Truth Matters Newsletter – June 2004 Vol.8 No.6 – by Bob Liichow
As a former Word of Faith (WOF) devotee (later I was a WOF Pastor and Teacher) we were taught a wide variety of doctrinal errors. One of the most egregious of these errors concerned the deification of man and the demotion of God. Lest any of you reading this article think that this is no longer taught by the WOF cult, (1) let me assure you that it certainly is. If anything this damnable heresy is being presented more prolifically today then ever before because there are more teachers promoting it on a biblical scale. Here is a very condensed version of some basic WOF beliefs.
According to the WOF earth: is an exact duplicate of heaven. God looked at the planet, where He lives and decided to make another planet just like His called earth. (2) After creating earth God picked up some of the dirt, looked at Jesus and created Adam and made him the god of this planet. Just as big God rules heaven, adam, little god (or little “g” as Creflo Dollar refers to the believer) was to rule over the earth. These very popular and influential heretics go as far as to boldly proclaim that Adam was equal with God, in no way subordinate to Him. In fact, Adam was an exact duplicate of the image of God.
God after making His little “g” gave the planet over to Adam to rule. However, Adam made a BIG mistake when he took Eve’s advice and by his act of disobedience he lost his godhood and suddenly Satan became the god of this world. Adam who once possessed the very nature of big “G” (according to WOF mythology) has now lost it and had received the nature of Satan. Mr. Copeland elucidates this revelation in his teaching “Following the Faith of Abraham” by saying “When Adam originally sinned he gave his god nature to Satan. God could not intervene since He had made Adam the god of the earth. God was left on the outside looking in.” (3)
Eventually God is able to find someone to agree with Him (named Abraham) and allow Him some access back into the planet earth. Time passes and God begins to “speak” through the prophets, priests and kings Jesus into existence. God could not just send His Son into the earth He first needed people to speak faith-filled words that God could later use to produce the Advent of His Son.
Jesus fially arrives and lays aside all His deity and operates as a man anointed with the Holy Spirit throughout His ministry. Keith Butler, a “son” in the Gospel of Kenneth Hagin Sr. says–”You see, Jesus didn’t operate in the earth as God. He operated in the earth as a man anointed by the Holy Ghost.” (4)
This misconception concerning the deity of Christ is crucial to WOF mythology. According to their beliefs, and it tracks logically if you buy totally into their system, that if Jesus operated as a mere man, anointed by the Holy Spirit…then we as mere men, anointed with the same Spirit can and should the same exact works and even greater ones, then Jesus did! Butler (as do they all) goes on to make this point: So guess what, you are anointed by the same Holy Ghost. Also, Jesus spoke the Word of God. And guess what, He gave you God’s Word to speak just as He spoke. It’s the anointing that removes burdens and destroys yokes. All sicknesses and diseases are yokes and burdens.” (5)
Without going into the details, regarding their blasphemous doctrine concerning the atonement, which we’ve previously covered, let me just say that as a man, Jesus defeated Satan in hell; was born-again in hell, rose again and now if we decide to accept Jesus, God’s patterned Son, then we too can, like Jesus did, re-claim our godhood and become little “g’s” as the first Adam originally was.
What WOF teaches is that we are now gods and we are to operate in this earthly realm like God does in heaven. We are to do greater works than Jesus, miracles are to be normative, all manner of sickness and disease must flee from us. We like big “G” are to create and change our reality by the faith-filled words of our mouth. In short, we are to be healthy, very wealthy and highly anointed beings manifesting the power of God over all of life’s situations.
Sound farfetched? Surely I must be making this up! No one in their right mind would believe such nonsense. Right? On the contrary, sadly, millions of professing Christians believe exactly this and are trying hard through operating various spiritual laws, principles and keys to become the little “g’s” they have been told they really are. All they need to do is listen to the WOF gurus, follow their revelations and operate the spiritual principles they are given and one day they too will have a spiritual revelation (versus a measly rational knowledge) and awaken to a place of spiritual ascendancy into godhood. The following are statements made confirming what I have just shared with you.
