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Monday, February 18, 2008

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE WORD OF FAITH

I used to wonder why Shepherding reappeared in the Charismatic churches considering that the founders pretty much shut it down around 1990, and publicly repented. It didn't make sense why it not only lingered, but began thriving again. I have lately found out why it reappeared. It snuck in through the teachings of the Word of Faith, one of the most influential movements since the Azusa Street Revival of 1906. The Word of Faith may be influential, but it is also an apostasy, and carries Shepherding clinging to it like a leech.

I was a follower of the Word of Faith doctrine from 1990 until 2005. Even when I began to break with the Word of Faith over the extremes of the Prosperity Gospel, I still maintained connections with them. I was a licensed minister through a Word of Faith church from 2004 through 2007, and my wife worked for Kenneth Copeland Ministries from 2003 until late 2007. During that time, I noticed more and more spiritual abuse, things that reminded me of Shepherding. I began to wonder, “Is the Word of Faith in general, and Kenneth Copeland Ministries in particular, Shepherdist, or merely spiritually abusive, or am I nuts?”

Early this year (2008), I found out that I am not nuts!

In his book A Different Gospel, D.R. McConnell points out the origins of the Word of Faith. This is not a rant by a Fundamentalist preacher. This book began as McConnell's master's thesis when he was a student at Oral Roberts University. He is a Charismatic pastor, so this is an insider's look at something he finds disturbing.

McConnell says that today's Word of Faith preachers (Kenneth Copeland, John Avanzini, Creflo Dollar, etc.) base their doctrine on the works and teachings of Kenneth Hagin. We knew that.

McConnell then says that Hagin based (some say plagiarized) his doctrines on the works of E.W. Kenyon. We knew that, too.

But then McConnell drops a 2,000 megaton bombshell, ripping through my views of the Word of Faith like a lawnmower through Bermuda grass. He states that Kenyon based his teachings and beliefs on what he was taught in college, at the hands of teachers who were Gnostic and Christian Scientist.

Whoa! That makes the whole doctrine pretty much suspect from the beginning!

Kenyon attended the Emerson School of Oratory in 1892. There, he was under the influence of Charles Emerson, a Christian Scientist; R.W. Trine, a Gnostic who wrote one of the major books on New Thought; and M.J. Savage, a Unitarian whose church Kenyon attended.

Let's look at those beliefs and see how the Word of Faith dovetails into them.

Gnosticism is a complex system of beliefs hammered together from earlier ones. It has existed as far back as before the time of Christ and was a real problem to the Church as early as the time of John and Peter. To summarize Gnosticism, it believes that salvation is through knowledge of mysteries (gained through intuition), that all matter is evil and that only spirit is good (a belief called Dualism), that Jesus could not have been purely good because He was in a human body, that Jesus was a mere man, that God created lesser gods, and that only Gnostics, “people who knew,” were guaranteed salvation. They also believe that God could only be reached through gnosis, through the divine revelation of mysterious knowledge. Gnostics also believe that God is a hermaphrodite; half male, half female. Gnostics believed in a divine formula, that once understood, would destroy the power of evil.

Gnosticism's more modern offshoot, New Thought, states that Spirit is the ultimate reality, the true human self is divine, divinely attuned thought is a positive force for good, most disease is mental in origin, and that right thinking has a healing effect. While that may sound Biblical, it is actually a form of early Humanism, and was founded on pantheism, occultism, spiritualism, and the basics of Gnosticism.

Christian Science is founded on the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. This system believes a lot of things that are Biblical, but some of the things that they believe that aren't include “mind over matter,” the idea that all things are spiritual and the material world is an illusion, and the denial of physical ailments. Please note that Christian Science is not Scientology.

Hmmm ... I see parallels already. Let's review some of them.

The Word of Faith believes:

-- Divine Revelation: well, I believe in it, too, but all divine revelation has to mesh perfectly with the Bible. Word of Faith preachers teach that they are the dispensers of this revelation, and imply that only they are capable of giving it. They will rely more on what "God told them" than on what was written in the Bible, despite their insistence that we, the congregation, must find three scripture verses to support what we want to do. This is not unlike the Gnostic belief in mysterious knowledge.

-- They put God in a box: Word of Faith preachers deny God's sovereignty and actually mock the concept. They make God a slave to "spiritual laws" that even He can't break. They teach that we can twist God's arm to get what we want, enabling us to write our own ticket with Him (Kenneth Hagin's term), or turn God into a vending machine (Richard Roberts' term). The concept of spiritual laws and the idea that God is at our beck and call is definitely Gnostic.

