Truth Matters October 2013

11 11 2013

Supernatural Speech In Acts
Part One

By Rev. Robert Liichow 

The 40-member church is among many nationwide that are reducing or cutting out speaking in tongues as they become more popular and move to the mainstream. It’s a shift that has unsettled some more traditional Pentecostals who say the practice is at the heart of a movement that evolved out of an interracial revival and remains a spontaneous way for the poor and dispossessed to have a direct line to God.

Last month on Issues Etc. radio I was asked, along with our discussion of Mr. Copeland’s measles outbreak at his compound to share my insights regarding recent articles that had come out stating that the defining mark of Pentecostalism, ecstatic speech, was not being practiced openly in many Pentecostal denominations and in some cases was no longer being emphasized. Harvey Cox, a Harvard religion professor said “This is a long-developing phenomenon . . . they don’t want what appears to be objectionable to stick out or be viewed with suspicion.”

First of all, we must begin with the biblical
evidence. Once we know what this expression of speaking in other tongues was biblically, then and only then can we determine if any Christian body is following the biblical practice or not. If on the one hand their practice has indeed been biblically correct, then why are they compromising their stance? If however, their practice has not been in accord with the Bible, then it is a good development that it is decreasing. What doth the Bible saith regarding what actually happened on the Day of Pentecost and throughout the history of the Book of Acts?

Prior to that Day – – –

Although many times sign-gift enthusiast proclaimers will begin their message on the validity of speaking in other tongues with this passage of text (which is probably as well known by Pentecostals as John 3:16 is to Baptists) they are already building on a faulty biblical understanding.

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. Luke 24:46-53

Only the 12 NOT the 120    
Our Lord Jesus was with the twelve. He is addressing His hand-picked witnesses moments before His ascension back to the Father and they are told that they, they who? The eleven disciples/apostles are the ones being addressed. This is a crucial point, do not forget it. They are the ones who will be initially clothed with power from on high and our Lord lifts up His hands, blesses them; they worship their Lord, and being filled with great joy return to Jerusalem.  Before the tongues as of fire rested upon the apostles they (the apostles) had to select another man to replace Judas. The qualifications are stated very clearly for all succeeding generations: First, Jesus said His men were witnesses of His ministry in Luke 24 and then again in Acts1:

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a
witness
with us of his resurrection. Acts 1:21-22

The eleven prayed and sought the will of the Lord and they chose by lots between Matthias and Justus, with the result being the selection of Matthias. Remember in Luke 24 our Lord said they (the apostles) would be “witnesses” this is the same masculine term used again here for “witness.” The witnesses were the 12 apostles according to the context of this thought. After the number of apostles was restored to twelve and the “day of Pentecost” had fully come:

Pentecost or Shavuot has many names in the Bible (the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest, and the Latter Firstfruits). Celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover, Shavuot is traditionally a joyous time of giving thanks and presenting offerings for the new grain of the summer wheat harvest in Israel. The name “Feast of Weeks” was given because God commanded the Jews in Leviticus 23:15-16, to count seven full weeks (or 49 days) beginning on the second day of Passover, and then present offerings of new grain to the Lord as a lasting ordinance.

Keep in mind that during this celebration Jerusalem would have been packed with people from all over the known world. “The Law of Moses required that all men make a pilgrimage to the temple three times a year to celebrate the feasts or festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.” The city was already filled due to the major Passover and now 50 days later most people were still in the city and surrounds to fulfill their next obligation. This helps explain the wide divergence of languages in evidence during this observance.

When the Day of Pentecost Had Fully Come

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:1-4

The “they” being spoken of are the same “they” Luke referred to in his Gospel account. There is nothing that indicates that the 120 other people gathered in that room were also recipients of that vocal gift. There is nothing stated anywhere in the Book of Acts that states or intimates anyone other than the apostles initially received this spiritual ability.

It is a question whether only the Twelve spoke in tongues or all 120. Several factors support the idea of only the Twelve being involved in this phenomenon: (1) They are referred to as Galileans (Acts 2:7; cf. 1:11–13). (2) Peter stood up with “the Eleven” (2:14). (3) The nearest antecedent of “they” in verse 1 is the “apostles” in 1:26.

We do read that it was the apostles who went outside and began to glorify God supernaturally in a genuine language unknown to them as the speakers, but known to the one being addressed hearer(s).

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Acts 2:4-8

    The ones filled were the same ones who went outside and began to speak intelligently and the ones speaking were Galilaeans (male verb, male adjective in the Greek), the apostles were all male. We know that there were women that comprised a good part of the 120 people with the apostles but none of them is mentioned as receiving this gift at this time.

Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. Acts 2:9-13

    The apostles amazed their hearers because they were extolling the “wonderful works of God” in their own native languages. Languages that “ignorant and unlearned men” (see Acts 4:13) would not have known how to speak. The purpose of this gift was evangelical in that it got the attention of the people by proclaiming the wonderful works of God, which is simply another way of telling people about what God has done for us all in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. From this account we know: (1) Jesus told them to go and wait, they did not know what to expect, i.e. they were not seeking the “gift of tongues.” (2) The apostles were the ones initially empowered with the Holy Spirit. (3) The gift was for the benefit of others not the personal edification of the speaker. (4) The messages were spoken to other people in their own language by a man who did not know the language he was speaking in, i.e. it was a genuine supernatural experience. (5) The content of the messages was clearly understood and glorified the works of God. (6) Lastly, this unusual manifestation was also a duel fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy:

For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; And this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. Isa. 28:11-12

The context is God’s judgment against Judah and foretold their going into Assyrian captivity, a people whose language they did not understand. “Men who mock God’s servants and message will ultimately be mocked in turn: delivered into the captivity of people who speak with what seems to be a stammering or mocking tongue (Isa 33:10). This was fulfilled as Isaiah prophesied, yet the apostles seem to apply this past event to what was now taking place in the Church.

The extreme enthusiasts today claim that because some of the mockers (Judeans) said the apostles were acting like people totally out of control on alcohol that we should expect the same drunken manifestations today when we are “filled” with the Spirit. The entire “holy laughter” movement was buttressed on this faulty concept.

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. Acts 2:14-14

Peter corrects the Judeans who were the ones casting aspersions. There is nothing in the text that indicates the apostles were “acting” drunk at all. The Judeans heard them, did not understand the languages, knew they were from Galilee (hicks) and thus mocked them. Peter says “these are not drunk” and dismisses the notion altogether and begins to explain what is transpiring.

Peter begins to preach what is taking place, in his own native tongue, and he tells them (and us) that what is taking place is THE fulfillment of the prophecy given by Joel [not “a” fulfillment]:

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: Acts 2:16-18

“This” is a demonstrable pronoun pointing to what was taking place right then and there. It was prophesied to come to pass and it CAME TO PASS on that Day. The grammar is always important in Bible study and many people have missed its importance here. Peter stated unambiguously that “this,” what is transpiring in their midst is the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Enthusiasts through the ages have tried to claim that their movements were birthed out of additional fulfillments of Joel’s prophecy.  Montanus claimed “Joel” as did the people at Azusa Street in 1906, later on the New Order of the Latter Rain declared their movement a fulfillment, as did the Roman Catholic Charismatic renewal movement in the mid 1960’s at the University of Notre Dame. All of them are wrong. That specific prophecy in Joel was fulfilled in the Church then, period.

Without going into the meat of Peter’s sermon we do learn one thing virtually all people fail to mention. When the 3,000 hearers are pricked to their hearts and are brought to faith in Christ Jesus and baptized —- NONE of these men began to speak in other tongues upon believing and baptism.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:38-41

The “promise” of the Holy Spirit is given to all (note also, Peter included children) who are brought to repentance and are baptized into Christ Jesus. Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit at their new birth, but not all Christians spoke with new tongues. Speaking in other tongues is not “proof” or evidence that an individual is “filled” with the Spirit per se. The “proof” of being indwelt by the Spirit is found in the waters of holy baptism. If you were baptized into Christ, then you are indwelt by the Spirit of Grace, like everything else in our walk, this is an article of faith and it is not based on whether we feel His presence or not.

What we should focus on in this event is that the Spirit had just been poured out on the apostles; they were not seeking this gift of other tongues, yet they received it — why didn’t these newly minted “Christians” also speak with new tongues as well? Peter just preached that the gift of the Holy Spirit was for all God’s children . . . so why are not all reported to be glorifying God wonderful works supernaturally? Obviously, this supernatural ability was not given to all believers, then or now. About five years after the Day of Pentecost (DOP) the Gospel message begins to make Its way outside of the converted Jews. In the following event we read of Phillip preaching Christ to the Samaritans. They received the Word of God and were converted (see Acts 8:11).

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. Acts 8:14-17

 Phillip shared the Gospel with the Samaritans, yet he was not authorized to impart the gift of the Spirit, only the apostles had this ability. They had to send for the apostles Peter and John. The apostles prayed for them, laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. There is no mention of these believers speaking with other tongues when they received the Holy Spirit. We are not given many details of how the Spirit manifested Himself among them, but something was evident by reading the account of Simon the sorcerer:

Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Acts 8:13, 18-20

Simon became a believer, he was baptized into Christ and he continued with the evangelist Phillip. Simon saw that through the laying on the apostles‘ hands the Holy Ghost was imparted and he wanted to do the same thing as the apostles and even offered to pay for this ability, which probably made perfect sense to his yet carnal mind. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT EVENT! We read of a believer who tried to TRESPASS into a ministry arena that he was unauthorized to engage in and Peter rebukes Simon and calls him to repentance for his presumptuous sin, he repents (vs. 24). Here are the vital points; first of all, we read that the Holy Spirit was imparted/given via the ministry/authority of the apostles alone. Secondly, one cannot purchase the gift of God. Thirdly, it was (and is) God alone who determined who and what gift they shall receive. What we are reading about is not the unique gift of speaking in other tongues, instead we are privy to reading about the unconquerable spread of the Gospel, the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18) are indeed no match for the power of God (Romans 1:16) and now the Samaritans are united in one Body with the Jews.

