Believer’s authority – Part 9

The full, blasphemous conclusions of Hagin’s false doctrine are reached in the fifth chapter of his book “The Believer’s Authority”

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Ignoring Hagin’s continued attempt to simply brainwash and/or hypnotize his reader in the beginning of his fifth chapter (by repeating his unfounded proclamations and the perverting of Ephesians that he has done previously in the book) – I would once again point the reader to the blasphemous nature of Hagin’s doctrine:

“All the authority that was given to Christ belongs to us through Him, and we may exercise it. We help Him by carrying out His work upon the earth. And one aspect of His work that the Word of God tells us to do is to conquer the devil! In fact, Christ can’t do His work on the earth without us!

Someone will argue, “Well, He can get along without me, but I need Him.”

No, He can’t get along without you any more than you can get along without Him.” – Kenneth Hagin, “Believer’s Authority” (page 33)

On the following page Hagin tries to tell us that this is what Paul means by his illustrations of the “body of Christ” and “Christ as the head of the church” by partially quoting Ephesians 6:12 out of context.

The problem is Hagin’s overly simplified (borderline idiotic) interpretation of Paul’s use of a metaphor of the Church as being one “body” in Christ. I urge, exhort, and plead with the reader to examine the entirety of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians – if you do so with no desire other than knowing the intent behind his own words you will find nothing but condemnation for Hagin’s perversion of those words.

Side NOTE: I have dealt with Hagin’s tortured understanding of Paul’s illustration in Ephesians HERE a little more in depth than I will in this post…

Following these blasphemous statements and further twisting of Paul’s meaning in Ephesians, on page 35 Hagin wrote this: “In 1952, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me in a vision and talked to me for about an hour and a half about the devil, demons, and demon possession.”

I hope I do not have to point out to the reader that anyone claiming to have had a vision/visitation from the LORD of Glory would not do so in such a cavalier fashion (take for example the men of Scripture who had direct encounters with God: Moses in Exodus, John in Revelation 1:10-20, Isaiah in Isaiah 6:1-7, Paul in Acts 9:3-19, etc.). I also hope the reader does not need to be advised to be highly suspicious that Hagin’s stated topic would be a subject of any vision from God – although that point holds far less weight than the first.

But let us read what Hagin had to say about this alleged “vision from the Lord.”

Side NOTE: this lengthy quote begins immediately following the previous quote… why not share with us what “Jesus” taught him for the “hour and a half” before this? The haphazard (and yet, oddly specific) nature of Hagin’s thoughts should be another indication of his mental imbalance.

“At the end of that vision, an evil spirit that looked like a little monkey or elf ran between Jesus and me and spread something like a smoke screen or dark cloud.

Then this demon began jumping up and down, crying in a shrill voice, “Yakety-yak, yakety-yak, yakety-yak.” I couldn’t see Jesus or understand what He was saying.

(Through this entire experience, Jesus was teaching me something. And if you’ll be attentive, you’ll find the answer here to many things that have troubled you.)

I couldn’t understand why Jesus allowed the demon to make such a racket. I wondered why Jesus didn’t rebuke the demon so I could hear what He was saying. I waited a few moments, but Jesus didn’t take any action against the demon. Jesus was still talking, but I couldn’t understand a word He was saying—and I needed to, because He was giving instructions concerning the devil, demons, and how to exercise authority.

I thought to myself, Doesn’t the Lord know I’m not hearing what He wanted me to? I need to hear that. I’m missing it!

I almost panicked. I became so desperate I cried out, “In the Name of Jesus, you foul spirit, I command you to stop!”

The minute I said that, the little demon hit the floor like a sack of salt, and the black cloud disappeared. The demon lay there trembling, whimpering, and whining like a whipped pup. He wouldn’t look at me. “Not only shut up, but get out of here in Jesus’ Name!” I commanded. He ran off.

The Lord knew exactly what was in my mind. I was thinking, Why didn’t He do something about that? Why did He permit it? Jesus looked at me and said, “If you hadn’t done something about that, I couldn’t have.”
That came as a real shock to me—it astounded me. I replied,

“Lord, I know I didn’t hear You right! You said You wouldn’t, didn’t You?”

He replied, “No, if you hadn’t done something about that, I couldn’t have.”

