Archive for the Apologetics Category

Sharing Jesus for the sake of Jesus

Posted in A New Beginning In Christ, Apologetics, Christian Life, Eyob B Kassa, Eyob's blog, God, Religion, Theology, Thought of the day on 07/27/2012 by Eyob B Kassa

Most evangelism sucks!

Ok, that may be sound a little bit harsh generalization, but I believe it’s true! Most evangelism sucks because they are therapeutically good but theologically not sound. They are man-centered not God-centered. They are so superficial not incarnational. Evangelism day is a kick-off event for so many than a life style. William Temple the late Archbishop of Canterbury wrote: ‘To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through him, to accept him as their Savior, and serve him as their king in the fellowship of his Church’. We have to face it; the message of the gospel is more than “God is doing something huge” kind of sermon. I don’t think the New Testament God is vague on this. He sent His Son to die.  R. C. Sproul said, “The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.” The message of the gospel is serious!

Evangelism is not an option. In fact, it’s a mandate. It is not a system that we adopt but it’s a truth that we should live out. The motive should not be winning people for the sake of church membership but for a God-honoring and purpose driven life. And the purpose is not to enjoy the darkness but to reveal God’s glory as the light of the world. Evangelism will never get easier because we adopt, change or focus on various techniques. Evangelism is a grace-based passion and caring for people. Passion and caring has nothing to do with technique but a heart. God doesn’t concern about our “evangelism techniques” but our availability and passion. I think we have gotten far away from what evangelism is all about. Personal opinion but I believe it’s true!

Why most evangelism sucks?

I will tell you why. We know what people want to hear, so customize the gospel according to the interest and characteristics of the people we want to address. We assume what works and what not. As the result we have a gospel-plus-something evangelism and our “techniques” make sense to us than the gospel. However, Paul and many others did evangelism in a very straight kind of preaching. They just go out and proclaim. They were concerned much about bringing the glory of God through their preaching than methodology. But, the way we do evangelism often times is superficial not radical. Our evangelism is not properly planned and it’s poorly delivered. We urge “unbelievers” to love Jesus, to follow Jesus, to accept Jesus, and to worship Jesus but we don’t even live out these truths in our lives. There is no power in our messages because there is less truth in our lives.

Evangelism is how to share Jesus with Passion and Compassion!

I know there are so many kinds of evangelism ideas in the modern Christianity. Not all of them are bad but most of them are sucks. Our evangelism is more about how to entertain people through popular music, drama, so-called spiritual dancing and various arts, self-help and non-confrontational preaching, and very superficial not scriptural teaching. The concern is more about the people’s felt needs than what God wants from people. The concern is not whether God will be glorified but will people be satisfied. Let’s forget about our customized innovations and be concerned about the gospel. The gospel is not for sale, it doesn’t need our advertisement.

Evangelism is about sharing Jesus with passion and compassion. What you share is a person not a product. The gospel is about a person. Evangelism begins and ends with this person, Jesus Christ. And, He is the content and object of the gospel.  Disciples, not converts, are the goal of evangelism. We need to be operating with passion and motivated by compassion. This is not to doubt the effect of our approach in evangelism. But, we should not be focused on our mechanisms but His grace. Our words, and actions will take us half-step in the process but it is totally the work of the Holy Spirit. The goal in evangelism is to bring a person closer to the person of Jesus Christ who is already drawing by the work of the Holy Spirit.  “Evangelism is the discipleship of the pre-converted man” as some one said. God doesn’t reach the Jews through signs and wonders and the Greeks through wisdom. “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24 ESV)

God doesn’t give us what we want in order to save us. He doesn’t give us “toys” to save us through the gospel. That is the modern day church gospel; the gospel of ME! The gospel of ME is basically man-centered and it is about how YOU can be the best person you can be, it’s about your bolster self-esteem, it’s about your dynamic relationships, it’s about solving your financial crisis, it’s about you and your needs.

However, God is passionate about His glory and He is taking the gospel seriously. The true gospel is about our total helplessness and need. We are sinners. We are God’s enemies. And we are need of a savior. God gives us what we need and what we need is the gospel. The gospel is about the person and the gospel is a person. We need this person, Jesus Christ, above all for satisfaction and justification. And evangelism is nothing but sharing this Jesus for the sake of Jesus. Don’t try to find ways to succeed in evangelism just share the person of Jesus Christ. Praise be His name!

Eyob B Kassa

July 26, 2012

The Modern Apostasy in the Christian church: The word of faith-movement

Posted in A New Begining, A New Beginning In Christ, Apologetics, Christian Life, God, On Faith movment, Religion, Theology on 04/22/2011 by Eyob B Kassa

  Introduction

Starting from the early church there is a constant battle between the “theocentric theology and an anthropocentric theology” for almost 2,000 years now. In fact, in recent decades, the deception of false teachings received a huge credibility within the church and millions of innocent believers accept and proclaim it without realizing what is wrong with it. I don’t think it is really surprising that these false teachings bombarded millions of unsuspecting christians since that is the true nature of such teachings, but what is astonishing and scary in my opinion is, lack of discernment from Christians and leaders who embraced and give recognition without studying the nature of such teachings. One of these false teachings that have given recognition in the heart and mind of so many believers is the so-called “The Word of Faith-Movement.”

