Friday, April 13, 2012

Kenneth Copeland: Visiting the Facebook Pages of Prosperity Preachers, part 4

Quotes from John Piper, J.C. Ryle, and The Valley of Vision. These are what I usually see in my news feed. The insights they offer are truly edifying; truly soul-nourishing.

I wonder what if the Lord has not enlightened me on the evils of the Word-of-Faith Movement? What if I was left in darkness listening and reading these dangerous teachers? What would appear on my news feed if the Lord has not kept me away from their clutches?

On March 30, 2012, I decided to visit the Facebook Walls/Timelines of some of the big names in the movement.Their Facebook posts appears in red in this series.


"The force of faith that comes from the Word in your heart brings life and health to your flesh."

In the Historic Protestant view,, biblical faith has three essential elements: Notitia, Assensus and Fiducia. This is how R. C. Sproul's Ligonier Ministries define each  element:
Notitia. Notitia refers to the content of faith, or those things that we believe. We place our faith in something, or more appropriately, someone. In order to believe, we must know something about that someone, who is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Assensus. Assensus is our conviction that the content of our faith is true. You can know about the Christian faith and yet believe that it is not true. Genuine faith says that the content — the notitia taught by Holy Scripture — is true.

Fiducia. Fiducia refers to personal trust and reliance. Knowing and believing the content of the Christian faith is not enough, for even demons can do that (James 2:19). Faith is only effectual if, knowing about and assenting to the claims of Jesus, one personally trusts in Him alone for salvation.
Kenneth Copeland radically redefined faith and so distanced himself not just from the Reformers but the entire evangelical community. Copeland says, "Faith is a power force. It is a tangible force." According to Copeland's Facebook post, this force brings life and health to the body. And the way to release this force so you can benefit from it is by the words you say because "Words are spiritual containers" and "force of faith is released by words."

Copeland's god is not omnipotent because he himself is dependent on this force. Copeland explains "God cannot do anything for you apart or separate from faith... faith is God's source of power." He says that the proper translation of  Mark 11:22 is "Have the faith OF God". Furthermore, he teaches that God created the world by HIS own faith and uses Hebrews 11:3 as a (twisted) proof text.

In Evangelism Explosion's "The Chair Illustration", the goal is to show the prospect how to transfer trust from personal good works to trust in Jesus Christ and to what he did on the cross. This is done by leaving one's chair and transferring to another chair.

Faith then has an object, and the object of faith must be  God himself. The question then is, in Copeland's view, who is the object of faith? It cannot be God because he himself is dependent on this faith. The answer: the object of faith in Copeland's system is faith itself. It is faith in faith. This is the chair upon which Copeland sits on: an impersonal force.

Benny Hinn: Visiting the Facebook Pages of Prosperity Preachers, part 3

Quotes from John Piper, J.C. Ryle, and The Valley of Vision. These are what I usually see in my Facebook news feed. The insights they offer are truly edifying; truly soul-nourishing.

I wonder what if the Lord has not enlightened me on the evils of the Word-of-Faith Movement? What if I was left in darkness listening and reading these dangerous teachers? What would appear on my news feed if the Lord has not kept me away from their clutches?

On March 30, 2012, I decided to visit the Facebook Walls/Timelines of some of the big names in the movement.Their Facebook posts appears in red in this series.


If you desire to explore the depth of God's word using the same bible that Pastor Benny Hinn studies with, visit http://tiny.cc/QPYe2b This Is our Day-The Dake Bible or call 800-433-1900 to order your copy of the Dake's Annotated Reference #Bible. #TIYD

When I posted part 1 of this series, I thought Benny Hinn's prophetic utterance on each person of the Trinity as "a triune being by Himself" and that "there's nine of them" was original to him. Now I learned that it could have been due to the influence of his favorite study bible. The Dake Annotated Reference Bible teaches:
“What we mean by Divine Trinity is that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead, each one having His own personal spirit body, personal soul, and personal spirit in the sense that each human being, angel, or any other being has his own body, soul and spirit.”
You can see the influence of  Finis Jennings Dake in Hinn's view of God. Contrary to the biblical and historic Christian view that God as a spirit is without body or parts (Deuteronomy 4:15; John 4:24; Luke 24:39), Hinn believes that each person of the Trinity "possesses His own spirit-body." He made such assertion two years after he retracted his infamous "there's nine of them revelation". In Dake's writings, “God has a spirit body with bodily parts like man.” This God with bodily parts lives in "a material planet called Heaven" and the only reason why we can't see him is "because He is so far away". Think about that! The only reason why we can't see God is because the Hubble Space Telescope lacks power to reach God. If we could only make sufficient improvements in our technology, we can see God and Planet Heaven!

