Christological Confusions

21 01 2011

Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 1 – Christological Confusions – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Christological Confusions

Rev. Bob Liichow

 In the last few weeks Discernment Ministries International has received emails expressing concern over our belief in the Trinity of God. One would think that after two thousand years of biblical study and scholarly debate questions about the nature of the godhead would have been satisfactorily answered. The truth is they have been. The Church Catholic (universal) has been united in the following belief:

Whoever wills to be in a state of salvation, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith, which except everyone shall have kept whole and undefiled without doubt he will perish eternally. Now the Catholic Faith is that we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is One, the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. (1)

The orthodox Christian Church worships one God in Three Persons. I italicized the word person because our finite human language breaks down in many of our attempts to express eternal and timeless truth. Nonetheless, “person” is an adequate term to use because the word “person” is used to describe the three members of the Godhead because the word “person” is appropriate. A person is self-aware, can speak, love, hate, say “you,” yours,” “me,” “mine,” etc.

Each of the three persons in the Trinity demonstrate these qualities throughout the scriptures. The Bible is very clear concerning the fact that there is but One God yet is seen operating as Three within the One. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as the Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are the one God.

One of the recent emails excoriating DMI was regarding our declaring Mr. William M. Branham a heretic and telling people that he was a “Oneness” believer. The person writing us was partially correct in their diatribe by stating that Branham was not a member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the WORLD (PAW) or the Apostolic Pentecostal Church; both Oneness denominations. They were correct in that Mr. Branham denounced all denominations as being of the great whore Babylon and was a member of none. However, Mr. Branham and all his followers deny the reality of the Trinity. A fellow truth-teller and Apologist Eric Pement wrote the following concerning Branham’s view on the godhead:

From his earliest days, Branham rejected the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. He thundered, “Trinitarianism is of the Devil! I say that THUS SAITH THE LORD.” Branham insisted that the Trinity doctrine originated with Satan, and that it taught there were “three gods.” Therefore he directed that any believer who was baptized according to the triune formula given in Matthew 28:19 should be rebaptized “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Branham generally described the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as being three “titles,” offices,” attributes,” or “merits” of God. The problem with this explanation is that titles, offices, attributes, or merits cannot relate to one another on a personal level. (2)

I have written many articles about Mr. Branham and they can be read on our website or by visiting our BLOG which has all of the extant Truth Matters for your viewing pleasure. This being the case let me just mention Branham again briefly for those who are newer readers and may be unfamiliar with some of the background of this Arch-heretic.

Branham is probably one of the most widely followed revivalists of our era. He was killed by a drunk driver in the mid 1960’s. At the time of his death Branham’s popularity had taken a huge downward spiral. He had taught too many bizarre teachings and uttered various strange prophetic words that were simply too much for the mainstream Pentecostals to swallow. So at the end of his life, his revival meetings dwindled in size. Sadly, Branham was one of the first men to really utilize technology in his meetings. The result was that we have virtually all of his revival sermons on audio and many hours on 16mm tape. Branham is almost single-handedly responsible for the creation of the ten thousand plus independent charismatic congregations.

Branham’s warning to leave denominationalism almost destroyed the Assemblies of God (AOG) denomination due to the fact they lost of many of their pastors! After his death he became mythic in stature largely in part due to the other revivalists who tried to raise him from the dead for several days after his car accident! Men like Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, A.A Allen, Gordon Lindsey lauded and praised this man at his funeral as the greatest prophet of their generation. The end result? Today there are over 20,000 web sites dealing with this heretic. Hundreds of Branhamite congregations (aka groups) which do nothing but listen to his past sermons, watch him on video and read about him and spread his message!

Naturally, this Bran Amite (3) felt led to correct my views both on Mr. Branham and the Trinity of God. He failed in both arenas because there was nothing to correct regarding my understanding of both topics.

What Did Branham Believe About the godhead?

In a nutshell Branham believed nothing unique or new about God, in fact, he bought in an ancient heresy (unbeknown to him, Branham had less than an eighth grad education). Branham and the Oneness Pentecostals believe in “Jesus only.” Their churches are known among other Trinitarian Pentecostals as Jesus Only churches. Jesus is the Father, Jesus is the Son and Jesus is the Holy Spirit, there is no God but Jesus Christ, He is the One God.

Even though this ancient heresy was soundly rebuked, defeated and anathematized (declared a soul damning heresy) time and time again by The Church it still has persisted. Without going over eras of church history suffice it to say this heresy was virtually dead until 1913.

The Azusa revival of 1906 was already slowing down by 1913 and it was during a revival meeting in Los Angeles in 1913 that whipped things up again. This time a Canadian man named R.E. McAlister began to re-baptize converts in Jesus name only. This initially brought some confusion and debate. McAlister and his followers broke off from their fledgling Pentecostal brethren and took steps to formalize their doctrinal stance. The result was that today the fastest growing Pentecostal denominations are the Oneness Pentecostals which include the following organized groups: United Pentecostal Church International (UPC), Apostolic World Christian Federation, Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW). (4)

Within two years this reincarnation of ancient heresy was solidified into specific beliefs. Some of these beliefs included the need to be baptized by immersion in Jesus name only. This is a prerequisite to salvation, you must be baptized in Jesus name. What is more you must speak in other tongues as proof of having obtained full salvation. Thrown into the mix is a mishmash of Wesleyan holiness (works) and a firm belief that they are the only true Church.

Their Ancient Error

Several heretics arose in the early Church (there really are no “new” heresies per se). The “Jesus only” heresy is attributed to Sabellius, who taught a form of this doctrine in Rome in the third century. The Lord raised up as the chief opponent of Sabellianism a man named Tertullian, who labeled the movement “Patripassianism,” from the Latin words patris for “father”, and passus for “to suffer” because it implied that the Father suffered on the Cross. Sabellius, Praxeas, Noetus all fell into the error of “modalism” which simply means God takes upon Himself “modes” or simply appears in different forms but is the same and One God.

The Monarchians properly so-called (Modalists) exaggerated the oneness of the Father and the Son so as to make them but one Person; thus the distinctions in the Holy Trinity are energies or modes, not Persons; God the Father appears on earth as Son; hence it seemed to their opponents that Monarchians made the Father suffer and die. In the West they were called Patripassians, whereas in the East they are usually called Sabellians. The first to visit Rome was probably Praxeas, who went on to Carthage some time before 206-208; but he was apparently not in reality a heresiarch, and the arguments refuted by Tertullian somewhat later in his book “Adversus Praxean” are doubtless those of the Roman Monarchians. (5)

This error denies the individuality within the godhead and no doubt came about in an attempt to secure the place of deity for Jesus Christ. However in their attempt “making” Jesus to be God they veered off into error.

I asked the writer several simple valid questions which he refused to answer. In fact, when you encounter a Oneness dupe I would urge you to consider asking some of these same questions found on the following page.

 

Some challenging Questions To Ask The Arians at Your Doorstep and other Places

1. Is Jesus His own Father?

2. If Jesus’ will and the Father’s will were identical, then why did Jesus express the desire to escape the cup but resigns Himself not to His own will, but the will of the Father? See my article on this.

3. Was Jesus praying to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane? If so, why?

4. If Jesus was praying to the divine side of Himself, then isn’t He still praying to Himself?

5. Why was Jesus not saying, “Not My will, but MY will be done?” if there is only one person and one will involved when He was praying in Luke 22:42 & Matt. 26:39 ?

6. If baptism is essential for salvation, then what happens to someone who repents of sin, accepts Jesus as Savior, walks across the street to get baptized but is killed by a car. Does he go to heaven or hell?

A. If he goes to heaven, then baptism isn’t a requirement is it?

B. If he goes to hell, then faith in Christ isn’t sufficient to save him is it?

7. If God is only one person, why did Jesus say in John 14:23, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” If God is only one person, why does Jesus say, “we”?

They have no adequate biblical response in attempting to answer these questions. Within Pentecostalism there has been a debate as to whether or not their Oneness compatriots are in fact Christians. I can answer that question very easily no debate necessary.  NO!   These people are guilty of preaching another Gospel [see 2 Cor. 11:4]. They present a system of works righteousness from the beginning to the end. Obviously they proclaim another Christ [see 2 Cor. 11:4] and if you are wrong regarding the Person and work of Jesus, then frankly, it matters not what one is right about. Lastly, they advance another spirit [see 2 Cor. 11:4] who is not the Holy Spirit as revealed in Scripture. How sad to go to church and worship someone you really do not know, and more importantly does not know you!

The second type of email to challenge DMI’s Trinitarian stance came from the other side of the heretical Christological morass of delusion, i.e. that Jesus is not God at all.

There were several heretics involved in attempting to mislead the church, time and space permit only touching on a few of the “bigs.” The following people taught more or less the same error with some subtle nuances that are unimportant to this discussion. These deceived deceivers taught that Jesus was the first created being by the Father. Thus in their system the godhead consists of God the Father period. Jesus is His first and greatest creation and the Holy Spirit is simply the spirit of the Father God. To them Jesus is not God, nor is the Holy Spirit.

