(20)An Examination of the Word-Faith Movement

by Richard J. Vincent

(A)The Word-Faith Teachers

1.The Word-Faith Teachers. This is the group that would seek

   to convince us that Jesus and His disciples were rich, that to be

   poor is a sin, to be sick is a sin, and that faith is a creative force

   that we can use to shape our world just like God supposedly

   created this world and universe that we live in through

   His [faith]!

2.Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, John Avanzini,

   Robert Tilton, Fred Price, and Benny Hinn (who at the time of this

   writing has authored the number one best selling Christian book

   in America, [Good Morning, Holy Spirit]) are just a few that spew

   out this theological vomit.

 

(B) A Sampling of Error

1.To name just a few of the more outrageous things that have

   been said by these so-called teachers will stagger the senses:

(i)John Avanzini is convinced that [Jesus had a nice big house]

   [Jesus wore designer clothes], and [Jesus was handling big

   money].

(ii)Fred Price also claims that Jesus was rich and that He left

   us with an example to follow. That is why Fred drives a Rolls

   Royce; he is following Jesus’ example!

(iii)Mr. Price also communicates one of the more sickening

   beliefs of the Word-Faith teachers which shocks even those

   with a mild amount of common sense. He says, [How can you

   glorify God in your body, when it doesn’t function right? What

   makes you think the Holy Ghost wants to live inside of a body

   where He can’t see out through the windows, and He can’t

   hear out the ears?] This insulting and insensitive comment

   regarding the handicapped and crippled among us stirs up

   anger in even the most hardened of consciences. Yet this

   statement by Mr. Price is followed by exuberant applause

   and approval from his congregation.

2.These kind of statements boggle our minds and stagger

   our senses. It would seem that most people would see the

   error in these teachings, yet millions follow these men with

   a militant passion.

 

(C)The Tip of the Iceberg

1.If this was as far as the teaching of these men went, if their

   only error was that they think everyone should be wealthy and

   healthy, then we could maybe shrug this movement off as a

   novelty and realize that soon people with an ounce of common

   sense will see the error in these teachings.

2.Unfortunately, these teachings are but the tip of the iceberg.

   They are but the rotten fruit of a foul, putrid, blasphemous and

   heretical root. The erroneous actions of the faith teachers is but

   the symptom of their twisted and diseased teachings concerning

   the nature of man and the nature of God. I think you will see,

   after examining what they believe in these two key areas, that we

   are not dealing with a Christian sect gone awry, but that we are

   dealing with a non-Christian heretical group that is as deadly

   in their doctrine as any major cult.

 

(D)The Error Begins

1.Who is God to the faith teachers? Kenneth Copeland will tell

   you first off that [God is the biggest failure in the Bible…the

   reason you’ve never thought that is because He never said

   He was one].

2.Copeland also teaches us that [God is a being that stands

   somewhere around 6’2″, 6’3″ intimating that God has a body,

   an error subscribed to by the Mormons.

3.Copeland states, without any biblical warrant, that the earth

   we live on is a [copy of the mother planet] which God lives on,

   again imitating a Mormon doctrine.

4.Never mind that the Bible plainly states that God is spirit

   (John 4:24), never mind that the Bible never says a thing about

   this earth being a copy of any so-called mother planet. Yet these

   arguments don’t work with the faith teachers because they

   have supposedly received these teachings by direct

   revelation from God. Therefore to oppose them is to

   oppose God. These men have lifted themselves above any

   critical investigation yet they have forgotten the biblical

   mandate that anything not in accord with the Word

   of God must be rejected. We will examine shortly their

   reactions to any kind of criticism.

5.After the faith teachers have thoroughly belittled God to

   slightly more than an exalted man, they then proceed to exalt

   man to the status of God. Adam, to the faith teachers, was an

   exact duplicate of God. Copeland teaches, [Gods reason for

   creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean

   a reproduction of Himself. He [Adam] was not a little like God,

   he was not almost like God, He was not subordinate to God even].

6.Copeland even states that [Adam is God manifested in the flesh],

   a title that can only be truly applied to Christ Jesus alone. The

   perceptive man can easily see that the problem here is a

   confusion about what it means to be made in the image of God.

