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Word-of-Faith Heresies

The Cancer Within

1. Introduction

The greatest effect of WOF heresies is on the atonement of Jesus Christ for our sins. Many Word-Faith teachers claim that redeemed man has the nature of God and that fallen man has the nature of Satan. According to these teachers, Jesus Christ voluntarily took upon Himself man's sinful nature and His very nature changed.
They also teach that when man (Adam) rebelled or "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 false teachers, Jesus took on the very nature of Satan on the cross, died spiritually, and while completing the plan of redemption in hell, was born again.
Whenever quotes are made directly from WOF material, my own comments are in square brackets [], and when I want to emphasize something in a quote, it will be in bold italics. Normal italics will simply be from the original author’s material.

2. Heresy

The main cast of characters

2.1 The Atonement?

"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"1 (Fred Price)

"Ladies and gentlemen, the serpent is a symbol of Satan. Jesus Christ knew the only way he would stop Satan was by 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"2 (Benny Hinn)

"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 Covenant. Jesus' death on the cross was only the beginning of the complete work of redemption"3(Kenneth Copeland)

"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 said, `I accepted in my own spirit, spiritual death; and the light was turned off'"4 (Kenneth Copeland)

"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"5 (Joyce Meyer).

"During that time He entered hell, where you and I deserved to go (legally) because of our sin. He paid the price plan was too extreme...Jesus paid on the cross and in hell"6 (Joyce Meyer).

2.2 Spiritual Death?

“Jesus had to go through that same spiritual death in order to pay the price. It wasn't the physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin. Because if it had of been any prophet of God that had died for the last couple of thousand of years before that could have paid that price. It wasn't physical death. Anybody could do that."7 (Kenneth Copeland)

"He (Jesus) tasted spiritual death for every man. And His spirit and inner man went to hell in my place. Can't you see that? Physical death wouldn't remove your sins. He's tasted death for every man. He's talking about tasting spiritual death."8 (Kenneth Hagin)

"It is God’s will for you to be saved and know the truth of what Jesus purchased for you. Jesus went to the cross as our substitute. He [Jesus] paid the price for Adam's sin. He suffered in His own body, and more importantly, in His spirit. Jesus experienced the same spiritual death that entered man in the Garden of Eden. [quote of 2 Cor 5:21 KJV] ‘He became one with man in spiritual death to make it possible for us to become one with Him in eternal life’ (1 Timothy 3:16). [This verse does not say this!] Jesus never committed one sin but was made in. He then suffered sin’s penalty for us. [quote of Is 53:9-12 KJV]"9 (Gloria Copeland)

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. The Bible's emphasis is on the physical death of Christ, not the spiritual. The teaching of scripture is: "without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22). This points to the physical attributes of Jesus in the atonement. Well, did Jesus die spiritually? How do WOF teachers come to this conclusion? They use

At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" which is translated, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" (Mar 15:34)

Jesus uttered these words as a prophetic fulfilment of Psalm 22:1. Did God abandon the psalmist? No! When reading this prophetic psalm we find that the psalmist was merely expressing how he felt in his time of distress. When we read verses 9-11, 19-24 we realize that at the same time the psalmist felt abandoned, he also knew who is help comes from. He certainly was not abandoned. Jesus on the cross merely expressed the same feelings as the psalmist did. 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.

Jesus did not die spiritually. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite.

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; (1 Pet 3:18)

There are many verses in Scripture which attest to our redemption being fully accomplished by the physical death of Jesus.

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Heb 10:10)

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. (Rom 7:4)

yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- (Col 1:22)

and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (1 Pet 2:24)

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, (1 Pet 4:1)

by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (Eph 2:15)

Jesus spoke often of His impending physical death, yet never once did He refer to a spiritual death. Man died spiritually because he sinned. Jesus never sinned!

