in Galatians 1:6-9 and is not of Christ. If you do a study on your own of Galatians and Hebrews I believe the Holy Spirit will help you to see this clearly.

I don't need to go to the Word of Faith teachers, I can go right to the source and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth and understanding. I would love to have a detailed discussion of why this teaching is an abomination and a complete trashing of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. They are actually teaching that the blood of Christ isn't sufficient for the payment of sins, more was needed. He needed to further taste death, a spiritual death to accomplish atonement. They teach that Jesus took on the nature of Satan. This doesn't bother you? In their own way they are trampling the blood of Christ and considering His sacrafice as unworthy,ineffective and incomplete. They do this to their own peril and the peril of those who follow them. This my friend is another gospel and is not the True Gospel of Jesus Christ the LORD.

Anonymous said...

Brian, I guess we can take this piece by piece. Did Jesus descend into hell? The Bible and the Apostle's creed say yes. What do you say? If He did, why? If he didn't, where was He (or His Spirit) for three days?

Assuming He did, why? Because He took on the nature of sin and was separated from the Father. However, He was unjustly there, because He was not a sinner. So, death could not hold Him, and He was ressurected. Where am I wrong so far?

Brother,

"The Bible most certainly teaches that there is a spiritual death. The Scriptures are clear that death is not limited to the physical being. We are taught that man is a tripartite being. We are spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23).

Many people who lack knowledge concerning the whole being of man often believe that the account in Genesis chapters 2 and 3 are contradictory. God told Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die that very day (Gen. 2:15-17). Yet, the day that Adam ate this fruit he was still very much physically alive. As a matter of fact he live 930 years before his physical death (Gen. 5:5).

Now was God lying? Of course not. Some have said that God was not implying a physical 24 hour day when He made the statement but meant a day like a day in His mind which is supposed to be 1,000 years (2 Pet. 3:8). I don't gather from reading the Genesis account that God was speaking to Adam that way. If we take the seven day creation in Genesis 1 as literal 24hour days (and Exodus 20:8-11 seems to make this clear) then we should take God's statement in Gen. 2:17 as a literal 24 hour day.

So what was God speaking about when he told Adam that he would die the very day he ate from the fruit? He was speaking of spiritual death, or rather, seperation from God (see Eph. 2:1-3, 12-14). We see this spiritual death in motion as Adam and Eve hid from God in shame when he came to the garden (Gen. 2:8). Prior to this sad event they were having wonderful fellowship together. The seperation culminated further when God drove them from the garden (Gen. 3:24).

The Scriptures teach that sin culminates in death (Rom. 6:16, 21-23; 7:9; James 1:15). I have no doubts that the death spoken of is spiritual death, or seperation from God (Isa. 59:1-2; Eph. 2:1-3, 12-14). The new birth is equated with having received eternal life (John 3:15-16, 36; 1 John 5:11-13). John speaks of us having passed from death to life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14). So it seems that basically anyone who has not accepted Christ as their personal Savior is part of the walking dead. However, Jesus offers life to the walking dead.

Brother, you are simply not reading, using, or even quoting Scripture. That HAS to be where you go, not Hank's improper teaching. Scripture should be used to interpret Scripture where neccesary.

Think about it, go to the cite I posted, and I will be back on Monday to continue our dialogue.

Brian G said...

Anonymous,

I have begun to go through the website you mentioned and am reading through the 3 articles on Did Jesus Die Spiritually. I will read through them all.

Let's get real for just a second here.

In the first article the author is reading into the statements of a commentator's writing: "Gill's comment that part of the death that Christ suffered "was equivalent to an eternal one" can be opened to interpretation by both pro and con of JDS. I believe that Gill is interpreting Heb. 2:9 as speaking of a spiritual death. It seems that he believes that spiritual death is part of the "all kinds of death" that Jesus tasted." Getting real here, we don't base our faith on what seems to be, we base it on what is. Gill never mentions spiritual death in his comments on Hebrews 2:9, however the aricles author thinks that can be implied eventhough never stated. If you have to read something into the scripture to make it say what it doesn't say you are way off base.