From the DOP nothing is mentioned about speaking in other tongues until the event with the Centurion Cornelius in Acts 10. If the gift of other tongues was the be-all and end-all of Christian spirituality why isn’t it mentioned as taking place more often in the account? We know Peter goes with John and he preaches in the temple and this time 5,000 men are converted (see Acts 4:4). As with the earlier 3,000 converts, these 5,000 also did not speak in other tongues at their conversion either.

If one is honest with the Book of Acts then one MUST admit that speaking in other tongues was not a universal experience for Christians. As we shall read, it was in fact a unique and surprising infrequent occurrence. The next citation of this specific gift is almost ten years later after the DOP at home of Cornelius!

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. Acts 10:44-48

    Years had passed since that DOP was initially celebrated. Many Jews have been converted, for even as Paul said later that the Gospel was to “the Jew first, then the Gentiles” (see Romans 1:16). The divine encounter between Cornelius and Peter was completely orchestrated by God. The Lord spoke to Cornelius by an angel (Acts 10:3) and gave hardheaded Peter a vision and brought them together defying tremendous racial animus between the Jews and Greeks.

    While Peter was still preaching to those gathered (Cornelius, his household and devout friends, v. 24) the hearers were brought to faith and the Spirit of Grace fell upon the Gentiles for the first time. How did Peter and those on his ministry “team” know they had received the Spirit? “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (v. 44). There are several very salient facts in this account to keep in mind when it comes to the issue of ecstatic speech.

    First, Peter as apostle was present and conducting the service which was his calling as a “witness” (that word again from Luke 24, Acts 1, Acts 10) — apostolic presence and authority. No one in the book of Acts received the gifts of the Spirit apart from the presence/ministry of the apostles. Secondly, some years had passed since the birth of the Church and Peter, Cornelius nor anyone else gathered were expecting (seeking) this capability. At this point in the Acts account we have no proof that anyone spoke with other tongues again after the Day of Pentecost. There is nothing in the text to indicate that speaking in tongues was in evidence in the worship services in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria at this (or any other for that matter). Thirdly, this manifestation was the same as occurred on the Day of Pentecost. The Gentiles did not receive some other demonstration of this gift than the Jews. We know they received the same experience as the Jews by Peter’s own testimony:

And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? Acts 11:15-17

    Upon returning home Peter is questioned by the circumcised believers and he recounts to them the entire event. Peter clearly states that the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles as on us at the beginning (Pentecost). They received the same expression “as he did unto” the Jews. Peter and those with him at the home of Cornelius heard the Gentiles magnify God, and although the text does not state it, it is very safe to conclude that some people in attendance could interpret/translate what was being vocalized or else they would not have known they were “magnifying God.” Also, it makes perfect sense that since the Gentiles received the same manifestation of the Spirit as the Jews, then the gift would have been the same, i.e. in this case Gentiles speaking supernaturally and someone being able to understand that they were in fact glorifying God. In this case it seems that the manifestation of other tongues was to convince the Jewish believers of the validity of the salvation of the Gentiles, even as tongues were used to help convince the pious Jews and proselytes of the reality of Peter’s sermon. What we see on the Day of Pentecost is the outworking of “to the Jew first” and then a few years later the Gentiles are brought in – “then to the Greeks.”

    First we read of the dramatic birth of the Church, the Church being opened to the Samaritans (Acts 8) and now in Acts 10 we read of the Church doors being opened to the Gentiles and the beginning of global evangelism. On these occasions nobody was expecting and thus not seeking the gift of tongues. On these occasions the vocalization of this special gift was spoken in a known language by people who did not know that language but a language that could be understood. Initially the apostles were the recipients and from that point on the apostles were always present when spiritual gifts were imparted. In Acts we read of no accounting of the Church gathering together to speak in tongues as part of worship, nor of any lay people going about distributing the gifts of the Spirit.

    For almost another ten years the Book of Acts is silent about the use of this gift until we come across the apostle of untimely birth (1 Cor. 15:8) Paul in Acts 19:

And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. Acts 19:1-7

    Paul and Apollos are on their way to Ephesus and they encounter a group of John’s disciples. Beyond them being disciples of John the Baptist we know very little about them. We know they were baptized with John’s baptism and they did not knowing that the Holy Spirit had been given by Jesus Christ who came baptizing with the Holy Ghost and fire (Matthew 3:11). The apostle Paul corrects their theological ignorance and they received the Word and were baptized into Christ Jesus. Then Paul the apostle laid his hands on these men and the Holy Spirit came upon them and these twelve men both spoke with tongues and also prophesied. Again, let us focus on what we do know, not what we speculate about! The Holy Spirit was given/imparted/bestowed through the ministry of an apostle to believers who had no idea of what to expect, they did not even know of the Spirit’s ministry through the Church at this point, again they were not “seeking” an experience or encounter with God. We read that the “gifts” given are according to the will of God, they spoke in tongues and also prophesied, two of the nine gifts Paul delineates in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. This encounter is the last mention of speaking in/with other “tongues” in the Book of Acts.

    The fact is there are only three actual texts that deal with speaking in other tongues —Acts 2:4, 10:46, and 19:6—are the only instances regarding speaking in tongues in the book of Acts. Some Pentecostal and sign-gift enthusiasts assert that tongues also occurred in Acts 8:4 but, there is no textual support for their belief, it is pure speculation. All three events treat the gift of speaking in tongues as the public and intelligible (understandable) communication of truth about God. Each event also show the gift of speaking in tongues as a verifying sign of the unique coming of the Holy Spirit upon a new group of people, thereby incorporating that group into the church.

    In conclusion let us also remember the examples of when people were converted and filled with the Holy Spirit without any evidence of speaking in other tongues. In Acts 2:41-42 we read where the three thousand were converted and baptized. Phillip preached and men and women were converted and baptized in water and filled with the Spirit, no mention of other tongues however, Acts 8:12. When Phillip witnesses to the Ethiopian eunuch who converts and is baptized does not speak in other tongues, Acts 8:26-40. There is no evidence at his conversion and baptism that the apostle Paul spoke in tongues (Acts 9:17-19), although later he thanks God he speaks in tongues “more than ye all” in 1 Cor. 14:18. It is obvious that the gift of speaking in other tongues was not a universal experience or practice. When the Spirit manifested Himself in such a manner He did so through apostolic authority and not the laity. Lastly, it was not an experience to be sought, nor did it seem to be for personal edification. Then how did the sign-gift movement get to be the largest segment of the Church? Stay tuned as by the grace of God DMI will continue to endeavor to unscrew the inscrutable.

ENDNOTES & REFERENCES:

An important FACT to remember when you read the Book of Acts is that what we read in an hour covers many years of Church history.

This is one of several recent stories on this topic http://bigstory.ap.org/article/messages-tongues-down-among-pentecostals. The underlining and bold type were added by the author for emphasis.

Christian people need to regain their objectivity.  It matters not how long a group of Christians has done something nor does it matter how many millions embrace a practice or dogma that does not make it true.  Our first and foremost authority is the Bible itself.

Obtained from http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefeastsandholidays/p/pentecostfeast.htm on 9/24/13

http://emp.byui.edu/SATTERFIELDB/Rel211/TEMPLE.html

Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 357–358.

Walter C. Kaiser, “1118 לָעַג,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 481.

When Pentecostal/sign gift folks teach the Book of Acts the people are given the impression that all of these “supernatural” events take place one after another quickly and that all the members of the early Church were all supernaturally empowered by the Spirit and that the rank-N-file believers were imparting gifts, working miracles, having a revival time in the Lord per se.  This is simply invisibly written into the account.  There is nothing that indicates this sort of hyper-Pentecostalism was transpiring at all in the lives of the people.

Advertisements




Truth Matters November 2013

11 11 2013

Other Tongues Part Two
Rev. Robert S. Liichow

     For argument’s sake let us agree that 100% of the people in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost (DOP) received the Holy Spirit and began to speak supernaturally in other languages as opposed to the view of myself and a host of other theologians which holds that only the apostles received this supernatural ability on that day. In reading the rest of the Book of Acts ask yourself the following questions. Did you read anywhere of the use of this gift by “laypeople” in the temple or in house to house worship? No. Did you read anywhere of non-apostles imparting/bestowing the Holy Spirit on believers? No. Did you read anywhere about people seeking the ability to supernaturally speak in other tongues? No. Remember your answers, you will be tested.

    Some might try to argue that the event with Phillip is an example of miracles being done by a non-apostle as seen in Acts 8:

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.  And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship  and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.  And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” Acts 8:26-29, ESV

    Phillip obeys the divine directive and joins the chariot and he enlightens the Ethiopian court official regarding the meaning of the text. Phillip shares the Word of God, the Holy Spirit convicts the man of his need of the Savior.