2.3 Satanic nature?

"Sin separates from God. Spiritual death means separation from God. The moment Adam sinned, he was separated from God. Spiritual death means something more than separation from God. Spiritual death also means having Satan's nature. Jesus said to the Pharisees, [quotes Jn 8:44]. The Pharisees were very religious. They went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, they prayed, they paid their tithes, they fasted, and they did a lot of other fine and good things—but they lied about Christ and murdered Him. Jesus said they were children of the devil—they had the characteristics of the devil. When one is born again, he takes upon himself the nature of God—which is Life and peace. The nature of the devil is hatred and lies. Jesus tasted death—spiritual death—for every man. Sin is more than a physical acts; it is a spiritual act. He became what we were, that we might become what He is. [quotes 2 Cor 5:21]. Jesus became sin. His Spirit was separated from God. And He went down into hell in our place. Notice in the following Scripture, that Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, said, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” I encourage you to read Peter’s entire message. He brings out the fact that David, in Psalm 16:8-10, was really prophesying by the Spirit of God. [quotes Ac 2:25-27;29-31]. Paul is talking about the same thing in Acts 13:33. [quotes Ac 13:33]. It is clear that both Peter and Paul are talking about the same thing. You will not be able to understand the authority in the Name of Jesus until you understand this fact. Down in the prison house of suffering—down in hell itself—Jesus satisfied the claims of Justice on the behalf of each one of us, because He died as our substitute.”10 (Kenneth Hagin)

If Jesus died spiritually and literally took on a sin nature as WOF teachers teach then Jesus Himself would have been in need of an atonement! At the same time, Jesus would not have been a perfect sacrifice without blemish! According to the O.T., a sin offering, being a substitute, was required to be perfect and unblemished (Lev. 4:3,28; 9:3; cf. Deut. 15:21). The animals chosen for the sin offering were, according to Leviticus 4:32, a bull without defect; Lev. 4:23, a goat without defect; Lev. 4:32, a lamb without defect (see 1Cor. 5:7, Jesus as the Paschal Lamb). Even worse Hagin here wants us to believe that Jesus took on the very nature of Satan! So, in Hagin’s mind, Jesus ceased to be God at some point and took on the nature of Satan. God does not change! Jesus certainly would have been in need of propitiation by someone else! Further, in Hagin’s mind, the suffering of the cross—where atonement was made as a propitiation against God’s wrath—was not enough and Jesus needed to enter hell and suffer there on our behalf. This is not found in the NT. Jesus did not become sin, but rather, sin was imputed to Him.

but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1 Pet 1:19)

When the Bible says

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.. (2 Cor 5:21)

"...scholars agree that the word 'sin' in this passage is used in an abstract sense. They are virtually unanimous in pointing out that the phrase 'to become sin' as used here is a metonym (a word or phrase substituted for another associated word or phrase), for Christ 'bearing the penalty of our sins'. Expositor, T.J. Crawford, maintains that 'there can be no doubt that the expression is metonymical, since it is impossible that Christ, or any person, could be literally made sin'."11

This verse teaches that Christ has been considered as though He were a sinner. As with the lamb in the O.T. sacrificial system, sin was imputed to Christ. According to Isaiah 53:4,5, the sin of man was laid to the account of Christ. Our sin was imputed to Jesus, and His righteousness was imputed to our favour. God treated Christ as if he were a sinner, just as He now treats the Christian as if he had never sinned. If Jesus had literally become sin, His offering would have been unacceptable to God. Another point is that the NIV has a footnote saying “Or be a sin offering.”  O, it could be like this:

“God made him who had no sin to be a sin offering for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

"The Hebrew term for 'sin' and 'sin offering' is one and the same. The Hebrew term, hatt't can be translated either 'sin' or 'sin offering'; the context determines the meaning. When hatt't was used in reference to the O.T. animal substitute (which remained holy before and after its death), it was understood by the Jewish people as a 'sin offering'. The same is true in reference to the Greek term for 'sin', harmartia, in 2Cor. 5:21. The apostle Paul, a Hebrew of Hebrews, clearly had sin offering in mind and not literal sin....The O.T. sin offering did not typify something 'sinful' at death to the Jews as Hagin and other charismatics depict Christ; it typified 'a sinless sacrifice for sin'. Jesus did not become unholy on the cross, but was a holy sin offering who 'gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma' (Eph. 5:2)."12

