(12)The [Jesus] and [Atonement] of Word-Faith
The obvious abuses of the Word-Faith movement concerning
the “health” and “wealth” gospel are readily acknowledged by
most evangelical Christians. However, the most serious
errors of the movement involve the “faith” teachings on
the atonement of Christ.
Many Word-Faith teachers claim that redeemed man
has the nature of God and that fallen man has the nature
voluntarily took upon Himself man’s sinful nature and
His very nature changed.
They also teach that when man (Adam) rebelled
(or as they frequently put in, “committed high treason”)
he not only took on the nature of Satan, but betrayed God
by turning over to Satan what God had given him.
So, in order to redeem mankind and creation from
Satan’s “legal” control, Jesus as the second Adam, had to
die not only physically but spiritually. According to these
the cross, died spiritually, and while completing the plan
of redemption in hell, was born again.
Look at what some of the main leaders have said:
“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 our price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself
and to serve time in hell separated from God”
(Frederick K.C. Price, Ever Increasing Faith Messenger,
June 1990, p. 7).
“Ladies and gentlemen, the serpent is a symbol of Satan.
becoming one in nature with him. You say, What did you say?
What blasphemy is this? No, you hear this! He did not take
my sin; He became my sin”
(Benny Hinn, Benny Hinn broadcast on TBN,
December 15, 1990).
“When Jesus cried “It is finished!” He was not speaking of
the plan of redemption. There were still three days and
nights to go through before He went to the throne.
He was referring to the Abrahamic CovenantJesus‘ death
on the cross was only the beginning of the complete work
of redemption” (Kenneth Copeland, “Jesus – Our Lord of
Glory”, Believer’s Voice of Victory, April, 1982, p. 3).
“The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted
the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. And at that moment
that He did so 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, upon instruction of God, raised the
serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That use 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 a sign of Satan
that was hanging on the cross.’ He (Jesus) said, ‘I accepted
in my own spirit, spiritual death; and the light was turned
off'” (Kenneth Copeland, What Happened From the Cross
to the Throne? cassette tape, Kenneth Copeland Ministries,
Among the errors many Word-Faith teachers make about
the atonement of Christ, one is the “spiritualizing” of the death
on the cross when He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
The teachers of this movement emphasize the “spiritual”
death of Christ almost to the exclusion of His “physical” death.
The problem with this is simply that it is unbiblical.
not the spiritual. The teaching of scripture is: “Without
shedding of blood (physical) is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22,
As regarding Christ’s words, “It is finished”, the word in the
Greek is tetelistai and is rendered “to bring to an end” or
“paid for in full” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary).
What Christ was saying was that the work of redemption
(paying for sin and securing salvation) was complete.
If Christ did anything else beyond “It is finished,” in order to
pay for sin, something is added to His completed work.
This is what the Word-Faith teachers have done when they
teach that salvation was completed in hell, after Christ died
on the cross!
On what scripture do these teachers base their doctrine of
the spiritual death of Christ? Most of them point to
Psalm 22:1 where the Psalmist cried out “My God, My God,
Why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus of course uttered these
words on the cross in fulfillment of the Psalmist’s prophecy
However, when reading Psalm 22, it is seen that God never
abandoned the Psalmist (see 22:19, 22, 23, 24). And in other
psalms, we discover the Psalmist is always feeling like God had
abandoned him when God had not. He seems to be saying,
“God, where are you when I need you?” But in Psalm 22,
David is merely expressing how he feels, rather than the
idea of God really abandoning him.
Jesus, in his human nature, while on the cross, as He looks
into the cup of death, expresses the very same feeling or
emotion as did David. God never abandoned Christ on the
cross. Rather, God turned His back to what was on Jesus,
namely sin. Jesus was man’s sin-bearer, but He was not
polluted with man’s sin-nature and the nature of Satan as
the Word-Faith teachers claim.
Finally, did Christ die spiritually? The answer is no!
At least not in the way the leaders of this movement teach.
As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite.
In I Peter 3:18, Peter states that Christ was “Put to death
in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit.”
This does not mean that He was once dead spiritually
and now He is alive spiritually, or by the Spirit.
In conclusion, if what the Word-Faith teachers claim
regarding the atonement of Christ is true, then one will
have to rewrite the words of Christ on the cross.
For instance, instead of saying “It is finished,” Christ should
have explained Himself by saying, “I’m not talking about
the plan of salvation, but I’m talking about the Abrahamic
Instead of Christ saying to the thief on the cross, “Today you
will be with Me in Paradise,” He should have said, “Today you
will be with Me suffering in hell.”
Instead of saying, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My
spirit,” He should have said, “Satan, into your hands I commend
There is still one more problem with this movement’s teaching
One day he will be!