Next, on pointing out that there is spiritual death, no one ever claimed that there is no such thing as spiritual death. That is the kind of death Adam and Eve both experienced when they sinned and that "death" has been passed on through Adam - the 1st Adam to the rest of humanity from that moment to today. There is no mention of Jesus suffering a spiritual death.

Comments on hell. There are several words in the Greek that are translated hell in English, but they don't all mean the same thing. Jesus when we was on the cross said to the thrief, "today you will be with me in Paradise." I guess someone forgot to tell Jesus that He was actually bound for "hell" meaning a place of suffering and torment. Furthermore Satan is not going to be in charge of anything in "hell" which is really the Lake of Fire that Burns forever and is the 2nd Death, he will actually be the most despised and punished one there. Jude talks of a bottomless pit keeping fallen angels until the judgement. The demons who called themselves "legion" begged Jesus not to send them to the abyss, doesn't sound like they thought is was Satan's party place. What I am saying is that Jesus went to "Abraham's bosom" after death and then He lead captivity in His train upon His resurrection and gave gifts to men, according to scripture. If this understanding of his torture in hell is so important, I guess someone forgot to tell Paul when he outlined the "gospel" that he preached in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Again my problem is that Word Faith teachers have to spend so much time theorizing what seems to be and what could be that they completely ignore the plain meaning of the Bible.

On to Psalm 22. The author actually says that if Jesus was going to quote a Psalm on the cross why didn't he choose Pslam 23? Are you kidding me??????? Psalm 22 is the most Messianc and Prophetic Psalm there is and it perfectly describes the crucifixtion hundreds of years in advance. At the end of the Psalm the writer affirms his faith and trust in God, i.e. he never looses faith even through the suffering. This Psalm is the Psalm nearest and dearest to the person and work of Jesus Christ. I would like to know why the author thinks that Psalm 22 isn't appropriate? This handling of Psalm 22 is utterly rediculous.

I am now going to read the other 2 articles.

Anonymous,you have bought a lie and my heart aches for. I know you are going to say, "oh no, don't feel bad for me, I have joy in the Lord and in His Spirit. I am an overcomer!" What you have bought into is a man-centered faith that will leave you devastated should something happen to your health, wealth or someone you love. God causes the rain to fall on the just and the wicked. Jesus said that in this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world. God's love transcends our Earthly condition and circumstances. His love found us when we weren't looking for him, while we were still sinners Christ died for us. That is the good news my friend, peace between God and man through the man Jesus Christ, who was crucified according to scriptures, buried and he rose again according to scriptures.

Brian

Brian G said...

Anonymous,

On article 2 and I quote: "From a logical aspect, it would seem plausible to say that if Christ was made sin for us, made a curse for us, and He was separated from the Father culminating in spiritual death, then He would go where "sin" would go, which is to the region of hell that brings about torment. For many of us, this would seem logical."

It would seem logical? I guess if you presuppose that Jesus died spiritually, if you believe that he took on the very nature of sin within Himself, if you believe that the Father turning his back means that God had to turn His back becuase though He knew no sin became sin for us in his nature. Nothing about this writing is logical and well reasoned. This author even quotes John Calvin affirming that Christ descended into "hell" - however, Calvin is talking about the part of hell that contains the saints of old.

At this point I have to be honest and say that I am sickened by this author's abuse of scripture and his abuse of commentators writings who "seem" to support his hypothesis. The Bible can also be made to say, "there is no God", but if you read the entire thing it would be clear to all that this is what the fool says.