This article was written for two reasons. First, I personally believe that the Ethiopian Christian Churches are in danger of this false teaching. A lot of innocent Ethiopian Christians are embracing the teaching of this false doctrine in one way or another without recognizing the danger. Second, this article was written after I watched a video of a certain individual, Ato Hailu Yohannes on Rise and Shine Show, taught on some controversial issues. I believe it is a wake up call mainly for Ethiopian Christian Churches and Christians here in North America as well as all over the world.

In this article, I will also try to discuss some “key points” that the word of faith-movement teaches and what the scripture says on some particular issue. In this article, I just touched the “piece of and iceberg.” Maybe there will be a follow up post with more insight, but I am very hopeful that a lot of other true brothers and sisters will join the battle.

This article doesn’t reflect my local church’s position on the issue as well as any denominations that I have relationship with. It is a personal stand on what the scripture says.

Before I go any further, I would like to say thank you to few friends of mine who gave me their honest advice and comments concerning this particular paper. Thank you Bisrat Geletu and Eyoas Taye for your honest comments and encouragement.

First thing First

Before I begin to discuss the sheer heresy of the faith movement, I would like my readers to understand that I have no personal intention to propagate hatred towards  Ato. Hailu Yohannes, his ministry, or any one who adhere to this false teaching among Christians. However, after watching what Ato. Hailu said on the following video blog, I couldn’t be quite for two reasons. First, as I mentioned it before, I have no personal problem with the person or with his “ministry” but the truth about this dangerous teaching among Ethiopian Evangelical Churches must be exposed. Secondly, even though numerous articles and books have already been published against such teaching, many people are still follow the teaching of these heretic and plagiarist teachers without a clear knowledge of what it is all about.

I know and I believe many devoted believers share similar concerns and disagreement with the faith movement teaching as I do.Yet, many keep their views to themselves because of fear or any other reasons.
Unlike to other people I do believe that the fear and silence on this issue directly hurt many innocent believers and the true doctrine of the church.

I personally do also believe maintaining or guarding the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is each and every believer’s responsibility as Paul strongly urges the young evangelist Timothy about false doctrine, and false knowledge in (2 Timo 1: 5; 3: 15).
What is a false doctrine or false knowledge? No matter who preach or teach, a false doctrine is any teaching, doctrine, or knowledge that is contrary or against to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Every teaching that can be traced directly to the cultic teachings of New Thought metaphysics, including the theology of the Faith movement, pseudo-Christian cults as Religious Science, Christian Science, and the Unity School of Christianity, etc., despite its appearance to be Christian, uses the same terminology, or uses evangelical methodology is a false doctrine, and false knowledge; which is heretical in nature and the doctrine of demons.

Pure doctrine – does it really matter? Absolutely! As we have seen through out history, the devil has been working tirelessly to destroy the sound doctrine of Christianity. And this sound doctrine of God’s word is still under attack not only from outside the church but inside too. The gospel according to the faith movement distorts the biblical concepts of faith and covenant; it brought so much confusion, disgrace, and blasphemy into Christianity.

Before I start discussing the metaphysical doctrine of The Word Faith Movement, which is also known as “Positive Confession” or “Name it and Claim it” theology, I would like you to watch and listen to one of the videos of Hailu Yohannes on Rise and Shine Show. Though Hailu claims his teachings and doctrinal bases are similar to the rest of evangelical churches, it is the exact replica of the deviant and unbiblical theology of The Word Faith Movement in Amharic.

THEAM, SCAM AND STYLE

What is reality?

Since most followers of this false teaching are in a state of spiritual delusion, they are absolutely in the conscious forms of denial, because delusion is the distorted perception of reality. They are in a total unrealistic view of what is real and what is not. The conscious denial is also exist in a spiritual  situation that conceive and convince a belief system that everything is right when the whole thing is wrong. But, what they don’t understand is conscious denial is crippling. Even though there are many reasons that people deny what is real,
the main reason is to escape from the truth. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is neither truth nor certitude outside of it. For them reality is experience not the word of God. According to Hailu and those “faith” teachers, pain, suffering, poverty is not real. But my question is if pain and other symptoms are not real then Paul’s chronic illness, or Timothy’s
stomach problem weren’t real? If pain is not real why Jesus wept in John 11:35? If pain is not real so is sin, because pain and suffering are the result of sin. And if sin (or all it’s effects) is not real then the coming and death of Jesus has no meaning at all, it’s not even real. According to Hailu’s teaching when Jesus underwent
great emotional stress from being abandoned by his friends, and when he gone through the thought of humiliation and a cruel death by crucifixion, that he produced bloodied beads of sweat, he should have speak “faith words” not negative words like “I am thirsty in John 19: 28” or “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? in Matthew 27:46  ” According to Ato Hailu and the so-called faith teachers Jesus should have confessed positive words from the Old Testament not Psalm 22 while he was on the cross or he must had a weak faith, ha?! Well, it is not surprising how deep this denial goes back into history to mid of 1800’ of Phineas P. Quimby, his associate and founder of Christian Science Mary Baker Eddy and Essek W. Kenyon, who is considered to be the Father of the Word-Faith Movement teachings. In one of Kenyon writings, he said, “it is wrong for us to have sickness and disease in our body when god laid those diseases on Jesus.”1

According to Faith-Word preachers believers suffer from sickness, is because they do not have enough faith, or to use Ato Hailu’s terminology, they must be “body oriented.” Let me give you few examples from the scripture that shows believers can be sick as long as they are in this body (oh I forgot, they (those who claim to be faith teachers) are “spirit beings” or “little gods”!), but look what the scripture says in James 5: 14; 2 Timo 4: 20; Phil. 2: 27; 1 Timo. 5: 23; etc.

