A Final Note on Kenneth Hagin

After my lengthy critique of his ideas in “the Believer’s Authority” I am well aware that there are those who would accuse me of “consigning the man to hell” – and I am aware of those Word-Faithers who would tack on an idea like “simply because he got a few things wrong.” Not that I wish to build and burn any form of straw man, but allow me to say a few things to attempt to dissuade the more reasonable objectors from thinking the worst of me and/or my methods…

1: I have said to my wife many times in the last few years that it could very well be that before the end of his life God broke through to Hagin and saved him. But I have said just as often, that the fruit of Hagin’s “ministry” and life give us no reason to ASSUME that God saved him at all, unless it was so soon before the heart-attack that claimed his life that he had no time to publicly recant… so to end this point I will add: It is not our job as followers of Jesus to consign/make the final judgement about whether anyone goes to hell… OR heaven! (it seems to me – for all their fear of “judging” – that way too many Christians are willing to wave there hand in front of the professing “believer” and pronounce that there can be no doubt of their being destined for heaven – without one bit of concern about the current and constant fruit of that person’s life…)… something to think about there, I would say.

2: public material is free game for critical review – be it positive or negative. It should be the assumption of everyone that anything anyone says in a public format is open to feedback, and the teacher and/or leader who claims to speak of the doctrines of the Bible should expect and desire feedback (in any form; rebuke, exhortation, refutation, correction, encouragement, etc) from fellow shepherds (and the occasional “sheep”) in the faith. No one should be surprised when someone is criticized for what they write – and Christians who have influence over others should welcome such challenges, since “teachers will incur a harsher/stricter judgement” and they should seek to keep their repeated errors to an absolute minimum… Hagin, like his disciple Copeland and his contemporaries Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn, never seemed open to such critical examination.

3: Finally – and within the same vein of point “1” – the fact that I vehemently condemn statements of blasphemy and/or heresy should not cause the reader to automatically categorize me as “hating” Kenneth Hagin or as a “hateful” person in general… do I hate the rotten fruit and lies about God perpetrated by what was/is spewed from books and “ministries” like Hagin’s? YES. I despise anything and everything that belittles, degrades, and attempts to spit upon the honor and glory of the Great and All-Mighty, One True God, Yahweh. But it should not be an assumption of the reader (especially those who are so “charitable” and “positive”-oriented) that in acting that out I am committing the sin of hatred against another human being.

On that note, it should go without saying that I am open to any thoughtful criticism a reader might have of my own statements about Hagin’s book “The Believer’s Authority.” And even if the reader wishes to criticize my own method(s) of critique, I would be happy to discuss them… I would be completely inconsistent and hypocritical if I were not willing to do so, after all.

In closing, I encourage the reader, once again, to think critically about the things that they read and – especially in matters of theology and doctrine – to not merely accept the words of any man without testing them against Scripture.


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”

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.


Believer’s authority – Part 7

Side NOTE: for a refutation of Hagin’s words simply from Scripture – see an earlier post: “the ‘believer’s authority’ vs Scripture”

“The trouble with us is that we’ve preached a “cross” religion, and we need to preach a “throne” religion. By that I mean that people have thought they were supposed to remain at the cross. Some have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, have backed up to the cross, and have stayed there ever since.

We’ve sung “Near the cross, near the cross.” Yes, we need to come by the cross for salvation, but we don’t need to remain there; let’s go on to Pentecost, the Ascension, and the throne!” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (pages 23-24)

These words display not only Hagin’s lack of understanding when it comes to the cross, but his disdain for the cross. His words have no harmony with our Lord’s:

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…” ~ Luke 9:23

Also, what is meant by “Some have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, have backed up to the cross, and have stayed there ever since”? Well, Hagin gave us an idea by his very next paragraph:

“The cross is actually a place of defeat, whereas the Resurrection is a place of triumph. When you preach the cross, you’re preaching death, and you leave people in death. We died all right, but we’re raised with Christ. We’re seated with Him. Positionally, that’s where we are right now: We’re seated with Christ in the place of authority in heavenly places.” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (page 24)

Now… to a minuscule extent, some of what Hagin has written here is kind of correct. The believer saved by the grace of God has been covered by the righteousness of Christ – they are justified before God because they are found in Christ… but notice the complete disjointedness of Hagin’s doctrine of the cross from how he understands justification and sanctification. To Hagin, somehow the Christian must “leave” the cross – because it supposedly offers so little – and “move on” to bigger and better things… does that sound like the language of Christ or His apostles?