   The faith teachers claim that being made in the image of God

   is synonymous to having the nature of God. To be made in the

   image of God is to be a [little god] they would admit. Yet is that

   what the church has commonly taught. The overwhelming

   consensus of the church has been that man is created in the

   image of God in the sense that he is a person as God is a

   person,possessing mind, will, and emotions, that he is

   reasonable, unique among creation, a ruler over

   creation, and capable of personal fellowship with God.

   We bear the image of God, but we do not share His

   nature or substance or make-up. We are not

   omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, or infinite.

   God is the only being that is holy in and of Himself (Rev. 15:4).

   We are made in His image and have dignity because of that,

  but we are not an exact duplicate of God in any sense of the

    word. That status is reserved for the Lord Jesus Christ alone

   (see Col 2:8, Heb. 1:3, 2 Cor. 4:4).

 

(E)The Error Grows

1.Beginning with this foul root of error, the faith teachers proceed

   into more putrefying departures from the Christian faith. The faith

   teachers claim that when Adam fell in the garden he forfeited the

   nature of God and took on the nature of Satan. This error is but a

   link in the chain that connects the faith teachers exalting of man

   and belittling of God. You see, salvation for the faith

   teachers is not the removal of sin through the shed

   blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation for the faith

   teachers is not the forgiveness of sins and the

   restoring of a right relationship between God and man.

   Salvation for the faith teachers is instead the removal of

   the nature of Satan from man and the restoring of the

   nature of God in man.

2.How is the restoring of the nature of God in man to come about?

   The answer that the faith teachers give is that Jesus had to take

   on the nature of Satan on the cross. In fact, the whole sacrifice

   of Christ on the cross takes on a completely different emphasis

   and meaning for the faith teachers.

3.You see, it is not enough that Christ died physically in the

   theology of the Word-Faith teachers. In order to take away

   our Satanic nature and restore our God nature, Jesus Christ

   had to die spiritually as well as physically. He then had to

   descend to hell. Then while in hell he was born again and

   through His act of being born again He conquered the devil.

 

(F)The Error Examined

1.You must follow the steps of this error very carefully for it is

   but the doorway into the single most blasphemous and

   heretical teaching of the Word-Faith teachers.

2.On the cross Jesus took upon Himself the nature of Satan.

   The Bible says that Jesus is God the Son, God manifest in the

   flesh. Jesus therefore possesses the attributes of deity such

   as omnipotence, omniscience, eternalness, immutability, etc.

   Though in His incarnation, He chose not to exercise all of His

   attributes, He still retained them. One of God’s attributes which

   Jesus shares is His immutability. This means that God is

   unchangeable in His person. Although He acts in time, and

   establishes and changes relationships in time, His essence, which

   includes His perfect and holy attributes, never changes. God

   does not change (Mal. 3:6) and neither does Jesus. [Jesus

   Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever] (Heb 13:8).

   But the faith-teachers begin their error by claiming

   that the Holy, undefiled, unchangeable Son of God

   became evil to the core taking upon Himself the

   nature of Satan. Blasphemy!  Our holy God does not

   become unholy.

3.Jesus died spiritually. Again the unchanging God-man

   did not die spiritually, but physically.

(i)1 Pet. 3:18 states that Jesus was put to death in the flesh

   but made alive in the Spirit.

(ii)Jesus did not need to die spiritually as well as physically

   to gain our salvation. The offering of His body was enough.

(iii)Colossians 1:13 states [He has now reconciled you in His

   fleshly body through death].

(iv)Hebrews 13:12 states [therefore Jesus also, that He might

   sanctify the people through His own blood].

(v)Hebrews 10:10 states [We have been sanctified through

   the offering of the body of Jesus Christ].

(vi)Was Jesus lying when He cried upon the cross [It is finished]

    (John 19:30)? Was there yet more to be done to secure our

   salvation? That comforting cry from the lips of our blessed

   Lord can be nothing but true and our salvation was completely

   bought and paid for at this most climactic moment of all of

   history!

