Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part 3 of 3

25 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 12 – Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part 3 of 3 – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

Part 3 of 3

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Slain in the spirit

“I have fallen “under the power” dozens of times That is why I can tell you, by experience, that the fear of man and the fear of missing out was always the strongest reason to fall to the floor. I did not want to look less willing than anyone else. Nor did I want my inability to yield to the moving of the Spirit to be interpreted as rebellion or unbelief. When you are standing in front of all your peers and respected leaders and they lay their hands on you, let me tell you, the pressure is on. Especially when you are up on stage and all expectant eyes are watching you. That is why many preachers have followed this pattern. They find more success with “manifestations” if they call miracle candidates up to the platform. The intimidation of the platform “weeds out” those who are uncertain. I can tell you by experience that it wasn’t the fear of God I was struggling with. It was the fear of not looking as spiritual as some of the others. Fear causes us to go with the flow even if it doesn’t make sense. “

Mr. Brooks admits to peer pressure and the need to conform to the group and expectations of the minister. People who fall and recognized as people who have fully yielded to the Holy Spirit in charismatic circles. Falling is a sign of spirituality. Laying on the carpet for hours would indicate a “deep” work of God in that person’s life.

It is evident that this is learned behavior because it does not occur with any regularity among non-charismatic or Pentecostal people. It is also easy to demonstrate the large number of people who fake being slain in the spirit by simply not having any catchers present. I know from past experience when there were no catchers available in the service, when prayer time came nobody fell out! If the Holy Spirit is indeed causing the people to fall, then He is certainly able to protect them from harm, i.e. there is no need for catchers if this is the work of God. Yet there are catchers because all of the ministers know people do fake it, and fake it quite a bit. They must indemnify themselves from possible civil litigation.

Hypnosis

Anton Mesner caused people to be slain in the spirit using hypnotic suggestions. Cited below are examples of Mesner at work:

He stares at one man and commands “Dormez!” The man’s eyes close, his head falls to his chest. A shudder runs through the other patients. He points his iron scepter at a nearby woman, she falls prey to his charms and cries out that tingling sensations are running wildly through her body. Eventually, these strange feelings begin to possess the others in the circle. Some even begin to flail and swoon about.

Mesmer would have soft music playing in the background, at times someone hidden singing softly, the room was filled with burning incense and were dimly lit. Mesmer’s assistants would gather those seeking this new experience and begin to hypnotize them.

Gradually the cheeks of the ladies began to glow, their imaginations to become inflamed; and off they went, one after the other, in convulsive fits. Some of them sobbed and tore their hair, others laughed till the tears ran from their eyes, while other shrieked and screamed and yelled till they became insensible altogether…They became calm, acknowledged his power, and said they felt streams of cold or burning vapour passing through their frames, according as he waved his wand or fingers before them.”

Mesmer’s original techniques have been improved upon since the late 1700’s but the effects of being mesmerized have stayed constant. He brought people into an altered state of consciousness through incense, music, and dim lighting. The people came knowing what to expect, he had publicized his powers prior to opening his salon in Paris. Combining these two elements he was able to cause people to become open to suggestions that normally they would not have acquiesced to.

Impartation

In today’s charismatic services many of Mesner’s techniques can be easily discerned. For example, in our former church, Jubilee Christian Church, the pastor would dim the lights during worship. The congregation would sing repetitious songs, sometimes for almost two hours. Often towards the end of the dimly lit worship service we would all begin to sing in other tongues. Then the lights would be raised and we as a congregation were open to receive whatever the pastor had impart to us. The elements of the dimly lit room, the mind numbing repetitious songs, combined with singing in tongues brought us as a people into an altered state of consciousness and openness to the suggestions from the pulpit. I must state that I do not believe this was done consciously by the pastor of that church, but the results were the same.

 

At Toronto much of this same pattern is followed. They have long periods of loud singing and dancing (protracted singing and dancing have long been used as means of entering trances states in almost every world religion). The same simple song refrains are sung over and over again. After this portion of the service is over there is usually a very short sermon given, then testimonies from various people on how the revival has transformed them, often examples When hands are laid on them, is it any wonder that they fall down? While the ministry is going on music is playing , they see others falling, laughing, shaking, and dancing. All of this has an undeniable influence on the attendee’s mind set. Thus, they too fall down and do carpet time or begin to join in the very infectious laughter. Now they too have got the “blessing.”

Slain TACF 99'

of the various manifestations are recited as well. Then it is ministry time, it is time to come and get the “Toronto Blessing.” People have traveled from all over the world to be at TACF, now is the moment they have been waiting for…now is the time for them to receive the revival impartation.

Demonic Activity

Many critics of the revival are content to leave this and other manifestations as purely fleshly exhibits of emotionalism gone wild, which is a valid judgment of much of what does occur in these meetings. However, as unpleasant as it may be to the sensibilities of many Christians there is another explanation which cannot be ignored, that of demonic influence. Dr. Kurt Koch has done extensive research on demon possession and here is an account he relates of a man who became demonically influenced when he was slain in the spirit, (underlining added for emphasis):

Mark (not his name) was a Christian in a church that he thought was formal and dead. He went to a Pentecostal church, where hands were laid on him, and he was what they called “slain in the spirit”. He was lying on the floor in a trance. When he came out if it, he was praising Jesus in a loud voice, and he continued praising. While attending this Pentecostal church, Mark also received a gift of tongues. The name of the spirit of the tongue was “Domenigaio, how many associates are with you in Mark?” I am alone,” When did you enter him?” “When he was slain in the spirit. Who sent you?” “The devil, from the pit.” Do you acknowledge our authority over you in Christ Jesus our Lord?” I do,” What is your commission from Satan?” To deceive.” How? “In his love for the Lord Jesus; ruin his faith; have him follow Satan.” You were posing as the Holy Spirit, weren’t you?Yes.”

According to Dr. Koch, this man came under demonic influence while he was in a trance state brought through being slain in the spirit. This deceiving psirit posed as the Holy Spirit and was cast out when Dr. Koch and his fellow ministers rebuked the evil spirit in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Biblically we see the demon activity can be quite diverse in operation.

Just as the Western psychologists are proffering ancient shamanistic practices in a guise which is more palatable to the uninitiated Westerners, so the professing Christian churches which peddle ‘religious fainting” have simply made the Possession-Trance state of shamanism more readily acceptable to the undiscerning sheep who attend their heated meetings. These are the true origins of the strange phenomena which are being so widely reported today and which are bringing the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ into so much disrepute.

Slain in the spirit

Larry Thomas is correct in tracing the practice of being slain in the spirit back to occult roots. At the beginning of this chapter I cited the Shaker roots of this practice, and they were unashamedly devoted to spiritualism. Rodney Howard-Browne, the man responsible for unleashing holy laughter on America admits the possibility of demonic activity in the manifestations:

I’d rather be in 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 a devil manifests, don’t worry about that, either, Rejoice, because at least something is happening.

Mr. Browne’s attitude is unacceptable, he argues extremes, either we have manifestations in the church or we have nothing. This is a form of “the excluded middle” form of reasoning, he neglects the possibility of having a sound congregation without a fleshly or demonic manifestations. Why should Christians rejoice when the flesh or demons are manifesting? Should we not rather rejoice because they are not in manifestation at all?

Jessie Penn-Lewis (whose ministry or major writings we do not endorse) and Evan Roberts wrote a book entitled War on the Saints, which was written during the Walse revival, which preceded the Azusa revival by several years. They saw the work in Wales devolve into fanaticism and demonism and exposed it in a book. People have often recounted visions and other paranormal experiences while slain in the spirit, Lewis and Roberts give some insight on this phenomena:

When evil spirits are able to give visions, it is an evidence that they have already gained ground in the man, be he a Christian or an unbeliever. The “ground” being, not of necessity known sin, but a condition of passivity, i.e., non-action of the mind, imagination, and other faculties. This essential condition of passive non-action as the means of obtaining supernatural manifestations, is well understood by spiritist mediums, clairvoyants, crystal gazers, and others, who know that the least action on the mind immediately breaks the clairvoyant state. Believers not knowing these main principles can unwittingly fulfill the condition for evil spirits to work in the life, ignorantly induce the passive state by wrong conceptions of the true things of God. (bolding and underlining added for emphasis)

They realized that when people in the Wales revival became mentally passive, or suspended their rational thinking abilities through various spiritual exercises that deceiving spirits gained a foot hold in their minds. Peter encourages us to gird up the loins of our minds (1 Peter 1:13) and to be sober, not intoxicated by anything.

Satan is a real foe, he was defeated by Christ on the cross, yet we still contend against his wiles (Eph. 6:11). If there was no spiritual battle for us to fight then Peter and Paul would not have labored warning us about Satan and his workers. Submitting ones mind to non-biblical practices, such as entering into trance-states, could be an open invitation for deceiving spirits to enter into the minds of God’s people.

Some Biblical Examples of Falling Backwards

There are biblical examples of people falling backwards (keep in mind 99% of all those slain fall backwards). However, these verses are never cited by our sign-gift friends, upon reading them you shall know why. The following comes from Dr. Ken Motto on the topic of being Slain in the Spirit (http://www.scionofzion.com.htm ).

As we will see, in the Bible, falling backward is always associated with some type of judgment, which in itself is a strong warning of the final judgment in Revelation 20: The following Scripture passages shed light on falling backward:

(1 Sam 4:18 KJV) And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

(John 18:6 KJV) As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

These are two actual, historical events which show us that falling backward is a judgment. God also uses the word “backward” in conjunction with sin and rebellion.

(Gen 49:17 KJV) Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

(Psa. 70:2 KJV) Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

(Isa 1:4 KJV) Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

(Isa 28:13 KJV) But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

(Jer. 7:24 KJV) But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil hearts, and went backward, and not forward.

(Jer. 15:6 KJV) Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.

(Lam 1:8 KJV) Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.

Other verses that illuminate this teaching are found in: Gen. 19:26; Psalm 53:3; Luke 9:62; 17:32; Acts 7:39; Hebrews 10:38,39. In all these verses, back or backward is directly related to judgment. Those who believe they are being slain in the spirit are actually under the judgment of God. Satan comes as an angel of light and we must be aware of his counterfeit gospels.

Although some of the above cited texts have nothing to do with the actual practice of laying hands on people to receive some form of “spiritual blessing,” the context is certain — backward movement is biblically seen as a judgment from God and not a good thing.

It is my contention that since it is not a Biblical practice those who profess the name of Christ ought to have nothing to do with it. We should be even more concerned by such mystical encounters when such a manifestation are taught and recorded in various non-Christian cult groups and religions. May the Lord God bring His people out of superstitious ignorance and into the true light of His Holy Word. ♦

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow

* (Color-highlighting and some bolding and underlining is added for emphasis and is not in the original book by Robert S.Liichow

End Notes

1. Burgess, Stanley and Gary B. McGee. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements Zondervan, 1995, pg. 789

2. Inside The Toronto Blessing is a new video (1997) in which various participants and even a medical doctor go into detail regarding why people fall under the power.

3. White, John, When The Spirit Comes With Power, IVP, 1988, pg. 95

4. Williams, Charles L. I’m Not Sure I Like What is Going On A pamphlet handed out at an Assemblies of God church in Grand Rapids MI. The pamphlet endeavors to explain the various manifestations which occur in a revival service.

5. FAQ refers to “frequently asked questions” in internet lingo.

6. Paraphrased from a August 1st video of the afternoon session at TACF 1997.

7. Revival Glory is a Pentecostal ministry whose Founder, Ruth Heflin, now deceased, brought Silvania Machado into the USA. Silvania is known for her alleged gold dust manifestation, which was proven to be fraudulent.

8. Obtained from the Revival Glory web site on 01-02-01 members. the globe.com/RevivalGlory/manifest/slain.html

9. Gott, en, Lois. The Sunderland Refreshing. Hodder & Stoughton. London, England. 1995, pg. 189

10. Fisher, G. Richard, Goedelman, M. Kurt The Confusing World of Benny Hinn. Personal Freedom Outreach Publication. Saint Louis, MO. 1995, p.26

11. Elmer T. Clark, Strange Sects in America, Abingdon Press, 1937), 88

Doris Faber, The Perfect Life The Shakers in America, (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1974), 90

12. Mike Sublett, Revival At Cane Ridge, taken from http://www.bstone/people.html,

13. Holman Bible Dictionary, WORLDSearch Bible Study Software CD ROM, (Austin: NavPress Software, 1994).

14. I was formerly a neo-Montanist minister and during almost twenty years of full-time ministry within the charismatic renewal movement I was “slain in the spirit” many times and laid my hands on about one thousand people, many of which were subsequently “slain in the spirit” once my hand were placed on them. I can testify that the experience is one in which the individual is truly “out of control” as the Holman Bible Dictionary defines ecstasy.

15. Iain H. Murray, Revival & Revivalism The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994), 167

16. Charles Finney, Memoirs (New York: A.S. Barnes & Co. , 1876), 44-45.

17. Ibid. 103

18. Iain H. Murray, Revival & Revivalism The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858 (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994) 243-247.

19. Etter-Woodworth, Maria. Signs and Wonders, Harrison House. 1916 reprint. Pg. 145

20. Burgess Stanley and Gary McGee. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. 1995 pg. 900

21. Bahr, Robert, Least of All Saints, The Story of Aimee Semple McPherson, Prentice Hall, 1979, p. 105

22. Burgess, Stanley and McGee. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. 1995. Pg. 529

23. The Westminister Confession of Faith, The Master Christian Library ver. 5 CD ROM, (Albany; Ages Software, 1997), 56

24. Ted Brooks, And We All Fall Down, obtained from http://www.west_teq.net/~tbrooks, on June 2, 1998

25. Obtained from http://www.mesner.com/docs/info/franz.html, on June 2, 1998

26. Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Poplar Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, (New York; Three Rivers Press, 1979), 339

27. Singing in other tongues was done as a congregation, the effect is the same as “praying” in tongues, ones rational thinking mind is silenced. We understood Paul’s word ‘the mind is unfruitful” (1 Cor. 14:14) as a good thing and tongues was an excellent method of silencing ones carnal mind.

28. Kurt Koch, Occult ABC Charismatic Movements and Demon Possession, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978) 33,34

29. Larry Thomas, No Laughing Matter. (Excelsior Springs: Double Crown Publishing, 1995), 148

30. Rodney Howard-Browne, The Coming Revival, (Louisville: R.H.B.E.A. Publications, 1991), 6

31. Jessie-Penn-Lewis with Evan Roberts, War on the Saints, (New York: Thomas Love, 1994), 149





Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part I

18 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – October 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 9 – Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

Part 1 of 3

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Sorry for the delay, but I am seeking to give back to our readers and supporters for their faithful support. So for the next few issues I will be reprinting some of our books in the newsletters, i.e. keep the next couple of newsletters and you will end up with one of our books to share or give to others! I am starting with some of the fundamental “doctrines” of modern neo-Montanism, aka the charismatic movement of today. This first installment deals with the dogma of being slain in the spirit. It is a phenomena common to virtually all sign-gift believers and thus this information is of vital importance in your reference libraries. Please share this information with your friends and family!

Introduction

This booklet will set forth the charismatic attempt to prove Biblically that the manifestation of being “slain in the spirit” is in fact Scriptural. However, it will become evident to the reader that what they have done is to twist the Scripture, wrest it from its context, in a vain attempt to validate the emergence of fleshly and demonic activity in their midst.

To those who have not ever been to a charismatic service the terminology may be unfamiliar so I will begin by defining the terms. Then we will examine their apologetic, the historical background of this manifestation, and consider what the Bible actually teaches regarding the issue at hand.

Chapter 1

Being “Slain in the spirit”  The Phenomena Defined

Being slain in the spirit denotes the phenomena that occurs when hands are laid on an individual and they swoon or fall to the ground in an altered state of consciousness. One can be slain without hands being physically applied, but that is more the exception than the rule. Generally people “fall out” due to direct ministry of another, either individually or in a group. The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements defines the experience this way:

A relatively modern expression denoting a religious phenomenon in which an individual falls down; the cause of this is attributed to the Holy Spirit. The phenomenon is known within modern Pentecostalism and charismatic renewal under various names including “falling under the power,” “overcome by the Spirit,” and “resting in the Spirit.” Within the discipline of the sociology of religion “slain in the spirit” might fall under the general rubric of possession trance.”   (1)

As a former charismatic pastor and teacher I can personally testify that in the course of ministry my wife and I have laid hands on over 1,000 people for various reasons. Many times when praying for people’s physical healing we would lay hands on them and they would fall down on the ground for a period of time and then regain their senses, stand up and return to their seats.

I can further testify when many times when people fall it is due to a genuine power entering into them or at least affecting their body to the degree they cannot stand. I have fallen down many times and I was not “faking” it. I felt a power, a tingling, something akin to electricity flow into me and upon yielding to this power I would fall down.

How is this explained?  There are a variety of ways to explain this manifestation. We will examine these possible answers towards the end of this book. I believe it is only fair to allow our sign-gift brethren to give their explanation first.

Chapter 2

TACF’S Apologetic

The Toronto Airport Church Explanation

The Toronto Airport Church Fellowship (TACF) says this occurs when God’s presence comes on the human body. The body simply cannot stand the weight of God’s presence and thus fall.    (2)

Falls are commonly much less violent and may be backward (common) or forward (less common and in my observation more frequent in pastors and ministers). Falls may be associated with further violent movements, with head-banging, tremors, movements suggestive of epilepsy, but commonly with a total absence of movement. Subject may have no experience beyond a pleasant sense of calm, may experience visions, or may feel they are being crushed. One man told me he felt as though a massive weight was crushing the life out of him, making it impossible for him to breath…Many people may be affected simultaneously. When this is so, the precise timing suggest supernatural choreography rather than mass hysteria.    (3)

Toronto’s answer is that when a person is slain in the spirit it is simply a physical response to the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon the individual. What does the Pensacola vortex of revival have to say about this matter?

There are several incidents in the Bible which demonstrate that the immediate presence of God is more than the human body can physically stand. One of the most significant examples is John 18:4-6, where we read of Jesus’ arrest. When Jesus identified Himself to the soldiers who were arresting Him, we’re told they “drew back and fell to the ground.” These troops (who were pagan unbelievers and only view Jesus as another criminal to arrest) were involuntarily smitten by His moment unleashing of His inherent power as God. Even these ungodly men could not physically stand up in the presence of His holiness and glory. (4)

Again, we read of the “fact” that the human body just cannot stand the presence of God and so human bodies fall down. Let me ask two questions:   (1). if this is true then why don’t those laying hands on people fall too? If God’s presence is manifest why doesn’t everybody fall? (2). In the account in John, Jesus, the completely unique One, did unveil His glory by stating “I am.” The sinners did fall down backwards (keep this fact in mind for later on). However, the account does not say the believers fell down, it is remarkably silent about anyone else being slain in the spirit.

The Toronto Blessing FAQ (5)

Revised April 1997

Scriptures quoted from King James Version unless otherwise stated

FALLING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT – this is when we fall to the ground because we can no longer remain standing when the power of God is on us!!! Sometimes we remain on the ground from several minutes up to several hours, our body simply cannot move very much because our flesh is corrupt and cannot stand in God’s full presence!!

II CHRONICLES 5:11-14: And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place]: (for all the priests [that were] present were sanctified, [and] did not [then] wait by course: Also the Levites [which were] the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Herman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, [being] arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers [were] as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up [their] voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, [saying], For [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever: that [then] the house was filled with a cloud, [even] the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.

MATTHEW 17:5-7: While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

JOHN 18:5-6 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I am [he]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground.

ACTS 9:3-4: And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?

 

A Biblical Examination of the Revivalists Argument

To begin with whenever you make comparisons for them to be honest correlations you must compare “apples to apples.” None of these texts resemble anything remotely close to what happens when believers are slain in the spirit today. My wife and I have observed less then 10 people fall under the power with no human intervention of some variety in 30 years of combined charismatic experience. When people get slain it is due to the direct ministry of another person, not a sovereign act of God.

Invariably, charismatic people fall down when hands are laid on them. There are no examples of people falling down when hands were laid on them in the Bible.

In 2 Chronicles 5:11 we read of the dedication of Solomon’s temple. In that dispensation God manifested His presence in a tangible manner to His covenant people Israel.

This case was no exception, God manifested His presence to demonstrate His approval of the Temple. After that initial service, His presence was confined to residing above the ark of the covenant.

Note also that the priests were outside of the temple when God’s glory filled it. There is nothing stated which indicates that the priest fell down at all.

Matthew 17 gives us the incident where Jesus took Peter, John and James up to the mountain top where He was transfigured before them. There is nothing in the text which indicates that God slayed them in the spirit. The text states “they fell on their face, sore afraid” it does not saythe presence of God was so strong they could not stand,” nor does it say, “the power of the Holy Spirit knocked them on their faces.” It says “They fell,” Peter, John, and James chose to fall.  Why?  They were afraid! It was a voluntary act on their part, not a sovereign act of God upon their bodies. Please note also, that at no time were they unaware of their surroundings, i.e. they did not loose consciousness, which is common with today’s manifestation.

Also, in Mark and Luke’s account we read of Peter seeing Moses, Elijah and Jesus and then Peter speaking with Jesus. These two accounts do not even mention them falling down at all. It does mention them being afraid, but no falling. It is textually impossible to validate what happens in charismatic services today from Matthews account.

The last text they use to shore up their doctrine is the account of Paul encountering the Lord on the road to Damascus. What is interesting in the Acts 9 account is that only Paul is slain, i.e. falls off of his horse. The men with Paul, were (1) speechless, (2) heard a voice, (3) saw no one, and (4) did not fall down. Another facet of this account is the fact that this extraordinary manifestation is Paul’s call into apostleship. This text cannot legitimately be used to prove the machinations taking place in charismatic circles. No one laid hands on Paul and caused him to be slain. According to the Biblical record this was not a regular occurrence in his life or ministry. Paul himself never testifies to laying hands on anyone and having them slain in the spirit, nor do any of the other writers of the New Testament, or Old Testament for that matter. Paul never lost consciousness, his faculties were very sharp, he was able to speak, he rationally answered the Lord.

On the following page John White uses the following two verses in his book When The Spirit Comes With Power to justify falling down under the Holy Spirit’s power:

Daniel 10:9-10 But the sound of his words came to my ears, and on hearing his voice I went into a deep sleep with my face to the earth. Then a hand gave me a touch, awaking me, and putting me on my knees and my hands.

Rev. 1:17 – And when I saw him, I went down on my face at his feet as one dead. And he put his right hand on me, saying, Have no fear; I am the first and the last and the Living one;

In the event in Daniel chapter 10, we encounter the writing prophet at the banks of the Tigris. He alone sees the angelic being who has come to deliver to Daniel a sweeping revelation concerning the prophetic economy of God. This Old Testament account is totally devoid of any comparison of what takes place in Pentecostalism. First, Daniel was a writing prophet and as such the Lord manifested His Word to those prophets in various ways (dreams, visions, divine appearances, etc). Secondly, Daniel’s experience was unexpected, whereas today people fully expect to be slain in the spirit. The purpose of the angelic appearance was to reveal a significant prophetic word to God’s prophet, Daniel’s falling down had nothing to do with the divine message, it was at best a tangential response on Daniel’s part.

Next, while Daniel was overcome the angel touched him and gave him strength. This is something we do not see in today’s services. I have seen multitudes fall, but none receiving supernatural strength. Note also that Daniel fell face forward, almost one hundred percent of charismatic’s who are slain fall backward, thus the reason for catchers (more on the ministry of catchers in a later chapter).

There simply is no legitimate manner in which this verse can be used to shore up a doctrine of being slain in the spirit.

The text in Revelation 1:17 also fails to meet the test when examined. John the beloved was an apostle of the Lamb. Fist of all, there are no more apostles today. Secondly, John saw the resurrected Lord which was the reason he fell. The purpose for the Lord Jesus appearing to John was to give him the final installment of the canon of Scripture. John was given a revelation of immense importance. Please note that John never lost consciousness and that he also fell face forward.

Comparison Chart

The falling of people in today’s services, especially in this latest revival has no relationship whatsoever to the few Biblical accounts they attempt to use to prove their beliefs. Every text they have tried to use is taken completely out of its context and these leaders are guilty of wresting the Scriptures in a vain attempt to validate their practices.

The leaders of the Holy Laughter movement prove nothing by the Scriptures they use except that they do not know how to properly interpret the Scriptures. They are attempting to compare apples-to-oranges and not apples-to-apples. The simple fact of the matter is that they have no biblical context to prove what is happening is in fact the manner in which God moves by His Spirit. Try as they might the best they can do is to twist the Scriptures in an attempt to make “a round peg fit into a square hole.” The Biblical accounts and what transpires today simply do not compare with one another.

Pastor John Arnott said the following during a revival meeting we attended at TACF (paraphrased) regarding people laying on the floor (after being slain in the spirit) who were screaming aloud:

1. The Holy Spirit could be expelling demons from the person, so we say “more Lord.”

2. The Holy Spirit is bringing back past painful memories to heal them, and the person is screaming out in agony, so we say “more Lord.”

3. The Holy Spirit is blessing the individual so tremendously they are screaming out under His power, we don’t want to stop that do we?

4. The person is simply faking it to fit in.

5. The Holy Spirit is doing a prophetic work in the person’s life & we do not want to interfere with that do we? (6)

The only problem with John’s definitions was that he used absolutely no Scriptures to validate any of his five points. In fact he contradicted himself on the video when he said that upon asking people what was happening to them while on the floor the people responded “we don’t now, but we know the Lord was doing something.” If individuals who have been slain in the spirit did not know what was taking place how in the world does John Arnott?

The following apologetic for being slain in the spirit is taken from the following web page on August 25, 1997: http://www.revivaltimes.com/manifest.htm- they use the same proof texts as TACF and other extremists, this shows the paucity of their argument.

Falling

People are skeptical when they see a person falling on the floor. This is really not hard to understand, as so many have been pushed over. Hands were laid so hard on them, that they either had to walk back or fall over. Others have come to think that unless you fall down, you have not received. This is not true. The Holy Spirit can minister to you anywhere, and in any way He pleases. I purposely lay my hand very lightly on peoples heads. If they fall, they will know that I did not push them over. It had to be the Holy Spirit or themselves.

Why do people fall?

Well, evidently they found it was impossible to stand up any longer. They just felt their knees become weak and fell down. Sometimes the glory of God is so great that we are overwhelmed and consequently fall prostate before the Lord.

Is Falling in the Spirit scriptural?

There is no direct reference to what we have termed being slain in the Spirit; However, there are references in the Bible of people who could not stand for the glory of God

1 King 8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

Another indication of falling in the Spirit is when Saul of Tarsus had the encounter with God on the road to Damascus. When the light shone on him, he fell to the ground and lay there until God had finished talking to him.

Acts 9:3-4 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?

The author gets an “A” for honesty, he admitted there are no direct references to the man-made doctrine of being slain in the spirit. What is puzzling is that he (and multitudes) of others are willing to submit themselves to highly questionable practices which have no Scriptural basis and attribute them to God. They have no Scriptural method by which to judge the origin of their experience, and assume it must be the Holy Spirit.  On what basis?  Because it happens in a church service? Because a minister lays their hands on them? Because they have seen others do it? Or because they have been told this is of God by leaders? These are not the criteria by which we judge our spiritual lives and practice. We are to look to the Word of God alone as the first and final court of appeal.

Revival Glory’s Explanation of the Experience (7)

In revival people often fall on the floor. Termed “slain in the Spirit” by some, and “falling under the power” or resting in the Lord” by others, one does not have to look long to see that something is happening inside those “horizontal before the Lord.” Such was the response of people like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28; 3:23), Daniel (Daniel 10:9), and John (Revelation 1:17). After the ark was brought into Solomon’s temple, “the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filed the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:14), perhaps indicating that these priests had “fallen under the power” of God. The Holy Spirit seems to do a wide variety of things in a person’s life during this time: a renewed understanding of God’s holiness, an inward healing of emotions, anointing for ministry, a giving of direction for life, a refreshing of God’s love, and in limited cases, the giving of a vision from God. [Bold type and underlining added for emphasis].

Revival Glory’s definition adds that the Holy Spirit seems to do a wide variety of spiritual works in the slain person’s life. Six things are cited, but not one verse is given to substantiate these claims. Five of the works attributed to being slain in the spirit are found within the context of scripture apart from any paranormal experience. All six, minus the vision from God, come to any believer through a reverent study of God’s Word, no more no less! To the extremist simple Bible study is not as “sexy” as having a power encounter or becoming the center of attention by laying front of the congregation in some form of enthusiasm and/or alleged spiritual rapture.

A person “overcome” by something, but it is not the Holy Spirit!

Rev. Liichow’s book  will be continued in the next issue.

Copyright © 2009  Robert S. Liichow

* (color highlight, some bolding and underlining are added for emphasis, and do not appear in the original book by Robert S. Liichow)

 





The Discipline of Biblical Meditation

4 11 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 7 – The Discipline of Biblical Meditation – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The Discipline of Biblical Meditation

We live in a time when it seems our every waking moment is filled with chatter from our televisions, car stereos, ipods and cell phones. I received a newsletter, whose banner line is “is there enough silence for the Word to be heard,” which is a great question in today’s sensory overloaded society. Meditation is somewhat of a lost “art” to many of us because of how we live, yet it is an ancient Biblical discipline that can bear great spiritual fruit in our lives…if we will take the time to be silent and ponder the Words of God.

What Meditation Is Not

“Meditation,” when we hear this word today we often think of some Eastern guru sitting in a lotus position contemplating his or her navel. Or perhaps we may conjure up an image of a monk sitting in his cell in a lonely monastery in some forsaken desert.

Our nation has already experienced the full brunt of eastern meditative techniques taught by a variety of eastern guru, including the likes of Bagwan Shree Ragnesh, Muktanada Paramahansa, Maharishi Ji, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with his T.M., to the most recent flake called the “Hugging Saint.” After reaping millions of U.S. dollars from their demented disciples the gift they left behind are hordes of people who have drifted further into the darkness of what we call the “New Age Movement.”

On every major college campus in America you will find Hindu Ashrams and New Age Centers. Bookstores are filled to the brim with books on Eastern Mysticism and New Age Practices, which the section regarding biblical truth could be put in a few rather small boxes.

Eastern Hinduism and the New Age are really both the same, there is really nothing “new” about the New Age, it is just ancient Hinduism packaged in a format that is acceptable to Western people. The goal of meditation in both groups is the same — for the individual to realize that they are in fact God.

Hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to what seems to be harmless spiritual practices on Oprah Winfrey’s television program on a regular basis through her two favorite spiritual “advisors” Depak Chopra, a Hindu & Mary Anne Williamson of the Unity cult…both best-selling authors, due in part to Oprah’s support. Both these individuals support the same goal — to lead people to believe they are in fact God. This is nothing new, this was the lie that Satan presented to Adam and Eve in the garden “You shall be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

In both Hinduism & The New Age Movement the practice of YOGA in its many styles is tied together with meditation in order to achieve “God-consciousness” or oneness with the “Universal Mind.”

Yoga has been widely accepted in the U.S. and is usually offered at Y.M.C.A.’s across this nation. Some Christians might argue — “Well brothers wouldn’t you agree that Christians can practice yoga for exercise without accepting its philosophy?

My answer is simple: No. Biblical Christians cannot practice yoga. Not only is it unbiblical, it is ungodly in its origins.

Yoga is specifically tied to Hinduism and there is no way to divorce the 2 from each other. Each form of YOGA (and there are over 30 different varieties of yoga) is specifically geared towards putting one in touch with various Hindu deities. So there is nothing spiritually neutral about it at all. Please, do not take my word for it, God Himself has spoken plainly and said in:

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truthJ Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]. Eph. 5:8-11

As Christians we are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. On the other hand we, as Christians, are to reprove, which in the Greek (elegchete) means to expose openly the error of these unfruitful works which have their origin in Satan and not Christ.

Yoga and eastern-meditation are most assuredly unfruitful works of darkness which have their origin in Satan and the demonic realm.

Many times in the newspapers you’ll see cartoons of some individual climbing way up on a mountain top to ask the meditating guru what is “the answer.”? And they generally give some funny response: even some companies use television commercials with this same concept of meditation. This Eastern/New Age view is generally what many believers think of when someone mentions meditation.

However, despite the great popularity of all the counterfeit forms of meditation that Satan and his demons use to lead people astray from the light of God into further darkness, one fact still remains: The Bible mentions the practice of meditation quite a bit and it is one of the spiritual disciplines attached to our prayer life and it is a discipline we need to both practice daily & master.

Biblical Meditation Defined

As always, we must begin with a biblical understanding of what we are talking about when it comes to meditation. What does the word mean? The first time we find it mentioned in the bible is in Genesis:

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels [were] coming. Genesis 24:63

In this text mediate is defined in the Hebrew as: “Soo-Ah” and in this setting it means to muse, commune, speak, and complain.

Without delving into Isaac’s problems we note that after his work day was over, it was eventide or sunset. One of the 2 most beautiful times of the day. In my opinion, the other is sunrise. He went alone and he went out to specifically meditate.

We do not know exactly what form his meditation took. We don’t know if he was pondering his fate, his future. Was he communing with the God of Abraham in the silence of his soul, was he speaking or complaining to God about his lot in life. Any and all of which as we have learned are forms of prayer — DIALOG, between ourselves and our God. Prayer is best defined as speaking & Listening. Probably a more familiar text and more practical one is found in the book of Joshua:

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swore unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous. that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth: but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage: be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest. Jos. 1:6-9

Moses had died and God had placed Joshua in Moses position and Joshua was afraid the people would not follow him. The Lord God speaks to Joshua and encourages him and reminds him that He will be with Joshua just as He was with Moses.

He tells Joshua to be: (1) STRONG and (2) COURAGEOUS. Why? That Joshua may observe to do all the law which Moses had handed down.

To “observe” in the Hebrew means to keep, to guard, to protect and act upon. Do you realize that at times, (and it seems like those times are multiplying in our day as Christians) that its takes strength and courage to uphold God’s Word and swim against the stream of popular religious opinion?

It takes both strength & courage to be a doer of His Truth and not one who compromises God’s Word for the sake of societal trends or even denominational stances on certain issues. To be such a person, to be one who is willing to swim upstream and at times stand alone in order to uphold God’s Word requires both strength and courage.

Where was Joshua supposed to get the STEEL he needed to keep Him from becoming a spineless jellyfish. You all know what a jellyfish is right? That is a somewhat amorphous sea creature that generally floats along with whatever direction the current may be flowing. Jellyfish do not swim against the current. They float along. Frankly too many preachers have no spine today and even though they know what the Bible plainly teaches about many “politically incorrect” issues they remain silent, they suffer from the disease of “non-rock-a-boat-itis,” a disease I am gladly immune to. As Lee Frank is oft quoted saying:

All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent.

My friends, America and the Church in general is in the trouble it is in because too many Good men have remained silent or have been silenced.

On Judgment Day brothers and sisters, I would not want to be in the shoes of any minister who knew the truth but refused to teach it to God’s people. Nor would I want to stand in the place of those who dared to silence the man of God from proclaiming what the Bible teaches because they were “afraid” of the potential fall-out fro the unvarnished proclamation of the Gospel.

This Fear is never from God, it comes from only 2 sources: (1) either from Satan or (2) ourselves when we lack faith in God. Three ties God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and what is more He shows Joshua how to do it!

The Church today needs more Jeremiah’s who God told to “be not afraid of their faces: for I [am] with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD (Jer. 1:8).” Instead of being Casper Milk-toasts when faced by those who are not on the Lord’s side of an issue.

God teaches Joshua how to be strong, non-compromising and fearless in the face of his flock & his enemies.

Do you want to like Joshua, who went on to fight ten major battles and conquer a land and lead at times cantankerous stiff necked people?

If so, then you’re about to learn that meditation is a key ingredient in being a doer of all God’s Word versus a hearer only who ends up deceiving themselves and others according to James 1:22. Let’s re-read Joshua verse 8:

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Jos 1:8

Meditate here is a different Hebrew word than the word used in Genesis, here it is “Ha-ga.” It means to: utter, muse, mutter, speak, whisper, to murmur and study. It carries with it the connotation of a cow chewing its cud.

God commands (note, He does not suggest, meditation is not an option for a successful spiritual life) Joshua to meditate on it which means that he is to both to muse, ponder, i.e. think about what God has revealed in His law and he is to chew on it, dissect it and also mutter it softly to himself, or in today’s parlance he was to confess God’s law to himself.

“Oh come on now, surely Rev. Liichow you don’t expect us to believe Joshua walked around muttering the bible to himself do you? And of course, you don’t expect us to do the same do you? Oh yes, I am sure Joshua did exactly this. If you want to enter into a deeper walk with the Holy Spirit then you will do likewise and spend the time necessary to deeply consider the Word of the Lord.

What do you think Paul’s admonition to the Church at Ephesus was about when he wrote them saying:

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Eph 5:19-20

This is exactly what the Lord was telling Joshua to do. Its called meditation. Your mind is always thinking about something, it might as well be zeroed in on God’s Word!

One easy way to do this in the workplace or anyplace is by listening to Gospel or sacred music or the Bible on your CD player in the car, while jogging or walking. That is a perfect way to help guide our wandering minds back to the Word of God and His precepts.

It’s easy to tell who lives a life of prayer and meditation because they view ALL of life’s issues through the lens of the Scripture. These folks obey the directives of their God as He gave them in —

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them, when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shall bind them for a sign upon thin hand, and they shall be as frontets between thine eyes. De 6:6-8

These Kingdom seekers embody —

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech [be] always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Col. 4:5-6

Because these folks have sought the Lord early and spent time before the Lord in prayer and Bible stud and have been pondering the Word they’ve studied, they’ve muttered and memorized portions of it and contemplated how it applies to their daily lives. Pretty soon they are walking in wisdom towards unbelievers; they are making the most of their time; their words are gracious and seasoned with salt; they know, because they are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit how they ought to answer every man! Jesus said it this way –

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh Luke 6:45

Those who pray and meditate, who speak about the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God versus gossiping about others. Their hearts are full of God’s Word, that they have pondered, muttered and memorized! That’s why it is easy to recognize souls such as these. The bottom line: We talk about what we know, if we know the Lord and His Word fills our hearts & minds we will talk about it.

How Often?

How often was Joshua to do this? Day and Night. When it is not day, what is it? Night! When it is not night, what is it? Day! In other words Biblical meditation CAN and IS to be practiced both day & night.

Keep in mind that Joshua had a nation of people to lead, this tells me that biblical meditation is practical and can be done in the midst of our busy schedules.

It does not mean you have to go to some secluded area and recite Scriptures out loud to yourself, although if tie permits that is a form of meditation.

The Results of Meditation

God told Joshua, that through meditation he would be able to keep & do all the law. Then and only them Joshua was told that his way would be made prosperous and successful. Prosperous here means to advance spiritually and good success is defined in the Hebrew as to be prudent, to be circumspect and have insight!

Television preachers often teach this text to mean that if you will meditate in God’s Word that you will become financially wealthy, that is not in the Hebrew. It has to do with spiritual advancement and Godly wisdom in dealing with the affairs of life.

King David the Master of Meditation

But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Ps. 1:2-3

As I wrote regarding the first discipline, you make time and spend time with the people you love. If you love the Lord and delight in Him, then you will speak to and with Him in prayer. David DELIGHTED in the law. Ask yourself, do you delight in the Bible, if not, why not?

Those who LOVE the Word will spend time in the WORD and the benefit of their meditation will be: (1) A strong root system, (2) A consistent feeding from the Holy Spirit, the River of Living Water, (3) Fruitfulness (4) Spiritual advancement, the whatsoever he doeth pertains to the Word he or she has been mediating on. They will see the manifestation of it. Their position in Christ will begin to become their experience.

But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah  Ps. 4:3-4

At night when we lie down we can mediate, commune with our hearts and be still, listening for that still small voice. Note how David connects prayer “the Lord WILL hear when I CALL unto Him” with communing.

David says “Stand in awe”—are we in awe of God? If we recognize His presence is truly with us then we should “sin not.” Paul says the same thing in Corinthians:

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame. 1 Cor. 15:34

He tells thee “Spirit-filled” tongue-talking, sign-gift manifesting Christians to wake up to who they are, the righteousness of God in Christ. He goes on to rebuke them saying that some of them do not have the knowledge of God, and he says that to their shame! Why didn’t they? They had not been seeking first the kingdom of God and its righteousness; they had not been meditating in the Word or walking in love. They were seeking gifts and not working on developing fruit. Meditating on God’s Word will help you develop spiritual fruit and fruitfulness. Our God is glorified when we bear spiritual fruit (John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples). Meditating on God’s Word will help us bear fruit! Let’s continue.

The fear of the LORD [is} clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are} true [and] righteous altogether. More to be desired [are they] then gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward. Who can understand [his] errors? Cleanse thou me from secret [faults]. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous [sins]; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Ps. 19:9-14

I believe we can see a progression in this Psalm. Meditation starts and finishes with the Holy, inerrant Word of God. His Word is true and righteous altogether.

As Christians we are to desire The Holy Spirit’s divine illumination more than gold —(I hope you’re seeing how seeking first ties directly into this).