-- Jesus died spiritually: while the idea that Jesus went to Hell is as old as the Church, the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds do NOT say that Jesus died spiritually and had to be born again. If Jesus did die spiritually, then Jesus was a mere man, and not God incarnate. Again, this is a Gnostic belief -- that Jesus was a mere man.

-- Spiritual laws: Word of Faith is founded on the concept that there are spiritual laws in the Bible, that even God is bound to obey. These spiritual laws include things like reciprocity, sowing and reaping, the law of sin and death, the law of the tongue, etc. Once these laws are understood and worked with, then Satan has no more power over the Christian. That may be true, and I'm not saying that it is, but it sounds an awful lot like the Gnostic belief in divine formulas.

-- God is as much female as He is male: I don't know where they get this from Biblically, but more than one Word of Faith has said this. They also teach that Adam was both male and female at the same time, and God removed Adam's female half, not just a rib. If this were true, then the pronoun for God in the Bible would be either "it" or "s/he," not "he." A hermaphroditic view of God is pure Gnosticism.

-- Man is equal with Jesus and God: the idea that we are made in God's image is Biblical, but the Word of Faith teaching that we are little gods, or that we are made in God's class is not. Being equal with God is Gnostic at best, Lucifer's rant at worst.

-- Our words can change time, space and matter: this is known as "Name It and Claim It." Sure, our words can change attitudes and maybe our bodies, but not to the extent that we are the "prophets of our own lives." This is Christian Scientist "mind over matter," retooled for modern times.

-- Emphasis on Dominion over the Earth instead of forgiveness of sins and the need to love others: Most Word of Faith theology is rooted in having dominion over the Earth, and that Adam was the god of this planet. Do I have to go into that? Gnostics believed that they were gods.

-- The reality of sickness and sin is denied: The Word of Faith says that they do not deny sickness and sin, but deny sickness and sin's place in their bodies. It's the same thing. Christian Science denies sickness, often to the point of dying instead of taking medicine. Word of Faith preachers do the same thing, often mocking doctors and medicine, despite having them on their daily television shows.

-- Prayer is replaced by confession: Prayer connects us with God. Confession connects us with us. In other words, confession, whether it is what we desire or a Bible verse, is a Gnostic practice of mumbling chants and spells, replacing God with our own minds, because we have the knowledge it takes to save ourselves.

-- God can only be pleased by faith: This is based on a verse in Hebrews. The implication is that if we are not standing on three scriptures from the Bible, believing we receive, and holding God to the spiritual laws, then God is not pleased with us. This is very similar to the Gnostic concept that the only way to God is through gnosis (in this case, the only way to God is through the strict definition of faith that the preacher uses). This totally rules out the concept that the way to God is through Jesus Christ.

-- Dualism: The Word of Faith stresses that everything is spiritual, and that the physical is not important. They mock education and creatitivy and the five human senses. They hate sex (Kenneth Copeland said that we were supposed to speak our children into existence, Gloria Copeland said that sex was a product of the fall of Adam, and Benny Hinn said that women were originally supposed to give birth from their armpits). Despite their obsession with healing, they hate the human body, calling it an "earth suit." Dualism is a Gnostic belief. Sure, you find the same teaching in the works of St. Augustine, but remember, he was a Gnostic before becoming a Christian.

I should have seen all this from the beginning, but I didn't. I fell for the teaching that I could get rich quick and that I didn't have to be sick a day in my life. There is a sucker born every minute! The reason the Word of Faith fooled me, and millions of other Christians, is that there is a lot of Biblical truth in it. Much of what Word of Faith preachers teach is sound. But what they teach that is sound is nothing more than the truths found in the Pentecostal movement of 1906 and the Charismatic Renewal of 1967. It's the rest that's poisoned; the part that orginated with Kenyon, was modified by Hagin and has been perpetuated by Copeland.

Another reason the Word of Faith fooled me, and millions of others, is that the preachers are genuinely sincere Christians who love Jesus! Kenyon, Hagin, Copeland, Dollar and others have helped millions of people know Christ better. They really believe that what they preach is totally Biblical. Unfortunately, it isn't. Kenyon fought against the metaphysical religions of Christian Science and New Thought, denying their more obvious unbiblical teachings. Yet, he ended up embracing enough of these unbiblical teachings to turn the Word of Faith from what should have been a new branch of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement into a genuine cult.

I know, I know ... there are Word of Faith apologetics that refute every one of these observations. The thing for me is this -- I was an insider and saw this firsthand. I saw the abuses, and the apostasies, and people running around chanting their mantras, and I had enough. McConnell's claims make sense to me. They explain what I saw. You have to decide for yourself.

This does not make the Word of Faith a heresy. Heresy is a rebellion against the doctrines of an established church. The Word of Faith is its own denomination, so it has nothing to rebel against. It is instead, an apostasy! An apostasy is nothing less than a rebellion against God Himself.