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. (Isa 53:11)

"In 1Timothy 3:16, God was manifested in the flesh and justified in the Spirit. Now you can't get somebody justified and made righteous in the spirit if it (sic) wasn't first unrighteous. The righteousness of God was made to be sin."13 (Kenneth Copeland)

Jesus' being justified in the Spirit means nothing of the kind. This Scripture is simply telling us that Christ's claims of being the Son of God were justified or vindicated by the Holy Spirit.

2.4 Saved in hell?

"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 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."14 (Fred Price)

"In the place of the wicked dead, all the demons of Hell and Satan rejoiced over the prize. The corridors of Hell were filled with joy. 'We've done it! We've captured the Son of God! We'll no longer be in the pit of the damned! The earth and all that is therein is ours! Forever it will be ours!' Rejoicing in hell had never been so great as it was that day. But it was short-lived."15 (Charles Capps)

The jesus of the Faith movement had to go to hell and suffer at Satan's mercy. The true Jesus, the One Supreme Commander of the hosts of heaven (1Pet. 3:22), completely triumphed over Satan and his minions upon the cross.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. (Heb 2:14-15)

The cross was the triumph of Christ, and it was on the cross that Christ carried our sin, not in hell! Here are some verses that the WOF camp must deal with and need to follow up:

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. (Joh 19:30)

having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.(Col 2:14-15)

and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,(Col 1:20-21)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7)

for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. (Mat 26:28)

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Act 20:28)

whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; (Rom 3:25)

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Rom 5:9)

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph 2:13)

And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Heb 9:22)

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. (Heb 13:12)

but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1 Pet 1:19)

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. ( 1 Jn 1:7)

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood-- (Rev 1:5)

And they *sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. (Rev 5:9)

"He allowed the Devil to drag Him into the depths of Hell as if He were the most wicked sinner who ever lived. He submitted Himself to death. He allowed Himself to come under Satan's control....For three days in the belly of the earth, He suffered as if He'd sinned every sin that exists."16 (Kenneth Copeland)

This is what Jesus had to say about Satan’s “power” over Him:

I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; (Jn 14:30)

Satan in no way was able to drag Jesus down to hell. There is NO such Scripture in the Bible. This next passage is the truth:

"For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (Jn 10:17-18)

Now back to a statement made earlier by Kenneth Copeland concerning Jesus' final words upon the cross, "It is finished". Copeland asserts that, "When Jesus cried 'It is finished!', He was not speaking of the plan of redemption....Jesus' death on the cross was only the beginning of the complete work of redemption." Astute readers will notice that Jesus' words were, "It is finished", and not, it has just begun! The Greek word for this term is tetelestai, (τετελεσται) which means it is paid; the debt has been paid in full.

The WOF doctrine clearly is another gospel. It is a gospel that should be refuted and denied.

"The fact...that virtually every cult, in one way or another, denies the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through the sinless sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Bible plainly states that your eternal salvation rests on what you personally believe about the blood atonement of Jesus Christ. It is at the cross--not in Hell--that your salvation is either won or lost. And that is precisely the problem with the most notorious of the Faith teachings. These teachings have transferred the saving work of Christ from the cross to the deepest dungeons of hell."17

2.5 Born Again?

"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."18 (Kenneth Copeland)

"...that Word of the Living God went down into the pit of destruction and charged the spirit of Jesus with resurrection power! Suddenly His twisted, death-wracked spirit began to fill out and come back to life. He began to look like something the Devil had never seen before. He was literally being reborn before the Devil's very eyes. He began to flex his spiritual muscles....Jesus was born again--the first born from the dead."19 (Kenneth Copeland)

“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.”20 (Kenneth Copeland)

"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.""21 (Kenneth Copeland)

