by Mike Ratliff
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)
I used to work at a Computer Store back in the mid 1980’s. I became a Christian just six months or so before I went to work there. One of my coworkers was a fellow who claimed to be a bi-vocational preacher. He was one of the most difficult people I have ever had to work with, but that is not the reason I am using this example for this article. He was also deeply into the Word-Faith movement.
I had two small children at that time and the youngest was constantly passing his infectious microbes to me. Therefore, it seemed as if I was also constantly fighting off colds and such. One day I was sitting at my desk trying to stop sneezing and coughing when my Word-Faith co-worker showed up. He said, “Hi, what’s going on?” I told him what was going on then lightheartedly mentioned that I was fighting a cold. What he said next really surprised me. He said, “You are sick because that is what you claimed.” I must have looked perplexed because he then said, “You are sick because you made a negative confession that you are sick.” That surprised me because I was pretty sure that I had the same cold my son had.
This fellow had graduated from Rhema Bible College in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma about a year earlier. The founder of that college was Kenneth Hagin. Hagin is also considered the founder of the Word-Faith movement. Here is a quote by Mr. Hagin, “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…Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God…The believer is called Christ…That’s who we are; we’re Christ!” (Kenneth M. Hagin, Zoe: The God-Kind of Life (Tulsa, OK: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Inc., 1989), 35-36, 41. I’m not sure which is worse, bringing God down to be equal with Man or elevating Man to be equal with God. In any case, this is blasphemous. This is the deification of man. Here is truth.
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18 ESV)
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:19-25 ESV)
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7 ESV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)
Now, was man ever on equal footing with God? God created Man and placed him on the earth. He created the woman from the man. He gave them tasks to do and told them to obey Him. When they disobeyed, they plunged the entire human race into death and sin. (Genesis 1-3) Go read that carefully. Was Adam a created God? He was created from the dust of the earth. How about after salvation? Are we on equal footing with God because of our salvation? We cannot do one thing to save ourselves. According to Ephesians 2:1-10 we were DEAD in our trespasses and sins. We were spiritually dead. God had to save us by His grace through the faith He gave us. Okay, are we now deity since we are saved?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:3-14 ESV)
All in Christ are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. However, that does not mean that we are little gods. We are adopted through Jesus Christ. Notice that the plan of our salvation is still all about our Lord Jesus Christ, not us.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.(Romans 8:29-30 ESV)
Are we conformed unto the image of Christ the moment we are saved? Not hardly! When we are saved we are justified by faith. We are not given godlike powers or perfection. Our glorification awaits us when we enter eternity to be with our Lord forever. These Word-Faith blasphemers not only deify man, they demote God. Here are some quotes from some prominent Word-Faith folks.
Kenneth Copeland said that God is “A being that is very uncanny the way He’s 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 of nine inches across.” (Kenneth Copeland, Spirit, Soul and Body I (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1985), audiotape #01-0601, side 1.
Jerry Savelle, while elaborating on Copeland’s teachings, said, “He is measured out heaven with a nine-inch span…The distance between my thumb and my finger is not quite nine inches. So, I know He’s bigger than me, thank God. Amen? But He’s not some great, big, old thing that couldn’t come through the door there and, you know, when He sat down, would fill every seat in the house. I don’t serve the Glob.” (Jerry Savelle, Framing Your World with the Word of God, Part 2 (Fort Worth, TX: Jerry Savelle Evangelistic Association, Inc., n.d.), audiotape #SS-36, side 1.
Morris Cerullo says, “As I lay there on the floor in this condition, my spirit was taken out of my body and the next thing I knew, I was in the heavens…Suddenly, in front of this tremendous multitude of people, the glory of God appeared. The Form that I saw was about the height of a man six feet tall, maybe a little taller, and twice as broad as a human body with no distinguishing features such as eyes, nose, or mouth.” (Morris Cerullo, The Miracle Book (San Diego, CA: Cerullo Word Evangelism, Inc., 1984), x-xi.