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” ~ Matthew 10:38

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” ~ Galatians 6:14

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)

Also, notice how once again Hagin has inserted this idea of “authority” into our saved and justified state without any Biblical warrant: “We’re seated with Christ in the place of authority in heavenly places.”

Compare Hagin’s presumptive distortion with the actual text:

“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. 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 2:4-10 (ESV)

Nowhere in this passage is it suggested that the believer’s status of being “seated with Christ” automatically means they are endowed with the same “authority” given to Christ in the previous chapter (Ephesians 1). However, there is quite a bit of language that speaks to our subservience to Christ and our lack of grounds to make any form of grandiose claims for ourselves.

But Hagin continued with his absurd assertions by trying to convince his audience that people like me are second-rate Christians:

“Many Christians know nothing about the authority of the believer. They really don’t believe we have any authority. They believe they’re barely saved and they must go through life being dominated by the devil while living on Barely-Get-Along Street. They magnify the devil more than they do God.” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (page 24)

I don’t know what kind of professing Christians Hagin hung around – but I’ve certainly never met anyone that fit the caricature above. (And, frankly, based upon later chapters of Hagin’s book – it is HIS position that “magnifies the devil more than God.”)

Notice again, though, the underlying presuppositions in Hagin’s statements. 1) he thinks that those who don’t “believe in authority” are “dominated by the devil.” 2) and he believes that Christians who don’t utilize his imagined super-power are “barely saved” – or at least act like they are…

But this is something of a random tangent, Hagin returned to his main thrust when he wrote: “The elevation of Christ’s people with Him into the heavenlies clearly points to the fact that we are to sit with Him, sharing not only His throne but also His authority. That authority belongs to us!” (Page 24)

Once again, I would point out the blasphemous equation of the believer with Christ Himself. Nowhere do the authors of Holy Writ make this kind of connection to Paul’s illustration of how and why our justification is possible and/or happens. Hagin’s assertions are nothing but the normal, FALLEN human ambition to have control of one’s own life.

Granting once again that Hagin does make a few statements about “being balanced” on pages 25 and 26 that could help us hope that Hagin is not intending to BE quite as blasphemous as he sounds – we must still conclude that Hagin’s ideas thus far in his book are Biblically untenable and full of heresy.


The Office of Apostle

Thanks (I think/believe) to a lot of uneducated, fanciful interpretational methods that were produced by proto-Pentecostal movements there is a lot of confusion about the office of apostle among a majority of professing Christians in our day.

And even within the more orthodox strains of the “charismatic” movement I have heard some odd explanations of how we should view the office today.

Little “a” apostles vs Capital “A” Apostles(?)

One thing I’ve heard from an individual who is more orthodox than those within the “New Apostolic Reformation” (a movement full of self-appointed “apostles” and self-proclaimed “prophets”), is that we should have a concept of two different “kinds” of apostles – the more authoritative, ancient Apostles and the less authoritative, modern apostles, if you will.

But does Scripture give warrant or precedent to this idea?

Well, one of the few epistles that mention anything generic about “apostles” in a teaching context is 1 Corinthians:

“Now, you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you still a more excellent way…” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 (ESV)

NOTE: I encourage the reader to visit the entire context of this passage – and especially to read the following chapter, as Paul has told us it contains instruction on a “more excellent” way of living in the light of God’s mighty work on our behalf.

Though the passage (quoted above) in 1 Corinthians contains mention of “apostles” within the larger context of God’s gifts to His children to build up and strengthen the church – see also Ephesians 4:11-13 – there is no clear instruction given here by Paul on what an apostle actually IS.

What IS an Apostle?

From the accounts in Acts and the authoritative nature of Paul’s instructions and commands in his epistles, one of the obvious things that the apostles were was leaders and/or authority figures in the primitive Church. They led the early followers of Jesus in belief and conduct.