Arius is probably one of the best documented of the heretics of this stripe. His beliefs can be boiled down to the following statement:

Using Greek terms, it denies that the Son is of one essence, nature, or substance with God; He is not consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father, and therefore not like Him, or equal in dignity, or co-eternal, or within the real sphere of Deity. (6)

The views of Arius were sounded defeated at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Almost 1,200 years later another somewhat similar error erupted in the 1500’s called “Socinianism” so named after the two brothers whom espoused this aberrant doctrine. They taught the following:

Socinianism denies the doctrine of the Trinity claiming it denies the simplicity of God’s unity. Instead, God is a single person with the Holy Spirit as the power of God. Since it emphasizes the unity of God, there could be no divine and human union in a single person as Christ. Therefore, Socinianism denies the incarnation and deity of Christ as well as Christ’s pre-existence…Since Jesus is not divine by nature, His sacrifice was not efficacious; that is, it did not result in the redemption of people who would trust in it, it teaches that Jesus was only a man.   (7)

Socinianism furthermore denies the efficacy of infant baptism, the reality of eternal damnation in hell, opting for annihilation of the wicked. To these people the Bible is only authoritative as properly understood [rationalism] by themselves.

Monophysitism was another heretical attempt to wrest Christ from the godhead. Monophysitism is heretical because of its erroneous assertions that the nature of Christ had only one nature, not two as is taught in the correct doctrine of the hypostatic union (Jesus is both fully God and fully man). The problem here is the same as concerning the above views:

The denial of the human nature of Christ is a denial of the true incarnation of the Word as a man. Without a true incarnation there can be no atonement of sin for mankind since it was not then a true man who died for our sins. (8)

Fortunately, this view was defeated at the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680-681 A.D. Even though it was defeated by the Church and shown to be a heretical view it still exists today. What is more is that you have probably encountered the descendants of Arius and the Socinian brothers!

Today the most vocal voice spewing Arian heresy is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Within the first few minutes of conversation they will deny that the Trinity exists, they will deny that Jesus is God the Son from all eternity. They will tell you that Jesus is the first and highest creation of Jehovah, as such He is referred to as a “son” but He is a created being. There is a vast amount of research material available free of charge on our website and the internet on how to answer the J.W.’s when they come knocking on your door.

Another popular group in America which holds forth Arianism along with other cultic beliefs is the Unitarian Universalist Church. Sadly, a purely American invention. Fortunately one that does not have a tremendous impact, unlike the J.W.’s who are very busy (after all their salvation depends on it).

Within the same week DMI received emails espousing these two heretical views of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is apparent that people outside the major cult groups (J.W.’s etc.) are beset with damnable ignorance about the biblical Jesus. This is ignorance the Church banished hundreds of years ago!

People historically have erred concerning whether Jesus was divine or not. Some exalt Him to being the only True God, others say He is n o God at all. If this was not confusing enough there is another category of error DMI has yet to be asked about, that being, the heresy regarding the two natures of Christ.

Monothelitism attempted to avoid the apparently unsolvable question of whether Christ had two natures, one human and one divine, or only one nature. Rather it placed the focus on stating that the nature(s) had only one will and one operation, although, still Christ was defined to have two natures. Nestorius, a priest is often sited as an originator of this error. By the Third Council of Constantinople, where the idea of Monothelitism was debated ended with declaring Christ with two wills and two operations, both together in the body of Christ.

Eutychianism is similar to Monophycitism. It states that Christ’s natures were so thoroughly combined — in a sense scrambled together — that the result was that Christ was not really truly able to relate to us as humans. The problem is this implies that Jesus was not truly God nor man. Therefore, He would be unable to act as mediator and unable to truly atone for our sins. (9) We don’t encounter many folks like this proclaiming to be Christians today. This mis-belief is an ancient one that the Apostles encountered taught by the Docetists. They taught that Jesus only “appeared” to be a man, that He was really God and thus His sufferings were just an illusion, etc…

Tritheism is what the Orthodox Church is accused of by the ignorant and unlearned. This is the concept of three gods, distinct, yet in union. All the cults and Islam in particular declare we worship a three-headed god or worse yet, three distinct gods.

Jesse Duplantis in his book Heaven, Close Encounters of the God Kind, which book DMI has thoroughly debunked and proven this work to be both plagiarized and a blasphemous document [AGAIN CHECK OUR BLOG FOR THESE ARTICLES ON DUPLANTIS & HIS LIES].

While allegedly in the throne room of heaven, Jesse on his face just takes a quick peek into the events before his eyes! He declares to his angel guide that He saw the father’s feet (no man can see God and live, right?), he saw Jesus preaching in the throne room (hmmm isn’t Jesus “God” saw him and lived). Then Jesse says to his angel guide “I see the Father, I see Jesus, but where is the Holy Spirit?” His angelic guide “oh Jesse, He is on earth!” Immediately Jesse said he felt so stupid for even asking the question!!! This man is followed by millions! His book is in many languages and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies! Yet he is a liar, false teacher, thief, and a deceiver who does not know the God of the Bible.

It is easy to see how the unregenerate can fall into accusing us of worshipping three gods especially when we tell them that the Father is God, Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God, these three are the One God — their minds go TILT. Three persons, each “God” how can that not be three gods? The answer is simple — because God has given us His Word and in it we clearly see three divine persons and yet a uniform testimony of the fact that here is but One God.

Can we fully understand the nature of the godhead? No, and honestly, I doubt we ever will fully understand everything about God a billion years from now. What I do have is God’s Word and my role as a disciple is to bow my pride and hugely vast intellect [lol] to the authority of His Word and renew my mind to its sublime truths and to teach others the truths contained therein by example and rhetoric.

In closing I would urge our readers to consider beginning the new year off by boning up on some of the foundational doctrines of our faith because it is here, at the foundation, that the cultists attack. Here are a few good books to consider for your library. As always, I advise anyone to go to www.abebooks.com and try to buy these tomes used.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

Some Titles to Consider

1. A Summary of Christian Doctrine Edward W.A. Koehler

2. Know What You Believe, Paul E. Little

3. How to read the Bible For All It is Worth Dr. Gordon Fee

4. Systematic Theology, Millard Ericson

End Notes

1. The Athanasian Creed, underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

 2. Obtained from http://www.midwestoutreach.org/journals/branham_tree.html on 01-06-11

3. DMI over the years have received several emails regarding Mr. Branham. It seems part of his followers ministry is to scour the internet and challenge all who dare doubt “prophet” Branham.

4. What is amazing and telling about the history of American Pentecostalism is that after the Azusa revival 4 main divisions fissured almost immediately. The AOG & COGIC (Church of God in Christ) are Trinitarian in doctrine, but split over racism. The AOG being virtually all white and COGIC being all black. Then within the heretic modalist group also split into 2 branches, again based on race and not doctrine. So much for “Holy Ghost love” and “union.”

5. Obtained from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10448a.htm on 01-06-2011

6. Obtained from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01707c.htm.

7. Obtained from http://carm.org/socinianism on 01-07-2011

8. Ibid

9. Obtained from http://www.experiencefestival.com/





The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man

12 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – Sept 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 9 – The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Demotion of Christ & Exaltation of Man

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

I once heard a preacher say that “It doesn’t matter what you are right about, if you are wrong abut Jesus.” This is a true statement. One can be orthodox in every sense, yet if he or she is wrong about the person of Jesus Christ, then all of their otherwise orthodox views are tainted and unacceptable.

I have been calling the Word of Faith (WOF) movement a cult for many years now and still DMI receives questions regarding whether or not it is really a cult or possibly just a “sect” within the Christian Church. In some ways this can be a difficult issue to answer because on the surface many of the people currently enmeshed within the WOF are sincere Christians, yet if we consider the actual teachings of the WOF leaders then we must conclude they are in fact a non-biblical cult. To help shed some light on why the WOF is a cult I am going to be presenting some articles proving why they have placed themselves outside of the Christian Church by their false doctrines.

There are area of doctrine which are not central to what the Church has confessed as the “holy, catholic and apostolic faith” from the beginning of Christianity. Areas that as Christians we can agree to disagree. Such areas might include how often one receives Holy Communion, the wearing of liturgical garments by the pastor, worshipping on Saturday or Sunday or perhaps even the mode of water baptism. Such things are called “adiaphora” by Lutherans, meaning things that do not matter especially regarding salvation. Other doctrinal issues cannot be given up to discussion such as the Person and work of Jesus Christ. This is where the WOF departs from Christianity and embraces heretical teachings, so much so that anyone who believes their (WOF) doctrines has placed themselves outside of the One True Church (una sancta.)

Jesus Ministered As Only A Man Never As God

One of the central fallacies taught by the WOF cult is that our Lord Jesus Christ stripped Himself of every vestige of divinity and ministered while on earth only as a man. The fact that Jesus was born a sinless man really does not figure into their mythology. They would certainly acknowledge it as a fact, but it does not matter when it comes to WOF Christology. Being virgin born and inherently sinless has no effect on how Jesus ministered [keep this fact in mind as you read on].