Denying will not change facts. Sickness is not always an indication of little faith, lack of faith or sin. To hold that suffering in any of its forms is the result of lack of faith, or negative confession is contrary to the scripture and examples of many faithful believers who suffered greatly.

FACT AND REALITY according to The Word-Faith Movement teaching

To understand the meaning of fact and reality according to word-faith movement, it is good to listen to Ato Hailu’s answer to the question of “what is reality to you?” on the above video link. According to the faith movement doctrine, reality is what the person visualizes in his/her mind, which become into existence through positive confession. K. Hagin said, “if a believer wants to be successful over their circumstances they must confess, and confess positively. In doing so, faith’s confession creates a positive reality.”2 This must be some kind of magic or voodoo.

As his predecessors emphasized, matter has no life, hence it has no real existence.” The concept of what reality
is according to faith-movement is a direct replica of a second-century Gnostic idea. According to faith-movement, as well as dualistic view, the physical environment is not only inferior to the “spiritual” but has no reality by itself. The ancient Gnostics believed that man was spirit trapped in a physical body. This is what some of the modern day counterparts of Gnosticism says, “you are spirit but you live in a physical body”3 and Hagain also said, “the real man is the spirit. The spirit operates through the soul; the intellect, sensibilities, and will. And the soul operates through the body. The real you (your spirit) and your soul lives in a physical body.”4 But denying physical symptoms (including the physical realm) is very dangerous and deadly.5 And this is what leads this cult and its adherers to the other extreme and says the physical death of Christ on the cross cannot end out spiritual separation from God. Even Copland bluntly states ‘when Christ’s blood was poured out, it did not atone’. Jesus had to die spiritually and become sin. That is, He had to take on the nature of Satan. Benny Hinn says, “Jesus Christ knew the only way He would stop Satan is 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. Sin is the nature of hell. Sin is what made Satan . . . Jesus said, ‘I’ll be sin! I’ll go to the lowest place! I’ll go to the origin of it!’ . . . Think about this: He became death; so dying man can live. He became sin, so sinners can be righteous in Him. He became one with the nature of Satan, so all those who had the nature of Satan can partake of the nature of God.”6

Faith teachers claim scriptural support for Christ’s spiritual death in 2 Cor. 5:21, which reads “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Kenyon supports the physical and spiritual deaths of Christ by using Isa. 53:9 which states “He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death.” According to Kenyon, the Hebrew word for “death” here is plural, thus Jesus must have died more than one death. 1 Peter 3:18 is also used as support of this spiritual death doctrine.

Frederick K.C. Price writes: “Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on the cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God . . . . Satan and all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound and they threw a net over Jesus and they dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence”7 To support this doctrine Biblically, Kenneth Hagin uses Acts 13:13. The passage reads, “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm:’ You are My Son, Today I have begotten You‘” (KJV; emphasis mine). Of this passage Hagin writes, “God in Heaven said, ‘It is enough.’ Then he raised Him up. He brought His spirit and soul up out of hell-He raised His body up from the grave-and He said, ‘Thou are my son, THIS DAY have I begotten thee.’”8

So according to Hagin, Acts 13:33 proves that Jesus was not God’s son until after God raised Him from hell. Hagin also uses Acts 2:27 to support his claim about Jesus entering hell. This passage is a quote from Ps. 16:10 and reads “For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption”. This allegedly, is evidence that Jesus’ soul must have been in hell at some point and that God promised to not leave Him there. So, according to Ato Hailu and his delusive faith-teachers our salvation was not won on the cross, but in hell. It was in hell that Christ was tortured for our transgression by Satan and his horde of demons. In fact, way before the so-called faith-movement cult, the theory that Christ was a ransom paid to the Devil was taught as early as A.D. 230 by Origen and more emphatically by Gregory of Nyssa A.D. 370. This doctrine however was always met with the strongest opposition and denial by theologians such as Athanasius A.D. 370; and Gregory of Nazianzum A.D. 390. Never did it become the official and accepted view of the Church.