I went through this four times with Him. He was emphatic about it, saying, “No, I didn’t say I would not, I said I could not.”

I said, “Now, dear Lord, I just can’t accept that. I never heard or preached anything like that in my life!”

I told the Lord I didn’t care how many times I saw Him in visions—He would have to prove this to me by at least three Scriptures out of the New Testament (because we’re not living under the Old Covenant, we’re living under the New). Jesus smiled sweetly and said He would give me four.” – Kenneth Hagin, “Believer’s Authority” (page 35-36)

What utter, bald-faced blasphemy!

This story alone is enough to prove Hagin’s ideas have no weight or worth to them. It is also proof-positive of one of four things: Hagin was either certifiably insane, influenced by evil spirits, fully demon-possessed, or an outright charlatan.

However, let us again examine a few underlying assumptions that provide Hagin with his foundation of sand.

1: Hagin demanded that the demon masquerading as Jesus provide him with a number of passages out of the New Testament – and he specified that he would only accept New Testament texts because “we’re not living under the Old Covenant, we’re living under the New.” This is a completely faulty view of the Scriptures. To reject the absolute authority and worth of the Old Testament in teaching and reproof simply because one assumes “we’re not living IN/under” the context of the Old Testament reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of what Scripture is and does. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2: as I have implied before, IF Hagin had encountered the Risen and Exalted Christ he would be Incapable of his arrogant demand that God Himself provide Scripture to “support” His words for two reasons: A) God would not have said things that so obviously contradict previous revelation in Scripture – and thus would need no twisting of a text to make them believable. And B) Hagin’s arrogance would have evaporated in the Presence of (or been vaporized by the wrath of) the King of Glory.

Thus this tale can be only one of two things: the recounting of a visitation that Hagin had from an “angel of light,” or a fabrication of his own imagination. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

This conclusion is further proven by Hagin’s own words and ideas coming from the mouth of this supposed “Jesus” for the rest of the chapter as he quotes Matthew 28:18, Mark 16:15-18, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8, and Ephesians 4:27 out of context and twists their original, plain meaning.

All the reader has to do is read the fifth chapter of Hagin’s book to see the utter insanity of the ideas it contains – when one man’s writings can sound exactly like (as in structure, flow of thought, vocabulary, etc) the words supposedly spoken to him by Jesus, either that man is writing Scripture, or he (or someone else) is putting words in the Lord’s mouth.

As far as I am concerned, this account of Hagin’s encounter with “Jesus” is enough to damn everything he has written so far in this book and whatever he adds to it.

Such drivel is not even worth the energy it takes to read the words that convey it – thus it is here that I conclude my series of posts critically examining Hagin’s book, “The Believer’s Authority.”

Believer’s authority – Part 8

An Introductory NOTE: For those who have not read through previous posts in this series, here are some quick links:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and “Believer’s Authority Vs Scripture

The book: “The Believer’s Authority” by Kenneth Hagin, Second Edition Twenty-Second Printing 1996

(ISBN 0-89276-406-6)

“Breaking the Power of the Devil” …?

In opening the fourth chapter of his book, Hagin once again quotes one verse from Ephesians (6:12) completely out of context. And then proceeds to make broad assertions following the text as if he is stating the most obvious conclusion of the Scripture…

“The Word of God teaches us that these evil spirits are fallen angels who have been dethroned by the Lord Jesus Christ. Our contact with these demons should be with the knowledge that Jesus defeated them, spoiled them, put them to nought (Col. 2:15). And now that Jesus has dethroned them, we can reign over them!” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (page 27)

Now, as far as his references to Christ’s defeating the rebellious angels, I have very little to say about Hagin’s demonology. What I believe every Christian should cringe at – and what I have argued in previous posts – is the un-Scriptural assumption in Hagin’s words: “And now that Jesus has dethroned them, we can reign over them!”