The WOF dogma goes like this: Jesus did not until He was baptized with the Holy Spirit in the river Jordan  (see Matt 3:16).  Only after He was endued with power from on high did He begin His miraculous ministry, starting with the changing of water into wine (see Jh. 2:11).

The following are two statements from the late Kenneth Hagin regarding this novel concept.

Of course, Jesus stands in a class by Himself, personally, and as Deity. But when it comes to ministry, Jesus does not stand in a class by Himself…Even though Jesus was the Son of God, and divine blood flowed through His veins, yet He was ministering on earth as a human being—a prophet anointed with the Holy Spirit.  (1)

Jesus id not minister with His divine attributes while He was on earth. He ministered as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. ….The Bible says that Jesus voluntarily laid aside His power and glory as the Son of God (Phil 2:6-8) and ministered as a man filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit—the same way we are to minister.  (2)

Mr. Hagin is not the only one who spouted such nonsense, all of his clones, like leaven spreading throughout a loaf of bread, parrot his false teachings.

He hadn’t come to earth as God, He’d come as man. He’d set aside His divine power. (3)

Citing Philippians 2:5-7, he states that the incarnate Christ “had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit.

The heir to Mr. Hagin’s empire of error is Kenneth Copeland. He has taken Hagin’s errors and globally spread through his multi-faceted SINistry.

[Most Christians] mistakenly believe that Jesus was able to work wonders, to perform miracles, and to live above sin because He had divine power that we don’t have. Thus, they’ve never really aspired to live like He lives. They don’t realize that when Jesus came to earth, He voluntarily gave up that advantage, living His life here not as God, but as a man. He had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit as recorded in Luke 3:22, He ministered as a man anointed by the Holy Spirit. (4)

I’ve come to realize that none of the WOF cult leaders, i.e. Hagin(s), Copeland(s), Price, Dollar, Meyer, Duplantis, Capps, Hickey, Tilton, Hinn, Savelle, et all have an original thought in their heads.

Here is what Charles Capps has to say about the Person of Christ:

Now if there was any doubt about WHO has greater authority here, that should settle it! “Jesus was operating as a man, anointed with the Holy Ghost.”  (5)

All of these heretics stress that Jesus never operated as God only as a Spirit-filled man. According to their mythology, only human beings with physical bodies have nay authority in this earth realm. Adam was given authority over the planet, he committed “high treason” (in WOF terms) when he sinned and Satan took Adam’s authority when Adam’s nature became satanic. According to the WOF cult this is why demons must have people to operate through, they cannot operate apart from human bodies in the earth.

Allow Mr. Capps own words to “demote” Jesus Christ from God to man:

Jesus Christ was a man anointing with the Holy Spirit. Someone said, ‘I don’t understand why Jesus had to be born on earth. Why didn’t God just come down here, and destroy the devil? He couldn’t do that. It was illegal, because God had given dominion of the earth to man, Jesus must come in the form of a man, with the body of a man, with the feelings and ability of a man. He must approach the devil as a man. This makes it perfectly legal for Jesus to destroy the works of the devil. (6)

There is a significant problem that the WOF cult cannot explain regarding the fall of mankind. WOF teaches that through Adam’s sin spiritual and physical death passed to all mankind, so far so good. Since Adam’s “high treason” all humanity became spiritually dead and owned by Satan who had now become the “god” of this world (see 2 Cor. 4:4). God was on the outside looking in so to speak. He had lost any legal right to intervene in human affairs because man no longer belonged to Him and God had no human bodies to operate through or with. God eventually finds Abraham through whom He makes a covenant which allows God egress back into the world He created!

The significant problem with such drivel is where did God find someone who was not spiritually dead and enslaved to Satan to work with? Abraham was as dead as anyone else; he too belonged to Satan (according to WOF mythology). So how can a spiritually dead man make a decision to serve the living God? He can’t! This flaw is never addressed by any of the WOF teachers.

Leaving my question aside, they posit that because of Abraham’s obedience in offering Isaac up as a sacrifice (see Gen 22:2) God was legally able to bring His Son into the earth, born of a woman — thus having legal authority to operate on the earth. So Mary provided the physical body for Jesus and the Holy Spirit provided the anointing or spiritual power to do all that Jesus did in His ministry. But keep in mind that Jesus never operated as God the Son, only as the Son of God! “If Jesus healed the sick because of His divine power, then WHY did God anoint Him?” (7) Capps (and all WOF heretics) demote Jesus and EXALT man—

Yes—Jesus was the Son of God. Yes—He was deity in this earth. But He did not operate in divine power. He performed miracles by the anointing of the Holy Ghost. THAT SAME HOLY GHOST IS AVAILABLE TO YOU AND ME—TODAY!   (8)

When you accept this as truth then it is a very short jump (which all these false teachers make) to point out that we as born-again Spirit-filled people are to be doing exactly what Jesus did. After all, didn’t Jesus say “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (Jh. 14:12). Since Jesus ministered only as a Spirit-filled man then we as Spirit-filled men ought to do the same works!

These liars take this one verse and jump off with it promulgating a wide variety of false doctrines. The whole falsity of Christians being “little gods” comes from this error. Blasphemous teachings regarding the atoning death of Christ also flow from this polluted spout. Erroneous beliefs regarding the anointing and errant views of the Holy Spirit are also fruit of this poisonous tree.

If we ever wake up and realize who we are, we’ll start doing the work we’re supposed to do. Because the church hasn’t realized that they are Christ. That’s who they are. They are Christ. (9)  Every man who has been “born-again” is an Incarnation, and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an Incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.   (10)

It is easy to see how Jesus is demoted and man is exalted in WOF theology. We are not like Jesus, we are not equal to Him. His incarnation was totally miraculous; in His birth He was and is totally sinless. He is totally sinless. He was and is God and has never ceased to be God. He ministered as 100% God and 100% perfect man. You and I will never be “God” in any sense of the word other than being adopted into His family and united to Him in Christ Jesus…Our only claim to fame, well is that we don’t have any claim to make apart from being miserable sinners in need of the Savior.

If the WOF concept is correct then why hasn’t anyone done exactly or even come approximately close to doing the works that Jesus did? Surely Peter, James and John —men who were personally taught and who received the Holy Spirit, the breath of God if you will from the lips of Christ Himself (see Jh. 20:22), who heard Jesus say “greater works” and yet we have no record of them doing the astounding works of Christ in anywhere near the same measure as Jesus. What about the Apostle Paul who wrote almost two thirds of the New Testament. Certainly he was used by God to work signs and wonders (see 2 Cor. 12:12) but nowhere is it recorded that he did “greater works” in his ministry.

WOF would have people believe that Jesus was just ministering as an anointed prophet and that we too are to minister in the same manner. Well, if so, show us someone who either has or is doing so. Is Benny Hinn doing the works of Jesus? The answer is a solid NO! Has Copeland raised even one person from the dead? No. Has Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Charles Capps ever had multitudes in their meetings healed? Not one of them ever as had such success.

If these liars are as much as incarnation of Christ as Jesus was, then how do they explain the blatant sin in their own ranks? Jim Bakker, an adulterer, Robert Tilton a proven liar, swindler and adulterer. The “prophet” Paul Cain, an admitted homosexual and alcoholic. How about “healing” evangelist Leroy Jenkins, a convicted arsonist and drug abuser. Benny Hinn, a proven liar, false prophet, fake healer and dispenser of false hope and the list goes on and on If anything the people promoting this false doctrine of exalted man and demoted Christ are more egregious sinners than other partly because they refuse to acknowledge their inherent sinfulness.

Brothers and sisters I call the WOF movement a “cult” because they are one. At best they have to be considered a biblically-based cult and ranked in the same category as The Way International (11), The Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Mormons, The Moonies, The Children of God and all other groups that claim to believe the Bible and have some concept of Jesus Christ as some sort of Savior.

The next article of the newsletter is a copy of the Athanasian Creed which is one of the most concise expression of our orthodox Christian faith regarding the Trinity of the Godhead. Read it out loud slowly to yourself and then ask yourself does the WOF cult agree with the creed’s statements regarding the Person of Christ or do they confuse His essence and substance? I will give you a hint, they fail to pass the “smell” test when it comes to this creedal statement of faith and in doing so place themselves outside of the true Church.