His Word is sweeter than honey. God has given us His Word to warn us and in keeping, that is, doing His Word is great reward. What “great reward”? Through prayer, fasting, Bible study and meditation —The Holy Spirit will reveal to you secret sins, things you think nobody else knows about and He will graciously bring you to repentance of them. What is more the Holy Spirit will make you strong through the sacraments and help keep you from presumptuous.

Then you are in position to have fellowship with our Lord. Then the words of your mouth & the meditation of your heart will be acceptable in the sight of your Lord, the One who is both your Strength & Redeemer.

I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD. Ps. 104:33-34

We already read in Ephesians 5:19-20 the role of singing and making melody in our hearts as a form of meditation. When I mediate on how good God has been to me and is towards me, then it is sweet! When I mediate on how He delivered me from the dominion of darkness and translated me into the Kingdom of His dear Son I am glad in the Lordmakes even this Lutheran boy want to shout and dance!

O how love I thy law! It [is] my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation. Ps. 119:97-99

Let me bring this discipline to a close with this text, it embodies what the Holy Spirit wants us to know: 1). David loved God’s Word —Proof—he meditated on it all the day and even when he laid down on his bed at night. 2) Through meditating on God’s Word he incorporated it into action, David did what he studied—Proof— he was wiser then his enemies. Wisdom is the Word being practically applied. 3). Through his time with God in prayer & study he gained more insight than his teachers—PROOF—for contents of the Bible were his meditation. Spiritual growth & advancement comes through spending time with God in fasting, prayer, Bible study and meditating on what you’ve studied so you can apply it to your own life and thus become a disciple of Christ who bears much spiritual fruit, fruit that endures. ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

AMEN !

 

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The Need for Educated Pastors

15 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – September 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 9 – The Need for Educated Pastors – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Need for Educated Pastors

“I also must be right up front with you about seminaries and Bible colleges, I believe all they do is produce rubber stamp “ministers” and when the ‘ministers’ are done, it seems most take the stance “Ok, I have absolute truth and nothing can change my mind”, and sadly nothing usually does. Peter never had any “formal” training, but yet Jesus decided to build His church with Peter being the Rock. I believe seminaries and bible colleges hinder people from truly being led of the Spirit.” (EMAIL comments from Shirl on 09-05-05). (1)

Every time I mention the need for pastors to obtain a sound seminary education I am met with the shrill email response of “knowledge puffs up. The above quote echoes what almost all the various proponents of biblical ignorance repeat, that being, the charismatic urban legend regarding the Apostles of Jesus being untrained men, thus people do not need any formal biblical education in order to serve as pastors or Bible teachers.

People who hold such views base them on two major premises. First, they have their own favorite teacher/preacher who has no biblical education and they are “blessed” by their ministry, ergo, a seminary education is unnecessary. Secondly, they look at the following many of these charismatic superstars have and assume that the masses of people and multi-millions of dollars they receive and indicative of the blessing of Almighty God upon the work they are doing in His name. “Dr.” Kenneth E. Hagin who constantly referred to seminaries as “cemeteries,” which always drew a cheap laugh from the audience. (2).

There is a great fear among many leaders, especially in the Word of Faith cult and many charismatic sects concerning their members obtaining any formal biblical education. They know that when they do these individuals will leave their movement, as did my wife and myself. Jesus said that if one would continue in His Word he would know the truth and the truth would set him free (read John 8:32) and that is exactly what happens when the Word of God is properly taught…people get set free. Unfortunately, the opposite is equally true. Where the scripture are taken out of context and taught by biblically ignorant teachers, those who swallow-and-follow what these blind guides teach end up in spiritual bondage, which they eventually perpetuate to others.

Their answer to the lack of sound biblical education is to simply establish their own schools. By doing this these leaders accomplish several things. First, it keeps people in the cult by further indoctrinating them and eventually sending them out as “pastors” over their own congregations. This leads to point number two: it is a way to garner in additional financial resources from their graduates/pastors who send their members to the school they came from. Thirdly, it helps give the cult leaders a degree of legitimacy, after all, they are Presidents of Bible Schools! Here are just a few of the “Bible” schools that some blind guides of renown have started: Spirit Life Bible College — “Dr.” Roberts Liardon; Rhema Bible Training Center — “Dr. “Kenneth E. Hagin; New Life Bible College — Norval Hayes; Jerry Savelle Ministries International Correspondence School — “Dr.” Jerry Savell; Word to the World College — “Dr.” Marilyn Hickey; Supernatural Ministries Training Institute — “Dr” Mark Barclay; School of Ministry — John Arnott. None of these schools possesses accepted accreditation and any legitimate college or seminary does not recognize their graduates diplomas or degrees. Please note that many of the founders of these schools always use the title “Dr.” in front of their names. The FACT is that none of them has an earned doctoral degree; in most cases they were given these titles by another fraud, “Dr.” Oral Roberts. They love to use the title without having to do the work to earn it. They use the title to deceive people into thinking they are biblically educated.

It is important to understand that when you see the superstars of charismatic televangelism you are looking at and listening to individuals who have (in the majority of cases) absolutely no biblical training or formal education whatsoever. Let me cite just a few of the more popular preachers one can see daily on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN): Kenneth & Gloria Copeland; Mr. Benny Hinn; Jesse Duplantis; Kim Clement; Jerry Savelle, Joyce Meyer, Charles Capps; Marilyn Hickey; and Joel Osteen. None of these individuals have any biblical education, most of them have not even attended a secular college or earned a college degree, with the exception of Marilyn Hickey who did earn a teaching degree for primary school if memory serves me correctly. Yet these individuals are deemed as possessing divine insights into the Word of God and are seen by multitudes as being some of the greatest biblical exegetes of the Church!  Millions of people’s spiritual understanding is solely based on what these blind guides teach.

The Biblical Precedent For Educated Pastors

Contrary to popular charismatic thought the Bible is full of exhortations for God’s people especially those in ministry, to be well educated concerning the Holy Scriptures.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Study in the Greek means “to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence” (3) We are to mentally exert ourselves in gaining a proper understanding of the Word of God so that we will not be ashamed before our God, rightly handling the word of truth. This implies it is very easy to wrongly handle God’s Word.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.   James 3:1

When someone stands before the people of God and attempts to teach the Bible they had better know what they are talking about. Pastors who rightly divide the word of truth will be tools of liberation, those who wrongly teach God’s Word become instruments of bondage, often leading God’s people further from the goal of spiritual fruitfulness.

This is nothing new; Peter, regarding some of what the Apostle Paul taught, had to warn his flock of the dangers of being led astray by untrained clergy;

As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16

Let me state quite emphatically that no one has a perfect understanding of the Bible in this life. Every pastor is a sinner, each one of us is fallen and sees through a mirror darkly (see 1 Cor. 13:12). Knowing this fact it should drive those of us in public ministry to our knees all the more beseeching our Lord to grant us His mercy in understanding His Word.

If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

We should approach our education with humility and when we stand before God’s people to speak to do so with godly fear and trembling. It is not a light matter to teach God’s Word. That is why it behooves us to get as much solid training as we can before we attempt to stand in the pastoral office.

Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction and understanding Proverbs 23:23

With all our getting we are to acquire wisdom, understanding and instruction. When Proverbs 23:23 refers to “buying” it simply means to go acquire truth, wisdom and understanding, and once you have done this, do not let it go (sell I).

Defusing the Myths

“Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” 1 Cor. 8:1

Myth #1   “Brother you are just promoting the teachings of men and we all know that knowledge puff up, but love builds up.”

This charge is often leveled against those of us who expound the value of formal biblical training. The problem with this proof text is that they take it completely out of its context (a little something they would learn not to do if they took a class in hermeneutics). Paul is referring to the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols.

There was evidently difference of opinion on the subject among the Corinthian Christians. Aspects of the matter come forward not touched on in the Jerusalem Conference to which Paul does not here allude, though he does treat it in Ga. 2: 1-10. There was the more enlightened group who acted on the basis of their superior knowledge about the non-existence of the gods represented by the idols. Ye know that we all have knowledge. This may be a quotation from the letter (Moffatt Lit of N.T., p. 112). Since their conversion to Christ, they know the emptiness of idol-worship. Paul admits that all Christians have this knowledge (personal experience, ), but this problem cannot be solved by knowledge. (4)

Paul was not an anti-intellectual by any means! Nor was he suggesting that love was superior to biblical knowledge. In the context of this passage love is the guide in solving social interactions. In fact he wrote his disciple, Timothy to remember to bring with him the books and especially the parchments when he came to Paul (read 2 Tim. 4:13). While testifying of Christ to Festus, even this petty potentate recognized Paul as a learned man. (read Acts 26:24).

By all historical accounts the Apostle Paul was one of the most highly educated men of his time. True he considered all his education to be of no value when compared to the glory of knowing Jesus Christ (read Phil. 3:8), but the fact still remains that God used Paul, a highly educated man to write approximately two-thirds of the New Testament.

Myth #2   “The disciples of Jesus were ignorant and unlearned men; they did not have any formal biblical education and look how God used them!”

That is the basic statement DMI receives, or as Shirl stated in her email  “Peter never had any “formal” training, but yet Jesus decided to build His church with Peter being the Rock.”  Defusing this myth requires no “formal” training, just a modicum of common sense. The disciples, the twelve specifically, spent three and a half years or around 1,277.5 days with Jesus. They were taught by God the Son personally 7 days a week, no Christmas or Easter breaks. They spent every waking moment with God the Son learning the Word of God from the Living Word! What is more, in preparing His disciples for His departure He gave them a tremendous promise:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.   John 14:28

The disciples were hardly “ignorant and unlearned” men with no formal biblical education. The exact opposite is true. They were personally instructed by two of the three persons of the Trinity. After His resurrection from the dead, a couple of the disciples obtained some more direct instruction in biblical theology.

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all, the scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27

The only people who call the disciples ignorant and unlearned were the Sadducees and temple priests (read Acts 4:13). This was not a statement of fact because as we have seen the Apostles were in reality the best taught and biblically equipped people of all time!

Myth #3    “God used uneducated people in great ways, you’re just exalting knowledge.

Without a doubt, God does use people without formal biblical training in great ways…but not as effective pastors. I would remind our detractors of a few historical facts. Moses was one of the most highly educated men in all of Egypt and God used him to lead the Israelites, delivered the Law unto them, etc. The Bible says the following of Solomon:

And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 1 Kings 4:30.

Daniel and his cohorts were proven to be ten times wiser than all the wise men in Cyrus’ empire (read Dan. 1:20), the greatest one of its day. God has always used highly educated men to move His plan forward. I could mention men such as Justin Martyr, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and a host of other theological luminaries all of whom have added to the Church.

DMI and other Apologetic ministries are not “exalting knowledge,” but we are quick to add that there is no premium on ignorance either! It is really very simple; if you want to become a doctor you have to attend medical school, a veterinarian must go to veterinary school and even your barber (hopefully) attended Barber College. If we demand expertise from our plumbers, electricians, doctors, architects and pilots how much more should those in sacred ministry desire to be as highly trained as they can be? I am truly perplexed over why God’s people do not expect as much from their spiritual leaders as they do from their plumbers.

It is not about gaining “head knowledge” it is about being able to skillfully and accurately teach God’s Word to His people so that they may apply it correctly to their lives and bear fruit that glorifies their heavenly Father.

The reason I am so passionate about the need for good education is because I came from a background where it was not valued at all. As a charismatic extremist I served as a pastor and teacher for fifteen years before I went to seminary. Was my ministry invalid? No, not really, but I was ineffective in sharing God’s Word in its context. I was guilty of teaching heretical doctrines at times, because I was not equipped with the tools/knowledge of how to properly interpret the scripture thus I did not know when I was being fed spiritual garbage by other well intentioned heretics. (Hagin, Copeland, Savelle, Hickey, et al.) so I parroted what my “anointed” mentors taught me.

When my wife and I went to Michigan Theological Seminary our eyes were opened and it was if scales fell from our eyes with each course we took. I readily admit to being far from perfect, nor do I have perfect doctrinal understanding… and because I recognize this it has caused me to become a life long student of God’s Word. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I truly know and the hungrier I get to draw closer and closer to my Lord through His Word.

Not everyone needs to attend seminary in order to serve the Lord, that is a given, but I do encourage all of my brothers and sisters in Christ to avail themselves of every avenue open to them to learn about our Lord through in-depth study of His Word. There may even be a good (orthodox) seminary in your area and you might consider auditing some classes on systematic theology, church history or hermeneutics. Most seminaries charge very little to folks who just want to “sit in” without getting the college credit for the courses. It would be time well spent. Let me close this article out with the words of our Lord Jesus:

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditchMark 15:14      ♦

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Shirl emailed DMI to complain about our article on Mr. Joel Osteen in which I mentioned the fact that he had absolutely no biblical education whatsoever and does not see the need to have one.

2. It is amazing that a man who made fun of seminaries and called people with Ph.D’s “Post-Hole-Diggers” would accept and use the title “Dr.” in front of his name and in his later publications. He did not mind being called “Dr. Hagin,” even though it was an honorary degree bestowed by his partner in crime, Mr. Oral Roberts, who have given out fake degrees to almost every major charismatic minister on television today.

3. Obtained from http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/4/1125927988-3573.html

4. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures, BibleWorks software ver. 4.0.035





Joel Repents!

14 07 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 8 – Joel Repents! by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 

Joel Repents!

Shortly after his television interview Osteen’s office was inundated with letters of concern and no doubt some anger over his lack of clarity regarding salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Due to the tremendous amount of negative responses Joel did put a short statement on his web site apologizing to his fans regarding what he said. Here are some excerpts of his “mia culpa” (the underlining is added).

It was never my desire or intention to leave any doubt as to what I believe and Whom I serve. I believe with all my heart that it is only through Christ that we have hope in eternal life. I regret and sincerely apologize that I was unclear on the very thing in which I have dedicated my life. Jesus declared in John 14:1  I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven.  It’s about th individual’s choice to follow Him.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (see Matt. 12:34) Actually Joel was very clear in what he said on Larry King Live, he stated that Jesus was the way for him personally, but people in other religions loved God too which clearly implied that Jesus was not the only way. Anyone with half sense knew exactly what Joel said which is why he got so much mail.

God has given me a platform to present the Gospel to a very diverse audience. In my desire not to alienate the people that Jesus came to save. I did not clearly communicate the convictions that I hold so precious.

Joel still does not “get it.” Preaching Christ crucified is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles (read 1 Cor. 1:23). To those being saved we are an aroma of life and to others the stench of death. (read 2 Cor. 2:15,16) and if we are faithful to the Gospel message we will suffer persecution, it is inescapable.

Jesus did not worry about alienating people. After telling the crowd following Him one day that His flesh was food and His blood was drink and if they ate His flesh and drank His blood they would have eternal life, the crowd was upset at His words and Jesus said to them “Doth this offend you?” (John 6:60). The end result of His teaching was that those following Him left Him (John 6:66) and Jesus facing the twelve says “will ye also go away?” “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Jesus spoke the truth in love and then He lets the “chips” fall where they may. Osteen needs to take a lesson from our Master and quit trying to please everyone because the result always ends in compromising the truth. I will try to believe the best concerning his apology and I do sincerely hope he does us this as a learning experience as he stated in the close of his letter. You can read his letter of apology at his web site: http://www.Joelosteen.com it was up there at the beginning of the month I do not know how long it will remain there. ♦

Copyright © 2005   Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 





OSTEEN’S IGNORANCE

13 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 8 – Osteen’s Ignorance by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

OSTEEN’S IGNORANCE

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If there has been one article on our website which has drawn the most criticism is the reprint of “The Leaven of Lakewood.” DMI has received numerous emails from people who believe Joel Osteen is truly one of God’s most anointed servants and a force for good within the Church and world.

Almost all of the complaints and demands for us to take down that article seem to focus on my concern over his lack of theological training. Many people simply cannot see the need to go to seminary in order to be a pastor of a church. The following comments are taken from an interview given on Larry King June 20, 2005. I will let Joel speak for himself and you, the reader, be the Judge whether or not a formal biblical education is of benefit to someone who serves as “pastor” of the largest congregation in America. My comments will be in (Blue) King and Osteen’s will be in (Black type) I have tried to tie the salient points of the interview together, which at best can be described as a stream of consciousness on both King’s and Osteen’s part.

Regarding Sacred Ministry

On Preaching/Pastoring

King: Why are you a Preacher?

Osteen….He tried to get me to minister, I didn’t have it in me…But when my father died, I knew—-I don’t know how to explain it, it sounds kind of odd, but I just knew down in here I was supposed to step up to the plate and pastor the church. And it was odd because I had never preached before.

I do not doubt that one can have a second calling in life and become a pastor after having a career in some other field. However, most men who are engaged in pastoral ministry will almost universally tell you that they always “know” serving as a pastor was what God had for them. In his Charisma interview Joel told the readers that he never wanted to be a pastor/preacher. In fact when his father told him to preach his first message on a Sunday evening, Joel refused at first, then eventually got up and told some stories and found out he liked it and off he went.

Regarding Seminary

King: You didn’t go to seminary?

Osteen: No sir, I didn’t

King: They can just make you a minister?

Osteen: You can, You can.

King: That’s kind of an easy way in.

Osteen: Yeah, but I think it happens more than you think. But I didn’t go to seminary. I have a lot of great friends that did. But I didn’t. But I did study 17 years under my dad.

Sadly, Joel is correct when he says “it happens more then you think.” regarding people leading congregations without any formal education or training whatsoever. Almost every independent charismatic congregation’s pulpit is filled with a man or woman who has little or no accredited biblical education.

The extent of Joel’s education consists of what he was able to gleam from his father’s heretical Word of Faith cultic teachings and those of the other WOF heretics John Osteen had as regular guests in the pulpit at Lakewood Church. Joel has little or no concept of Church History; Systematic Theology; Hermeneutics; Expository Preaching; the Greek and Hebrew languages; Pastoral Counseling, etc…I refer back to his interview in Charisma when he stated that he does not teach theology because the people are really not interested in it! He is the epitome of the blind leading the blind. What little he knows comes from a polluted stream of charismatic extremism, theosophy, and positive thinking. What is sad is that the people who come to hear him do not demand more than pleasant platitudes. The mob welcomes his feel-good message since it in no way points out their shortcomings before a holy God.

Law and Gospel

Regarding Theology

King:….But when the people call you cotton candy theology. Someone said you’re very good but there is no spiritual nourishment. I don’t know what that means….,

Osteen: I think I hear it meaning a lot of different things. One I think a lot of it is that I’m not condemning people

I could have told Larry King what people (like me and others) mean by that statement. We mean that Joel offers people no genuine spiritual “meat” but only gives them spiritual Twinkies. Yes, Joel is engaging; he smiles a lot and is upbeat. Those are good characteristics to have as a public speaker; however they have absolutely nothing to do with the truth of God’s Word.

Joel equates the criticism he receives regarding the abysmal lack of theological content in his message from other ministers to the fact that he is not “condemning people.” This means that Joel does not present the law of God to the people in his messages. The law magnifies God’s perfection, shows forth His righteous standard, and convicts us all of our lack of ability in and of ourselves to fulfill His requirements. This is called the second use of the Law in Evangelical theology “God’s law exposes the really of human sinfulness.

In Latin that was ‘usus theologicus,’ the law’s role in ‘driving us to Christ.” (1) In Joel’s mind he is taking the moral high ground by not “condemning” people. The reality is just the opposite. He is failing to carry out his sacred trust as a pastor by not showing them their desperately sinful condition by presenting the fullness of God’s Word to them. He is doing a grave disservice to the 30,000 people who listen to him at Lakewood and untold multitudes that hear him on television or read his best selling books.

Because Osteen refuses to preach the Law his presentation of the Gospel is anemic at best and not a gospel message at all at its worst. Any sound preaching will present both Law and Gospel in its content.

This difference between the Law and the Gospel is the height of knowledge in Christendom. Every person and all persons who assume or glory in the name of Christian should know and be able to state this difference. If this ability is lacking one cannot tell a Christian from a heathen or a Jew, of such supreme importance is this differentiation. This is why St. Paul so strongly insists on a clean-cut and proper differentiating of these two doctrines. (2)

The other word of God is not Law or commandment, nor does it require anything of us; but after the first Word, that of the Law, has done this work and distressful misery and poverty have been produced in the heart, God comes and offers his lovely living Word, and promises, pledges, and obligates himself to give grace and help, that we may get out of this misery and that all sins not only be forgiven but also blotted out and that love and delight to fulfill the law may be given besides. See, this divine promise of his grace and of the forgiveness of his is properly called Gospel. And I say again and yet again that you should never understand Gospel to mean anything but the divine promise of his grace and of the forgiveness of sin. For this is why hitherto St. Paul’s epistles were not understood and cannot be understood by our adversaries even now, they do not know what Law and Gospel really are. For they consider Christ a Legislator and the Gospel nothing but the teaching of new laws. This is nothing else but locking up the gospel and obscuring everything. For “Gospel” is Greek and means, “good news,” because in it is proclaimed the saving doctrine of life, of the divine promise, and grace and the forgiveness of sins are offered. Therefore works do not belong to the gospel; for it is not laws but faith alone, because it is nothing whatever but the promise and offer of divine grace. He then, who believes the Gospel and receives grace and the Holy Spirit. Thereby the heart becomes glad and joyful in God and then keeps the Law gladly and freely, without the fear of punishment and without the expectation of reward; for it is sated and satisfied with that grace of God by which the law has been satisfied. (3)

Joel Is A Confused Semi-Pelagian

King: Don’t you ever doubt?

Osteen: No I don’t —- I wouldn’t say that I do. I guess I do and don’t think about it too much.

I’m not trying to be too nit-picky but Joel throughout the interview is constantly contradicting himself. King asks if he ever has doubts regarding spiritual matters. Joel immediately says “no” I don’t “ then he contradicts himself in his next sentence by saying that he guesses he does have doubts at times but that he does not think about it too much.

In the real world it is perfectly normal to have some doubts and questions regarding God’s plan at times. These doubts and questions are part of our fallen nature and they should drive us deeper into God’s Word to seek answers for them. But in the fantasy world of the Word of Faith cult we (and Joel) were taught to  in Kenneth Hagin’s words “doubt our doubts.” Doubt to the cultist is a sign of a lack of faith versus a lack of understanding and any doubt will cut off the blesings of God in their minds.

King:   Well, 9/11

Osteen: Well, yeah,

King:  Didn’t you say what? Why?

Osteen:  You do. You definitely do.

King: And how do you answer?

Osteen: To me it comes back and God’s given us all our own free will. And it’s a shame but people choose….

King: The people in the building didn’t have free will.

Osteen: But the thing is, people can choose to do evil with that will. And that’s unfortunate. But you know, of course you always doubt, I mean, you have to override it.

Since 9/11 Larry King has asked this type of question to every preacher he has had on his show. Billy Graham gave about the same response as Osteen did. King’s real issue is that of the problem of the existence of evil and why do people sin. This is very obvious when you consider his interviews with Graham, Pat Boone, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Robert Schuller, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, etc. None of these people have given King a solid biblical answer. The question has a “simple” answer with exceedingly deep ramifications. The answer is: Due to Adam and Eve’s sin all humanity exists in a fallen condition. We are by nature sinners who love the darkness and hate the light. In the language of the Reformers, we are totally depraved. (4)

Due to Joel’s lack of a biblical education he does not understand that mankind does not have ‘free will’ in the way he conceives of it. Man is not totally free in his choices (to believe humanity is totally free is to follow the heresy of Pelagius). After the fall his will is bound to sin (read all of Romans Chapter 7). A great book to read on this subject is Dr. Martin Luther’s The Bondage of the Will. Joel fails to understand that man is indeed free to choose evil, but he is not equally free to choose to do God’s will apart from the enabling grace of God given through Christ Jesus. Note that Joel slips up and admits (again) that “you always doubt,” but he quickly recovered by saying “I mean, you have to override it.”

On Moral Issues

King: How about issues that the Church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?

Osteen: Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don’t go there. I just….

King: You have thoughts, though.

Osteen:  I have thoughts. I just you know, I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don’t think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I’m not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open to everybody.

Even though the Bible speaks very plainly about these two issues and condemns them as sinful Mr. Osteen simply does not go there when he addresses his congregation and the multitudes on television. Personally he does not believe that same-sex marriage the plan for God, but he apparently lacks sufficient conviction to share his beliefs, which I hope are based on a biblical world-view with his followers. He lacks the same moral fiber concerning abortion. It is poor leadership not to biblically address the tough moral problems in our society. Frankly, we are in the condition we are in because good men kept silent while the plague of immorality grew in our midst.

I agree with Osteen that our role as pastors and Christians is not to condemn people who are homosexuals or women who have had abortions. We are however, to make them acutely aware of what God position is on these issues and the pardon He offers by grace alone in His Son.

King: You don’t call them sinners?

Osteen: I don’t use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don’t ….So I don’t go down the road of condemning.

Jesus called people sinners and taught a great deal about sin. He used the word and concept quite a bit (as do all the biblical writers). Calling someone a “sinner” is not condemning them necessarily it is a statement of fact. We are all sinners in need of the free grace of God in Christ Jesus. To neglect to tell the lost of their condition before God is to send them happily on their way to hell. One caller did challenge Joel regarding salvation by asking if Joel believed that Jesus Christ was the only way to the father. Osteen replied “Yes I would agree with her.” (I’ve combined Osteen’s comments regarding salvation).

King: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

Osteen: No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody’s heart, and so— I don’t know. To me, It’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ.

King: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept at all?

Osteen: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven, I don’t know…

King: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

Osteen: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong…I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

I hope from these statements you can see the dire need for a sound seminary education. Here Osteen is on a global television show and he either cannot, because he does not know, or will not give a clear message regarding salvation in Christ and in Him alone.

Joel cannot have it both ways. Either Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by Him or He isn’t the only way. This is a very confused young man with seemingly no convictions concerning the unique claims that Christ made concerning Himself. All Joel had to do was quote for Mr. King the following text and let the chips fall where they may.

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.   John 3:15-18

Osteen: “But I know they love God.”

Oh really, then I guess the Holy Spirit was wrong when He had Paul cite Isaiah. 41: 6 in his letter to the Romans. As it is written, There is none righteous, no ont one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood ; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace have they not known; There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18

Love God, the natural unconverted man is at enmity with the God of the Bible, which Joel should know and not be ashamed to state clearly. Joel sounds very much like a man who is actually ashamed of the Gospel. When he could be speaking words of life to untold millions of viewers, he balks and refuses to stand up for the truth for the sake of the approval of fallen men. What a shame indeed.

Giving

King: I love to give.

Osteen: I know.

King: Giving is selfish. You get a great reward.

Osteen: I know, you really do. That’s what life is all about. We were not made to be ingrown. I believe, maybe I’m off.

King does give to many charitable works and stated in the interview that according to the Talmud giving is the greatest thing. King admits that he gives out of a selfish motivation, in giving he receives a great reward. Osteen agrees that giving is selfish! There are blessings in giving true enough. I will go as far as to say God does indeed reward our giving, but not in the manner the prosperity pimps teach. Joel did correctly state a little earlier in the interview that giving is the “whole spirit of Christianity.” Please keep in mind that Mr. Osteen is a multi-millionaire and that Lakewood Church receives millions of dollars a year in offerings. Osteen would agree that we “live to give” and with his millions of dollars personally and congregationally the next comments strike me as particularly troubling:

“Fontana, California Hello: Caller: Yes — Joel?

Osteen: Yes.

Caller: I have a question for you. We’re a small congregational church here and we’d like to come and see you next month, but you charge to get in and we’re a very poor congregation. Why do you charge to get in to your appearances?

Osteen: Yes. The only reason we charge—- I hated to charge. The only we charge….

King: Do you charge at the church?

Osteen: No, no never. Never.

King: When you travel?

Osteen: Yes. The only reason we did it is because when we went to New York Madison Square Garden they wouldn’t let us do an event without doing a ticketed event because of the crowds. We sold it out two nights and we turned so many people away in Anaheim and Atlanta, it was just a shame to do that.

When I was viewing the interview I had the exact same question. Osteen’s response was very feeble and dishonest. Billy Graham has held crusades at Madison Square Garden and never charged an admission, how come they “made” Joel charge one? All that Osteen had to do was simply pay the rental fee for the Garden and give away the tickets until the venue was filled. Even Benny Hinn, as money grubbing as he is has never charged for a miracle crusade! What is more after people pay the fee to listen to Joel he has a multitude of tables set up inside of each venue selling his books, tapes and CD’s. So Joel is not only guaranteed a dollar amount per seat, he makes additional money from the sales of his materials on top of it. Whatever happened to holding an event and asking for a donation from those in attendance? If they wish to purchase his materials on the way out then fine and dandy. (5)

Joel:  Hey, you know, you need to write the church, because we’ll make a way that anybody can get in to those events. I don’t like charging.

King: What do you charge?

Osteen: $10.00

I am glad to hear that if one writes Lakewood Church Joel has promised to make a way for anybody to get in. I plan to write them because he is coming to Detroit and I will not pay a cent to hear him or anyone preachMy question is if Joel does not like charging, then why does he do it? Who is running the ship? It is not a question of money, he has enough money personally to bankroll the events and charge nothing at all. I am also curious to know where the proceeds go. Does the profit go to Osteen personally? Does it go to Lakewood Church?

The arena at Madison Square Garden seats 19, 522 people, at $10.00 a person that equals $195,220 per evening. Multiply this by two sold-out evenings you have $390,440, plus add in additional merchandise revenue. So in two evenings Osteen took in around half a million dollars. When he comes to the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mi. we have a seating capacity of 22,076, assuming he sells out this venue (minus the cost of my ticket) he will make a little over a quarter of a million dollars. He has 20 events scheduled for 2005. At a minimum Osteen will take in somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million dollars in appearances alone. When you add this amount to his undoubtedly large salary as senior pastor at Lakewood, plus the income from his best selling books along with the accompanying ‘Journal’ you can understand why Joel is always smiling… smiling all the way to the bank.

I would like to believe Joel is sincere and as down to earth as he attempts to be on television. Yet I am beginning to have my doubts about his sincerity as I begin to do the math and see the marketing. I have always been concerned over his lack of a sound biblical message, but now I am beginning to believe he is just another charismatic star, getting as much money out of sign-seeking people as fast as he can before the next superstar eclipses him. He is a young man and there is time for him to repent and obtain the pastoral training he so desperately needs. He might even wake up one day and see the poverty and suffering of his brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and begin to divest himself of his millions and actually live to give to those in need. Well at least that is my prayer for Mr. Osteen. I will keep you apprised of what happens regarding my ticket request or any other insights regarding the man with America’s largest congregation. ♦ 

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.crossings.org/thursday/Thur121803.htm

2. Luther, Martin, sermon on Galatians in 1532. Underlining added.

3. Luther, Martin, Luther’s Works, Saint Louis edition, 11:81ff. Underlining added.

4. DMI offers a very good CD entitled “Total Depravity” taught by Rev. Liichow and it is available from DMI for $5.00 plus 1.00 for shipping and handling.

5. DMI has no problem with Joel or anyone selling their books or materials at a fair price. There are legitimate costs in production, time and marketing. It is completely another issue to “charge” people to hear one “preach” a message.

As of 08-0105 you could obtain the entire transcript of Osteen’s interview at

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/1k1.01





Sacred Cow Number Five – It Is God’s Will to Always Heal

11 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – June 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 6 – Sacred Cow Number Five – It is God’s Will to Always Heal – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Five – It Is God’s Will to Always Heal

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Throughout this series I have been focusing on the major beliefs of the Word of Faith (WOF) cult. It is appropriate to delve into this topic due to the fact that the cult is also known as the “Health and Wealth” movement. This month I will consider their views on divine healing as oppose to what the Bible teaches and next month I will close this series out by exposing their twisting of biblical texts concerning God’s will and financial prosperity. But what good is money if you don’t have your health, eh?

It is vitally important for you to understand Discernment Ministries International (DMI) position regarding divine healing. DMI does not doubt that our Lord Jesus Christ still heals His people. Where orthodox Christians diverge from the WOF cult is that we believe that God heals people according to His sovereign good pleasure which is based upon His will for us as individuals. The Lord is the Healer and frankly, it may or may not be within His plan to heal an individual physically. I have often taught that God answers 100% of my prayers (yours too), however, the answers are not always what I want.

There is absolutely nothing wrong or sinful for Christians to pray for physical healing for themselves, family members, friends or others. It is doctrinally correct for the elders of a congregation to anoint the sick with oil and pray for their physical restoration (read James 5:14,15). Our Lord can and does heal through the proper reception of His grace when we come to the altar and celebrate the Lord’s Supper:

Those guilty of unworthy communion through non-discernment of the body and/or failure to examine themselves commit sacrilege against the most holy things, for which reason they are weak or sick or have even died (1 Cor. 11:27-31)…In the Large Catechism Luther confesses the other side of the coin presented by the Apostle in these verses. ‘We must never regard the sacrament as a harmful thing from which we should flee, but as a pure, wholesome, soothing medicine that aids you and gives life in both soul and body. For where the soul is healed, the body is healed as well’ (LCV.68). Positive bodily benefit may accrue, even in this life, to those who worthily (I.e.., contritely and with faith) partake of the Holy Supper. For it may please Almighty God to hold back the progress or even to drive back the depredations of bodily and mental disease through the life-giving body and blood of Him “by [whose] wounds we are healed (Is 53:5c; 1 Pt 2:24) (1)

It is with these texts in mind that we know that our Lord can and does heal His people. DMI is not anti-healing, we are against any teaching which takes something God may graciously do for one of His children and turn that grace into a work wrought by man and thus available to anyone who knows how to work the work, which is essentially what the WOF cult has done.

The WOF Teaching on Divine Healing

The problem with the WOF view of divine healing is that it is based on false premises, shoddy exegesis and is being propagated in many cases by wolves masquerading as genuine Christians. Their belief promises healing to all yet provides healing to none. The only ones who truly benefit from this deadly error are the so-called healing evangelists, all of whom have gotten extremely wealthy from presenting false hopes to the hopeless and desperate. Let’s drive a stake into this particular darkness.

 F.F. Bosworth, an early “healing” evangelist, made the following statement and as you can read Gloria Copeland’s comment echoes Bosworth’s and is now parroted by every WOF SINister on television and in pulpits today:

We see, from almost every conceivable angle throughout the Scripture, that there is no doctrine more clearly taught than it is God’s will to all who have need of healing, and that they may fulfill the number of their days, according to His promise. (2)

The Word of God will establish, without a doubt, that it is God’s will to heal everyone all of the time who will agree with Him. Agreeing with God puts you in a position to receive from God. (3)

There you have it folks, it is God’s will to heal everyone all of the time, end of story. Obviously people who are not healed are (1) out of the will of God for their lives and (2) not in agreement with God. Bosworth moved to Zion, IL a city founded by faith healer John Alexander Dowie (who later claimed he was Elijah returned and died of a stroke). His initial education and training came from his association with Dowie, Parham and E.W. Kenyon. In her healing school tape series Gloria goes on pontificating regarding the condition of the early Church:

In the early Church, they had this revelation. Sickness was no problem to them. They knew how to resist Satan and command disease to leave. They depended on the power of God to put them over in everything. Satan did not control the early Church, the believers kept him under control. (4)

The early Church she is referring to is the Church from its inception to the Dark Ages. The revelation they had was that it was God’s will to always heal people of everything every time. “Sickness was no problem to them.” Oh, really? What does she base that statement on? Paul in 1 Cor. 11 warned the Corinthians about abuses concerning the Lord’s Supper. That due to those abuses many were (1) weak; (2) sickly and (3) some had died. This seems like a bit of a problem to me. If people were not sick then James would not have written about the sick people calling for the church elders. Nothing is written in Acts about the rank and file believer “commanding disease to leave.” Both of Copeland’s statements are unwarranted and in fact, potentially quite dangerous a fact I will address later in this article. This much is certain, at least according to the WOF doctrine— healing is the will of God for all His people.

The fallacy behind their belief is that they teach that physical healing was also obtained for all of God’s children in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. “God heals today because healing is in the atonement.” Tilton is merely quoting Dr. T.J. McCrossan who attempted to write a scholarly apologetic for physical healing in the atonement in his book (read and cited by almost every WOF SINister) Bodily Healing and the Atonement:

Again, all Christians should expect God to heal their bodies today, because Christ died to atone for our sicknesses as well as for our diseases. (6)

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Gloria Copeland in her “healing school” echoes this sentiment as well:

When He paid the price for sin, He paid the price for sickness and the chastisement of our peace (mental torment) for us…Forgiveness of sin belongs to you now. Healing of your body belongs to you now. Freedom from mental torment belongs to you now…When Jesus came out of hell, He brought us with Him. We are not bound by sin, sickness or disease anymore. (7)

Some WOF extremists teach that the 39 “stripes” which Jesus was lashed with by the Roman soldiers actually represent categories of disease. Each lash was a disease which is why Peter says that “by His stripes we are healed” (see 1 Peter 2:24).

I continued and said, ‘How many of you believe that Jesus took all our diseases on himself at Calvary? Every one of those 39 stripes he had on his back was a different disease…Can you imagine all the brain damage in the world on him? Can you see all the crippling disease on him? Millions of all kinds of diseases, all on Jesus at one time? (8)

He suffered in our stead because He did not want us to suffer disease. He took our specific diseases and infirmities upon His own sinless, perfect body in complete payment of the penalty of our sin. (9)

The Bible says in Isaiah, that on Calvary He was so disfigured, His body was so bent out of shape, His Spirit was so twisted, that He didn’t even look like a man any more. Sin had crushed Him in His Spirit; sickness and disease had taken hold of His body. He had cancer, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and everything else all at one time. All of this from the whole world, came on Him, and He took everybody’s sickness, everybody’s disease upon His own body. (10)

The obvious error here stems from their belief that Jesus literally became a sinner. He did not bear the penalty for our sin, but He actually became sin. Even so regarding our sicknesses; He was not punished for sickness (which is a result of sin) but actually bore/became literally plagued with all the illnesses of humanity past, present and future during His scourging.

Jesus our Lamb suffered in two ways. He shed His blood on the cross for our salvation from sin, and He bore the stripes on His BODY for our healing from sickness. In the intense spiritual and physical agony of Calvary, which Jesus suffered principally in His spirit…But in the excruciating physical agony of the Praetorium, where Jesus suffered in His BODY from the terrible Roman lash, He bare our sicknesses; for it was there by His stripes that He was made sick for us (Isaiah 53:10), and by His stripes we are healed. (11)

When Jesus bore away our sins, He also bore away our diseases. The cross pronounced a double cure for the ills of mankind. The church of Jesus Christ has been made as free from sickness as it has been made free from sin. A Christian may continue to sin after he has been born again, but he does not have to…A Christian may continue to be sick after he has been born again but he does not have to. He has been redeemed from sickness. The price has been paid for his healing. Sickness can no longer exert dominion over him unless he allows it. (12)

When the Bible talks about suffering, that doesn’t mean ‘sickness.’ We have no business suffering sickness and disease, because Jesus redeemed us from that…Yes, there is suffering, but not sickness and disease. Thank God you don’t have to suffer with that, because Jesus bore our infirmities. (13)

The reason I cited all of the above individuals is to show you (and anyone you may share this with) how widely this error is taught. No one can claim that DMI is setting up a straw man argument. On the contrary, I have in fact only referenced a few examples and could have easily added an additional twenty quotes from our library concerning divine healing.

It is the WOF cult’s contention that divine healing is part-n-parcel of our redemption. I have heard Kenneth Copeland on numerous occasions say that it is as easy to get healed as it is to get saved. It simply requires an individual to use the same force of faith for both. This only shows their ignorance concerning salvation, but since they are at best semi-Pelagian and at worst full blown Pelagians (as was Charles Finney) it is understandable. Let me remind you of what Dr. Martin Luther said regarding salvation in the Third Article on Becoming Holy in his Small Catechism:

A. I believe that I cannot come to my Lord Jesus Christ by my own intelligence or power. But the Holy Spirit call me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as He calls, gathers together, enlightens and makes holy the whole Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one, true faith. In this Church, He generously forgives each day every sin committed by me and by every believer. On the last day, He will raise me and all the dead from the grave. He will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ. Yes, this is true!

Salvation is not by our own efforts it is by grace alone through faith and the faith to believe in Christ Jesus is a gift from God (read Eph. 2:8). This is in direct opposition to their view where they have the lost man making a decision to receive Christ and in the same manner to make a decision to be healed as well. Yet if salvation is the gift of God and physical healing is indeed included in the atoning death of Christ, then divine healing would have to equally be a gift. Naturally, they do not see it this way. In answering their claim of divine healing being in the atonement I will cite Dr. Crenshaw:

Is there healing in the atonement? Certainly, and in exactly the way Matthew used the Isaiah passage. From Isaiah we learn that Jesus definitively and once for all removed the cause of sickness by atonement in bearing sin. From Matthew we learn that He occasionally removed the effects of sin during His earthly ministry by miracles. We have already seen that He did miracles to demonstrate Who He was, and once this was done, there was no reason to expect them to continue. The purpose had been completed. Since the healing aspect of the Isaiah passage was “fulfilled” in the life of the Lord, why should we look for it to be fulfilled again today? (14)

Christ died because we were sinners in need of redemption, not because we were sick in need of healing. The focus of the atonement is our being made righteous before the Father by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Crenshaw goes on to say:

The Word of Faith leaders, however, make one of the fruits of His death, healing disease, the essence of the atonement. They miss the whole point of sin, judgment, and Jesus’ death, for God has not charged us with diseases but with sin, with disobedience to His moral laws. Diseases are the result of sin, not the sin itself, and Jesus bore our sin, not the result…While in this life though, we shall always have some sin and thus some sickness. It is only when we are glorified that we shall no longer sin (1 John 3:2). Just as we do not expect sinlessness in this life, neither should we expect perfect health.

