Truth Matters Newsletters – Sept 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 9 – The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man – by Rev. Bob Liichow
Discernment Ministries International
The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man
By Rev. Robert S. Liichow
I once heard a preacher say that “It doesn’t matter what you are right about, if you are wrong abut Jesus.” This is a true statement. One can be orthodox in every sense, yet if he or she is wrong about the person of Jesus Christ, then all of their otherwise orthodox views are tainted and unacceptable.
I have been calling the Word of Faith (WOF) movement a cult for many years now and still DMI receives questions regarding whether or not it is really a cult or possibly just a “sect” within the Christian Church. In some ways this can be a difficult issue to answer because on the surface many of the people currently enmeshed within the WOF are sincere Christians, yet if we consider the actual teachings of the WOF leaders then we must conclude they are in fact a non-biblical cult. To help shed some light on why the WOF is a cult I am going to be presenting some articles proving why they have placed themselves outside of the Christian Church by their false doctrines.
There are area of doctrine which are not central to what the Church has confessed as the “holy, catholic and apostolic faith” from the beginning of Christianity. Areas that as Christians we can agree to disagree. Such areas might include how often one receives Holy Communion, the wearing of liturgical garments by the pastor, worshipping on Saturday or Sunday or perhaps even the mode of water baptism. Such things are called “adiaphora” by Lutherans, meaning things that do not matter especially regarding salvation. Other doctrinal issues cannot be given up to discussion such as the Person and work of Jesus Christ. This is where the WOF departs from Christianity and embraces heretical teachings, so much so that anyone who believes their (WOF) doctrines has placed themselves outside of the One True Church (una sancta.)
Jesus Ministered As Only A Man Never As God
One of the central fallacies taught by the WOF cult is that our Lord Jesus Christ stripped Himself of every vestige of divinity and ministered while on earth only as a man. The fact that Jesus was born a sinless man really does not figure into their mythology. They would certainly acknowledge it as a fact, but it does not matter when it comes to WOF Christology. Being virgin born and inherently sinless has no effect on how Jesus ministered [keep this fact in mind as you read on].
The WOF dogma goes like this: Jesus did not until He was baptized with the Holy Spirit in the river Jordan (see Matt 3:16). Only after He was endued with power from on high did He begin His miraculous ministry, starting with the changing of water into wine (see Jh. 2:11).
The following are two statements from the late Kenneth Hagin regarding this novel concept.
Of course, Jesus stands in a class by Himself, personally, and as Deity. But when it comes to ministry, Jesus does not stand in a class by Himself…Even though Jesus was the Son of God, and divine blood flowed through His veins, yet He was ministering on earth as a human being—a prophet anointed with the Holy Spirit. (1)
Jesus id not minister with His divine attributes while He was on earth. He ministered as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. ….The Bible says that Jesus voluntarily laid aside His power and glory as the Son of God (Phil 2:6-8) and ministered as a man filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit—the same way we are to minister. (2)
Mr. Hagin is not the only one who spouted such nonsense, all of his clones, like leaven spreading throughout a loaf of bread, parrot his false teachings.
He hadn’t come to earth as God, He’d come as man. He’d set aside His divine power. (3)
Citing Philippians 2:5-7, he states that the incarnate Christ “had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit.
The heir to Mr. Hagin’s empire of error is Kenneth Copeland. He has taken Hagin’s errors and globally spread through his multi-faceted SINistry.
[Most Christians] mistakenly believe that Jesus was able to work wonders, to perform miracles, and to live above sin because He had divine power that we don’t have. Thus, they’ve never really aspired to live like He lives. They don’t realize that when Jesus came to earth, He voluntarily gave up that advantage, living His life here not as God, but as a man. He had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit as recorded in Luke 3:22, He ministered as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. (4)
I’ve come to realize that none of the WOF cult leaders, i.e. Hagin(s), Copeland(s), Price, Dollar, Meyer, Duplantis, Capps, Hickey, Tilton, Hinn, Savelle, et all have an original thought in their heads.