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:26-39

    There is MUCH that can be said of this amazing encounter, but let us focus in on a couple of aspects. We read of the eunuch making the good confession “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” This confession can only truly be made by a person who has already been brought to faith in Jesus. Note what his “faith” desires immediately —- water baptism! Phillip baptizes the eunuch, whether Phillip immersed the eunuch or stood with him in the water and poured it over his head is not stated nor does it matter; the “mode” of water baptism is not an issue. We do read they come out (ek) of the water together. Before, during or after his baptism does the Ethiopian speak in other tongues? No. Does Phillip mention that he needs this gift or experience so he has “evidence” that he is in fact now filled with the Holy Spirit? No. The only really miraculous experience occurs after the ministry work is over when Phillip is “caught away” (harpazō to snatch away) by the Lord and simply vanishes before the eunuch’s eyes who goes home rejoicing. I believe this event helps solidify my strong belief that no one received the “gifts of the Spirit” apart from apostolic presence or direct ministry. Again, please call to mind Acts 10:44while Peter yet spoke. . .” the Spirit was given. Earlier in Acts 8:14-15 we read:

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

In closing out this short review from last month let me restate the obvious to any reader of the Book of Acts, but apparently is not so obvious to many enthusiastic readers — there is NO

contextual
supportive
evidence:

  • That speaking languages supernaturally was a common experience to all or even most believers.
  • This gift {however it is understood} was ever part of the public or private worship of God’s people.
  • This ability was sought by believers.
  • After the DOP we have no indication whether the apostles themselves spoke or heard again in such a manner until some years later during a specific event in a specific place.
  • No one ever received these gifts of the Spirit apart from apostolic ministry.

Biblical scholars are in agreement (as much as they can agree on anything) that Luke, the physician wrote the Book of Acts and they also agree that Luke was indeed a close associate of the apostle Paul. Furthermore the dating of the Book of Acts is placed around 60-62 A.D. This is as important fact to “tuck away” in your mind as you re-read First Corinthians, which is dated around 53-57 A.D.

Luke wrote Acts ten years after Paul wrote the Corinthian believers. What is more Luke was well acquainted with Paul’s ministry. Yet for whatever reason the Holy Spirit did not allow anything to be shared of their ecstatic practices. This “silence” speaks volumes. If indeed the Church at Corinth was acting appropriately and were indeed these highly supernaturally gifted super-saints, then why aren’t they upheld as wonderful examples of faith and practice in the Book dedicated to the history of the beginning of the Church? Certainly Luke knew about what was taking place in Corinth, news travelled more slowly back then, but travel it did and he would have known, yet he is silent about them.

 The Confusion at Corinth

  Space does not permit me to go into detail about all the abuses taking place at Corinth, nor can I take us through a verse-by-verse study, although such a study is well worth the time and effort. With a cursory glance let’s get some sense of the condition of these believers and then focus in on their understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in next month’s article.

    Lest we be tempted to think of ourselves more highly than we ought (see Rom. 12:3) one thing Paul’s letter to Corinth teaches us is that sinful flesh does not change regardless of the age or degree of technology it is born into. The problems that plagued the Church then STILL plague us to this day and the answers given then are the SAME answers for us today. God changes not (see Mal. 3:6) nor does His truth, Truth Matters.

Some of the Systemic Sinful Abuses at Corinth

Paul learned of what was taking place at Corinth from two sources: (1) the household of Chloe (see 1 Cor. 1:11) and (2) a letter possibly written by Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (see 1 Cor. 16:17). The reason for writing this letter boils down to correcting
sinful abuses being practiced and false doctrine that is being believed.

Factions & Schisms

For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Cor. 1:12-13

The Corinthian, blood-bought baptized believers were in serious strife with one another in their church family. The Greek word for “contentions” refers to severe disagreements:

33.447
ἐρίζω; ἔρις, ιδος: to express differences of opinion, with at least some measure of antagonism or hostility—’to argue, quarrel, dispute.’
39.22
ἔρις, ιδος: conflict resulting from rivalry and discord—’strife, discord.’ ὅπου γὰρ ἐν ὑμῖν ζῆλος καὶ ἔρις, οὐχὶ σαρκικοί ἐστε; ‘when there is jealousy and strife among you, doesn’t this prove that you are people of this world?’ 1 Cor. 3:3. In a number of languages the type of strife referred to by ἔρις is frequently described as verbal, for example, ‘always saying bad things about one another’ or ‘never having a good word to say to one another.’

    The people were dividing themselves into “camps” based upon their favorite style of preacher whether it was Paul or Apollos and some pious folks claimed only to follow “Christ.” Absolutely NOTHING has changed to this day (thus PROVING my contention that our flesh never changes) in this regard. Christians today lump themselves together by their favorites preachers. Today it is “I am of Copeland,” or “I follow Walther and not Melanchthon.” How about “I am Lutheran, or I am a Calvinist?” Same fleshly outbreak as back then, just different characters today. Paul deals with this issue in his letter from 1:1 up to around 4:21.

Sexual Immorality

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 1 Corinthians 5:1–2

    It seems the Corinthians thought themselves so spiritual (1 Cor. 1:7 tells us that they lacked no spiritual gift) that the normal rules of morality did not apply to them any longer. The sexual degradation they tacitly approved of was of such a nature that even the pagan Gentiles did not fall to such depths of depravity. What is even worse than the individuals sins itself, as hideous as it was, was that the Church felt “good” about their liberty in Christ due to their inflated (φυσιόω/puffed up) egos. Instead, they should have mourned over the sin of one of their members, not approved of it in any way and sought to restore their brother who fell and at all costs uphold the holy name of Jesus into which they were baptized. Paul deals with this sad abuse in 5:1-13.

Litigious Libertines

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 1 Corinthians 6:1–3

The congregants did not get along, they did not trust nor particularly “like” one another, so it is not stretch to see them take their issues to an “impartial” party as opposed to their own brethren. This was (and is) a massive failure on the part of these people. First, it indicates those involved in such activities were not walking in love towards one another. Later on Paul will remind them exactly how the love of God expresses Himself through us (see 1 Cor. 13). Secondly, for a people so “filled with the Spirit” (as we shall see) how is it that they cannot depend upon Him within them, to give them discernment in judging common events in life? These super-saints were obviously not “hearing from God” in these matters. Lastly, to whom do they appeal? They go before the unjust, judges whose understanding belongs 100% to this world and its defeated non-god, Satan (see 2 Cor. 4:4). The Corinthians had not considered the BIG picture, we, the Church shall judge the angels . . . and these people cannot figure out an equitable outcome to simple things in this short life?

Strolling with Strumpets

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 1 Corinthians 6:12–16

    The Greek culture thought it perfectly normal to satisfy all the desires of the body which included the meats they ate and giving expression to their sexual lusts. Much of the eating and fornicating were done within the confines of various pagan mystery religions temples. The members ate the foods sacrificed to the idols and then engaged in sexual activities with the temple prostitutes (both male and female prostitutes) of their selection. This was the normal accepted manner of behavior and departure from it would have been considered abnormal. The members of the Church of Corinth were drawn out from this type of society mostly as adults, to them Christianity probably seemed like a newer and more superior mystery religion.

    The Corinthians had taken their true freedom in Christ to mean they could pick and choose who they listened to biblically. They were not obligated to love one another and get along; instead they would rather sue one another and sleep around. Paul saw this danger and rhetorically responds to this prevalent attitude by saying “all things are lawful to me but all things are not expedient.” He limits our liberty by tempering it with expediency. Christians are not free “to” sin but we have been freed “from” sin. Unfortunately the Corinthians took their liberty in Christ to mean they could indulge their flesh and in thinking they were free, they had in fact come under the power of sin (see John 8:34, Romans 6:16,20). As children of God we are now in Christ Jesus free to obey and free and empowered to say no to sinful temptations. Paul brings correction and continues operating on the flock.

Eating the Wrong Things

     Not only were the Corinthians guilty of abusing sexual relations, they were eating foods sacrificed to idols, whether directly in the various cultic temples or in the public markets which bought their meat from the temples often. Just as a point of history, the Greeks only burned the inedible portions of animals sacrificed, they ate everything else themselves.

    It seems evident to this author that the Corinthian’s were decidedly on the “libertine” side of the “scale” whereas the Galatian believers were being led to the opposite pole, that of “legalism.”

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 1 Corinthians 8:4

    Paul begins addressing this “abuse” by appealing to the power of love over “knowledge” (vv.1-3) and he acknowledges that some might have the correct understanding that an idol is in fact nothing, thus eating sacrificed to “nothing” had no effect on the meat whatsoever. Like my mother used to say to me at times “Robbie, it is not enough to be right sometimes.” Those with this view were correct, but as Paul reminds these haughty saints walking in “revelation knowledge” that godly love trumps knowledge.

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 1 Corinthians 8:7

    Not all the Corinthians had arrived at the correct understanding and some believed that food dedicated/sacrificed to an idol actually did something to that food which caused the people partaking of it to be united with the god or lord of the temple of origin.

But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 1 Corinthians 8:8–11

    What we eat does not matter to God per se. What does matter is when we use our legitimate liberty in Christ in such a way that it leads the weaker (in the faith) brother/sister to engage in something that they do not properly understand in Christ, and are destroyed by it.