But in the earlier portions of Ephesians we are given something a little closer to actual teaching on what an apostle serves as:

“…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord…” ~ Ephesians 2:19-21 (ESV) … (see also Revelation 21:14)

In Ephesians Paul informs us that the apostles (along with the prophets of the Old Testament) serve as a “foundation” for the Church of God, but in what way do they serve this purpose, especially for Christians today?

I would argue that it is by the writing of Holy Scripture that the apostles and prophets – subservient to Christ as the all important “cornerstone” – serve to build the Church (or Temple, if you will) of God throughout the ages. I would argue this based upon the temporal, “one time” language that is used in reference to the purpose of the apostles in Holy Scripture – you only build the foundation of a building once. Also, as far as I can tell, most references to true “apostles” in Scripture and the ancient church fathers usually put in the qualifier of “the twelve.”

None of these texts so far, however, give us any specific teaching on how to identify an “apostle” – so what is it that makes someone an apostle?

The Criteria of an Apostle

I would suggest to the reader that there is one primary, time honored “criterion” for how we Biblically identify an apostle of Jesus Christ: an apostle is a man commissioned to preach the gospel by Christ Himself.

We see this exemplified in Acts 1:15-22, and the beginning of Galatians where Paul’s writing is undergirded by an explanation and outlining of his call and experience in becoming “the apostle to the Gentiles” by the commission of the risen Christ Himself… there is also a short reference to this by Paul in1 Corinthians 15:8-9. Also, throughout the Gospels and the book of Acts, there is no reference to “apostles” outside the twelve disciples who specifically participated in Jesus’ earthly ministry.

However, even if there are a few generic references to those who hold the office of apostle in the Church throughout the New Testament, this does not demand that the traditional criterion above is faulty – and thus require we assume some form of the office exists today. Why? Because, although 1 Corinthians 15:6-7 does not exactly say when Jesus appeared to the groups specified, this type of evidence for “apostles” outside the twelve and Paul still falls under the category of the office only being given to individuals who interacted directly with the risen Christ (and I think it is significant to note that except for Paul, all of these individuals interacted “physically” – I.e. Not in a vision – with Him in the presence of others who did likewise).

Another traditional criterion of true, orthodox and ancient Christianity is that the apostles had authority and power by the Holy Spirit to write Scripture (as I have said above, I would also argue this tradition from the text itself). What they said and wrote was authoritative as coming from God – just like the prophets of the Old Testament. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Side NOTE: it can even be argued that every book of the New Testament is of Apostolic origin – the authors of Mark, Luke, Acts, and Hebrews all having clear connections to one of the apostles of Scripture.

That having been said – and no clear Scriptural evidence of any distinctive “levels” or “types” to the office taken into consideration – if one subscribed to the idea that we do have apostles today (or prophets, for that matter), consistently they would have to add that “apostle’s” writings or speeches to the Bible!

The last few paragraphs are a bit of a rabbit trail, but the ideas put forth within them have existed (been debated or discussed) since the days of the primitive Church, and no one among these modern day groups of “charismatics” seems to care that God’s people throughout history have had something to say about topics we discuss today!

As far as I can see from Scripture, anyone who claims to be an “apostle” (or prophet, as far as I’m concerned) today is either a lying charlatan – like those in the New Apostolic Reformation(NAR); or they have not actually thought about what Scripture says about the office – and thus no one should be listening to them anyway, as that person is obviously a simpleton and shouldn’t have authority over anyone.

To drive this point home, I would encourage the reader to examine Paul’s arguments against the “super-apostles” in Corinth that had apparently begun to accuse Paul of “walking according to the flesh” (2 Corinthians 10-12)… particularly in chapter 11 Paul contrasts his own actions against those of these “super-apostles” using incredibly thick and biting sarcasm.

One of the points Paul makes about himself is his lack of demanding resources from the Corinthians in order to show himself trustworthy to them… I have never heard or seen any indication of a practitioner/leader of the NAR ever discouraging people from giving their money to them – in fact they do the opposite, they have entire doctrines about why and how Christians should be wealthy/prosperous (just look up “great transfer of wealth” in relation to this movement).