Here is what Charles Capps has to say about the Person of Christ:
Now if there was any doubt about WHO has greater authority here, that should settle it! “Jesus was operating as a man, anointed with the Holy Ghost.” (5)
All of these heretics stress that Jesus never operated as God only as a Spirit-filled man. According to their mythology, only human beings with physical bodies have nay authority in this earth realm. Adam was given authority over the planet, he committed “high treason” (in WOF terms) when he sinned and Satan took Adam’s authority when Adam’s nature became satanic. According to the WOF cult this is why demons must have people to operate through, they cannot operate apart from human bodies in the earth.
Allow Mr. Capps own words to “demote” Jesus Christ from God to man:
Jesus Christ was a man anointing with the Holy Spirit. Someone said, ‘I don’t understand why Jesus had to be born on earth. Why didn’t God just come down here, and destroy the devil? He couldn’t do that. It was illegal, because God had given dominion of the earth to man, Jesus must come in the form of a man, with the body of a man, with the feelings and ability of a man. He must approach the devil as a man. This makes it perfectly legal for Jesus to destroy the works of the devil. (6)
There is a significant problem that the WOF cult cannot explain regarding the fall of mankind. WOF teaches that through Adam’s sin spiritual and physical death passed to all mankind, so far so good. Since Adam’s “high treason” all humanity became spiritually dead and owned by Satan who had now become the “god” of this world (see 2 Cor. 4:4). God was on the outside looking in so to speak. He had lost any legal right to intervene in human affairs because man no longer belonged to Him and God had no human bodies to operate through or with. God eventually finds Abraham through whom He makes a covenant which allows God egress back into the world He created!
The significant problem with such drivel is where did God find someone who was not spiritually dead and enslaved to Satan to work with? Abraham was as dead as anyone else; he too belonged to Satan (according to WOF mythology). So how can a spiritually dead man make a decision to serve the living God? He can’t! This flaw is never addressed by any of the WOF teachers.
Leaving my question aside, they posit that because of Abraham’s obedience in offering Isaac up as a sacrifice (see Gen 22:2) God was legally able to bring His Son into the earth, born of a woman — thus having legal authority to operate on the earth. So Mary provided the physical body for Jesus and the Holy Spirit provided the anointing or spiritual power to do all that Jesus did in His ministry. But keep in mind that Jesus never operated as God the Son, only as the Son of God! “If Jesus healed the sick because of His divine power, then WHY did God anoint Him?” (7) Capps (and all WOF heretics) demote Jesus and EXALT man—
Yes—Jesus was the Son of God. Yes—He was deity in this earth. But He did not operate in divine power. He performed miracles by the anointing of the Holy Ghost. THAT SAME HOLY GHOST IS AVAILABLE TO YOU AND ME—TODAY! (8)
When you accept this as truth then it is a very short jump (which all these false teachers make) to point out that we as born-again Spirit-filled people are to be doing exactly what Jesus did. After all, didn’t Jesus say “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (Jh. 14:12). Since Jesus ministered only as a Spirit-filled man then we as Spirit-filled men ought to do the same works!
These liars take this one verse and jump off with it promulgating a wide variety of false doctrines. The whole falsity of Christians being “little gods” comes from this error. Blasphemous teachings regarding the atoning death of Christ also flow from this polluted spout. Erroneous beliefs regarding the anointing and errant views of the Holy Spirit are also fruit of this poisonous tree.
If we ever wake up and realize who we are, we’ll start doing the work we’re supposed to do. Because the church hasn’t realized that they are Christ. That’s who they are. They are Christ. (9) 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. (10)
It is easy to see how Jesus is demoted and man is exalted in WOF theology. We are not like Jesus, we are not equal to Him. His incarnation was totally miraculous; in His birth He was and is totally sinless. He is totally sinless. He was and is God and has never ceased to be God. He ministered as 100% God and 100% perfect man. You and I will never be “God” in any sense of the word other than being adopted into His family and united to Him in Christ Jesus…Our only claim to fame, well is that we don’t have any claim to make apart from being miserable sinners in need of the Savior.
