The Word Faith Movement Examined 14


At long last, I will begin by dealing with Word Faith teachers and their heresies and blasphemies.

“It wasn’t the physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin … anybody could do that.” Kenneth Copeland, What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost

“That’s true, I suppose – If they were God.” Justin Peters, A Call For Discernment

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (KJV)

According to the Bible, it was the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross which paid the price for sin. It’s really very simple.

The death of the thief on the cross that repented – could not pay the price for anyone’s sins.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 (KJV)

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:23-25 (KJV)

I added verses 24 and 25 of Romans 3 to show what the Bible teaches. We have all sinned and gone astray, and fallen short of the glory of God. This is what the Bible teaches. Notice verse 25 – “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood”. A propitiation is the satisfaction of a debt. Literally, we all owe God an eternity in Hell, because of our sins. Christ died for our sins. Even the most rudimentary teaching of Christian doctrine should emphasize this. And it seems as if Copeland is ignorant of this very fact!

20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:20 (KJV)

Why?

Because Copeland here is trying to teach the SDOJ false doctrine, the Spiritual Death of Jesus. This doctrine claims that Jesus had to die twice, to save man once. Well, my Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible, died on the Cross once.

Originally, E. W. Kenyon theorized that Christ would have to have descended into Hell to pay the penalty for our sins, in punishment. It’s logical and even makes sense. We owe God an eternity of suffering in Hell. The Bible says that Christ is the propitiation for our sins. It even makes sense logincally. However, we do not approach the Bible through experience, Faith, and Reason – we approach our faith through Bible, Bible, and Bible. It seems often like Baptists alone are driven by the question, “What does the Bible say?” Kenyon was a novice Baptist, and did not have enough experience as a Christian to know sound doctrine, let alone teach it.

So Kenyon had to look through the Bible to find the doctrine. Justin Peters points out in his video series A Call To Discernment that this is the exact opposite of what we are supposed to do with the Bible – we are to read the Bible and conform to its doctrines, not arrive at our doctrines and look up proof texts in the Bible.

30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30 (KJV)

John 19:30 clearly says that our punishment was completed on the Cross. I didn’t come to that conclusion and look for proof – I looked in the Bible and read it, and found it taught me this doctrine. As you can see, I’ve listed several verses on this page (PLEASE READ THEM!!!), all which show it is what happened on the Cross that atoned for sin.

But what about the suffering in Hell? Don’t we owe God that? Yes. But God can decide when and how much punishment we are due – after all, we owe it to Him. He can determine to forgive much of our debt. This is the teaching of the wicked steward that owed the great debt, that he asked his master to forgive him the debt, and his master agreed. God decided that the torture and suffering the Lord Jesus Christ endured up to and on the Cross was enough. The Bible nowhere says that the Lord Jesus Christ had to descend into Hell and be tortured for three days.

Now, 1 Peter 3:18 does say this:

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. 1 Peter 3:18-22 (KJV)

Doesn’t this say that Jesus went into Hell, and suffered three days?

On the contrary, it says he “Once suffered for sins” – His beatings, and scourgings, then finally the Cross. At the moment of His death, that suffering ended. The Bible then says the Lord “Went and preached unto the spirits in prison”. It does not say “suffered in hell.”

Adam Clarke writes in his commentary,

Christ also hath once suffered—See the notes on Romans 5:6; Hebrews 9:28 (note).

Put to death in the flesh—In his human nature.

But quickened by the Spirit—That very dead body revived by the power of his Divinity. There are various opinions on the meaning of this verse, with which I need not trouble the reader, as I have produced that which is most likely. — Adam Clarke’s Commentary.

Adam Clarke agrees that the Lord’s death was accomplished by the Cross, and no further punishment for our sins was needed. Remember, it is not enough to merely look at one verse in the Bible and see what it says – you must look at ALL the verses on the subject. 1 Peter 3:18 needs to be compared with John 19:30.

Are there any other verses dealing with this subject? We need to look at Colossians 2…

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:14-15 (KJV)

Colossians 2 also shows that it was completed at the Cross. If the Lord needed to die spiritually, then the Bible would not read “at the Cross” when discussing this, but “In Hell”. In some ways, Kenyon, Hagin, Price and Copeland are calling God a liar by going beyond Scripture. It is heresy to deny clear teachings of the Bible, or to state the direct opposite of what is written in the Bible.