But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. 1 Corinthians 8:12–13

Causing my brother or sister to stumble and wound their weak conscience by my liberty, then not only have I sinned against them but against our Lord Jesus Christ also. Like the Corinthians we often see our sins as “personal” between me and God and that my sin only impacts my fellowship with God. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are all members of One Body —- thus my sins impact ALL of my family in some manner. Paul reminded the Ephesians (and us) of the following:

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16

Every member of the Body of Christ has been given gifts, talents and abilities that are NEEDED to be used, when we sin we become sort of a “joint out of place,” which will slow down the Body, if we become so diseased by sin, then we have to be removed from the Body, lest the cancer spread (this is what happened to the brother sleeping with his mother-in-law, he was excommunicated – but he is restored by the next letter, which is the goal of Church discipline).

The Lady Has the Floor

The Corinthian’s were so “free” that they were allowing the women in their services to participate in ways not granted to them by Christ Jesus, the Head of the Church. Not only were some women out of divine order, they (with the men’s permission/approval) were violating the traditions that Paul delivered to them.

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:2–3

Paul begins by reminding them of the divine order (headship) of creation [PLEASE keep in mind that what is being discussed is not about “competence” but “faithfulness” to God’s order for His Church].

The word head (kephalē) seems to express two things: subordination and origination. The former reflects the more usual Old Testament usage (e.g., Jud. 10:18), the latter that of Greek vernacular (e.g., Herodotus History 4. 91). The former is primary in this passage, but the latter may also be found (1 Cor. 11:8). The subordination of Christ to God is noted elsewhere in the letter (3:23; 15:28). His subordination to the Father is also true in His work as the “agent” of Creation (8:6; cf. Col. 1:15–20).

The Corinthians thought themselves so “free” in Christ, no doubt due to their high degree of self-perceived
pseudo spiritual advancement that they overthrew the biblical and cultural distinctions between men and women. “All things are lawful” was extended to women’s participation in worship:

. . . the Corinthian women had expressed that principle by throwing off their distinguishing dress. More importantly they seem to have rejected the concept of subordination within the church (and perhaps in society) and with it any cultural symbol (e.g., a head-covering) which might have been attached to it. According to Paul, for a woman to throw off the covering was an act not of liberation but of degradation. She might as well shave her head, a sign of disgrace (Aristophanes Thesmophoriazysae 837). In doing so, she dishonors herself and her spiritual head, the man.

It is not our goal to consider the proper biblical role of women in the ministry of the Church at this time. The focus is that obviously the Corinthians were guilty of abusing the role of women in their midst.

In the church—as elsewhere—men and women need each other, and God intends them to be complementary in their gifts and personalities. Some gifts and aspects of personality may be the same in the man and in the woman, but not all. They were created to be different. Physical differences between the sexes are matched by differences of gift and personality.

Abusive Table Manners

Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 1 Corinthians 11:17

    It is interesting to take note of that Paul uses the words for “idol” and “Idolatry” fifteen (15) times in 1 Corinthians and only six (6) times in his remaining letters. Contrast this with his use twelve (12) times of “impurity.” I agree with William Ramsay when he says that Paul is more concerned with the reality of idolatry versus impurity, which is the wrong view of many other commentators.

    The people were gathering together for worship and to share the Lord’s Table together. They were to be united as one family in Jesus Christ and yet they were anything but united.

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 1 Corinthians 11:18-19

    When they gathered to be receive God’s good gifts of Word and sacrament they probably associated with one another based on their proclivities regarding their favorite teachers, based on their perceived spirituality and economic status.

    Paul is not surprised to hear about this extremely sad state of affairs. After all, the entire congregation seems to be a very “mixed bag” of exceptionally carnal Christians and sincere believers who wanted to please their Lord versus themselves.

    Up to this point of doctrine and practice Paul has been exposing and correcting their abuses regarding virtually everything they were doing as God’s people, so he is not surprised to learn of their abuses at their Lord’s Table.

Paul says in v. 20when therefore ye assembly yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the Lord ‘s Supper.” For a host of reasons the Corinthian believers were not conducting the sacramental meal as taught by our Lord Jesus Christ at His last supper with His disciples prior of His death (see Matthew 26:17-30). When they gathered together they were in essence eating their own supper (vs. 21-22) and some people were actually becoming drunk (μεθύει/methyō) during the meal!

    Concerning the “Eucharist” (Greek for ‘thanksgiving’) meal the Corinthian’s were in serious, sometimes fatal error. They erred in discerning exactly what was taking place at the Lord’s Table both vertically in their relationship with God and horizontally with one another as God’s own dear children.

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
For this cause many are
weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:27-31

Paul again brings correction by teaching them that they need to begin with self-examination:

1507 δοκιμάζω (dokimazō): 1043; 1381; 2.255—1.
examine, try to out, test (Lk 14:19; 1Co 3:13; 11:28; 2Co 8:8; Gal 6:4; 1Ti 3:10); 2.
regard as worthwhile (Ro 1:28). 3.
judge as good, regard something as genuine or worthy (Ro 1:28; 14:22)

This self-examination is a critical and necessary aspect of properly receiving the benefits given by our risen Lord through His supper.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are
weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11:28–30

Obviously these disciples were failing to judge themselves (the examine “himself”) properly in relation to what they were about to receive (the “Lord’s body”). Their abject failure regarding the holiness of God in the meal resulted in:

For this cause many
are
weak and sickly among you, and many
sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:30–31

Specifically because of their carnality at the communion meal MANY (‘polloi’, indicates abundance) people were receiving judgment DUE to their behavior including:

Weak — 23.145
ἀσθενής, ές: pertaining to being ill and, as a result, weak and incapacitated—’sick, ill, weak, disabled.

Sickly — asthĕnēs, from 1 (as a negative particle) and the base of 4599; strengthless (in various applications) feeble, impotent, sick, without strength, weak (er, -ness, thing).

Sleep — And not a few sleep (και κοιμωνται ἱκανοι [kai koimōntai hikanoi]). Sufficient number (ἱκανοι [hikanoi]) are already asleep in death because of their desecration of the Lord’s table. Paul evidently had knowledge of specific instances. A few would be too many.

Let me just put this thought out for readers to ponder — if the Lord’s Supper is merely symbolic, as many denominations teach, then why was God judging them for their ill treatment of a mere symbol? I agree with the apostles and Paul when he states:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

The cup of wine we bless is a communion, or better translated “participation” in the blood of Christ, even as the bread we break is a participation in the body of Christ, the Corinthians had lost sight of this fact.

The solution was self-examination (diekrinomen, 11:31; cf. vv. 28–29; 5:1–5; 10:12), self-discipline (9:27), and promoting of unity. The alternative was God’s judging (krinomenoi, 11:32), which was a discipline that they were then experiencing. This was not a loss of salvation, but of life (cf. 5:5).

    We have seen in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church that these people were carnally minded in the grossest forms. They erred in their morals, their relationship to leaders, and their lack of love towards one another, spiritual pride and arrogance. It seems they had at best a tenuous grasp of the Gospel message and yet they saw themselves as highly spiritual people whom God was using in marvelous ways.

    It is the view of this author that what Paul is doing throughout this letter is showing the Corinthians their sinful abuses. What I am endeavoring to point out is simply WHY do so many people look to the Corinthians when it comes to the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit as the experts? What basis do we have to believe that they got “this right” where the entire letter is an open rebuke and not too subtle correction of their other many errors? There is no basis to believe their use of the gifts was any more sound than their communion practices. Next month we shall consider the Corinthian abuse of the spiritual gifts and hopefully address whether or not speaking in tongues is disappearing from charismatic public assemblies.

REFERENCES:

Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 437, 494, 269.

David K. Lowery, “1 Corinthians,” ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 528–529, 532. Underlining added for emphasis.

Derek Prime, Opening up 1 Corinthians, Opening Up Commentary (Leominister: Day One Publications, 2005), 96–97. Underlining added for emphasis.

[1] The Corinthians came from a background of eating ‘sacred food’ in their temples.  They were formerly schooled in believing that what they ate was an actual encounter with their gods.  Perhaps when they learned as Christians that idols were nothing, thus the meats sacrificed to idols was “nothing” and perhaps they carried this over to thinking that the Lord’s Supper was also just a sort of “memorial” meal with nothing really taking place.

James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

James Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 16.

A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), 1 Co 11:30.

 





I Am OUTRAGED

19 09 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 11 – I AM OUTRAGED – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

I AM OUTRAGED

scanOutragedseal0001

                                By Robert S. Liichow

Outrage Defined

indignation a feeling of righteous anger Shock: strike with disgust or revulsion re: “the evangelists scandalous behavior of his ministry shocked the church” desecrate: violate the sacred character of a place or language: “desecrate a cemetery”, “violate the sanctity of the church.” “profane the name of God.” (1)

As an individual I generally run on a fairly even keel emotionally as much as any adult dealing with being ADHD. Even with my disability I strive to live a disciplined and organized life in may areas including emotionally. Yet within about a weeks time four incidents have taken place that literally burned my bacon in such a righteous manner that I have not even felt a twinge of remorse over what I have written or the way I felt at the time of writing you this newsletter. Some of these outrages you may be familiar with, others may not have hit your “radar” yet. In any event, consider this the “Outrageous Issue” of Truth Matters.