4.Jesus descended into hell a mortal man. Seeing that there is

   no need for Christ to have done any more to procure our

   salvation then what had already been accomplished, this point

   becomes nothing more than an embellishment to the truth.

   Jesus Christ did not suffer in hell. He descended to Hades,

   to the abode of the dead. There was no need for Him to do

   anymore for our salvation. Satan had already been defeated

   and conquered (Col 2:14-15). Also, Jesus was not, nor ever

   will be, a mere mortal human being. To be a mere mortal,

   He would have to stop being God, and that is one thing

   that is against God’s nature and attributes.

5.Jesus was born again. Jesus had no need to be born again.

   Jesus was not a lost and hell-bound sinner who needed

   regeneration. He was the Almighty, Eternal, and Holy Son

   of God. The faith teachers will drag Jesus to the lowest

   depths in order that their teaching will have at least a hint

   of logic. This idea that Jesus was born again is the crucial

   link for the faith teachers that enables them to cry out at

   the end of their wicked formula for salvation,

   [I am a little god].

6.Jesus defeated the devil by being born again. We now have

   Jesus, a mere mortal man, suffering in hell. Jesus then decides

   to be born again. He defeats the devil and becomes the

   first-born among many brethren. Now here is where the

   Scripture twisting really becomes ludicrous.

(i)Copeland states that nowhere in the Bible after the book of

   Acts is Jesus called the unique and only begotten Son of God.

(ii)He then twists Romans 8:29 to mean that Jesus is the first

   born again man. This first reborn man, Jesus, has set the

   pattern for a new race to come.

(iii)And according to the Faith Teachers, we are that new race

   to come. We are equal to Jesus for we are born again just as

   He was. Do you see what has happened here? The faith teachers

   have so suppressed the deity of Jesus that they have, in essence,

   denied it.

(iv)Copeland goes the farthest in this revelation He supposedly

   received from Jesus, [Don’t be disturbed when people accuse

   you of thinking you’re God. The more you get to be like Me,

   the more they’re going to think that way of you. They crucified

   Me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God;

   I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me.

   Hallelujah. That’s what you’re doing].

(v)The Jesus of the faith teachers has so little in common with

   the Jesus of the Bible that it is clear to anyone with a grain of

   discernment that the Jesus of the faith teachers is not the

   Jesus of the Bible but instead is the kind of religious decoy

   that Paul warned us to be on the lookout for. [But I am afraid,

   lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds

   should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion

   to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom

   we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which

   you have not received, or a different gospel which you have

   not accepted, you put up with it easily enough] (2 Cor. 11:3-4).

   And we are putting up with it. We are taking this so

   calmly. Another Jesus, another gospel, another spirit

   is mocking the true Jesus, the true gospel, and the true

   Spirit and we are so tolerant of it that we allow it on our

   TV set and call it Christian!?

 

(G)The Fruit Of The Error

1.Why is it so important for the Faith-Teachers to ignore such

   explicit passages as [It is finished], etc? Why must they have

   Jesus dying spiritually as well as physically, entering hell as a

   mortal man capable of failure, and being born again to defeat

   the devil? The reason is that the faith teachers have a diminished

   view of Jesus.

2.When Jesus is downplayed as nothing more than an anointed

   man, it brings the faith teachers up to the level of Jesus. In fact,

   both Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price have publicly stated

   that if it was just the physical death of Jesus on the cross that

   saves us then anyone could have done it. Kenneth Copeland

   says, [And the whole New Testament calls Him the first-born….

   The word [born] began to ring in my spirit; it just began to roll

   around: born, born. I never had let Him go through that in my

   own thinking….And while I was laying there thinking about

   these things, 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 way: A twice-born man

   whipped Satan in his own domain].And I threw my Bible down.

   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,

   [Goodness gracious, sakes alive!] And I began to see what

   had gone on in there, and I said, [You don’t mean–you

   couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?]

   He said, [Oh, yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of

   God that He did, you could have done the same thing, ’cause

   you’re a reborn man, too].

3.No mention is made of the sinlessness of Christ. No reverence

   is shown toward the unique virgin birth of Christ. See the depths

   to which the Word-Faith teachers have desecrated our Lord.