On hell once again I say that someone must have forgot to inform Jesus that he was going to suffer in hell. He clearly expected to be in Paradise that very day, the day of His death. However as proof of his position, our author quotes the King James Version from Jonah 2:2 - "And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice." He points out that if Jonah is a type of Christ and Jonah went to "hell" (sheol) in his adventure with God; how can we not take it literally that Jesus also went to hell. What is glaringly obvious to me is that Jonah was in fact in the belly of a whale, not in a place called "hell". No modern translation renders Sheol as "hell" in the context of Jonah 2:2, except for the 21st Century King version. There is more to "hell" than meets they eye in the King James Version.

Then he goes on to compare Jesus' statements about the only sign this wicked and evil generation would see is the sign of Jonah and that the Son of Man would be in the heart of the Earth for 3 days and nights just as Jonah was in the whale's belly "sheol" 3 days and nights. He then attempts to say that in this case - meaning Jesus; that he couldn't be talking about a grave because no grave is deep enough to go to the "heart of the Earth". All graves are on the surface of the Earth. I wonder how deep Jonah's whale went? Water is on the surface of the Earth, yet Jonah said he was in need of rescue from "hell" or sheol. So I guess that Jesus meant "hell" when he said "the heart of the Earth." This does not support his presupposition that Jesus went to a place called "hell" - a place of torture for 3 days.

What's the problem here? While the author boldly exclaims that he is using the proper context he is actually using pretext to superimpose beief over context to achieve the desired outcome and viola he feels and believes he has now given ample biblical "evidence" to support his position, the position of the Word Faith Teachers.

No more really needs to be said on this. I will however read the remaining articles just in case there is something further, but I won't comment on it further here.

Anonymous, Satan tried to quote scripture and twist it to fit his (Satan's) agenda and Jesus shoved it right back down his (Satan's) throat in proper context. At the beginning of the 2nd article this author admits that the whole reason he is doing these articles is to defend the Word of Faith Teachings. Notice that he is not doing this to defend the clear teaching of the Bible - that is the heart of presupposition. He approaches the Bible to see if the Bible will validate what is being taught so that other Word Faith Teachers can be more bold in their teaching of this heresy. By the way heresy is a really bad thing and I do not use the term lightly. I use it light of Galatians 1:6-9. This is spiritual abuse plain and simple. What these articles are doing is abusive to the Christians they, the Word Faith teachers, say they are tying to set free and lead into victory. They leave people in chains, confused, frustrated, broken and deprived of a genuine life in Christ Jesus our Lord, which leads to rest for our souls.

Brian

P.S. - if anyone wants to see how tangled and tortured you can twist scripture and commentaries I can recommend this site that Anonymous recommended, however, don't be fooled and make sure you test everything they say in light of all of scripture, the whole counsel of God.

Brian G said...

Anonymous,

I just noticed that you claimed I wasn't quoting scripture. That is funny because I have quoted nothing, but scripture I just didn't include the addresses. I thought you would have picked up on that.

Brian

Brian G said...

Sorry all,

One more quick comment. Hebrews 2:14 talks about that Jesus has set people free from the devil who held the power of death over their heads to mean that Satan also then controls hell.

Here is Hebrews 2:14-15 "14Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

15and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."

Interesting that they teach that the devil is in control of hell, since he controls death. But Hebrews 2:14 says: "that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,". How is it possible that when Jesus died he rendered Satan powerless that Satan was still in control of hell? The truth is that the only things Satan controls, such as the world as the "god of this age", "god of the world" and people in it who knowingly or unwittingly follow him he does so through deciet and usurping actual authority. He is a squatter who has no legal right to anything. That is why James say, "resist the devil and he will flee from you." The devil has no claim or authority on anything or anyone. The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY - Father, Son - Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit is the rightful owner of all, including Satan himself, the world and everything in it and all things in heaven too. There is nothing that God does not have a "legal" right to, nothing. That will be clear to all at the Great White Throne Judgement.

Brian

Anonymous said...