One day we shall be sinless and free of sickness, and one day the curse from the earth shall be removed, all as a result of the atonement, but not now. (15)

In the April, 2005 edition of Truth Matters the article dealt with the WOF heresy concerning the atonement of Jesus and it is obvious to any genuine Christian that the leaders of this cult are totally ignorant of the biblical Jesus and the biblical account of His death for us on the cross. So it is no wonder they are equally confused regarding healing and the atonement. They all teach that sickness comes from Satan, they do not teach that we live in a fallen world, thusly much of our woes stem from this fact. They give far too much credit to Satan while ignoring texts such as—

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 2 Cor. 4:16,17

If one reads the prior verses and the following ones the meaning becomes clear. Our body is dying, yet spiritually we are growing daily by the grace of God. The WOF leaders and their followers are dying physically daily, as are we all. Those who propagate faith healing ministries are no less prone to disease than anyone else in the Body of Christ.

The danger of this specific error is that those who hear these leaders actually believe what they proclaim and follow their so-called spiritual laws and principles often at the cost of their own lives. Meanwhile, the faith healers keep their own physical ailments out of the spotlight as long as possible and when they are sick they make use of the best medical facilities money can buy.

How Do We Tap Into God’s Healing Power?

(All you Need is Faith, Everybody Now, All You Need is Faith)   (16)

 This is really the $64,000 question the WOF pundits claim to have the answer to. But first allow me to give you a short history lesson. Prior to the formation of this cult (17) belief in faith healing was around for many years. Individuals traveled under the aegis of “healing evangelists.” Some of the more notable characters include: John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, and Aimee Semple McPherson. These and other people laid the foundation for the so-called “healing revival” of Post World War II. The healers of the late 40’s and 50’s took their cues from the healers which proceeded them. In the Post War days healing evangelists roved the nation. Names like William Branham, Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, T.L. Osborn, O.L. Jaggers and Franklin Hall were (and are) commonplace in Pentecostalism and the early Charismatic renewal movement. There was extreme competition (18) among these healers and each one claimed a stronger “anointing” or more dramatic miracles in their meetings. From Dowie up to the present day those seeking divine healing were led to believe that they needed to be in the presence of the man or women especially anointed by God to heal the sick. These charlatans (as history has proven) usually laid hands upon the sick and commanded evil spirits (the cause of sickness they claimed) to leave the infirmed. All of these former faith healers obtained both fame and great fortunes from those in need.

Due to the tremendous wealth which these fake-healers accumulated it caused many others to take their place when death or exposure ended their time in the spotlight. Today we have a host of individuals who teach that Christians need to come to them specifically for healing, that they (the healers) are the mediators of God’s power for those who will but “believe.” People such as Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman (deceased), Benny Hinn, R.W. Schambach, Leroy Jenkins, Peter Popoff, Robert Tilton, W.V. Grant Jr., Jim Whittington, Don Stewart and other healing evangelists can be seen regularly on television. Hagin and his clones took a different and less risky route then the healing evangelists. It was the WOF cult that began to write and teach about divine healing apart from needing to go to the big tent, traveling healing revivalists which have dotted the spiritual landscape. Divine healing began to become codified into a guarantee from God if people simply applied the correct spiritual laws or principles.

During the great healing revival, evangelists would hold short meetings, and I’d come along behind them with longer meetings. By the time I got there, I often found people who had been healed in those meetings already had lost their healing. This happened in my meetings, too, but I learned how to get them healed and keep them healed. (19)

Even though Hagin attempted to lump himself in with the “big” healing revivalist he never was seen as one of them. In fact, Hagin is not known for even having a divine healing ministry per se. Hagin would show up after the “big-boys” had left town and hold smaller meetings in which he would pray for those who had lost their healing and teach the attendees how to receive divine healing. The important point to remember is that Hagin states he ’learned how to get them healed and keep them healed.” In essence he is saying that he is really more powerful than the huge tent revivalists in that he had the needed revelation of how one can remain healed. Before considering how to keep divine healing, let’s get down to brass tacks and see what is taught on how to receive it in the first place!

Faith healing is exactly what it says it is: you are healed by faith, and you keep your healing by faith…Miracles and healing happen through faith: so if it happens through faith, then we need to find out about faith. (20)

Everything within the WOF cult is predicated by their concept of faith, (21) which as we studied last month does not mean a believer’s simple reliance and trust in God, the object of our faith as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. To these people faith is a mystical force which when properly use according to set spiritual laws will create and change spiritual and physical reality, including physical health and healing. So the initial piece to the healing puzzle is that people receive healing by releasing the force of faith within them for healing.

Your faith will cause the power of God to be manifested in your life. His power is always present. It will do what you need it to do. (22)

Notice how depersonalized Copeland’s statement is; “your faith will cause….it will do what you need it to do.” God’s power is separated from Himself (something the Bible does not teach). The power of our faith, i.e. our ability to conceive in our spirits what we desire will cause this power to be activated. God’s power is at our command and is only limited by the strength of our faith. If a person believes this way about God and faith, then when they fail to receive their healing by “faith” it can have some very dire implications for that individual, or their families.

“If Christ is our Passover lamb, His blood was most assuredly shed to save us from the wrath of God through the forgiveness of our sins, and His flesh was bruised and broken for our physical benefits.’ The logical conclusion to such reasoning is that if one gets sick, he really has not had his sins forgiven. To evade this logic, they make a distinction between forgiveness and healing, which is the Gnostic dualism… (23)

The Copelands assert that the faith that saves is the same faith that heals. It is only logical to believe if one is not healed, then one must not be saved either. Admittedly, the WOF cult does not make this distinction, but then logic is not their strong suit.

Let’s consider just a few of the biblical examples of people who received divine healing from God apart from exercising faith on their part. How do they explain the FACT that ten lepers were healed by Jesus, yet only ONE had faith (read Luke 17:12-19). How much faith did Lazarus exercise when Jesus raised him from the dead, death after all is a permanent result of sin & sickness (read the crippled beggar in Acts 3:3-8 ? The cripple asked for money, Peter and John had none, instead the man got physically healed, something he obviously did not believe for! I could mention the case where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark 1:31. Nothing is mentioned of her faith in Christ, yet Jesus healed her. Most of you are familiar with the case of the man who was born blind. Jesus healed him and in this case the man had faith in Jesus AFTER he was healed, not before (read John 4:16).

Failure to Receive Divine Healing

All failure to receive the promised blessings falls squarely on the shoulders of the individual believer. It is never the fault of the healer. In closing I will cite seven of the most common excuses used to attempt to explain away the lack of success in the healing business. Space does not permit me to give direct citations, but I will list works which detail what I am sharing in the end notes. (24)

#1. The individual only had head knowledge of God’s will for healing and not a revelation from the Spirit to their spirit. The individual only had mental assent, which will not heal anyone. Remember the only way you can know if you have a spirit versus soul revelation is by the manifestation of what you have believed for.

#2. Hidden sin in a person’s life can block the flow of divine healing. Naturally this excuse does not explain why God allegedly heals unbelievers and admitted sinners in healing revivals. This mystery is attested to by Kuhlman and Hinn.

#3. A lack of tithing (off the gross vs. the net) will open the door for demonic attack. God will rebuke the devourer (I.e. Satan & demons in the WOF cult) on the behalf of the faithful tither (read Mal. 3:11). This is a frequently twisted text used by SINisters to bilk money from God’s gullible and often desperate sheep.

#4. A lack of knowledge concerning divine healing is a major cause of sickness in the Church. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach us that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” in Hosea 4:6? How can one exercise faith for healing when one does not know it is God’s will to heal them?

#5. Sicknesses that come form unknown causes. This is a major source of confusion and depression among WOF cultists. Marilyn Hickey is well known for teaching that “the curse causeless shall not come” from Proverbs 26:2. So when sickness attacks the WOF devotee they immediately begin to search their lives and see if thee is any hidden sin, lack of giving or strife with others. There is always a cause for sickness and its root is to be found in Satan and the believer who has left the door open for him to attack them.

#6. An attack from Satan to hold back God’s plan. This excuse is usually reserved for the leaders in the movement itself. If the sheep get a disease, then it is obviously their fault in some way. If a leader gets a disease it is an attack from the Enemy to hinder the expansion of the Kingdom of God. For example, when Jan Crouch gets cancer it is because Satan wanted to stop her from giving donated toys to poor children in Haiti.

#7. The individual was healed, but lost their healing. This is a common excuse favored by the healing evangelists. They claim people were healed in their meetings and when they die later on, it is because they “lost” their healing. This is why so many books have been written on how to Keep your healing.

When you read the books published by individuals cited in this article do not be deceived by the testimonies they share. No information is ever given that will enable the reader to verify the claims being made. Anyone can write “ten people, born blind were healed in my Calcutta crusade’ or “Mrs. M. wrote us and said that after she sent in her last $100 God delivered her completely from the demon of stomach cancer.” Also, realize that the level of sickness and disease is as high, if not actually higher among the WOF leaders. The rate of cancer among their international leadership and their families is off the scale. One would expect to see a large (and growing larger) group of extremely healthy individuals and yet they are no better off than anyone else in the Church.

They promise much but they deliver nothing but false hopes and empty promises. I believe Jude must have know people like this in his day:

Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Jude 1:11-13 ¨ ♦

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kenneth Copeland (*But were Afraid to Ask By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

This Booklet is Only  Available from DMI – $15.00

 

 

 

 

 

End Notes

1. Stephenson, John R. The Lord’s Supper (Northville, SD: The Luther Academy), 2003 p. 200. Bold type added for emphasis.

2. God’s Word for Your Healing (Tulsa, Ok: Harrison House) 1993, p. 9 This comment is attributed to F.F. Bosworth by the unknown author of this book. F.F. Bosworth is best known today for his book Christ the Healer. The following comments were obtained from http://www.christianheroes.com/ev/ev014.asp: “Little is known of the early life of F.F. Bosworth. His family moved to Zion city whilst he was young and both he and his brother BB were to become preachers. FF Bosworth strongly influenced many of the early healing evangelists. This list includes Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, J.G. Lake and many others. His book ‘Christ the Healer is a tremendous book on the principles of healing through the finished work of Christ on the cross at Calvary. Bosworth worked with John Alexander Dowie for a number of years before starting his own healing ministry. Bosworth embraced Pentecostalism as a result of being influenced by Charles Parham in 1906. Bosworth was also influenced by E.W. Kenyon and his teachings on divine healing…In 1948Bosworth met William Branham. Bosworth supported Branham until his death. (Bosworth’s) in 1958” The underlining and bold type has been added.

3. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries), 1988, p. 5.

4. Ibid. p. 10

5. Tilton, Robert How to Receive & Keep Your Healing (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries) 1987, p. 22 bold type added.

6. McCrossan, T.J. Bodily Healing and the Atonement (Tulsa, OK. Rhema Bible Church). 1982 p. 10.

7. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX; Kenneth Copeland Ministries 1988 pp. 28,29,30

8. Hunter, Charles and Francis, How to Heal the Sick, Kingwood, TX: Hunter Books), 1981, 9.85.

8. Roberts, Oral How I know God Wants to Heal You, (Tulsa, OK ; Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association) 1970 p. 3 Underlining added.

9. Price, Frederick K. Is Healing For All, (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House) 1976, p. 119. Underlining added.

10. Osborn, T.L. Healing the Sick and Casting Out Devils, (Tulsa, OK; The voice of Faith Ministry), 1950, pp. 179, 180.

11. Copeland, Gloria, God’s Will For Your Healing, (Fort Worth, TX; Kenneth Copeland Ministries) 1972, p. 30

12. Hagin Kenneth E. Must Christians Suffer?, (Tulsa, OK Kenneth Hagin Ministries). 1990 pp. 2, 41.

13. Crenshaw, Curtis, Man As God The Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN; Footstool Publications), 1994 p. 139

14. Ibid p. 133

15. Hum this to yourself using the Beatles tune ‘All you need is Love”

In saying ‘formation’ I am referring to the establishment of actual Word of Faith congregations. This did not really begin to occur until Kenneth Hagin had graduated his first class from Rhema Bible Training Center outside of Tulsa, OK. In the late 1940’s up to this day there have been many formerly Pentecostal congregations which separated themselves from their denominations and became independent charismatic churches, many of which began to teach WOF concepts as they became popular. One of the largest and most enduring WOF “denominations” was started by Buddy Harrison, Hagin’s son-in-law called Faith Christian Fellowship which has 100’s of congregations throughout America and overseas.

16. For many years there was an ongoing “battle” between A.A. Allen and Jack Coe over who had the largest healing revival tent. Branham claimed to see an angel feel demons in his right hand, Roberts said God had anointed his right hand with healing power. Jack Coe would inflate the results of his meetings and make outlandish claims. Each healer tried to find a “nitch” market among the sick seekers.

17. Hagin, Kenneth, How to Keep Your Healing (Tulsa, OK. Kenneth Hagin Ministries). 1989, p. 19

18. Tilton, Robert, How To Receive & Keep Your Healing, (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries ) 1987, p. 18 Underlining added.

In Last month’s Truth Matters (May 2005) I delved into the WOF concept regarding faith and it would be redundant to devote much space re-explaining it in this issue.

19. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries) 1988 p. 4 underlining added.

20 Crenshaw, Curtis, Man As God The Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN. Footstool Publication) 1994 p. 143. In the beginning of this citation Crenshaw is quoting from McCrossan’s book on healing and the atonement. Bold type added.

21. Here are some titles which cover these excuses and many others: T.L. Osborn. One Hundred Divine Healing Facts; Gordon Lindsey Twenty-Five Objections to divine healing and Bible answers; K. Neill Foster Twenty-three Reasons Why Some Are Not Healed.

22. I have mentioned in many previous articles and on our website the fact that the rate of cancer among WOF leaders and their families far exceeds that of other international Christian leaders and their families.





By the Grace of God

8 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – June 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 6 – By the Grace of God – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Celebrate the Passing of Another Year By the Grace of God

(And much to the dismay of those who have been cursing him prophetically)

 I really do cherish each year the Lord allows me to spend on this planet. This particular facet of Christ’s ministry is a very difficult field to plow in many respects and when my eyes drift from Christ it is easy to become discouraged.

To those people – still trapped in false and aberrant belief systems, DMI represents the work of Satan tearing apart the Body of Christ, sowing discord among the brethren and we undoubtedly have a spirit of Jezebel as well as a Pharisaical spirit to boot! In the minds of many DMI has dared to touch God’s anointed in the public forum of books, radio, tapes, CD’s, conferences and on the Internet. They drive their point of view home with literally 100’s of emails each month, which call us everything but a Christian. Their statements and attacks replete with dire “prophetic” words do not sway me an inch off course, assaults such as these go with the territory.

I am not swayed by them because I am very pleased to report that many of those who once cursed me, now bless our Lord for raising people up who are willing to tell them the truth and expose the errors they were formerly following. In a word “good fruit” has been borne and is being brought froth by God’s gracious Spirit through us and others laboring in this field.

The great comfort and joy I receive from working in this ministry is two-fold: (1) I am doing what God has called me to do and therein lies a tremendous blessing. (2) The people our Lord has raised up to support us have become like family to us and we thank God daily for each and every one of you who do give to keep DMI a force to be reckoned with in the arena of ideas.

As the summer heat goes up and donations historically go down, it is my birthday wish (I know hope has no substance and that faith is the substance of things “hoped” for ) that this summer DMI will see an increase in finances to such a degree that by the fall we will be able to begin to implement some further stages of expansion of His ministry. Please pray for us and pray about what the Lord would have you do in support of this work. We really need all our readers giving something on a regular basis. 

Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 





Sacred Cow Number Four – The Laws of Faith & Confession

6 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – May 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 5 – Sacred Cow Number Four – The Laws of Faith & Confession – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Four

The Laws of Faith & Confession

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“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart that is, the word of faith, which we preach.”    Romans 10:8

Using a little Aussie slang “let’s fire-up the Bar-b,” because we have another couple of Word of Faith (WOF) steaks to throw onto the flames! We began by considering some Christological errors propagated by the WOF preachers because they fall into the true category of heresy in that they deal specifically with the nature and work of Jesus Christ. How we shall begin to consider some other areas of error which cannot properly be considered heresies but fall into the category of false doctrine or as Paul calls them in his warning to his disciple Timothy—

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 1 Timothy 4:1

Previously we have seen that there are only three sources of doctrine, the doctrine of God (Heb. 6:1); the doctrines of men (Col. 2:22); and lastly the docrines of devils as seen in the above text.

In this issue we will consider the WOF definition of faith and confession. After all, the cult is widely known as the “name-it-and-claim-it” movement. Some call it the “fake-it-till you make-it” movement, to others it is know as the “positive confession” movement. Regardless of what it is called, the real issue; is what they are teaching millions of people biblical or not?

The Word of Faith’s Concept of “Faith”

Since we are saved by grace through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:5,8) and we know that it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6) it behooves us to properly understand what faith exactly is. Let us consider the words of the WOF cult’s true spiritual father, the heresiarch E.W. Kenyon:

Faith is giving substance to things hoped for. Faith is grasping the unrealities of hope and bringing them into the realm of reality. Faith grows out of the Word of God. It is the warranty deed that the things for which you have fondly hoped is at last yours. It is the “evidence of things not seen. (1)

According to Kenyon  (and the myriad of drones who have followed his errors) faith is a literal force which when released will give substance to the thing the individual has been hoping for. Kenyon goes on in his book to delineate faith into two types. The first is natural sense-knowledge based faith and then the real faith which comes by revelation to the spirit of an individual and it is not based on what is seen or felt.

Here are two kinds of faith in contrast. One is Sense Knowledge Faith, which is based upon physical evidence. We see and believe. We hear and believe. Jesus speaks of another kind of faith where they do not see, nor feel, nor hear, yet they believe. (2)

The faith that “counts” produces the hoped for results, i.e. Rolex watches, mansions, divine health, the man or woman of ones dreams, is the second type which is a mystical revelation directly from God’s Holy Spirit to your spirit. Kenyon is inconsistent in the prior quote because in many other instances he cites that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom 10:17). Yet above he states that this biblical, supernatural faith does not hear! So which is it? Biblical faith comes hearing God’s Word ( DMI’s position) or does it come via supernatural means apart from hearing the Word of God? Kenneth E. Hagin (the Pretender to the WOF title of “father” of the cult) says:

Real faith in God—heart faith—believes the Word of God regardless of what the physical evidence may be. It’s believing with the inward man that causes it to be manifest in the outward man. (3)

We were taught that in order to obtain the results of what we believed for we had to receive a revelation of God’s Word from the Holy Spirit to our human spirits. From there our spirit man (the “real” us) had to renew our minds with this revealed knowledge which would eventually bring it to pass. The only way a person could know if they truly believed with their spirit versus mere mental assent was in obtaining the results. If a person received what they believed for, then they had exercised the second kind of faith, true biblical faith. If one failed to receive what they believed for, then either they had not yet renewed their mind sufficiently and the manifestation of their hope was in process, or they simply were using their soul and not their spirit. The important thing to remember is that results were the determining factor if one had faith or not.

The WOF cult makes a great dichotomy between the spirit of man and the physical body. In fact, they stress a belief that man is a tricheotomy, we are a spirit; we have a soul and live in a human body (which as we have already covered is what gives us authority in this earth realm). Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price (The “trinity” of the WOF cult) state this very plainly in what they teach regarding faith and the anthropology of man: Your body is not the real you, it is just the house you live in. If the body were you, Paul would have said, ‘I bring myself into subjection’ [Hagin is referring to 1 Cor. 9:27]. (4)

To be a powerful Christian your spirit, trained in the Word, must be in command of your mind and body. The chain of command is spirit (heart), soul (mind), body (flesh)…You are not bound to an ugly, sinful body and neither do you have two natures in you. God did not create you a spiritual schizophrenic. Your body is not you. Your spirit is you. You are a spirit, and you have a soul, and you live in a body. Do you have a human? No, you are a human. That body is not you. That body is where you live. If you will stand up on the inside, feed on the Word of God, and renew your mind, your stand up on the inside, feed on the Word of God, and renew your mind, your body will just tag along and do what it is told. (5)

God has created you a spirit being and it is only in the spirit that you can understand God. It is as your spirit is educated that your spirit can begin to educate your mind and your mind can learn how to act on God’s Word instead of acting on logic or human reasoning…God is a Spirit. Man is a spirit. He has a soul, and he lives in a body. God deals with man through his spirit nature… (6).

It is not heretical to believe man is a tri-part being, however, it’s a view that is not widely held by theologians today and has its origins in Platonic dogma and metaphysics. What is troubling about Hagin, Copeland and Price’s statements are that they do not view man as a totally integrated being.

Copeland adds that we do not have two natures in us, i.e. the WOF cult sees their followers as not possessing a sinful nature at all. They view themselves (wrongly) as becoming literally righteous in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). If the Christian still is not hindered by a fallen sinful nature then why does he still sin? How does Copeland explain   1 John 8-10?

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Also, how do they explain the text that urges Christians to cleanse ourselves of both the filthiness of the flesh AND spirit?

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

A.T. Robertson, the Greek scholar says the following concerning the above text:

2 Cor. 7:1These promises . So many and so precious (2 Pe 2:4; Heb 11:39f.) Let us cleanse ourselves. Old Greek used (in N.T. only in Joh 15:2, to prune). In koine occurs in inscriptions for ceremonial cleansing (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 216f.) Paul includes himself in this volitive aorist subjunctive. From all defilement Ablative alone would have done, but with apo it is plainer as in Heb. 9:14. Is a late word meaning to stain (see on 1 Co 8:7). To pollute. In the LXX, Plutarch, Josephus. It includes all sorts of filthiness, physical, moral, mental, ceremonial, “of flesh and spirit.” Missionaries in China and India can appreciate the atmosphere of pollution in Corinth, for instance. Perfecting holiness. Not merely negative goodness (cleansing), but aggressive and progressive (present tense of holiness, not a sudden attainment of complete holiness, but a continuous process (1 Th 3:13; Ro. 1:4; 1:6)   (7)

If words mean anything (always keeping their context in mind) then it appears that the believer is not completely free from the fallen nature. We will consider their view of sinless perfection when we look into their doctrine of positive confession, which goes hand in hand with their beliefs about faith.

God is a faith God, we must always keep that in mind. We as Christians, are children of God. We are faith-children of a faith-God. We are not emotional children of an emotional God, but we are faith-children of a faith God. (8)

God has created certain spiritual laws by which His universe functions, laws that He himself is bound to. One of these laws is the “law of faith.” God uses the law of faith to created everything. According to WOF cosmology God created the universe by speaking (confessing) “faith-filled” words. God’s belief in His Words was complete and thus brought to pass exactly what He said. This argument is buttressed by many proof texts, I will cite just a few of them:

And God said, Let there be light: and there was lightAnd God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters…And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. Gen. 1:3,6,9

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Heb. 11:3

No true Christian doubts that God created the universe or that He literally spoke it into existence ex nihilo or out of nothing. Where the WOF cult errs is that they teach that God was using a spiritual law, the law of faith to create the universe. In fact I have heard WOF teachers say publicly that God did not create the universe out of nothing, He created out of faith and as we know faith is a “substance” (see Hebrews 11:1) it is tangible, it is something and not nothing.

Kenneth Copeland more cogently explains the WOF concept of spiritual law and the law of faith better than any other WOF teacher:

We need to realize that the spiritual world and its laws are more powerful than the physical world and its laws. Spiritual law gave birth to physical law. The world and the physical forces governing it were created by the power of faith— a spiritual force. God a Spirit, created all matter, and He created it with the force of faithFaith is a spiritual force, a spiritual energy, a spiritual power. It is this force of faith which makes the laws of the spirit world function. When the force of faith is put to work, these laws of the spirit function according to the way God says they will. (9)

However, I must give credit where credit is due, the above concept did not originate with Copeland, he is simply parroting his spiritual father, the now deceased, Kenneth E. Hagin who twisted Mark 11:22 to say “have the faith of God” versus what it does say “have faith in God.” There is a HUGE difference in those two little words. Admittedly, some Bibles do translate Mark 11:22 using “of” versus “in,” but as Crenshaw rightly points out “it is a well established idiom of Greek to use ‘faith of God’ to mean ‘faith in God.” (11) However, Hagin takes this one word and weaves a tapestry of error from it saying that we too, as God’s children are to operate using the same type of faith as God uses: “This is the kind of faith that spoke the world into existence.”  (12)

Well, how does one come to the place where they can operate and use the God kind of faith (for now, we’ll assume there is such a thing)? To learn how to do this we must turn to a man Copeland considers one of the greatest living theologians today, Charles Capps to gain insight into how we can begin to actualize who we really are, little gods:

“God’s Word conceived in the heart, then formed with the tongue and spoken out of the mouth becomes a spiritual force releasing the ability of God. (13)

Capps is totally convinced that this is the principle by which we are to release the ability of God. He mentions it in almost every book he has written (and DMI has almost all of them). We saw that this was how God became a man, nothing miraculous about it, just Mary enacting the law of faith:

It was an act of the God-kind of faith that caused the miraculous conception…Mary conceived the Word of God in her heart; then she went to Elisabeth’s house and told her, ‘He hath done great things’…The Lord said to me, ‘My Word will get people healed and filled with the Holy Ghost the same way that the miraculous conception took place! Any believer can conceive My Word concerning healing in their spirits, and healing will manifest in their physical bodies! They can conceive My Word concerning prosperity of finances, and prosperity will manifest itself in their business affairs…The miraculous conception came through the God-kind of faith. The faith of God rose in Mary’s heart, and she received the Word. She conceived it in her spirit, and it manifested itself in her physical body. (14)

Before we launch off into seeing how this “God-kind of faith” is put into operation, let’s take a quick review of what we’ve covered thus far concerning the WOF cult teaching about faith.

1. God must use faith in order to create.

2. God has created us in His likeness and image, so we too must use the same spiritual law of faith in order to obtain God’s promises.

3. Faith is a literal force, a spiritual substance and a spiritual power.

4. The God-kind of faith only comes into manifestation when it has been conceived in the human spirit versus the human mind. The God-kind of faith never fails to produce the desired results.

5. The God-kind of faith must always be verbally expressed.

With these concepts in mind how do these pundits of power explain the following? Buddy Harrison  (Kenneth E. Hagin’s son-in-law) died of cancer. Buddy taught and practiced for over twenty years the WOF dogmas regarding faith, why wasn’t he healed? Mack Timberlake, another WOF televangelist got cancer and he died. Peggy Capps, Charles Capps wife got cancer and survived due to medical treatment (and God’s gracious mercy). Betty Price, Fred Prices wife, got cancer was medically treated and survived. Joyce Meyer, another WOF “maven” revealed on a televised broadcast that she had breast cancer and was going to believe God for her healing but her family urged her to obtain medical help and she did, she is cancer-free today. We all know of Jan Crouch and her bout with cancer (and medical treatment). Yet she is a very close friend of both Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn, two of the most widely acknowledged men who are allegedly used by God to heal multitudes, yet neither Benny or Oral could help Jan or any of the others I’ve mentioned. Tammy-Faye Bakker Mesner is well known for her various bouts with cancer and her medical treatment, successful thus far. None of the WOF leaders acknowledge that the true “father” of their cult, E.W. Kenyon  died of a cancerous tumor. (15) I could mention T.L. Osborn’s wife Daisy and her death from cancer. T.L. was one of my instructor’s at Tilton’s Bible School. All WOF preachers proclaim that the law of faith only works when the force of love is also enacted. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach that “faith worketh by love” (see Gal. 5:6)? Tilton even wrote a book entitled “God’s Royal Law of Love.” (16) In his book he shares various anecdotes on what happens when we operate in the God-kind of love and all the miracles of faith that transpire because of the power of love. He is on television today proclaiming himself a “prophet” of God and a man whose faith is so strong he can obtain whatever you need from God. Yet how can this be true when he has been divorced twice and is currently married to his third wife? If the law of faith is enacted by the law of love, then Tilton’s faith must not be active at all or he would not have gotten divorced from his first wife!!

It is shameless that these ministers teach a doctrine concerning faith and love that does not even work in their own lives! Not one of the people I mentioned (and I could mention many more) have received a manifestation of healing for themselves or their family members through using these so-called spiritual laws concerning the “God-kind of faith. It boggles my mind in the face of such as abysmal track record that people listen to them at all. If what they teach does not even work in their own lives and some of these people have been teaching these spiritual laws for over twenty-five years then what hope does the mere devotee have of obtaining the proffered results? NONE!

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 The little dirty secret is that these folks know what they are spewing forth does not really work. How can I say such a thing? Simple!  Because by now Copeland, Capps, Tilton, Price, Hinn, and all the other teachers should be giants of faith and power and yet they are not. Well, you might ask “why do they continue to teach things they know not to work or even be true?”  That is a bit harder to answer because it goes to motive, which really only God knows for sure. Yet there are some Scriptures that might indicate why they continue along this destructive path:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 1 Timothy 4:1,2

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.  Titus 1:10,11

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Tim. 3:13

The Church has always been plagued with false teachers and sadly, large numbers “polus” will follow them. These false teachers simply make merchandise of God’s gullible people for their own personal gain. One thing is certain, all WOF teachers are very wealthy and they got that way by appealing to their followers carnal desires for power and wealth in their own lives. So without a doubt some, not all, but some WOF leaders are in it merely for the money. Others have had their own consciences seared, burned shut to the truth of God’s Word because they have taught lies in hypocrisy, i.e. they knew what they taught was not the truth. It becomes a vicious circle as they deceive others they themselves fall further into deception. I am willing to admit that some of these folks may have started out really believing what they taught was the truth. Yet after the years of obvious failure in their lives and those of their followers it becomes very hard to reconcile that these people genuinely believe what they proclaim. At best they are deceived and at worst they are frauds. In either case God’s people are lead astray and further from the Lord and not closer to Him. This is evident in the manner in which they even have defined biblical faith!

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What all of the WOF teachers miss is the simple biblical definition of what faith is really all about. In the Greek the word for faith is “pistis”, which means a confident reliance upon God. The WOF cult is not concerned with the object of our faith, God; they have turned faith into a spiritual law independent of God. Crenshaw sums it up in a neat package in the following statement:

Man controls, not God. (There is no providence, according to them.) Faith, therefore, according to the Word of Faith leaders originates within man; its nature is metaphysical; its object is the metaphysical laws to manipulate the ‘force’ for one’s desires; and its purpose is for selfish ends. In Scripture faith is created within by God (Phil 1:29; Acts 13:48; 16:14; 18:27), its nature is moral and submissive, its object is the Triune God, and its purpose is to glorify God and to serve Him. We could not have more contradictory concepts of faith.   (17)

Crenshaw is absolutely correct in his assessment. For example, Kenneth Hagin wrote a book entitled “Have Faith in Your Faith”:

Did you ever stop to think about having faith in your own faith? Evidently Jesus had faith in His faith, because He spoke to the fig tree, and what He said came to pass. In other words, having faith in your words is having faith in your faith. That’s what you’ve got to learn to do to get things from God: Have faith in your faith. (18)

Hagin does not say “have faith in God” or even “trust in God’s Word.” On the contrary, he tells us to have faith in ourselves and our abilities and the power of our spoken words. If we, like Jesus, who as we learned two months ago, ministered only as a man, spoke to the fig tree and did not doubt His words would come to pass and presto they did! We too can possess whatever we confess (if it has been conceived in our spirit first). This leads us to the other portion of the sacred cow of “faith.”

Positive Confession Brings Possession

A person is literally what he thinks and believes. His personality is the sum total of his thoughts. You are today what your thoughts, beliefs, and convictions have made you…. Our confession is, in the final analysis merely the vocal expression of what we think and believe. (19)

According to the cult your life consists of exactly what you have spoken into existence either through “faith-filled” words or “fear-filled” words. What you really believe is what you will speak forth and since you really believe those words (have faith in them) as one created in the “God-class” of being, like God your words will create reality for the better or worse. It is due to this belief that the cult is often referred to as the “Positive Confession “ movement.

What is especially troubling to me about the above citation, apart from it being patently false; is that it was written by Dr. Hobart Freeman, who at one point was an esteemed theologian and Professor at Grace Theological Seminary. Somehow he got spiritually off tract and became a true believer  (21)  in many of the WOF doctrines. What he stated is the WOF position to this day. Theologically such beliefs would fall into the category of a “theology of glory. The question is how does a person get to the place of walking in victory over all the circumstances of living in a fallen world every day? Although, not specifically mentioned, logically this implies that WOF practitioners must include victory over their inherent sinfulness in order to achieve this type of living.

The spirit world is controlled by the Word of God. The natural world is to be controlled by must speaking God’s Words. The spoken Word of God is creative power…God’s Word is just as powerful today as it was the day He spake it.  Not one bit of power has left God’s Word. God’s creative power is still in His Word…This is the thing I want you to see. YOU CAN SPEAK GOD’S WORDS AFTER HIM AND THEY WILL WORK FOR YOU. But, they must be formed in your spirit. They must become a part of you. They must abide in you continually. (22)

Our confession will either imprison us or set us free. Our confession is the result of our believing, and our believing is the result of our right or wrong thinking… It is our confession….that creates the reality, and then it becomes real in our lives. (23)

Although different WOF leaders teach a variety of principles regarding how to manipulate the spiritual laws which govern the universe (which can prove quite frustrating to the devotee who is desperately trying to gain mastery over his life’s circumstances) the most commonly accepted method is the one I was taught years ago.

Since we now have the nature of God we are to begin to act like Him and do what He did, after all, Jesus said we would do even greater works than He did, right? Jesus went around speaking to fig trees,  speaking to dead bodies, speaking to the weather and He got exactly what He said. Not because He was God, but because as a man anointed with the Holy Spirit He operated the spiritual law of faith perfectly. When He spoke He believed what He said would come to pass and immediately it did. Out of the abundance of His heart (not His mind) His mouth spoke and it came to pass (see Luke 6:45).

We know Jesus was a Rabbi, and that from His youth He had been planting the Word of God into His spirit and (the “real” Jesus, remember we are not our bodies, nor our minds). We know that by the age of twelve (see Luke 2:47) He was astounding the doctors of the law with His answers.

Ergo, to begin to obtain the same results Jesus did as an anointed man, then we too must begin to plant the Word of God down into our spirits. This is accomplished via several avenues

(1) MEDITATION. Meditating on the Word of God, which according to Hagin and others means to ponder and mutter (confess) to the promises being studied. Keep in mind if you need money you mediate on financial promises. If healing, then mediate/plant healing verses into the soil of your spirit.

(2) VISUALIZATION   We learned firsthand from Paul Cho   (24)   that we must begin to see ourselves as possessing what we have been meditating on. Our congregation avidly studied his book “The Fourth Dimension” which goes into great detail concerning visualization and the power of dreaming.

(3) PRAYER “Never pray your problem.”  If you pray the problem, it will get worse.” (25)   We were taught to pray/verbalize to God only His Word and the desire result. For example, I would not pray, “Lord I have the flu, please be merciful and heal me.” Instead, I would declare boldly to the Lord “Your Word says that by His stripes I am healed and I confess that I am healed and I command my body to get in line with the Word of God. I command this sickness to leave me in the name of Jesus and I bind the powers of the evil one in Jesus name!.”  If someone came up to me and told me I did not look well or how was I feeling I would say something like “it doesn’t matter how I may look or how I fee, all that matters is what God says about me and He says I am healed and so I agree with Him.” Another very important ingredient in obtaining strong Christ-like faith and effectiveness is exercising (4) PATIENCE Remember we are in the process of planting the incorruptible seed God (see 1 Peter 1:23) You do not plant a tomato seed on Monday and get a harvest on Tuesday. It is through “faith and patience” that we inherit the promises of God (see Hebrews 6:12). The problem is that many of us undisciplined WOF’ers were constantly digging up the seeds we had planted by making negative confessions!  We planted confessed/visualized healing but one day after we had begun the process we’d slip up and say something like “I don’t feel very well,” or maybe even call into work “sick.” In doing this we nullified all our previous efforts and had to go back to the drawing board and start to re-plant the seeds.

….I have just planted a field of cotton. Now wouldn’t it be foolish if I went out the next morning and said, ‘Man, something is wrong. This cotton is not coming up. Let’s plow it up and plant it again.’ Then the next day the same thing happened. If I kept doing that, I could plant 365 days and still not produce any cotton. We need to become as smart in the spiritual realm as we are in the natural…Our prayers many times have held us in bondage, causing spiritual bankruptcy. No one would dare plant a garden and the next morning dig it up. It takes time for these things to happen. (26)

Can you see how much true bondage we were in because of this false doctrine?  Even though we were taught that fear cancels out faith, we were (we’d never admit it) afraid of saying the wrong words. We were held in captivity by our confessions.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

That being said it is easy to see the “out” the WOF teachers give themselves when what their followers confession does not come to pass in their lives. The answer is obvious, either they “dug up their seed” by speaking words contrary to what they had been confessing. Or, the promises they’d been endeavoring to manifest in their lives had never gotten past their minds and they only ere at the head knowledge plane and the Word had yet to get into their spirits and germinate. Never forget the only way any WOF person knows that the Word of God has gotten into their spirit is that when they confess that promise it comes to pass in their lives.

If what you believe for is not manifesting then it is YOUR fault. If you are sick, you confess healing verses and die…it was your fault (or maybe those around you had weakened your faith through their own unbelief). If you follow all the steps, principles and spiritual laws given to you and still fail to obtain the goal ( total victory over al the circumstances in life according to Dr. Freeman), guess what?  You are the one to blame.  As I have heard Kenneth Copeland say on many occasions “if you play the game right you will.” In other words, you work God’s laws properly and they will always produce the desire results. In this article I made passing mention of all the WOF giants and many times their wives got cancer and died. I guess Kenny these folks did not “play the game right.”

This brings me another favorite excuse we were taught concerning faith failures, the parallel between our faith and human muscles. It goes something like this: imagine coming up to a four hundred pound weight, and you, who’ve had no prior weight training attempts to bench pres it. What will happen? You will not be able to lift the weight. Why not? Because you muscles are not sufficiently developed to handle lifting that much weight. The same can be said of our faith, which like our muscles must be developed. If you go to the doctor and he says “ you have cancer” and you begin to immediately confess healing verses you may in fact be trying to lift the four hundred pound weight when you can only lift a fifteen pound barbell ! Fred Price uses this analogy often and even wrote a book which I’ve previously cited How to Obtain Strong Faith (Six Principles). In this book Fred details that there are many levels or degrees of faith, he mentions “weak faith”; “little faith”; “strong faith”; “unfeigned faith”; and “shipwrecked faith”. (27)

According to the WOF cult the key to obtaining victory is to begin to plant the seed of God’s Word deep in your spirit BEFORE the need for healing, a good marriage, blessed children and finances even arises. This planting is done through the power released when we speak God’s Word from our spirits and not our minds. Fred explains the problem with most Christians and why the vast majority of us (at least in the WOF cult’s eyes) are low wattage believers:

Too many Christians are trying to educate their minds first, and then let their minds educate their spirits. That is not the way God works. God works through the spirit of man. When man’s spirit is fed properly on the Word of God, then man’s spirit will educate man’s mind and man’s mind will bring man’s body into subjection to the will of God. (28)

Confused? You ought to be. Fred does not explain how God bypasses the human mind in order to get His Word directly into the spirit of man. Again, I ask rhetorically the question how does one know if he is hearing with his spirit man or his mind?  We know that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).  There is absolutely nothing in the Greek text which implies a spiritual hearing of the spoken Word of God as opposed to a normal sense of hearing anything spoken to us, i.e. we think about it with our minds!

Let me close down the grill by way of a short summation. According to this dangerous and very popular cult:

(1) faith is a spiritual force, one that even God Himself must use.

(2) Since faith is a spiritual force, man who is created in the image of God, must in essence by a spirit being who has a mind and lives in a body.

(3)  In order to properly use the spiritual law of faith it must come from our spirits and not our minds.

(4) Somehow our spirits are to educate our minds, which in turn will control our bodies.

(5) Basically this process is done through enacting another spiritual law, that of confession.

(6) Through mediation/muttering/confessing  God’s Word concerning many areas of our lives His Word mystically gets down into our spirits. Once we plant the seed, we water it by continued confession, visualization, dreaming about the end result we desire, confessing it to others and by being patient.

(7)  We will only know if we have genuinely believed with our hearts versus our heads when what we confess becomes a reality in our lives. We confess healing and the cancer leaves. We confess for a mate and we receive one. We confess increased finances and presto new jobs, raises at work, inheritances come our way. The proof is in the pudding as the old adage goes.