Benny Hinn said, “I could almost visibly see the Lord, and I cold tell you what He was wearing.” Jan Crouch, giddy about Hinn’s statement, asks, “Was that the Holy Spirit?” Acknowledging that he may get in trouble, Hinn resolutely answers “yes.” (Benny Hinn and Jan Crouch, Praise the Lord program on TBN (October 3, 1991).
Benny Hinn also made the following statement, “Man, I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me here. Lift your hands. Something new is going to happen here today. I felt it just as I walked down here. Holy Spirit, take over in the name of Jesus…God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person; and He is a triune being by Himself separate from the Son and the Holy Ghost. Say, what did you say? Hear it, hear it, hear it. See, God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, God the Holy Ghost is a person. But each one of them is a triune being by Himself. If I can shock you—and maybe I should—there’s nine of them. Huh, what did you say? Let me explain: God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person with his own personal spirit, with his own personal soul, and his own personal spirit-body. 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?” (Benny Hinn, Benny Hinn program on TBN (October 3, 1991).
Two years after his initial “revelation,” Hinn once again voiced virtually the same statement. As he puts it, “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost—three separate individuals, one in essence, one in work—and, may I add, each one of them possess His own spirit-body. You don’t like it?” (Benny Hinn, Praise the Lord program on TBN (October 23, 1992).
Kenneth Copeland said, “I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible actually is…The biggest one in the whole Bible is God…Now, the reason you don’t think of God as a failure is He never said He’s a failure. And you’re not a failure till you say you’re one.” (Kenneth Copeland, Praise-a-Thon program on TBN (April 1988). He also said, “Adam committed high treason; and at that point, all the dominion and authority God had given to him was handed over to Satan. Suddenly, God was on the outside looking in…After Adam’s fall, God found Himself in a peculiar position…God needed an avenue back into the earth…God laid out His proposition and Abram accepted it. It gave God access to the earth and gave man access to God. Technically, if God ever broke the Covenant, He would have to destroy Himself.” (Kenneth Copeland, Our Covenant with God (Fort Worth, TX: KCP Publications, 1987), 8-11 passim.
Enough of this! These quotes are readily available all across the Internet, but if you Love God it will tear your heart out to read this garbage. God is not a failure. He is never taken by surprise. He knows all and is all-powerful. What should be amazing to us is that God hasn’t reached out and smashed these blasphemers like insects. Oh, that is coming…
Not only do these people deify man while demoting God, they also deify Satan. Here are some quotes.
Benny Hinn said, “God came from heaven, became a man, made man into little gods, went back to heaven as a man. He faces the Father as a man. I face devils as the son of God..Quit your nonsense! What else are you? If you say, I am, you’re saying I’m a part of Him, right? Is he God? Are you His offspring? Are you His children? You can’t be human! You can’t! You can’t! God didn’t give birth to flesh…You said, “Well, that’s heresy.” No, that’s your crazy brain saying that.” (Benny Hinn, Our Position in Christ #2—The Word Made Flesh (Orlando: Orlando Christian Center, 1991), videotape #255.
Kenneth Copeland is willing to give ownership of the earth to Satan: “God’s on the outside looking in. He doesn’t have any legal entree into the earth. The thing don’t belong to Him. You see how sassy the Devil was in the presence of God in the book of Job? God said, Where have you been? Wasn’t any of God’s business. He [Satan] didn’t even have to answer if he didn’t want to ..God didn’t argue with him a bit! You see, this is the position that God’s been in…Might say, ‘Well, if God’s running things He’s doing a lousy job of it.” He hadn’t been running ‘em, except when He’s just got, you know, a little bit of a chance.” (Kenneth Copeland, Image of God in You III (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989), audiotape #01-1403, side 1.
Copeland goes on to say, “The Bible says that God gave this earth to the sons of men…and when [Adam] turned and gave that dominion to Satan, look where it left God. If left Him on the outside looking in…He had no legal right to do anything about it, did He?…He had injected Himself illegally into the earth—what Satan had intended for Him to do was to fall for it—pull off an illegal act and turn the light off in God, and subordinate God to himself…He intended to get God into such a trap that He couldn’t get out.” (Kenneth Copeland, What Happened from the Cross to the Throne (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1990), audiotape #02-0017.