Brian,

There are many missteps due to your own presuppositions and pretext, which I have not the time to allot appropriate shrift. However, there are a few things you say which I think could really set you free from your own misconceptions if you understood how wrong you were. Although I know only further study of the Word along with leading by the Holy Ghost, will actually lead you to these and all other truths, I will point these two things out in the hopes others will not be mislead.

First, you wrote something that is altogether untrue and unfortunate for you to believe. You wrote, “God causes the rain to fall on the just and the wicked.”
Does he cause rain, or allow unbelievers, sinners, and the fearful (not in the respecting God way) to experience rain? If you believe the former, can you show me where/when it says so in the Bible?

I know I’ve found many Scriptures which say Christians will face trouble, but it seems clear to me (maybe you have another explanation) that that suffering would come about due to persecution and living in this world of which SATAN is the god, II Cor. 4:4. I’ve never read the Scripture that says Jesus causes suffering to anyone in and of Himself. I never saw Jesus, in the new Covenant, say to His Disciples, “Hey Peter, you got match? We need to light this guy’s house on fire, so he can be tested and learn how much He really needs us.” Nor did I hear Jesus say, “Man, after all that healing I just did, I better go out and make some sick so they can learn to appreciate me.” Jesus never caused anyone to suffer. Suffering came/comes about of the devil. And you are right, we believers have the authority to put the devil behind us, which is why believers should stand on the Word of God and ALL that He has promised us. Including an abundant, eternal, and Spirit-filled and led life.

Second you wrote, “What you have bought into is a man-centered faith that will leave you devastated should something happen to your health, wealth or someone you love.” I have no such “man-centered” faith. In fact, I’m not even positive what you mean by such an insult. My faith is based wholly on God’s promises to me, Jesus words and deeds toward me, and the Bible’s teaching for me. I am who God says I am, I have what God says I have, I can do what God says I can do. No more, NO LESS. If you call that man-centered, then I challenge you and any other readers of this blog to try to make sense of your logic. If anything happens to me, I shall not fear, for I have no doubt that it will be something the devil is trying to work for evil, which MY GOD will turn into good. But nothing will ever shake my faith, for it is built upon a rock . . . THE ROCK, Jesus.

Third, you wrote, “[Word of Faith teachers] leave people in chains, confused, frustrated, broken and deprived of a genuine life in Christ Jesus our Lord, which leads to rest for our souls.”

I would say that regardless of what one is taught (good and bad) everything must be tested by the Word. If one does that, and one has faith (faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God), one could never be as you have written above. And I have never heard a Word of Faith teacher, preach anything different.

What you are really saying is that one can be chained by his circumstances. The Bible (and Word teachers) says unequivocally, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2. In other words, if someone is moved off his faith due to his circumstances, he is not following the will of God.

I also wonder, why compare people who disagree with you to Satan? I have seen it many times on this blog (maybe those were you too, I don’t know). Is it something Hank encourages? It would be unfortunate even if you disagree with scriptural interpretations, because it is virtually impossible that Satan would be behind a movement that encourages faith, hope, and love of Jesus, and has helped lead millions to a decision to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.

From a Faith Family said...

My mother and sister followed my brother into the Word of Faith movement about 10 years ago. My brother was originally a baptist minister who started listening to Benny Hinn and then got involved with Norvel Hayes and got a "doctorate" from Norvel's "seminary".

After studying the WOF movement in-depth a number of years ago, I came to the conclusion that it was a convenient ministry based on bad theology and directly aimed at those who long for "instant miracles". It seems ready-made for those who cannot or will not study the Bible on their own. All of the bad theology and abuses have been documented in several books that I've read, including Hank's books. But the question was why would people want to believe these types of things? God obviously doesn't promise any human being abundant health and wealth in the lifetime that we have on this earth.

My conclusion was that there are those with "itching ears" who want all the rewards now in this lifetime, and don't realize the peace we can have in Jesus Christ.