Ted Haggard

The title of this months article reflects a bumper sticker on the car in front of us as my wife and I pulled out of the movie theater a few nights ago. It sums up perfectly my emotional state concerning what is transpiring within the Church. There are four specific “cases” each of which has stirred up my righteous indignation and I hope that you are equally appalled over them too. Before I drop the hammer on these folks let me make it very clear that we are praying for all these individuals and the ripple effects their actions are having on their family, many Christians in the Body of Christ and the world’s view of the integrity of Christian leaders both morally and doctrinally.

scanHaggard0001

By this time you already know about the growing scandal concerning Haggard. If you are not aware of it then here is what has currently been brought to light. Ted Haggard was the senior pastor of New Life Church, a mega-church of 14,000 members in Colorado Springs, CO. He was the Presiding President of the National Association of Evangelical (NAE) which represent around thirty million evangelical Christians. He is a husband, a father of five children and a charismatic/sign-gift believer. In short, Haggard was a player in both the Church Growth Movement and conservative politics.

News of Haggard’s dismissal rocked the Christian world. Haggard was one of the evangelical movement’s most powerful leaders, and helped Colorado Springs earn the moniker of “evangelical Vatican.” He had the White House on speed dial, and Harper’s Magazine called New Life “the nation’s most powerful mega church.” Haggard had served as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents more than 30 million evangelical Christians, until he resigned. (2)

It was the latter arena that brought to light his hidden sins. As you know America had an election Tuesday, Haggard was a staunch and vocal advocate against same-sex marriage. That stand is one I and DMI give a hearty “amen” to. The problem in Haggard’s case was that he had been living a double-life for at least three years according to his accuser, a homosexual prostitute whom Haggard is alleged to have been having sex with:

The scandal began Wednesday when a male escort in Denver said he had an ongoing sexual relationship with an evangelical leader. By later that day, Haggard had been named as that leader. (3)

Mike Jones is the homosexual escort who “outed” Haggard not only for his homosexuality but also Jones admitted that Haggard had used and bought methamphetamine from him. The reason Jones came forth at this point in time was because he thought, rightly so, that Haggard was being a hypocrite due to his vocal stance against homosexuality while being actively engaged in it!

What is outrageous to me is that when Haggard was confronted with the allegations Jones was making he lied about it! He is on record denying the charges. In one interview he acted like he had never even heard of Mike Jones. However, Mr. Jones has Haggard’s voice on a voice-mail (which is now available for the world to hear on the Internet). Then when pressed Haggard admitted that he had purchased crystal meth at some point but threw it away.

Finally more truth was revealed when his church leaders asked him to step down due to sexual immorality (the did not mention the drug abuse). It seems at this point that many, if not all, the charges made by Jones concerning Haggard are true.

What is equally outrageous to me is that Haggard’s case response echoes three other cases of homosexual immorality within the sign-gift segment of the Church. In December, 2001 Mr. Robert LIARdon was exposed for his ongoing homosexuality with the Youth Leader of his congregation. (4)

Three months later Robert Liardon was back preaching again. In February, 2004 Latter Rain false prophet Paul Cain was exposed for his life of homosexuality and alcoholism by fellow so-called restored prophets. Lastly, on September 18, 2004 the Los Angeles Times ran a story with allegations of homosexual behavior and drunkenness on the part of Paul Crouch Sr., the Founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN paid the accuser in Crouch’s case $450,000 in hush money as you may remember). (5)

In each of these cases, including Haggard, there are several outrageous similarities: (1) NONE of these men came forth voluntarily and confessed their sins. It was only when they were caught that any admission of guilt came forth. In the case of Mr. Crouch he denies to this day that any type of homosexual behavior went on, yet why then did TBN pay close to half a million dollars of donors money to the man making “false” charges? (2) Each of these leaders were and still are members of independent charismatic organizations which they ran. They had little to no genuine accountability to others around them or to any denominational affiliation. (3)The “Flip Wilson Defense” was invoked in LIARdon’s case and now Haggard’s. For those readers too young to remember the Flip Wilson Show, he had a segment where Mr. Wilson would appear in drag before a judge and say “the devil made me do it.” Here is how one of Haggard’s members cast this sordid situation:

Some people cast the situation as a struggle between good and evil and Haggard as the victim of a religious battle. “Satan may have won the battle, God will win the war. Satan is like a hunter. Satan goes for the big trophies. This is spiritual warfare, and Ted is under something the average person can’t fathom,” said Earl Beatty, who knelt at the church Saturday night. (6)

Note how Beatty views Haggard immorality —he is simply a victim of a Satanic onslaught. You, Mr. Haggard, are a “big trophy,” whereas if you or I fell into such immorality we’d be kicked to the curb immediately. I have seen this happen on numerous occasions within the sign-gift movement. The rules simply don’t apply to these superstars. If they get sick and die then it was the devil trying to stop the advancement of God’s kingdom. You or I get seriously ill and die, then we had some hidden sin or unbelief in our lives. They get divorce and remarried on other than biblical grounds; they are given a pass whereas other lowly sheep usually can’t even serve as a church janitor after a divorce.

Isn’t what the Bible teaches in James a little more plausible than Beatty’s comment regarding Haggard?

James 1:13-15: When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Let me cite a few of the statements given by Mr. Haggard in a letter read to his congregation on Sunday, November 5, 2006: (1) Please stay faithful to God through service and giving.” The first thing on his list is that he asks his former congregation to continue to give MONEY!! Hopefully Haggard’s people have had their faith in Christ all along and thus naturally will stay faithful to Jesus.

(2) “Please forgive me. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.” Note the order, money first, then he confesses he is a sinner. Perhaps it took a fall from so lofty a height for him to realize something most biblically based Christians readily acknowledge, I.e. that they are sinners at the same time as being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

(3) “Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life.” Why should we forgive Mr. Jones? He did the right thing in exposing Haggard. Most certainly Mr. Jones needs to be brought to faith in Christ and delivered from homosexuality. It seems to me like Haggard is saying something akin to “forgive the police officer that caught me.” He should have asked his former congregation to pray for the redemption of Mr. Jones, not for them to forgive him!! Lastly, in point  (4) Haggard tries to make lemonade out of lemons by saying Because of the negative publicity I’ve created with my foolishness, we can now demonstrate to the world how our sick and wounded can be healed, and how even disappointed and betrayed church bodies can prosper and rejoice.” (8)

See, Haggard’s immorality is really a blessing in disguise because we (the Church) can now demonstrate to the world how our sick (Haggard) and wounded can be healed. I have news for Mr. Haggard the Church has been healing its sick and wounded for 2,000 yeas by the discipline and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Haggard has not committed the unpardonable sin and he has asked for forgiveness, even if it did not come voluntarily, and so it must be given to him. I will not doubt his contrition, for I cannot judge his heart. Nonetheless his immorality, denials, lies and attempts to deflect what he did from himself is outrageous in my eyes. Not to mention the blight he places on the rest of God’s genuinely faithful ministers who the world will tar with the same brush due to Haggard and all the other recent scandals rocking the Church.

We do pray for his restoration, but especially we pray for his wife who is understandably devastated, their five children who have to face their peers, the thousands of congregational members, many of whom were babes in Christ and without doubt “star stuck” by Haggard and may become shipwrecked due to his moral failure.

Haggard’s fall is simply more proof that allegedly possessing the sign-gifts does not make a person more anointed, powerful in Christ or holy. The fact of the matter is that the most egregious scandals to besmirch the name of our Lord have come mostly from “charismatic” believers such as Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, Larry Lee, Jimmy Swaggert, Roberts LIARdon, Paul Cain and Paul Crouch. All of these leaders claimed to be special due to their alleged spiritual gifts, but in reality they were shown to have feet of clay, like the rest of us.

Katharine Jefferts Schori Installed As Head Of 2.3 Million Member American Episcopal Denomination

This is the next item to outage me, not because a female being ordained to lead a denomination, which in itself is unbiblical. Women have often been misplaced or taken place of authority within the Church since the false prophetesses Priscilla and Maximilla around 155 AD. It is not an outrage to see a woman holding the office of a bishop, which again biblically has been given to men. (9)

1 Tim. 3:2-5 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

What is outrageous is her blasphemous and heretical statements concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we get to her comments you should know that she endorses the ordination of homosexuals and also approves of same-sex marriages. (10) Do the following comments outrage you?

But in an interview this week with Associated Press, Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori — who is to be installed on Saturday as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA — stated that Christians should not say that Jesus is the only way to God. “If we insist we know the one way to God,” she said, “we’ve put God in a very small box.” (11)

Jefferts-Schori says she views salvation as the healing of all Creation through holy living. “I understand salvation as being about the healing of the whole creation. Your part and my part in that is about holy living.” she offered. “As Christians we understand [salvation] as relationship with God in Jesus, but that does not mean that we’re expected to judge other people’s own commitments. (12)

Katharine Jefferts Schori preached her first sermon to the Episcopal Church General Convention as presiding bishop-elect, she announced, “Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creaton and we are his children. (13)

How a historical mainline Protestant denomination could elect a pro-gay female bishop who denies that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life is an outrage. If she is allowed to remain in that position then all those congregations that submit willingly to her authority can no longer be considered part of the Christian Church.

We disagree about many things within the Church visible, but one thing about our belief that cannot be compromised is that salvation is found through grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone and to God alone be all the glory. Any deviation from these obvious Apostolic doctrines places an individual, congregation or even denomination outside the orthodox Christian religion.