Merely reading the whole section of Ephesians that Hagin has quoted from (and another text from Jude) will destroy his preposterous conclusion:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” ~ Ephesians 6:10-20

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.” ~ Jude 3-13 (both texts taken from ESV)

Notice the entire context of the passage in Ephesians is a concept of struggle or warfare, NOT “ruling and reigning” – and no, Romans 8:37 cannot be perverted in that direction either. Also, remember the rest of the epistle to the Ephesians – God is the Great Workman, and He will accomplish His will in spite of us, more often than not. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

The passage I have quoted from Jude stands on its own in its rebuke of Hagin – and I would encourage the reader to go and read the epistle in its entirety. Specifically note the section where not even the archangel would take it upon himself to rebuke Satan – Jude is an epistle obviously ignored by people who go around giving “commands” to and/or making “demands” of the devil…

But when it comes to the false doctrine of the believer’s supposed “authority” the Scriptures don’t actually matter to its teachers. As displayed by the following quote from Hagin:

“Originally, God made the earth and the fullness thereof, giving Adam dominion over all the works of His hands. In other words, Adam was the god of this world. Adam committed high treason and sold out to Satan, and Satan, through Adam, became the god of this world. Adam didn’t have the moral right to commit treason, but he had the legal right to do so.” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (page 27)

Notice the complete lack of Scriptural reference for these statements. That is because Scripture does not allow for this false Word of Faith doctrine of Adam having been the “god” of planet earth – but having transferred his “godhood” to Satan in the fall.

Side NOTE: the only text that the promoters of this heresy can point to for the phraseology is 2 Corinthians 4:4 – but the reader will note that the heretics will be ripping it, kicking and screaming, from it’s context and intended meaning… at some point I will address this evil belief of Word-Faithers – but for now, suffice it to say that it is a false doctrine invented in order to exalt man and Satan and degrade God.

The quotation above is yet another instance of disqualifying, heretical borderline-blasphemy that should indicate to a Biblically literate person that they should toss Hagin’s book into the closest fire at hand… but I digress into ranting.

Speaking of ranting, Hagin spends the next three pages (27-29) blowing hot air about his false doctrine that he has spent the last few chapters trying to convince his reader of. In the course of his raving, Hagin makes a lot of assertions about “Christians” and the “Church” that make it sound like he’s talking about either a group he made up in his own mind, or that I’ve never encountered before – and on top of that, he quotes and abuses Matthew 28:18 and Luke 10:19 again. But what he says on page 30 is worth addressing:

“I have found that the most effective way to pray can be when you demand your rights. That’s the way I pray: “I demand my rights!”

Peter at the Gate Beautiful did not pray for the lame man; he demanded that he be healed (Acts 3:6). You’re not demanding of God when you demand your rights; you’re demanding of the devil.

Jesus made this statement in John 14: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do… If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (vv. 13,14). He’s not talking about prayer. The Greek word here is “demand,” not “ask.”

On the other hand, John 16:23,24 is talking about prayer:

“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (The Father is mentioned here in connection with prayer, but He isn’t mentioned in the passage from John 14.)” – Kenneth Hagin, “Believer’s Authority” (page 30)

The utter arrogance of these statements is enough to make one vomit on the spot. Not to mention the gall of completely twisting the text of Scripture to say what one wants it to – and the impudent assumption that your audience is too gullible or stupid to catch you in your lie.

A simple search through a concordance or Greek lexicon will prove Hagin an outright liar. The word translated “ask” in BOTH John 14:13-14 & John 16:23-24 is the Greek word “aiteo” (“154” in Strong’s Concordance) and it’s definition is as follows:

AITEO, to ask, is to be distinguished from No. 2. [EROTAO] Aiteo more frequently suggests the attitude of a suppliant, the petition of one who is lesser in position than he to whom the petition is made…” – W. E. Vine, M.A. “An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words – with their Precise Meanings for English Readers” (page 79), Fleming H. Rebellion Company – First Published 1940… 17th impression 1966.

So, once again, it is painfully obvious that the reader must never assume someone who claims the Greek means anything other than it is translated as is telling the truth unless they can prove their case with legitimate linguistic backing.

But with the typical blithe arrogance he shows throughout the course of his book, Hagin continues by writing: “The Greek actually reads, “Whatever you demand as your rights and privileges ….” You’ve got to learn what your rights are.”

Again, the blasphemous pronouncements of Hagin disqualify him from any position of pastoral or teaching ministry in the Church. And the rest of Hagin’s fourth chapter has no Scriptural support – literally; hequotes no text for the next 2 pages – so I will be ignoring it, as it is not worth the time to even read it.