  • The Bible says that the satisfaction of the debt we owe was completed on the Cross.
  • Word Faith says that the satisfaction of the debt we owe was not completed on the Cross.
  • The Bible Says, “It is finished” on the Cross.
  • Word Faith says, “It wasn’t finished” on the cross.

This is Satan’s second tactic. First, Satan questions the word of God, then he denies it.

I have read somewhere (note: find source) that the problem with word Faith is they make “…the Lord Jesus Christ too much a man, and they make man too much a god.” This is correctly observed. In many ways, the spiritual death of Jesus doctrine is a denial of the divinty of the Lord Jesus Christ.

No where in the above scripture is there even any hint that Jesus had to die spiritually to fully and completely pay the price for the sins of mankind. A spirit has no blood in it to give, therefore Jesus had to become a flesh and blood man in order to fulfill His work as the sacrificial Lamb of God by shedding His sinless blood. If we believe and teach the JDS theology we mock our Lords’ sacrific e and our memorial to Him in the communion service. (Cephas Ministry, Accessed 9/13/2013)

One of the more distasteful parts of the SDOJ false doctrine, is the teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ, took upon Himself all the sins of the world. The man who witnessed to me back in 1991 and helped me to get “born again” as I thought at the time, told me that, and I believed him. However, the Bible teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sin penalty, not the sins themselves! Again, carefully read the verses below, paying attention to the wording…

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Peter 1:18-23 (KJV)

The Bible teaches clearly that the Lord Jesus Christ was without corruption, without blemish. To understand this a little more, let’s examine the laws of the sin offering and the passover sacrifice…

17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity. 18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him. 19 It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the LORD. Leviticus 5:17-19 (KJV)

15 And he brought the people’s offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first. Leviticus 9:15 (KJV)

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. Exodus 12:5-7 (KJV)

These are the sin offering (Lev. 9:15) and Passover (Exo. 12:5-7). Christ fulfilled both of these with His suffering and death. Note that the sin offering must remain without blemish up until the moment of offering! The Babylonian Talmud was full of man-made laws and rules which the Priests adhered to in the examining of offerings (by the Second Temple period, it should be noted that they usually pronounced as unacceptable as many as possible, so that the people would have to buy them from the Temple – at exhorbinant prices, I might add).

If the SDOJ doctrine is correct, then this would invalidate the Lord, and contradict 1 Peter 1:18-23. We are born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible. The Lord is Holy, and perfect. He bore the penalty of our sins. Hebrews talks about this at length, why the Lord alone could redeem us, as He was a priest without sin, having offered our sacrifices once and for all.

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:24-28 (KJV)

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 1 John 3:4-5 (KJV)

So, where do the Word Faith teachers get this doctrine? E. W. Kenyon assumed this verse means the Lord Jesus had to sin, and die spiritually.

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 (KJV)

How do we reconcile these verses? Obviously, the “made sin who knew no sin…” would obviously refernce the sin offering.

He made him who knew no sin, (who was innocent), a sin-offering for us. The word ἁμαρτια occurs here twice: in the first place it means sin, i.e. transgression and guilt; and of Christ it is said, He knew no sin, i.e. was innocent; for not to know sin is the same as to be conscious of innocence; so, nil conscire sibi, to be conscious of nothing against one’s self, is the same as nulla pallescere culpa, to be unimpeachable.

In the second place, it signifies a sin-offering, or sacrifice for sin, and answers to the ‏חטאה‎ chattaah and ‏חטאת‎ chattath of the Hebrew text; which signifies both sin and sin-offering in a great variety of places in the Pentateuch. The Septuagint translate the Hebrew word by ἁμαρτια in ninety-four places in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, where a sin-offering is meant; and where our version translates the word not sin, but an offering for sin. – Adam Clarke’s Commentary.

For he hath made him to be sin for us. The Greek here is, “For him who knew no sin, he hath made sin, or a sin-offering for us.” – Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical.

Christ knew no sin. He was made Sin; not a sinner, but Sin, a Sin-offering, a Sacrifice for sin. The end and design of all this was, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, might be justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Can any lose, labour, or suffer too much for Him, who gave his beloved Son to be the Sacrifice for their sins, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him? Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Chapter 5”.