Katharine Jefferts-Schori, I do insist that Jesus Christ is in fact the only way to God simply because this is what God the Son Himself stated:

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 17:3: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

JN 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

We can disagree over the mode of baptism, how often to celebrate the Lord’s Supper or which translation of the Bible to use…but salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone is NON-NEGOTIABLE. What part of Acts 4:12 is the presiding Bishop so obtuse to not understand? If this is the last thing I ever write you please understand this simple fact:

Two Statements Can Be Untrue, But Two Contradictory Statements Cannot Both Be True. “A” Is “A” And Cannot Be Non “A”

Truth by its very nature demands the exclusion of all other claims which contradict it. Either Jesus is who He said He was or He is notDMI chooses to draw a line in the sand right here. This issue right here is a make or break fellowship issue for us. I have a pastor friend in Detroit whose congregation is part of the American Episcopal Church, in fact, my mother-in-law’s funeral was held in his congregation’s sanctuary and if he agrees to submit to this heretic’s authority, then we will have no further fellowship, it is that serious to me personally and it breaks my heart but I and DMI fears God more than seeks the applause and friendship of man. The Apostle John is quite clear as is Paul in his letter to Titus on this matter and his admonition to Timothy:

2 John 1:9-11 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. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your home, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deed.

Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

2 Tim 3:5: Having the form of godliness, but denying the power: from such stay away.

Many American Episcopal Churches have the outward form of godliness, I.e. they sing the hymns, pray, follow some form of liturgy, but deny the power of God which is found in the proclamation of the Gospel (see Rom. 1:16) by teaching that there is another pathway to eternal life apart from faith alone in Jesus.

As outrageous a stance as this woman has taken it is gratifying to report that several other bishops in the United States are appealing to the Archbishop of Canterbury seeking to come under his authority. Other American Episcopalians have placed themselves under the spiritual oversight of the African Archbishop. Both of these Archbishops represent conservative wings of the Anglican faith. The African Archbishop being the more conservative of the two, but neither one accepts homosexual ordination nor agrees with the comments of Katharine Jefferts-Schori. Please join with us in prayer that the American Episcopal Church will come to its senses and reconsider whom they’re currently elected and replace with a brother who at least abides by the original confessional stance of the Episcopalian Church. If they do not remove her, then let her and those who follow her be anathema to you.

The “Father” Fenton Fiasco

scanFENTON0001

The first two attacks on the Church that outraged me (and I hope at least concern you very deeply) are issues that possibly touch closer to your home than my third “outrage.” This one is far more personal to me in my journey from heresy to Christian orthodoxy. John Fenton was previously a confessional evangelical pastor within the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). As of Sunday 11-05-06, he had left the LCMS to join himself to the “Orthodox Church.” By Orthodox I mean as in the “Eastern Orthodox” branch of the Church. You might be saying to yourself, “ok, so what is the big deal? Didn’t Frankie Schaffer do the same thing after his illustrious father, Francis Schaffer died?” Some of you may be thinking “well aren’t Lutheran’s just Kissing-cousins of Roman Catholicism and the Eastern/Greek/Russian Orthodox Church just the stepbrothers of Roman Catholicism?” There is no short succinct answer to these questions. Let me just say that the Evangelical Lutheran Church (14) is not doctrinally related in many significant ways to the Roman Catholicism, the various Eastern Churches or the various Reformed and Protestant denominations. You’ll have to do your own sleuthing on this matter to see the clear distinctions between these branches of the visible Church. That said, confessional Lutherans readily and joyfully admit that God has His children scattered hither, thither and you, i.e. biblical Lutherans do not view themselves as the only genuine believers, nor do we consider the Evangelical Church to be the only true visible Body of Christ on earth.

What is outrageous about brother Fenton is that he is an intelligent man with a solid conservative seminary education; in fact, he is a graduate of Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN. He has served as a pastor within the Missouri Synod for eleven years and as of October 29, 2006 he resigned as pastor at Zion Evangelical-Church of Detroit to join the Orthodox Church of America (OCA). I will cite statements he made in his resignation letter:

However, I am convinced that the Book of Concord contains defective or deficient doctrines not in accord with the faith of the apostles. In simple terms, these deficiencies include the acceptance of an amended Nicene Creed, the notion that Jesus died to appease His Father’s wrath, a man-centered understanding of the church, the denial of prayers to the saints, and the idea that the liturgy is a man-made product. (15)

No Lutheran seminary professor or pastor I have met (and I have met quite a few over the last several years) proclaim the Book of Concord to be infallible. The LCMS does teach, believe and confess that the teachings within the Book of Concord do accurately represent biblical doctrine and orthodox Christianity. It is however never placed on the same level as the Holy Bible, nor are its contents ever appealed to over the plain teachings of the Bible.

Naturallly, the OCA, like all branches of the Eastern Church, disagrees with the western understanding of the Nicene Creed. Here is the argument in a nutshell (more or less):

The Nicene Creed introduced the word “homoousious” or “ consubstantial” meaning “of one substance.” This word was not invented at the council Eusebius writes that some of the “most learned and distinguished of the ancient bishops had made use of consubstantial in treating of the divinity of the Father and the Son. (16)

The Nicene Creed, also called the Nicaeco-Constantinopolitan Creed, is a statement of the orthodox faith of the early Christian church in opposition to certain heresies, especially Arianism. These heresies, which disturbed the church during the forth century, concerned the doctrine of the trinity and of the person of Christ. Both the Greek (Eastern) and the Latin (Western) church held this creed in honor, though with one important difference: the Western church insisted on the inclusion of the phrase “and the Son” (known as the “filioque”) in the article on the procession of the Holy Spirit; this phrase still is repudiated by the Eastern Orthodox church. In its present form this creed goes back partially to the Council of Nicea (AD 325) with additions by the Council of Constantinople (AD 381). It was accepted in its present form at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, but the “filoque” phrase was not added until 589, However, the creed is in substance an accurate and majestic formulation of the Nicene faith. (17)

All of the historic creeds were developed by the early church fathers as a means of refuting heretics and their false teachings. A simple working definition of creeds is as follows: “A creed is a brief statement of faith used to enumerate important truths, to clarify doctrinal points and to distinguish truth from error. Creeds are usually worded to be easily memorized. The word creed comes from the Latin word credo, meaning, “I believe.” (18) Creeds are simply statements of what is commonly accepted as genuine Christian dogma. Virtually all Christian bodies do accept the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Chalcedon as well as the Athanasian Creed. (19) Apart from the Church of the Brethren, a small Anabaptist denomination whose statement is “no creed but the Bible,” this sounds pious, but actually demonstrates their ignorance of why the aforementioned creeds came into existence. It also highlights their misunderstanding regarding the place and use of the various creeds in liturgical confessional congregations.

What is the OCA (which is submitted to the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church) and Fenton’s issue with the Nicene creed as we confess it in the west? It boils down to western theologians adding a few words to clarify the Trinity because the original writing of the creed was a little fuzzy in this area:

“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son” the debate concerned whether the Holy Spirit proceeded fro only the Father, or from the Father and the Son [filioque in Latin]. The phrase “and the Son” was not in the original Greek version of the Creed accepted at Nicaea and Constantinople. It was added in the Latin versions used in the Western (Roman) church in AD 589 as an attempt to clarify the relationship of the three person of the Trinity. The concern was that the original wording made Jesus the Christ subordinate to the Father, a view that the Western church felt endangered the doctrine of the Trinity. (20)

The Episcopalian Church has recently reverted back to the eastern version of the Nicene creed in their latest printing of the Book of Common Prayer (anything the Episcopalians do no longer surprises me).

Fenton’s next statement is equally outrageous to me when he blithely writes in opposition to “the notion that Jesus died to appease His Father’s wrath.” I am sure you have all seen the famous painting representing our Lord knocking on the outside of a cottage door? Now visualize that same painting with me standing there knocking on brother Fenton’s head!! Who does Fenton think Jesus was appeasing in His substitution death on the cross? The ransom view of the atonement is thankfully, not widely held these days (apart from the Word of Faith cultists). In this view Jesus died to purchase us back from Satan, this concept had its roots in the teaching of an early theologian named Origen, who was later condemned by the Church as a heretic not due to this teaching alone, but several others that went far beyond the pale of orthodoxy. (21) The problem inherent in Origen’s doctrine of the atonement deals with the issue of why does God owe Satan anything, especially His own Son?

The teaching of the LCMS and other truly evangelical bodies is that God sent His Son into the world (John 3:16) because of His great love for all humanity to suffer as our substitute, bearing the full brunt of God’s divine judgment that we owed due to our sin against a totally holy God. The words of an old hymn we used to sing, who name escapes me goes something like this: “I owed a debt I could not pay, He paid a debt He did not owe.” Jesus suffered and died in our place to appease the holy wrath of God by bearing in His own body the penalty for our sins. How brother Fenton could discard such an obvious truth of the Bible and embrace a heterdox view is to me outrageous.

Fenton’s next reason for departing from evangelical Christianity and going east is because Lutherans and others within Protestantism do not believe in praying to “saints.” He sure got that point of his letter correct. Lutherans and millions of other Christians do not pray to dead saints (including Mary) for one simple reason — THE BIBLE NEVER REMOTELY SUGGESTS THAT WE DO SO. Contrary to Fenton’s belief, the Bible teaches us the following:

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 7:11 how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Luke 11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name your kingdom come.’