The Promise of Leviticus 14:35

This post is going to be a tough one. The Church in our day really doesn’t understand how to reckon with and activate the spirit I’m about to reveal to you from God. And I haven’t fully appropriated this yet, so I need this message too – but I want us to realize and live in our victorious position.

My wife and I struggled against mold in every apartment we’d ever lived in since we were married. And I was slowly getting the revelation in my soul that it was a weapon The Enemy had used to steal plants from my wife that I’d give her on special occasions. But – Haleluiah! – one day, after struggling with the mold and getting so frustrated I cried out to God, my wife said something by the Spirit that Awakened what God had been working in my soul!

Right then and there we stood and said “NO!” to that spirit of mold! We stood on Leviticus 14:35 and declared that we had a High Priest in the heavenlies who would make our house clean. And we prayed to Satan and demanded he leave our family alone.
Our house belongs to God after all – and it was our responsibility and sacred duty to make our home a sanctuary!
I know this doesn’t make sense in the natural realm, but that’s why you’ve got to get the revelation of it in the Spiritual Realm! Because if you don’t the demon of mold will walk all over you!

Maybe you have started to grasp this truth before. But then summer came and you got lazy – so when winter came back around you were wide open for attack from The Enemy! Let me encourage you to stand in the gap! Don’t be ignorant of The Enemies devices!

Stand on the promises of Leviticus 14:33-57 about mold in the house of God! Read those words over and over and over and over and over and over again until you get the revelation of what they mean for your life! Don’t let the devil use reason to take that promise of mold-free living away from you!

Continue reading “The Promise of Leviticus 14:35”

Satan and the Christian

Some observations of what Scripture says about Satan’s relationship to the Christian…

According to Strong’s Concordance, outside of the gospels and the book of Acts, in the New Testament Satan is mentioned less than twenty times. Obviously if we bring in the gospels and include references to “the devil” and possibly “the evil one” we’ll get a bit more of a base of what the Bible actually says about the fallen angels – but don’t miss the significance (or lack thereof) of the apostles’ lack of reference or teaching about Satan. And while we are on this “times referenced” point, I will also propose to the reader that Satan – as an individual or even as a general reference to fallen angels – is addressed even less often in the Old Testament.
However, I would also suggest to the reader that the most voluminous and clear teaching that we have about Satan in the Bible is IN the Old Testament; specifically the book of Job.
At this juncture I would greatly encourage the reader to pause and at least peruse (if not read in its entirety) the book of Job, paying particular attention to references to Satan (chapters 1 & 2) and God’s response to Job (chapters 38 through 42).

(Side NOTE: Satan is never referenced again after his role in the first two chapters of Job.)

From the first two chapters of Job we can assume at least 3 things about the character of Satan: 1: he is NOT omnipresent; 2: he can do nothing that God does not permit (at the very least in the sense of “does not prevent him”); 3: Satan was probably more interested in cursing God and besmirching His Name than he was in ruining Job’s life.
In the end of the book, God never rebukes Job for attributing the tragedies that happen to him as ultimately being in the hands of God; and not once in the 4 chapters of God’s challenges and questions to Job does He ever mention Satan. I believe the serious, critically thinking reader of the Scriptures should find these facts to be noteworthy.

What does all of this have to do with the relationship of Christians to Satan specifically, or demons generally?

Before we get to that, let us observe the only other scene we are given in the Bible’s historical narrative that includes Satan as an active player – the temptation of our Lord in the wilderness.

To my knowledge, Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13 are the only passages of the New Testament in which Satan (a.k.a. “the devil/tempter”) is displayed as an actual character interacting with another person. I find it significant that – as was the case with Job – Satan’s only interaction recorded for us in Holy Writ is with God Himself.

As far as what we are to learn about the devil from these passages – though their primary aim is NOT to teach about the devil – I take away primarily the confirmation of point (3) after we considered the account in Job: Satan is primarily interested and/or occupied in cursing God and attempting to besmirch His Name.

But to come to the main focus of this post, I would now point the reader to Luke 22:31-32.