Kenneth Hagin (deceased) says of man in relation to God: “Man…was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority… God has made us as much like Himself as possible…He made us the same class of being that He is himself…Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God…The believer is called Christ…That’s who we are; we’re Christ ! (6)
Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth. (7)
It is, in reality, God imparting His very nature, substance, and being to one human spirit…Zoe, then, means eternal life, or God‘s life. This new kind of life is God’s nature….Even many in the great body of Full Gospel people do not know that the new birth is a real incarnation…Jesus was first divine, and then He was human. So He was in the flesh a divine-human being. I was first human, and so were you, but I was born of God, and so I became a human-divine being. (8)
Kenneth Copeland goes even further and elaborates in the following: “God’s reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself…He was not a little like God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even. (9) You don’t have a god in you, you are one. (10)
“God is “A being that is very uncanny the way He’s very much like you and me. A being that stands somewhere around 6’2, 6’3, that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds, little better, a [and] has a [hand] span of nine inches across. (11)
Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland’s “son” in the Gospel says: “When God made Adam all He did was make an exact imprint of Himself. He duplicated Himself. He was the image and from His image, came Himself…You are an exact duplicate of the image of God and God is a speaking spirit…God took a reflection of Himself and put it in a physical body formed out of the dust and gave him authority of all physical things on the planet. So that like He was God in heaven, now He’s made Adam god of the earth… God wanted a god on the earth like He was God in heaven. And God said, I tell you what I’m going to do this time. I’m going to have to reproduce Myself. Like I’m God up here in heaven. I’m going to make Me a god and put myself in the physical body so that he can guard the earth and keep out all intruders in the earth. (speaking of Adam) he was all God. He was just like God. (12)
Jerry Savelle, a clone of Copeland and a regular speaker at his conventions. “He is measured out heaven with a nine-inch span…The distance between my thumb and my finger is not quite nine inches. So, I know He’s bigger than me, thank God. Amen? But He’s not some great, big old thing that couldn’t come through the door there and, you know, when He sat down, would fill every seat in the house. I don’t serve the Glob (13)
Paul Crouch, founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network is infamous for making the following statement very dogmatically:
“Do you know what else that has settled then tonight? This hue and cry and controversy that has been spawned by the devil to try and bring dissension within the Body of Christ. That we are gods. I am a little god. I have his name. I’m one with him. I’m in covenant relationship . I am a little god. (14) A few years later Crouch after receiving many letters and calls responded this way to those who dared question the most powerful “Christian” television mogul concerning his doctrine:
“I refuse to argue any longer with any of you out there. Don’t even call in if you want to argue doctrine. If you want to straighten somebody out over here. If you want to criticize Ken Copeland for his preaching on faith or Dad Hagin. Get out of my life. I don’t want to even talk to you or hear you. I don’t want to see your ugly face. Get out of my face in Jesus’ name. (15) Crouch’s response truly represents how much of the love of God has been shed abroad in his heart doesn’t it? He goes further and threatens his detractors with death: God, we proclaim death to anything or anyone that will lift a hand against this network and this ministry that belongs to You. God, It is Your work, it is Your idea, it is Your property, it is Your airwaves, it is Your world, and we proclaim death to anything that would stand in the way of God’s great voice of proclamation to the whole world. In the Name of Jesus, and all the people said Amen! (16)
Benny Hinn reveals the following ludicrous insight during a TBN program regarding salvation and what occurs when a person is born-again into the family of God. (Before I quote Hinn, let me go on the record (again) and state that Mr. Hinn fits almost all of the classic psychological profiles of a psychopath. )
“When you say ‘I am saved’ what are you saying? You are saying I am a Christian. What does that word mean? Means that I am anointed. Do you know what anointed means? It means Christ. When you say I am a Christian, you are saying…I am a little messiah walking on the earth in other words. That’s a shocking revelation…His spirit and our spirit man are one. United. There is no separation, it is impossible. The new creation is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. The new man is after God, like God, God-like, complete in Christ Jesus, the new creation is just like God. May I say it like this, you ar a little god on earth running around. (17)
You say, ’Benny, am I a little God? You’re a son of God, aren’t you?…What else are you? Quit your nonsense!…if you say, ’Iam’, you’re saying you’re part of Him, right? Is he God? Are you His offspring? You can’t be human! You can’t! (18) Like Crouch, Hinn is kind and gentle towards those who question his doctrine and ministry. I place a curse on every man and woman that will stretch his hand against this anointing. I curse that man who dares to speak a word against this ministry. (19)
Morris Cerullo gives us further clarity into who we “really” are: “Did you know that from the beginning of time the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself? …And when we stand up here, brother, you’re not looking at Morris Cerullo; you’re looking at God. You’re looking at Jesus. (20)
Earl Paulk, one of leading proponents of “dominion theology” and is considered by many to be a restored “Apostle” in the Church made this astounding statement: “Adam and Eve were placed in the world as the seed and expression of God. Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods: we have trouble comprehending this truth. Until we comprehend that we are little gods, we cannot manifest the kingdom of God. (21)
This is just a brief sampling of what all of the WOF leaders believe and teach regarding being little gods. According to Paulk, a “Kingdom Now” (22) proponent, until God’s people comprehend (receive this gnosis) that we are in reality gods; we cannot manifest the kingdom of God! I guess Jesus, as Head of the church has just been spinning His “wheels” so to speak for the last 2,000 years, waiting for us to wake up to our godhood.