What’s wrong With This Picture?

I have already cited some errors regarding their concept of faith previously. Quite simply, biblical faith is a GIFT given by God upon redemption (see Eph. 2:8). As previously cited our faith is in God not in ourselves.  Our trust and complete reliance is in Christ Jesus and what He did for us. We look to Him and not our own alleged spiritual power.

Nowhere in the Bible is faith ever referred to as a “force” or a tangible spiritual substance by which we create and direct reality. WOF cultists love to cite Hebrews 11 and the many examples of what happened when individuals trusted in God (not the power of their own faith).  Yet they usually stop reading at the following point because it does not line up with their paradigm of victory:

And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourging, 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. Hebrews 11:36-38.

Today’s WOF SINisters would say these people lacked sufficient faith and did not understand how the laws of the spirit realm operate.  Obviously, they were confessing the problem and not the answer! Isn’t it funny how the Holy Spirit says that the world was not worthy of these apparent “losers.” In fact God says in v. 39 “And these all having obtained a good report through faith…” The issue was not whether some had stronger faith and received miracles and that others had weaker faith and were sawn asunder. All of those mentioned in the chapter had faith in God period. They looked to Him and trusted in Him to move in their lives according to the good pleasure of His will.

As to their view on confessing things into existence; it is nothing short of witchcraft which simply defined is manipulating reality through the use of spiritual power. The president of my first “Bible” School, Robert Tilton goes as far as to say that “You can tell God on the authority of His Word what we would like Him to do.” (29)  I distinctly remember Copeland telling us in a convention that God expected His children to tell Him what to do for us and even buttressed his statement with the following proof text ‘thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me” (Isa. 45:11)!   Copeland totally ignores the context of the chapter which has to do with the deliverance by Cyrus and he has not done any research into the source language. If he had he would have discovered that God is not actually telling us to command Him at all, quite the contrary.

MAURER translates, instead of “command,” Leave it to Me, in My dealings concerning My sons and concerning the work of My hands, to do what I will with My own. LOWTH reads it interrogatively, Do ye presume to question Me and dictate to Me (see Isa. 45:9,10) ? (30)

This gives a totally different understanding of the text than the one Copeland spews forth. That is the major problem with this whole issue of positive confession.; it takes away the sovereignty of God and makes man the determiner of his destiny.  God is reduced to merely being an errand boy whose role is to make sure the WOF cultist gets all the goodies they have confessed.

My dear brothers and sisters the WOF concept of “faith” is aberrant and non-biblical; its companion “positive confession” does not come from the Bible but from various non-Christian metaphysical cults.

Sadly there are millions of people who are deceived by this cult. Multitudes are desperately trying to build up the faith muscles and create better lives for themselves through the manipulation of spiritual laws and positive words. They are all headed away from God, because they are not trusting in Him and the work of His Son. Instead they are building their spiritual houses on the doctrinal quicksand of false teachers. Jesus said when the storm beats against their house (and it surely will) great will be the ruin thereof. I know, I write this from my own personal experience and I have watched people literally die before my eyes confessing they were healed! Pray that our merciful High Priest will open their eyes and lead them out of the bondage of error.

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kenneth Copeland (*But were Afraid to Ask) By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

This booket is Available Only from DMI Ministries – $15.00.

 

 

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Our God has always taken a very dim view (to say the least) of anyone who practices any form of witchcraft. Yet today, many internationally know charismatic leaders are practicing a form of witchcraft called “sympathetic magick,”

In this powerful radio interview names are “named” and the truth behind the use of point-of-contact items is revealed for what it really is,  a simple money-making scheme used by people who are seeking only to enrich themselves at the expense of God’s gullible saints.  This is a lively and very informative program!  (Available from DMI ministry)

End Notes:

1. Kenyon E.W., the Two Kinds of Faith (Kenyon Gospel Publishing Society, 1969), p. 7

2. Ibid. pp. 11,12 Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Hagin, Kenneth, The Real Faith (Tulsa, OK : Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1978). p. 13 Underlining added.

4. Ibid. p. 14 ‘

5. Copeland, Kenneth, The Force of Faith (Fort Worth, TX : KC Publications. 1983); pp.2,4 Underlining added.

6 Price, Frederick, How to Obtain Strong Faith (Six Principles) Tulsa, OK; Harrison House, 1977) p.28 Underlining added.

7. Robertson A.T. Word Pictures of the New Testament (BibleWorks ver. 4.0.035 1995)

8. Price, Frederick, How to Obtain Strong Faith (Six Principles) Tulsa, OK; Harrison House 1977) p. 28 Underlining added

9. In the cult we were told that this verse meant that God created the worlds through faith. The proper understanding is that it is we who believe God creted the worlds, we the creature are the ones exercising “faith” and not God.

10. Copeland, Kenneth, The Laws of Properity (Forth Worth, TX: KCP, 1974), pp. 18-19 Bold type and underlining added.

11. Crenshaw, Curtis I, Man as God the Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN: Footstool Publishers, 1994) p. 205

12 Kenneth E. Hagin, Faith Edition Bible (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1990) pp.lxxiv,lxxv.

13. Capps, Charles, The Dynamics of Faith & Confession (Tulsa OK: Harrison House 1987) p. 33

14. Capps, Charles, Authority Special Edition, Word of Faith Bible School (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1984), pp. 80-84. This “special Edition” was one of my text books as a student at Robert Tilton’s Word of Faith Bible School in the mid 1980’s. Underlining added.

15. Kenneth Hagin used to tell a story how Kenyon ate lunch, went into his living room, sat in his rocking chair, his daughter walked in and Kenyon exclaimed “there’s Jesus good-bye” and entered into heaven. However, DMI obtained a previously unpublished thesis by Geir Lie, a Norwegian, on Mr. Kenyon which detailed his death, proving Mr. Hagin a liar and Kenyon’s concept of faith false and non-workable in his own life.

16. Tilton, Robert, God’s Royal Law of Love (Dallas,TX; Robert Tilton Ministries, 1989

17. Crenshaw, Curtis, I, Man as God the Word of Faith Movement (Memphis TN: Footstool Publication, 1994), p.73 Bold type added.

18. Hagin, Kenneth, Have Faith in Your Faith (Tulsa, OK; Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1988) pp. 4-5 Underlining added

19. Freeman, Hobart, Positive Thinking and Confession (Warsaw, IN : Faith Publication), p.8 underlining added.

20. Ibid. p.7

21. I say “true believers” because Dr. Freeman actually believed the lies of the WOF cult. He did not teach one thing and live another. For example he did not preach divine healing and then make use of doctors and medicine of any kind. Over 90 people died in his church because of the fact he really believed the WOF doctrines concerning faith and divine healing.  In the end, he died also from an easily treatable aliment. He established several congregations, some of which still exist today and they still adhere to his aberrant beliefs. I must admit out of all these heretics, I respect Freeman, to a degree because he had a genuine conviction of what he taught. DMI has several of his books and many of his tapes.

22. Capps, Charles, The Tongue A Creative Force (Tulsa, OK; Harrison House, 1976), pp.9,12

23. Hagin, Kenneth, Right and Wrong Thinking (Tulsa, OK; Kenneth Hagin Ministries 1989) p.7

24. Paul Cho is the pastor of the largest church in the world of close to a million people. He is a giant within the WOF cult. I mention this because I want you, the reader, to understand that what DMI and other ministries are combating is a vast global plague of error and blasphemy which is spreading rapidly and is impacting the spiritual lives of millions of people.

25. Capps, Charles, Releasing the Ability of God through Prayer (Tulsa, OK; Harrison House, 1978), p.39

26. Ibid. p.41

27. Price, Fredrick, Ho to Obtain Strong Faith (Six Principles) Tulsa, OK; Harrison House 1977) p.27

28. Ibid. p.9 Underlining added.

29. Tilton, Robert, God’s Miracle Plan for Man (Tulsa, OK; Robert Tilton Ministries 1989) p.36

30. Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, obtained from http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries  on 05-03-05.





Sacred Cow Number Three – Jesus Died Spiritually

1 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – Vol. 10 Issue 4 – April 2005 – Sacred Cow Number Three – Jesus Died Spiritually – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Three – Jesus Died Spiritually

(see also special note at the end of article)scancow20050001

 The problem with doctrinal error is that when it is left unchecked, like leaven in bread, it spreads and expands into further deeper errors; which is why our Lord warned us:

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and 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. Matthew 16:6,12

This is especially true of the Word of Faith (WOF) cult and their heretical stance regarding the Person of Jesus Christ. From their error concerning His humanity and deity the gyre of error widens and now must include the atonement for our sins by Jesus.

Last month Truth Matters examined the WOF belief that Jesus ministered only as a man while on earth, albeit a man anointed with the Holy Spirit. The Word of Faith (WOF) cult so divided His divine from human nature that, according to their belief, Jesus never operated as God from His divinity. This is an ancient heretical view taught chiefly by Nestorians, and is condemned as a damnable doctrine by various Church Councils, especially that of Chalcedon.

Since God had given Adam complete dominion over the earth and he in turn gave it over to Satan, Satan became the “god” of this world. In order to exercise any legal authority here one must have a physical body and be a human being, which is why Christ came in the flesh. So, according to the cultists, He could battle Satan as a man, just as the first Adam had done (and lost). This second Adam hopefully would be victorious where the first Adam failed. This time the battle ground was not in the Garden of Eden, but at the cross and beyond it into the bowels of hell itself. Let me allow E.W. Kenyon to explain his view:

Jesus the Sinner Man

“The Revelation that Paul received in II Corinthians 5:21 is that God actually made Him to become sins for us. he not only bore our sins, but the sin-nature itself was laid upon Him, until He became all that spiritual death had made man…1Timothy 3:16 reveals that Christ was justified in Spirit. He in identification, had become so utterly one with us that He Himself needed justification when man’s penalty was paid. The next step in Redemption was that He who had been made sin be begotten of God…Jesus Christ, when man’s penalty has been paid, had to be born of God and pass from death into life just as man, because He had become identified with our Spiritual Death. After Christ has been justified in spirit and born of God, He conquered Satan as a man. It is evident that Satan tried to hold Christ within his authority. Satan did hold Christ until God could declare man righteous.” (1)

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…Christ did not have sin reckoned to Him. He was made to be sin….This is a remarkable fact, that Jesus was born again before He was raised from the dead…Jesus, after He had been justified and made alive in the spirit, became Satan’s master. And ‘having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it’ (Col. 2:15). It is more graphic in a marginal rendering. ‘Having put off from himself the principalities and the powers (It would seem as though the whole hosts of hell were upon him he was going through agonies beyond words, and suddenly is justified, made alive) ‘He hurls back the hosts of darkness’….He had conquered Satan. He had stripped him of his authority. Keys represent authority. Jesus was master of all hell. He did not conquer Satan for Himself. Jesus conquered Satan for us, for you and for me. (2)

Every WOF teacher proclaims this message regarding the atonement and it is nothing less than damnable blasphemy. According to Kenyon’s doctrine (which is parroted by Copeland, Meyer, Price, Capps, Butler, Tilton, Savelle, Duplantis, Dollar, et al.) Jesus did not bear our sins on the cross. He became an actual sinner. As any sinner, He needed to be regenerated spiritually (born-again) by God, which according to Kenyon this is what happened in hell.

Kenneth Copeland has popularized Kenyon’s heresy to such a degree he did a tape series entitled “What Happened From the Cross to the Throne” which is the exact title of one of Kenyon’s more “popular” books. The book and tape series are available in may non-discerning Christian bookstores.

Now here’s the part I want you to get When He said, “It is finished,” on that cross he was not speaking of the plan of redemption — the plan of redemption had just begun. There were still three days and three nights to be gone through before He went to the throne…See, you have to realize that He (Jesus) died; you have to realize that He went into the pit of hell as a mortal man made sin. But He didn’t stay there, thank God. He was reborn in the pit of hell and resurrected…The righteousness of God was made to be sin.

He (Jesus) accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit and at the moment that He did that He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? You don’t know what happened at the cross. Why do you think Moses, obeying the instruction of God, hung the serpent up on the pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me. I said, “Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there the sign of Satan? Why didn’t you put a lamb on that pole.” And the Lord said, “Because it was the sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.” He said, “I accepted in my own spirit spiritual death and the light was turned off.”    (3)

“It wasn’t a physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin…anybody can do that.    (4)

“It is finished” obviously does not mean that, now we have “greater light” on the true meaning of Jesus’ words. Christ did not win redemption for sinful humanity on the cross. NO! The human sinful man Jesus in hell won it for us after being tormented by Satan and his demons for 3 days! Lest no one thinks Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest congregation in America, is not a WOF heretic, at least regarding this most central tenant of our faith simply read the statement below from one of his sermons:

“The Bible indicates that for three days, Jesus went into the very depths of hell. Right into the enemy’s own territory. And He did battle with Satan face to face. Can you imagine what a show down that was?    (5)

Joel Osteen is on record stating in Charisma magazine that “people aren’t interested in theology.” Which unfortunately is true and sets them up to believe such utter nonsense as Osteen is cited spewing.

Kenneth Hagin’s (6) “son in the Gospel,“ Fred Price (raised a Jehovah Witness), pastor of the mega-church, Crenshaw Christian Center in California, teaches the same heresy:

Price explains  “Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God…Satan and all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound. And they threw a net over Jesus and they dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence.     (7)

I do not want to be remiss and leave out one of America’s most popular female Bible “teachers” Joyce Meyer, on this subject since she is equally dogmatic in her assertions:

“Jesus said ‘It is finished.’ And He meant the Old Covenant. The job He had to do was just getting started. He really did the job the three days and nights that He was in hell. That’s where the job was done. He was pronounced guilty on the cross but He paid the price in hell. (8)

“There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth I am presenting. You cannot go to heaven unless you believe with all your heart that Jesus took your place in hell. (9)

I could cite five or ten other televised WOF preachers, but they would all be saying the same thing. Sadly, to our knowledge none of these media stars has ever recanted their heretical views concerning Christ Jesus and His atoning death on the cross. Nor have any of them repented of their biblical inaccuracies regarding His nature as both God and man.

Did Jesus Atone For Our Sins, As a Sinner in Hell?

To begin with, the WOF cult faith has resurrected a concept of the atonement that was deemed heretical by the Church. The “ransom theory” of the atonement taught that Jesus died to buy mankind back from Satan

Remember that in the March issue of Truth Matters, I discussed the WOF view on how Adam gave Satan his authority in the fall, thus making Satan the “god” of this world. In their belief system, God had to buy back mankind, who, due to Adam’s sin were the property of Satan. Charles Hodge, the Reformed theologian gives us a good understanding of this concept:

The [theory] appeals to the old principle of the rights of war, according to which the conquered became the slaves of the conqueror. Satan conquered Adam, and thus became the rightful owner of him and his posterity. Hence he is called the god and prince of this world. To deliver men from this dreadful bondage, Christ offered Himself as a ransom to Satan. Satan accepted the offer, and renounced his right to retain mankind as his slaves. In answer to the question, How Satan could accept Christ as the ransom for men, if he knew Him to be a divine person? It was said that he did not know Him to be divine, because His divinity was veiled by His humanity. (10)

There are at least four reasons why the ransom theory was later rejected by the Church. First, Satan has no claim on the lost per se, they are not his property which have to be purchased by Christ’s death. Secondly, Satan is not the one who must be satisfied by the sacrifice before sinners can be redeemed.

Thirdly, in the Bible the Greek work for ransom simply means “redemption-price”, it does not necessarily imply a price paid to Satan. Fourthly, The Bible plainly teaches that Christ’s atonement was a sacrifice to God (read Eph. 5:2 and Isaiah. 53:10). So their initial premise is wrong and thus everything that springs from it equally wrong.

This WOF teaches that when Jesus said “it is finished” He was not referring to His atoning death (read John 19:20). They teach that what He meant was that the Abrahamic covenant was finished, redemption was yet to be completed. Jesus at this point, a sinner, had to be dragged into hell by demonic forces and suffer being tormented by Satan and demons for three days.

To begin with, Jesus was not a sinner. How can God ever sin? If He did then He would cease to be God and Jesus never ceased being God as we examined in last month’s issue. WOF heretics misinterpret 2 Cor. 5:21. Here is what A.T. Robertson, Greek scholar has to say regarding that text:

2 Cor 5:21Him who knew no sin. Definite claim by Paul that Jesus did not commit sin, had no personal acquaintance with it. Jesus made this claim for himself (John 8:46). This statement occurs also in 1 Peter 2:22; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1 John 3:5. Christ was and is “a moral miracle” (Bernard) and so more than mere man. He made to be sin  The words “to be” are not in the Greek. “Sin” here is the substantive, not the verb. God “treated as sin” the one “who knew no sin.” But he knew the contradiction of sinners (Heb 12:3). We may not dare to probe too far into the mystery of Christ’s suffering on the Cross, but this fact throws some light on the tragic cry of Jesus just before he died: “My God, My God, why didst thou forsake me?” (Mt. 27:46). That we might become Note “become.” This is God’s purpose in what he did and in what Christ did. Thus alone can we obtain God’s righteousness (Ro 1:17). (11)

Jesus bore our sins, God the Father poured out His wrath on the Lamb of God who took our place on the cross. When Jesus said “it is finished” He was directly referring to His atoning death for the sins of the world.

Next, we have no evidence of Satan or demons dragging this “man” whose nature was now united with Satan’s into hell to be tormented. Satan is not currently in hell, he does not rule hell nor do his demon hosts. There is not one text which shows Satan as a ruler in hell. His followers will be cast into the lake of fire (read Rev. 19:20) and he himself will be cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 19:2) but that has not yet happened. The only fallen angels/demons who are in “hell” are those who were locked up, imprisoned by God—

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. {first estate: or, principality}. Jude 1:6

The Bible teaches us that our sins were atoned for by Jesus on the cross, not in hell. There is not one scintilla of biblical evidence to support what the WOF teaching, in fact, quite the opposite is true:

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly,  triumphing  over them in it. {in it: or, in himself}. Col. 2:13-15

When Kenyon cites this text he teaches that these events took place in hell by conveniently leaving out the rest of verse 15 “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” A better translation of this text would be triumphing over them on it. Either way “in it” or “on it” directly refers to the work done by Jesus on the cross. Kenyon and his followers simply ignore verse 14 where it states that all our sins against God’s holy law ere taken away by Jesus on the cross. A.T. Robertson says the following about verse 14:

And he hath taken it out of the way (perfect active indicative of airw, old and common verb, to lift up, to bear, to take away. The word used by the Baptist of Jesus as “the Lamb of God that bears away (airwn) the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The perfect tense emphasizes the permanence of the removal of the bond which has been paid and cancelled and cannot be presented again. “When Christ was crucified, God nailed the Law to His cross” (Peake). Hence the “bond” is cancelled for us. (13)

The Apostle Paul further states to the Church at Galatia that it was on the cross where Jesus became a curse for us:

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Gal. 3:13.

If the work of redemption took place in hell then why don’t any of the biblical authors state this? For that matter why don’t any of their followers (the early church fathers) write about this? It really is not until E.W. Kenyon comes along with his blasphemous theory which has never been supported by the Christian Church since inception.

We do confess in the Apostles Creed that “He descended into hell,” but that does not refer to His atoning work not being finished. Let me quote Crenshaw on this matter:

There are good exegetical reasons to reject the idea that He literally went to hell. First, in Luke 22:42, 43 we read “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you today you will be with Me in Paradise.’ “ The Lord said that the thief would be with Him that very day in heaven, not in hell. That Paradise means heaven is seen from Paul’s statement when he speaks of the “third heaven” and “Paradise” as synonymous (2 Cor. 12:2-4)….Furthermore in Luke 223:46 the Lord said: “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father into Your hands I commend My spirit.’ And having said this, He breathed His last.” He did not commit His spirit to Hades or to the devil…A correct understanding of Peter’s use of David’s words, “You will not leave my soul in Hades…(Acts 2:27), is necessary. Hades here does not mean the fire but the grave. The early church understood it to be the grave. Also, “Hades” sometimes mean the grave (1 Cor. 15:56). Peter used the word to speak of the bodily resurrection of Christ, proving from the Old Testament tht Messiah would rise from the dead (see v. 30), the dead being those who are in graves, not in hell. (14)

There is an in-house debate among genuine Christians regarding what the Apostles Creed means in this statement. Another view is that Jesus did descend into hell victorious and proclaim His victory to those “spirits in prison” (read I Peter 3:18). In this view Jesus is in Abraham’s bosom and in this upper portion proclaims that redemption is complete and at His ascension He took the waiting believers with Him to heaven. This is the position I believe, but I cite Crenshaw to give you a better understanding of what Christians believe regarding this matter.

Jesus the First “Born-Again” Man?

As I quoted from Copeland’s tape series earlier in this article it is the standard belief among the teachers of WOF that Jesus, as a born-again man defeated Satan in his own domain. Their favorite proof text they cite is found in Hebrews:

For to which of the angels did God even say, “You are my Son today I have become your Father”?  {5 Or have begotten you}  (5 Psalm 2:7) Or again, “I will be his Father and he will be my Son”? (5 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chron. 17:13} And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” {6 Deut. 32:43 (see Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint} Hebrews 1:5,6

They interpret this text to mean that at some point God the Son ceased to be God, His human nature being completely torn away from His divine nature, leaving Jesus as only a man in hell and that once Jesus was spiritually re-born (in hell) then “again” the heavenly Father say “and He will be my Son.”

Furthermore they teach that when Jesus was reborn and took the keys of death, hell and the grave from Satan (in hell) and ascends back to the earth and is physically resurrected that is when God “brings his firstborn into the world.” That is the teaching of the WOF cult regarding this text in Hebrews.

Is this the correct interpretation? The WOF preachers miss the point of this text altogether, most likely because their house of cards needs to be shored up by some biblical citation, even if it is taken out of context.

In Hebrews 1:5 His deity comes to the forefront as He is presented as the exalted Son whom the angels are to worship. He is exalted in that He came into the world as the “firstborn,” the preeminent one. Jesus is “begotten” to this relationship with the Father, that is, recognized. The Father is not making Him God or giving Him something new regarding His deity but is not making Him God or giving Him something new regarding His deity but only recognizing what He is: son, begotten firstborn, and God…The today’ has no particular reference and the “begotten” is simply recognition that Jesus is the “Son, the Begotten, the Firstborn, and God” (Heb. 1:5-8). Again the context militates against the idea that He was morally born again. (15)

Crenshaw’s statement is very clear and A.T. Robertson’s comments on these verses also shed light on their true meaning and context:

Heb 1:5 – Unto which , “To which individual angel.” As a class angels are called sons of God (Elohim) (Ps. 29:1), but no single angel is called God’s Son like the Messiah in Ps. 2:7. Dods takes “have I begotten thee”, perfect active indicative of , to refer to the resurrection and ascension while others refer it to the incarnation. And again. This quotation is from 2 Sa. 7:14. Note the use of the predicate with the sense of “as” like the Hebrew (LXX idiom), not preserved in the English. See Mt. 19:5; Lu 2:34. Like Old English “to” or “For” See 2 Co 6:18; Re 21:7 for the same passage applied to relation between God and Christians while here it is treated as Messianic.

Heb 1:6 – And when he again bringeth in. Indefinite temporal clause with , the reference is to the Second Coming as in 9:28. It merely introduces another quotation (Ps. 97:7) parallel to; in verse 5, the reference is to the incarnation when the angels did worship the Child Jesus (Lu 2:13f.). There is no way to decide certainly about it. The first-born See Ps. 89:28. For this compound adjective applied to Christ in relation to the universe see Col. 1:15, to other men, Ro 8:29; Col 1:18 to the other children of Mary, Lu 2:7; here it is used absolutely. The world  “The inhabited earth.  See Ac 17:6 Let worship Imperative first aorist active third plural of here in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. This quotation is from the LXX MSS. (except F) have , but the substance does occur also in Ps. 97:7

The grammar is very clear as is the obvious meaning, the author of Hebrews was not referring to God the Father giving birth or reestablishing Jesus as God the Son. The WOF stresses the two words “again” in the verse in a vain attempt to prove their blasphemous doctrine regarding the atonement.

In putting a very sharp fork into this sacred cow, because it is finished, let’s be very clear that our Lord Jesus paid for the penalty of our sins by bearing them (not becoming a sinner) on the cross and certainly not in hell as a born-again man. This is one of the most damnable of the WOF sacred cows which demands cremation and then a scattering of its ashes over the grave of E.W. Kenyon.   ♦

Copyright ©  2005  Robert S. Liichow

 ** A SPECIAL NOTE CONCERNING THIS ARTICLE:

In writing about this “sacred cow” I used strong language such as “damnable heresy,” and “blasphemy.” It is important for you, the reader, to understand that when it comes to the nature of Christ and His atoning work on the cross it is essential that we have the correct biblical understanding. The WOF cult is wrong to such a degree that those believing what they teach concerning Jesus and His work on the cross cannot be considered Christians. This is no small issue. It is the center of the Gospel. You get this wrong then all that flows from that error leads one only into further darkness.

I am not saying that everyone who attends a WOF “church” is unsaved, only the Lord knows those who are truly His. Yet I do tremble with godly fear fro those who persistently teach such blasphemy even after being warned of their errors on several occasions by various ministers, including DMI.

Please pray for these teachers. They hold sway over millions of professing believers. Ask our Lord in His mercy to open their eyes and grant them repentance and the humility to publicly admit and recant their former doctrines.

________________________________________

End Notes

1. Kenyon, E.W. The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption Old Tappen, NJ 1969, pp. 165, 166,167. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

2. Kenyon, E.W. what Happened from the Cross to the Throne, Old Tappen, NJ, 1969, pp. 63,64,65. The reason for all of the ellipses is for the sake of space. You can find Kenyon’s book in almost any ‘Christian’ bookstore and read it for yourself, but what I have cited carries his main thought regarding the atonement of Christ. Bold type and underlining added.

3. Copeland, Kenneth. What Happened from the Cross to the Throne, side two of cassette one. Underlining added.

4. Copeland, Kenneth. What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost, audiotape #BCC-19, side 1.

5. Osteen, Joel. Sermon, CS-002 – April 23, 2000, “The Truth of The Resurrection.”

6. Kenneth Hagin senior, considered by many to be the “father” of the Word of Faith died recently. Sadly his legacy of error continues through his son and grandson, not to mention the several thousand graduates of his legacy of error continues through his son and grandson, not to mention the several thousand graduates of Hagin’s “Bible” school, Rhema Bible Training Center.

7. Ever Increasing Faith Messenger [June 1980] 7; quoted in D.R. McConnell, A different Gospel, 1988 120.

8. Meyer, Joyce. From the Cross to the Throne. Quote obtained from http://www.myfortress.org/DidJesusPayForOurSinsInHell.html Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

9. Meyer, Joyce. The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make. Pg. 37, 1991 edition. To DMI’s knowledge Joyce has not redacted her booklet which is given away to people who want to get “born-again.” In her mind if they do not accept the sinful man Jesus redeeming us then there can be no hope of them going to heaven! Pretty amazing when you consider that the Orthodox Christian Church has never taught such a doctrine nor accepted any aspects of what the WOF presents as the atonement.

10. Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theolgy vol. 2 pg. 564.

11. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures, BibleWorks software ver. 4.0, 1999

12. Mary K. Baxter wrote a bestselling book which alleges she visited hell on 40 occasions with Jesus. In her book “The Divine Revelation of Hell” she shows Satan and demons ruling and reigning in hell tormented the damned. It is pure nonsense and contradicts the Bible on almost every page, yet has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and now is in something like 30 different languages!

13. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures, BibleWorks software, ver. 4.0 1999

14. Crenshaw, Curtis. Man as God Foot Stool Publication, pp. 431,442, 1994.

15. Ibid. pp. 333-323. Underlining added.

16. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures, BibleWorks software, vr. 4.0, 199.





Doctrine; How Important Is It Really?

30 06 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – April 2005 Vol. 10 Issue 4 – Doctrine: How Important Is It Really? – by Robert J. Shipe

Doctrine;  How Important Is It Really?

 When the Holy catholic Church confesses the second article of the Apostles Creed it states:

“I believe in Jesus Christ His only son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hell. The third day He rose again from the dead and ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”

These historic and profound words which have been said throughout the ages of Christianity, and which are taken from the Holy Word of God tell us about the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, the Holy One from God. Our faith in Him, whom God sent to “take away the sins of the world,” is our only way to eternal salvation and heavenly home “whose kingdom has no end.”

The second article of the creed properly and truthfully describes Jesus, and we Christians adhere to and have total faith in these words when we confess this important teaching or doctrine of the universal church. Doctrine? Is this statement of faith that we confess in the Divine Service doctrine? Or is the idea of the creed being a doctrine of the church just a quirk, something that just happens to be true but really is not indicative of the God-Man Jesus Christ? Can we go even further? Can we rightfully state and prove that Jesus’ very essence, His entire being including His ministry, was firmly grounded in doctrine? If the answer to this question is “yes” then we must ask ourselves; do we need to adhere to ALL doctrine of the church laid out in the confession of the Lutheran church, or only to really important doctrines such as justification and the Trinity? Does all doctrine point directly to Christ, and is all doctrine really important? Or, as many in the Lutheran church today believe; is doctrine talked about too much, causing a stifling of growth. What follows is a brief look at some of these questions.

Let’s look at the very first question from above: Is the Apostles Creed doctrine? If such things as creation, the Trinity, virgin birth, the resurrection, the work of the Holy Spirit, the church and eschatology are considered teachings, then we would have to say that the creed is full of doctrine. There probably would not be too much debate on this, even from those who may disagree on the other aspects of doctrine stated in the previous paragraph.

The disagreement comes with the next question: Is the creed being a doctrinal statement just something that happens to be true but is not consistent with the ministry and very essence of Jesus? In the very first book of the Bible God reveals to us that because of man’s fall He will send a Savior into the world to cleanse man from his sin (Genesis 3). In this very first book, God has already revealed to us the doctrine of original sin and justification in direct connection to the Christ. This doctrine of justification (both objective and subjective) is consistent throughout the Old Testament. The doctrine of the Trinity is also consistently revealed to us when the Old Testament talks about the “Spirit of God” and with the prophecy of the coming of the Christ through the written word of the prophets.

The New Testament is filled with doctrine pointing directly to Christ. The ministry and life of Jesus can be directly traced to every teaching of the church catholic as it is laid out in the confessions of the Lutheran church, The Book of Concord. From Article I, the doctrine of God, to Article XXVIII, The Power of Bishops, each and every doctrine of the church is related to Christ. Any doctrine not relating to Christ, is no doctrine at all but adiaphorous, meaning that a teaching is neither commanded nor forbidden scripturally.

When the church errs on one doctrine, it becomes a snowball effect with other doctrines becoming weak. For instance; if the virgin birth is rejected then the deity of Christ will be questioned, which in turn will effect the doctrine of the Trinity, the atonement of Christ, the justification of the sinner, eschatology and finally our very salvation itself. Even if we take a certain doctrine and err on only one part we are in danger of the same results. When the doctrine of objective justification is rejected, that is, when it is stated that Jesus came into the world not for all of mankind but only for believers, we have also erred on the doctrine of election and predestination, which only God knows. The sacraments themselves become a questionable focus point on this issue of denying objective justification. In the Epitome of the Book of Concord we read;

“God assures us of this gracious election not only in mere words, but also with His oath, and has sealed it with His holy sacraments, of which we can remind ourselves and with which we can comfort ourselves in our greatest temptations and thus extinguish the flaming darts of the devil.” (Formula of Concord Art. XI paragraph 13).

Of course the Bible is full of objective justification doctrine. John 3:16 is one example among many. Listen to what Paul tells Titus: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). So it is not only important to adhere to a doctrine, but to adhere to it completely and unequivocally. It is also important that if “basic Christian doctrine” such as The Trinity and justification by faith alone are adhered to then all other doctrine also needs to be adhered to because all doctrine is tied together.

In many Lutheran churches today while the creed may be confessed every Sunday (though here in Michigan there are many Pastors who do not think the creed is even necessary) it is not thought upon as an important doctrine of Christianity. While this may not be openly taught, it is clearly perceived with the absence of such teaching and preaching.

In fact it can be safely said that very little doctrine (which can be argued is almost always Gospel) is taught at all. Why? Why would doctrine of the Church catholic which has already been shown to be so crucial to and inclusive of the very work and person of Jesus be suppressed and even despised by many churches today? The answers are as varied as the number of missing doctrines themselves.

Many in the Lutheran church believe teaching doctrine and adhering to it takes away from the ministry of Christ. They believe that the Christian’s focus should be on Christ and the way He lived His life. This type of thinking has spawned the ever-popular W.W.J.D. bracelets, “What would Jesus do? Of course our focus needs to be on Christ, but instead of focusing on what He WOULD do, we need to focus on what He did and continues to do for us.

By focusing on what He did for us (justification) and what He continues to do for us (the preaching of His word and the administration of His sacraments) the faith built by His gifts will produce in us good works (sanctification). Justification, the sacraments, sanctification are all-important doctrines that are directly tied together with the ministry of Christ. By teaching and adhering to the doctrines of Jesus the ministry of Christ does not suffer because, as has already been shown with confessing the creed, the ministry of Christ IS doctrine.

In the Great Commission Jesus tells His disciples to teach and Baptize all nations, or all people. He tells them to teach the nations “everything I have commanded you.” If we focus on only the law (what would Jesus do), we are only focusing on those things which cannot save us because the law always condemns us and shows us where we have failed (the second use of the law, mirror). The gifts God gives to us produces faith, which can and do save us. So the ministry of Christ does not suffer but comes alive and comforts the sinner since he knows and understands the doctrines Jesus teaches AND lives.

Let us not forget that Jesus had some very strong things to say about His coming atoning sacrifice in John Chapter 6. If ever there was an opportunity for “church growth” it was when Jesus was feeding the 5000. When Jesus had said this “hard” teaching many of His followers turned and left Him. Did Jesus run after them shouting “Wait, let me meet your needs. I didn’t really mean what I said?” No. Instead He turned to Peter and wanted to know if he too wanted to leave with the rest. Peter answered for all the ages by saying; “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Jesus’ words are His teachings, His doctrine for the believer to learn, adhere to and follow. Because we fail so miserably in following and living Jesus’ teachings make it even more important to know, understand and confess those teachings.

Another reason why doctrine is not taught and is even despised in many of today’s Lutheran churches is because many believe that doctrine is too hard to teach, especially to children. Words such as “original sin,” “justification,” “sanctification,” “sacraments,” “Trinity,” “absolution,” and “eschatology” are too “theological” and obsolete they argue. While some of these words are not found in the Bible, their concepts are. Jesus taught all of these doctrines, not to the scholars of the day, but to fisherman, tax collectors and the like. Mary Magdalene and the Samaritan woman were hardly brilliant women, but Jesus didn’t shy away from teaching any of them important doctrines of His ministry. It could arguably be said that the smartest person Jesus taught certainly was not the easiest, at least by theological and cultural standards; Paul of Tarsus.

Now it may be argued that it was the Christ who was doing the teaching, God Himself explaining His doctrines to all these poor miserable sinners and certainly we cannot compare our wisdom with His. This is no doubt very true, but how about the people who were taught by the disciples? These were mere men teaching people who never hear the Gospel. Romans, Hebrews, Corinthians, Ephesians, and the like, even if they were intelligent, had no idea what these teachings meant, but they were still taught all these doctrines. In fact, how could Christianity have grown if they weren’t taught? Of course, Christianity grows solely by the Holy Spirit and that too is a doctrine, an important doctrine, of the church.

Children too need to be taught the doctrines of Jesus. Of course it wouldn’t be practical to use phases like “justification” with a 4 year old (though with the Holy Spirit anything is possible), but the teaching itself can and must be taught. Let’s look once again to the Great Commission Jesus tells His disciples to Baptize and teach “all nations.” This includes children as well as adults. It is interesting that while the Lutheran church Baptizes babies, many Lutheran Pastors really believe children cannot learn important doctrines of the church. It seems as though they are adhering to only half of the Great Commission. Many studies have been done to suggest that children, even at an early age, can understand teachings precisely because of their uncomplicated state. Jesus Himself gives children a lot of credit when He rebukes His disciples about their attitude toward little ones. Experts agree that a child learns a sport much easier than an adult. The same is true about playing a musical instrument. Cannot the same be said about the teaching of Christian doctrine? “Watered down” and “dummied down” theology is not only an insult to the believer, but it is lazy catechesis and many times “bad” theology as well.

A third and even more cynical argument against the teaching of doctrine is that it is not even needed at all. In fact these people claim that creeds and dogmas interfere with the church and its development and activity. It is interesting to note that the two main groups who hold this position are the very liberal (Modern theologians, who look to reason and science), and the very conservative (fundamentalists including many Baptists and those who belong to non-denominational churches).   While the former are just plain doctrinal or do not teach any doctrine because it does not exist, or fit their reason; the latter claim that creeds, doctrinal statements or confessional writings are merely “doctrines of men.” Those who hold to the liberal view (including many in the Lutheran church, the E.L.C.A. synod in particular) do not believe in the inerrancy of scripture. This essay assumes that the Bible is truly the word of God and is inerrant. If the Bible is not Divinely instituted, if it is not actually the word of God, if it does contain errors, then the source of all Christian doctrine is flawed, and it can be argued that all doctrine IS the doctrine of men. This is not the case however. In his translation of Francis Pieper’s book “Christliche Dogmatik” John Theodore Mueller states:

“Our divine Savior accepted no other norm than Holy Scripture, and He invariably rejected the traditions of the Pharisees and the ‘reasoning’s’ of the Sadducees. When He declared His divine doctrines and refuted errors, He constantly based His teachings on the immovable foundations of the written Word of God. Thus at the beginning of His minister He met the temptations of Satan with the emphatic assertion ‘It is written’ Matt 4,4 and He adhered to this principle throughout His ministry. Cp. John 5,39; Matt5, 17-19; John 8,31; etc.”

Against the view that creeds and confessional writings are just the doctrines or traditions of men, not only can we use the above quote, but Mueller further states:

The Christian Church, which has for its source of faith only the infallible Word of God (Eph. 2,20), must under no conditions acknowledge as right and legitimate any dogma, or doctrine, which is not a clear teaching of Holy Scripture. Or we may say; The dogma of the Christian Church is the doctrine of the Holy Bible.”

This is not to say that only what is found in creeds and confessional writings are to be thought of as the only doctrine of the church, as some who call themselves “confessional Lutherans” believe. We must not be confused about which book (The Bible or creeds and confessional writings) interprets which, Mueller again:

“The question is not: Is this or that doctrine clearly stated in the Confessions? But: Is this or that doctrine set forth in God’s dogma, even through not a word is said about it in the Confessions of the Church Dogmas (Creeds and confessions) have a rightful place in the Christian Church provided they teach the doctrines of God and not the doctrines of means. In its creeds the Christian Church has never developed the Christian doctrine, but only declared the express doctrine of Holy Scripture in its full truth and purity against the errors of heretics and schismatics. Thus, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the like, are not declarations of new, man-made teachings, but the very doctrines of Christ, and His apostles set forth in Holy Scripture.”

We must remember that creeds, doctrines and confessional writings are to accurately reflect the teachings of Scripture. Any doctrine not taken from Scripture is either adiaphorous (not commanded in Scripture) or it is not truly the doctrine of Christ’s teaching (heresy).  So the question remains; Do the confessional writings of the Lutheran church set forth by Melanchton, Luther, Chemnitz and others clearly proclaim the doctrine of Holy Scripture? Or are these writings, along with the creeds of the Church just opinions of legalists who wanted to push their “opinions” on the church at the expense of Christ’s ministry, therefore impeding the work of Christ and stifling the growth of Christianity? We need look no further than the confessions themselves when they say:

“We pledge ourselves to the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments as the pure and clear fountain of Israel, which is the only true norm according to which all teachers and teachings are to be judged and evaluated. Since in ancient times the true Christian doctrine as it was correctly and soundly understood was drawn together out of God’s Word in brief articles or chapters against the aberrations of heretics, we further pledge allegiance to the three general creeds; the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Athanasian, as the glorious confessions of the faith-succinct, Christian, and based upon the Word of God-in which all those heresies which at that time had arisen within the Christian church are clearly and solidly refuted.” (Formula of Concord Solid Declaration, Rule and Norm paragraphs 3&4).