It gets worse.

There is a direct link between the Word of Faith and Shepherding.

Tricia Tillin, in her online testimony, shows this direct link. She lives in Great Britain, and was involved with KCM and the Word of Faith during the latter part of the 20th Century. In her blog, she writes that in 1985, she visited the UK headquarters for KCM and had a conversation with the worker there. During this conversation, Mrs. Tillin brought up how she was relieved that Kenneth Copeland was so opposed to Shepherding. Mrs. Tillin expected the worker to agree with her. Instead, Mrs. Tillin writes “She was evasive, would not condemn Shepherding doctrines, and then said that there had been a change of heart and the Copeland ministry would now be working more closely with the Shepherding leadership, and we should be praying for unity between them. This was devastating! Formerly they agreed Shepherding was in error, but now they'd changed their minds, and were going to work alongside each other!”

Then there is Stephen Parson's book Ungodly Fear. Parson writes that in 1985 (the same year that Mrs. Tillin visited the KCM headquarters in Great Britain), at a convention of the Network of Christian Ministries, Kenneth Copeland said the Word of Faith and the Shepherding doctrines ought to be merged.

So, two different sources identify that the Word of Faith and Shepherding married each other. This does, at least to me, explains what I saw during my tenure with KCM and the Word of Faith. If the Word of Faith was so far from the truth to begin with, then it's easy to understand how it could so easily embrace another apostasy like Shepherding.

And it also explains how Shepherding has made so many inroads into the Charismatic churches and ministries. Kenneth Copeland is a highly respected and influential teacher among many Charismatics. They are simply doing what they see his ministry and church do.

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Luther on ecumenism and papacy

History of the Papacy by J.A. Wylie: "...the Church (so-called) of Rome has no right to rank amongst Christian Churches. She is not a Church, neither is her religion the Christian religion. We are accustomed to speak of Popery as a corrupt form of Christianity. We concede too much. The Church of Rome bears the same relation to the Church of Christ which the hierarchy of Baal bore to the institute of Moses; and Popery stands related to Christianity only in the same way in which Paganism stood related to primeval Revelation. Popery is not a corruption simply, but a transformation. It may be difficult to fix the time when it passed from the one into the other; but the change is incontestible. Popery is the gospel transubstantiated into the flesh and blood of Paganism, under a few of the accidents of Christianity."

Martin Luther

Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in dispute is what they call non-essential, and, therefore (they say) to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones) is unfruitful and unnecessary.

To this I reply: Cursed be that love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the word of God.

Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in dispute is what they call non-essential, and, therefore (they say) to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones) is unfruitful and unnecessary.

To this I reply: Cursed be that love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the word of God.

The negotiation about doctrinal agreement displeases me altogether, for this is utterly impossible unless the pope has his papacy abolished. Therefore avoid and flee those who seek the middle of the road. Think of me after I am dead and such middle-of-the-road men arise, for nothing good will come of it. There can be no compromise. (What Luther Says, II: 1019)

Ah, my dear brother in Christ, bear with me if here or elsewhere I use such coarse language when speaking of the wretched, confronted, atrocious monster at Rome! He who knows my thoughts must say that I am much, much, much too lenient and have neither words nor thought adequately to describe the shameful, abominable blasphemy to which he subjects the Word and name of Christ, our dear Lord and Savior. There are some Christians, wicked Christians indeed, who now would gloss things over to make the pope appear against in a good light and who, after he does so and has been dragged out of the mud, would like to reinstate him on the altar. But they are wicked people, whoever they may be, who defend the pope and want me to be quiet about the means whereby he has done harm. Truly, I cannot do this. All true, pious Christians, who love Christ and His Word, should, as said, be sincerely hostile to the pope. They should persecute him and injure him…. All should do this in their several calling, to the best of their ability, with all faithfulness and diligence. (What Luther Says, II: 1072)

What kind of a church is the pope’s church? It is an uncertain, vacillating and tottering church. Indeed, it is a deceitful, lying church, doubting and unbelieving, without God’s Word. For the pope with his wrong keys teaches his church to doubt and to be uncertain. If it is a vacillating church, then it is not the church of faith, for the latter is founded upon a rock, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it (Matt.16:18). If it is not the church of faith, then it is not the Christian church, but it must be an unchristian, anti-Christian, and faithless church which destroys and ruins the real, holy, Christian church. (Luther’s Works, vol. 40, Church and Ministry II, The Keys, p.348)