I close by restating that there are many genuine Christians who are members of WOF congregations, people who do love Jesus but are ignorant doctrinally and have little to no true biblical discernment. I urge that we pray for those who wallow in doctrinal darkness and ask our gracious Lord to open their eyes and free them from spiritual bondage. I also ask that we pray for the leaders of this persuasive and beguiling cult that they will be brought to repentance and publicly renounce their errors even as I, by the grace of God, have done. ♦

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Hagin, Kenneth Hear and Be Healed. Tulsa; Faith Library Publications, 1987, p. 8

2. Hagin, Kenneth, Jr. God’s Irresistible Word, Tulsa; Faith Library Publications, 1989, p.36 Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Kenneth Copeland, “Question & Answer,” Believer’s Voice of Victory, August 1988, 8

4. On Jesus’ self-witness, see Robert L. Raymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah (Phillipburg, NJ; Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1990), 44-126

5. Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (August 8,1988) p. 8

6. Capps, Charles, Authority in Three Worlds. Tulsa, Ok. Harrison House, 1980 p. 111.

7. Ibid. p.85

8. ibid. p.89 Bolding and underlining added for emphasis

9. Ibid. p.98. Underlining added for emphasis

10. Hagin, Kenneth, “As Christ Is, So Are We” (Tulsa: Rhema), a cassette tape #44H06. Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.

11. Kenyon, E.W. The Father and His Family, Kenyon Publishing House 1968, p.100. Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.

12. The Way International is a charismatic, i.e. sign-gift practicing group that says it believes the Bible, promotes speaking in other tongues, divine healing, etc…Yet they deny the deity of Christ, the Trinity of the Godhead, etc.





Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion

23 09 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters- November 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 1 – Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow and Gary Hand

Discernment Ministries International

Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion

By Robert S. Liichow

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We were in the car driving to Church a couple of Sunday mornings ago and I turned to our local Public Broadcasting station hoping to hear some classical music. Instead of hearing Chopin, I heard a familiar voice, one I had not heard in many years, that of Pastor Carlton Pearson.

I have personally met and spoken with Carlton years ago when he spoke at Jubilee Christian Church in Detroit (back then he was a mere Word of Faith heretic). Now many years later I heard his voice again, this time applauded as a heretic of a different stripe. Sadly, like all error when left unchecked it grows worse and worse. Paul rightly states in 1 Cor. 5:6 that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, which is why truth so desperately matters. Pearson had gone from espousing the heresy of the Word of Faith cult to being the “poster child” of the false Gospel of Universalism. He has gone from being heretical in many areas of doctrine to being apostate from the One Holy and Apostolic Church.

The reason why this issue of Truth Matters is devoted to Mr. Pearson and his aberrant doctrine is because I believe that the stage is set spiritually for his deviant message to be embraced by a wide audience. Our era has been culturally prepared by Hollywood movies, television programs, radio talk shows, the music industry, liberal politicians, and even some seeker-sensitive leaders to accept Pearson’s revamped message of universal reconciliation. Pearson has a charismatic personality, he is well spoken, fairly well educated, and has a great deal of media exposure. He is currently being used as a force for the darkness of deception that cannot be ignored.

A Little Background on Pearson —

Carlton grew up in a Pentecostal family. On the radio interview, (1) he readily admitted that all his ministerial mentors had absolutely no theological training. He began his public ministry at the age of 16 and unlike his forebears he decided to attend college. Carlton attended Oral Roberts University, graduated from there, and later received an honorary doctorate from Oral. Oral considered Carlton to be his “black” son in the Gospel. At one point Carlton was a member of the Board of Regents at ORU, but was removed due to his aberrant beliefs (which is saying something when one considers the host of aberrant beliefs upheld by Roberts and his ilk). He also served on the College of Bishops of the International Communion of Charismatic Churches, which has also renounced him and his doctrines.

As a WOF heretic, Pearson built up a large following, eventually leading the Higher Dimensions Family Church (HDFC), a mega-church of close to 5,000 members, in Tulsa, OK for twenty years. He was a regular guest on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the 700 Club and was even a guest at the White House during the terms of both Bush Presidents. He is also a Grammy nominated singer and he authored a variety of books and booklets as well as a two-time Stellar Award-winning and Dove Award-nominated recording artist. In short, Pearson was a very big fish in the WOF/charismatic pond. He was influential in bringing T.D. Jakes into the limelight. (2) In all fairness to Mr. Jakes, he does not endorse Pearson today. “Bishop T.D. Jakes told Charisma Magazine that Pearson’s theology is wrong, false, misleading and an incorrect interpretation of the bible. (3)

Pearson also held annual revival conferences entitled “Azusa” at the Maybee Center on the ORU campus and marketed the music CD’s through Integrity Music, which has since pulled his contract and no longer publishes his songs. All the hoi polloi of charismatic stardom attended the Azusa conferences. The speakers included Mr. Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Bishop Earl Paulk, Marilyn Hickey and others. The Azusa annual conferences was A financial boom to Tulsa’s local economy by an estimated $10 million each year for the last 14 years. (4)

This man was literally the “golden boy” of Charismania. He had the backing of its elder statesman, Oral Roberts, he was bringing in millions of dollars per year through his congregation, recording and book sales. Pearson was an internationally sought after convention speaker, out-spoken conservative black Republican and a regular guest on TBN.

Yet, today all of this is nothing but a painful memory to Carlton and those who once adored him. Gone are the 5,000 members; he is now down to around 100-200 people in a rented hall. The bank foreclosed on the huge complex, Higher Dimensions Family Church. Gone are the recording and publishing contracts. Gone are the speaking engagements and close friendship he shared with Jakes, Hinn, Hickey, the Crouches and other charismatic glitterati. I seriously doubt that G.W. will be inviting Carlton to the next White House Prayer Breakfast.

What Happened?

Simply this Carlton Pearson stopped believing that God would send any people to hell. He denounced the doctrine of eternal damnation as a false teaching from the HDFC pulpit. News of his new doctrinal stance quickly spread and even after many of his charismatic ministry friends and associates tried to counsel Pearson and get him to recant his position he refused. His counselors, for all their doctrinal errors, knew Pearson was wrong on this point and so severely so they rightly broke fellowship with him. Instead of humbly submitting himself to the orthodox teachings of the Christian Church for two thousand years, Carlton, in a supreme act of pride said the Church has been wrong and that he will restore the “true” Gospel back to the Church!

Pearson states: “A careful study of early church history will show that the doctrine of universal restoration was the prevailing doctrine of the Primitive Christian Church.” History does not show that the doctrine of universalism was held by the Primitive Christian Church as he and others claim. It was Origen in the 3rd century who began to espouse this view as he held to a more allegorical interpretation of Scripture, but it was never held as an Orthodox Church view. (5)

Every cult leader has taken this posture. The entire Church is wrong and now God is restoring biblical truth through him or her.

One does not arrive at this position overnight and although Pearson does not go into great detail as to why he took this heterodox stance, I believe we have enough information to come to the reason why he departed from the faith.

Pearson started off as a member of a Pentecostal church, the Church of God in Christ, which is at best semi-pelegian doctrinally. They preach a form of “decision-theology” when it comes to Salvation. They are very works oriented. One works to get saved and then one must continue with various works in order to stay “saved.” From his childhood, through his time at ORU and then as a pastor he has been driven by works evangelism in the classic Charles Finney frame of mind. (6) Pearson admits as much in his radio interview. Here is a transcript of a portion of that interview:

…and it all came to a head one evening, in front of the television, when my little girl who will be nine next month, was an infant, returning from Rwanda to Uganda, and umm Peter Jennings was doing a piece on it, now Majesty was my little girl and I was watching these little kids with swollen bellies, and it looks like their skin is stretched across their little skeleton remains, their hair is kind of red from malnutrition, the babies are, they got flies in the corners of their eyes and mouths, and they reached for the mother’s breast and the mother’s breast are like pencils, there’s no milk, and I, my little fat faced baby with a plate full and a big screen television, and I said, “God I don’t know how you can call yourself a loving Son of God, and allow these people to suffer this way, and then just suck them right into hell,” which was my assumption, and then I heard a voice say within me, “So that’s what you think we’re doing?” and then I remember I didn’t say yes or no, I said, “that’s what I was taught, we’re sucking them into hell,” I said, “yes” well they need to get saved.” “and how will that happen” “someone needs to preach the gospel to them and get them saved” so if you think that that’s the only way to get saved is for someone to preach the gospel to them and we’re sucking them into hell, why don’t you put you’re little baby down and turn your big screen television, I’ll push your plate away, get on the first plane, well get them saved, um, and I remember this all broken up and in tears, I was very upset, I remember thinking, “God don’t pull that guilt on me, “I’ve given you the best forty years of my life, besides, I can’t save the whole world, I’m doing the best I can, I can’t save this whole world. And that’s when I remembered, I believe it was God saying precisely, “You can’t save this whole world, that’s what we did. Do you think we’re sucking them into hell? Can’t you see, they’re already there?” That’s hell. You keep creating and inventing that for yourselves, I’m taking them into my presence. (7)

Due to the impact of Finney’s Pelagianism, Carlton and multitudes of others within the Church believe they must do something in order to bring about the salvation of the lost. Pearson said further on in this interview that every time he sat down next to someone on a plane he felt compelled to open his Bible in front of them and challenge them regarding their faith (or lack thereof) in Christ. His goal, like that of Campus Crusade For Christ, was to get as many people as possible to repeat the “sinners prayer” with him. He felt guilt when he did not witness in this manner and he also felt guilt when he did witness and people did not respond to his invitation. Keep in mind according to Finney it is the job of the evangelist to compel the lost into the kingdom of Heaven using any means necessary. (8)

Let me state quite clearly, that I believe in the necessity of witnessing our faith to others. We are commanded by Jesus Christ to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). I have no problem with brothers and sisters passing out tracts, knocking on doors, and inviting people to their local church. However, we must keep first and foremost in our mind that salvation is of the Lord (read Psl. 37:39). God uses the foolishness of preaching to draw people to faith in Jesus (read 1 Cor. 1:21). The Bible clearly states that one man plants and another waters, but it is GOD who gives the increase (read 1 Cor. 3:7).