The purveyors and audiences of this type of preaching dress it up in the sensational by making outrageous claims to draw bigger crowds ("God talked to me..." "I visited heaven and saw God..." etc). When challenged they fall back on 1 Samuel "...to not come against God's anointed". In other words, "Don't challenge me, I am God's anointed messenger." Benny Hinn has put a curse on people who challenge his ministry. Never mind that this bible passage has nothing to do with challenging someone's teaching.

In my family, this false teaching played out in a tragic way over the past year. My mother contracted a severe lung infection in late 2007 and refused to follow the doctor's orders for medication and treatment.

She kept getting worse and was taken to the emergency room several times over the past year. She would always quote Isaiah 53:5 to me "with his stripes we are healed" and tell me that God was going to heal her. She and I had many conversations over the true meaning of the verse, but she insisted it meant physical healing in this lifetime.

As she kept getting worse, I questioned my sister about the healing ministry that she and my brother were running and why our mother wasn't being healed. My sister told me that "Momma isn't doing it right" and thus she wasn't getting her healing. I never understood what "doing it right" involved exactly.

On a sunny morning in late February 2009 I sat at my mother's bedside watching her gasp for every breath of air as she told me that she was going to be miraculously healed and that I would see her healing come from the Lord. Then she quoted me Isaiah 53:5 "with his stripes we are healed". She died later that night. Apparently, my sister and brother explain her passing to their Word of Faith congregation by saying that she CHOSE her time of dying.

I pray for them each day and ask that you all pray for them.

Brian G said...

From a Faith Family...

My heart grieves with you my brother and I pray that God would uniquely equip you to minsiter to your family in this time. I lost my father 8 years ago and got a chance to spend the last of his moments with him and prayed for him to recieve the Lord the night before he died. I believe that your mother is celebrating Jesus in heaven with Him today along with my father and my baby girl Emily Grace. May your heart be softened with Jesus' love for you and may He pour out His love for you to bless you and those you care for.

Brian

Brian G said...

Anonymous,

Jesus said in Luke 22:31-32 - 31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Notice that Jesus does not say that Satan asked and Jesus told him "no, hands off Satan, he is mine and you can't cause even a hair of his head to be out of place." Jesus calls Simon one of His own in John 17 along with the other disciples. He tells Simon/Peter that he prayed for him that his faith would not fail and when he turns back that he would strengthen his brothers.

Jesus is allowing a severe test of Simon/Peter at the request of Satan. How does this fit your theology?

You said that you weren't aware of God causing the rain to fall on the just and the unjust and where does it say that. Here it is:

Matthew 5:43-47 (the statement is in verse 45) - 43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Once again he causes the sun to rise on the evil and good and causes the rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. The same kinds of life experiences that happen to the wicked are also experienced by the righteous followers of God.

You say that I am being less than kind comparing the word faith teachers to Satan. The word faith teachers are notorious for their declarations of "don't touch God's annointed or God is going to kill you." I have spoken out against their teaching and they would say that I need to be careful because the Holy Spirit might now kill me. I call them people who are either decieved themselves or they are true decievers and are false teachers, wolves in sheep's clothing. There is nothing good to say about false teaching and false teachers. Paul says that if anyone comes with another gospel let them be accursed, condemned. While they have breath in them they are able to repent and turn back to Christ and that is my prayer for them. I would take no delight in seeing them suffer, I would love to see them exhalting Christ instead of their man-centered trash.

You stated that your faith is on the Rock of Jesus Christ and I say "AMEN Brother! Me too." I stand on Christ alone. I have seen friends and family sucked into this Magical Christian thinking called the Word of Faith movement and other similar movements to their detriment and it has caused great distress in their faith and caused them to question their belief in Jesus Christ. At the end of the day if you aren't healthy, wealthy, prospering in any and every way and walking in complete victory over the devil, you are at fault. You are at fault because God has given His covenant promises that He is required to fulfill IF you meet all of His legal requirements; such as tithing, giving offerings, praying in faith, never doubting or negatively confessing, being free from all sin/no unconfessed sin, etc. If you aren't being 100% blessed in every area of life, you aren't believing in Him like you should, i.e. it is your fault. That is the false teaching that is so destructive and when you throw in all of the other false doctrine concerning the atonement in particular and in other areas they are false teachers, either decieved themselves or intentionally decieving.