   Jesus Christ could pay for our sins because He was sinless,

   being uniquely born of a virgin, and thus not sharing in the sin

   nature of Adam and his descendants, a fact to which neither

   Copeland nor anyone can likewise boast of.

4.The sickening outcome of this wickedness is that the Gospel

   message is no more [Turn to the cross of Jesus, ye wretched

   sinners, and plead for God’s forgiveness. Find rest for your sin

   and guilt beneath the blessed cross of the great and mighty

   Savior]. Instead the faith Teacher’s gospel message is, [You

   shall be like God! ]The original lie of the devil is now the

   gospel message and is broadcast around the world for all to

   hear! He must be pleased! And the end result is the

   blasphemous cries of those who subscribe to this wickedness.

(i)Kenneth Hagin:[You are as much the incarnation of God as

   Jesus Christ was…the believer is as much an incarnation as

   was Jesus of Nazareth].

(ii)Benny Hinn: [Are you ready for some real revelation

   knowledge….you are god].[You are a little god on earth

   running around].

(iii)Kenneth Copeland: [I say this with all respect so that it don’t

   upset you too bad, but I say it anyway, when I read in the Bible

   where he [Jesus] says, [I Am,’ I just smile and say].Yes, I Am,

   too!] [You don’t have a god in you, you are one].

(iv)Paul Crouch: [Do you know what else that’s settled then

   tonight? This hue and cry and controversy that has been

   spawned by the devil to try to bring dissension within the

   body of Christ that we are gods. I am a little god. I have His

   name. I am one with Him. I’m in covenant relation.

   I am a little god. Critics be gone!]

 

(H)A Time For Action

1.Am I just theologically splitting hairs here? If this were a matter

   of when and how to baptize, or how many times a year should

   the Lord’s Supper be observed, or whether the rapture was post,

   mid, or pre-trib, then I could rightfully be accused of that.

2.Yet this is not a minor issue. At stake here is the very character

   of our God and Savior Jesus Christ and the great salvation that

   He has given us. If you have the wrong Jesus, you have the wrong

   salvation and it should be clear from the evidence presented

   above that the Jesus of the Word-Faith movement is a far cry

   from the Jesus of the Bible!

3.When Shirley MacClaine chants over and over on national TV ,

   [I am God, I am God!] we evangelicals go into an uproar.

   Yet when those who claim to be in our own ranks say,

   [I am a little god], we don’t even flinch, but rather applaud

   them and their supposed evangelical efforts.

4.Michael Horton has rightly written, [It must cause our

   heavenly Father much grief that we would consider unity

   more important than the One in whom we are united. It must

   quench the Spirit to see Christians treating blasphemies,

   heresies, and scandalous statements as though they were

   no more than odd [emphases].

5.The simple fact is that it is not the ones that are zealous for

   sound doctrine and orthodoxy who are the divisive ones.

   The Word-Faith teachers are the ones who are guilty of being

   divisive. They are fully aware that what they are teaching is

   relatively new. They constantly ask us to put away our traditions

   and forget our creeds. Benny Hinn says to an audience, [Are you

   ready for some real revelation knowledge?]then proceeds to

   inform them [you are god].Hinn also, after teaching his audience

   that God consists of nine distinct substances, boasts [You think

   you’re in this church to hear things you’ve heard for the last

   50 years?].

6.The Word-Faith teachers expect everyone to accept their

   authority and teachings without criticism or testing. Whenever

   anyone challenges their teachings they promote division

   instead of discussion. Before his death, Dr. Walter Martin

   sought to dialogue with Kenneth Copeland over his

   teachings, yet Copeland refused to meet with Martin.

   Fred Price has publicly stated that he will not meet with

   a critic unless he has as many followers as him. Last Spring,

   the Christian Research Institute, a very reputable and

   trustworthy counter-cult and apologetic ministry,

   devoted a week of radio programs to exposing the errors

   of the Word-Faith movement. Immediately after the

   shows were aired, Paul Crouch had this to say about

   CRI during his televised [Praise-a-thon] program amid

   shouts of  [amen] and [you tell ’em brother] from the studio

   audience: [I think God’s given up on a lot of that old rotten

   Sanhedrin religious crowd, twice dead, plucked up by the

   roots. I think they’re damned and on their way to hell and

   I don’t think there’s any redemption for them…the heresy

   hunters that want to find a little mote of illegal doctrine

   in some Christian’s eye and pluck that little mote out of

   their eye when they’ve got the whole forest in their own

   lives and in their own eyes. I say to hell with you!