All Roads Lead to Heaven —

Pearson’s problem was that in spite of all his working to “get” people saved, multitudes were not saved. Instead of simply bowing his head and humbly submitting to a loving sovereign God, who although not obligated to saving anyone, is saving multitudes daily through the Gospel…he gets mad and accuses God of being unloving and unjust and allowing multitudes to suffer and in the end sending them to eternal damnation. In fact Pearson is on record making the following statement about God’s righteous judgment: “a God who eternally condemns non-Christians would be worse than Hitler. ‘Hitler killed six million [people], mostly Jews. He is the most despised man in the twentieth century. Is God worse than Hitler, who’s going to burn eternally, endlessly, billions of people?” (9)

Due to his lack of a biblical worldview (see Matt. 7: 26) when confronted by the sad realities of a fallen world Carlton makes the classic mistake and chooses one of God’s attributes, love specifically, over the other. He chooses to see God now only as a God of love and total reconciliation. Pearson states in an interview “I believe that most people on planet earth will go to heaven, because of Calvary, because of the unconditional love of God, and the redemptive work of the cross, which is already accomplished.” (10) In an interview he states:

“Jesus was not a Christian, He was a Jew. God, however, is Spirit and cannot be confined exclusively to any particular religion including Christianity. He’s not Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Buddhist; yet He is all of that if we want or need Him to be, while at the same time, none of it conclusively, because He can’t be and, in fact, is not limited to a person’s or culture’s perception of Him. He loves everybody, He understands everybody, and He has a covenant with everybody—again, whether they know it or not. (11)

He does this at the expense of God’s other attributes such as holiness (see Rev. 15:4); sovereignty (see Isa. 46:10); the wrath of God (see Deut. 32:39-41); the decrees of God (see Isa. 40:13,14; Eph 1:4; etc.). The point is simply this—always remember that our God is perfectly balanced in all His attributes. He is equally; loving, just, merciful, compassionate, righteous, holy, and vengeful of sin at the same time with no aspect of His Person being more pronounced than any other.

Paraphrasing Carlton’s words he states that he heard a voice which told him that we, the Church, were putting people into hell and that God on the other hand was bringing them into His presence. This voice told Carlton that these poor suffering souls were in hell now, while on earth.

It was on this basis of this experience that Carlton began to create a new version of an old heresy he calls “The Gospel of Inclusion.”

The Gospel of Inclusion

Pearson now believes that since God so loved the world and Jesus died for all the sins of the world, then the entire world is already saved. The following comments come from a brother who has written an excellent article on Mr. Pearson. This information is used with Gary Hand’s kind permission:

A. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection paid the price for all of humanity to have eternal life in heaven, without any requirement to repent of sins and receive salvation.

B. Belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for a person to go to heaven. Salvation is unconditional, granted by the grace of God to every human being.

C. It is presumed that all of humanity will have its destiny in heaven, whether they realize it or not.

D. All of humanity will go to heaven regardless of their religious affiliation, including those who believe in false religions or adopt any other form of religious persuasion, or who have no religious persuasion.

E. Only those who have “tasted of the fruits” of real intimacy with Christ and have “intentionally and consciously rejected” the grace of God will spend eternity separated from God.

F. There are persons in some type of hell, but the emphasis is “to get away from the picture of an angry, intolerant God. I don’t see God that bitter.”

The Nature of God

Carlton Pearson’s difficulty begins with a flawed concept of God in relation to man. In presenting aberrant doctrines, the attempt is always made to define the nature and character of God as less than who He is, and to raise the level of the nature and character of man to a position which he is not entitled. A wrong view of God leads to a wrong view of Jesus Christ, a wrong view of the Holy Spirit and eventually to a wrong view of the elements of salvation.

Through his claim that the God, traditionally believed by orthodox Christians, is a bitter God, Carlton Pearson sets up a “straw man” argument or a false premise, against which he argues and makes his claims. He does the same by defining the reason for God’s anger being bitterness on His part, which is a human characteristic but not one of god. He wishes to disassociate himself from those who he claims believe in this “bitter God” that he created, for sake of argument, “to get away from the picture of an angry, intolerant God. I don’t see God that bitter,” Choosing his words poorly, he intimates that he actually does believe in a “bitter” God, because to state that God is not “that bitter” is to assume that He is bitter to a lesser degree. Orthodox belief would deny that God is bitter and would state that a bitter God has never been a tenant of true Christian doctrine. In setting up his false argument, he makes a claim against orthodox belief that is not true, and at the same time places himself in a position where he affirms, by his own words, that he accepts a belief in a bitter god who is just not “that bitter.”

He seems to believe that God’s intolerance of sin and consequent anger expressed against it, an taught in the bible and found in orthodox belief, is equated with bitterness. By his acceptance of a bitter God himself, he assigns to God a deviant human characteristic which is the result of a fallen nature, and at the same time denigrates the character and integrity of God by assuming that He acts on the same level as human beings.

Carlton Pearson, by an ever-so-subtle method, begins to teach about a different God than is found in the Bible. He teaches about a God who is less than is His Holy nature, and by just a slight degree, is closer to the nature of humanity than the Bible reveals. So the character and nature of God is lessened by that small step which will lead to a greater lessening of the character and nature of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and a consequent vast change in the nature of salvation.

Jesus Christ

The question that is presented in Carlton Pearson’s doctrine, which has been discussed and answered many times, is, “For whom did Christ die?” Carlton Pearson would answer that He died for every person in the world that ever lived and will ever live. At the same time he would claim that the death of Christ was also efficacious (effective) for every person in the world that ever lived and will ever live. By that claim, he then states that all men are saved and going to heaven as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ, regardless of their religious view, even if they do not know or believe in Jesus Christ.

However, in his theology, the majority of human beings, who are saved and going to heaven, are second class persons in the heavenly scheme of things, because those who are a “Born Again Believer” and are the “sanctified” individuals through a specific belief in Jesus Christ, are also “set apart to and for special service, ranking and relationship both with and to The Lord Jesus Christ…,” which he claims is taught in 1 Corinthians 1:2. (This is strikingly similar to the Trip To Heaven dream that Jesse Duplantis claimed to have, in which there are two catagories of Christians, where the weaker ones must smell the leaves of the Tree of Life in order to get strength.) So, his theology becomes apparent: salvation is given to every human being, unconditionally through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, because, a personal relationship or faith in Jesus Christ is not necessary to obtain salvation. However, sanctification, or the setting apart to a higher ranking, is accomplished by a specific belief and relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the absolute reverse of orthodox belief. Since Carlton Pearson claims to have this belief and relationship with Jesus Christ, he presumes to be set apart, ranked higher and anointed to a higher level than the normal, every day person who is simply going to heaven on a scholarship.

Salvation

The difficulty in Carlton Pearson’s theology is that it turns salvation on its head. He claims that salvation is granted to every human being, unconditionally. This salvation is granted at birth, because the ultimate destination of every human being is presumed to be heaven. Even those who believe in another religion or another god are saved; they just don’t know it.

The death of Christ made it possible for God to accept sinful man, and that he has, in fact, done so. Consequently, whatever separation there is between man and the benefits of God’s grace is subjective in nature and exists only in man’s mind and unregenerate spirit. The message man needs to hear then, is not that he simply has a suggested opportunity for salvation, but that through Christ he has, in fact, already been redeemed to God and that he may enjoy the blessing that are already his through Christ.