Now let’s look what the scripture says about this distorted teaching:

  • The apostle Paul said, “God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Gal. 6:14). He did not talk or preach about the mythical spiritual death of Christ, nor did he
    ever speak of a glorious redemption that has been completed in hell.
  • In response to 1 Peter 3:18 being used to prove that Christ died spiritually, the text says absolutely nothing about a spiritual death. In fact it clearly says, “Put to death in the body,” indicating that Jesus’ sacrifice was physical.
  • I think it is very important to see also Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In the second chapter he says, “…Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore also God highly exalted Him . . .” Philippians 2: 5-9. According to this text, Paul did not
    mentioned of Jesus suffering spiritual death or experiencing a change in nature.
  • Concerning 2 Corinthians 5:21, the word “sin” is used as an abstract noun. What actually happened was he become “likeness” or “taking the rap” for us and bore the sins of all mankind on the cross (Isaiah 53: 12, Romans 8:3). However, he did not become defiled with mankind’s sinfulness. If that is the case, then Jesus himself was in need of a savior from his sinfulness! His words, “it is finished” does not mean he had to stay three days and nights in hell before he went to the throne as K. Copeland and his clones thinks. As the words clearly shows, the word “it is finished” “tetelistai” in Greek means “ fulfilled”, “completed” or “paid in full” it doesn’t mean “it has just begun”. And look what Jesus said in Luke 23: 46 “Father, into your hands I commit My Spirit.” As this text clearly shows, there is no indication that Jesus submitted his spirit to Satan in hell. Paul or none of the apostles taught the “redemption work” that Christ achieved in hell. The meaning of the expression “made to be sin for us” is inconsistent, not only with the testimony which the Scriptures elsewhere bear to His immaculate holiness, but with the express statement in the adjoining clause, that “He knew no sin.”9
  • The other interesting passage for these false-teachers is Galatians 3: 13 in which Paul says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is
    everyone who hangs on a tree . . .” I believe this verse should be looked parallel to 2 Cor 5: 21. The main point of Galatians is justification by faith – the blessing of Abraham is justification by faith (salvation). Paul did not say anything about healing or wealth for believers. In the context of what Paul was saying, the blessing that comes with the lifting of the curse is the gift of the Holy Spirit (Look at v.14) and for Abraham; the blessing is not riches or health but righteousness (Read v.6). Concerning sickness and disease and where they come from I encourage you to read the following texts and make your own judgment (Deu.28: vv.20-22, 24-25, 7-28, 5-36, 9-61, 4-65, 68; cf.v.63; Num.12: 10 and 2 Cor.12: 7). As you can clearly see on the video, Hailu was in a state of vivid denial as his predecessors whom he chose to call “my spiritual fathers” who specialize in a metaphysical healing and mesmerism. These people are clearly believed that sin, sickness, and disease exist only in the mind.10  P. P. Quimby, for example said, “If I believe I am sick, I am sick, for my feelings are my sickness, and my sickness is my belief, and my belief is in my mind. Therefore all disease is in my mind or belief.”11 Unless the person is suffering from “denial awareness” this type of denial is not only unscriptural but also very dangerous. I think it is good to remember what Hagin claims at one point. Hagin claims that if he had a headache, he would not tell anyone; and if someone should ask him how he was feeling he would reply, “I’m fine thank you.”12 To deny such kinds of symptoms is not only dangerous but it is hypocrisy. Paul, who did so many healings was open about his and his closest friends sickness, Gal. 4:13-15; 2 Cor. 12:7- 9; 1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20; Phil. 3:25-27).

The faith of God concept according to the Faith-Movement theology

Though there are various views of faith held by faith-movement teachers, as Ato Hailu said they talk about faith tirelessly not because it is essential to understand the spiritual truth but for many of this cult leader and their deluded followers faith works like a mighty force. It is like a “magic maker.” With enough faith, one can get almost anything they want—health, wealth, and success, just name it and claim it in the name of “faith” and it will be yours.13 Here is what Copeland said, “Faith is a force. It is a tangible force. It is a conducive force.”14
This is what he meant when Ato Hailu said, “ I am a faith teacher” during his interview at the show. He clearly categorized himself and revealed his belief-system with endless legions of Faith clergies who are the direct descendents of the first century version of Gnosticism with a practice metaphysical philosophy and mixture of eastern religions. Copeland affirms “God cannot do anything for you apart or separate from faith,”15 for “faith is God’s source of power.”16 Moreover, “everything that you’re able to see or touch, anything that you can feel, anything that’s perceptive to the five physical senses, was originally the faith of God, and was born in the
substance of God’s faith.”17