Dake could have had also influenced Hinn on his view of man. Hinn's teaching "When you say I am a Christian, you are saying ‘I am a messiah’ in Hebrew. I am a little messiah walking on earth" is not so far away from Dake's "humans are miniatures of God in attributes and power".


This work contains a great deal that is speculative and unorthodox, such as Dake’s belief in God’s "spirit body" with "bodily parts" that "goes from place to place" (pp. 96-97 [NT]), his strong teaching on racial segregation (e.g., pp. 148 [OT] and 159 [NT]), and his dogmatism on just about every subject he addresses. The Dake’s study Bible cannot be recommended to journal readers, charismatic or not. 
 There are excellent study bibles in the market like The Macarthur Study Bible and the ESV Study Bible. Don't waste your money on Dake's.

Creflo Dollar: Visiting the Facebook Pages of Prosperity Preachers, part 2

Quotes from John Piper, J.C. Ryle, and The Valley of Vision. These are what I usually see in my Facebook news feed. The insights they offer are truly edifying; truly soul-nourishing.

I wonder what if the Lord has not enlightened me on the evils of the Word-of-Faith Movement? What if I was left in darkness listening and reading these dangerous teachers? What would appear on my news feed if the Lord has not kept me away from their clutches? 

On March 30, 2012, I decided to visit the Facebook Walls/Timelines of some of the big names in the movement.
Their Facebook posts appears in red in this series.

"Today’s faith confession- ”Father, I believe and receive my right to be healed, whole, and prosperous in my body, spirit and soul according to 3 John 1:2.” After you have confessed, believed and received, click “like” and leave a comment below letting us know that you have come into agreement with today’s faith confession."

The originator of the use of 3 John 2 as a proof text for prosperity teaching is the late Oral Roberts (1918-2009). Through this verse, Oral and his wife Evelyn discovered that God's "highest wish" for believers is "to prosper". And because of this discovery, God gave the couple a brand-new car-- a Buick to be specific.

But as top-notch Pentecostal exegete Gordon Fee has pointed out, 3 John 2 is "the standard form of greeting in a personal letter of antiquity". Fee says further. "to extend John's wish for Gaius to refer to financial and material prosperity for all Christians of all times is totally foreign to the text. John neither intended that, nor could Gaius so understood. Thus, it cannot be the 'plain meaning' of the text" (The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels)

Notice also that in Creflo Dollar's Facebook post, he presents health and prosperity as a right, something you must  claim or else, you submit yourself to injustice.
This right must be claimed by faith confession. Therefore it follows that when a Christian suffers, it's because he failed in the area of exercising faith through confession. I engaged a fan of Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis and Jerry Savelle in a Facebook thread and this is what he said:
"John 10:10 – Jesus said the thief comes but to steal, kill and destroy but I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.. now tell me sino pumapatay? If a believer is sick, poor, broke, dies, sins… it isnt because of God did it,No, it is because of we did and decide for it.." (~SGBB)
There you have it. In this evil belief system...

  • Joni Eareckson Tada should never be counted as a hero in the faith.
  • Jim Elliot should never be regarded as a model missionary.
  • The Foxe's Book of Martyrs should be retitled as Foxe's Book of Faith Weaklings

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jesse Duplantis: Visiting the Facebook Pages of Prosperity Preachers, part 1

Quotes from John Piper, J.C. Ryle, and The Valley of Vision. These are what I usually see in my Facebook news feed. The insights they offer are truly edifying; truly soul-nourishing.

I wonder what if the Lord has not enlightened me on the evils of the Word-of-Faith Movement? What if I was left in darkness listening and reading these dangerous teachers? What would appear on my news feed if the Lord has not kept me away from their clutches? 