All this is to be noted carefully, so that we can treat with contempt the filthy, foolish twaddle that the popes present in their decrees about their Roman church, that is, about their devil’s synagogue (Rev.2:9), which separates itself from common Christendom and the spiritual edifice built up on this stone, and instead invents for itself a fleshly worldly, worthless, lying, blasphemous, idolatrous authority over all of Christendom. One of these two things must be true: if the Roman church is not built on this rock along with the other churches, then it is the devil’s church; but if it is built, along with all the other churches, on this rock, then it cannot be lord or head over the other churches. For Christ the cornerstone knows nothing of two unequal churches, but only of one church alone, just as the Children’s Faith, that is, the faith of all of Christendom, says, ”I believe in one holy, Christian church,” and does not say, ”I believe in one holy Roman church.” The Roman church is and should be one portion or member of the holy Christian church, not the head, which befits solely Christ the cornerstone. If not, it is not a Christian but an UN-Christian and anti-Christian church, that is, a papal school of scoundrels. (Luther’s Works, Volume 41, Church and Ministry III, Against The Roman Papacy, An Institution Of The Devil, p.311)



I believe the pope is the masked and incarnate devil because he is the Antichrist. As Christ is God incarnate, so the Antichrist is the devil incarnate. The words are really spoken of the pope when its said that hes a mixed god, an earthly god, that is , a god of the earth. Here god is understood as god of this world. Why does he call himself an earthly god, as if the one, almighty God werent also on the earth? The kingdom of the pope really signifies the terrible wrath of God, namely, the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. (Luthers Works, vol.54, Table Talks, No.4487, p.346)


C. H. Spurgeon on Popery


"It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the Popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. It wounds Christ, robs Christ of His glory, puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread in the place of the Saviour....If we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors; we shall love their souls, though we loathe and detest their dogmas...."

-- C. H. Spurgeon


A Wideness in Gods Mercy? (Billy Graham)

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Feeding sheeps or amusing goats Christian Entertainment An Evangelic Heresy

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Charles Spurgeon Apostasy mixed religion!

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Frälsningens väg!

Heb 11:25 Han ville hellre utstå lidande med Guds folk än för en kort tid leva i syndig njutning;
Heb 12:2 Och må vi därvid se på Jesus, trons hövding och fullkomnare, på honom, som i stället för att taga den glädje som låg framför honom, utstod korsets lidande och aktade smäleken för intet, och som nu sitter på högra sidan om Guds tron.
Heb 12:3 Ja, på honom, som har utstått så mycken gensägelse av syndare, på honom mån I tänka, så att I icke tröttnen och uppgivens i edra själar.
Heb 12:15 Och sen till, att ingen går miste om Guds nåd, och att ingen giftig rot skjuter skott och bliver till fördärv, så att menigheten därigenom bliver besmittad;
Heb 12:16 sen till, att ingen är en otuktig människa eller ohelig såsom Esau, han som för en enda maträtt sålde sin förstfödslorätt.
Heb 12:17 I veten ju att han ock sedermera blev avvisad, när han på grund av arvsrätt ville få välsignelsen; han kunde nämligen icke vinna någon ändring, fastän han med tårar sökte därefter.
Heb 10:36 I behöven nämligen ståndaktighet för att kunna göra Guds vilja och få vad utlovat är.
Heb 10:37 Ty "ännu en helt liten tid, så kommer den som skall komma, och han skall icke dröja;
Heb 10:38 och min rättfärdige skall leva av tro. Men om någon drager sig undan, så finner min själ icke behag i honom".
Heb 10:39 Dock, vi höra icke till dem som draga sig undan, sig själva till fördärv; vi höra till dem som tro och så vinna sina själar.

Ord 25:26 Såsom en grumlad källa och en fördärvad brunn, så är en rättfärdig som vacklar inför den ogudaktige.

Upp 3:16 Men nu, då du är ljum och varken varm eller kall, skall jag utspy dig ur min mun.

Se Ljum, sammanblandad, mixad, förväxlad, utbytt, utväxlad, ersatt, avlöst, efterträdd, liknöjd, likgiltig!

2Ti 4:7 Jag har kämpat den goda kampen, jag har fullbordat mitt lopp, jag har bevarat tron.
2Ti 4:8 Nu ligger rättfärdighetens segerkrans tillreds åt mig, och Herren, den rättfärdige domaren, skall giva den åt mig på "den dagen", och icke åt mig allenast, utan åt alla som hava älskat hans tillkommelse.

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De ska ha ett och samma sinne Det stora Babylon moder till alla skökorna och till styggelserna

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Jesus HATES the deeds of the Nicolaitiane, which I also hate.

Rev. 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitianes, which I also hate. Nicolaitianes -To conquer the people or laity, these "deeds" had become in Pergamos a "doctrine" (Rev. 2:15)

Nicolaitians, to conquer the laity !

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