John 15:16…Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

These are merely four verses from the Gospel that I have cited. In each case we are told by God the Son to pray to the Father, to do so in the name of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Why didn’t Jesus say “when you pray, ask my mother, who in turn will ask Me, and I will then ask the Father.” Or why don’t we read of any of the writing Apostles saying “when I have gone on to glory, I’ll be listening for your prayers in order to intercede on your behalf before the throne of Almighty God.” What we do learn from apostolic writings are directives such as these:

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not . And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Christ Jesus Himself makes intercession for us and as for me and my household we’d much rather have the Son of God standing in the gap for us than His mother, blessed woman that she was or even Peter and Paul. We are also told quite plainly that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:26). As God’s own dear children in Christ we are told by the author of the book of Hebrews to come BOLDLY to the throne of grace, not to ask some dead “saint” to do it for us.

This brings me to another “outrage” concerning brother Fenton’s deflection from the pure light of God’s Word into the shadows caused by man-made doctrine…the whole eastern (Roman Catholic too) stress on “saints.” Folks we are all saints, set apart by the blood of the spotless lamb of God. No one in the New Testament is especially noted as a “saint” and the rest of the Church is full of ain’ts. Such a distinction is never made biblically, that is the impure invention of sinful man.

I close this last outrage with Fenton’s comment that he is now seeking membership in the “true visible church” on earth, I.e. the Orthodox Church of America. This is very prideful on the part of Orthodox Churches to make such a statement. If words mean anything, then every other expression of the Church visible is in fact not the true visible Church, only the Orthodox Church holds that position!

Some reading this may ask why is it that some fellow believers turn to Roman Catholicism (RC) or Eastern Orthodox (EO) expressions and jettison their former evangelical beliefs. I think the answer is both complex and simple and may differ from case to case. Over all, I believe what takes place is that people get deceived into thinking that either expression is the closest thing to New Testament Apostolic Christianity. Both of these historic expressions make this claim regarding themselves, but it is not true. The Great Schism between Eastern and Western branches of the faith were due to doctrinal issues.

Here are a few beliefs brother Fenton now embraces as “Truth”:

About Mary: “The Mother of God is often referred to as the “New Eve,” for she said “yes” to God whereas the first Eve said “no” We believe that the Mother of God was sinless of her own free will, that she remains ever virgin, and that she is the “living tabernacle” of God inasmuch as her womb, as one hymn states, becomes “more spacious than the heavens” by carrying within it the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. (22)

Psal. 51:5 Behold, I was sharpen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Rom. 3:1 As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

So much about Mary’s perpetual sinlessness and perpetual virginity (Matt. 13:53).

About Icons: Orthodox people kiss them, bow to them, pray to them, Why? Inseparable from the liturgical tradition, religious art is seen by Orthodox Christians as a form of pictorial confession of faith and a channel of religious experience. this central function of religious images (icons) – unparalleled in any other Christian tradition – received its full definition following the end of the iconoclastic movement in Byzantium (843). The Orthodox theologians, on the other hand, based their arguments on the specifically Christian doctrine of the incarnation: God is indeed invisible and indescribable in his essence, but when the Son of God became man, he voluntarily assumed all the characteristics of created nature, including describability. Consequently, images of Christ, as man, affirm the truth of God’s ral incarnation, Because divine life shines through Christ’s risen and glorified humanity, the function of the artist consists in conveying the very mystery of the Christian faith through art. Furthermore, because the icons of Christ and the saints provide direct personal contact with the holy persons represented on them, these images should be objects of “veneration” (pokiness), (22)

Regardless of tradition, where is this commanded in the Bible? Our Bible commands that we make no graven images (see Deut 7:5-6)

Praying to the Dead: The saints are regarded as those who have reliably finished the course of their lives in the path of theosis. Those that are known to the Church are glorified (canonized) by incorporating their lives into the Church’s liturgical life, a recognition of Christ in them. They are venerated (shown great respect and love) but not worshiped, for worship is due to God alone. In showing the saints this love and requesting their prayers, it is believed by the Orthodox that they thus assist in the process of salvation for others. (23)

The reformation came about because Dr. Martin Luther and others wanted to reform the church and bring it back into line with the Scriptures. He, nor any other reformer ever taught that we should seek the dead on behalf of the living.

Please re-read carefully the Book of Acts and you will not find a blueprint on how to “do” Church. God by His wisdom left us a great deal of latitude in how local congregations function administratively, musically, and yes, even liturgically. For instance nothing is mentioned about wearing a collar, robes or vestments with specific colors for specific seasons of the Church calendar. Nothing is mentioned about incense, how long a sermon is to be, should candles be used or not, length of a service. Nor are we commanded to have a specific number of deacons or elders. Must we sit in pews or are folding chairs ok? Should the pastor speak from behind a pulpit or walk around the congregation as he preaches? These and a whole host of other issues are considered adiaphorous (or non essentials) by the Evangelical Church but unfortunately some portions of the church have elevated these and other non-essential traditions to having equal status with the Holy Bible.

Pray for brother Fenton, I fear he has jumped out of the pan quite literally into the fire. He will find that the Orthodox Church of America is run by sinful men, just like the LCMS, the Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptist confederations, et al. There is no perfect Church on this earth, at least as long as you and I are alive.

Paula White

scan0001

While the prior events were taking place I was doing a bit of morning surfing on the television and happened across the Christian program sponsored by Paula White Ministries. Paula, when not screeching and running around a platform somewhere like a chicken on crack she has decided to try her hand at a sit-down television studio set similar to other televangelists. Some of you may not know anything about White, so allow me to cite her own PR from her website:

Paula White is a Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Preacher, Author, Humanitarian, Philanthropist, Teacher, TV Personality, Wife and Mother. Beneath her unassuming beauty, lies a gentle and girlish charm. (24)

Note the order of importance that she describes herself: (1) Life Coach, (2) Motivational Speaker, (3) Pastor, (4) Preacher, (5) Author, (6) Humanitarian, (7) Philanthropist, (8) Teacher, (9) TV Personality, (10) Wife and (11) Mother.

Her husband and children are last on the list. The first two are accurate, especially after what I witnesses on her television program.

What was outrageous to me was that her guests were no less than Mr. Donald Trump and his co-author, Robert Kioysaki hawking their latest best selling book entitled “Why We Want You To Be Rich.” In fact, Mrs. White had these two men for several days. During this time (paid for by Christian donors) she never once confronted them in a loving manner with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, i.e. that they were lost sinners in need of a Savior. What shocked and appalled me was that an internationally known woman “preacher” and a TBN regular would have two unrepentant heathens on her Christian program for the sole purpose of making money off the success of their book which she offers on her website ( anyone can buy it cheaper at Amazon.com). Trump has been married three times, after jettisoning wives number one and two on totally unbiblical grounds. He is well known for making much of his fortune from the gambling industry (casinos) and in short is a “prime candidate” for salvation. I do not know that much about his co-author, but he too is a multi-millionaire due to his other books and games he has created.

Brothers and sisters, there is something terribly wrong when someone who calls themselves a Christian and yet does not share the Gospel message with sinners sitting right next to them! Equally it is appalling to see irredeemable time wasted talking to men about how to get rich! The Bible plainly teaches that “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim 6:10). Sadly, Trump, Kioysaki and White’s goal seems to primarily self enrichment and not gaining wealth for the purposes plainly set forth in the Bible.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having wealth or making a great deal of money in this life time if biblical realities are kept in mind:

FIRST we all need to remember that it is God (not Trump’s schemes or our own abilities) that gives us the power to get wealth (Deut. 8:18). The purpose for our wealth is NOT to buy bigger homes, fancier cars, more expensive clothing or more jewelry. God gives people the ability to get wealth to establish His covenant. The Lord knew then as He does now, how easy it is for His people fallen human beings that we are to wrongly take credit for what we have and to grasp onto it tightly as if the money He has entrusted us with was as precious as life itself.

SECONDLY, We are to use a portion of our wealth to support (25) the work and workers in the ministry (1 Cor. 16:2). In fact, the Holy Spirit has Paul remind God’s people on two occasions that they need to set aside a portion of their finances for ministry support. (1 Cor. 9.9 , 1 Tim. 5:18). In another place he says that those who preach/teach the gospel ought to make their living by their ministry work (1 Cor. 9:14). This doctrine is echoed again by Paul to Timothy especially regarding leaders who teach (1 Tim 5:17). (26)

THIRDLY We all gain wealth to some degree through the work of our hands, some make more, others less that is not the issue. What is paramount to remember is the purpose of our work. Again, we do not work to get ahead of the “Jones” or keep up with the “Copelands.” No, the purpose of our labor is so that we may have something left to give to those who lack, I.e. the poor. (Acts 10:2, Eph. 4:28).

All of these outrages seemed to occur within a week of each other, it really has caused me to consider the seriousness of the times we are living in and the need to be all the more faithful in teaching truth & exposing error.

On behalf of Discernment Ministries International let me again express my heartfelt gratitude to our Lord for raising up those of you who faithfully support our ministry. We thank you for being both obedient to our Lord with your support and generous in your giving. It continues to be our prayer that everyone who reads Truth Matters, makes use of the website or uses our materials would give some amount each month. In all honesty, DMI really has need of more financial support.

With the passing of my mother-in-law things got backlogged on every front, both in ministry and our personal lives as a family. It may be a negative confession, but all of my immediate family not only went through a period of grieving, but my wife and I also suffered from a low grad depression, which thankfully has now lifted.

With this in mind please forgive the lateness of the last issue of Truth Matters, a few folks might still be waiting to receive a book or CD (they are on the way!), not to mention the delayed sending out of quarterly giving statements. If by the time you read this letter and you have not received something you did order PLEASE let me know (call me collect, and I will rectify it as quickly as possible.