First of all, the concept of faith as a creative force is metaphysical. There is no question about that. They are considering faith to be an impersonal force that can be exerted by unbelievers as well as believers and the very core idea behind is that human beings have the power to create anything out of nothing, which only God can do or which only attributed to God. I hope you can see what they are saying here too. Now the text they are based on is Hebrew 11: 1 which says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The faith teachers hold a position that revealed not only their cultic standpoint but also treat God like an impersonal “force” that can be operated by the use of laws – laws which even he himself has to obey in order to create and operate in His own universe. They say, When Jesus said in Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God,” the literal connotation of the expression is: “Have the faith of God.” or “Have the God-kind of faith; the supernatural faith that God applies. This implies that you can apply the same principles as God did throughout the scriptures and be guaranteed the same results. Listen to what K. Copeland said, “faith is God’s source of power…God used words when He created the heaven and the earth…Each time God spoke, He released His faith—the creative power to bring His words to pass.”18 Now ask yourself these questions, Why God needs faith in order to create or operate? Isn’t He God after all? If God needed faith to create the world, whom did He place this faith in? Or what did He place His faith on? Logically you place your faith on something greater, outside yourself. Faith according to the scripture defined as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Does God “hope”? Or does He declare and it comes to pass? Is there anything God does not see? That He has to envision them somehow happening in the future? Or did He in fact create all things? And knows the past, present and future? And even works all things together to bring about His will and purpose? Isn’t God by definition all knowing, all-powerful and all present? Insinuating that He has ever had the need to have faith is to
suggest that He is deficient and lacking in absolute authority to carry out any action at any time as He wishes  – that He depended on faith (in who or what is another question) to accomplish His purpose? In order to show how the claims of this cult are wrong philosophically as well as exegetically it is good how translations render Hebrew 11: 1. For example, the Amplified Bible says: NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the
title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality—faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. Neither the original Greek text nor any of the modern translations support Ato Hailu’s or his predecessors’ understanding of faith. Faith, the Greek word, Pistis means persuasion or conviction and Substance (Gr. Hupostasis) is a compound of two Greek words hupo and histemi; which means what is placed under, foundation or support), i.e. faith is what we “stand upon”
(Gr. stasis). It is a foundation for something to stand on; our foundation of faith is God himself and His Word/ his promises. Faith is always object oriented: Faith in God not faith of God. Faith is not a force that allows us to
get whatever that we want. It is not something that we generate every time we want to satisfy our desire. Yes, as the New Testament explicitly says, it is impossible to please God without faith. In fact, faith is a fundamental tool to accomplish what Jesus called us to do. But on the other hand, improper understanding of faith which is among the faith-movement teaching which says faith is a metaphysical force of the mind, i.e if we could channel my thought in a positive way or mind-frame then something magical is going to happen. This absurd. Faith is not magical. It is trusting God, it is being sure, or confident of God and His promises. The problem with most of the faith and confession taught today is that it teaches to have faith in faith and faith in confession, rather than faith in God. It is not against the teaching of the apostles but it is a blasphemous to use faith as a force in
which a person can summon up a power within to achieve wealth, health, and personal success. Faith is neither blind optimism nor believing in opposition to factual evidence or reason as Ato Hailu and his faith-movement teachers preaches. Faith is nothing but the confidence and assurance that we have in the person of God. Faith does not force us to believe something irrational; rather it allows us to hold true to what is true. Faith is
our response to God, but it is not just an intellectual response to a set of truths. Faith is not denying reality but it is discovering reality. It is affirming the truth of a situation but entrusting oneself to God. Denying reality called ignorance. For biblical Christians – reality matter. The problem with faith-movement teachers is on one hand they intellectualize faith but on the other hand they are in a total denial of reality.

As anyone can imagine, the teachings of the faith-movement looks very attractive and convincing but theologically and even logically a mess and it’s the doctrine of demons. Faith is not denying reality. Of course,
faith surpasses reason, knowledge or doubt but it is not unreasonable. Faith is not a way of manipulating God and the universe. Read what Frederick K.C. Price said once, “Now this is a shocker! But God has to be given
permission to work in this earth realm on behalf of man. Yes! You are in control! So if man has control, who no
longer has it? God…. When God gave Adam dominion that meant God no longer had dominion. So, God cannot do anything on this earth unless we let Him or give Him permission through prayer.”19

Now it is very clear that when they say faith is everything and it is a force, there is not much room that is left for God to be a sovereign God because defiantly he is bound by spiritual regulations and faith principles and it is most definitely up to us to control, manipulate and force God to act. The concept that we can manipulate God to give us the ‘good things’ of life originates in concepts, which are occultism. All the examples, which we have considered, the heroes of faith within the Old and New Testament did not use ‘positive confession’ rather; they recognized God as supremely sovereign and all-powerful and held absolutely no demanding words and
actions of human beings placing God in a position in which He is required to act to conform to any of their wishes whatsoever. Read for example 2 Corinthians 12: 7- 10. As these delusional teachers thinks and teaches God is not obligated by our words whatsoever. He is God we are his people. He is the creator, the Lord, the almighty, etc we are NOT!

Now the question is if faith is a law and God is made of faith, what does this make God?

“Now you are gods!” – the doctrine of man according to the faith movement

Man, according to the faith movement doctrine is a physical manifestation of God. As one of the leaders of this metaphysical cult mentioned at one point, “Adam was created in God’s own image and likeness, a spirit-being…[and] takes on the nature of his spiritual father or lord.”20 Copeland also said, “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.”21

Now think about that for a moment. First they will tell you that your word has a capacity to create anything that you want, contains a God kind of power to bring something into reality—Just like God himself, and next they say, the how. Because you are god yourself! Or as Copeland says, “Well, now, you don’t have a human, do
you? No, you are one. You don’t have a God in you. You are one.”
22 “I am a little God! Said Paul Crouch, Critics, be gone!”23 Now this is what Creflo Dollar said, “And if God produces man and everything produces after its own kind…if horses get together they produce what? If dogs get together they produce what? If cats get together they produce what? But if the Godhead gets together and says, ‘let us make man’ then what are they producing? They are producing gods … You are gods because you came from God and you are gods, you are not just human…”24