These three commentators agree, this means a sin offering. Not that Jesus Christ was made a horrible sinner, as T. D Jakes preached in his sermon “The Darkest Day”, where he solemnly intones, “If you are willing to recieve it, even the child molester descended on Jesus”. (note – find exact quote)

But He says the strangest words, “But thou art holy .” What does that mean? He is becoming sin . Can you hear those parched lips cry, “I am a worm and no man.” He is spiritually dead. The worm. He has become what John’s Gospel, 3 :14, said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” He had been lifted up as a serpent. Serpent is Satan . Jesus knew He was going to be lifted up, united with the Adversary. That holy man of God. – E. W. Kenyon, From the Cross to The Throne, pg. 44

This is blasphemy. The Lord quoted from Psalm 22, to show that He was fulfilling prophecy. This is the most forced of interpretations. The serpent in the wilderness was a picture of a crucified man – it did not literally mean that Christ became a serpent, should we infer that the Lord Jesus Christ became united with Satan, which is a blasphemy so intense, I hesitate to even quote it. It reveals the most basic and barest grasp of Biblical doctrines to make an error this blasphemous.

He actually was made Sin with our Sin . He was God’s Substitute for the human race . When He was made Sin, He was turned over by God to the Adversary . When that heart-breaking sentence fell from His lips, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Satan became His master . You remember that He uttered the sentence, “It is finished .” – E. W. Kenyon, From the Cross to The Throne, pg. 47

Again, this is the most unbelievable blasphemy. There is absoutely nothing in the Bible to suggest this. To suggest that Satan became Jesus’s master is a complete blasphemy, a reading into the text that even most heretics would not dare. I cannot for the life of me understand why Kenyon’s congregation did not get up and walk away when he said this from the pulpit! I cannot believe that Kenneth Hagin would not immediately reject Kenyon as a heretic and a blasphemer at first reading! I cannot believe that Kenneth Copeland quotes this nonsense!

“Jesus died twice on the cross. I knew this for many years, but I had no scriptural evidence of it.” E. W. Kenyon quoted by Robert Bowman, “The Word Faith Controversy”.

Again, this is called Isogesis, the reading into the text, instead of reading the text and getting your doctrine! All Bible colleges and Seminarys all teach this is a grave error, and that it leads to heresy. Kenyon found his proof in Isaiah 53:9, in that the word “Death” (Mot in Hebrew, pronounced Moat’) was plural (b’Motayn, “moat ain”.)

This is a quirk in Hebrew. Verb tenses sometimes become plural, to show whether or not something is a completed and final act, and to agree with the tense of the subject. Hebrew also has the quirk that sometimes inanimate objects are referred to in a masculine tense. Why is that? It merely comes down to spelling. If the final letter in a word is an H or an “Ayin”, the word is a feminine tense, and has to be conjugated that way. This is recognized by first year Hebrew students, usually after the first exam, and looking woefully at your grade. However, someone reading Cruden’s concordance or any other book would not recognize that, if they’d learned no Hebrew or very little Hebrew.

Remember what you have learned from the Timeline – E. W. Kenyon was ordained a pastor by the Freewill Baptists mere months after he had departed Chrsitanity for several years to become an actor, and studying at the Ermerson School of Oratory, where he learned New Thought. Theosophy, Christian Science and Unitarianism. He showed all the evidence of a false conversion before, which A. J. Gordon should have recognized. I cannot understand why A. J. Gordon would ordain a man he had barely met, and send him out so quickly. This represents an astounding lack of discernment! Baptist pastors typically will wait several years before ordaining a man – or should. The Scriptures command not to ordain a novice, apparently with very good reason!

Kenyon was never trained in Greek or Hebrew at a Seminary by men who understood the correct meanings of these words. If he learned any at all (which is doubtful, considering the corriculum he was taking was for acting/communications) it would have been at Emerson, by men who already showed a lack of evidence of conversion to Christianity, and indeed more evidence that they were unSaved and lost men. This would not be a problem (Many great men of God never learned any Greek or Hebrew) – but Kenyon passes himself of as an expert in his books, giving “exact literal translations” from the Hebrew. It should also be noted that Kenyon left Emerson, he did not graduate. Even if he had been taught Hebrew every day, it only would have been a year of Hebrew or less, which is insufficient to begin translating. It is telling that I see no Hebrew or Greek letters used in Kenyon’s book, which was a common practice in those days to give examples, and write endlessly on the meaning of a single word.

Next, we will examine the “Jesus tortured in hell” teachings of Word Faith.

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Author: philipdean2013

Seminary graduate with a Ba. in Theology/Pastoral Studies, Happily married, Independent Baptist. I can't keep silent about what I see going on in Christianity any longer! Apostasy reigns around us, churches are sliding into worldiness, a whitewashed Gospel is preached everywhere... "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV) So, I'm speaking out. ...Why aren't you???