On March 30, 2012, I decided to visit the Facebook Walls/Timelines of some of the big names in the movement.
Their Facebook posts appears in red in this series.

 "Get out of theology! Get out of religion! Start walking in the light of the glory of God."

A person's belief system regarding the nature of God and religious questions is that persons theology. Any God-related statement therefore is a theological statement. Duplantis' Facebook post is a theological statement because in it he expresses his view about God and spiritual things. It is therefore self-contradictory for him to say "Get out of theology..." when he himself is into theology.

Notice also that he views "theology" and "walking in the light of the glory of God" as mutually exclusive as if you cannot walk in the glory of God and be into theology at the same time. Duplantis' aversion to theology is not new. His contemporaries have expressed the same hatred for historic Christian theology.

Kenneth Copeland once said, "I don't preach doctrine, I preach faith."

Also, though Benny Hinn quickly retracted his "Spirit-revealed" teaching that each person of the Trinity is "a triune being by Himself" and that "there's nine of them", his justification for such never-been-heard-before teaching that day was:

"You say, Huh, I never heard that. Well you think you're in this church to hear things you've heard for the last 50 years? You can't argue with the Word, can you? It's all in the Word."

See where a disrespect toward the historically established theology of the church can lead you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Resurrection: By Which Our Hope Stands or Falls

Photo Credit: http://www.kristinahansen.com/

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." (1 Corinthians 15:12-19  NIV)

A Long-lasting Lie (50s-60s A.D.)
The soldiers trembled in fear. They were assigned to guard the tomb of Jesus. There was a sudden earthquake so strong. An angel shining as lightning and clothed in a garment as white as snow went down from heaven. He rolled the large stone securing the tomb and sat on it. Jesus' body was missing!

Perhaps they were still trembling when they reported before the chief priests. They could be charged of negligence in fulfilling their duties. It might cost them their jobs, or worse, their very lives. Yet they were spared. Matthew reports:
When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, `His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Matthew 28:12-15)
A Long-lasting Lie (2nd Century A.D.)
Though the conversation was a work of fiction, Justyn Martyr's purpose in writing Dialogue with Trypho is to show the credibility of Christianity as a system of faith. Justin asserted that the Jews sent emissaries all over the world to "proclaim that a godless and lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galil├Žan deceiver, whom we crucified, but his disciples stole him by night from the tomb, where he was laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive men by asserting that he has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven."

A Long-lasting Lie (Year 2000)
Irene was and still is a dear friend-- one of the most brilliant girls I've ever met. One day, she was so elated over a book she's reading. Long before Facebook, friends shared good stuff with each other. She thought it was good stuff so she shared it with me. But from the very first page I knew, and perhaps she knew that I would not click on the "like button".

In the chapter dealing with the empty tomb, the concluding sentence was:
"Thus when Jews spread abroad the story that the disciples of Jesus had 'stolen' the body, they spoke the truth."
~ J. Spencer Kennard Jr.
Cited in The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed
By Charles Francis Potter

That was 12 years ago. I didn't know much way back then, but the passion was there, both for the honor of my Lord and the spiritual well-being of my friends. On graduation day, I handed over her a handwritten response to the book.

Satan's Other Lies and the Motivation Behind Them
The Stolen-Body "hypothesis" was just the first of the series of lies formulated to deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some of them are listed below:
  • the body was stolen
  • the witnesses went to the wrong tomb
  • he did not die, but merely fainted; Gained consciousness at the tomb
  • the Koran asserts that there was a switch that took place before the crucifixion. Somebody else got killed.
  • Mass hallucinations
  • James Cameron's documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus " (Discovery Channel, 2007)
It seems to me that on the subject of the resurrection, Satan is using all of his creativity in concocting lies. Why?

May I propose, that Satan, being a brilliant theologian knows this: The hope of believers stands or falls on the truthfulness of the resurrection.

The Resurrection has always been a part of Apostolic preaching. Less than two months after Jesus' death, the resurrection was an essential component in Peter's first sermon (Acts 2).