“After Jesus was made sin, He had to be born again. [quote of Ac 13:33 KJV] What day? The first part of the verse explains ‘this day’ as the day He raised Jesus from the dead. God raised Him up and liberated Him from the pains of death. He was made alive in the spirit or justified in the spirit (1 Timothy 3:16; Acts 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18, The Amplified Bible [The Multiple Choice Bible]) Once again, He was the righteousness of God and, once again, eternal life was His nature. Let the picture of the Firstborn from among the dead become a reality in your spirit and mind: Jesus was not only a being with God’s nature and God’s Spirit, but also the man that said, ‘Behold my hands, and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have’ (Luke 24:39). And it was written of Him, ‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus is a born-again man. He came from death back into life. (This is the same new birth that the good news of the gospel still offers to any man who will accept it.)”22 (Gloria Copeland) (This quote is complete as to the context of the born-again theory of Jesus.)

"My, you know, whoosh! The Holy Ghost is just showing me some stuff. I'm getting dizzy! I'm telling you the truth--it's, it's just heavy right now on me....He's (referring to Jesus) in the underworld now. God isn't there, the Holy Ghost isn't there, and the Bible says He was begotten. Do you know what the word begotten means? It means reborn. Do you want another shocker? have you been begotten? So was he. Don't let anyone deceive you. Jesus was reborn. You say, 'What are you talking about?' ...He was reborn. He had to be reborn. ...If He was not reborn, I would never be reborn. How can I face Jesus and say, 'Jesus you went through everything I've gone through, except the new birth?'"23 (Benny Hinn)

“Begotten” simply means “to be born,” NOT “reborn.” When the Bible speaks of the “only begotten of the Father” it emphasises Christ’s pre-eminence and unique nature. In Hebrews 1:5 when God says “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU” it is simply a reference to the resurrection of Christ.

"It is important for us to realize that a born again man defeated Satan....Colossians 1:18 refers to Jesus as the firstborn from the dead....He was the first man to be reborn under the new covenant."24 (Kenneth Copeland)

The original Greek word for firstborn (prototokos - πρωτοτοκος) does not mean “to be born again” but shows primacy, headship and pre-eminence. Colossians 1:18 merely shows Christ’s supremacy over all creation as the context of Colossians 1 bears out.

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. When Jesus is downplayed as nothing more than an anointed man, it brings the faith teachers up to the level of Jesus.

In this way the gospel message of “repent you wretched sinner and plead for God’s forgiveness. Find salvation and rest from your sin and guilt at the foot of the cross of your great and mighty and blessed Saviour,” is falsified by a wicked stench of a message that says “You shall be like God!”

How do the WOF teachers respond when someone points out their false doctrines?

"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."25 (Paul Crouch)

2.6 New God?

"When you were born again the Word was made flesh in you. And you became flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. Don't tell me you have Jesus. You are everything He was and everything He is and ever shall be.... It (the new man) says, 'I am as He is.' That's what it says.. As He is, so are we in this world. Jesus said, 'Go in My name, go in My stead.' Don't say, 'I have.' Say, 'I am, I am, I am, I am, I am.'"26 (Benny Hinn)

"When you say, 'I am a Christian,' you are saying, 'I am mashiach' in the Hebrew. I am a little messiah walking on earth, in other words. That is a shocking revelation....May I say it like this? You are a little god on earth running around."27 (Benny Hinn)

"God's reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself and in the Garden of Eden He did just that. (Adam) was not a little like God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even.... Adam is as much like God as you could get, just the same as Jesus....Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh."28 (Kenneth Copeland)

"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."29 (Kenneth Hagin)

Hank Hanegraaf writes about all this:

"...while the Bible clearly declares Christ to be pre-existent (John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5), nowhere in Scripture do we find the concept of human pre-existence. In fact, human pre-existence remains a concept relegated largely to such cults as Mormonism. The fact that Christians are indwelt by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (John 14:17,23) in no way implies that the Bible endorses the concept of incarnation for Christians."30

“You don't have a God living in you, you are one!"31 (Kenneth Copeland)