You say that I haven't read the entire Bible, yet you have been the one who wasn't familiar with a couple of verses I referred to. I have and conintue to read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation over and over again because I am hungering and thirsting to know Him - Jesus Christ better and deeper. The primary function of the Bible is the specific revelation of the person and work of Jesus Christ - to Him be the glory, power and majesty forever!

Brian

Anonymous said...

To the first poster:

You wrote, “God obviously doesn't promise any human being abundant health and wealth in the lifetime that we have on this earth.”

If it is so obvious, why then would Jesus teach us to pray that God’s will be done ON EARTH as it is in Heaven? If we are only to receive our blessings in Heaven, why doesn’t the Bible make that clear? It is clear that we will face trials here on earth that we won’t in Heaven, but that verse could easily have been followed with “you will also receive ALL your blessings in Heaven.” It doesn’t say that, it say’s God’s will be done on EARTH AS IT IS in Heaven. You don’t have to be any special literalist to know when Jesus said God’s WILL, He meant ALL OF GOD’S WILL. Didn’t he? If I’m wrong, then define it for me.


“My mother contracted a severe lung infection in late 2007 and refused to follow the doctor's orders for medication and treatment.”

I am sincerely sorry that your mother left prematurely. I have read Brother Hagin’s books on healing and miracles. He practically SCREAMS (and literally did at many live services) that God gave us doctors and medicine as PART of His will that we be healed. Not despite it. And that to avoid seeking medical help for our ailments would limit God’s resources for our physical healing. For anyone who believes medicine and doctors are somehow out of line with scriptural healing, I ask, “Then where did they come from? The devil? Why would he give us something to help make us whole?” Word of Faith teachers are not, nor will they ever be, in line with metaphysical cults like Christian Scientists.

Brian,

You wrote, “He tells Simon/Peter that he prayed for him that his faith would not fail and when he turns back that he would strengthen his brothers.”

At this point you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. It’s Simon’s FAITH that will destroy Satan’s power, and help strengthen and lead his brethren. Not much more need be said on this point that hasn’t already been said.

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” You’re right, with this verse He is clearly comparing the elect (righteous through Christ) to the unbelievers. But he isn’t saying he will send curses to the elect. If He were, he would also be saying he would reward evil doers. That doesn’t sound right does it? But let’s assume for a second you are right, even if God does send rain to His followers, that doesn’t prevent Him from still blessing His people according to His word. So I don’t exactly get how this disproves Word of Faith teachers.

P.S. Heresy hunters have attempted to turn Word of Faith into a loaded phrase with a meaning that it simply wasn’t given by its adherents. It simply points out that the Word is alive and powerful, and that it is OUR FAITH that puts the Word into action. Prof. Ehrman and other well-known atheist scholars have read and studied the Bible with much more tenacity than you have my friend. Of that, I am sure. But they will never be able to see the Word in action because they don’t have Faith. Nor will they ever be able to read the Bible with divine revelation from the Holy Ghost, as a believer who is Spirit-filled can. Thus, they will never have the understanding we will.

So calling it the Word of Faith movement doesn’t necessitate a typical movement mentality, it was simply a label given to the day’s teachers who taught the WHOLE word and not just the religious re-tread, dead, liturgy of old.

Anonymous said...

P.P.S. I have to go now, I hope you all will continue to study the WORD first, Hank's books last, and ask the Holy Ghost to reveal to you the truth.

Brian G said...

Anonymous,

May the Lord Jesus Himself bless and refresh you as you seek Him.

Brian

Anonymous said...

great article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone hear that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.