In his book, “A Summary Of Christian Doctrine”, Dr. Edward W.A. Koehler is quite candid, but correct with these excellent observations concerning true and false doctrine as it relates to the Church in general, and the Lutheran Church in particular: “When we say that the Lutheran Church is the true, or Orthodox Church, we do not mean to say that it is the only saving church, or that all its members are true Christians and will unfailingly be saved. Membership in the Lutheran Church is not identical with membership in the invisible Church. But we do mean to say that all its official teachings agree with the Word of God and are, therefore, positively true, and that all doctrines differing from them are heterodox and false Insistence on purity of doctrine is by no means narrow-minded bigotry on the part of the Church. A false doctrine can never produce a right faith, nor can false teaching direct us in the right way (Matt. 15:9).  Beside “trembling” at God’s Word (Is. 66:2), and not daring to depart from its teachings, we know that we can accomplish the purpose of this Word only if we most conscientiously continue in its teachings; for the effect our teaching has on the hearts and the lives of men is determined by the content of what we teach. False doctrines create a false faith in those who accept them, and only the right doctrine can create the right concept in the mind and the right faith in the heart. To make men disciples of Christ the Church must teach ALL that Christ has commanded, and nothing but what He has commanded.” (Matt. 28:20).  As heresies and heterodox teachings are still being spoken within the church today, it would do us well to listen to these words. If these words are taken seriously, if Scriptural doctrine is continuously taught, believed, and confessed, then the Church, as it was set forth in Scripture, and taught by Christ, will remain the truly Christian and catholic Church. ♦

 

About the Author His name is  Robert J. Shipe.  He is 44 years old and lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan. He attends St. Marks Lutheran Church in West Bloomfield, Michigan, where he serves as an elder, lector and usher at St. Marks. His web site address is: http://www.concordtx.org/cpapers/shipe.htm

Bolding and color added for emphasis.




Sacred Cow Number Two – Jesus Ministered Only As A Man

29 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – March 2005 – Vol.10 Issue 3 – Sacred Cow Number Two – Jesus Ministered Only As  A Man – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Jesus Ministered Only As A Man

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This month’s heretical heifer is as crucial to the Word of Faith (WOF) belief system as the “Rich Jesus” cow we cooked on the Barbie last month. The Rich Jesus paved the way for a whole host of false teachings regarding financial prosperity. After all, since Jesus was extremely wealthy, and we are His disciples then logically, we too should be as wealthy as Jesus was during His ministry. Without flogging a dead cow, let me just say there is absolutely nothing wrong with financial prosperity, but it is no more a sign of God’s blessing than being poor is a sign of His curse. Enough said on that topic.

A Brief Definition of Heresy

Often we are tempted to call any and all false doctrine or aberrant teaching “heresy” when technically it is not.

Material heresy  is the belief in or the teaching of biblically unsound doctrines surrounding Jesus Christ out of simple ignorance. Many local teachers within the WOF cult are material heretics, they are just ignorant of God’s Word and repeat what they have heard others more highly esteemed than themselves have taught them at conferences or on cassette or video.

Formal heresy   is far more serious and it generally refers to the teaching of people who have been approached with the truth in love to correct their errors (see Matthew 18). These individuals reject the grace of God He offers in correcting their errors and they continue to hold to them and teach them to others. Sadly, many of the main leaders of the WOF movement fall into this category of heretic. “Formal heresy, a mortal sin, occurs if the person knows his error is contrary to the Church’s teachings, therefore those of Christ, yet continues to hold it. (1)

Originally heresy referred to errors regarding the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. These Christological heresies are included in the following errors, some of which still plague the Church today in more modern garb. The following chart gives us just a glimpse of some of the more “popular” errors regarding the person and work of Christ. This chart is in no way complete, but it does show some of the major purveyor’s of Christological heresy.

From this short chart it is easy to see that errors regarding our Lord swing from denying His deity to only seeing Him as divine. The battle over who the biblical Jesus was, what He accomplished on the cross and who He is as exalted Lord is still a source of bitter debate and division.

scanheresydoc20050001

Heresies still abound surrounding our Lord which is why ministries like DMI exist to uphold the truth of God against the flood tides of error.

As Christians we can “agree to disagree” on some minor points of our faith whatsoever, no glossing over areas of dispute, no going along to get along. The Holy Spirit through Paul was quite clear when He said:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtly, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 2 Cor. 11:3-4

In this text alone we read of the very real danger of having our minds corrupted by evil teachers who preach another Jesus than the biblical Jesus. One can receive a counterfeit spirit and not the Holy Spirit, and people can believe another gospel which is in reality not good news at all, but news that can lead the follower to eternal destruction. Keep in mind this was written to the Corinthians, a church which was known for having all the sign-gifts of the Holy Spirit manifesting on some level in their midst, i.e. they saw themselves as being very spiritual and Paul warns them that they too can be deceived. Not the Corinthians only, but Paul had to warn his flock in Galatia:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But through we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Gal 1:6-9

Again, false teachers had come in behind Paul and taught a perversion of the gospel of Christ. What was Paul’s response? If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel than we have already preached let him be anathema or damned. (3)

Today the Head of the Church is again under attack by heretics who are on a massive global scale boldly proclaiming another Jesus than that taught in the Bible. Their version of who Jesus is, what He did and how He did ministered is a serious and damnable departure from biblical orthodoxy and it is time that this heretical heifer is led to the slaughterhouse and turned into hamburger!

How the WOF Movement Arrived At Their Beliefs Regarding Christ Jesus

Although the heresy that Jesus ministered only as a mere man and never as God is trumpeted most loudly by the WOF cult, it did not originate with them. Actually it was Kenneth E. Hagin who stole (he was a well documented plagiarist) (5) this aberrant idea from two men in particular and then a host of others taught “Hagin’s” error on a global basis. The sources are a Finis Dake and E.W. Kenyon.  From these two men this polluted stream of doctrine has become widely accepted by millions of professing Christians.

It is well beyond the scope of this article to detail the intricacies of Dake and Kenyon which led to the sad state of affairs within much of the sign-gift sects today, but I will briefly give a synopsis of how we got to the place of demoting the Second Person of the Godhead to a mere man.

When God created the earth and placed man on it He did so for them to exercise dominion over His creation (see Gen 2:21). Originally man and woman were created as much like God as was possible:

They were created miniatures of God in attributes and powers and could exercise their powers and attributes like God, but only in a limited and finite way. They had to learn by experience the free exercise of their faculties as to right and wrong, walk in the ways of God and be content with their own creative limitations in strict obedience and submission. Being like God in body, soul, and spirit they naturally could enjoy the same feelings, emotions and desires as God and have perfect fellowship with Him in their mutual administration of the universe. (6)

He must be created as near like Deity as possible, in order to be God’s child and heir…Man, after the fall, in his condition of spiritual death, could not know what the image of God was, without a revelation from Him…Your body is not you. Your mind is not you. You have a mind which you use. You possess a body which you use. Your mind and body are merely instruments of your spirit, the real YOU…Man was created as nearly like the Father-God as was possible. Man was to be God’s companion and under-ruler. His dominion reached to the utmost star and planet. His dominion was as far reaching as Christ’s rule shall be when He shall take over the dominion of the universe.   (7)

Dake and Kenyon believed that Adam was a “little god” a term you hear frequently in WOF circles.   Furthermore the role of Adam and Eve was to rule the universe with their Father. Kenyon adds to the picture the startling (but not original) view that we are not our bodies, nor are we our minds. The “real” person is the spirit which inhabits this tabernacle of flesh. My question is simply this—how does one know if one is hearing from their spirit or their mind? Various books and tapes have been published to help the confused charismatic grow to the place of receiving direct revelation knowledge from the Holy Spirit, bypassing their minds altogether!

Man was created to function on God’s level. Adam walked on that level in the Garden of Eden; but when he disobeyed God, he fell from his position of fellowship and oneness with God. It took Jesus coming to earth as a man to reclaim the authority that Adam gave over to Satan…As a born-again believer; you have the same spiritual capacity that Jesus has. If you spend time studying and mediating in God’s Word and living in the Word the way Jesus did, then you can have every ounce of faith, wisdom, and understanding operating in you that Jesus had during His earthly ministry. It is available to you because the Holy Spirit is available to you. (8)

Watch Video of  Paul Crouch and Kenneth Copeland on TBN say and agree that: “They are ‘little gods’ -  Make no mistake about it, this is what the WOF movement teaches:

The biblical account of man’s creation never says that we possess the attributes and powers of Almighty God. Nor does the Bible teach that we were created to function on “God’s level.” It does say that we are created in the likeness and image of God:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Gen 1:26,27

The Hebrew word for image is tselem and it means resemblance. Likeness is Demuth and simply means similitude. The dominion that God delegated to man did not include ruling the universe with the Almighty, but taking stewardship over the earth from whence he had been formed. Certainly nothing is taught in this text about man being a tri-partite being. Kenyon is the man who coined the familiar phrase “high treason” when it came to the fall of Adam:

“The sin of Adam was the crime of High Treason. God had conferred upon him the authority to rule the universe. This Universe-wide dominion was the most sacred heritage God could give to man…Adam turned this legal dominion over into the hands of God’s enemy Satan.”    (9)

Without beleaguering you with a lot of WOF folly, let me restate their belief thus far. Adam was created as close a duplicate of God as was possible on God’s part. God’s plan was for Adam to co-rule the universe with Him. Adam was created from the dust of the earth and thus for anyone to have legal authority in the earth one had to have a physical human body, one like Adam’s. When Adam sinned he lost the dominion mandate, the authority to rule the universe, he gave this “sacred heritage” to Satan when he sinned.

The result of Adam’s high “treason” was that now Satan was the God of this world (see 2 Cor. 4:4). Charles Capps, a prominent WOF teacher says the following regarding Adam, Satan and the fall:

“Things we see on earth today are perversions of nature. They came about when Adam bowed his knee to the outlaw spirit and turned his authority over to Satan. Then Satan became god of the world system and perverted the things God had created…When Adam turned his authority over to Satan, Satan became the God of the world system…He (Satan) had no authority on earth until he tapped into man’s power and authority. (Adam had given his own God-given authority over to Satan). Someone might ask, “Why didn’t Satan just go over and pick the fruit and eat it?” He couldn’t do that. Satan is a spirit being, and spirits have no authority in earth without a body…Man’s body gives him authority on earth. Satan tapped into man’s authority by using the body of the serpent. He tempted Eve through the serpent and caused Adam to commit high treason. “   (10)

Almost everything I have quoted is pure fabrication on the part of these ignorant false teachers and heretics. Yes Satan beguiled Eve (see 2 Cor. 11:3) and yes Adam sinned by disobeying the commandment given to him by God. NOTHING is mentioned about any transfer of authority from Adam to Satan. NOTHING is mentioned that one needs a physical human body to operate in the earth. We know God is a Spirit (see John 4:24) and He created the earth and did so without a human body! We know that angels are not human beings and possess angelic bodies and they have been in operation in the earth throughout the Bible. The Lord slew all the firstborn of Egypt in an evening (see Exodus 12:39). The Angel of the Lord slew (see 2 Kings 19:35) 185,000 Assyrians in an evening again without the need of a human body.

However fanciful this concept is, it is crucial in the formulation of why Jesus Christ had to come as a man and minister only as a man and not God, but we can’t get to our main topic yet. We still have some “doctrinal doo-doo” to quote Paul Crouch, owner of the Trinity Broadcasting System, to wade through before we can get to our subject.

Please understand, according to these heretics, Adam has now become the slave of Satan, there has been a transfer of natures, man now possesses the nature of Satan having lost the nature of God. Satan now is “god” of this world system and he has control of Adam, Eve and their progeny to operate in and through. Where does this leave the Ancient of Days? Charles Capps brings forth the answer:

“God needed a legal way to get back into the affairs of earth, so He made a covenant with Noah…You may ask, “Why did God have to make a covenant with Noah?” Noah had a body, and it gave him a certain amount of authority on earth. God limited Himself in what He could do because of what He had said and done in Genesis 1:26-28…Satan had gained ascendancy in the earth by gaining Adam’s authority, and God was left on the outside. God couldn’t come here in His divine power and wipe them out. He had to move in an area where it would be ruled legal by the Supreme Court of the Universe…God gained entrance back into the earth through the covenant He made with Noah.” (11)

Satan was now ruler of the earth, Almighty God was “left on the outside” and because He is a Spirit being, He has no authority or egress into the planet He created! According to WOF cult the “legal way” Capps and others speak of is the use of a human body, get one of those and then you can operate in this earth realm. Note also that Capps says the God had limited Himself according to His actions in Genesis 1:26-28.  There is NOTHING in those texts, which say anything at all that Capps says that God limiting Himself whatsoever. Also, I am wondering who sits on the bench of the “Supreme Court of the Universe.” My biblical understanding is that there is One God who exists in Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I know of no one else to whom the Triune God must be accountable to other than Himself.

Another very curious, but important aspect Capps does not clarify is how it was that God was able to even approach Noah in the first place! God had no body, no authority; Satan was now Noah’s “god.” So how is it that God could find a man who being spiritually dead in his trespasses and sins (see Eph. 2:1) could enter into an agreement, which is what a covenant is, with the Living God. Nonetheless, God was somehow able to cut a deal with Noah.

“God gained entrance back into the earth through the covenant He made with Noah. He was still limited in what He could do because of His Word. He started putting things into motion through the covenant. “ (12)

The WOF cult not only has a heretical view regarding Christology, but their view of theology is just as heretical. They teach that God is a limited being and that through His Word He has placed Himself under certain self-limitations. It is taught that our prayers either release God or they bind Him. (13) This makes man more powerful than God on earth. That is sheer foolishness, yet well over a million people believe it. Another popular book buttressing this ignorance was written by John “the bagman” Avanzini (he is always trotted out by Paul & Jan Crouch when they need to bilk the gullible out of more money). (14)

Once God had made His covenant with Noah He was later on able to approach another man named Abram and to make him an offer he could not refuse. Capps puts it this way:

God was setting the stage for the greatest manifestation of love the world had ever know. God was saying, “I’m going to prove the Covenant I made with Abraham is legal. I’m going to prove, once for all, that Abraham will keep My Covenant.” So, He demanded that Abraham sacrifice his only son…He asked for his only son (the one God said would be heir to all….Abraham performed his part very well. God called it done; and in the Supreme Court of the Universe, it was written as done; that Abraham gave his son (Heb. 11:17-19)…Now God could give His Son for the world! Abraham’s obedience in offering his son made it possible for God to offer His Son, Jesus, as the Eternal Sacrifice for eternal redemption … Abraham’s obedience to the Covenant gave God the legal entry into the earth to redeem man with His Son, Jesus. (15)

It was due to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son that God the Father the right to send His only Son and sacrifice Him on our behalf. However, in order to get to the place where Jesus could be born of a virgin God had to begin to speak faith-filled words concerning Jesus, His birth, His ministry and even His death through other willing human beings called prophets.

You will find, as you study your Bible, that God never did anything without saying it first. This was hundreds of years before the prophecy [concerning the virgin birth] came to pass. This is the way God’s faith works! God framed the worlds with words. He was framing this and setting it in motion by saying it through His prophet: A virgin shall conceive and bear a son. The Bible tells us it is impossible for God to lie. Why? Because He releases sufficient faith in every word He speaks to bring it to pass.   (16)

For hundreds of years God through His prophets framed everything about His Son’s mission up to that fateful day when the angel met the Virgin Mary and spoke to her. What was her response? Luke 1:38:  “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. The virgin birth is really no big mystery at all according to the WOF cultists. It happened because Mary operated according to spiritual law. Let theologian Capps (16) continue to make it clear to those who still consider the incarnation a great mystery:

“God had found a woman who said, “Behold (look), You have found her. You have found the one. Be it done unto me according to they word.” It was the Word that was made flesh. Mary conceived the Word of God in her heart…Here is what the Spirit of God said to me about that situation: ‘Mary conceived the Word sent to her by the angel (God’s Word) and conceived it in the womb of her spirit. Once it was conceived in her spirit, it manifested itself in her physical body. She received and conceived the Word of God in her spirit.” (17)

The voice Capps identifies as the Lord goes on to tell Chuck that if His people will simply do what Mary did, receive the promises of God’s Word and conceive them in their spirits (not their minds) then they too will obtain the manifestation of that which they have spiritually conceived. New cars, health, wealth, and spiritual gifts whatever a person can believe for spiritually versus mere mental ascent or “want” they can have. This is how our Lord Jesus was born. Mary simply operated in eternal spiritual laws that govern not only the universe but also God Himself, since He too must use faith (I’m unclear what the object of His faith is) to accomplish anything.

Nine months later the first Christmas festivity is celebrated in a manger at town called Bethlehem. Now according to WOF heterodoxy God was once again in the planet and this time legally, because He came in an “earth-suit,” (a Copeland phrase for the body) or to us low-wattage believers, a physical human body that gave Jesus authority on the planet.

The “Man” Christ Jesus

When Jesus was born we know from last month’s Truth Matters  (18)  that He was born into a home of wealth and privilege. What most Christians do not understand is that when He donned His earth-suit He totally set aside, emptied Himself of all His divine attributes, power and abilities and operated ONLY as a man and NEVER as God. Here are some additional citations from the masters of mayhem:

We know Jesus wasn’t the son of Joseph. He was the Son of God. The majority of religious teaching today tells you Jesus healed the sick in order to prove He was the Son of God. Do you realize that Jesus was thirty years of age when He was baptized? Until that time, He had not healed one person. He had not raised anyone from the dead; He had not done one miracle-not one!…The real reason Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out demons was because He was anointed with the Holy Ghost to destroy the works of the Devil…He stripped Himself of His divine power. He didn’t use any power inherent in Him as God’s Son to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, or destroy the works of the Devil…The power Jesus used in His ministry was not something He brought from heaven with Him. It wasn’t inherent in Him as being the Son of God. Jesus came to earth as a man. He did not take the nature of angels nor the nature of God in His divine power. He took on the nature of man…He came to earth to operate as a man, anointed with the Holy Ghost. Because He was in the earth as a man, He could legally destroy the works of the Devil. (19)

The true Biblical teaching of the Kenosis of Christ is that in taking human form He divest Himself of His divine attributes or at least the power to use them, having laid aside His God-form…if Christ had retained all divine attributes or the free use of them in becoming man, then of what did He empty Himself? And how could we harmonize all the many limitations of His earthly life with the fact that He was equal with God in every sense?…Christ claimed no power or exercised no personal attribute of deity apart from the full anointing of the Holy Spirit. If his works were through the anointing of the Spirit, then they could not be through the exercise of His own natural attributes of deity. (20)

This is the major heresy that all the former quotes have been leading up to —Jesus Christ ministered as a mere man anointed by the Holy Spirit. He did absolutely nothing according to the WOF cult, by virtue of being God the Son. They do not deny that Jesus was God, but what they teach is a view not held by the Church for 2,000 years. He so divested Himself of His deity that He in His ministry was merely a man “anointed” with the Holy Spirit.

Watch Kenneth Copeland teach the error:  – Jesus Ministered ONLY as a Man,

Due to this heretical concept of Christ Jesus it naturally leads to further error which is what I believe was Satan’s goal all along, it leads back to the original lie of “ye shall be as gods.”

Man has been created so nearly like God that it was possible for God and man to become united eternally in one individual…God can dwell in these human bodies of ours. God can impart His life and nature to our spirits and dwell in our human bodies…If the incarnation is a fact, Christianity is supernatural. Every man who has been born again is as incarnation…The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth. (21)

As a born-again believer, you have the same spiritual capacity that Jesus has. If you spend time studying and mediating in God’s Word and living in the Word the way Jesus did, then you can have every ounce of faith, wisdom, and understanding operating in you that Jesus had during His earthly ministry. It is available to you because the Holy Spirit is available to you…Your spirit is just as big as God’s because you are born of Him. (22)

Copeland blasphemes even further in one of his most infamous discourses with his ‘god’ when he says the following:

The Spirit of God spoke to me; and He said, ‘Son, realize this”(Now follow me in this, Don’t let your tradition trip you up.) He said, “Think this was: A twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.” And I threw my Bible and I sat up like that, I said, “What”? He said ‘A born-again man defeated Satan. The first-born of many brethren defeated him.” He said, “You are the very image and the very copy of that one.” I said, “Good-nee gracious sakes alive!” I began to see what had gone on in there. And I said, “Well, now You don’t mean—You couldn’t dare mean that I could’ve done the same thing.” He said, “Oh yeah! If you’d know that —had the knowledge of the Word of God that he did, you could’ve have done the same thing. Because you’re a reborn man too. (23)

I hope you can see where this long train of error is leading and led millions of people. Since Jesus ministered only as a man anointed with the Holy Spirit and He told His disciples that they would do His works and even greater works (see John 14:12) then once we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit then we (through Bible study and mediation according to Copeland) will possess the exact same spiritual capacity and ability of Jesus! In fact, according to some alien spirit he misidentifies as the Holy Spirit, Copeland or any born-again person could have made the atonement for our sins if they simply knew what Jesus knew! That my brothers and sisters is enough to answer the question whether or not the WOF movement is a cult or not, it is a cult and I believe many of its top leaders are not genuine Christians at all.

It is obvious to me and anyone who has studied Pentecostal and sign-gift history that NO ONE has ever come remotely close to doing the same works as Jesus, especially in the realm of divine healing, miracles and even lifestyle. Copeland has been preaching this lie for close to forty (40) years now and what proof can he show us that his doctrine is true? Neither could Hagin (recently deceased) or Kenyon, Dake, Hinn, Meyer, Savelle, Branham, Coe, Lake, Dowie and the list can go on for pages. NONE of these people who taught it in the past or are now teaching it in the present could or can demonstrate it in their own lives! Why not? Because it is a false doctrine and God does not honor false doctrine!

This heretical heifer is based on the false premise that Jesus ministered only as a man and ceased to operate as God. Is this possible?

….the Bible is completely clear that God cannot cease to be Himself, that Jesus never gave up His deity, that the Trinity has always been just that, one God eternally existing in three equal Persons, Who are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.   (24)

For considering themselves to be “Word” people these folks have sure missed some obvious truths in the Gospels. If Jesus were not operating as God then how could He forgive sins? He did not forgive them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed,: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; they sins be forgiven thee. And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. Matthew 9:1-3

There was no doubt in the minds of the scribes that Jesus was claiming to be God and doing ONLY what God can do, forgive our sins. We have the event of Jesus “seeing” Nathanael under the tree:

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said, unto him, Before that Phillip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shall see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. John 1:47-51.

Again, there is no mention of the Holy Spirit revealing this information about Nathanael to Jesus. Nor did Jesus correct Nathan when he declared Jesus to be the Son of God, He did not respond “oh no Nathan, I’m just a prophet anointed with the Holy Spirit. Follow Me and you’ll learn how to do these works too.” One of my favorite texts proves that Jesus ministered as God in His earthly ministry.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. John 10:27-33

A.T. Robertson’s says the following about the statements made by Jesus regarding His sheep:

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life. This is the gift of Jesus now to his sheep as stated in 6:27,40 (cf. 1 Jo 2:25; 5:11).  And they shall never perish. Emphatic double negative with second aoist middle (intransitive) subjunctive of apollumi to destroy. The sheep may feel secure (3:16; 6:39; 17:12,; 18:9)    (25)

This is in the present tense when Jesus said it and He did not say that the Holy Spirit was the One giving them eternal life, but He Himself. The religious leaders knew exactly what Jesus meant when He stated that He and the Father were one (John 10:30) they knew Jesus was claiming to be God and they picked up stones and were ready to kill Him for the sin of blasphemy. Crenshaw answers the WOF cult’s insistence on Jesus being only empowered by the Spirit and never functioning as deity:

It is true that Jesus lived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and did not do miracles except after the Holy Spirit came on Him at His baptism. But this emphatically does not imply that He was not God nor that He was not functioning as God. Because the Holy Spirit performed a certain act does this mean that Jesus in His deity could not do so also? How in the name of all that is biblical and rational could Jesus be God and not function as God?…To maintain that He did not function as both God and man denies the Person of Christ by maintaining that He did not have two natures (God and man) that if He used one of the natures meant that the other nature was voided in some way. Jesus was both God and man, functioning both as God and man…If these men had studied their Bibles and church history, they would have known that they had joined the ranks of the heretics and that these issues had been settled in A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicaea and especially in A.D. 451 at the Council of Chalcedon. In this latter Council, the biblical position of the two natures of Christ was stated to be ‘without mixture,” without change, without division, and without separation.’ In 1600 years we have not improved this statement, nor can we. (26)

In the face of almost two thousand years of recorded Church history the leaders of today’s WOF cult, which is massive and growing rapidly has chosen to reject the orthodox stance of the true Christian Church.

The WOF cult probably comes closest to falling into the ancient heresy of Nestorius. He taught that Jesus performed His works by the power of the Holy Spirit and not His own inherent divine power (sound familiar?). Let me cite Crenshaw again on this point—”The early church fathers recognized that such a position took away the deity of Christ and that He was one person in two natures, which in turn took away our salvation.”

The leaders of the early Church recognized the danger of such beliefs and convened a Council in Ephesus in 431. Those in attendance represented the entirety of the undivided orthodox church. Here are just two of the statements they declared as a result of their meeting:

IF anyone shall say that Jesus as man [His humanity] is only energized by the Word of God [His deity], and that the glory of the Only-begotten is attributed to him as something not properly his let him be anathema.   (27)

IF any man shall say that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Holy Ghost, so that he used through him a power not his own and from him received power against unclean spirits and power to work miracles before men and shall not rather confess that it was his own Spirit through which he worked these divine signs; let him be anathema. (28)

 I stand on very  firm theological ground when I declare that anyone who teaches that Jesus ministered only as a man anointed with the Holy Spirit is damned; because I am merely restating the position of the Church from its inception.

The leaders within the WOF cult take their error to even more damnable depths concerning the atonement for our sins by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but that steak will have to be served in next month’s issue. Let me conclude the brief history of this error by citing the definition of Chalcedon On the next page regarding our Lord Jesus:  ♦

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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The Definition of Chalcedon

Following then, the holy fathers, we unite in teaching all men to confess the one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This selfsame one is perfect both in deity and in humanness; this selfsame one is also actually God and actually man, with a rational soul {meaning human soul} and a body. He is of the same reality as God as far as his deity is concerned and of the same reality as we ourselves as far as his humanness is concerned; thus like us in all respects, sin only excepted. Before time began he was begotten of the Father, in respect of his deity, and now in these “last days,” for us and behalf of our salvation, this selfsame one was born of Mary the virgin, who is God-bearer in respect of his humanness.

We also teach that we apprehend this one and only Christ-Son, Lord, only-begotten–in two natures; and we do this without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other, without dividing them into two separate categories, without contrasting them according to area or function. The distinctiveness of each nature is not nullified by the union. Instead, the “properties” of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one “person” and in one reality {hypostasis}. They are not divided or cut into two persons, but are together the one and only and only-begotten Word {Logos} of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus have the prophets of old testified; thus the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us; thus the Symbol of Fathers {the Nicene Creed} has handed down to us. (29)

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.defide.com/heresy.html on 2/20/05

2. Obtained from http://kevin.davnet.org/articles/heresy.html on 02-23-05

3. Obtained from http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/monothel.htm 2-23-05

4. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance says of this verse: “a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if an animal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction 2a) a curse 2b) a man accursed, devoted to the direst of woes. Obtained from CD Rom BibleWords Ver. 4.0035 p 1999.

5. Liichow, Robert Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kenneth Hagin, But Were Afraid to Ask: details his intellectual property theft in detail, along with his false visions, unfulfilled prophetic words. It is available from DMI for $12.00 which includes postage and handling.

6. Dake, Finis Jennings. God’s Plan For Man. Lawrenceville, GA 1997, p. 385 Underlining and bolding added.

7. Kenyon, E.W. The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption. Old Tappen, NJ 1969 pp. 17,18,20,21 Underlining added.

8. Copeland, Kenneth Walking in the Realm of the Miraculous Fort Worth, Tx. Pp 15,16 Underlining and bolding added.

9. Kenyon, E.W. The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption. Old Tappen, NJ 1969 p. 26 Bold type added.

10. Capps, Charles Authority Special Edition Word of Faith Bible School Tulsa, OK 1984, pp. 29,30,44, bold type and underlining added.

11. Ibid. pp. 50,51 Bold type and underlining added.

12. Ibid p. 51 Underlining added.

13. Capps, Charles Releasing the Ability of God Through Prayer, Tulsa OK, 1978. This book details our authority over “God” in that we control what is allowed to happen on the earth through our faith-filled words/prayers or fear-filled doubt-ridden statements of unbelief. Man is in control, not God.

14. Avanzini, John  Moving the Hand of God. Tulsa, OK 1990. We move or stop the hand (a Hebraic euphemism for authority) of God by both our words and giving in Avanzizi’s case.

15. Capps, Charles Authority Special Edition Word of Faith Bible School Tulsa, OK 1984 pp. 71,72,73. Ibid pp. 76, 77 bolding added.

16. A couple of years ago on the Believer’s Voice of Victory, Kenneth Copeland’s television broadcast he had Charles Capps on for an entire week. Their discussion concerned the end of time and soon return of Jesus. During that broadcast Mr. Copeland called Capps “the greatest living theologian.” I am sorry I do not have the day or date of that broadcast. You are welcome to contact Mr. Copeland and ask him if my statement is true.

17. Capps, Charles. Authority Special Edition Word of Faith Bible School. Tulsa, OK 1984, pp. 81,82

18. Last month DMI stomped into hamburger the sacred cow that Jesus was extremely wealthy as were His disciples. If you just joined us this month you can order last month’s issue, just send us $1.00 to cover coping and postage.

19. Capps, Charles,   Authority Special Edition Word of Faith Bible School, Tulsa, OK 1984 pp. 89,90,91,93 Underlining and bold type added.

20. Dake, Finis Jennings. God’s Plan For Man. Lawrenceville, GA 1997 pp. 386, 387, 388. Underlining and bolding added.

21. Kenyon, E.W.  The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption. Old Tappen, NJ. 1969 p. 151 Underlining added.

22. Copeland, Kenneth Walking in the Realm of the Miraculous. Forth Worth, TX pp. 15,16 Underling added.

23. Copeland, Kenneth “Substitution and Identification”, cassette tape #00-0202. Bold type and underlining added.

24. Crenshaw, Curtis, I.  Man As God The Word of Faith Movement, Memphis, TN. 1994 p.326

25. Bible Works Software, A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures

26. Ibid p. 309

27. Obtained from

http://www.aroundomaha.com/ecf/volume37/ECF37THE_THIRD_ECUMENICAL_COUNCILTHE_htm

28. Ibid.





Sacred Cow Number One – Jesus Was Very Wealthy

23 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – February 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 2 – Sacred Cow Number One – Jesus Was Very Wealthy – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number OneJesus Was Very Wealthy

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Over the next several months the Lord willing, DMI will be writing a series of articles designed to kick over several sacred cows within Charismania. (1) The term “sacred cow” has its origin from Hinduism where the cow is viewed as a sacred animal. (2)   Today it is an idiomatic term for a cherished idea that cannot be questioned or negated. One such major “sacred cow” is the doctrine that our Lord Jesus Christ was extremely wealthy. This false doctrine is accepted and taught by every major Word of Faith (WOF) teacher and televangelist.

The conviction that Jesus was very rich is not an ancillary teaching it is a central core dogma for literally hundreds of thousands of professing Christians. It is so central a concept that when it is demolished many other teachings can no longer be supported, which is why it qualifies as a sacred cow for many sign-gift extremists. After all, if Jesus was not wealthy then the rest of the various teachings on prosperity fall down like a house of card.

Through my research I cannot unequivocally say who originally came up with the wealthy Jesus idea, but it does seem to have taken root during the so-called “Healing Revival” of Post World War II. Earlier divine healers were well known for their personal wealth and riches. Aimee Semple McPherson was know for her opulent lifestyle. (3)   I personally remember Lester Sumrall commenting on how John Alexander Dowie used to have tubs of money and lived very well in his city, Zion, Illinois.

When the new batch of healers came around after WWII it seems they took their financial cues from those “giants” upon whose shoulders they humbly stood. Healers such as A.A. Alan, Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, William Branham were wealthy people. Those who followed them in the early 1960’s to this day such as Kathryn Kuhlman, R.. Schambach, Benny Hinn, W.V. Grant, Peter Popoff and Robert Tilton  are (or were in the case of Kuhlman who is dead) extremely wealthy individuals. Not to mention a host of WOF teachers, as opposed to those claiming healing ministries. These people too are extremely wealthy and openly display their wealth. This list would include people such as: Paul and Jan Crouch, T.D. Jakes, Leroy Tomkins, Ken & Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Fred Price, Jerry Savelle, Norvel Hayes, John Avanzini, etc.

Where Did the Doctrine of Wealthy Jesus Come From?

I believe this false teaching came about by necessity. Somehow, these phenomenally wealthy individuals who claim to be serving Christ and His sheep had to create some form of “biblical” support for their lavish lifestyle. Ergo, the teaching that Jesus and His disciples were wealthy developed.

Once the fake-healers and false teachers could show their followers, who by-in-large were and are biblical fundamentalists, a Wealthy Jesus by twisting biblical texts, then they could explain away their wealth as a natural by-product of following the Savior! As a result of creating a wealthy Jesus an entirely new, formerly untapped vein of revenue could now be mined by these unscrupulous preachers and what is commonly called the “Prosperity Gospel” was invented. (4)

The concept that Jesus was rich and that God wants you to be rich too,  proved to be so popular every sign-gift healer/preacher/teacher/pastor has written books on the topic. Here are a few  examples from the DMI archives: Attach You Lack by Oral Roberts; Financial Prosperity by Elbert Willis; The Blessing of Obedience by Norvel Hayes; Dare to Be A Success by Robert Tilton; The Power to Create Wealth by Robert Tilton; Sowing In Famine by Jerry Savelle; God’s Answer to Insufficient Funds by Rod Parsley; The Laws of Prosperity by Kenneth Copeland; God’s Debt Free Guarantee by John Avanzini; It’s Not Working Brother John by John Avanzizi; The Miracle of Seed Faith by Oral Roberts; Lifestyles of the Rich and Faithful by Fred Price.

How They Biblically “Prove” Jesus Was Rich

As the old saying goes “the best defense is a good offense” which is just what Mr. Avanzizi attempts to do in his attempt to counter the genuine version of the biblical Jesus when he stated:

“I don’t now where these goofy traditions creep in at, but one of the goofiest ones is that Jesus and His disciples were poor. Now there’s no Bible to substantiate that. (5) Let me explain from memory and my background as a former Word of Faith Pastor/Teacher how I was taught that Jesus and His followers were rich.

His Birth

We have to start with the birth of Jesus. Remember the wise men that came to worship Him and they brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (see Matt. 2:11) ? Forget the Christmas card images, there were not just three wise men, but a whole caravan and they brought a tremendous amount of riches with them that they gave to Jesus. Joseph was a carpenter. What we’d called a “skilled tradesman” today. He had enough money to buy a house and establish a carpentry business for two years before Herod sought to kill Jesus. Vs. 11 clearly says they were in a “house” not in the manger by the time the wise men got there. Obviously Jesus came from a fairly well off family. The only reason He was born in a manger was because Joseph could not rent a room, not because he could not afford one! When the angel appeared and warned Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt until Jesus returned after Herod’s death many years later. After that point Jesus took up the profitable trade of being a carpenter like Joseph. Jesus was rich from His very birth, given heaps of gold and extremely valuable incense. What is more, Jesus learned a valuable trade, carpentry (ever see how much a carpenter makes per hour these days?) and He worked at this trade for several years. What do you think Jesus did with the money He made from selling His works? He tithed, gave and God blessed Him for it! “

www@simpletruths.net

www@simpletruths.net

Keep in mind that 99.9% of what I am writing above is a pure reading into the text The facts are 1) we do not know how many wise men came to worship Jesus, any number given is pure speculation which has no place in biblical doctrine. 2) Nor do we know the amount of treasure they gave the Christ child. 3) We have little background on Joseph apart from his genealogy (see Matt.1:1) and we know Joseph was a carpenter. 4) There is nothing that says they lived off the treasure given to them while in Egypt. 5). Yet Jesus was viewed by others as the carpenter’s son (see Matt 13:55).  In that time it was traditional for sons to follow their father’s trade, so I will accept that Jesus did probably work as a carpenter for some period of time. However, to equate what carpenter’s were paid in Jesus’ day with what a “union” carpenter makes per hour today is the height of folly. 6) Jesus fulfilled every aspect of God’s law which would have included tithing, but that does not equate with being materially wealthy. (6)

His Ministry

Jesus began His official ministry after being baptized by John, coming out of the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit and choosing 12 disciples. In order for Him to do all this He had to have money, and a great deal of it. Elbert Willis (7) states the WOF view very specifically in the following citation:

Many people say, ‘Well, Jesus didn’t have prosperity. He didn’t have any money. He had twelve disciples and seventy others with Him. They were not working, but they were serving Him. That equate eighty-three men. And their families? Have you ever heard a pauper having a treasure? Do you have so much money that you need a treasurer to keep up with it? (8)

To begin with the Bible does not say that Jesus was a “pauper” nor does it say He had so much money that He covered all the living expenses of eighty-three men and their families. The Bible mentions nothing about Jesus financially providing for these men’s families. The families of these chosen disciples continued to work as they had before one of their sons was called to follow the Master. Then Elbert makes mention, as do all prosperity preachers, about the fact that Jesus had a “treasurer.” Here is a statement by the grandfather of greed, Oral Roberts:

Second, we know Jesus was not poor because He needed to have a treasurer. According to John 13:29, a disciple by the name of Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ treasurer. Now a treasurer is needed by a person who must deal with large sums of money that have to be accounted for, write checks, make purchases and pay bills, taxes and debts. You ask, “Did Jesus have that kind of money? Yes, or He wouldn’t have needed a treasurer. He had so much that later Judas stole from the treasury.   (9)

The problem with their concept stems around their reading more into the word “treasurer” than should be, it is an exegetical error on their part. They carry today’s concept and read it back into the text. They had no paper currency in those days, they had coins. It is hard to imagine that Jesus was so wealthy that Judas alone could have lugged around a very heavy bag of gold, silver and copper coins all day long (gold is rather heavy, or so I am told). All that is meant by the passage is that Jesus had appointed Judas to be in charge of whatever money they had. The Greek word for “bag” , which according to strong’s Concordance is defined as “a small box for other uses, a purse to keep money in”. (10) Hardly the impression today’s prosperity preachers give their followers. They like to make such a big deal out of the fact that Judas carried the money bag that Mr. Copeland gives the following “revelation” concerning Judas and the purse:

Jesus knew the spiritual law of giving and He operated it proficiently. He gave to the poor at such an astonishing rate that when Judas left the room during the Last Supper, some people thought that he must be going to give to the poor. Do you want a hundredfold return on your money? Give and let God multiply it back to you. No bank in the world offers this kind of return! Praise the Lord!”

It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with the WOF doctrine of spiritual laws, (prosperity is just one of them) but there is nothing stated in the Gospels that our Lord manipulated spiritual laws of any sort. I am sure that our Lord gave to the poor, but there is nothing that says that “He gave to the poor as such as astonishing rate” because if this were the case, then according to Copeland Jesus would have received 100 times back on every denarii’ He gave away. As an aside: if this spiritual law is biblical then why aren’t more televangelists giving money away at an astonishing rate. The only thing that is astonishing is that people are so biblically dull that they give millions to these shysters who keep far far more than they ever give away!

His Clothing

Jesus wore designer clothing. Naturally one must realize that Jesus as a man who fulfilled the Law walked in the blessings of Abraham (see Deut. 28:1-14) would only wear the best clothing available.

John 19:23 says “He had a seamless robe’ Roman soldiers gambled for it at the foot of the cross. It was a designer original. It was valuabe enough for them to want it…And then there are Christians that have a poverty complex that says “Well, I feel guilty about having nice things.’ Jesus didn’t. (12)

I’m telling you, Jesus wasn’t poor, and He didn’t wear no rags, either. Like we march in on these Easter little plays that we do at our church, with those raggedly sheets on. Jesus didn’t have no rags on.  He wore designer clothes, honey! (13) uniquely made and different from the ordinary. But Jesus clothes were even better than that. (14)

That is all Jesus said to them is, ’Come follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men’ They went ’Wooo right!’ And they followed him! Why? The boy was dressed in  an Armani Suit! He was wearing Berlini shoes!  Come on now! Why do we know that? Because He hung on the cross at Calvary they gambled for His clothes. They tossed dice for His underwear! You think anybody here would gamble for your underwear [Laughs]? You could have some pretty fine DNKY underwear, but you ain’t got anything that I’m gambling for [Laughs]! He was dressed fine! The rich will always follow the rich. The poor will follow the rich. But the rich will never follow the poor! So, how do we get these strange notions and these strange attitudes? Where does that come from except religious attitudes that kept the body of Christ poor! Amen? (15)

The above statements would be humorous (and such teachings are usually delivered in such a fashion to the devotees) if it were not so blatantly false and misleading. This concept is mouthed by every WOF preacher and televangelist.

Because Jesus wore the best, than that gives them license to wear Armani suits and spend over $1,000+ on a pair of shoes. In fact, Bishop T.D. Jakes buys his shoes in Detroit from another Bishop who owns a very upscale haberdashery. My wife and I personally witnessed Robert Tilton raise over $1,000 for a pastor so he could go and buy some “decent shoes to preach in.”