In these two verses we seem to have a ‘Job-ish’ situation in which Satan has made a “demand” of God, that apparently – to some extent – God has condescended to acquiesce to (as evidenced by Jesus’ admission of his interceding for Peter)…

Now, most of us – I believe accurately – will assume that this “sifting” has something to do with the following verses in which Jesus prophesies that Peter will deny him.

I think the first thing that the disciple reading this text should take comfort in is Jesus’ concern and care for those that are His. Though I do not believe this demand of Satan is normative, it is a great comfort to know that the Lord will not allow his sheep to be tempted or tormented by “the evil one” beyond what they can bear.

Notice, however, that Jesus does not give us any more details; such as how, when, or even why, Satan will carry out the demanded “sifting.” Obviously somehow he was involved in Peter’s denials of the Lord, but I think our Lord’s lack of specificity on Satan’s end should keep us from worrying about or wanting to know exactly how Satan interacted with Peter – as it is apparently not that important for us to know.

(Side NOTE: While discussing the text with my wife, she offered the speculation that Satan potentially didn’t do or “try to do” (since Jesus has prayed for him, obviously the devil does not prevail against Peter) anything to Peter until after his denial of the Lord – based upon Satan’s tactics of deception or accusation… I offer that speculation as food for thought, but I do think the text should primarily indicate to us that we need not be concerned with more than preliminary speculation on the issue.)

So, thus far I have observed special occasions in which Satan is named as having acted – or made a request to act – in the life of a child of God. Taken by themselves, I believe they point to the NON-normative nature of the devil’s conscious, personal relationship to individuals among the people of God. And even as we move to consider more generic statements from the apostles on the devil’s ability to influence disciples of Christ, I believe my three proposals of the primary motivations and desires of Satan will stand; 1) Satan shares no attributes/abilities with God(I.e. Omnipresence, omniscience, etc.). 2) Satan is restricted by the Will of God, and can do nothing that is not first permitted – or “not prevented” by God (however that happens to work). 3) Satan is more preoccupied with his agenda to slander and destroy God than he is with any particular human being…

Believer’s authority – Part 3

Continuing critique of “the Believer’s Authority” by Kenneth Hagin

(NOTE: the first two posts in this series can be found HERE(1) & HERE(2))

“Ephesians 1:3 reads, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us [the whole Church] with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” The American Standard Version renders “all spiritual blessings” as “every spiritual blessing.” This means every spiritual blessing there is. In Christ, all spiritual blessings belong to us. Authority belongs to us whether we realize it or not. But just knowing this isn’t enough. It’s knowledge acted upon that brings results! It’s a tragedy for Christians to go through life and never find out what belongs to them.” Kenneth E Hagin, the Believer’s Authority (last paragraph of page 12 – emphasis/italics original)

(Side NOTES: (1) anyone who wants to say what the differences in Bible translations “mean” (I.e. make a case or point for a specific meaning that is not given in the text) better have a decent grasp of the original language(s) themselves – or be able to point you to sources they used to come to their conclusion… (2) having been granted salvation isn’t enough for your life to NOT be a tragedy???)

I return to this paragraph first because there are a number of things I haven’t addressed yet, and because it – and the section following – is (I believe) a hinge upon which Hagin’s doctrine turns.

Assumptions (again)
Once again I urge the reader to question the assumptions of an author that are not given full Biblical warrant.

Notice that Hagin assumes that “authority” is a spiritual blessing. What gives him the right to assume this? Now, he has kind of already told us that he gets this from the believer’s union with Christ at/in salvation, and later he will eventually give us an incredibly far reaching argument for where he got this idea, but for now let us consider his closing argument for chapter 1 of his book.

‘Things belong to us’

The underlying argument from the end of page 12 to page 14 consists of a fuller explanation of what Hagin means by his statements in the last half of the paragraph quoted above.