Let me briefly refute their blasphemous nonsense. First, Adam never possessed the nature of God per se, he was created in the likeness and image of God, and nothing is said of him possessing the very nature of God. The Bible does not teach that Adam inherited or was possessed by Satan’s nature when he sinned. Nowhere does the Bible say that when a person is drawn to faith in Christ that he or she becomes a “human divine being” as the departed ‘dad’ Hagin taught. None of the writers of the New Testament ever describe themselves or the church as being “little gods.” Nor do we read that hordes of believers, apart from the Apostles and those they specifically delegated, went about working miracles, healing masses of sick folk, casting out demons left and right, taking dominion over the principalities and powers thus releasing revival in their cities.
One would have to believe if what the WOF cult and the Dominion extremists teach is really nothing more than restored truth that the Church lost over the centuries. Then why isn’t it recorded by the writing Apostles or in the Book of Acts? Why don’t we see even glimpses of their doctrine(s) in the writings of any of the Early Church Fathers, some of whom were direct disciples of the original Apostles!
Even more to the point, if all of the above citations are in fact biblical truth, then why haven’t those teaching such a great revelation attained to their status as little gods? I challenge any of them to create something, anything all out of nothing by the “faith-filled” words of their mouth. If they possess the same anointing as Jesus then why is the cancer rate so high among their leadership? (23) If Benny Hinn likes to have the masses chant in his miracle crusades “we are anointed, we are anointed” how does he explain his abysmal failure rate when it comes to providing any proof of even one creative miracle? I can prove that more people have died at his crusades then he can prove have been genuinely healed. If those who proclaim that we are little carbon copies of Jesus Christ have not achieved this stature what chance do their followers have?
If the redeemed man has gotten back the dominion the First Adam lost, as Charles Capps teaches, then why is crime rampant? ?Why is homosexuality becoming so blatant? Why is immorality on the rise? If God has restored prophets back to the Church, Copeland, Hagin, Kim Clement, Paul Cain, Mike Bickle and many others are accepted as genuine prophets of God, why do their prophetic words fall to the ground with unfailing regularity?
The answers to those questions are quite simple what these men and women are teaching is false doctrine plain and simple. It appeals to sinful flesh and is nothing more than an expanded echo of the original lie told to our forebears Adam and Eve “ye shall be as gods” (Gen 3:5) Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself of His divine attributes. If the WOF views is correct then at some point the second Person of the godhead, ceased to be God, especially during His sacrificial death on the cross. If this were true, then what happened to the Trinity? God cannot cease to be God.
Almost all of the WOF cult (and all other bible-based cults) errors, stem from a lack of sound hermeneutics at best or darker, more wicked purposeful deception at worst. Regarding Jesus specifically, the error lies in their misunderstanding of the kenosis, or “emptying” of Christ in His earthly ministry. Here is a simple explanation of the Kenosis of Christ:
Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary (Matt 1:23; Gal 4:4) in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prediction (Isa 7:14). From a more theological point of view, John says that the eternal and divine Word became flesh and that God thus “tabernacled” among us (John 1:1, 14; Exodus 40:34-35). The doctrine of the incarnation means that the second person of Trinity took on human flesh. Jesus Christ is both undiminished deity united with perfect humanity forever and without confusion of attributes. One person, tow natures (divine/human).