"Folks, when you were born again, the Bible says you became bone of His bone. You have rights and privileges because you have been born of the Spirit of God. God has been reproduced on the inside of you. These rights re yours because Jesus of Nazareth paid the price for the sin problem and caused you to be reborn."32 (Kenneth Copeland)

"This eternal life He came to give us is the nature of God." He then adds, "It is, in reality, God imparting His very nature, substance, and being to one human spirit....Zoe, then, means eternal life, or God's life. This new kind of life is God's nature....Even many in the great body of Full Gospel people do not know that the new birth is a real incarnation....Jesus was first divine, and then He was human. So He was in the flesh a divine-human being. I was first human, and so were you, but I was born of God, and so I became a human-divine being!"33(Kenneth Hagin)

M. Moriarty writes:

"This view, developed by the scholarly monk Nestorius (ca.381-ca.452), taught that the Word did not actually become flesh (John 1:14) but only united Himself to a human being. Christ was in effect a God-bearer rather than the God-man. Nestorius ended up making Christ out to be a man in whom, in Siamese twin fashion, the divine and human natures were combined in a mechanical union rather than in an organic union of natures. Hagin's view of the incarnation is very similar to the fifth-century Nestorian heresy."34

"You need to realize that you are not a spiritual schizophrenic--half-God and half-Satan--you are all God."35 (Kenneth Copeland)

Is this not all very interesting? If we looked for the fingerprints of the one who taught this lie we simply need to read

"For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen 3:5)

From the beginning Satan tried to entice us with being deity, as if he has the authority to offer it. It is man’s search for self-rule or deity that has brought man to the point of the pit. One more step and man falls into a chasm, which he eventually did when Adam gave in to the devil’s temptations.

In the passage of John 10:31-39 the words of Jesus are used by WOF proponents to “prove” their point:

Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I SAID, YOU ARE GODS'? (Joh 10:34)

What is the point of what Jesus said here? Does He actually mean that we are gods? Jesus is here responding to his opponents with an ironical use of Psalm 82:6, where God condemns the unrighteous judges of Israel for their self-righteous attitude and pride. These judges sinned by showing partiality towards the wicked rather than defending the weak. The very next verse here is quite telling:

“Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes." (Psa 82:7)

To imagine that we are gods when we are saved is to misunderstand our condition, even though in Christ. Even though the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our lives, it does not mean that we have been deified! If man is deified, surely we also have to accept the doctrine that we are therefore sinless! Yet, the Scriptures deny that we are sinless, even after our salvation.

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 Jn 1:8-10)

"Jesus mocks the people as if to say, 'You all think you're gods yourselves. What's one more god among you?' Irony is used to provoke us, not to inform us. It is not a basis for building a theology."36

"Man...was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God's presence without any consciousness of inferiority....God has made us as much like Himself as possible....He made us the same class of being that He is Himself....The believer is called Christ....that's who we are; we're Christ!"37 (Kenneth Hagin)

"Pray to yourself, because I'm in your self and you're in Myself. We are one Spirit, saith the Lord."38 (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!'"39 (Kenneth Copeland)

"If you stood Adam upside God, they look just exactly alike....If you stood Jesus and Adam side-by-side, they would look and act and sound exactly alike....The image is that they look just alike, but the likeness is that they act alike and they are alike....All of God's attributes, all of God's authority, all of God's faith, all of God's ability was invested in that man."40 (Kenneth Copeland)

The terms "image" and "likeness" refute Copeland's point. The Hebrew word for "likeness" (demuth) simply means similarity or resemblance, not identity.  [29] Furthermore, the term itself actually "defines and limits" the word "image" (Hebrew: tselem) in order "to avoid the implication that man is a precise copy of God, albeit miniature41(emphasis added)