He begins the argument by asking his reader if they have ever thought about the following statement: “salvation belongs to the sinner.”(pg 13)

Ignoring the obvious blunder (I.e. that salvation, in fact, BELONGS to (is possessed/controlled/given by) the LORD (Jonah 2:9, Psalm 3:8, etc.) – NOT “the sinner”), let’s read more and find out what Hagin means by the statement:

“Jesus already has bought the salvation of the worst sinner, just as He did for us. That’s the reason He told us to go tell the Good News; go tell sinners they’re reconciled to God. But we’ve never really told them that. We’ve told them God’s mad at them and is counting up everything they’ve done wrong. Yet the Bible says God isn’t holding anything against the sinner! God says He has canceled it out. That’s what’s so awful: the poor sinner, not knowing this, will have to go to hell even though all of his debts are cancelled! Second Corinthians 5:19 will tell you that. There’s no sin problem. Jesus settled that. There’s just a sinner problem. Get the sinner to Jesus, and that cures the problem. Yes, that’s a little different from what people have been taught, but it’s what the Bible says.” – Kenneth Hagin, the Believer’s Authority(page 13)

Now, once again, the plethora of assumptions in this quotation reveal how Hagin understood and applied key doctrines of the Christian Religion, and how you respond to Hagin’s words will be indicative of how you yourself view the Bible.

So, with all of the presumptive statements made by Hagin in that quote, he only referenced one verse of Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:19. Let’s read the verse with a little context, shall we?

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all these things are from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.Therefore we are ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as if God were imploring you through us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made the one who did not know sin to be sin on our behalf, in order that we could become the righteousness of God in him.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (LEB)

What jumps out to me first is the lack of the idea of “already-ness” that Hagin seemed to have. There is nothing in this passage that implies ‘ownership’ (or anything of the kind) for/to the sinner. And even if one subscribes to an interpretation of this text as teaching universal atonement – there is no basis upon which to assume that the God-hater (a.k.a. “the sinner”) is already (I.e. before coming to Christ in repentance and faith) “at peace” with God, or reconciled to Him.

God’s “reconciling the world to Himself” did not automatically remove His wrath against sin. Notice that the subject of this reconciliation is primarily those who are “in Christ,” and have been made “new creations” – it says nothing about those who are outside of Christ having been reconciled. Also, God’s act of reconciling men to Himself is an event that takes place in time (as far as we are concerned), and has nothing to do with anything “belonging” to fallen men.

More problematic than the misunderstanding addressed above is Hagin’s view of people. Primarily whatever he believed about them that allowed him to make statements like: “the poor sinner not knowing this, will have to go to hell even though all of his debts are cancelled!”(pg 13) And: “There’s no sin problem. Jesus settled that. There’s just a sinner problem. Get the sinner to Jesus, and that cures the problem. Yes, that’s a little different from what people have been taught, but it’s what the Bible says.”(pg 13)

The first problem – as I’m sure the reader will have grown tired of reading by now – is that he gives no Scriptural reason for saying this, other than his obvious interpretation of the one text he mentioned(2Cor5:19).

The second problem is that these statements reveal a sub-Biblical (one could almost say anti-Biblical) understanding of mankind.

The “sinner” is NOT a “poor,” unfortunate person who wants to do the right thing, doesn’t deserve hell, and would be brought to heaven and coddled by a gushing god if he only knew what was already his! What the “sinner” IS is a selfish, self-centered, God-hating, self-righteous, and worthless creature that deserves and resides under the wrath of God apart from His mercy and grace in Christ:

“…just as it is written, “There is no one righteous, not even one; There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned aside together; they have become worthless; There is no one who practices kindness; there is not even one. Their throat is an opened grave; they deceive with their tongues; the venom of asps is under their lips, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and distress are in their paths, and they have not known the way of peace. The fear of God is not before their eyes.” ~ Romans 3:10-18 (LEB)

For the first three chapters of his Epistle to the Romans, Paul labors to explain and make unmistakably clear the evil of every single human being, and that the just, righteous wrath of God will be poured out upon them at the Judgement (and in many ways is already manifested against them).

Hagin’s seemingly man-centered gospel – and therefore his view of people and their relationship to God – is troubling, to say the least.

I urge the reader to contrast Hagin’s statements and claims against the full text of what is written in Scripture. Though he is correct that Jesus “fixes the problem with/of sinners,” there is no Biblical reason to think that God’s holy wrath does not still abide upon the unrepentant. For now, I have addressed the few Scriptures Hagin tried to use in the first chapter of his book. There are plenty of other things that could be said of the silly claims and worldview revealing statements that he made in the chapter, but I wish to primarily point the reader to God’s Word.