God became a man in order to redeem his creation and rule over it. Thus, he came to fulfill the Davidic covenant as the promised King (Luke 1:31-33). In his role as Lord and Kin he reveals God to men (John 1:18) saves sinners (Gal 1:4) destroys the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) judges men (Acts 17:31) and brings all things in creation back in submission to God (1Cor 15:20-28; Ephesians 1:10-11) (24)
WOF does not accept the orthodox view at all. They teach that Jesus Christ divested himself entirely of any divine attributes, i.e. ceased to be divine and operated only as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. This is not a new error, but one taught almost 2,000 years ago by a heretical sect called the Ebionites. Paul himself explains what he meant when he wrote to the Philippians:
In fact, the apostle explains what he means when he says the Christ emptied himself by taking on the nature of a servant. Thus it is not the setting aside of any divine attributes that is being sung about here in Phil 2, but rather the humiliation of the Son of God taking on human form and that “of a servant.” This, of course, is the point Paul is trying to make with those in the Philippian Church. They too are to live the humble lives of servants, following Christ’s example. (25)
Let me close this article out by restating that God has His own nature, He created man with a human nature, and Satan has his own angelic nature. At no point are any of these “natures” swapped about depending on who is the controlling entity of man. Man did not partake of Satan’s nature at the fall, nor did we receive the nature of God when we were regenerated. Jesus Christ was one eternally with and in the godhead, He became man but never ceased to be God.
We at regeneration do not become one with God in the sense that we are absorbed into the Trinity. We are adopted into the family of God, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, but this does not make us divine nor shall we ever become divine. To believe such a thing is exactly what the Mormon’s teach regarding the exaltation of man. There is more in the WOF doctrines that are akin to both the cult of Mormonism and Christian Science, but that expose will have to be dealt with in another issue. ♦
Copyright © 2004 by Robert Liichow
1. I call the Word of Faith “movement” a cult because it presents a different Gospel, a different Jesus and a totally aberrant doctrine concerning the atoning work of Jesus Christ. I could also add that their views concerning finnancial prosperity, divine healing, their doctrine of both God and man are unorthodox to say the least.
2. Copeland, Kenneth, Following the Faith of Abraham, Tape #01-3001 / 3. ibid.
4. Butler, Keith ; The Anointing on the Inside of You, obtained from http://www.wordoffaith-icc.org/dailydevotional_2php?pagetitle+678 on 6-03-04.
5. bid. / 6. Hagin, Kenneth, Zoe: The God Kind of Life: tulsa, OK; Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Inc. 1989, pp. 35-34,41. Both type and underlining added for emphasis.
7. Hagin, Kenneth The Incarnation The Word of Faith magazine, December 1980 p. 14
8. Hagin Kenneth. Zoe: The God-Kind of Life: Tulsa, OK Faith Library, 1981, p.40
9. Copeland, Kenneth, Following the Faith of Abraham tape One: Fort Worth, TX. Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989, audiotape #01-3001, side 1.
10. Copeland, Kenneth The Force of Love Tape Two: Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987 audiotape #02-0028, side 1.
11. Copeland, Kenneth Spirit, Soul, and Body. Tape One: Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1985, audiotape #01-0601, side 1.
12. Dollar, Creflo Our Equality with God Through Righteousness 1/21/2001.
13. Savelle, Jerry. Framing Your World with the Word of God Part 2: Fort Worth, TX. Jerry Savelle Evangelistic Association, Inc. , audiotape #ss-36, side 1.
14, Crouch, Paul, Praise the Lord” TBN, recorded 07/07/86
15. Crouch, Paul. Praise-a-thon TBN, recorded 04/02/91
16. Crouch, Paul. Speaking in the evening on TBN 11/07/97
17. Hinn, Benny, Praise-a-thon” TBN, recorded November 1990
18. Hinn, Benny, Our Position in Christ tpe #2 1990
19. Hinn, Benny. This statement was made while he was on TBN, 9/13/99.
20.; Cerullo, Morris, The End Time Manifestation of the Sons of God : Morris Cerullo World Evangelism tape 1.
21. Paul, Earl Satan Unmasked, Cathedral Shop 1984, p.97 Bold type and underlineing added for emphasis.
22. “Kingdom Now” refers to the belief that Jesus Christ cannot return for His Church until the Church has completely Christianized the world. This will not happen until a significant number of believers mature to the place of becoming manifested sons of God aka little gods or super-saints. Paulk has stated this might take as long as another 40,000 years.
23. I have done extensive research concerning this fact and the rate of cancer among WOF pastors and especially their wives is off the scale. Every on of them has received medical treatment. None of them has received a divine healing or a creative miracle.
24. Obtained from http://www.bible.org/docs/theology/overview/overview-05.htm.
25. ibid Underlining added for emphasis.