Let’s look at the scripture they used to support this crazy idea:

  1. Then God said, “let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” so God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen. 1: 26-27)
  2. Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’”? (John 10: 34) The words quoted by Jesus in John 10:34 are from Psalm 82:6.  The pertinent section reads as follows: I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes.”
  3. …By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2Peter 1:4)

I don’t think the crazy claims of this cult surprised anyone who is a true believer of Jesus Christ. This is clearly what is going to happen to anyone who is very obsessed with power, force and fascinated with insane ideas of authority and dominion. The desire to become like God was in the devil’s mind before he thrown out of the presence of God, Lucifer said: “I will be like the Most High…”(Isaiah 14:12-14). Satan’s primary goal is not creating doubt and fear in the heart and mind of people, but to convince them his very own idea of to be like God. This is not the New Age idea. This is not the faith-movement teaching. This was the idea of the devil himself. This false teachers are not better or different from their master himself. Read what the devil said to Adam and Eve, do you see any difference? He told them (Adam and Eve) “… your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:3-5. Here is the deceiving part. The devil promised Adam and Eve that when  you eat the fruit, you will have the ability to differentiate the good and evil, his modern day followers promised you prosperity, good health and financial prosperity. This is not a new trick my friends. It has been in the garden long before everything turned into a mess. My friends, when you turned against God you are not going to be god, you totally separated from God. Read what Kenneth Hagin has said, “man…was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority…. He made us the same class of being that He is Himself…. He lived on terms equal with God…. The believer is called Christ, that’s who we are; we’re Christ.”25 Morris Cerillo also said “the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself. …you’re not looking at Morris Cerillo, you’re looking at God, you’re looking at Jesus.”26 

Now let’s say what the scripture says about man, you and me:

1. Genesis 1: 26:  Having the “image” or “likeness” of God sets man apart from the rest of God’s creation. Man was not created in the likeness of any creature that created before him, but in the likeness of his creator, “yet still between God and man there is an infinite distance”. The Hebrew word for “likeness” (_demuth_) simply means similarity or resemblance, not identity. God is a Spirit (John 4: 24), infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Adam was created in the image and likeness of God shows, he was God’s absolute, unique, paramount creation that reflect the spiritual being of God but doesn’t mean an exact duplicate with the same essence and attributes. (Read Isaiah 43: 10 “Before me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after me.” And Jeremiah 10: 6-10 “No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.” Unlike the faith-preachers, the true messengers of God Paul and Barnabas rejected the claims of the Lycaonians in Acts 14: 11-15 completely by saying “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these
worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.” The Latin Vulgate renders it, “We are mortal like yourselves.” God creates human beings in his image means they share in a finite and imperfect way, God’s attributes such as rationality and morality. Within this attributes humans can have the capacity to enjoy the fellowship and relationship with God, each other and carry out their assignment to take care of his creation. However, they never had and never will his infinite attributes fully, they remain solely his forever. Amen!

I think every believer understand that each man and woman created with three distinct components (Read Genesis 1: 26-27) “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians 5:23. This shows us that we are created with both material and immaterial parts. The material is clearly visible and tangible which is your body and can exist as long as you live as a person. The immaterial part of a person, which is invisible, is your soul and spirit. When you look at the literal Greek the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5: 23 reads that “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and your whole [being]; the spirit and the soul and the body be
kept blameless in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is very, very important here to look how Paul describes our distinctive nature yet he described man as one being. The whole person is composed of three distinctive parts yet he/she is one, “the spirit and the soul and the body.” Each part is preceded by the definite article, and each part is also connected by the conjunction and (in Greek, kai). The Bible Answer Man’s
contention that the Greek word kai can in this case be translated “even” is fallacious, for this would make all the parts equal to each other.  According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23, a person is wholly sanctified by the spirit and the
soul and the body being kept. From this it can be seen that the whole person comprises these three parts nothing less nothing more. The human spirit can be said to have three main functions. These three functions are conscience (Rom. 9:1; 8:16), intuition (Mark 2:8), and communion (John 4:24). The soul is the seat of the human personality. The ingredients, which make us human beings, belong to the soul. The intellect, thought, ideals, love, emotion, understanding, decision, choice, and other like qualities are all associated with the soul. The three main functions of the soul are the will (Job 7:15), the mind (Lam. 3:20, RSV), and the emotion (2 Sam. 5:8; Deut. 6:5). From the beginning as Genesis 2:7 tells us that in Adam, his spirit, soul and body were perfectly blended together—his soul being the unifying factor. In other words, his soul was not only in communication with his body, it was also in perfect communication with his spirit. There is no indication that he was created as “god” but until he sinned against God his “spirit” was the dominant force over man’s soul and, thus, his body. He was body, soul and spirit. Taking the biblical text like Genesis 1: 26 to such an extreme is always dangerous. Yes, the human body is an incredible wonder! Man is neither a spirit being nor merely a physical being as well. Both are intricately intertwined to make us the person we are. God created with three characteristics or attributes (features) that are also found in God.

One: God gave man a mind (spirit), so that he could know God.

Two: God gave man a heart (emotions), so that he could love God.

Three: God gave man a will (freedom of choice), so that he could obey God.