"But this must come first! Surely, this is Isaiah 53 Surely he [Jesus] hath borne are grief's and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken smitten of God and afflicted. Now what's he talking about?....He was wounded for our transgressions. In other words he said we esteemed him stricken and smitten by God, but he wasn't, he was wounded for our transgressions, where did that statement come from? Well the high religious people of the day.... Ah.... said that this horrible thing we see here on this cross, here you have got three men hanging side by side on a cross; in Scriptures in the 52nd chapter of Isaiah makes this statement....Ah.... That he was so torn up, he was so oh my goodness, he was as many were astonished his visage or his form was so marred. One translation says so twisted out of shape, more than any man and his form more than the sons of men. Now did you ever wonder why that centurion that executioner that stood right their by all three of those crosses why did he say well surely these were the sons of God? Because they all died.... the crucifixion, they all died the same way. But the one in the middle was totally different because his body was so twisted and went into such shape that the others didn't. That they figured only God could have done this to a human being. And he said surely God did this surely this is of God. Why would they think that? Well the high priests said and told everybody that this happened because he accounted and said that he was equal with God....he said he was equal with God, and so they considered that robbing God, they considered that blaspheming God. That it was wrong, it was terrible that he should say such a thing. Well that same religious idea is hear today. It's the same idea. How do you do it? How would anybody do this? You really cannot ever come to that place were you let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who thought it not robbery to be called equal with God. Let this mind be in Kenneth Copeland, Oh my goodness, Ah! that thinks its not robbery to be called equal with God."42 (Kenneth Copeland)

3. What now?

The Word-Faith teaching is a spiritual deception which has become a cancer of a very extreme pervasive nature that has infiltrated the church to its very core. In order for us to deal with it, we need to take action. How can we take action?

First and foremost, do not support any of these ministries financially. This is where you may have to make some tough decisions. Don't watch any of their TV programs and encourage and warn others to do the same. Do not buy their books or audio tapes. If your local Christian bookstore carries their material let them know in love that you will no longer buy from or visit their stores if they continue to carry this material.

Second, take a stand for Scriptural truth and in this way you will also take a stand for Jesus! It is completely Scriptural to oppose false teaching. Do not let people try to convince you that we need to seek unity more than doctrinal purity! Real unity cannot come when false doctrines are taught or supported. If doctrinal purity is not of any importance and unity is more important, then let's quit calling other religions false and accept the cults into our fold. What about the Jehovah's Witnesses who love their Jesus (even though to them he is the archangel Michael, the first and greatest created being)? What about the Mormons, and the Unitarians, etc.? Throw away the creeds and sound doctrine. Ignore the stern warnings of the Apostle Paul to beware of false teachers and false doctrine that spreads like AIDS. Simply "love Jesus" (whoever that Jesus might be to us)? NO! We will not abandon truth. When Jesus tells us to "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits" (Mat. 7:15-16) We must obey! The Word-Faith teachers are using the same fruit that the devil deceived our ancient mother Eve with. It is still as deadly and still as evil in God's sight as it was then. We must actively oppose the Word-Faith teachers and their movement and reject it as non-Christian! Will YOU stand for Christ?

Third, we need to teach our people and study solid doctrine! We once again need to bring back the teaching of theology in our churches so that the common Christian man can be armed against error. This cancer of WOF doctrine and its pervasiveness would not have come about if more Christians knew what the Bible has to say about the nature of man, the nature of God, the doctrine of the trinity, etc. Study the great foundational doctrines of our faith so that we won't be deceived by these false teachers who are mere religious charlatans. Doctrine is not just for theologians. Words like propitiation, sanctification, justification, trinity, incarnation, predestination, redemption, etc. are not just useless theological words but are the very foundations of the faith.

Read more about the Orthodox teaching concerning God and Jesus Christ.