Carlton Pearson, Jesus: The Savior of the World

Even though the Bible states that man is estranged from God and requires redemption through belief in Jesus Christ, John 3:18, Carlton Pearson claims that this estrangement is only in the mind of man and that all man needs to do is realize that he is already saved, rather than needing to be saved. As a result of this view, Carlton Pearson states that Romans 5:12-21 supports his belief, claiming that the apostle Paul taught the gospel of Universal Reconciliation. He then claims that faith in Jesus Christ does not accomplish salvation, but brings about sanctification or the setting apart of a person from the rest of the crowd who are going to heaven. So, the object of faith is still Jesus Christ, but the purpose is not to secure salvation but to obtain sanctification. He teaches that belief in Jesus Christ, or being “Born Again,” gives a person special status and an exalted position over other persons. This is a major difference between his belief and orthodox belief. It is at the point of salvation that Carlton Person departs from the faith and proceeds to define, on his own terms, the means by which salvation can be obtained. He says that salvation is granted by God through means of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to all human beings, even through they may not know or even care about the events. Salvation, in his theological system, is unknown to the majority of human beings, but they are saved just the same. He claims that those human beings who do learn about Jesus Christ and are consequently “Born Again,” receive sanctification and not salvation, because they have already been saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The salvation claimed by Carlton Pearson is simply a given entity. It is possessed by every human being without their knowledge. However, this is not what the Bible teaches. Salvation is not possessed by default, but is obtained in a specific manner, by a process which may be slow or quick, but it is a process of obtaining knowledge about Jesus Christ. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15. Apostle Paul “But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ –that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:8-10. The apostle Paul teaches a different message regarding salvation than does Carlton Pearson. Paul did not preach a gospel of universal reconciliation applied to all, but a specific gospel to be universally preached to all. The difference is quite profound. The gospel of Universal Reconciliation is not the gospel taught by the apostle Paul. Salvation, according to the apostle Paul, is not automatically granted and is not possessed by people from birth.  Salvation must be found and it is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ. It is at the point of faith that it is granted, not by default or by inheritance. Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-13

The apostle Paul was teaching a radically different gospel than that claimed by Carlson Pearson. The apostle Paul was teaching that those Christians, who were Gentiles, had formerly been separate from Christ, without hope and without God while in the world. They did not have salvation until they were brought near through the blood of Christ. The same view is taught by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:18. The gospel of Universal Reconciliation is not taught by the apostle Paul and the claim that he does teach such a doctrine is false.

What Carlton Pearson teaches is a difference means of salvation, provided in a different manner, than is found in traditional orthodox belief or in the Bible. The grace of God in salvation is redefined to be the granting of it to all human beings. Faith is redefined as applying to sanctification and not to salvation. Faith is not necessary to obtain salvation in his theological system because it is automatically provided by God to every human being. Everything changes in the gospel of Carlton Pearson. God is less than He is, grace is devalued, faith is not directed to the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and as such, the Jesus Christ of his theology is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, if Christ died for every person in the world that ever lived or that will ever live, then His death and resurrection must have been efficacious for all of those individuals. In other words, they were all saved at the point of His death and resurrection, when the penalty for their sins was paid. Since this must be the case, if Christ died for every person in the world, then what accounts for his claim that some who were saved when Christ died and rose from the dead for them, lose that salvation at a future date? He presumes that those who have “tasted of the fruits” of a real relationship and intimacy with Jesus Christ and have “Intentionally and consciously rejected” that relationship and grace, will spend eternity separated from God. The reality is, that in Carlton Pearson’s doctrine, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was not sufficient to secure salvation for every person in the world, and in fact, He died and rose again for people who have salvation for a time in their life, but reject it and will not be saved when all is said and done. So, by definition, they were not granted a universal salvation by God and were not saved, since they are separated from God at their death. Salvation is no salvation if it does not actually save. Carlton Pearson redefines and devalues salvation to mean simply going to heaven. In that context, it is easy to lose salvation since it is just the act of going to heaven. However, in orthodox belief, going to heaven is a fringe benefit of the act of salvation, which is a reconciliation of man to God. Salvation is much more than just going to heaven, and, as such salvation is truly what the term signifies; being kept secure by God Himself. It is a difficult concept to claim that Jesus Christ died for those who deliberately reject His placement of salvation on their lives. However, this goes very well with most charismatic belief, because it is a common thread in those doctrinal systems that salvation can be lost at any point. Just how a person is supposed to know at what specific point that occurs, is not specified.

In his theological system, human beings have no say or control over being ranted a universal salvation by God. It is given without their knowledge or consent. However, human beings obtain control over the possession of their salvation if they are told the gospel message (as Carlton Pearson define it) and reject it after having “tasted of the fruits” of a relationship with Jesus Christ, whatever that is defined to be. Fro the majority of people in Carlton Pearson’s theological system, God is sovereign in their salvation, in that they are going to heaven whether they know it or not, even if they might reject that destination if they were told. For the others, who have been told the gospel and “tasted of the fruits” of a relationship with Jesus Christ and rejected that message, they are able to break God’s sovereignty over their eternal destination and take from themselves the ability to determine their own destiny. The question must be asked, “Is God sovereign or is man sovereign? In Carlton Pearson’s theology, man is master and God becomes the victim. At one point, God grants salvation, but at another point that salvation has no effect and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is pointless, and is powerless to maintain the salvation given.

Even in his own theological system, it would be better if Carlton Pearson would stop preaching his gospel, because the person who does not hear his gospel will not have the opportunity to reject the message and be separated from God as the result. If they do not hear the gospel and reject it, they will go to heaven. Preaching Carlton Pearson’s gospel to a person is, in reality, doing that persona disfavor by presenting to them the option of choosing to be separated from God. Truly, in his theological system, ignorance is bliss, because to be without knowledge of Jesus Christ will assure a person of a place in heaven. Again, what Carlton Pearson claims is the opposite of orthodox belief and what the Bible actually says. Salvation, according to the Bible, is obtained by hearing the gospel and placing faith in Jesus Christ, while damnation is not to hear the gospel or reject the gospel.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, God grants salvation to every human being on an unconditional basis. The granting of sanctification is conditional, based on the choice of the individual. So, the major aspect, which is salvation is unconditional, which the minor aspect, sanctification, is conditional. In higher education, one spends the majority of time on their major, or the chief area of their study, and the minority of their time on their minor, or the secondary area of their study. In this theology, the major becomes the minor; the minor becomes the major and the individual majors on the minor element, which is sanctification. God and Jesus Christ have gone to the limit in order to provide salvation for humanity, but in this system it is simply granted, even to those who are ignorant of its provisions. But at the minor point of the issue, that of sanctification, the choice is given to continue in the belief or choose separation from God. The great work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection is relegated to an insignificant part of the life of a person, while the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about sanctification is elevated to the major portion of a person’s life to such a degree that a person’s decision on that more minor element determines whether a person will be separated from God or will go to heaven. This is a theological system turned upside down in which a person is forced to major on the minors and minor on the majors.

The glaring fault in Carlton Pearson’s teaching is that he creates two classes of people who are going to heaven. There are the ordinary people, who have never heard of Jesus Christ or have another religious belief, and there are the “sanctified” persons who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are set apart to a higher level. The difficulty is apparent, in that the first class of people is going to heaven in the same spiritual condition in which they live on this earth. Nothing has changed, because they are ignorant of Jesus Christ, believe in other false religious systems or have no religious belief at al. The Holy Spirit has never worked in their lives and they have never been spiritually changed in order to conform to the image of Jesus Christ.

Carlton Pearson has a gross misconception regarding the elements of salvation. Salvation is not about just going to heaven. If a person could obtain salvation without sanctification, then heaven would be filled with the same sinful, reprobate people in their same sinful reprobate condition, that inhabit this world, which is what his new theology allows.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, not only is the method by which salvation is obtained redefined, the nature and composition of salvation itself is redefined and the elements of that salvation are detached from each other. Carlton Pearson assumes that salvation is going to heaven, but there is much more to it than just going to a pleasant place when one dies. Even if there was no such place such as heaven, salvation would still be a necessity because the issue of salvation is about the reconciliation of human beings to God, from whom they are separated.  Reconciliation is not accomplished by going to heaven, but by means of the elements of salvation in which God demands accountability by man to the provision made by Jesus Christ by His death and resurrection, through faith, repentance, regeneration, justification, adoption and sanctification, those elements being accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit. These elements constitute the totality of salvation and cannot be separated. It is not possible to obtain salvation without salvation without accomplishing sanctification, just as it is not possible to enter heaven without all of the elements being accomplished in the life of the believer.

Salvation in the Scriptures, is granted as a result of faith; that faith being exercised toward the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. Faith has always been the means by which salvation was granted, even in the Old Testament, as Hebrews chapter 11 shows. To accept Carlton Pearson’s view of salvation is to conclude that one possesses salvation by virtue of simply being human. Presumably if one is born, one has salvation. That is the disaster in his theology. To presume that one has salvation when one does not, is to be lost and damned to an eternity in hell, without the presence of God. Heresy leads to damnation because to preach a wrong gospel about salvation is to preach a damning message to those who would believe it.

According to Carlton Pearson, the orthodox Christian church has gotten the salvation message all wrong for 1900 years and he has finally been the one to discover the truth and set everyone and everything straight. In a sense, he is maintaining the old apostasy theory that claims the early church believed one thing, but at some point that belief was changed and the church became apostate. He has now come along to end that system of apostasy and restore the truth of the real gospel as he has discovered it. The Apostle Paul, whose teachings were the first to be referred to as heresies in Acts 24:24, was the first to teach the message of Universal Reconciliation, as he tried to convince Jews and Jewish Christians that the Gospel was inclusive of all of Humankind and not confined to a so-called ‘faithful few.” Subtly trying to compare is situation with the apostle Paul, he intimates that the claims of heresy brought against his teachings are similar to those in Acts. However, he misrepresents the charges of heresy brought against Paul, because they were not charges from within the Christian community, but from the old Judaistic religious system that was abolished on the death of Jesus Christ.