Just as God is the possessor of a mind, and a heart, and a will, so God placed in the soul of man a mind, a heart, and a will. But, this doesn’t mean man has equal attributes with God in all wisdom, power and knowledge. Never! God doesn’t want man to be like the rest of his creation. But he created him in such unique way from the rest of his creation and gave him a spirit that has the possibility of enjoying a meaningful relationship and lives in harmony. God never had a plan to create other “gods” in his universe. Read what Isaiah 43: 10 says, “‘you are my witnesses,’ says the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me’”.

  1. “There is no one like Yahweh our God.” Exodus 8:10
  2. “I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man.”—Hosea 11:9.
  3. “Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
  4. 2 Samuel 7:22: “How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.”
  5. Isaiah 44:24: “This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.”: “This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.”
  6. Jude 25: “To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

I can keep on going with the list but as the scripture clearly shows us:

  • God is immutable in His essence: There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6) is His own unqualified affirmation.
  • God is immutable in His attributes: Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so forever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Semper idem (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied. The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is “forever settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). His love is eternal: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3) and “Having loved His own which were in the world,
    He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is “everlasting” (Ps. 100:5).
  • God is immutable in His counsel: His will never varies. When speaking of Himself. God frequently accommodates His language to our limited capacities. He describes Himself as clothed with bodily members, as eyes, ears, hands, etc. He speaks of Himself as “waking” (Ps. 78:65), as “rising early” (Jer. 7:13); yet He neither slumbers nor sleeps. When He institutes a change in His dealings with men, He describes His course of conduct as “repenting.”

God is not man and man was not and cannot be God or god in any form or shapes. By nature we are nothing, as we came from nothing. As a matter of fact we are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw (Ps. 66:9). The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him, read Acts 17: 28 “in whom we live and move, and have our being”.  Actually, not only we are nothing without him, the truth is God doesn’t need us but we desperately need him and all spirituality should start from that point. The scripture clearly teaches us that all our desire to be like him or be in control over everything is coming from our fallen nature, our phony independence, and our obsessive need to be in control. But the fact is we aren’t in control of a single thing in this massive universe and we weren’t ever in control, not even when we thought we were.

In order to show how far this heretic teaching goes let me give you an example from Copeland’s teaching. He said, “God is not God as someone very much like you and me…. A being that stands somewhere around 6′ 2,” 6′ 3,” that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds, little better, [and] has a [hand] span nine inches across” as Copeland said.27 The Bible never intended to convey the notion that God has physical features like His human creation. Anthropomorphic descriptions were simply meant to help us understand and relate to our Maker. Jesus declared, “God is spirit” (John 4:24), not a spirit being with a body (cf. Deut. 4:12). The Creator is, after all, “God, and not man” (Hos. 11:9). Man is unique from the rest of Creation, but is not divine. He was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27; 9:6), but bearing God’s image does not make him a “little god.” Actually any worth we have to God is worth that he gives to us. Any value we think is because he values us, not because of anything in us. Anything contrary to this truth is from the devil himself.

  1. Ps. 82:6-8:  ‘I said, ‘you are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ The biblical application of this verse was addressed to the judges of Israel they were called gods not because they were divine but because they represented the true and only God when they judged the people. The word for God that is used here is elohim, which can mean rulers, (not Yahweh elohim used only for the one God). The word for Judges is found in Ex.21:22; 22:8-9 it is ha elohim (other scriptures of how the acted Deut.1:16;16:18; 25:1; 2 Sam.11:7). The judges in Psalm 82 do not “make themselves” gods, but rather God gives the divine title to them, on the basis of their commission. Ye are gods (theoi este). Another direct quotation after eipa but without hoti. The judges of Israel abused their office and God is represented in Ps 82:6 as calling them “gods” (theoi, elohim) because they were God’s representatives. See the same use of elohim in Ex 21:6; Ex 22:9, Ex 22:28. Jesus meets the rabbis on their own ground in a thoroughly Jewish way.
  1. 2 Peter 1:4: I want you to understand here that Peter was addressing the concept of “becoming partakers of the ‘divine nature’ ” with such a Platonic language to his formerly pagan Hellenistic readers but in a new Christian way. In a Hellenistic view, human spirits were part of the divine but in the amidst of the material matrix of life these spirits have lost consciousness of their divinity and the whole purpose of their soul search through their religion and philosophy was to recover that consciousness of being one with God. Ok, having this in the back of your mind, when you see 2 Peter 1:4 Peter’s statement, it indicates that his former Hellenistic listeners neither possessed nor participated in the divinity in a mythical preexistent state of being one with God which of course was also among the New Apostolic Reformation and Latter Rain movements, and today’s New Age/New Spiritualists. Note that Peter did not say that we have the divine nature, he said we participate in the divine nature, from which we should infer that we experience some of God’s qualities but not all of them now. But Christ’s dwelling in believers is spiritual, it is not substantial. It is a union and communion accomplished by the Holy Spirit Who sovereignty incorporates God’s presence, not essence, in each of us. Regardless of the some “christian sect’s” teaching of Theosis, also called apotheosis, divinization, and deification, in the Greek the phrase which says “become sharers in the divine nature” (genesthe theias koinonoi phuseos) we can clearly see two important points. Frist, we do not take or receive, we get a “share” of the divine nature and secondly, Peter’s focus is on our “future ability to not sin”.  In other words, the trait we will receive through the “great and precious promises” is the divine quality of not having to fall to these desires but not a promise that change our nature as human beings (creation) and make us divine (creator). Taking this text out of the context and say, we are gods is typically wrong and repeating the teaching of deification in the history of Christendom like Irenaeus and Athanasius who said, “God became man in order that man might become god.” The scripture says we are partakers of the divine nature. But we are not God. We will never be. There is only one God and there is none like him.