I hope my thoughts and observations thus far have helped the reader to at least begin to see or ponder how sub-Biblical the doctrine of “the believer’s authority” truly is.

May the Lord bless you and help you to be more concerned about Him; His glory; and HIS Authority – and to think nothing of yourself.

Believer’s authority – Part 2

A critical examination of the doctrine of “the believer’s authority” as taught by Kenneth Hagin in his book of the same title.

(NOTE: Kenneth Hagin recounts having changed and repetitiously “prayed” Paul’s prayers in The first half of Ephesians over himself many times… for fuller context; see “Part 1”)

“I spent about six months praying this way during the winter of 1947-48. Then the first thing I was praying for started to happen. I had been praying for “the spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:17), and the spirit of revelation began to function! I began to see things in the Bible I had never seen before. It just began to open up to me.” ~ Kenneth Hagin, the Believer’s Authority – page 10

A question to the reader: does a “spirit” (when in reference to a human being) have to be “activated” or “accessed” in order to “function,” so to speak? And, if so, why isn’t there clear instruction in Scripture for this practice?

Another thing I will put out there for the reader to ponder; I personally always retranslate phrases like “I began to see things in the Bible I had never seen before” and “it[the Bible] just began to open up to me” as actually meaning something along the lines of “now the text doesn’t actually say what I’m about to tell you, but…”

Think about it, especially when coming from someone who’d supposedly been teaching the Bible for many years (14 in Hagin’s case – pg 11), why should we trust them when they begin to teach something diametrically opposed to a normal understanding of the Scriptures?

For instance, the second actual bit of Scripture Hagin quotes in his book is Ephesians 6:12 (notice, he skips a massive portion of the Epistle before giving any exegesis… and supposedly his book is a “study based on Ephesians”) – he then goes on to blather and bluster about “our authority over such evil spirits”(pg 12) when there is nothing about “authority” even within the context of the text he quotes. Now, he tries to make it sound like it is by telling us that we must ‘think of this passage in light of what Paul wrote elsewhere,'(pg 12) but fails to give any form of direct quotation.

(Side NOTE: I would like to know who on earth the people are that “think that authority over the devil belongs to only a few chosen people to whom God has given special power”(pg 12) according to Hagin… notice again, no references or sources)

What he does do is try to reference “being born again” and tie that to this assumed “authority in Christ” without giving any Scriptural basis for the presupposition.

The same page(12) of Hagin’s book leads me to caution the reader about trusting the teaching of anyone who thinks they know so much about Satan and his wants and desires. Where is it told us in Scripture what “the devil” does and does not want us to know or do? Again, I plead with the reader not to allow wolves like Hagin the ground for their presuppositions that have no basis in Scripture.

Although we are told in Ephesians 6 that as disciples of Christ we now primarily wrestle/struggle (notice there is no concept of “overwhelming victory” in the passage – it simply mentions the act of “striving against”) against “spiritual forces,” there is no reason to assume that the evil thoughts and schemes of men are not also in view here – do we not face such “spiritual darkness” when we preach the Gospel to a hostile crowd and call upon the Holy Spirit to make dead men alive?

In any case, the next passage of Scripture that Hagin quotes is Ephesians 1:3.

“Ephesians 1:3 reads, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us [the whole Church] with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.The American Standard Version renders “all spiritual blessings” as “every spiritual blessing.” This means every spiritual blessing there is. In Christ, all spiritual blessings belong to us. Authority belongs to us whether we realize it or not. But just knowing this isn’t enough. It’s knowledge acted upon that brings results! It’s a tragedy for Christians to go through life and never find out what belongs to them.” ~ Last paragraph of page 12, “The Believer’s Authority”

First, I’m sure the reader has already noted the lack of context given by Hagin when he quotes the text. And he has forced an assumption upon the phrase “spiritual blessing” merely based upon the presence of a word that can be translated into English as either “every” or “all.” Where in the text does it say that “authority” falls under the category of a “spiritual blessing?”

Also, with all of the clear teaching given on justification and salvation in and through Jesus Christ in Paul’s other Epistles, why is there not more clear teaching on how this gives the believer supposedly supernatural powers of control over supernatural beings? Are we really expected to just assume the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit given the Christian to fight temptation, flee from sin, and do what is pleasing in the sight of God should include some vague notion of “bossing around demons,” as it were?