“A careful study of early church history will show that the doctrine of universal reconciliation was the prevailing doctrine of the Primitive Christian Church.” It is clear from the Scripture that this was not the prevailing doctrine of the early church. To claim otherwise is simply a perversion of the Scriptural record and the historical record as well.   Carlton Pearson’s approach is mirrored by the claims of Joseph Smith in Mormonism, who is considered to be “The prophet of the restoration, “John Thomas of the Christadelphians and Charles Taze Russell of the Jahovah’s Witnesses, who all claim that the Christian Church has been wrong all along, but they and only they, by their own brilliance or by a revelation uniquely given to them, have discovered the truth. The absurdity of Carlton Pearson’s claim, according to its own system of theology, is, it does not matter what a person believes; they are going to heaven anyway. So, even if the orthodox church got the message wrong, everyone is still going to heaven. In point of fact, it is not even necessary for there to be preachers to give a message, a church to attend or a religious belief to hold, since all men are going to heaven regardless of what they may or may not believe. If Carlton Pearson were true to his theology, he would have to admit that his job as a pastor or evangelist is completely unnecessary.

Carlton Pearson wishes to preach about a kinder, gentler God than is actually revealed in the Scripture. He wishes to redefine God in a manner that suit’s the message that he wishes to preach, rather than reveal the true character and nature of God. He wishes to do the same with Jesus Christ, so he states, “It is my objective to simply represent Jesus in a softer and more loving way, being less excluding and more “inclusive” in His love, tolerance, acceptance, and glorious promise to all.”

Redefining God in the image of Carlton Pearson is his goal, in order to present a gospel that people want to hear. It is a gospel in which they can go to heaven just like they are. It is a gospel in which people are presumed to be worthy of heaven in the condition that they find themselves. It is a gospel in which they can excel to higher levels through the message of sanctification by faith, never dealing with the sin and depravity in their soul.

Carlton Pearson is adopting a gospel that is strangely reminiscent of Robert Schuller and his positive thinking theology. Robert Schuller took a survey and asked people what message they wanted to hear. They told him what it was, and he now preaches the comforting homilies of a positive self-image and high self-esteem. Salvation, according to Robert Schuller, is the adoption of a gospel of self-love, a positive self-image and high self-esteem that is sufficient to approach God. This is a gospel of arrogance, presuming that a person has the right to stand before God based on their own definition of adequacy. Claiming that the apostle Paul taught a negative message, Robert Schuller states that he does not preach the message of the apostle Paul. He takes upon himself the authority to determine what is important to preach from the Bible, and as such, he places himself in a greater position of authority than God, who is the author of all Scripture.

Carlton Pearson has adopted Robert Schuller’s popular approach, wishing to eliminate from his theology what he considers to be a negative message. The gospel message that repentance of sins and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior will deliver a person form the judgment of God, is hard to understand. However, when salvation is given to every human being at birth, there is not much of any other message that can be preached.

Placing himself in the position of authority over the message of the gospel established by God, he assumes that he has the power to redefine God, Jesus Christ, and salvation in the manner that best suits his true ultimate goal of extending the boundaries of his ministry. His new “doctrine” came about, not as a result of a desire to present doctrinal purity, but in order to extend the appeal of his ministry to a vast group of people who do not wish to hear or know about a gospel in which sin must be realized and confessed in their lives. As such, he teaches a gospel that says, “I’m ok. You’re ok. We’re all ok.” To that end, Carlton Pearson has created his own gospel, just as Robert Schuller has created his. He is taking a calculated risk, willing to lose some followers now in order to appeal to a greater number as time goes on.

Carlton Pearson wishes to see himself as the leader of a new theological approach, redefining God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, salvation and sanctification. He looks to himself as the head of the movement and to others in order to provide a foundation for his beliefs, pointing toward those who call themselves “Universal Reconciliationists,”  with similar views. He uses the trendy terminology, that is so overused in charismatic circles today, that is supposed to assign a high level of importance and intellectual credence to what is being stated, indicating that a “paradigm shift” in thinking identifies his theological system, hoping to convince other people that he is doing great and mighty things.

Paradigm shifts, no matter how they are defined by their proponents, must adhere to the teachings in the Scripture, otherwise, like Carlton Person’s “new” theology, they are simply the old heresies wrapped in another package.

Today, Mr. Pearson speaks in a rented hall, his mega-church property having gone into foreclosure. Seated before him are no long thousands of sign-seeking WOF cultists. Instead his “congregation” includes people dressed in Muslim clothing, openly homosexual people, some Unitarian cult members and just a handful of people from HDFC who sadly have been thus far deceived into believing the apostate Pearson’s seemingly kinder false gospel.

I cannot say whether or not Pearson was ever a genuine Christian, God only knows. I can say that one cannot deny the unique redemption that is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to be a member of Christ’s Body. On the following page I have cited just a few of the biblical texts that Mr. Pearson seems to have either forgotten or has attempted to redefine. Like we used to say “there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.”

A Few Biblical Verses to Share With Those Who Believe In Universal Atonement

Psalm 21:9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

Matthew 3:21 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 23:23   Ye serpents ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Matthew 25:33,41   And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on is right hand, but the goats on the left…Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Romans 12:2 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

1 Cor. 6:9-10  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

2 These 2:10-13 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that the should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:  ♦

Copyright ©  2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. The interview is available on the internet on various web sites. The program is called “This American Life” hosted by Ira Glass. To hear it one can go to http://www.audible.com or other sites.

2. Mr. Jakes, as DMI and other ministries have been warning the Church, is an anti-Trinitarian and teaches a unique syncretism of WOF error, prosperity nonsense and feel-good psycho-babble. Mr. Jakes leads The Potters House in Dallas, TX. A congregation with over 15,000 members.

3. Obtained from http://www.evangelizeamerica.org/general/carlton%20pearson.htm.

4. Charisma magazine, Feb. 2000, People & Events section.

5. Obtained from an article on Pearson found at http://www.letusreason.org/Curren35.htm on 12-31-05

6. Charles Finney was a heretic who, unfortunately, has had a great impact on today’s so-called evangelical movement. Truth Matters has exposed him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing and there are many web sites devoted to demonstrating that Finney was not a genuine Christian.

7. Transcribed from the audio version of This American Life by Dominique Liichow who labored long over her Christmas vacation to help with this edition of the newsletter.

8. We have Finney to thank for the concept of the anxious bench” and “altar calls.” According to Finney, man has totally free will to receive or reject Christ it is up to the skill of the evangelist to make the message as appealing or powerful as possible. I have seen coffins on the platform with people laying in them, a bugle is blown and only 1 man rises, and then the evangelist shouts “I’ll count to 10 and if you want to rise when Jesus returns like this man run to the alta…” Other evangelists will literally turn up the heat in the building as they preach about hell and the need for Christ. Such tactics leave no place for the true work of the Holy Spirit.

9. From This American Life radio interview and it can also be found at http://www.letusreason.org/Curren35.htm as of 12-30-05

10. http://www.evangelizeamerica.org/general/carlton%20pearson.htm obtained on 12-30-05.

11. http://www.beliefnet.com/story/127/story_12772_1.htm#cont  obtained on 12-30-05.





Sacred Cow Number Three – Jesus Died Spiritually

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

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Three – Jesus Died Spiritually

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

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

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees….Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matthew 16:6,12

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

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

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

Jesus the Sinner Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus the First “Born-Again” Man?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright ©  2005  Robert S. Liichow

 ** A SPECIAL NOTE CONCERNING THIS ARTICLE:

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

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

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

________________________________________

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Sacred Cow Number Two – Jesus Ministered Only As A Man

29 06 2009

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

Discernment Ministries International

Jesus Ministered Only As A Man

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

A Brief Definition of Heresy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the WOF Movement Arrived At Their Beliefs Regarding Christ Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Man” Christ Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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The Definition of Chalcedon

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

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

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Ibid p. 51 Underlining added.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26. Ibid p. 309

27. Obtained from

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

28. Ibid.





Sola Christus

15 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – November 2004 – Vol. 9 Issue 10 – Sola Christus –by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

John 1:29  KJV

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 

We are saved by Christ alone! One would imagine that this doctrine need not even be discussed by Christians because it is an “obvious” truth. Sadly, many people who declare themselves to be Christians are blind to this truth and untold numbers do not even believe such a statement to be biblically true.

Not only are people confused by what it means to be redeemed by Christ and Him alone there are currently several perversions of who the biblical Jesus is and what He came to do and what He does now for His people. Ron Rosenbladt cites several examples of these “false Christs” on page two in the following article:

“Solus Christus means there is only one genuine and saving Christ. He is not only sufficient in his bleeding and dying to save us, He is the only Christ. Today’s American culture offers many “Christs” who are not really Christ at all.  Asserting solus Christus means that a Reformation Christian rejects positions in opposition to it as false (“and therefore we condemn…”) will mention just a few of these positions.