For the reader who might be involved in the NAR, I would encourage you to think hard on the following words of Paul before you follow/listen to anyone who claims to be an apostle…

“And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not surprising if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds…” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 (ESV)


Believer’s authority – Part 6

Further examination of the errors taught in Kenneth Hagin’s book “The Believer’s Authority”


After trying to pervert Ephesians 2:5-6 and confusing the believer with the Savior (see “Believer’s authority – Part 5”), on page 22 of his book “the Believer’s Authority” Hagin says:

“If the Church ever gets the revelation that we are the Body of Christ, we’ll rise up and do the works of Christ! Until now, we’ve been doing them only limitedly.

When we realize that the authority that belongs to Christ also belongs to individual members of the Body of Christ and is available to us, our lives will be revolutionized!”

Notice the fundamental assumptions in those statements: 1) the “revelation” that the Church is the “body of Christ” is something other than the metaphor used in Scripture. 2) the “works of Christ” are NECESSARILY something other/more than proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, feeding the hungry, clothing the destitute, visiting orphans and widows, and loving our fellow believers. 3) Christ’s authority is a right and possession that belongs to human individuals. 4) being saved by the Holy Spirit’s regenerative power through the gospel is not enough to “revolutionize” a person’s life.

I ask the reader, are those assumptions primarily and fundamentally Biblical? It is my contention that those assertions are not only UN-Biblical, but completely ANTI-Biblical.

We see this not only in Hagin’s abuse of the Ephesian passages already addressed in previous posts, but in his further abuse of passages from 1 & 2 Corinthians following the assertions quoted above.

In his book – on pages 22 & 23 – Hagin quoted 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27, and 2 Corinthians 6:14 & 15. And in his quotation of verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 12 he inserts this blasphemous interpretation/remark: “[We are Christ. He’s calling the Body, which is the Church, Christ.]” That – along with the piecemeal, “proof-texting” quotations – disqualifies Hagin from any respectable position as “Bible teacher.” However, to further help the reader, let us examine those texts in context.

First let us remind ourselves that in 1 Corinthians Paul is writing to a group of Christians who have come out of utterly pagan religious systems that had them doing all manner of bizarre and evil things as part of their regular “worship” – and so Paul must write to them to correct them where they have reasoned that they could hold on to some of their old ways of public “worship” in the Church that they are now a part of. By what modern translators have sectioned as chapter 12 of the letter, Paul has begun to move into instruction on “spiritual gifts” under the broader category of the unity of the Church. And it is within this category of “manifestations of the Spirit for the common good” (v 7) – under the broader scope of the unity of God’s people because of their being “empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills.” (v 11) – that Paul introduces this metaphor of the children of God being made “one body” in and under Christ.

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the war should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together…” 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (ESV)

NOTE: The reader is welcome and encouraged to continue to follow Paul’s teaching and trail of thought beyond what I have quoted – but for the sake of brevity, I shall stop here and continue my critique of Hagin’s erroneous reading of the text.

As we read the entirety of Paul’s thoughts and follow his instruction we find less and less ground to come to Hagin’s conclusions that this metaphor puts the believer on par with or in the position of Christ himself. Paul’s entire point in using the metaphor of a body is to at once point out believers’ unity and diversity as a corporate group graciously saved and built by God for His own pleasure and glory.

As for the passage Hagin quotes from 2 Corinthians 6 (verses 14 & 15) – I see very little relevance to Paul’s metaphor in the first Epistle, except that Paul is emphasizing again that God has built a temple/people for Himself – and He has made it holy and is sanctifying it for His own pleasure and glory.

After quoting these passages out of context and seeming to completely miss the point(s) – or deliberately twisting their meaning – Hagin doubles down on his man-made “revelation.”

“First Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” We are one with Christ. We are Christ. We are seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. All things have been put under our feet.” – Kenneth Hagin, “The Believer’s Authority” (page 23)

I would submit to the reader that the interpretation given of the text used in the quotation above is utter – damnably heretical – blasphemy.

Here is the text in context:

“”All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” – and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (ESV)

First, the reader will note that everything in the context of this passage makes it completely impossible to interpret any of it in a strictly “literal” manner – to do so would be to deny fundamental facts of the reality of how God constructed the physical universe. Second, again the reader will notice that the future tense of verse 14 implies that our true union with Christ will not come until we die or the Judgement.