Deception in the Church — Final thoughts

The so-called The Word-Faith movement is a combination of spirituality, superstition, eastern mysticism, philosophy and psychology. Once the devil himself was the source of this heretical frame of mind, and now the faith-movement. Their teaching and cultic practices basically appeals to man’s ego for power, authority and
divinity which was promised to Eve and Adam by the devil himself in the Garden of Eden. There are many reasons why the faith teachers reject the basic teaching of biblical Christianity, but their main reason is to spread the original lie of the devil, which was “you shall be like God.” These people use different mechanisms, like social-net works, books, TV, Radio, and various types of communication channels to spread this lie, which was with the devil before and now in the name Christianity, using Christian terminologies, and Christian evangelistic methods. Their cultic teaching and twisted doctrine is spreading like a cancer in a Christian churches through out the world. The danger of this dangerous false teaching affect not only the people who control the pulpits but “ordinary” members too. And I am very much concerned about the Ethiopian Evangelical Churches and Christians who are influenced by this heretic teaching and practices here in North America and all over the world. I tried to mention just a few of their twisted teachings that exalt man to a God status and reduce God to man’s status. I believe understanding the doctrine of faith-movement is very important because it spread in different ways into the mind and belief of many innocent Christians. Their messages are very attractive because they love to talk about health, wealth, and positive confession using psychologically proven but theologically wrong mechanisms to manipulate innocent believers. They used clear scripture passages and twisted them to establish their cultic philosophy. It is a system of thinking that is alien to the biblical or apostolic teaching. It is a new system of scheme that manipulate people and leads into an endless treadmill of spiritual blindness to the extent of glorifying man as little god. I believe, it is each and every Christian’s responsibility to expose the error of this cult by any means necessary because the terrible effect of this hearsay which can have an eternal effect.

Eyob B Kassa

April 22, 2011

ENDNOTE

1. E. W. Kenyon, “Jesus The Healer”, Page 44. D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, Page 149

2. K.E. Hagin, How to Turn Your Faith Loose (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1979),23.

3. F. K. C. Price, High Finance, p. 55.

4. K. E. Hagin, Redeemed From Poverty, Sickness, and Death (Rhema Bible Church, AKA Kennneth Hagin Ministries Inc., 1983) p. 25

5. Robert Jackson, Prosperity theology and the faith movement, p. 20

6. Benny Hinn, “Benny Hinn” program on TBN (15 December 1990); quoted in Hanegraaff, 155-6.

7. Frederick K.C. Price, Ever Increasing Faith Messenger (June 1980); quoted in Hanegraaff, 163.

8. Kenneth E Hagin, The Name of Jesus (Tulsa: RHEMA Bible Church, 1979), 33

9. Crawford, Thomas J.  The Doctrine of Holy Scripture Respecting the Atonement.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1954

10. Todd Ehrenborg, Mind Sciences (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), p. 8

11. Phineas Quimby, The Quimby Manuscripts, ed. By Haratio W. Dresser (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1961 [orig. 1859]), 186 as cited in Christianity in Crisis, Hank Hanegraaff (Eugene, OR: Harvest House
Publishers, 1993), p. 247

12. K.E. Hagin, “Words” (Tulsa: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1979), 10.

13. Immutable Word Ministries (“…the word of our God stands forever.”) 2010. www. faith-defenders.com/…/a-primer-on-the-word-of-faithpositive-confession- movement

14. Copeland, The Force of Faith, p.113)

15. Kenneth Copeland, Freedom from Fear (Fort Worth: KCP Publications, 1983), 11.

16. Ibid., 12.

17. Kenneth Copeland, Spirit, Soul and Body I (Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1985, audiotape #01-0601), side 1.

18. K. Copeland, “Freedom From Fear”, Pages 11-12; “The Power of The Tongue”, P. 4

19. Prayer: Do You Know What Prayer Is. … and How to Pray? The Word Study Bible, p. 1178

20. Kenneth Copeland, Our Covenant with God (Fort Worth: KCP Publications, 1987), 7-8.

21. Kenneth Copeland, Authority of the Believer IV (Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987, audiotape #01-0304), side 1.

22. The Force of Love, cassette tape

23. Paul Crouch, Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, July 7, 1986

24. Creflo Dollar, “Made After His Kind”, September 15, 2002

25. K. Hagin, Zoe: The God Kind of Life, pp. 35-36, 41

26. Morris Cerillo, The End Time Manifestation of the Sons of God, Audio Tape 1, Sides 1 &;2

27. Copeland, Spirit, Soul and Body I, side 1.