   Oh hallelujah. Get out of God’s way, quit blocking God’s

   bridges or God’s gonna shoot you if I don’t! I refuse to

   argue any longer with any of you out there. Don’t even

   call me. If you want to argue doctrine, if you want to

   straighten out somebody over here, if you want to

   criticize Ken Copeland for his preaching on faith,

   or Dad Hagin. Get out of my life! I don’t even want to

   talk to you or hear you. I don’t want to see your ugly

   face! Get out of my face in Jesus’ name].

7.Notice that there is no desire to dialogue about the issues.

   Notice that Paul Crouch doesn’t explain why they believe

   what they believe and subsequently why CRI was in error

   for presenting the programs. All that Paul does is attack

   the people, he does not give an account for the hope

   that is in him. The Faith teachers erroneous and

   blasphemous teachings are what are promoting

   division. It is not those who criticize them and seek

   to dialogue with them in a reasonable matter

   that are to blame. It is the childish and unresponsive

   Word-Faith teachers that are to blame.

8.But you say, what about the good they do? Dear friend,

   no one gets everything wrong! Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses,

   the Mormons, the New Age, etc. get a few things right every

   once in while. But isn’t that the substance of deception?

9.The skin of the truth stuffed with a lie. An appearance

   of righteousness yet inside rottenness and dead man’s bones.

   No, the evil propagated by these teachers so outweighs the

   good that we must reject them entirely. A little leaven

   leavens the whole lump.

10.I, for one, am embarrassed by the Word-Faith teachers

   and I am ashamed to be represented by them. These men

   represent Christianity to millions. They present a false

   picture of what it means to be a Christian and I think

   it is abhorrent. Michael Horton has rightly asked,

   [Do those who occasionally view televangelistic

   programming know that evangelical Christianity

   offers an intelligent interpretation of and hope for

   human existence? Does the average unbeliever come

   away from an ordinary telecast with a better grasp of the

   substance of the Christian faith?]

11. The Word-Faith teachers and Trinity Broadcasting Network

   on the whole defeat their very purpose. They seek to evangelize

   but they are only preaching to the choir. The vast majority

   of people who watch already claim to be Christian, and the

   occasional non-believer that tunes in is quick to see the

   unreality presented and the apparent con-game that is going on.

   And to make matters worse, the sparse amount of teaching

   that is usually presented to the Christian is of the lethal type

   that we have been discussing and instead of strengthening

   the body of Christ, it poisons it.

 

(I)Conclusion:

1.Stated most simply, the error of the faith movement

   is that they exalt man and decrease God. They exalt

   man to God status and reduce God to man’s status.

   They are aware that what they are teaching is unorthodox

   and controversial to say the least, yet they have no wish to

   change their tune. They refuse to be accountable to anyone.

2.No man is an island unto himself. These men who are

   spokesmen for the Christian faith to the public and represent

   the Lord Jesus to millions through their television programs

   are preaching a different Jesus, a different gospel,

   and a different spirit than what is revealed to us in

   Holy Scripture.

3.The Apostle Paul has some strong words for these men

   and with them I close. I pray we will take them to heart and

   that the Spirit that so moved Paul to action against false

   teachings will move within us to produce in us a holy zeal for

   truth!

4.[I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who

   called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;

   which is really not another; only there are some who are

   disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

   But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach

   to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to

   you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I

   say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel

   contrary to that which you received, let him be

   accursed] (Gal. 1:6-9).

 

Written by Richard J. Vincent, 1109 Bitteroot Court,

Indianapolis, Indiana 46234.  I can also be contacted

on Prodigy KDCB44A or by phone 317-271-0864.

File Provided by:

Bible Bulletin Board
www.biblebb.com
www.gospelgems.com

Box 314
Columbus, NJ 08022
….online since 1986

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