Once again, an honest reading of the text that seeks the author’s intent devastates Hagin’s assertions – and, in this case, placed his ideas in the realm of blasphemy against the supremacy and uniqueness of Christ.

Nowhere do the Biblical authors imply – let alone explicitly teach – that the world ruling, creation upholding, divinely innate authority of Yahweh (Matthew 28:18, Ephesians 1:20-23, etc.) is available to, shared by, or invested in the believer in Christ Jesus. Though I cannot see into the hearts of men, I would be willing to argue that anyone who says otherwise is either a deceived and/or delusional heretic, a liar and a charlatan, or a demon possessed individual.

The statements of Kenneth Hagin following his blaspheming on page 23, though making it possible to hope he didn’t mean what he said, further display his confusion on other key doctrines of the faith… but considering the current length of this post – and the “random tangent” nature of how Hagin closed his chapter – I’ll pause here…


First Thessalonians 1

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 1 (ESV)

Side NOTE: The background for the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, from Scripture, seems to be in Acts 17:1-9. And based upon that portion of Acts, and Paul’s usage of the plural in the last sentence of verse 5 (and some brief internet searches) it seems that “Silvanus” named above may very likely be “Silas” from the book of Acts. As I do not yet read the original Greek fluently, I’ll leave that observation there for what it is.

It is interesting how Paul is always about thanking God for the saints whom he knows and knows of. And it is encouraging and/or useful (I think) that his thankfulness often stems from a very practical/personal interaction element of how he came to know or be with the group his Epistle is written to. In the case of the Thessalonians he remembers broadly their “work of faith,” “labor of love,” and “steadfastness of hope in Jesus Christ.” And from the account given to us in Acts 17, these aspects of the Thessalonians may be all the more intense for Paul due to the relatively small group that were initially saved there and subsequently persecuted by the Jews.

The second thing that jumps out at me in the beginning of this Epistle is Paul’s persistent consistency in using language that puts the impetus on God in the matter of salvation. Although he does not go into the depth he did in the Epistle to the Ephesians, it is undeniable that Paul believes God chose the particular Thessalonians who believed.

Now, my soteriologically synergistic brethren may be a little agitated at such an observation, however, verse 4 is quite clear. Paul thanks God for the Church at Thessalonica because he knows that they, being loved by God, were chosen by God. And Paul knows this for one reason that is threefold; because the gospel came to them “in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”

It seems to me that Paul is using Hebrew parallelism in describing his assurance about God’s choosing and saving the Thessalonians – for where does the “power” of the gospel come from but the working of the Spirit to “fully convict” those whom God has chosen for salvation?

And then Paul reminds his readers of “what kind of men” he and Silvanus “proved to be” among them for their sake. It seems here in the latter half of verse 5 that Paul inserts the beginnings of what is an underlying theme of both the Epistles that he wrote to the Thessalonians; and that is something of a Christian “work ethic” or “code of conduct” – if you will. Though this only becomes blatant in 2 Thessalonians (some of them apparently having missed that point) – I do not think it a stretch to see a little of that reasoning in the things that Paul will bring up later in this Epistle.

However, the primary and actual point of Paul mentioning what kind of men he and his companion proved to be was to continue to commend the Thessalonians – and further the list of things he is thanking and “remembering” before God – for their having been imitators of them “and the Lord.”

And in what way does Paul describe them as imitators of Christ? In their receiving the gospel in “much affliction,” being granted joy by the Holy Spirit because of that word and in spite of the affliction – and in so doing being made an example to other believers in nearby regions. And not only a living example, but proclaimers of the gospel of Christ – evidenced from Paul having heard that their “faith in God has gone forth everywhere,” (verse 8).

And subsequently Paul thanks God and encouraged the Thessalonians by including verses 9 and 10. Making it a perfect transition into the underlying themes of both Epistles to the Thessalonians – that of Christian living and the Eschaton.

It will be interesting to see – as we pick up “chapter 2” – how Paul continues with this personal address as he also weaves in teaching and recollections of imitation-worthy examples for how we as Christians should act and think…

For now, I encourage the reader to walk through the entirety of the Epistle in their own private study, and hope my observations have been at least interesting, if not entirely “helpful.”