Obviously Hagin’s primary problem here, as usual, is in interpretation.

The purpose, extent, and descriptions of these “spiritual blessings” the Christian is given is explained in Paul’s following words starting in verse 4!

Just read the first 2 chapters of Ephesians with the goal of understanding what Paul’s primary point was and you will easily see that the wonder and glory of God (and His worthiness to be praised) in the salvation of wicked men and women through Jesus Christ is the highest idea within Paul’s words! Anyone who would try to make this about the “awesome power(ahem, given by God, of course) of the Believer” over ANYTHING is deceived and/or attempting to deceive others.

Thus far Hagin gives very little support for the presumptive statements he makes about his chosen topic. In future posts I will do my best to more thoroughly address the Scripture that Hagin tries to use – but for now I wish to press upon the reader, once again, the need to acknowledge (if not outright challenge) the assumptions presented with no Biblical bases by Hagin and those of the Word of Faith movement for their false doctrine of “the believer’s authority.”

Brief Thoughts on Luke 10

The Context: chapter 9 of Luke obviously contains quite a bit of content, but the information given us immediately before the break into “chapter 10” is of several different “followers” and their interactions with Jesus (‘foxes have holes but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’ –Luke 9:57-62) but the driving story before this is Jesus foretelling His death and “setting His face” toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:21-22, 44, and 51).

The Seventy-Two: “After this” is how chapter 10 begins, and thus a proper understanding of what Jesus does and instructs in the beginning of the chapter seems to hinge on keeping in mind what came before it.

Where did Jesus send these disciples out to in pairs? “Every town and place where he himself was about to go.” (Verse 1)… why did he send them out? Presumably – based on verses 5 through 12, and 16 (and 9:1-6) – to preach what He had taught them; but specifically we are told He commanded them to ‘heal the sick and say to them “the kingdom of God has come near to you.”‘As I read through chapter 10 of Luke this evening it occurred to me that the connection of this event to Jesus’ going to Jerusalem to be crucified is of no small significance. In all of the synoptic gospels Jesus’ instruction and teaching of His disciples (particularly the apostles) seems to grow more earnest and “to the point,” if you will, as He approaches the cross compared to earlier in His ministry. Could it be that Jesus sent out the seventy-two to heal the sick and prepare the way for Him not just so that people would know He was coming, but perhaps so that he would not encounter quite as large a mob looking for miracles as He would have otherwise?

Many things to consider and ponder over in why Jesus sent out these men, but let us move on to when they returned to Him for the sake of this particular discussion…

Verse 17 is translated thus in my ESV Bible: “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” … now, what were the Lord’s specific instructions to these disciples? To ‘heal the sick and proclaim the nearness of the Kingdom of God.’ But these people do not come rejoicing that those who have heard their message are repentant and receptive to Christ, but that they could command demons!

Granted, some or many of the sicknesses they were commanded to heal could have been caused by demonic possession or oppression, but Jesus’ response in verses 18 and 20 seem to be more a corrective or warning rebuke than an encouraging affirmation of their joy.

The interpretation above is far different than that given by those who want to hone in on verse 19, I know, but I cannot read that verse separate from everything else going on. Also, those who want to emphasize verse 19 – almost to the exclusion of verse 20 – usually miss several markers that serve to indicate that much of the authority given was specific to that time and group of people in many ways. The phrase “nothing shall hurt you,” for one, is incredibly restrictive to where we can apply to whom and when the “authority” Jesus mentions is given.

Moving on again, since it is in the same chapter, I have heard some try to correlate verses 23 and 24 to verses 17 and/or 19… but it seems more reasonable to me – considering the use of present-tense verbs, the content of Jesus’ rejoicing in verses 21 and 22, and His previous admonition to “rejoice that your names are written in heaven” – to understand that what Jesus is referring to is, in fact, a combination of Himself being God in flesh standing before men and, in that, the further revelation of God’s very nature…

Here my thoughts begin to trail in too many directions to type now… and I’ve already gone longer and in different directions than I intended (hopefully because the text forced me to and/or the Spirit was gracious in restricting me to it 😉

Hope this was an interesting and/or thought-provoking read.