I realize that some ministers would never publicly admit to such things, but I learned a great lesson from Kevin Butcher, a friend, fellow pastor and mentor who taught me that value of taking the risk, of being transparent to those you love and serve along with the truth of striving to be a human being versus a human doing. Thanks Kevin, those are lessons I will not forget. ♦

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Obtained from http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=defineoutrage&sa=X&io=glossary_definition&ct=title.

2. Colorado Springs Gaette, by Paul Asay, Bill Vogrin and Deedee Corell, Haggard Dismissed, 11-03-2006

3. Ibid

4. DMI was one of the first Apologetic ministries to expose Mr. LIARdon the date for his outing was obtained from http://www.christian-witness.org/archive/van2003/bilby_restor16.html

5. Los Angeles Times, Andrew Gumbel, September 18, 2004

6. Ibid. Bold type added for emphasis.

7. Please understand that I cite “church janitor” as merely an example of a lowly position (in some people’s eyes) as opposed to that of the pastor/prophets/apostle. I am in no way denigrating the often unseen and thankless task of those who keep the church buildings clean.

8. Colorado Springs Gazette, Ted Haggard’s letter to New Life Church, November 5, 2006. Underlining added for emphasis.

9. It is beyond the scope of this article to consider the roles of men and woman within the church. I know many women who are very gifted and I respect them. Yet God’s Word is the guide by which all our faith and practice is to be judged by and women simply are not called to serve as pastors, elders, bishops, or teachers over men.

10. This is according to an article on her ordination located at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/04/national/main2153338.shtml

11. Agape Press, by Jody Brown and Allie Martin, Comments by Jefferts-Schori During Interview Appear to Contradict Scripture, 11-02-06. Bold type added for emphasis.

12. Ibid

13. Quote from Jim Tonkowich, Religion Without Foundations, writer for the Daily Standard.

14. Please understand that the Lutheran Church was originally called the “evangelical” church and was not a part of the Roman Catholic church, nor is Confessional Lutheranism a part of the Protestant reformation nor a “Reformed” church/

15. Taken from John W. Fenton, M Div., S.T.M. Letter of Resignation submitted on 10- 29-06. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

16. Obtained from http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/sbrandt/nicca.htm

17. Obtained from http://www.crcna.org/pages/nicene_creed.cfm Underlining added for emphasis.

18. Obtained from http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/pamphlet/3creeds.htm

19. For more insight into the interesting history surrounding these and other classic statements of the Christian faith you might pay a visit to the following websites: http://www.creeds.net/; http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/pamphet/3creeds.htm or http://www.cresourcei.org/creedsearly.html.

20. Statement obtained from http://www.cresourcei.org/creedsearly.html Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

21. If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomisu, Macedomius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their impious writings, as also all other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid four Holy Synods and [if anyone does not equally anathematize] all those who have held and hold or who in their impiety persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him be anathema. This quotation was obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/widi/Origen#Christology.

22. The Evangelical position is stated as follows: Lutheran teaching of the atonement stresses that God’s act is objective, taking the imitative (cf. the OT concept of the Covenant) in reaching out toward man, and that Christ’s work is vicarious in that He bears the burden of sin, which is rightfully man’s (GI 3:10-13, cf. ls. 53). Obtained from http://www.lcms.org/ca/www./cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=A&t2=t.

23. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church#The_Theotokos_and_the_saints on 11-08-80.

24. Obtained from http://www.oca.org/QAasp?ID=6&SID=3.

25. Obtained from http://www.paulawhite.org/about.htm.

26. When DMI and other Apologetic ministries refer to financial support please understand that we mean just that I.e. receive enough financial help to pay or feed or families, pay our bills and run our small ministries. I do not know one Apologetic or Counter-cult ministry that lives above a “middle-class” financial level, most of us, DMI most assuredly lives just above the poverty line economically speaking. I find it shameful when “ministers” receive millions of dollars personally I don’t care how “big” they are.

27. Those who preformed their functions well were worthy of “double honor [GK G5507}.” Since this word was often used in the sense of a price paid for something, it had been suggested that here it might be translated “honoraruim”. Perhaps we should allow both “honor” and honorarium” Highest honor is to be given to “those whose work is preaching and teaching.” 18. This verse, a well as the proceeding discussion of support for widows (vv. 3-16), suggests definitely that the “double honor” for elders was to be a financial remuneration. Quoting Dt. 25:4 (cf. 1 Co. 9:9) and Lk 10:7, Paul makes the point that a worker should receive compensation. Obtained from the Zondervan Reference Library CD, ver. 2.6. The New American Commentary Module.





TRUTH MATTERS and It Is Worth Fighting For

20 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – October 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 10 – Truth Matters and it is Worth Fighting For – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

TRUTH MATTERS

And

It Is Worth Fighting For

Maybe Paul should not have publicly rebuked Peter for playing the hypocrite before the Jewish believers (read Gal 2:11). Perhaps he should not have dared to “name names” in some of his epistles (read 2 Tim 4:14). Obviously Paul was emotionally overwrought and an alarmist when he told the Ephesian elders warning them night and day for three years with tears about the wolves from without and the danger of false brethren from within (see Acts 20:27:31).

Pelagius taught man’s will was totally free and that original sin was a myth, perhaps Augustine and Jerome should have agreed to disagree with him. What if Athanasius had said ‘well brother Arius has a different revelation of the Godhead, nothing to break fellowship over” instead of sounding the alarm and condemning the man as the heretic he was? Possibly Irenaeus was too harsh on the false prophets and teachers attacking the Church in his day, and he even had the gall to name the miscreants in his book “Against Heresies.”

What if Martin Luther seeing Tetzel selling salvation and said wow, what a shame, but what can one person do against an entire religious system? And walked away thinking “ the Lord will settle the matter”?  Where would we be today?

My dear brothers and sisters it is costly to take a stand for God’s Word in a world that grows spiritually darker by the minute. It is even more difficult to stand up for righteousness within the Church that drifts further from the secure anchor of their souls, the Word and sacraments.

We are fast coming to a time when the cry again is being sounded ‘who is on the Lord’s side?” (read Luke 11:23), which is it in your life and mine? To follow the Lamb is to be in the minority, it is to carry the cross outside the camp (read Hebrews 13:13); suffer humiliation and be considered a fool for forsaking all the “goodies” YOU COULD HAVE HAD, YET DID NOT FOR His names sake. To be a disciple means to take a stand for God’s truth regardless of what it may cost you in family, friends, or societal position. It means not being popular or in with the in crowd.

Like Abraham, we are pilgrims in this world, yes in it, but not of it…at least that is the way it is supposed to be. Is this true in your life and mine? Or have we become bewitched with the baubles and glitter of a system decaying before our very eyes? Judas sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver, today too many sell Him far more cheaply I fear.

I wish I could write you and say “hey folks, its ok,” but I’d be lying. It is not “ok” not by a long shot. The Church is under attack just as Paul warned almost 2,000 years ago. False apostles, prophets and teachers make merchandise of the sheep and if anyone dares to raise their voice against them they are engulfed with cries of “you’re accusing the brethren; you’re causing division; who died and made you judge?”   Evil prevails when good men keep silent and I for one refuse to keep silent and allow evil to prevail in my generation.

Brothers and sisters, God has never used the “many” He has always used a select group. For example: He chose Israel not because of their great size and might, for exactly the opposite reasons “ The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye [were] the fewest of all people” (Deut. 7:7). When Gideon went out to fight, We know that God made a separation and sent all but 300 soldiers back home (read Judges 7:4) so that the victory would be clearly seen as coming from Him and not their own abilities and numbers. Our Lord Himself chose twelve men to turn the world upside down (read Acts 17:6). The early Church itself was small but it spread from Jerusalem to Judea, then Samaria to the uttermost parts of the earth (read Acts 1:8)

Often Apologists are called “accusers of the brethren” by our detractor’s. Yet it is Satan who falsely accuses the brethren before God. We in the Church are called to judge those within the Church (1 Cor. 6:3). We are called to exhort (Titus 1:9) and rebuke with all authority (2 Tim. 4:2) when we see people departing from the standards of God’s holy Word. In fact, for Christians not to serve as watchmen on the wall would be a dereliction of duty.

Discernment Ministries International is one voice that God has raised up to stand as a watchman on the wall and shout out a warning to the Body of Christ saying “test the spirits to see if they are of God.” We are in the minority within a sleeping Church, one that we are striving to rouse from its slumber. DMI and others are swimming hard upstream against every wind of doctrine which so many lovingly are bodysurfing downstream on.

However, DMI cannot do the work alone I am sending out this appeal with the hope that God still has a legitimate remnant of people who are spiritually dissatisfied with the current religious status quo. That there are a people whose righteous indignation has been stirred up by the Holy Spirit to the degree where they will faithfully support a ministry that dares to say  “the Emperor has no clothes on” regardless of the cost.

DMI needs more faithful partners to help us expand our mission of Teaching Truth & Exposing Error. Won’t you join our ranks and get involved in the battle for the integrity of the Gospel?  We thank God daily for those He has raised up thus far, but we need many more people to wake up to the reality of the battle we are all involved in and help support those of us who’ve dedicated their lives to sounding the alarm. Please pray about supporting us, we need your help more now than ever. ♦

His servant and yours,

Rev. Bob Liichow

 Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow





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





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.





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

scancow20050001

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

scansign0001

 

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.