1. Christ the psychotherapist   The is an extremely popular position in today’s evangelicalism. This “Christ” is preached as the one who can heal our inner psychological wounds. He can heal broken marriages, aid us in communication with our children, and deal with other dysfunctional situations.

2 Christ our example. Often Christ is preached as a moral example whom we are to emulate. The idea lying behind this view is that our sin is little more than confusion and that we have within us the inner moral wherewithal to do whatever should be done, once we are taught it. The “gospel” of this particular “Christ” is pure law, though few pastors who preach “Christ is you model” seem to recognize this fact.

3. Christ who gives health and wealth  Surprisingly common is the preaching of a “Christ” who always grants health or wealth to those whose faith in him reaches the level it should. Those who have watched the Pentecostal televangelists recognize this “Christ”.

4. Christ the lover   This is popular in certain seminaries where faculties recommend (or even require) students to read the supposed profundities of the mystics. The idea here is not (as it should be) that the student is enabled to critique these writings as examples of man’s perennial attempts to use inner experience as the basis for his justification before God. Rather, the student is encouraged to see the possible application of such writings to the laity in his parish. But as Luther says, mystical experience is just one more counterfeit “ladder to heaven.” Such examples could easily be multiplied.

All of the above views comprise the regular spiritual diet on Christian television and much of religious radio today. Jesus is usually presented as the One who can make your life better, He is touted as “the missing ingredient” to achieving the American dream.  I do not dispute that belonging to Jesus Christ makes the believers life better or that He is truly the missing ingredient (but not to achieving the American dream).

John the Baptist speaking by the Spirit announced to all exactly who Jesus was: “The Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.”  That is precisely what the Gospel message is all about–Jesus Christ the Bearer of the sin of the world. That means I am a sinner, and no matter how hard I try or how long I work at attempting to keep God’s holy Law I fail miserably and I must admit that I am in need of a Redeemer.

Such a message is extremely unpopular in many of today’s pulpitsThe very notion of telling the people that they are sinners in need of redemption is antithetical to church growth!  To remind people that they are sinners and that God is holy might cause psychological damage and somehow impede their escaping the myriad dysfunctions plaguing their lives. In such congregations people are simply not told this basic truth about themselves and about the glorious work of Jesus as our sin-bearer.  In other congregations people are taught that they must add their works to the redeeming work of Christ.

On the one hand (call them “group one) many people are simply not taught that they need redemption and that it has been completely and graciously provided by the Father through the death of His Son on the cross. The simple yet profound message found in the following text is foreign to them:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (KJV) John 3:16-19

The Father loved us enough to give His only begotten Son. He did not send Jesus to condemn us, we already stood condemned by our own wickedness, no He sent Jesus to redeem us from the curse of sin and the bondage of the law.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (KJV) Romans 5:8-10

While we were sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us! Who were the sinners and enemies? You, me, the whole world. Who died for us? Christ Jesus. It seems plain to me, but it is obscured from the sight of many people.

On the other hand (call them “group two”) we find that people know something of Christ’s death for sinners but His death, in and of itself is insufficient to secure redemption on the basis of faith alone. For these misguided folks it boils down to this: Christ + works = salvation and its maintenance. This version of Christ is as damning as knowing nothing of Him at all. In fact this is another “Jesus” who is presented to people in another “Gospel” that Paul warned the Church against:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him 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 though 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. (KJV) Galatians 1:6-9

The believers in Galatia were being brought back under the yoke of the law by legalistic Jews. When works are added to the gospel (the Good News of salvation in Christ alone) Paul called it a perversion and those who proclaimed such heresy he declares anathema or damned. The Judizers taught that faith alone in Christ alone was not enough that the keeping of the ceremonial law was necessary to be redeemed. The Bible is clear on this matter:

“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. (KJV) Colossians 2:13-15

We were dead in our sins but the Father made us alive with Jesus. He forgave all (past, present and future sins) our trespasses and blotted out every ordinance of the law that was against us and took it away. When? When Christ Jesus died on the cross! How much can a dead person contribute? Absolutely nothing. Jesus triumphed over Satan on the cross (not in hell as the Word of Faith cult teaches):

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  (KJV) 1 John 3:8

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and He did so by taking our place and being our substitute on the cross.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (KJV) 2 Corinthians 5:21

He took our sins and God imputed to our account His righteousness. Our Lord bore the brunt of the curse of the law that rightly belonged to us (see Gal. 3:13) that we might receive God’s blessings through faith.

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins: (KJV) Colossians 1:13,14

We’ve been translated into the eternal kingdom of His dead Son from the former dominion of darkness. How did the Father do this? It was accomplished through the power of the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God who took away our sins. We have been redeemed by His blood and by that same blood our sins have been washed away.

And it is by God’s ill that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (NRSV) Hebrews 10:10

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (KJV) 1 Peter 1:18,19

We are sanctified by what, our works? No, we are made (declared) holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ on the cross, once, for all. There is no more sacrifice to be made, there is no more work to be completed Jesus has don it all for us.  Brothers and sisters receive the Gospel—

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (KJV) 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Christ died for our sins. He died and was buried and He rose again on the third day. It is Jesus from start to finish; He is the Author and Finisher of our faith (see Heb. 12:2); He is the Alpha and the Omega (see Rev. 1:11). Salvation is of the Lord:

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (KJV) 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

Jesus has done it all, rest in Him and in His work and put no trust in your own feeble attempts to merit the favor of God. I know too many believers who are like the Galatians, they begin by confessing they are saved by the grace of God, but from that point on fall from grace back into a form of “works righteousness”

By wrongly believing they are kept saved by their works. No my dear friends, from start to finish it is Christ and Him alone. Any good works we do are because of Jesus and His working in us by His Spirit. Remember the words of our Master when He said:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (KJV) John 15:4-5

In the end, even our best spiritual works have their origin in Christ and thus He is to receive the ultimate praise for them. This no doubt this is why the elders cast their “earned” crowns down at their Savior’s feet in Rev 4:10. Yes our good works in Christ are rewarded, but this reward too has its basis in the grace of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. To whom alone be the glory and honor forever and forever. Amen!!   ♦

 copyright © 2004  Robert Liichow

 





Examples of Christological Heresies Regarding the Nature of Christ

13 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – November 2004 – Vol. 9 Issue 10 – Examples of Christological Heresies Regarding the Nature of Christ – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Not only has the work of Christ been attacked historically by either adding to His atoning sacrifice or taking away from it,  there have also been many attacks on His very person or nature. I have listed several examples and many of them still find themselves being believed and taught within various cultic groups and sects within the Church.  Space does not allow me to cite what groups today fall into these categories, but it is a “fun” exercise for all of our budding heresy-hunting readers!

Apollinarianism   (named for Apollinarius) Belief that Christ had no soul, but rather was filled with logos, or the Word, and was neither fully human nor fully divine.

Arianism   (named for Arius) Belief that the Father existed before the Son, the Son was created by the Father, and there was a time when the Son did not exist.

Docetism   (from the Greek word dokesis, which means to seem) Belief that Christ was wholly God, and his humanity and suffering only seemed to be real.

Dynamic Monarchianism     Claimed Jesus Christ was simply a man, whom God filled with an impersonal power, either at his conception, baptism, or resurrection. This denies Christ taking any personality from God, and teaches that Christ “became” God.

Ebionitism   Belief that Jesus was nothing more than a prophet: a man, but not divine. Named after the Ebionites. They were a first-century Jewish-Christian sect who emphasized Jewish law and rejected Paul’s teachings.

Eutychianism   (Named after Eutyches of Constantinople). This belief states that Christ had only a divine nature, not a human one.

Monophysitism     This heresy denies the humanity of Christ. It removes the value of Christ’s redemptive work, because it denies that Christ suffered as a man. It declares that Christ had a single (mono), divine, nature. This doctrine is still taught by the Oriental Orthodox churches: Coptic Church of Egypt; Ethiopian Orthodox; Syrian Orthodox; Armentian Orthodox; and Malan Kara (Indian) Orthodox.

Monothelitism   Belief that Jesus possessed one divine-human energia, not two cooperating (divine and human) wills. This view is still held by the Maronite Church in Syria.

Nestorianism    Named for Netstorius). This belief teaches that God was not in Christ and that Mary gave birth only to the human Jesus. Nestorianism teaches that Jesus was filled with the logos, that only the human part of Jesus suffered and died, and that man simply needs an infilling of logos for salvation.

Noeticism   (Named for Noetus). They believe that God moved as a single spirit into Mary, and was transferred into Christ at birth. God himself was crucified and raised himself from the dead.

( It really does not matter what a person or group of people may be “right” about,  if they are wrong about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures).  ♦

Copyright © 2004 Rev. Robert Liichow