Paul, preached a tailor-made message for the pagan minds of Athens. It was significantly different both in style and content compared to his messages delivered in Jewish synagogues. Yet Jesus' death and resurrection wasn't left out. (Acts 17:18; 29-31)

The early hearers of the gospel then would have to choose between:
the widely accepted lie circulated by the Jews VS. the apostolic preaching of a man who has risen from the dead, and now demands that he should be received as Lord and Savior.

Most of us Filipinos were raised in a Roman Catholic culture. Some of you grew up in evangelical households. Year after year, your family and your neighbors celebrate the resurrection. In the place where I was raised, the public market is crowded on Black Saturdays in preparation for the next day. Folks who abstained from eating meat since Maundy Thursday must eat special meat dishes on Easter. It is hard to find a person in our town who doesn't intellectually assent to a crucified yet a living Jesus.

But none of that is present in the first century, whether its Jewish culture or Gentile culture. The thought of a crucified Messiah is a stumbling block for a Jew and a foolishness to a Gentile (1 Corinthians 1:23). Profess faith in the Christian message and be counted as a gullible person.

Paul was a scholar thoroughly trained in the law under the tutelage of the eminent Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He was advancing in this career way beyond his contemporaries (Galatians 1:14); he could have been the next Gamaliel. Yet when he professed faith in Christ, he lost his academic reputation. At one point, a high-ranking government official shouted "Your great learning is driving you insane." It's all because of his testimony about a crucified and risen Lord (Acts 26:23-24)

Lord, Liar or Lunatic?
As hard as it was to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, it was never compromised by the Apostles. It has always been regarded as an essential tenet of the Christian faith-- something you must believe in order to be a Christian. And it is something you must continue believing unless you believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1)

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul makes a a case for the fact of the resurrection. His pieces of evidence could be classified in two categories:

1. The Testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures( see also Luke 24:25-27)
2. The Testimony of More Than 500 Eyewitnesses

But the real difficulty in the minds of some of the Corinthian Christians is accepting the truth of believers' bodily resurrection. It could have been due to the influence of ancient dualism where spiritual things are viewed as good and material things are viewed as bad. Or it could have been due to the influence of the Sadducees (Luke 20:27).

Paul responds in verses 12-19. He tells them that their disbelief in a future bodily resurrection of believers is inconsistent with their belief in Christ's resurrection; the resurrection of Christ and believers stand or fall together. You cannot take one and reject the other. If they have to reject one, they must reject both; and if they have to accept one, they must accept both. Why? Because in Paul's theology, Christ's work reversed the effects of Adam's failure. As Adam, the first representative of humanity fell and brought physical and spiritual death to all related to him, so Christ's victory brings physical and spiritual life to all who are related to him (1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Romans 5:12,18-19). His resurrection was not for him alone; it was the first-fruits assuring us that more resurrected bodies are coming (1 Corinthians 15:20).

If they must reject the bodily resurrection of believers, they must also reject a risen Christ. And if Christ is not raised, both the preaching of the message and the believing in the message are worthless. The Apostles are liars, and there is no salvation from sin (Romans 4:25-25).

Christ's death without the resurrection puts him on equal footing with Theudas and Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:35-37)-- he claimed to be somebody when he was a nobody.

Jesus death without the resurrection, doesn't make him LORD. When you gather followers around you and falsely claim that you have power over death (John 2:19; 10:17-18), that makes you a LIAR. And if you are sincere in your claims with no intention to deceive, that makes you a LUNATIC.

If we have believed in a Liar or a Lunatic, we are the most miserable of all men. The martyrdom of Stephen was worthless (Acts 7). The early death of the Apostle James was foolishness (Acts 12:2). Paul suffered for nothing (2 Corinthians 11:22-28). The early Christians gladly suffered from the confiscation of their properties for their faith in a worthless savior (Hebrews 10:34). What about those who were crucified upside down, burned as human torches, and those who were fed to the lions? If Christ is not raised, Foxe's Book of Martyrs must be retitled as Foxe's Book of Fools!

Praise God Our Hope Stands!
But Praise be to God we are waiting for the return of:
A dead LIAR
A dead LUNATIC
A LIVING LORD!

And when he returns, he will “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Phil 3:21)-- free from the effects of sin. Free from poverty, misery, pain, sickness and death.