End Notes

[1] Frederick K.C. Price, Ever Increasing Faith Messenger, June 1990, p7.
[2] Benny Hinn, Benny Hinn broadcast on TBN, December 15, 1990.
[3] Kenneth Copeland, "Jesus - Our Lord of Glory", Believer's Voice of Victory, April, 1982, p3.
[4] Kenneth Copeland, What Happened From the Cross to the Throne? cassette tape, Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
[5] Joyce Meyer, The Most important Decision You will Ever Make, 1991.
[6] Ibid., p35.
[7] Kenneth Copeland, "What Satan saw on the day of Pentecost" tape #02-0022.
[8] K. Hagin, "How Jesus Obtained His Name, Tulsa, OK: K. Hagin Ministries n.d. audiotape #44HO1, side A.
[9] Gloria Copeland, "God's Will For You", Harrison House, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Revised 1994, Reprinted 2000, p23-24.
[10] K. Hagin, The Name of Jesus, Tulsa, OK: K. Hagin Ministries, 1981. p31-33.
[11] H. Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, Harvest House, 1993, p159.
[12] M. Moriarty, The New Charismatics, Zondervan, 1992, p362.
[13] K. Copeland, "What Happened From the Cross to the Throne" (audiotape) Fort Worth, Texas, K. Copeland Ministries, 1990 #02-0017 or 00-0303 Side B.
[14] F.K.C. Price, Ever Increasing Faith Messenger, Newsletter Crenshaw Christian Centre, Inglewood, CA. June 1980, p7.
[15] C. Capps, Authority in Three Worlds, Tulsa, OK. Harrison House, 1982, p143.
[16] K. Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory, September 1991, p3.
[17] H. Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, Harvest House, 1993, p152.
[18] K. Copeland, "What Happened From the Cross to the Throne" (audiotape) Fort Worth, Texas, K. Copeland Ministries, 1990 #02-0017 or 00-0303.
[19] K. Copeland, "The Price Of It All", Believer's Voice of Victory 19, 9 Sept. 1991; p4-6.
[20] Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory Magazine, Volume 15 Issue 2, February 1987.
[21] Kenneth Copeland, "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" tape # 02-0017.
[22] Gloria Copeland, "God's Will For You", Harrison House, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Revised 1994, Reprinted 2000, p24-25.
[23] B. Hinn, "Our Position in Christ, Part 1", Orlando, FL: Orlando Christian Centre, 1991, videotape # TV-254.
[24] K. Copeland, "Jesus Our Lord of Glory", Believer's Voice of Victory, April 1982, p3.
[25] Paul Crouch, "Praise-a-thon" broadcast on TBN, recorded 4/2/91.
[26] B. Hinn, "Our Position in Christ #2-The Word Made Flesh", Orlando, FL: Orlando Christian Centre, 1991, audiotape #A031190-2, Side B.
[27] B. Hinn, "Praise-a-Thon" program on TBN, 6 November, 1990.
[28] K. Copeland, "Following the Faith of Abraham 1", Side A, Fort Worth, Texas, K. Copeland Ministries, 1989, audiotape #01-3001.
[29] K. Hagin, "The Incarnation", The Word of Faith magazine, 13, 12 (Dec. 1980): p14.
[30] H. Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, Harvest House, 1993, p176.
[31] K. Copeland, "The Force of Love", Fort Worth, Texas, K. Copeland Ministries, n.d. audiotape BCC-56.
[32] K. Copeland, "The Force of Righteousness", Fort Worth, Texas, K. Copeland Ministries, 1982, p18.
[33] K. Hagin, Zoe: The God-Kind of Life, Tulsa, OK. Faith Library, 1981, p40.
[34] M. Moriarty, The New Charismatics, Zondervan, 1992, p332.
[35] K. Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory, March 1982, p2.
[36] W. Martin, "Ye Shall Be As Gods" The Agony of Deceit, ed. M.A. Horton, Chicago: Moody, 1990, p97.
[37] K. Hagin, Zoe: The God-Kind of Life, p35-36.
[38] Kenneth Copeland, "Believer's Voice of Victory", Feb. 1987, p9.
[39] Kenneth Copeland, "Believer's Voice of Victory" broadcast on TBN, recorded 7/9/87.
[40] Kenneth Copeland, _Authority of the Believer IV_ (Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987, audiotape #01-0304), side 1.
[41] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981), 1:192.
[42] Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory, Monday 29th January 2001 [GOD TV].
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