His Message

“Not only did Jesus come from a wealthy family and He no doubt was a member of the Galilean Amalgamated Carpenters Union, but He wore only the best clothes and much of what he taught centered around financial prosperity. I realize this may be new insights to many of you but hear the revelation knowledge from today’s anointed:

“The very first thing on Jesus’ agenda was to get rid of poverty! Would you like to know why some people, including ministries, never get out of poverty? Its not because they aren’t smart. Its because they don’t have windows of opportunity. It because they’re not anointed. If you’re not anointed, poverty will follow you all the days of your life. His first objective was to get rid of poverty. (16)

What Duplantis is referring to is the first message Jesus preached in Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor… Jesse goes on to say that the Gospel message to the poor is that they do not have to be financially poor any longer. He and others teach that Jesus was not addressing spiritual poverty, but financial lack. What is good news to a poor person? That they can become rich! Jesse goes as far as to say that Jesus was more interested in preaching financial prosperity than opening the eyes of the blind because He mentions it first in His message!

Markus Bishop in his book, Our Covenant of Prosperity in the section entitled “Jesus Came To Reverse the Curse” writes this about the same text:

“Not only has God anointed Jesus, but He has appointed Him. He had commissioned and commanded Him to preach the Gospel, the Good News, to the poor. And Jesus wasn’t talking here about the ‘poor in spirit.” He was talking about preaching the Good News to those who were experiencing financial difficulty, poverty and lack. He was saying, ‘God has sent Me to preach the Good News to the poor.’ What is ‘good news’ to the poor? That they would be redeemed from financial poverty. (17)

All of the prosperity pimps twist this verse and make the central theme of the Gospel message of Christ redemption from the “curse” of poverty. There is not one reputable theologian, commentary writer or scholar who agrees with their aberrant abuse of the text. John Gill’s and Mathew Henry’s commentary say the following regarding Luke 4:18:

because he hath anointed me; or “that he might anoint me”; the Ethiopic version renders it, “by whom he hath anointed me”, for it was with the Holy Ghost he was anointed, as to be king and priest, so likewise to be a prophet: hence he has the name Messiah, which signifies anointed: and this unction he had, in order to preach the Gospel to the poor: in Isaiah it is, “to the meek”, which design the same persons, and mean such as are poor in spirit, and are sensible of their spiritual poverty; have low and humble thoughts of themselves, and of their own righteousness; and seek to Christ for durable riches and true righteousness, and frankly acknowledge that all they have and are, is owing to the grace of God: and generally speaking, these are the poor of this world, and poor in their intellectuals, who have but a small degree of natural wisdom and knowledge: to these the Gospel, or glad tidings of the love, grace, and mercy of God in Christ, of peace, pardon, righteousness, life and salvation by Christ, wre preached by him, and that in so clear a manner. (18)

Thirdly,  What his work was. He was qualified and commissioned, 1. To be a geat prophet. He was now entering upon Observe, (1) To whom he was to preach; to the poor; to those that were poor in the world, whom the Jewish doctors disdained to undertake the teaching of and spoke of with contempt; to those that were poor in spirit, to the need and humble, and to those that were truly sorrowful for sin; to them the gospel and the grace of it will be welcome, and they shall have it, Mt. 11:15   (19)

No commentary I researched agrees with the interpretation given by WOF movements’ sinisters. (20)  If Jesus’ message was really one of how to become financially wealthy why did He proclaim that “blessed are the poor in spirit because theirs is the kingdom of God” in Matthew 26:11? How could there be any poverty when Jesus fully preached the Gospel and equipped His ministry term to go out and do likewise?

I can imagine my conversation with Mr. Copeland regarding prosperity. It might go something like this: “Well, Mr. Heresy-hunter” how do you explain the encounter Jesus had with the rich, not poor, but RICH young ruler?” I’ll first allow Mr. Copeland to give us his insights:

“Whenever I read something that seem contradictory to this, I immediately stop and straighten my thinking. The truth is hidden in some way and I rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal it to me…Here is how the Lord revealed the truth to me: As I read Mark 10:20, And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed FROM MY YOUTH, the Lord spoke to me and said, “See this is why he was rich”….When the rich young ruler walked away, Jesus said; ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!’ Then an interesting thing happened. The next verse says, ‘And the disciples were astonished at his words.’ We have taken it for granted that Jesus and His disciples didn’t have anything. But the Bible describes Peter, James, and John as professional fisherman. They owned more than one boat and they had household servants! When Jesus spoke those words, it shook them. (21)

According to Copeland “this was the biggest financial deal that young man had ever been offered, but he walked away from it because he didn’t know God’s system of finances.  (22)   In Copeland’s warped mind Jesus was really offering this man 100 times what he currently was worth. Copeland even says that Jesus was offering this man apostleship, but the man missed it because he had many possessions. Please do not lose sight of the fact that Copland claims to have obtained his insight into this text by divine personal revelation from the Holy Spirit.

If one takes time to read the entire discourse the true meaning becomes very plain. Jesus exposed where this man’s heart was. He loved his possessions more than Jesus. Hew was unwilling to part with them and he certainly was not willing to take up his cross and follow Jesus to be crucified.

This is why Jesus goes on to make the following comment: Mark 10:23 “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God!”  He repeats Himself in the next verse by saying”…how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!”   To make His point even stronger in vs. 25 over Master says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”

His disciples were astonished because in those days being wealthy was a sign of God’s approval and blessing and if the rich could not make it in, even one, like the rich young ruler who seemed to keep the Law, then what hope did they have?

In and of themselves they had no hope of salvation. Their wealth (or lack thereof), and their attempts at keeping all of God’s law perfectly would not grant them entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus knowing their anxiety and concern tells them simply in vs. 27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Man cannot save himself, but with God all things are possible even the salvation of the rich! The rest of the chapter leads into the 100-fold nonsense commonly twisted by Copeland and others to mean if you give $10 then God will give you back $1,000 (talk about voodoo economics!).

The 12 Were Rich

You don’t think that Jesus would choose 12 poor men to be His representatives do you? What kind of kingdom ambassadors would penniless beggars be? Also, why would 12 rich men follow some poor guy? No, Jesus chose 12 highly successful businessmen, sort of the prototypical “Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association.” Think about it for a moment, Matthew was a tax collector, sort of like being a CPA today, a man use to handling large sums of money. Copeland just informed us that Peter, James and John were professional fishermen with several boats. Although nothing is ever actually stated about the personal wealth of any of the original 12 in the biblical text, that does not matter to these men because it bolsters their false teachings on personal financial wealth.

In summary we now understand according to the prosperity preachers that Jesus was born into a well to do family, was given a huge amount of treasure by a large caravan of wise men, that He was a professional carpenter and that he wore only the finest clothing. We see that His main message was how to break the curse of poverty off of poor people. Lastly, we also have learned that His original followers, hand-picked by Jesus, were also wealthy businessmen of various types.

This is the Rich Jesus which is presented on a regular basis on Christian television and radio. This is the version of Jesus taught about in national and international crusades, in hundreds of books, audio and video tapes series by men and women who hold sway over the spiritual lives of literally millions of professing Christians. Now, let’s consider what the Bible actually shows us concerning the biblical Jesus.

We must always have “sola Scriptura” as the overriding principle of our spiritual understanding. Everything we know for certain is found within the Bible. Any other non-biblical source is not to be considered authoritative and where the Bible is silent we too had best keep silent or at least be honest enough to admit that we have wandered into the realm of speculation, which at times may even seem to be logical, but it is still speculation, and non-authoritative. The vast majority of what the so-called prosperity preachers proclaim is either speculative in nature, outright invention or a twisting of the biblical texts they cite.

His Birth

We know little of Joseph and his family other than he came from Nazareth up to Jerusalem for the census and to pay his taxes. The fact he paid taxes does not mean he was wealthy, poor people to this day (including yours truly) pay taxes. What it does mean is that Joseph was an honest man and obeyed both God and the civil authorities.

We are not told of how much wealth/treasure the wise men gave to Jesus and his family. Nor do we know how many of them came to worship the Christ child. They were a small enough group to effectively slip away from King Herod’s grasp (see Mat.2:12). In the next verse we are told that the angel of the Lord told Joseph to take his family to Egypt. They stayed there until Herod died, which many commentators say was approximately two years after he slaughtered the children. We have no idea where in Egypt Jesus and His family went.

From historical records we do know something of the carpentry business of that day and even a bit about the area Jesus grew up in from archeology. Carpenters were not the highly paid “skilled craftsmen” in the same vein as our union member carpenters are today. To make such comparisons is sheer folly.

Archeological excavations of Nazareth from the 1950’s show the village of Jesus’ day were occupied by poor agricultural people. As Jesus grew up he worked in the trade of a carpenter not a trade know for its wealth. How did Jesus become rich with a step-dad who was only a carpenter? There is absolutely no indication anywhere that he was wealthy from his family or from traveling with His disciples. By the way, He took no tithes. (23)

Nothing in the biblical record states that Joseph was wealthy, or that they became wealthy from the gifts given to them by the wise men. Nothing is stated about Joseph having a thriving carpentry business which was profitable or that Jesus became wealthy as a carpenter.

His Ministry

Above I cited a quote from Elbert Willis who would have us believe that Jesus was so wealthy that He supported eighty-three (83) men and their family for the duration of His ministry! Nothing in the bible even remotely suggests this. It is pure fabrication on Elbert’s part to bolster his other teachings on why it is God’s will for the rest of His children to be wealthy like Jesus was. Read what Jesus had to say concerning His cousin John:

And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. Luke 7:24-25

Doesn’t it strike you as more than a bit strange, in light of prosperity teachings, that John the cousin of Jesus would be poor? Yet by all accounts he was at best an ascetic. Didn’t Jesus give to the poor “at an astonishing rate” as Mr. Copeland teaches? The Bible says in Mark 1:6   And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey…”  This is hardly a prophetic picture of someone “wearing the best, eating the best and driving the best.”  Let’s very briefly consider the picture of the servants of God by the author of the book of Hebrews:

And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae [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 fight 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 scourging, 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 desserts, 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: Hebrews 11:32-39   (24)

Here is the famous “hall of faith” and in reading it what do we see? That the true servants of God were mocked; scourged, imprisoned; stoned (with real rocks); cut in half; killed by the sword; and they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins {a far cry from Armani and Gucchi}. We read what God’s opinion was — “of such the world was not worthy.” These prophets were destitute, afflicted and tormented. How is this possible with the scenario that the Gospel “pimps” have put forward? If anyone walked in covenant with God it had to be these O.T. believers. Yet, what was their reward? Far from blessing, it seemed that all the weight and curse of sinful mankind fell upon them. Any in-depth study of the Hebrew and Greek will demonstrate that these faithful servants of God were anything but operating in the “blessings” of Abraham!

Regarding His ministry if Jesus taught the “100-fold” return on one’s giving as is alleged by the opines of opulence then why do they restrict the flow to 100 times ones financial giving?  Our Lord mentioned families, houses, and lands (see Mark 10:30) in the same text, PLUS persecutions. These aspects of Jesus’ teaching they blithely skip over.

In Mark 15:41 we read that women followed Jesus and “ministered” to Him, in the Greek the word is from which we get our term deacon of deaconess. Robertson gives more grammatical insights regarding their ministry to our Lord:

Followed him and ministered unto him. Two imperfects describing the long Galilean ministry of these three women and many other women in Galilee (Lu 8:1-3) who came up with him to Jerusalem. (25)

Jesus had material support from these women and others who followed Him, He was not “supporting” His disciples and their families. What about His teaching concerning wealth and poverty? Let the Master answer for Himself:

Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me Mark 10:21. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed: for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13,14

Jesus did teach about giving and living sacrificially for the sake of others. He never taught that those who give will necessarily receive a return on their giving in this life. He did (and does) teach us to give to those who ask, (see Matt. 5:24) expecting nothing in return. He wars His followers concerning the various dangers which can creep into a life and choke the Word of God:

And these are they which are sown, among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful,. {lusts: or, inordinate desires}. Mark 4:18,19.

In Mark 10:24 again He reminds His disciples “how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” Jesus was not against the rich as some “liberation theologians” would have us believe, nor was He “pro” poverty either. He taught a balanced message that was predicated on the principle of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (see Matt. 6:33) and the things you have need of your heavenly Father will supply. If Jesus was rich then why didn’t He have enough funds in His treasury to feed the five thousand a simple meal?

When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Phillip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And his he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Phillip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Jesus said, Make the men sit down. No there was much grass I Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him. There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes; but what are they among so many? And in the place so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. John 6:5-10.

Apparently they did not even have 200 pennies in their treasury to feed these hungry folks. Jesus did not rely upon money, He looked to His Father in heaven, the real “Source” of all humanities needs and gave thanks and worked a miracle.

How do the gurus of greed deal with the account of Jesus and His disciples picking the kernels of wheat from the field to eat on the Sabbath?

And it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plunked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day? Luke 6:1-2

Why weren’t Jesus and His “boyz” sitting down at the Four Seasons or The Stork Club, feasting on roasted lamb with mint jelly while knocking off a few bottles Judean Roederer Cristal Rose-Limited champagne? Instead we find Him wandering through a corn field eating the gleanings which were left for the poor (see Lev. 19:9). How do these masters of money parse the following teaching of Christ?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:19-21

This image of Jesus is never taught by those who make merchandise of God’s greedy and gullible saints:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies even denying the Lord that brought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of {pernicious ways: or, lascivious ways, as some copies read} And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

These false teachers exist to make the people of God nothing more than a means to provide for their very lavish lifestyles. The huge conventions, radio and television broadcasts are little more than means to sell their books, tapes, videos and of course ask for “seed-faith” gifts…all the while promising the people 100 times back on what they give or in some cases the promise divine healing, restored marriages, salvation of lost family and friends. They vary their “pitch” depending upon the audience and all of these people are MASTERS at zeroing in on precisely what hot button to push to open folks wallets.

His Clothing

I have never heard so much made out of so little. Matthew 27:35 “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” There are several explanations why the Roman soldiers threw dice for His garments. The Bible itself gives us the main reason—to fulfill the prophecy in Psalms 22:18.

The Roman soldiers gambled for His garments because they were poor themselves, this is a historical fact and possibly they thought that since Jesus had the reputation of being a miracle worker possibly his clothes may have contained some form of magic power. They may have heard about the woman with the issue of blood who (in their minds) merely touched the hem of His garment and was healed instantly (see Mark 9:20-21).   Soldiers being poor are a well documented fact the other comments are my own mere suppositions.

This much is certain there is nothing stated about His clothing that set Him apart from others due to His fine duds, in fact, those who did not know Him could not pick Him out of a crowd (see John 18:4-5).

His 12 Disciples

Prosperity Pontificators teach that Jesus hand picked only wealthy men. What does the biblical record show us? If Peter owned a successful fishing business then why after the resurrection of our Lord did he say:

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” This does not mean they had none on them at the time; they had NO money. These are words out of their own mouths recorded by the Holy Spirit through their hands as Scripture. Acts 3:6

Or prior to Jesus’ death when it came time to pay the temple tax, did Jesus call Judas over and reach into the very deep and heavy bag of gold, silver and copper coins?

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money, that take, and give unto them for me and thee. {a piece….or a stater; it is half an ounce of silver, in value two shillings and six pence, sterling about fifty five cents}. Matthew 17:27

Not only didn’t Peter have the tax money neither did Jesus. Now if Jesus was so very wealthy, then why did this type of a miraculous provision have to be made? How do these pilfering profiteers answer James the brother of Jesus when he says:

“Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”   James 2:5

What about the Apostle Paul, true, he was not one of the original 12, but he was a genuine apostle and he was not wealthy. He says: as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.2 Cor. 6:9-10

To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor working with our own hands.” 1 Cor 4:11-12 But what things were gain to me these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Paul a Pharisee was quite rich yet he gave it up for a life to follow Christ. Phil 3:7, 1:1

Paul wrote approximately two-thirds of the New Testament and yet he describes his life as a faithful servant of Christ as living with (1) hunger; (2) thirst; (3) poorly clothed; (4) beaten; (5) homeless; as (6) poor; and (7) having lost everything for the sake of gaining Christ Jesus. NONE of this matches up with the false teaching of a Rich Jesus and Wealthy Disciples.

These men and women are teaching lies either out of ignorance or out of sheer greed. In either case God’s people who buy into these lies in the end hurt themselves spiritually because they have been led further from the true Christ of the Bible. Many people end up shipwrecked in their walk, with Christ because of being taken by these religious con-men. DMI deals with people in both of these categories on a regular basis.

Like all pyramid schemes the only people the “law of prosperity” work for are those who are propagating them to an eager (and often greedy) audience who want to believe it is God’s will for them to be wealthy. How are they to arrive at that status? Simple—GIVE and GIVE and GIVE to these false teachers. Attend all their seminars, buy all their books and tapes, and “sow your biggest financial seed” into every appeal letter they have mechanically sent out to you via a huge computerized mass-mailing company. Oh yes, make sure and NEVER DOUBT the man/woman of God, if you do then you have “dug up your seed” and will have to start the whole process over again.

Now, being set free from such foolishness and darkness it amazes me that more people are not waking up to the FACT that this stuff just is not working in the lives of the rank-and-file. After 30+ years of teaching this, if it were true then the Church should be filled with thousands of multi-millionaires. Yet the only ones becoming millionaires are Benny Hinn; Kenneth Copland; Paul & Jan Crouch; Joyce Meyer; Bob Tilton; Peter Popoff; John Avanzini; Oral & Richard Roberts; Juanita Bynum; Paula White; T.D. Jakes; and Don Stewart to name just a few who teach these lies. ♦

Copyright © Rev. Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. “Charismania” refers to people who have given themselves over totally to the more extreme beliefs and practices on the fringe of the sign-gift/Pentecostal movement. Not all Pentecostal or Sign-gift Christians believe the sacred cows which will be dealt with over the next few months.

2. Some trace the cow’s sacred status back to Lord Krishna, one of the faith’s most important figures. He is said to have appeared 5,000 years ago as a cowhead, and is often described as bala-gopala, “the child who protects the cows” Another of Krishna’s holy names, Govinda, means “one who brings satisfaction to the cows.” Other scriptures identify the cow as the “mother” of all civilization its milk nurturing the population Obtained from http://www.uwec.edu/geography/Ivogeler/w111/articles/Hinduism’s%20Sacred%20Cow.htm  on 01-27-2005.

3. Bahr, Robert. The Least of All Saints, The Story of Aimee Semple McPherson. This is an insightful and fascinating book about one of Pentecostalism’s most prominent female evangelists and pastors.

4. I am well schooled in this particular sacred cow being a graduate from Robert Tilton’s Bible School in the mid-1980’s. Mr. Tilton, is still on television, bilking God’s ignorant and desperate sheep out of millions of dollars. Tilton has mastered this false doctrine and raised it to a literal art form of sorts.

5. Hanegraff, Hank, Christianity in Crisis, Harvest House, 1993, p. 187

6. Tithing was a law or a principle we had to follow if we wanted God to financially prosper us. 10% off the gross (not the net) was expected, along with offerings. If this law was carried out faithfully on every dime that came into our hands then and only then would the windows of heaven be opened and God would pour out so much money we would not have room enough to hold it all (see Mal. Ch. 3). Any biblical scholar will point out that there were several types of tithing required under the law and much of it had little to do with giving money.

7. A good book on this topic is entitled The Lie of the Tithe available at http://www.gotosimpletruth.com/Tithing/tithe4.html. ( added: See you tube video below)

8. Many people are not familiar with Ebert Willis. I have met him on a few occasions and have literally 100% of his tapes and books. He was one of the “purest” of the WOF teachers. He actually believes what he teaches and lives by it. Elbert was so hardcore that once he spoke at Rhema and delivered a famous sermon entitled “Wet Water Walkers or Dry Boat Sitters.” It was so tough on the Hagin crowd, he was never invited back to speak again.

9. Willis, Elbert Financial Prosperity Fill the Gap Ministries, Lafayette, La 1975, pp. 19-20

10. Oral Roberts. “How I Learned Jesus Was Not Poor, page 16 Underlinging added for emphasis.

11. Obtained from http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=1101&version=kjv on 01-27-05

12. Copeland, Kenneth The Laws of Prosperity Kenneth Copeland Publication, 1974, pp. 66-67

13. John Hagee, Praise-A-Thon, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) November 5, 2004. Bold type added for emphasis.

14. Creflo Dollar Crusade, Feb 9, 1999. Information obtained from http://www.geocities.com/Bob_Hunter/dollar.html.

15. Oral Roberts. How I Learned Jesus Was Not Poor, page 24

16. Dr. Thomas C. Anderson, Praise The Lord, “TBN, August 21, 2004 Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

17. Jesse Duplantis, Voice of the Covenant Magazine, Pg. 5 Nov. 1997

18. Bishop, Marcus Our Covenant of Prosperity Harrison House Publishers 1997, pp. 47-48.

19. Obtained from http://www.gospelcom.net/eword/comments/luke/gill/luke4.htm Underlining added for emphasis.

20. Obtained from http://www.gospelcom.net/eword/comments/luke/mh/luke4.htm Underlining added for emphasis.

21. My research included the Geneva Commentary, Jamison Fausett Brown, Darby, Johnson, McGarvey Pendleton, Wesley and Lightfoot.

22. Copeland, Kenneth The Laws of Prosperity Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1974 pp. 63-65.

23. Ibid. p. 64

24. Obtained from http://www.letusreason.org/Wf15.htm on 02–2-05 Underlining and Bold type added for emphasis.

25. Robertson’s Word Pictures BibleWorks CD, ver. 4.0.0035p. 1998 Underlining added for emphasis.





Soli Deo Gloria

18 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter -January 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 1 – Soli Deo Gloria – by Rev. Robert Liichow

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The Reformation reclaimed the Scriptural teaching of the sovereignty of God over every aspect of the Believer’s life. All of life is to be lived to the glory of God. As the Westminister Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” This great and all consuming purpose was emphasized by those in the 16th and 17th Centuries who sought to reform the church according to the Word of God. In contrast to the monastic division of life into sacred versus secular perpetuated by Roman Church, the reformers saw all of life to be lived under the Lordship of Christ. Every activity of the Christian is to be sanctified unto the glory of God.   (1)

This last of the five Reformation solas is really the capstone of them all because it points us back to the source from which the other four we’ve studied come from, that being Almighty God. The Cambridge Declaration gives us a very succinct statement on this glorious truth when it states:

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel. (2)

I especially enjoy the inclusion of the negative proclamation that God cannot be properly worshipped “if our worship is confused with entertainment.” Entertainment is exactly what the majority of charismatic extremist and today’s so-called evangelical churches worship portion of the service consists of.

As a recovered charismatic extremist pastor I can speak from experience when I say that our church services were divided up into basically four segments. First, we began with “praise” which consisted of fast paced songs and refrains written to get the people’s emotional juices going. The praise portion of the service was when the band would really begin to “rock out.” Some of us would get out into the aisles and dance (yes I used to cut-the-rug quite a bit in those days). People would clap in time to the songs, most of which were man-centered,  i.e. we sang about how good we felt about Jesus or how good He made us feel.

There was little theological content in anything we sang. The praise portion was where you’d hear the loud shouts of “halleluiahs” and the like. This specific type of singing would continue for a minimum of fifteen minutes to half an hour or more, depending on the congregation. (3)

After getting the people emotionally stimulated the worship team (we did not have a choir, most charismatic churches and many seeker-sensitive churches  do not believe in them, they smack of the dreaded traditionalism) would slow the tempo and we’d then enter into the second phase of the service called “worship.” Worship differed greatly in emotional content and rhythm. In our congregation the lights would be lowered to almost total darkness apart from the words on the screen. Allegedly, this was to help the people focus on “God” and not the person standing next to them.

These songs also lacked a strong theological basis yet in most cases they were directed towards God. Many of the songs were little more than refrains which were sung over and over again. This technique is really a form of hypnotism and helps those engaged in worship (and we were strongly encouraged to give over selves over totally to “God” during this portion of the service) empty their minds.

If you have ever attended a Benny Hinn non-miracle crusade you will see Mr. Hinn and his musicians utilize the same technique to get the people to swallow-and-follow whatever he is teaching. In our church, the dimmed lights, the repetitive chanting of simple refrains would go on sometimes as long as an hour.

Then the lights would begin to brighten and lo-and-behold the Pastor was standing behind the pulpit and the third portion of the service began with the delivery of the message. The Cambridge Declaration also mentions that God cannot be truly worshipped when the proclamation of the Law and Gospel is neglected and is replaced with messages on self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment. In fifteen years of active charismatic ministry in various leadership roles I never once heard the term “Law and Gospel.” Although in no way could we be considered liturgical in the confessional understanding, we did have our own form of preaching through our lectionary. Our charismatic “lectionary” consisted of sermons on: the nine sign-gifts of the Holy Spirit; financial prosperity; divine healing, submission to authority; the anointing; revival; the office of the restored prophet and apostle, etc. (4)

The fourth section of the church service was the alter call. This is here the pastor or visiting guest speaker do all they can to cajole the attendee to make a decision to receive Christ. During this phase of the service in our church we had four specific aspects which were usually mentioned: 1) salvation 2) rededication, i.e. backsliders to repent and renew their commitment to the Lord; 3) divine healing, where hands were laid on folks who usually got slain in the spirit at this point of the service; 4) baptism in/with the Holy Spirit, a second work of grace by which the individual was instructed on his or her need to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit and the proof they had in fact received the Spirit was that they would speak with other tongues. (5)

The reason I take time to go through these four aspects common to most charismatic congregations is that “worship” is seen as only one part of what is done, it is a specific moment in the service itself. We did not have the understanding that fro start to finish the entire service was to be an act of worship. Nor did everything we did point to Jesus Christ and His work alone on our behalf. A great deal of what was done and is currently being done in congregations such as these can genuinely be considered as man-centered entertainment and not done for the glory of God alone.

The preacher may be exalted after the service (as he is led away by his armor bearers) “oh, wasn’t pastor Jakes so anointed this evening!” The singer or musicians are often praised with uproarious hand clapping and hooting and hollering for more. People are lifted up and “glorified” but often God is alone in some back corner, only given lip service.

What Does It Mean to Give Glory To God?

Thomas Watson, a Reformed Confessional theologian made the following comments about the first question of the Westminister Short Catechism :

Q 1: What is the chief end of man?

A : Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Here are two ends of life specified.

1. The glorifying of God.      2. The enjoying of God.

1. The glorifying of God. ‘That God in all things may be glorified’ (1 Peter 4:2) The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. ‘Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Cor 10:31). Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial; now, man being a rational creature, must propose some end to himself, and that should be, that he may lift up God in the world. He had better lose his life than the end of his living. The great truth is asserted, that the end of every man’s living should be to glorify God. Glorifying God has respect to all the persons in the Trinity; it respects God the Father who gave us life; God the Son, who lost his life for us; and God the Holy Ghost, who produces a new life in us; we must bring glory to the whole Trinity.

When we speak of God’s glory, the question will be moved, What are we to understand by God’s glory?

There is a twofold glory: [1] The glory that God has in himself, his intrinsic glory. Glory is essential to the Godhead, as light is to the sun: he is called the ‘God of Glory’ (Acts 7:2). Glory is the sparkling of the Deity; it is so co-natural to the Godhead, that God cannot be God without it. The creature’s honour is not essential to his being. A king is a man without his regal ornaments, when his crown and royal robes are taken away; but God’s glory is such an essential part of his being, that he cannot be God without it. God’s very life is in his glory. This glory can receive no addition, because it is infinite; it is that which God is most tender of, and which he will not part with; ‘My glory I will not give to another’ (Isa. 48:11). God will give temporal blessings to his children, such as wisdom, riches, honour; he will give them spiritual blessings, he will give them grace, he will give them his love, he will give them heaven; but his essential glory he will not give to another. King Pharaoh parted with a ring off his finger to Joseph, and a gold chain, but he would not part with his throne. ‘Only in the throne will I be greater than thou’ (Gen 41:40). So God will do much for his people; he will give them the inheritance; he will put some of Christ’s glory, as mediator, upon them; but his essential glory he will not part with; ‘in the throne he will be greater.’ [2]  The glory which is ascribed to God, or which his creatures labour to bring to him. ‘Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name’ (1 Chron. 16:29) And, ‘Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit;’ (1 Cor. 6:20) The glory we give God is nothing else but our lifting up his name in the world, and magnifying him in the eyes of others. ‘Christ shall be magnified in my body’ (Phil. 1:20).

What is it to glorify God?

Glorifying God consists in four things: 1. Appreciation, 2. Adoration, 3. Affection,  4.Subjection. This is the yearly rent we pay to the crown of heaven.

[1]. Appreciation To glorify God is to set God highest in our thoughts, and to have a venerable esteem of him. ‘Thou, Lord, art most high forevermore.’ (Psa.92:8). ‘Thou art exalted far above all gods’ (Psa. 97:9) There is in God all that may draw forth both wonder and delight; there is a constellation of all beauties; he is prma causa, the original and springhead of being, who sheds a glory upon the creature. We glorify God, where we are God-admirers; admire his attributes, which are the glistering beams by which the divine nature shines forth; his promises which are the charter of free grace, and the spiritual cabinet where the pearl of price is hid; the noble effects of his power and wisdom in making the world, which is called ‘the work of his fingers’ (Psa. 8:3). To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem him most excellent, and search for diamonds in this rock only.

[2]. Glorifying God consists in adoration, or worship.  ‘Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ (Psa. 29:2). There is a twofold worship: (1) A civil reverence which we give to persons of honour. ‘Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the children of Heth’ (Gen. 23:7). Piety is no enemy to courtesy. (2) A divine worship which we give to God as his royal prerogative. ‘They bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces towards the ground’ (Neh. 8: 6). This divine worship God is very jealous of; it is the apple of his eye, the pearl of his crown; which he guards, as he did the tree of life, with cherubims and a flaming sword, that no man may come near it to violate it. Divine worship must be such as God himself has appointed, else it is offering strange fire (Lev. 10:1). The Lord would have Moses make the tabernacle, ‘according to the pattern in the mount’ (Ex. 25:40). He must not leave out anything in the pattern, nor add to it. If God was so exact and curious about the place of worship, how exact will he be about the matter of his worship! Surely here everything must be according to the pattern prescribed in his word.

[3]. Affection This is part of the glory we give to God, who counts himself glorified when he is loved (Deut. 6:5). ’Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.’ There is a twofold love: (1) Amor concupiscent, a love of concupiscence, which is self-love; as when we love another, because he does us a good turn. A wicked man may be said to love God, because he has given him a good harvest, or filled his cup with wine. This is rather to love God’s blessing than to love God. (2) Amor amicitiae, a love of delight, as a man takes delight in a friend. This is to love God indeed; the heart is set upon God, as a man’s heart is set upon his tresure. This love is exuberant, not a few drops, but a stream. It is superlative; we give God the best of our love, the cream of it. ’I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate’ (Song of Solomon 8:2). If the spouse had a cup more juicy and spiced, Christ must drink of it. It is intense and ardent. True saints are seraphims, burning in holy love to God. The spouse was amore perculsa, in fainting fits, ‘sick of love’ (Song of Solomon 2:5). Thus to love God is to glorify him. He who is the chief of our happiness has the chief of our affections.

[4].  Subjection  This is when we dedicate ourselves to God, and stand ready dressed for his service. Thus the angels in heaven glorify him; they wait on his throne, and are ready to take a commission from him; therefore, they are represented by the cherubims with wings displayed, to show how swift they are in their obedience. We glorify God when we are devoted to his service; our head studies for him, our tongue pleads for him, and our hands relieve his members. The wise men that came to Christ did not only bow the knee to him, but presented him with gold and myrrh (Matt. 2:11). So we must not only bow the knee, give God worship, but bring presents of golden obedience. We glorify God when we stick at no service, when we fight under the banner of his gospel against an enemy, and say to him as David to King Saul, ’Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine’ (1 Sam. 17:32) A good Christian is like the sun, which not only sends forth heat, but goes its circuit round the world. Thus, he who glorifies God, has not only his affections heated with love to God, but he goes his circuit too; he moves vigorously in the sphere of obedience. (7)

When Christians live lives of Soli Deo Gloria, they live consciously for their King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every aspect of their Sunday service is worship from the first words spoken to the benediction given. Everything points to Jesus Christ, His perfection, our imperfection, and the grace the Father has provided freely in giving us His only begotten Son.

What is more is that the early Evangelical Christians saw the entirety of their lives as mere extensions of what they participated in on Sunday. All of their life was, and rightly so, viewed as a form of worship and a way to glorify their Lord in even the most mundane aspects. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul when he exhorted:

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the mane of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Col. 3:17

 

This is the practical goal of this sola as Herbert Samworth says the following:

The Reformers also taught that it was possible to live victoriously and serve God in the world. This is the meaning of soli deo gloria. God receives all the praise for one’s salvation and, out of thankfulness, one dedicates their entire life to the service of God. That service of God might consist in different types of work but was united in the Person Who was served. In contrast, the Roman Church taught that the clerical life was the only life that truly could please God. Thus one had to withdraw from the world in order to live for God. The Reformers, while stressing that salvation was entirely of God, were equally determined to show that one honored God by living for Him. (8)

God is to be given the glory in all we do and say, for it is in Him that we live and move and have our being (see Acts 17:28). Sadly, this is not the case in the vast majority of the most well know charismatic “ministers.” The question which needs to be asked at the end of any spiritual endeavor is, who was glorified? Man or God (it will always be one or the other)? Here is an account given by Oral Roberts:

“Brother Roberts told his two visitors, “I want you men to know that my vow to God is to touch neither the gold nor the glory. I am sure God will meet the needs of my forthcoming ministry in an honorable way. And all the funds will be handled in the highest manner. (9)

That sounds humble, and possibly Mr. Oral Roberts even meant it when he said it. However, history has proven that he has broken his vows to God regarding touching the “gold and the glory.” To begin with Mr. Roberts is a multimillionaire. He and his remaining son, Richard (his other son committed suicide and his daughter died in a plane crash) own multiple homes and Oral sits on the boards of may prominent businesses in Tulsa, not to mention all the property his “ministry” owns.   Secondly, regarding the glory it seems that whenever a minister does anything to take the focus off of God and places people’s minds and hearts on himself, he has attempted to take God’s glory to some degree. EVERYTHING Roberts has created bears his name! Allow me to cite a few examples; “The Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association.” then later we had “Oral Roberts University,” and even “Oral Roberts Publishing.” His pictures and more than a few statues adorn the campus bearing his name. Isn’t this touching the glory a bit?

Frankly, any ministry which is named after its founder garners more than a little scrutiny from me. Such as Benny Hinn Ministries and Benny Hinn Media Ministries; Kenneth Copland Ministries; John Hagee Ministries; Marilyn Hickey Ministries; Joyce Meyer Ministries; T.D. Jakes Ministries Inc.; Jesse Duplantis Ministries; Jerry Servalle Ministries International; Creflo Dollar Ministries; Jimmy Swaggat Ministries; Peter Popoff Ministries; Leroy Jenkins Evangelistic Association. This list could go on for pages. Note that each of the ministries (or sinistries as a brother as called them) point directly to themselves. None of them have biblical names or even names which simply designate who or what they are about! What is more if you get their magazines (which I highly recommend) you will see their pictures on every other page. It is possible to get some literature that may mention the name of Jesus once or twice, but the founder’s name forty or fifty times.

Mr. Hinn is a classic case study in being a psychopath and fraud. It is no mistake that Mr. Hinn has instructed his mass choirs (my wife and I have been a part of several of them) to sing “How Great Thou Art” as Hinn ascends to the platform to begin his dog-and-pony show This is not done coincidentally, sure the song is about how great God is, but while the desperately ill and devotees are caught up in the song…there appears God’s man of faith and power the divine healer of the hour in his bright white suit & Nehru collar. Who is really receiving the glory, who is really the great one? God or Benny Hinn? Benny when pressed will confess that God is the Healer, since this is true, then why do people need to come to his miracle crusades? Well because God has chosen Benny as His conduit for miracles of healing. I urge our readers to go visit http://www.pfo.org and purchase he most recent copy of “The Confusing World of Benny Hinn.”   It is the seminal work exposing this man for exactly what he is. Also the Trinity Foundation has some outstanding videos/DVD’s exposing this fraud, visit them at http://www.thedoormagazine.com

None of the above mentioned organizations live for the glory of God and His glory alone. They exist to enlarge their sphere of spiritual influence by any means necessary. The messages they preach are devoid of any mention of Law or Gospel What is a shame is that millions of people are being led astray by these biblically illiterate preachers, who in some cases are outright charlatans, teaching their followers to live lives of selfish shallow pseudo spirituality. Well did the prophet Isaiah prophesy of such people when he said:

Wherefore the Lord said, Foreasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, [even] a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall perish, shall be hid. Isa. 29:13-14

There is a great deal of excitement in the praise and worship aspect of charismatic services and revivals. Everything from smoke machines, dancing of all forms (including a form of conga-line/Jericho march two-step), banner waving pageantry, dramatic skits, dance ministries 9with women and men in varying degrees of immodest dress at times), not to mention the use of emotional testimonies thrown into the mix. All of these elements equal “worship” and are supposedly done unto the glory of God. Yet God is far from such nonsense, as well intentioned as it might be in some cases.

The Lord through the prophet says that these people do draw near to Him with their mouths, they even say the right words, i.e. got the “God-talk” down to a science. Yet for all their religiosity they fail and miserably so. Why?  Their hearts are far from God.  The Hebrew word for “far” (rachag) to become far or to become distant.   This heart distance fro the Lord was not an overnight experience, but a process begun in their lives by following the doctrines (precepts) of men versus adhering faithfully to the Word of God.

What is the Lord’s response to those who act religiously, but are in reality far from Him? He says that He will proceed to do a marvelous work a true “wonder” (those in the sign &wonders movement have received one from the Lord’s hand and do not even know it) among these apostates. The wisdom of their wise men (teachers) shall perish (ahad) has a very strong Hebraic meaning including: to be destroyed, to vanish, to be exterminated. The understanding (hiynah) which is defined as understanding or discernment of their leaders shall be hidden from them!

Some may wish to argue that the context of the text is referring to Israel, which is correct; however, it can be legitimately applied to those in the Church because our Lord applied to the religious leaders of His day and He is the Head of the Church today (see Col. 1:18)  so it can be applied to erring leaders in our time. If you want to see a great example of what I have been writing about then all you have to do is get on-line and watch and listen to a Bonnie & Mehesh Chavda service about “ushering in the glory” at http://www.maheshchavda.com/video/ushering_in_the_glory-april_2004.asp

See Video here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKHaRYeJdBU     (It could disappear at anytime, like the TBN clip recently did, so see it while you can! )

Make no mistake as was stated earlier in the article by Watson that God will never share His glory with us. Yet so many conferences, books and tapes are produced about how we can tap into the glory of God versus teaching the flock how to live lives that bring glory to our Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria  must become the heart motivation of God’s people once again. There needs to be a genuine revival within the Church where God’s people again become humbled by the fact that all we are and all we have are because—of grace alone, by faith alone, in the work of Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone and thus to God alone belongs all the glory…which we dare not even attempt to touch or usurp. Selah.   ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Strawbridge, Gregg, Ph.D This statement came from a document was originally written for the 1993 Reformation Celebration at Audubon Drive Bible church in Laurel, Ms, as part of a worship service and can be found at http://www.fivesolas.com/5solas.htm. Underlining added for emphasis

2. You may read the entire Cambridge Declaration on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals located at http://www.christianity.com/ace.

3. Our former congregation, Jubilee Christian Church, was known as a warfare church because of our praise and worship which was consciously used as a tool of spiritual warfare against the principalities and powers over our city. We based this practice on Ps. 149:6-9 [let] the high [praise] of God [be] in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; Ps. 149:7. To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written; this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD

4. These messages would comprise a year’s worth of teaching. The list may vary a bit depending on what flavor of charismatic church you attend. Our church was a syncretism of Word of Faith doctrines and newer prophetic/apostolic restored teaching. Some church’s would have regular series of spiritual warfare, demons and deliverance, sign and wonders, etc.

5. DMI offers a book entitled: “Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

6. My wife, Tracy, and I operated the prayer room for people seeking the baptism. We laid hands on approximately 1,000 people the vast majority of whom left muttering some form of gibberish which made them and us feel very good. When someone would fail to begin to speak ecstatically we then went into encouragement mode and told them they might begin to speak when they were alone in prayer or we’d be glad to minister to them again next Sunday.

7. Watson, Thomas, Westminister Shorter Catechism. Obtained from http://www.bpc.org/resouces/watson/wsc_wa_001.html Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

8. Samworth, Herbert. What Was the Reformation? Obtained from http://www.solagroup.org/articles/faqs/faq_0034.html.

9. Roberts, Oral My Story. Tulsa, OK Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, 1961 p. 73

10. I recommend people get their free materials, get on their mailing list because you will begin to build an original source collection of teachings, failed prophecies and a huge collection of “Spirit” empowered fetish objects, aka “point-of-contact” items. Plus you will become well versed in their lingo and fundraising techniques.

11. BibleWorks ver 4.0.03 p. For Windows, 1998 BibleWorks, LLC Software Hebrew cited from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

12. For those who love the word of god and want to understand its proper place in our lives DMI is offering a CD entitled “Sola Scriptura” delivered by Rev. Liichow on 01-02-2005 (its different from the article).