Satan is the god of this age not because God is on the outside looking in, but because the vast majority of people are dead in their trespasses and sins. Satan controls them as much as God allows Him to. When God saves someone, Satan is the one on the outside looking in. I would not want to be Copeland or Hinn when they stand before the Great White Throne.
These folks also demote Christ. Now, after what Christ has done for His sheep, why do you suppose these folks would do that? Here are their quotes.
Kenneth Copeland said, “[Adam] was the copy, looked just like [God]. If you stood Adam upside God, they look just exactly alike. If you stood Jesus and Adam side-by-side, they would look and sound exactly alike.” (Kenneth Copeland, Authority of the Believer IV (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987), audiotape #01-0304, side 1.
Copeland claims that Jesus Christ told him in the following prophecy: “Don’t be disturbed when people put you down and speak harshly and roughly of you. They spoke that way of Me, should they not speak that way of you? The more you get to be like Me, the more they’re going to think that way of you. 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. Hallelujah.” (Kenneth Copeland, Take Time to Pray, Believer’s Voice of Victory 15, 2 (February 1987): 9.
Copeland said, “What [why] does God have to pay the price for this thing? He has to have a man that is like that first one. It’s got to be a man. He’s got to be all man. He cannot be a God and come storming in here wilth attributes and dignities that are not common to man. He can’t do that. It’s not legal.” (Kenneth Copeland, What Happened from the Cross to the Throne (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1990), audiotape #02-0017.
Benny Hinn writes, “And let me add this: Had the Holy Spirit not been with Jesus, He would have sinned. That’s right, it was the Holy Spirit that was the power that kept Him pure. He was not only sent from heaven, but He was called the Son of Man—and as such He was capable of sinning…Without the Holy Ghost, Jesus would have never have made it…Can you imagine Christ headed for the grave, knowing He would remain there forever, if the Holy Ghost would change His mind about raising Him from the dead?” (Benny Hinn, Good Morning, Holy Spirit (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990), 135-36.
Copeland promises, “Here’s where we’re gonna depart from ordinary church: Now, you see, God is injecting His Word into the earth to produce this Jesus—these faith-filled words that framed the image that’s in Him…He can’t just walk onto the earth and say, “Let it be!” because He doesn’t have the right. He had to sneak it in here around the god of this world that was blockin’ every way that he possibly could.” (Kenneth Copeland, The Image of God in You III (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989), audiotape #01-1403, side 2. He continues by adding, “God was making promises to Jesus, and Jesus wasn’t even there. But, you see, God deals with things that are not yet as though they already were. That’s the way He gets them to come to pass.” (Kenneth Copeland, What Happened from the Cross to the Throne (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1990), audiotape #02-0017.
How does that compare with Paul’s wonderful exposition of the superiority of Christ throughout all of his epistles? Do you see how these folks take a very tiny part of scripture, twist it, and then misuse it for their own? Who does that?
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV)
Who’s the one actually sneaking around? It sure isn’t God. This is enough for now. We have only scratched the surface here. We haven’t yet looked at how these folks twist what our beloved Saviour did on the cross and why. What should be very disturbing to us is that these people are what the world sees and thinks is Christian. They are on Television constantly with their hands out asking for money. It should be very disturbing to any genuine believer that God is treated like this. Who else could be behind that but the father of all lies?
One last thing before we close this article. I have debated a few people in this movement. It is very strange for someone you love and care about deeply tell you that the Bible does not contain all of God’s revelation for Man. They will claim that they also receive the Word of God directly via revelation by spiritual means. If there is any conflict with the Bible then their revelation takes precedence. If we keep that in mind when reading the statements by Copeland, Hagin, and the rest of these charlatans, it should be obvious where their “revelation” is coming from.