If the WOF concept is correct then why hasn’t anyone done exactly or even come approximately close to doing the works that Jesus did? Surely Peter, James and John —men who were personally taught and who received the Holy Spirit, the breath of God if you will from the lips of Christ Himself (see Jh. 20:22), who heard Jesus say “greater works” and yet we have no record of them doing the astounding works of Christ in anywhere near the same measure as Jesus. What about the Apostle Paul who wrote almost two thirds of the New Testament. Certainly he was used by God to work signs and wonders (see 2 Cor. 12:12) but nowhere is it recorded that he did “greater works” in his ministry.
WOF would have people believe that Jesus was just ministering as an anointed prophet and that we too are to minister in the same manner. Well, if so, show us someone who either has or is doing so. Is Benny Hinn doing the works of Jesus? The answer is a solid NO! Has Copeland raised even one person from the dead? No. Has Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Charles Capps ever had multitudes in their meetings healed? Not one of them ever as had such success.
If these liars are as much as incarnation of Christ as Jesus was, then how do they explain the blatant sin in their own ranks? Jim Bakker, an adulterer, Robert Tilton a proven liar, swindler and adulterer. The “prophet” Paul Cain, an admitted homosexual and alcoholic. How about “healing” evangelist Leroy Jenkins, a convicted arsonist and drug abuser. Benny Hinn, a proven liar, false prophet, fake healer and dispenser of false hope and the list goes on and on If anything the people promoting this false doctrine of exalted man and demoted Christ are more egregious sinners than other partly because they refuse to acknowledge their inherent sinfulness.
Brothers and sisters I call the WOF movement a “cult” because they are one. At best they have to be considered a biblically-based cult and ranked in the same category as The Way International (11), The Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Mormons, The Moonies, The Children of God and all other groups that claim to believe the Bible and have some concept of Jesus Christ as some sort of Savior.
The next article of the newsletter is a copy of the Athanasian Creed which is one of the most concise expression of our orthodox Christian faith regarding the Trinity of the Godhead. Read it out loud slowly to yourself and then ask yourself does the WOF cult agree with the creed’s statements regarding the Person of Christ or do they confuse His essence and substance? I will give you a hint, they fail to pass the “smell” test when it comes to this creedal statement of faith and in doing so place themselves outside of the true Church.
I close by restating that there are many genuine Christians who are members of WOF congregations, people who do love Jesus but are ignorant doctrinally and have little to no true biblical discernment. I urge that we pray for those who wallow in doctrinal darkness and ask our gracious Lord to open their eyes and free them from spiritual bondage. I also ask that we pray for the leaders of this persuasive and beguiling cult that they will be brought to repentance and publicly renounce their errors even as I, by the grace of God, have done. ♦
Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow
1. Hagin, Kenneth Hear and Be Healed. Tulsa; Faith Library Publications, 1987, p. 8
2. Hagin, Kenneth, Jr. God’s Irresistible Word, Tulsa; Faith Library Publications, 1989, p.36 Underlining added for emphasis.
3. Kenneth Copeland, “Question & Answer,” Believer’s Voice of Victory, August 1988, 8
4. On Jesus’ self-witness, see Robert L. Raymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah (Phillipburg, NJ; Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1990), 44-126
5. Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (August 8,1988) p. 8
6. Capps, Charles, Authority in Three Worlds. Tulsa, Ok. Harrison House, 1980 p. 111.
7. Ibid. p.85
8. ibid. p.89 Bolding and underlining added for emphasis
9. Ibid. p.98. Underlining added for emphasis
10. Hagin, Kenneth, “As Christ Is, So Are We” (Tulsa: Rhema), a cassette tape #44H06. Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.
11. Kenyon, E.W. The Father and His Family, Kenyon Publishing House 1968, p.100. Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.
12. The Way International is a charismatic, i.e. sign-gift practicing group that says it believes the Bible, promotes speaking in other tongues, divine healing, etc…Yet they deny the deity of Christ, the Trinity of the Godhead, etc.