13. Ibid

14. ibid 





Sola Scriptura

17 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – December 2004 – Sola Scriptura – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The Cambridge Declaration

THESIS ONE: SOLA SCRIPTURAscantri20040001

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

Christian behavior must be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

The above statement is a good reaffirmation of what was originally voiced by Dr. Martin Luther when he, as a Roman Catholic monk, stood before the governing authorities of the Church. The following is a brief summation of that encounter:

Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church and father of the Protestant reformation, was publicly rebuking the Catholic Church for its unbiblical teachings. The Catholic Church threatened Martin Luther with excommunication (and death) if he did not recant. Martin Luther’s reply was “Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning – unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, – and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me! Amen!” (1)

What Luther and the reformers who followed his lead were saying was that Holy Scripture alone was the only true and infallible guide for all Christian’s faith and practice. Furthermore, that any traditions within the Church had to have their basis within the context of the Scriptures. Traditions are valid only when they are based on Scripture and are in full agreement with Scripture. Tradition that are in contradiction with the Bible are not of God and are not a valid aspect of the Christian faith. (2)

The Reformation was at its core a fight to get back to the Bible and discard a plethora of manmade doctrines and traditions which had been increasing over the years in the Church. At this point it is helpful to begin by defining our terms so that we understand how the following term “doctrine” is being used.

The word “doctrine” in the Greek is: {did-akh-ay’} Meaning 1) teaching 1a) that which is taught 1b) doctrine, teaching, concerning something 2) the act of teaching instruction 2a) in religious assemblies of the Christians, to speak in the way of teaching, in distinction from other modes of speaking in public. (3)

Doctrine simply means “teaching.”  The question before us is what is the source of the teaching we are adhering to? It is important for us to always remember that according to the Bible there are only three sources of doctrine impacting our lives at any time. Hopefully we are building our lives on the doctrine of God.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. Mark 1:22

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection: not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,   Hebrew 6:1

Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Titus 2:10

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:9

The Bible speaks much of the doctrine of God and of Christ (who is God) and this doctrine is found only within the pages of the Bible, it is not found outside of the Scriptures themselves. As Christians we have no other authoritative source that we can point to and say “this is the Word of the Lord.” The Bible also speaks of the doctrine of men. In the following citation we read of our Lord rebuking the religious leaders of His day:

For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to [his] father or [his] mother, [it is] a gift, by whatsoever ever thou mightiest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:4-9

Manmade religious tradition will always supersede the authority of God’s commandments, it is simply part of our fallen nature to attempt to exalt ourselves above God. Manmade teachings and practices may seem religious and appear to promote the worship of God but this is simply not the case. Jesus reminds the religious leaders and the crowd surrounding him of what the prophet Isaiah said regarding people who attempt to draw near to God with their mouths and endeavor to honor God with their lips, yet their hearts are far from Him! The Apostle Paul addressed the same issue of the danger of false manmade doctrine in his letter to the Church at Colosse:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ… Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Colossians 2:8, 20-22

From the inception of the Church, various false teachers, false prophets and false apostles have tried to supplant the authority of Scripture by adding their own teachings and practices in an attempt to gain power over the spiritual lives of God’s people and to destroy the foundational doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

There is yet one more source of doctrine, which must also be considered and that is the doctrines of devils. This one in particular is often the source of the false doctrines of men:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their consciences seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 1 Timothy 4:1-6

Expressly is used only once in the entire New Testament and here we read of the Holy Spirit stating unequivocally that in the latter times some people shall depart or fall away from the true faith in Christ and His work alone. What causes this apostasy? These individuals give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, that word can also be translated as demons.

How do demons teach? Obviously they speak through people who are open to them.  The examples that Paul cites specifically are doctrines of devils. The first one is the doctrine which forbids marriage. To this day the Roman Catholic Church forbids both its priests and nuns to enter into marriage. The Shaker cult forbade their members to marry and demanded people get divorced who joined their ranks. Other sundry cults and sects have also forbidden marriage among its members. The Bible clearly denotes this as a doctrine of devils. The other area Paul cites concerns dietary regulations. For many years the Roman Catholic Church forbid people to eat meat on Friday (I am not sure if this practice is still being enforced). Many other groups demand strict vegetarianism and some “Hebrew” roots cults demand strict dietary adherence. Obviously, Hasidic and Orthodox Jews still keep the Old Covenant dietary laws too. Any group that demands that their members abstain from eating anything that God has created to be enjoyed is promulgating a doctrine of devils.

The sign of a “good minister” is one who puts his portion of Christ’s flock in remembrance of what the Bible has taught, nourishing or feeding the flock in the words of faith and good doctrine. In verse 13 Paul exhorts Timothy to give himself over to reading, to exhortation and doctrine. Verse 16 he warns this young Pastor to “take heed” of his spiritual well being, the doctrine entrusted to him and to continue in them! I like Robertson’s commentary on this verse:  1 Tim 4:16(6)

Thus we see that according to the Scriptures there are three sources of teaching; God; man; and devils. The realization that Luther came to was that much of what was being presented as the doctrine of God was in fact nothing more than the commandments of men and doctrines of devils. He came to decry the fact that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) had elevated its own traditions to a position of either equaling the authority of the Bible or even superseding it. The next quote is from a Roman Catholic web site giving their view of Martin Luther:

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) is to be given the credit for inventing the false doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Bible Only or Bible Sufficiency). He had separated himself from the authority of the Papacy and the Magisterium, and thereby so doing lost all authority regarding Church matters. He then turned to the Bible, a book as the sole source of authority. Can a book ever be a sole source of authority?

The above Roman Catholic apologist considers Sola Scriptura a false doctrine and that Luther had the audacity to turn from the traditional authority of the Pope and Roman Catholic traditions and look to the confines of the bible, “a book” the author says, “as the sole source of authority.”  (7)

This article is not about Martin Luther nor is it a polemic against Roman Catholicism (RC) as a religion. What is important to notice is that even to this day RC upholds its traditions as equal in authority with the bible and when the Bible and tradition do not agree it seems that manmade doctrines and those of demons prevail. Let me cite just a few extra-biblical traditions concerning the Virgin Mary within the R.C.C. These are taken directly from their own catechism in use today.

The most blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue and merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin (CCC491) (8)

 The Bible never teaches any such thing! Mary was chosen by God to be His vessel through whom our Lord was born, but she too was born in sin and shaped in iniquity (see Psl. 51:5).  She needed to have her sins washed away by the blood of Christ just as all who would be saved. By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long. (CCC493) (9)

No, Mary was a sinner as we all are. If she did not, then the Apostle John is a liar when he says in 1 john 1:10  “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” They teach at the time of her death Mary was taken spiritually and physically into heaven:

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven… (CCC974) (10)

There is nothing scripturally to base this claim upon. The Bible speaks of Enoch being taken up and Elijah riding off to heaven in a chariot of fire but no mention is made concerning much at all about the life or death of Mary after the resurrection of Jesus.

…the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix (CCC969) (11)

Mary is prayed to which contradicts the plain teaching of the bible when we are told by the Apostle Paul to Timothy in his first letter to him:

For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:5,6

In fact, within the R.C.C. there is a strong movement afoot to see to it that Mary is elevated to an even higher status, to that of being the Co-redemptrix:

The Blessed Virgin Mary is to be called Queen not only on account of her divine motherhood but also because by the will of God she had a great part in the work of our salvation…..In this work of redemption the blessed Virgin Mary was closely associated with her Christ…Just as Christ, because he redeemed us, is by a special title our King and Lord, so too is Blessed Mary, our Queen and our Mistress, because of the unique way in which she co-operated in our redemption. She provided her very substance for his body, she offered him willingly for us, and she took a unique part in our salvation by desiring it, praying for it, and so obtaining it…–Ad Coeli Reginam. (12)

The entire cult of Mary within the R.C.C. is an abomination and a blasphemy. These are not minor issues that we can agree to disagree about. Teaching that Mary played a vital role in our redemption is teaching a doctrine of devils; one which reduces the centrality of Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God who alone bore the sin of the world.

These are only some examples of non-biblical traditions that the R.C.C. practices, such as the infallibility of the Pope when he makes declarations from “Peters” seat in the Vatican. Or the belief in purgatory where the partially saved sinner goes to have the rest of their sins purged away by fire. Not the mention the practice of indulgences which are still being given.

It is easy to understand why the R.C.C. took such a violent stance against Luther and all those reformers who followed him. The R.C.C. knew that if the Bible ever got into the hands of the “common man” in a language they could read and understand that the R.C.C. would lose the stranglehold it had on the souls of millions of people.

The printing of the Bible by Guttenberg in German and Luther pointing people to the Bible as the only rule for faith and practice shook the very foundations of the R.C.C.

The medieval church assumed that Scripture, the church’s tradition, and scholastic theology were identical in content. Any tensions between Scripture and tradition were resolved by the use of the Quadriga, the medieval system of biblical interpretation which recognized four levels to the truth of Scripture: literal, topological, allegorical and anagogical. Great respect for the authority and content of the Scripture could thus coexist with a theology and practice quite different from the Scriptures…When the authorities refused to acknowledge the authority of the apostolic tradition in Scripture over the ecclesiastical tradition, the Reformers loyally continued to assert the apostolic tradition against those who claimed apostolic succession. (13)

In other words when the R.C.C. was faced with their own human traditions which did not agree with a plenary reading of the Scripture they created a system by which they could make the Bible agree (more or less) with their manmade doctrines. The Reformers refused to accept this and stood with Luther asserting that the Scriptures Alone, Sola Scriptura was the only authority to be submitted to when it came to faith and practice within God’s Church. One of the most succinct statements of the sufficiency of Scripture is found in the introduction of the Formula of Concord:

Thus understanding of the significance of the confession is also stated explicitly in the introduction of the Epitome of the Formula of Concord. ‘In this way the distinction between the Holy Scriptures of Old and New Testaments and all other writings is maintained, and Holy Scripture remains the only judge, rule, and norm, according to which as the only touchstone all doctrines should and must be understood and judged as good or evil, right or wrong.” (14)

Today as Evangelicals and Protestants in reading the above statement we might respond, “So what’s the big deal? Of course, the Bible is our only guide.” After all, don’t all Evangelicals and Protestants agree with Paul’s statement to Timothy in:

All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  2 Timothy 3:16

God has revealed Himself to us through His Word and He has given us the Bible as the only concrete source by which we are to measure every spiritual experience, doctrine and practice. The Word of god is an unwavering arbiter on all matters concerning the life of faith.

…the knowledge of god is not therefore at the mercy of human forgetfulness or mystical notions of spirituality. God has given Scripture and the church to connect the once-for-all act in Jesus Christ with the present act of the Holy Spirit, who is the presence and power of the risen Lord. God calls His church into being by the word of the gospel and by His presence as the Holy Spirit equips and empowers His people for His service. To His church He entrusts the Scriptures, the prophetic and apostolic witness to Jesus Christ, the bearer of His word. (15)

In 1860, Charles A. Hodge wrote an article on the value of Sola Scriptura in his book Outlines of Theology, the following comments come from the chapter heading “The Rule of Faith & Practice.” this chapter is written in somewhat of a catechism format with a question stated and then answered. The following citation is from question six and fifteen:

6. What argument do the Scriptures themselves afford in favor of the doctrine that they are the only infallible rule of faith?

1st. The Scriptures always speak in the name of God, and command faith and obedience.

2nd Christ and his apostles always refer to the written Scriptures, then existing, as authority, and to no other rule of faith whatsoever. (Luke 16:29; 10:26; John 5:39; Rom. 4:3; 2Tim 3:15).

3rd The Bereans are commended for bringing all questions, even apostolic teaching, to this test. (Acts 17:11; see also Isa. 8:16).

4th. Christ rebukes the Pharisees for adding to and perverting the Scriptures  (Matt. 15:7-9; Mark 7:5-8; see also Rev. 22:18, 19, and Deut. 4:2; 12:32 Josh 1:7.

15. What is meant by saying that the Scriptures are the Judge as well as the rule in questions of faith?

‘A rule is a standard of Judgment; a judge is the expounder and applier of that rule to the decision of particular cases,’ The Protestant doctrine is -

1st That the Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

2nd  (1) Negatively. That there is no body of men who are either qualified, or authorized, to interpret the Scriptures, or apply their principles to the decision of particular questions, in a sense binding upon the faith of their fellow Christians.

(2) Positively. That Scripture is the only infallible voice in the church, and is to be interpreted, in its own light, and with the gracious help of the Holy Ghost, who is promised to every Christian (1 John 2:20-27), by each individual himself; with the assistance, though not by the authority, of his fellow Christians. Creeds and confessions, as a form, bind only those who voluntarily profess them, and as to matter, they bid only so far as they affirm truly what the Bible teaches, and because the Bible does so teach. (16)

The battle regarding trusting in the sole authority of the scriptures has been going on ever since God’s Word was written down as an eternal record of His truth. This explains the stern warning given in the Bible concerning tampering with its contents:

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

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Deut. 12:32

Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Prov. 30:5-6

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book. Rev. 22:18,19

Not only is the R.C.C. (and some mainline Protestant denomination) guilty of violating the above texts so is every “Bible-based” cult. Many within the charismatic movement directly violate the above Scriptures also. I have already mentioned several examples in the R.C.C. so I will briefly mention some examples in a few of the cult groups.

The Unification Church of the Holy Spirit, aka the “Moonies” have supplanted the bible with Mr. Moon’s revelation called “The Divine Principle.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka The Mormons, although using the Bible, their main focus of faith and practice is found in “The Book of Mormon,” “The Pearl of Great Price” and “Doctrines and Covenants.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own perversion of the Bible called “The New World Translation” which has been highly redacted to support their ungodly beliefs. The Children of God (now called the Family of Love) uses the “Mo Letters” as their guide. The Church of Christ Science, aka Christian Science, uses Mary Baker Eddy’s “Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures.” The Christadelphians use “Key to Understanding the Bible.” All of these cults use the Bible but in reality have placed it below the interpretation and/or further revelations of the founders of the cult. The Bible is in no way the sole authority in any of these cult members lives.

I mentioned some mainline Protestant denominations. As many of our readers know there has been an ongoing battle over the use of “inclusive” language in newer translations of the Bible. This inclusive language is nothing less than deleting certain words and phrases from the original manuscript evidence the church has in its possession. Not only are these apostates subtracting words from the original Greek and Hebrew text, they are adding their own words to these newer paraphrases of what cannot really be considered the Word of God. The United

Methodist Church is one such mainline historic Protestant denominations who seek to be more politically correct and culturally relevant will also join the chorus of those whose fidelity is not to God but to the approval of fallen humanity. This “new” translation of the Bible is called “Today’s New International Version (TNIV) and is being published by the International Bible Society and is a revision of the NIV.

The 26 scholars’ statement was released Feb. 1. Meanwhile, a list of more than 100 “inaccuracies” in the TNIV was compiled by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in a daylong review of the TNIV Jan. 31. A 25-page document listing the translation objections is posted at the organization’s Internet site, www.cbmw.org   (17)

The scholars (18) who examined this latest perversion of God’s Word were no spiritual lightweights nor were they supporters of the “King James Only” debate. Sola Scriptura implies having an accurate translation of the Scripture to begin with! This changing of God’s Word is very dangerous because it will mislead some people into thinking they are standing by the principle of Sola Scriptura, when it is not God’s Word, but man’s they are standing upon. The result will be disastrous for these peoples spiritual lives because they will discover that they have built their spiritual house upon sand and not the true rock of Jesus Christ, the Living Word (see Matthew 7:24-27).

Earlier I mentioned just a few examples of R.C. traditions and doctrines which have taken away from the rightful authority of God’s Word, but within the Protestant Church there are many traditions and practices that also do not bow their knee to God’s Word as final arbiter either.

I will cite just a few that I am personally knowledgeable with the fast growing and pervasive sign-gift movement.

Although Pentecostal and Charismatic congregations pay lip service to adhering to Sola Scriptura in reality they do not. For example, virtually every Pentecostal and Charismatic Church teaches as dogma the experience of being slain in the spirit. (20) There is neither contextual biblical support for this teaching nor any valid biblical example for the experience. This teaching and practice is completely manmade. The same can be said of their definitions for the gift of the word of Knowledge and the gift of the word of wisdom (see 1 Cor. 12:8). The Bible never explains what these gifts were or how they manifested themselves in the life of the early church. The definition for these two gifts were restored to the Church by a man named Howard Carter, a Pentecostal evangelist who claimed God revealed them to him while he was in prison! (21) Mr. Carter also claimed to possess all nine of the sign-gifts. His definitions have become the accepted Pentecostal definitions from the sign-gifts. Over a million professing Christians flew into Toronto to receive the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit in the form of holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness, prophetic animal sounds and movements. (22) These so-called manifestations of the Holy Spirit spread rapidly around the world and are generally accepted as being valid demonstrations of God’s power in the midst of His people, Even though there is not one shred of biblical support for any of these spiritual enthusiasms.

When I have confronted those who endorse these practices and ask them to show me in the Bible where they can be found their only response is—”Well, brother you know what the Bible teaches don’t you? And they proceed to cite the following text as support:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25   scanbook0001

There answer is that what is occurring now in their revivals (I also failed to mention the alleged manifestations of gold teeth, gold dust, angel feathers and jewels  being manifested in revival services) are simply part of what Jesus did in His earthly ministry but are not recorded in the biblical text. That response is extremely troubling because if one takes that approach to the Bible then you can allow anything to take place and point to John 21:25 as ones biblical support.

This type of response impugns the sufficiency of Scripture. To hold to such a position is to say that God left out things (such as these manifestations) which are needful for Christian growth and a closer more dynamic fellowship with God.

The secondary response given is “look at the good fruit being brought forth in the individuals lives.” Having been totally enmeshed in charismatic extremism for many years I can honestly say that I have yet to see any benefits from these practices in individuals’ lives or that of congregations that have embraced such practices. In fact, I’ve noted quite the opposite in those participating in practices not endorsed by God’s Word. Our ministry produced a book entitled “Fruit Proof,” which is over 100 pages long and consists of eyewitness accounts given by Pentecostal and sign-gift believers who went to revival services to get the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit and instead left oppressed and disheartened. Many congregations have literally been split and the sheep scattered when the local church leaders brought in these new gifts, which turned out to be curses. Good fruit is at best subjective. The Moonie, Mormon or Mohammedan can point to members in their groups whose lives have been transformed by their embracing of the cult or false religions demands.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]: And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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. 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. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust 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. 2 Timothy 3:13,14.

Paul reminds this young pastor to stick to the scriptures which can make one wise unto salvation which is by faith alone in Jesus Christ. He declares that all scripture is given by God and is profitable for (1) doctrine, (2) reproof, (3) correction and (4) instruction in righteousness. That by the faithful proclamation of the Bible those who hear and obey will grow spiritually and be equipped for good works. Then he solemnly charges Timothy before God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ to “preach the word.”  I believe Paul is warning this pastor not to get caught up in the latest fad or gables. (he warned Timothy earlier of this in 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; and then again in 2 Tim. 4:4). Why? Because Paul knew by the Spirit that the time would come when people would not endure sound doctrine. Robertson says the following about this text:

2 Ti 4:3 – A time when . One of the (out of season) times. Will not endure ( ). Future middle direct) of ( ). “Will not hold themselves back from” (Col. 3:13). Having itching ears ( ). Present middle (causative) participle of ( ), late and rare form of the Attic ( ) to scratch, to tickle, here only in N.T. “Getting the ears (the hearing, ticked.” The Vulgate: has . Cf. the Athenians (Ac 17:21). Clement of Alexandria tells of speakers tickling the ears of those who want to be tickled. This is the temptation of the merely “popular” preacher, to furnish the latest tickle. (23)

These words of the bible fit so many of today’s Christians. They run from conference to conference, from fad to fad. As a former charismatic extremist I saw this firsthand and was guilty of it too. People went from Toronto to Pensacola seeking the new wind of the Spirit. After that they became “God Chasers” (24) from there they tried implementing the “Prayer of Jabez.” Once Jebez’s prayer grew stale the herd moved onto trying out “Cat and Dog Theology” (I kid you not) and after that failed to satisfy their itch they are now becoming “Purpose Driven”. (25)

The largest church in America is the Lakewood Church in Dallas led by Joel Osteen (you might remember him from a couple of issues ago). Joel stated in the article in Charisma magazine that people are not interested in theology…the knowledge of God. Thirty thousand people with itching ears and a “pastor” who can’t wait to scratch them.

Not only does the Apostle Paul warn the Church about the danger of being carried away from the sure anchor of our souls, the Word of God, the Apostle Peter also warns us:

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves sift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

Teachers abound on both radio and television proclaiming damnable heresies and due to the biblical illiteracy of believers in the Church “many” follow their heretical teachings. Due to the heretics and those who follow them true orthodox Christianity will be (and is) spoken evil of by those outside the faith. All one must do is look back to the scandals of the 1980’s when the PTL scandal was revealed and Jim Bakker was shown to be immoral, then came revelations about Mr. Robert Tilton, Peter Popoff, Larry Lea, Jimmy Swaggart and W.V. Grant. Now recently we learned that Paul Cain is a homosexual and alcoholic and that Paul Crouch, President of TBN, may also have been engaged in homosexual activity. The various healing frauds, often lead to the death of their followers. They have perpetrated false promises on God’s gullible sheep. Over the years, people like Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, A.A. Allen, Hobart Freeman, Jack Coe, William Branham and of course, Mr. Benny Hinn have peddled false hopes and produced no documented miracles.  All of these people have literally made merchandise out of the people of God and over the years bilking them out of over a billion dollars!

Some may say that I have set up a straw-man argument by citing the more notorious peddlers of God’s Word, but this is not the case. All of the above mentioned individual are (or were) leaders within Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Renewal. These people are the “giants’ of this brand of belief and trust me when I say the fruit does not fall from the tree regarding these leaders.

How and why is this occurring today?   The answer is very simple; people have departed from looking to and relying upon the Scriptures alone. The Bible is no longer enough to satisfy their souls. Multitudes want to experience something mystical; they want to receive an impartation of power; they want a personal word from “God” through one of the multitudes of restored prophets and prophetesses. The simple exposition of Scriptures is not enough for this generation which Jesus referred to in His own day (and applies to ours):

“But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Matthew 12:39

In the latest issue of the Issues Etc. Journal, Pastor Todd Wilkins authored an article entitled “The Fad Driven Church” in which he gave the following example of a pastor being purposed driven versus biblically led:

Mark Jones has been a pastor at Metropolitan Family Fellowship in Ventura since 2004. ’I feel a little betrayed. I mean, I’ve pretty much based my entire ministry on Warren and Hybel’s stuff, I don’t know what I’m going to do now. And I can’t imagine what I’m going to tell my congregation. It’s not like my congregation is going to put up with just interpreting Scripture every Sunday. That’ll hold their interest for about two seconds. (26)

Many pastors have departed from teaching biblical messages and are relying instead on whatever the latest church growth guru is peddling. Whenever anyone teaches or believes things which are not scripturally sound, i.e. doctrines based upon the context of the scripture they are headed for deceptions. Several very popular preachers have based their ministries outside of the godly confines of the Bible. These people are claiming to have been taken to heaven and/or hell. The Bible warns us of such people:

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshy mind, {beguile…: Col. 2:18

Mary K. Baxter initially wrote The Divine Revelation of Hell in which she says that Jesus took her on a personal tour of hell for 40 days. That book sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is now in several languages. People bought into her folly to such a degree Mrs. Baxter went on to pen The Divine Revelation of Heaven and most recently The Divine Revelation of Glory. These books are filled not only with outright lies but they contradict the Bible numerous times. Yet because of her alleged vision and experience she has gained an international following and is seen by many as an expert of the heavenly and hellish realms.

Jessie Duplantis wrote Heaven, Close Encounters of the god Kind, another international best selling book, available in 99% of the Christian bookstores. In his book Jessie denies he complete atoning work of the cross (we have to do some additional works when we get to heaven in order to perfect ourselves). He denies the sufficiency of Scripture and denies its infallibility not to mention teaching pre-incarnation human souls, heaven as a literal planet and a whole host of error and even blasphemy. Yet Mr. Duplantis is a regular teacher on TBN and travels world ide sharing his vision and other Word of Faith heresies.

These are just two examples of people who’ve based much of their ministry on their alleged encounters in the unseen realm; I could cite a dozen more people. My point is simply to demonstrate what occurs when people place their faith in anything or anyone, no matter how persuasive they may be, outside of the Bible.

God’s Word and His Word alone is our only guide for faith and practice. Any dream, vision, doctrine, manifestation or practice must be validated ithin the context of the Bible. If it fails this test than such matters must be avoided, those teaching/practicing them warned and if they persist in them, then it must be taken to the Church and God’s people made aware of the leaven in their midst. ♦

“IT IS WRITTEN”

Sola Scriptura,  Scripture Alone

scansolascroll0001

Copyright © 2004   Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. You can read the entire Cambridge Declaration written on April 20, 1996 by visiting the following web site http://www.reformed.org/documents/cambridge.html

2. Obtained from http://www.gotquestions.org/sola-scriptura.html December 3, 2004 Bold type and underlining added for emphasis

3. White, James R. Scripture Alone Bethany House Publishers 2004

4. Reference obtained from BibleWorks for Windows, release version 4.0.035p 1999 software

5. Liichow, Robert Blessing or Judgment goes into great detail examining the charismatic Shaker cult and is an excellent resource for any Christian to have who is interested in knowing the origin of today’s revival manifestations.

6. Robertson’s word picture reference obtained from BibleWorks for Windows, release version 4.0.035p. 1999 software

7. Stanley, Bob, May 1, 1999. Obtained from http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/sorigin.htm on December 1, 2004

8. Obtained from http://www.reachouttrust.org/article/world/catholic.htm Underlining added for emphasis

9. Ibid. 10. Ibid 11. Ibid

12. Pope Pius XII, Ad Coeli Reginam Underlining added for emphasis.

13. Uanbeck, Warren A. Marburg Revised, A Reexamination of Lutheran and Reformed Tradition. Augsburg Publishing Home, 1966, pg. 16 Underlining added for emphasis

14. Ibid p. 17 Underlining added for emphasis.

15. Ibid p. 19

16. A.A. Hodge Outlines of Theology. Electronic edition obtained from http://www.homepage.mac.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/aahsolascrp.htm

Underlining added for emphasis

17. Obtained from http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=12653 on 12/13/04

18. The 26 scholars who have stated their refusal to endorse the TNIV include two Southern Baptist Convention seminary presidents. R. Albert Mohler. Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Semiary and Paige Patterson of South-eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, along with Wayne Grudem of Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, Ariz, and a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society; Harold O.J. Brown of Reformed Theological Seminary; R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries; John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and Raymond C. Orlund Jr. of First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Ga.

19. I prefer to use the term “sign-gift movement” versus the more common phrase “charismatic movement,” when referring to the larger group because all of God’s people are charismatic in that we have all been gifted by the Holy Spirit with differing gifts.

20. DMI offers the only book in print (to our knowledge) that deals exclusively with this and the other practices cited in this article. These books can be purchased from our web site.

21. Truth Matters has dealt with Mr. Carter in past issues. To learn more about this man you can purchase his book entitled “Questions and Answers on Spiritual Gifts

22. These are all historically detailed and biblically refuted in our two books: The two Roots of Today’s Revival” and “Blessing or Judgment.”

23. Robertson’s Word Pictures reference obtained from Bibleworks for windows, release ver. 1999 software.

24. Tommy Tenney wrote the “God Chasers” which became a small industry with follow-up books, tapes, tee-shirts, devotional guides, etc. Few Christians seemed to mind that Tenney is a Oneness Pentecostal who denies the Trinity, believes in salvation through water Baptism in Jesus name only. He can be seen on a regular basis on TBN.

25. Rick Warren has written several books around the theme of being “purpose driven” and these books have also spawned an industry around them. Many struggling churches think using his curriculum will be their salvation and result in a population explosion.

26. Wilkins, Todd Issues, Etc. Journal Vol. 3, No. 3, 2004, p. 4 underlining added for emphasis.

 

 

 

 

 





The Fall of Cain…Charismatic False Prophet

13 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – November 2004 Vol. 9 Issue 10 – The Fall of Cain…Charismatic False Prophet

 “If you would hear from God go to the Scriptures”  Martin Luther.

scanpcain0001Paul Cain is regarded by many to be the “greatest” living prophet today within the charismatic Prophetic movement.  If these followers of Cain are on Mr. Rick Joyner’s email list (DMI) is on his list) then their views of this alleged great prophet are about to be shattered.

Before I share the e-mail we received from Joyner, let me first share an excerpt from DMI’s book on the prophetic movement about Mr. Cain which in light of recent revelation about this man I believe to be quite damning. The following is a portion of the material from our book concerning Mr. Cain specifically.

Paul Cain was born in 1929 at Garland, Texas, a small farming community about 20 miles from downtown Dallas. The reports that, just prior to his birth, his mother, Anna, was terminally ill from four major diseases: cancer of the breast, tuberculosis, heart disease, and three malignant tumors that prevented her from being about to have a normal delivery.

While on the verge of death, one whom she believed to be the Angel of the Lord appeared to her. The angel put his hand on her shoulder and said, “Daughter, be of good cheer, be not afraid, you shall live and not die, the fruit of your womb – shall be a male child. Name him Paul. He shall preach my gospel as did apostle Paul of old.” (1)

Paul Cain’s Downfall

Like almost all of the restored prophets, they all claim some form of divine intervention in their lives. Either they suffered as martyrs like Duduman, or were on their deathbed like Ken Hagin. In Cain’s case it seems his mother was the one who was deathly ill and was visited by no less than Angel of the Lord who informed her that her child would be like the Apostle Paul!

Naturally, it is not enough for one’s mother to have a meeting with the Angel of the Lord, Paul at age eight had his own encounter:

At the age of eight the entity Cain calls “the Angel of the Lord” visited him for the first time. The Angel of the Lord said to Paul, “I want you to preach my gospel as did Paul of old. Open your mouth and I will it. You will preach the gospel by binding the sickness and infirmities of God’s people. “ (2)

Cain claims an angelic visit at age eight, William Branham claimed a similar visit at age seven. Both claimed to be warned to keep themselves pure and both claimed healing ministries. Cain was engaged to be married but claimed that Jesus Himself appeared in his car and told Paul that He was “jealous” of his future wife and that he needed to remain “pure,” i.e. celibate. Cain never married, but his tale does not jibe with the Scripture which plainly teaches—

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry. 1 Tim 4:1-3 (KJV)

Marriage is a blessing and if Cain had decided to not marry that would be one thing, but it is another to have “Jesus” appear to him and forbid Paul to marry because Jesus was jealous!

Cain is a dyed-in-the-wool Latter Rain teacher. He came into ministry during the initial thrust of that aberrant movement and he had consistently taught its errors. These errors are verbalized in almost all of his prophetic words. Here is an example:

“…Every time God ever planned to do anything, the devil would get wind of it and he’d go out there and try to head it off…When he knew Moses was coming, what did he do to stop him…He killed all the babies. What did he do when he figured that Jesus was going to be born at a certain time? He released a decree through the wicked ruler to kill all the babies. Don’t you see? And what’s he doing now? …Abortions on every hand. So you must know something’s coming up greater than Moses, greater than…Even in Jesus’ day because the devil is trying to kill off the New Breed. He’s trying to kill off the bride of Christ and trying to kill the whole thing off, but the Lord has well planted this seed and the New Bride and the New Breed…He’s about to open the womb and He’s about to give birth to this New Thing…When the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us we beheld the glories of the only begotten of the Father and when you begin to become the Word I want you to know. The world will behold the glory of the Father and that’s what we’re waiting to see….I want you to now that we’re going to have some channeling one of these days, but it’s going to be channeled right out of the throne room of Heaven.” (3)

Cain champions the concept of “Joel’s Army” aka “The Manifest Sons of God.” This refers to the immortalization of believers now, I.e. the death of physical death before the return of Christ . How great will these latter rain prophets and disciples be?

“No prophet or apostle who ever lived equaled the power of these individuals in this great army of the Lord in these last days. No one ever had it, not even Elijah or Peter or Paul, or anyone else enjoyed the power that is going to rest on this great army.”  (4)

Great swelling words coming from a man who tells people not to even critically consider what he proclaims “until they get to Heaven.”

“…..I know some of you are going to disagree with this. Don’t you even stop to disagree. Revelation 12:5, if you disagree, just file it in “miscellaneous” and check it out. And do not bother with it; when we get to heaven we’ll check it out and you’ll find out I’m right….” (5)

Can you hear the Apostle Paul telling the Bereans that? Or better yet, can you see the Bereans accepting it? No in both cases! Paul called them more honorable for comparing his teaching to the Word of God. Lastly, Mr. Cain considers William Branham to be the greatest prophet of our age, and yet Branham was a heretic of the worst kind and a proven false prophet himself.   (6)

Notes

1. Terri Sullivant, “Paul Cain: A Personal Profile,” Grace City Report, Special Edition, Fall, 1989, p. 2
2. Terri Sullivant, “Paul Cain: A Personal Profile,” Grace City Report, Special Edition, Fall 1989, p2.
3. Paul Cain, “You Can become the Word!”, 1989 Vineyard Prophetic Conference
4. Bob Jones and Paul Cain, “Selections from the Kansas City Prophets.” audiotape – tape 155C
5. Paul Cain, Prophetic Power and Passion Conference, Christ Chapel, Florence, Alabama, August, 1995
6. Robert Liichow, “Blind Guides, A Historical Look at the Prophetic Movement, Past & Present,” ICDM, 2003

Mr. Cain was “feared” because of his gift of prophetic insight, even exposing the sins of people in the audience. He even claimed that back during the post WWII healing “revival” that he was a major healer among the others, I.e. A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, William Branham, Oral Roberts, O.L. Jaggers, etc. He tells people that he stepped aside from that movement when it got too fleshly. According to Cain it was around this same time that he destroyed all his news clippings and photographs of his tremendous meetings, the testimonies of healing, etc. How convenient now all we have is his word about how mightily he was used by God over fifty (50) years ago and there are few living witnesses that can verify his claims of miracles and the power of God in his “huge” tent meetings and foreign travels. On the next page is Joyner’s email.

Matthew 7:15

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

Special Bulletin by Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle, and Jack Deere Oct 19, 2004

Paul Cain has been used mightily by the Lord to touch many lives in our times. He is esteemed by many around the world as a major prophetic voice and as spiritual father. It would be had to estimate the number who have been healed, delivered, or saved through his ministry. We have especially benefited from his friendship and ministry in too many ways to count. It is therefore with great sorrow that we publish the following.

In February 2004, we were made aware that Paul had become an alcoholic. In April 2004, we confronted Paul with evidence that he had been recently involved in homosexual activity.  Paul admitted to these sinful practices and was placed under discipline, agreeing to a process of restoration which the three of us would oversee.

However, Paul has resisted this process and has continued in his sin. Therefore, after having exhausted the first two steps of Matthew 18:15-17, we now have a responsibility to bring this before the church. Our sincere hope remains to see Paul restored. We are deeply committed to Galatians 6:1, which states, “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

We do not believe that Paul has committed anything that places him beyond the grace of God. We are hopeful that there are those who are more spiritual and wiser than we are who can help Paul through a process of restoration in which we failed. We remain desirous of helping in this in any way we can. If restored, we believe that Paul can once again have an extraordinary ministry and be a significant blessing to the body of Christ.

We apologize to the body of Christ for our lack of discernment in promoting Paul’s ministry while he had these significant strongholds in his life. We failed to see them until this year. It is also a mistake to assume that others who were close to Paul or worked with him shared these same problems. We also do not feel that this should in any way negate or reduce the great benefit that Paul’s ministry has been to so many in the past. We hope that Paul can yet be restore and used again for the glory of God in the wonderful way that so many of us have been blessed to see in the past.

With our deepest regrets and sincerity,

Rick Joyner, Jack Deere, Mike Bickle

____________________________________

Bold type and underlining was not in the original e-mail  which is cited above in its entirety. Joyner, Deere and Bickle (all three are major players in the so-called “Prophetic movement”) are at least honest enough to admit their own “lack of discernment” concerning a man they venerated as the greatest living prophet today. I believe they were blinded by this man’s superstar status and could not see what was no doubt, very obvious to others.

To begin with Cain is now 75. He did not turn into an alcoholic overnight, he has undoubtedly been one for many years. Nor did he “become” a homosexual recently either. I believe his homosexual liaisons go back to when he declared that “Jesus” did not want him to get married and so he was thought to have remained celibate for over the last 60+ years. His alleged celibacy alone was enough to deem him highly spiritual  in the eyes of many people. Without more information I can only speculate, but these duel issues of drunkenness and sodomy may have been the reason he was forced out of the limelight of the healing revival. The legend of why he stepped down is widely published on the internet, the following is the “mythical” view of why he suddenly disappeared from the charismatic spotlight for almost 40 years:

Then at the height of his ministry, he was compelled by the Lord to set himself aside for a time. He was then given a promise that if he would keep himself pure from the corruption of self-promotions and gain that the Lord would use him to help anoint a “last day ministry.” (1)

What we are told by his supporters is that during the healing revival he was a mighty healer and miracle worker. Here is another quote from a prophetic support group:

“During the great healing revival, Paul’s ministry reached international proportions. In 1954, his manager purchased the world’s largest gospel tent from Jack Coe, and Paul toured the country, filling it with thousands of people wherever he went. The tent held 12,000 people. In 1952 Paul began to film his miracle services and air them weekly on secular television stations. In 1954 he produced a motion picture called The Beginning of the End. The movie had a tremendous affect on audiences in the United States and was used to initiate more than 150 churches in South America.   (2)

Dear readers I am a student of the healing revival (which was really nothing more than excited ignorance, greed and fleshly activity) and I have yet to find any solid evidence to support the above quotation. Anyone who studies out that period will agree that Jack Coe and A.A. Allen had a running battle over who had the “largest” tent in the revival, a battle that Allen won. (3) Ergo, Cain could not have had the largest tent. I can find no references to him having a television program, even Robert Liardon (another exposed homosexual) never cited Paul Cain in his book entitled “God’s Generals.” Fulton Sheen and Oral Roberts became standard fare on the fledgling television networks and in the early 1960’s the later Kathryn Kuhlman but I can find no record of Cain being on television.

What is also interesting if one does a search on the internet it will be discovered that there are two films listed with the title “The Beginning of the End.” The first was made in 1947 as a docudrama about the atomic bomb. The other was filmed in 1957 and was a drive-in horror flick. I can find nothing about this film produced by Cain (I would like to see it because I want to know exactly what the “more than 150 churches” were initiated into).

What am I getting at? Simply this, I believe Mr. Cain to be not only a false prophet but also a liar. He has lived a lie (his alcoholism and homosexuality) for probably most of his life. There is no proof to back up his past claims of being a great healer, nor is there any proof of his television career or the life-changing movie he supposedly produced.

These disturbing revelations abut Mr. Cain’s lack of morality will no doubt cause great consternation among many of his devotees. Some will write off his moral lapse as simply being an attack from Satan against such a powerful voice for God’s “now” word to the Church. Many people we pray will be shaken to their core enough to cause them to re-examine their beliefs to the degree that the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, can bring them back to a genuine faith in Christ and not in sinful men. Never forget that “the best of men are men at best.”  ♦

WARNING

Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD Jer. 15:5 (KJV)

Copyright © 2004 Rev. Robert Liichow

End Notes

1. The Ministry of Paul Cain presented by the Prophetic Roundtable.

2Obtainedfrom http://www.propheticroundtable.org/PaulCain/paul_cain_a_personal_profile.htm  (3 of 7 )  10/27/2004  8:30 : 33 seconds  AM.   Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

3. David Edwin Harrell, Jr. All Things Are Possible.” Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1975





Some Little Known Facts About the Crouches & TBN

10 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – Oct 2004  Vol. 8  Issue 10 – Some Little Known Facts About the Crouches & TBN – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Did You Know—

Paul, 70, collects a $403,700 salary  as TBN’s chairman and president. Jan, 67, is paid $361,000 as vice president  and director of programming. Those are the highest salaries paid by any of the 12 major religious nonprofits whose finances are tracked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The Crouches travel the world in a $7.2-million, 19 seat Canadair Turbojet  owned by TBN. They drive luxury cars. They have charged expensive dinners and furniture to TBN credit cards.

Thirty ministry-owned homes  are at their disposal—including a pair of Newport Beach mansions, a mountain retreat near Lake Arrowhead and a ranch in Texas.

Their oldest son, Paul Jr., earns $90,800 a year as TBN’s vice president for administration. Another son, Matthew, has received $32 million from the network since 1999 to produce Christian-themed movies such as “The Omega Code. [Nothing like a little nepotism]

TBN airs on more than 6,000 stations in 75 countries,

The Crouches also present themselves as thrifty and budget-conscious. During one telethon, Paul said his personal $50,000 donation to TBN had wiped out the family checking account. He often says that he and his wife live in the same Newport Beach tract house they bought 33 years ago for $38,500   [This is a total lie, see Rev. 21:8 to learn what happens to all “liars”].

Kelly Whitmore, a former personal assistant to Jan Crouch, said in an interview with The Times that she used a TBN American Express card to make numerous personal purchases for Jan and Paul, including groceries, clothes, cosmetics, alcohol and a tanning bed. Whitmore, 43, who lives outside Nashville, worked at TBN from 1992 to 1997.

Whitmore said she regularly used ministry money and a network -owned van to stock the bars in Paul’s and Jan’s separate condominiums at Trinity Music City.  Whitmore said the Crouches directed her to make the purchases at a store called Frugal McDougal, hoping it would not be recognizable on credit-card statements as a liquor store.  [Kelly may be writing a book, stay turned for the real inside story on the Crouches].

A former top TBN official described heavy consumption of wine and liquor at a dozen such dinners.  The ex-official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a fear of retaliation. [Again more insider proof that the Crouches seem to be “booze hounds” which makes sense considering they have to use something to dull their already hardened consciences].

The above statement were obtained from [Trinity Broadcasting Network] Pastor’s Empire Built on Acts of Faith, and Cash” Item 8716 Posted: Sun, Sep. 19, 2004, Los Angeles Times (USA) Sept, 19, 2004 http://www.latimes.com  By William Lobdell, Times Staff Writer. The entire article is found in the TBN compilation book. The bold type was added for emphasis.

Mt 7:21-23

Not 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.  Many will say to be 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?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  (KJV)

All those who are trusting in their working of signs & wonders or their other works of piety have much to be concerned about! May God grant them genuine repentance and bring them to trust in Jesus Christ and His work alone. Selah.    ♦

scan0001

 The following information and much more are contained in our compilation Everything You Always Wanted to Know About TBN but Were Afraid to Ask. Again, this is the only book in print devoted specifically to TBN and the Crouches, it is over 175 pages and it is in 8.5 x 11 inch format, which would make ti well over 200 pages as a regular pocketbook sized book. It has glossy cover and color plates on the inside and makes a perfect coffee table book or gift. This expanded and revised edition can be yours for a donation of $25.00 (please let us know it is for the TBN book). Please allow 4 weeks shipping time because each edition is professionally handmade. My editorial comments are in the brackets and are not part of the original article.

copyright © 2004  Robert Liichow





Paul Crouch’s Possible Peccadillo

10 06 2009

 

Truth Matters Newsletter – Oct 2004 – Vol 8 Issue 10 – Paul Crouch’s Possible Peccadillo by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

To my knowledge our ministry is the only one to have put together a book on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and their founders Paul and Jan Crouch. DMI has been keeping our eyes peeled on the Crouches and the goings on at TBN and so it came as no big shock to me when we began to receive reports about Mr. Crouch’s possible homosexual activities. The reason I was not shocked by the reports was because I remember years ago when Paul used to come out from behind the curtain dressed in clothing that must have been purchased from the same tailor Liberace used. This combined with the sad fact that the other “Christian” superstars of the cathode ray tube all fell into some form of immorality or another. The Church has had to suffer the shame of the sexual escapades of Jimmy Baker and Jessica Hahn, if you will remember men came forward and spoke that Mr. Bakker had also made homosexual advances to them as well. (see http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/fridaynews/fridaynews030606.html ). Who can forget the saga of Jimmy Swaggart with the prostitute Desiree Dupree. America watched Jimmy’s tearful confession (only later to be caught again soliciting) and the Church saw another megastar bite the dust. Of Course before Swaggart was forced to confess his sin, it was not voluntary, he expose a fellow minister, Martin Gorman:

Swaggart that Marvin Gorman had been having extramarital affairs. Swaggart saw Gorman’s small but growing ministry as a threat to his own and made Gorman’s indiscretions public. This led to Gorman’s downfall and subsequent defrocking by the Assemblies of God… Swaggart, who initiated the complaints against Gorman, had the favor returned when Gorman hired a private detective to follow Swaggart and caught him on film leaving a cheap motel with a prostitute outside of New Orleans. Although the Assemblies of God voted to put him in therapy and relieve him of his ministry for one year, Swaggart refused this directive and demonstrated his staying power by continuing his ministry, claiming to retain his international audiences as well.

Robert Tilton’s  fall from grace occurred at about the same time as these other highly anointed men of faith & power began to fall. Currently Mr. Tilton is on wife number three. Time does not permit us to delve into Mr. W. V. Grant’s jail time or Larry Lea’s downfall all three of which were exposed nationally on Prime Time hosted by Diane Sawyer. When we consider the sordid past of charismatic religious leaders with great wealth, large viewing audiences, multitudes of devoted followers and little or no personal accountability we see the old adage coming true “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It seems that history may be repeating itself in the life of Paul Crouch, the “last-man-standing” in the fight for televised glory. The following is taken from the Los Angles Times:

Televangelist Paul Crouch Attempts to Keep Accuser Quiet-

By William Lobdell LA Times Staff Writer

Televangelist Paul Crouch, founder of the world’s largest Christian Televangelist Paul Crouch, founder of the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network, has waged a fierce legal battle to prevent a former employee from publicizing allegations that he and Crouch had a sexual encounter eight years ago.

Crouch, 70 is the president of Trinity Broadcasting Network, based in Orange County, whose Christian programming reaches millions of viewers around the world via satellite, cable and broadcast stations. The source of the allegations against him is Enoch Lonnie Ford, who met Crouch at a TBN-affiliated drug treatment center in 1091 and later went to work for the ministry.

After Ford threatened to sue TBN in 1998, claiming that he had been unjustly fired, Crouch reached a $425,000 settlement with him. In return, Ford agreed, among other things, not to discuss his claim about a sexual encounter with the TV preacher.

But in the last year, Ford has threatened to go public with his story, prompting a flurry of legal maneuvers–conducted in closed court hearings, sealed pleadings and private arbitration.

In court pagers, Crouch has denied the allegations, and ministry officials have described Ford–who has a history of drug problems and has served time for a sex offense–as a liar and an extortionist. At stake are the public image of one of the world’s most successful televangelists and, potentially, the fortunes of the broadcasting empire that Crouch and his wife, Jan, built over the last 31 years. TBN and Crouch went on the legal offensive after they learned that Ford had written a book manuscript that included an account of the alleged sexual encounter.

In a dramatic flourish, Ford had appeared at a TBN broadcast studio in Costa Mesa, minutes before the start of a “Praise-a-thon” fundraiser, and without comment, handed Crouch a copy of the manuscript.

Ford’s lawyer later told ministry officials that they could keep the work out of public view by buying the rights. After some discussion, he suggested that $10 million might be a reasonable price.

While negotiations continued, Crouch sued to enforce the 1998 secrecy agreement and obtained a restraining order barring Ford from seeking a publisher for his book.

Orange County Superior Court Judge John M. Watson also granted Crouch’s request to conduct the case in secret, sealing all documents and expunging any mention of the suit from public court records. Both side eventually agreed to let a private arbitrator decide the matter. In June, the arbitrator ruled that Ford could not publish the manuscript without violating the 1998 settlement – an act that could subject him to monetary damages.

This account of the controversy is drawn from interviews with friends of Ford’s unsealed court records, correspondence among TBN lawyers and a copy of the arbitrator’s confidential ruling. The arbitrator’s decision contains details about the 1998 settlement and Ford’s manuscript – both of which are under seal. Records and interviews show that even as they battled to keep Ford’s story from leaking, TBN lawyers worried that details would eventually come out.

I am absolutely amazed that Lonnie hasn’t gone to Penthouse or Dianne [sic] Sawyer with his manuscript, notwithstanding the [judge’s] injunction, “TBN attorney Dennis G. Brewer Sr. wrote in a March letter to the network’s other lawyers.

In a subsequent letter in May, Brewer mentioned the anguish that Ford’s accusations had caused Crouch’s youngest son, Matt, when he learned of them in 1998. Brewer wrote that the younger Crouch had told his then-law partner, David Middlebrook: “I am devastated; I am confronted with having to face the fact that my father is a homosexual.” Middlebrook and Matt Crouch have denied that there was such a conversation.

Millions of Viewers

Paul and Jan Crouch started TBN in 1973, using a rented studio in Santa Ana. Over the next three decades, they built a worldwide broadcasting network by buying TV stations and negotiating deals with cable systems and satelite companies. Today, TBN’s 24-hour-a-day menu of sermons, faith healing, inspirational moves and other Christian fare reaches millions of viewers from Spain to the Solomon Islands.

Paul Crouch is the driving entrepreneurial force behind the network and one of its most popular on-air personalities. He and Jan, his wife of 46 years, have cultivated a folksy on-screen image as a devoted couple. TBN officials have long been concerned about how Ford’s allegations could affect the network, which relies heavily on donations from viewers. Officials said they were particularly worried about possible comparisons to the scandal that brought down televangelist Jim Bakker in 1987.

Bakker resigned from his PTL Ministries in 1987 after admitting to paying a secretary $265.000 in ministry funds to be silent about an earlier affair. Bakker later went to prison for bilking donors.

TBN officials said they were careful not to pay Ford with ministry funds in 1998. They declined to say whether the money came from an insurer, Crouch personally or some other source.  Ford 41, said he could not discuss his manuscript or his allegations against Crouch but he did provide basic facts about his background and his time at TBN.

Ford, whose father and grandfather were ministers, grew up in Fairfax County, VA., moved to California in 1989 and worked in a string of jobs that included jewelry salesman, produce clerk and gas station attendant. For years, he struggled to kick a cocaine habit.

In 1991, he checked into a Christian drug treatment program in Colleyville, Texas, on a TBN-owned ranch. It was there that Ford met Crouch. In 1992 the network hired him to work on a phone bank in Orange County. Ford said he also ran errands for the Crouches and drove Paul Crouch to appointments.

Ford repeatedly ran into trouble with the law, but TBN stood behind him. In 1994, he pleaded no contest in San Bernardino County to having sex with a 17-year-old boy and served six months in jail, according to court records. TBN took him back after his release. In 1995, he pleaded guilty in Orange County to possession of cocaine and served about 30 days in County Jail. Again, TBN took him back.

Lake Arrowhead Cabin

The Alleged sexual encounter between Ford and Crouch occurred in the fall of 1996, according to Sandi Mahlow, a Tustin housewife who met Ford in a Fullerton church 10 years ago and became a close friend. Mahlow, 50, who helped Ford write his manuscript, said he broke down in tears after returning from a weekend spent alone with Crouch at a TBN-owned cabin near Lake Arrowhead. Mahlow said Ford told her that he and Crouch had engaged in sexual acts.

Lonnie had a lot of bad traits; one thing he isn’t, and that’s a liar,” Mahlow said. She said she helped Ford with his manuscript for no pay, as a favor to a friend, and has no financial interest in the book. After the alleged encounter, Ford continued to work at TBN. For a time, he lived rent-free in an apartment at the network’s Tustin headquarters, according to Mahlow and another friend of Ford’s, Diane Benson, who met him at an Anaheim church 14 years ago.

A third friend of Ford’s said that in October 1996, about the time of the alleged Arrowhead encounter, ministry officials gave her a $12,000 check to pay back money Ford owned her. The woman spoke on condition that she not be named, saying she feared retaliation.

TBN officials acknowledged that the ministry paid some of Ford’s debts. They said the network commonly extends such generosity to employees in financial trouble. Within weeks of the Arrowhead trip, Ford tested positive for drug use and was arrested for violating terms of his probation. While Ford awaited sentencing, the ministry again came to his support, urging the judge not to impose more prison time.

Ford “has continuously shown a very positive attitude regarding whatever we have asked him to do,” wrote Ruth M. Brown, Paul Crouch’s sister and TBN’s director of personnel. “He carried out his duties cheerfully and always tries to do more than asked.”

The judge sent Ford to the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, a drug treatment facility in the state prison system.

In August 1997, Jay Jones, TBN’s director of telephone ministry, wrote prison officials that Ford would have a job with the network after he got out, despite his “extended leave of absence.” But Ford said that after he was released in February 1998, he was told he no longer had a position at TBN. “There comes a point in time when you have to say, ’Enough is enough,” said John Casoria, a TBN layer who is a nephew of the Crouches.

Ford responded with his threat to sue. The settlement followed.

Despite TBN’s efforts to keep Ford’s charges secret, they surfaced in an unrelated 1998 lawsuit. A former bodyguard for TBN personality Benny Hinn testified in a deposition that during a European bus tour that year, Hinn had told a group of associates about a sexual relationship that Paul Crouch had with his chauffeur.”

The witness, Mario C. Licciardello, quoted Hinn as saying: “Paul’s defense was that he was drunk.” Hinn and six others mentioned by Licciardello, who died in 2000, told The Times that Hinn never made such remarks. However, Rick Jones, a retired police officer and ordained minister who worked for Hinn, said he heard Hinn talk about Crouch’s alleged homosexual relationship on that bus.  Jones said he was disgusted by the talk and “got up and walked away. I didn’t want to hear gossip.”

Asking $10 Million

Meanwhile, Ford began to have second thoughts about keeping silent. Last year, with Mahlow’s help, he wrote his manuscript, titled “Arrowhead.” Friends said Ford wanted to expose what he viewed as Crouch’s hypocrisy.  They said he also needed money and hoped to earn some by selling the manuscript. It’s unclear how Ford spent his 1998 settlement, but today he leads a modest existence, living in a room of a Lake Forest home and working as a mortgage salesman.

Ministry officials learned of the book in April 2003, when Ford walked onto the set of TBN’s Costa Mesa, broadcast studio and handed a copy of the manuscript to Crouch.

Ford’s attorney, Eugene Zech, said that Brewer, the TBN lawyer, called him the next business day. In court papers, Zech said that Brewer asked “if Ford might be willing to accept $1 million in exchange for the manuscript.”

Zech said in the court filing that he suggested $10 million. When the parties went to arbitration, Crouch’s lawyers argued that publication would violate the 1998 settlement and cause irreparable damage to Crouch’s reputation. Ford’s lawyers argued that the secrecy agreement was overly broad and violated his free-speech rights. Arbitrator Robert J. Neill ruled that Ford’s right to make his allegations public “was sold to [Crouch] for $425,000.” Ford “bargained away his right to speak on certain matters and now suggests that his right to free speech trumps that bargain…[His] right to discuss these matters was bought and paid for. He relinquished that right.” Paul Crouch Jr. , a TBN executive and the televangelist’s oldest son, said that despite the favorable ruling, he wished his father had never entered into the settlement with Ford. Crouch said advisors persuaded his father that it would be cheaper to settle than to litigate. He said TBN was particularly anxious to avoid negative publicity because the ministry was celebrating its 25th anniversary that year. “In hindsight, we should have fought Lonnie tooth and nail, “the son said in an interview. “We should have drawn the battle lines right there.”

Upon receiving this article I contacted TBN with some questions. I wanted a clearer explanation as to why TBN would pay $425,000 to “a liar.”? I have trouble accepting the TBN version that it was their 25th anniversary and they did not want any bad publicity. If Mr. Ford is lying then TBN has a whole team of lawyers with which to nail his blackmailing behind to the door, so to speak, so why didn’t they do it? After all, Paul merely has to tell his devoted fans that this is just another of a series of attacks by the devil against the mightiest tool in God’s arsenal, i.e. TBN and himself as the captain of the ship. Also, why did TBN continue to rehire Mr. Ford who in the words of the TBN ministry officials have described Ford–who has a history of drug problems and has served time for a sex offense–”as a liar and an extortionist.” Also, why did TBN pay off a $12,000 debt that Ford owed? TBN responded that it “commonly extends such generosity to its employees.”  Oh really?  I have read every written article about the Crouches and TBN and I have never come across anyone else who has experienced this largess TBN!

In my letter to TBN I also asked them about the comments attributed to Mr. Hinn, First, I wanted to know how Benny leaned of the incident. Did Paul “confess” his fault to him? If so, then why did Hinn break his oath as a pastor and tell others what was confessed to him? Or were Paul’s homosexual dalliances common knowledge among the upper echelon at TBN? Worse yet how do they answer Mr. Hinn’s charge of Crouch being “drunk,” as if it was an acceptable excuse for this moral slip? It is well documented that the latest and biggest of the 30 homes owned by TBN comes complete with a temperature controlled wine cellar. Why would any self-respecting Pentecostal have a wine cellar? There is no known Pentecostal denomination that approves of the use of alcohol even when celebrating the Lord’s Support!

Lastly, I find it curious indeed that the TBN lawyer offers Ford a million dollars for the manuscript, his attorney seemed to think it was worth closer to 10 million and off to court they went.

In all fairness to Mr. Crouch, he is innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof is on the accuser. Yet if I were in his shoes, which I thank God I am not, I would have never agreed to pay a blackmailer. I’d demand my day in court and turn around and sue the accuser for slander. The fact that Crouch did not respond in this manner makes me believe there is more than a modicum of truth to Mr. Ford’s story. It has long been rumored that the Crouches do not sleep in the same bed and often not in the same house. In the September issue of  Truth Matters  you might have wondered why Paul was not awakened when Jan was being mystically levitated in her bed. She did not even make mention of Paul being there in bed asleep next to her.

We heard a saying in seminary “bad theology makes for a bad doxology,” which simply means bad doctrine leads to bad lifestyle and even worse endings. I end this article by directing you to http://www.google.com  where you can find and read the TBN response. You are free to come to your own conclusions regarding Mr. Crouch. For me and my house, we would not trust Crouch as far as we could throw him.  ♦

The YouTube video has been removed, but you can still see the video here:  http://www.archive.org/details/Fox4InvestigatesTrinityBroadcastNetworksPaulCrouch

See YouTube video report on the Scandal here:

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthis/hi/dates/stories/february/21/newsid/_2565000/2565197.stm

2. Obtained from http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/Televangelism.htm

3. Obtained from http://www.wchstv.com/abc/primetimethursday/dianesawyer.shtml

4. Taken from the Yahoo News at http://www.yahoo.com  Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

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The Deadly Results of “Divine” Healing

1 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter- Vol. 8 Issue 8 – The Deadly Results of “Divine” Healing

Without a doubt we know that Jesus Christ does heal His people. Yet many people within charismatic extremism have taken a presumptuous view of God by reducing His healing grace to sets of formulas, spiritual laws or principles which will always work when properly applied. Here are just a few cases taken from various reports concerning the tragic results of being presumptuous regarding the grace of God in the area of healing.

The following information was obtained from Cases of Childhood Deaths Due to Parental Religious Objections to Necessary Medical Care. The entire article can be obtained at http://www.masskids.org/jel/jel_6appendix.html?FACTNet

Faith Tabernacle:  The Faith Tabernacle Congregational was founded in 1987 in Philadelphia during a religious revival. The Church doctrine claimed that the Bible opposes “all medical and surgical practice whatever,” Presently, the Church has about 18,000  members, mostly in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Justin Barnhart, age two, died September 1981, in Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania of a Wilm’s tumor which grew larger then a volleyball in the child’s abdomen. The parents, William and Linda Barnhart, withheld medical care from their son because of their religious beliefs. With early medical intervention, this form of childhood cancer has a better then 90 percent cure rate. The parents were convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 1982 by the county court.

Five children of the Winterbourne family of suburban Philadelphia died of pneumonia between 1971 and 1980 without receiving medical attention. Roger Winterbourne, the father, stated: “When you believe in something, you have to believe it all the way. If you only believe in it part way, it’s not a true belief.”

In early 1991, six children died in the Philadelphia area of measles. Five of the children’s parents belonged to the Faith Tabernacle and had religious objections to vaccinations. (The sixth child’s parents belongs to the First Century Gospel Church which also objects to medical care.)

End Time Ministries: End Time Ministries, led by Reverend Charles Meade, has been active in South Dakota, Montana, and the Midwest. Several hundred believers have migrated to Lake City, Florida. The sect lost five babies in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, during home deliveries that were not attended by licensed health care providers. Illness is viewed by members as a work of Satan, a member’s lack of faith, or an unconfused sin.

Michael David Boehmer, four days old, died March 15, 1990, in Lake City, Florida, of a pulmonary hemorrhage. The parents did not obtain medical attention for their son, stating that they he believed doctors should be avoided. They relied on prayer to heal their baby.

Church of the First Born: This sect is primarily active in Colorado and Oklahoma. Jason Lockhart, age nine, of Enid Oklahoma, died of a ruptured appendix due to parental religious beliefs. Parents, Dean an Patsy Lockhart, in December 1982, were acquitted of first degree manslaughter because of Oklahoma’s religious exemption law.

Desiree Camren, age three, of Cushing, Oklahoma, died February 1987 after a week’s illness due to lack of medical care. The medical examiner said that medical treatment could have saved the child’s life. Dean and Sheila Camren, the parents, claimed their religious beliefs prevented them from seeking medical help for Desiree. Testimony at the trial indicated that the Camrens knew the child was dying but believed her death was punishment from God because the father had not been attending church. The parents were sentenced to prison in May 1989 for second degree manslaughter.

Jordan Northrup, age four months, died January 1991 in Redding, California, of meningitis and pneumonia. His parents, Earl Joe and Catherine Northrup, attempted to heal their son through prayers alone during his six day illness. On September 19, 1991, they were charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.

Faith Assembly: The church is active in Ohio and Indiana. According to the research of CHILD, Inc. there have been over 100 unnecessary deaths since 1973 caused by the teachings of the Faith assembly against medical care. The majority of these deaths have been of children or mothers in childbirth. Faith Assembly death rates from 1975-1982 were studied by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana Department of Health. Death rates among Faith Assembly women in childbirth were 870 percent higher then among Indiana women in general; death rates among their infants were 270 percent higher than death rates among their infants were 270 percent higher than the statewide average. This sect was started by Dr. Hobart Freeman, who himself died of an easily treatable leg ulcer. Freeman was a staunch believer in divine healing as taught by the Word of Faith cult.

False doctrine inevitably leads people astray and often into tragic situations. Many times people do seek out medical treatment but by the time they go to the doctor they are beyond medical help. Also, many deaths simply go unreported.

To us it is the height of cruelty and hypocrisy when these “faith-filled” men and women teach one thing, such as “all you need is faith in God, “ and yet seek for themselves the best medical treatment money can buy.

These articles were made possible by those who believe in what we are doing. Thank you for helping DMI Teach Truth & Expose Error through your financial support. ♦

Copyright © 2004  Robert Liichow




The “Cruelty” of the Word of Faith Movement -

31 05 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – August 2004 – Vol 8. Issue 8 – The “Cruelty” of the Word of Faith Movement – by Robert S. Liichow

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One of the spiritual truths that have been “restored” to me since being involved in this aspect of Christ’s ministry is the value of people, real people with needs, hurts, joys and wisdom. We are all members of one body and we all have equal value in the eyes of God and none of us is unimportant or unnecessary to the furthering of God’s will in the earth.

In this article I will focus on three aspects which are particularly cruel and abusive which are commonplace in the majority of congregations or ministries within this “movement.”

                            Lords and Not Leaders

Being set free from the miasma of spiritual bondage and heresy I now see very clearly how many times God’s people were (and are) viewed as merely a means to an end by various abusive leaders. I can attest to the fact that within the Word of Faith Movement (WOF) people are often treated as objects, as names without faces on a mailing list whose role is to further the ambitions of the leader of that specific ministry. One former restored “apostle” Ellis Smith stood up before the congregation one Sunday and declared “God doesn’t care about you, He cares about His purpose.”  The congregants were reduced to being pieces on a cosmic chessboard to be moved around according to the divine purpose as revealed to the apostle Smith.

Every WOF ministry and church is ultimately run by one individual. These men and women may carry various titles such as Apostle, Prophet, Pastor or Bishop and they are always at the top of the food-chain and everyone else is subservient to them. If he or she has a church they may have elders and even some deacons, but the ultimate decision maker is going to be the Pastor/Prophet/Apostle, etc.

scan2004fm0001Having served both as a teaching elder and pastor in a couple of WOF congregations I remember a visit we had from a so-called “prophet” who also served as a pastor over a very young college-age congregation. In an elders meeting, he told us the following: “whenever I meet with my elders whoever hears something different from God than what I’ve heard is wrong.”  (1) In other words, even though God had raised up individuals as elders in his local church his insights were the only ones of consequence.

The pastor within any WOF congregation is the supreme potentate. His role is to “hear” from God, cast the vision for the church and direct the people to bring it to pass. These pastors perfectly fit the warnings given through Jeremiah and Ezekiel to the shepherds of Israel in the Old Testament:

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. Jerm 23:1,2  (KJV)

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. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.  And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them].   Exek. 34:2-6 (KJV)

Anyone reading this article with a WOF background knows from their own personal experience how many times people (God’s sheep) were driven out of a congregation because they questioned the pastor. Every WOF pastor is certainly numbered among the wealthiest in their congregation. These men and women literally take care of themselves and their families first and foremost. They sacrifice very little for the sake of their congregations.

In fact the same pastor/prophet told us in the same series of meetings he held at our former church that now since our pastor, Ellis Smith, had been elevated to the role of an “Apostle” we should not expect him to visit the sick in the hospital nor expect him to give people a lift to church who need a ride. His role from now on was simply to get into the Word and fast and pray (see Acts 6:4). Those mundane tasks were for the elders to handle and let the Apostle, do the serious spiritual work!

It was about at this same time, early 1990’s, that a new ministry was being “restored” back to the Church, that of the Armor Bearer. Books began to be published on this topic, and seminars given on how to enter into this exciting role. (2) Some of you reading this may have never heard of such a ministry and maybe some of you who are students of Church History may wonder when such a “ministry” existed within the Church. Allow me to give you a brief description of the role of the armor bearer, according to the blurb on Nance’s second book:

Basically, the theme of this book is to be content to be an faithful “behind the scenes” person, pay your dues, and in God’s time you will be promoted to increased visibility and responsibility. Nance uses the armor bearer analogy to make his point.   (3)

Regarding Nance’s book, Bishop T.D. Jakes says the following:

God’s Armor Bearer is an insightful book at a neglected ministry that needs desperately to be rekindled in the kingdom. I believe it is essential for every sincere Christian to read and apply. That is the reason that I purchased 5,000 of the books for use at our church. The Potter’s House. I would simply be afraid to command any troops into battle that had not read it. (4)

An armor bearer is the person who serves the needs of the pastor/leader. In our former church that included “guarding” the outside door to the pastors office and “vetting” anyone who wanted to inquire of the man-of-God. The armor bearer carried the pastor’s Bible before him as he entered the sanctuary, walked him off the platform (sort of like a body guard) so the people would not drain his anointing (I kid you not). Sometimes the armor bearer drove the pastor’s wife home pre-heated their car in the winter and ran the air conditioning for them in the summer.

Note that the quote states that one must “pay your dues.” In other words, do this menial task and faithfully serve the person of “God” and one day in Gods time you will get spiritually promoted and have someone else serve you.

Within charismatic extremism this role is a coveted one for several reasons. First,  The armor bearer has access to the “anointed” one and has the power to somewhat decide who can or cannot have an audience with the august personage. Secondly, the carrot on the stick is that one day enough of the godly ones anointing will rub off on you that you can launch out into your own ministry! You learn the tricks of the trade so to speak by serving as chauffer, coat holder, Bible bearer, etc…

However, there are problems with this “ministry.” First of all it is not found within the New Testament or the history of the Church. Armor bearers are mentioned briefly in the Old Testament and when it is spoken of it has no spiritual significance. More importantly it violates one of the main teachings of our Lord Jesus regarding leadership in the Church by elevating the slave to the position of being the absolute dictator:

“But Jesus called them [to him], and saith unto them Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45 KJV).

Jesus outlines very dynamically the foremost quality of a biblical leader–that of a servant. The world (Gentiles) exercise lordship over those they lead, “But so shall it not be among you.”  What we have in the WOF cult and other forms of charismatic extremist groups and ministries is exactly the opposite of the commandment given by Jesus. In all honest I cannot say I have ever met a genuine servant-leader while a part of the charismatic movement. Al the pastors/prophets/apostles either had an exalted view of themselves and/or their calling, When they got big enough incorporated “armor bearers” around them to shield them from having much real contact at all with those they say they minister to. For example, try to approach Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, or Fred Price either after a convention meeting or in their church and see how close you can get to these “servants” of Christ. I can assure you the pastors of large WOF congregations do not perform marriages, funerals, visit the sick in the hospitals, clean toilets or take out the trash. There is one exception to this statement; they will marry or bury someone who has been either a big giver (those who give the most always have access to the pastor, whereas others do not) or is a prominent member of the community.

The majority of WOF pastors rule their congregations by spiritual coercion i.e. they misinterpret biblical texts and by doing so place their people in spiritual bondage. (5) These ministers do not allow anyone to question their beliefs, teachings or even their lifestyles. My wife and I have heard countless sermons about the great danger inherent in touching God’s “anointed” after all 1 Ch. 16:22 says: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” This was always interpreted to mean that no one was to ever question the doctrine or direction of our leader(s). We were often reminded of what happened to those who came against Moses. Anyone who was beneath the pastor had one role to fill—simply obey the leader without any questions and in the words of Kenneth Hagin Sr. we were told to “doubt our doubts.”

It has been a longstanding teaching within the WOF cult that as a pastor one cannot allow the sheep to get too close to you as a leader. Mark Barclay, one of the more controlling “Apostles” in Michigan has written many books on this topic including one we had to read titled; “Avoiding the Pitfalls of Familiarity.” So not only were future pastors taught not to allow their congregation to get too close to them as pastors, but the people are also taught not to fall into the sin of becoming too familiar with our pastor! The end result is an exalted view of the ministry of the pastor, a view that is unbiblical and one that lends itself to spiritual abuse. Never forget the old adage : “the best of men are men at best.”

Cruel Confessions

Probably one of the cruelest elements of any aberrant system is rooted in false doctrines. In the case of any charismatic extremist group, their scripture twisting deludes their followers into thinking they will be brought nearer to the Lord through their practice, when in reality the practitioner is carried further from the One whom they seek to know.

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.  John 8:31-32 (KJV)

Just as continuing in the Word of the Lord (i.e. when it is properly taught and understood) proves that one is a disciple of Jesus and the Word rightly taught and understood liberated the one who hears and does the Word. The opposite is just as true. The Word of God taught incorrectly and then misapplied will place people in spiritual bondage, which is what happens to those enmeshed in the WOF cult.

In the cult we were taught that our words had the power to create or destroy, it was up to us. The condition a person was in whether it was financial, martial, physical was generally brought back to their negative words or if things were going well, then to their faith-filled words.

On a pastoral level I could never be sure where someone was in their spiritual walk because we had been programmed to confess only the positive promises found in the Bible. So when I’d ask someone “how are you doing my brother?” The scripted response would be something like “I’m blessed brother, God is good all the time and the devil is a liar!” In reality that individual may have been headed to bankruptcy or divorce court but they could not share this because it would somehow give power to the devil to transmute these negative words into reality.

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Proverbs 6:2 (KJV) Peasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 (KJV).

See! Its right there in the Holy Bible—people are snared by their words and are even taken captive by the devil by their words. On the other had, pleasant words are sweet and can even provide health to our very bones.

WOF people are afraid to speak negative words, their efforts to speak only the positive desired result is really motivated by fear (which as we all know is the opposite of faith) of what will happen to them if they slip up. Can you see how just this one area of false doctrine (which is huge) places people into spiritual bondage? Also, the strain of denying reality by declaring a “greater” spiritual reality into existence is at its very core a doctrine of works and not of grace.

Congregational members do not have the freedom to speak openly and honestly with their pastor (because he will rebuke them, nor can they be honest with others around them (lest they seem less spiritual) and n the end many people end u on the spiritual junk heap due to the strain of being positive in the midst of their pain.

Our words (confession) will either put us over or put us under. Let’s quote Kenneth Copeland, the heir of the WOF throne since the death of Kenneth Hagin Sr.:

“When you discover who you are in Jesus, your entire existence—your health, your financial life your social life—will take on a new meaning. The storms of lie will be stopped a you exert pressure on them with the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. You are to reign as a king under your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Hallelujah! God sees you this way. He expects you to take your rightful place and live this kind of life above the beggarly elements of the world… As a born-again child of God, you are to be a superman in the eyes of the world, holding forth the Word of Life! When you cross the rough spots, you won’t knuckle under—you will stand tall and triumph over-them. You will walk hand in hand with Jesus through the storms of life and come out victoriously!  (6)

Every person we knew, including ourselves, was striving to be exactly what Mr. Copeland described in the above passage. Every problem we faced was to be dealt a defeating blow as we boldly declared the promises of God in the power of the Spirit. We were working hard to reign in this life as literal kings! To do any less was to fall far short of our heavenly Father’s expectation for us. To be (or remain) poor or sick was displeasing to God. Nothing less than complete triumph over the storms of life was acceptable to God and our leaders.

Sadly, millions of professing Christians are on the treadmill of works, striving to attain “mastery” over all the beggarly elements of this fallen world through implementing the various sets of spiritual laws and principles taught by Copeland, Price, Duplantis, Meyer, Dollar, Tilton, Capps, Savelle, Hayes, et al.

What is tragic and cruel is that no matter how hard people strive, how many confessions they make, regardless of how much money they give…what they are trying to accomplish simply will not come to fruition because it is all based on a wrong interpretation of the Bible.

The Harm Caused by the WOF View of Divine Healing

My wife has a cousin who is dying of cancer.  Certainly we believe that Jesus still heals His people but today we know that He does so according to the sovereign good pleasure of His will. We may ask for His healing touch, but we must also be humble enough to accept the fact that we do not always receive what we ask for. Sometimes physical healing is not His will in every case. What is cruel is that Chuck, Tracy’s cousin, is surrounded by positive confession friends and family members who are doing nothing but speaking positive affirmations around him. Giving someone a false hope is cruel. Not ministering to a person in real pain with the comfort given to us in the scriptures is cruel. Having an individual question themselves regarding any past or “hidden” sins is cruel. I remember Copeland saying in one of his meetings  “if you play the game right you win.” Sick people are not playing the game correctly! Marilyn Hickey taught me in Robert Tilton’s Bible School that according to Proverbs 26:2 “As the bird by wandering as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.”

Whenever someone is sick there is a cause and the cause is usually found within the sick individual. They sinned, they spoke against God’s anointed, they failed to tithe, they spoke negative fear-filled words and Satan brought them to pass in their life or they just had “head Knowledge” of God’s healing promises versus obtaining “revelation Knowledge.” The burden for obtaining the promised results was (and is) always placed squarely at the feet of the one who is at their weakest point. Fred Price, an internationally know WOF pastor says the following:

“But if I walk rightly, and if I walk in line with the Word of God, I am thoroughly convinced I can be free from sickness and disease. (7)

According to Mr. Price healing is the will of God for all of God’s children, but it is dependent upon them walking “in line” with the Word of God. Thus if one is sick, it is obvious that they have not been walking in line with God’s Word. Further on in the same book Mr. Price makes this declaration:

“If Jesus didn’t want sickness in His boy then, He doesn’t want sickness in His body now. That ought to tell you that it’s not possible that God could want anybody sick. NOT IN HIS BODY! (8)

Price makes the mistake of teaching that we are the literal “body of Christ”. That Jesus is the Head, and we in the Church are His actual body. This view is aberrant and it has never been the view of the Church from its inception. We are no more the literal body of Christ then we are literal branches and Jesus is the literal Vine (see John 15:1-4) The onus of sickness in the body is placed at the feet of the sick person by Price.

“You need to know that Satan can’t put them {sick/disease} on you unless you’re willing to receive them. What Satan does is give you a symptom, then you go to talking. “I guess I’m going to be sick.” When you say that you just “signed for the package.” It’s yours now, “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth… (9)

According to Price, when a person is stricken with any sickness or disease it is because they have accepted the “package” that Satan has delivered by confessing into existence the reality of their symptoms.

I often wonder how Mr. Price explains how it is that his own wife was stricken with cancer. Betty Price has been listening to and confessing the “Word” according to the WOF cult and yet she became sick and even wrote a book about it! (10) Fred’s wife did not receive a divine healing miracle for her pelvic cancer but obtained the best medical care money can afford. Her cancer is in remission, for that we rejoice. However, if what her husband taught was in fact true, then why did his wife Betty “receive the package” {cancer} sent by Satan? Why didn’t she just confess it away from her in Jesus name?

Seriously folks, if what the WOF cult teaches regarding divine healing is true, then those who teach it, hear it, devote their every waking moment to it—ought to be the ones manifesting what has been promised. Yet here we have Betty Price unable to confess away the attack of Satan! Obviously neither could Joyce Meyer when she was treated for breast cancer. Peggy Capps, Charles Capps wife, also could not exert mastery over the beggarly element of liver cancer apart from medical treatment. Mack Timberlake succumbed to disease as did Hagin’s son-in-law Buddy Harrison who also died of cancer despite teaching the WOF doctrine on healing for close to twenty years!

Healing for the WOF devotee is always dependent upon the person’s knowledge (of God’s promises). And /or works (positive confession of these promises). Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Copeland’s wife says the following regarding divine healing:

“You must know that it is God’s will to heal you. Until this fact is settled in your mind and spirit, you cannot approach healing without being double minded and wavering. The Scripture states that the double minded man will receive nothing from the Lord.” (James 1:6-8). (11)

A person has to receive the gnosis that it is God’s will to heal His children every time and all the time they are sick in order to be healed. If you lack this certainty then you cannot be healed. Again, notice that the burden is placed on the sick person. They are responsible to allowing Satan to afflict them in the first place and since this is so (according to Price) they probably lack the knowledge of God’s will to heal them too. In short, these folks are doomed.

“Many try to reap the healing harvest without first planting the seed. ‘Until the person seeking healing is sure from God’s Word that it is God’s will to heal him, he is trying to reap a harvest where there is no seed planted. “ (12)

According to WOF doctrine, we all reap what we sow. If we sow the healing verses into our heart by confessing them, when Satan brings his symptoms of sickness, we will immediately reject them and confess that we are healed by the stripes of Jesus and we will be. It is that simple according to Copeland and John Osteen (and 100,000’s that follow their false doctrines):

In your heart of hearts, picture yourself completely delivered from sickness, suffering and all trouble. YOU ARE!! Now, take God’s promises without fear and boldly confess them day and night. When people ask you how you feel don’t tell them. TELL THEM WHAT GOD SAYD SNOUY YOU VSDR!! TELL THEM ABOUT THE PROMISES OF GOD!! TELL THEM YOU DON’T GO BY FEELINGS BUT BY WHAT GOD SAYS!!! (13)

I wonder how well this worked for Pastor Osteen, while he was lying in his hospital bed dying of heart problems and other conditions, Did confessing God’s “promises” work when his wife, Dodie, got liver cancer?  Reality has a rude way of bumping into people’s fantasies.

If someone attends a Benny Hinn crusade and does not receive their healing what is Benny’s answer “well you know I am not the healer.” (14) If someone manages to show any improvement then naturally Benny puts it goes on television, when nothing happens and the people later die, as has been proven multiple times, then nothing is said about it.

Tracy and I took a friend, Madelyn who had AIDS to a Hinn miracle crusade, she ended up sitting in the overflow area and to her dying day believed that if she could have only gotten closer to Benny she would have been healed! Talk about cruel!

The reality of living in a fallen world, in bodies that the Apostle Paul says is decaying daily (see 2Cor. 4:16) is ignored by WOF’ers. They want to see nothing but victory, overcoming every obstacle in life by the power of your faith is victory. Anything that might cause their followers to question the validity of their stance must be denied, denigrated, despised and rejected.

Those facing death in the WOF cult are not prepared to die, are not comforted by the promises of God regarding heaven, the work Jesus did on their behalf and that they can rest in His finished work. They are not told to trust in Christ Jesus alone, but are kept on the treadmill of works to their dying breath. No WOF pastor is going to come into the hospital and say “Chuck you are going to die, have you been seeing to the affairs of your life?” To confess he is going to die is to make it a fact! Can you see why I consider this cruelty and a perversion of the Christian faith my brothers and sister?  ♦

Copyright © 2004 by Robert Liichow

End Notes

1. This man’s name was Keith Grayton, he later died from a complication due to having AIDS. Fortunately by the time he came to our congregation my wife and I had just begun to attend seminary and we were on our way out of deception and recognized immediately that this was a dangerous individual to follow and his teaching while visiting our former church were instrumental in hastening our exit.

2. Nance, Terry Gods Armor Bearer (Gods Armorbear), 1980.

3. Ibid, God’s Armor Bearer book ll Shippensburg, PA Destiny Image Publications, 1994. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

4. Charisma magazine, August 2004. P. 95

5. I have dealt with some of the tactics used in our book entitled “Defending the Indefensible.’ which is available through our ministry for the cost.

6. Copeland, Kenneth The Force of Righteousness Forth Worth, TX KCP Publication, p. 16 1992. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

7. Price, Frederick Is Healing For All Tulsa, OK Harrison House Publishing. P. 8 1976.

8. Ibid pg. 31

9. Ibid p. 32.

10. Williford, Stanley O. Through the Fire and Through the Water, How Dr. Betty Price Conquered Cancer. Web site, http://faithdome.org/.

11. Copeland, Gloria, God’s Will for Your Healing. Fort Worth, TX. Kenneth Copeland Ministries, p., 3 1972

12. Copeland, Gloria God’s Will For Your Healing. Forth Worth, TX Kenneth Copeland Ministries, p. 8 1972.

13. Osteen, John. There Is A Miracle in Your Mouth. Houston, TX . John Osteen Publications. Pp. 17-18, 1972

14. There are two excellent resources to consider when looking into the world of Mr. Hinn, the first is the book “The Confusing World of Benny Hinn.’ available at http://www.pfo.org or ‘The many faces of Benny Hinn’ video available through the Trinity Foundation.

 








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