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The Word-Faith Movement

Word-Faith Teachings
About God the Son

Edited and expanded extracts from the book by Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald,
Alpha - the Unofficial Guide: Church, (2005), Part Four, Chapter 20


Word-Faith: Index of Articles

 

 

This article looks at some of the teachings of Word-Faith about the Lord Jesus Christ, and they compare with what the Bible says...

 

A Created Man

Word-Faith teachers promote the idea that the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being:

"This body [i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ] walking here is a product of the faith of God, that God has injected in His Word and put it in the earth, piece by piece, by piece.  He's building the express image of Himself...  The faith it took to make fingers was loosed.  The faith that it took to make arms was loosed in the earth.  And now God had a way to hover over a little woman by the name of Mary.  And there was born of that virgin woman a product of God.  Once again, something has happened from the insides of God.  Listen to me carefully here.  Here's where we're going to depart from ordinary church.  Man, listen, if you all wanted to have just ordinary church service you're in the wrong spot.  Now you see God is injecting His Word into the earth to produce this Jesus..." [Kenneth Copeland, The Image of God in You III, (1989), audiotape #01-1403, side 2],

"God spoke it.  God transmitted that image to Mary.  She received the image inside of her ... The embryo that was in Mary's womb was nothing more than the Word of God" [Charles Capps, Dynamics of Faith & Confession, (1987), p.86].

These teachers are saying that just as God's 'faith-filled' words supposedly created the universe, so it was that God also spoke Christ into being in Mary's womb.  But this thinking is to misunderstand the Biblical meaning of the "Word of God".  The Word of God - the Lord Jesus Christ - is not the 'positive confession' of God the Father, but is the Written Word made flesh.

Compare the Word-Faith quotes above with the following scripture from the Gospel of John, and with the Lord's own words:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him [not "it"!]; and without Him was not anything made that was made" [John 1:1-3),

"Verily, verily, I say unto you., Before Abraham was, I Am" (John 8:58).

Compare them also with the fact that Christ appeared to men centuries before His incarnation (Exodus 3:2-6;  Joshua 5:13-15;  Daniel 3:25).

 

The Deity of the Lord Jesus

"[G]od has to have a man that is like that first one [Adam].  It's got to be a man.  He's got to be all man.  He cannot be a God and come storming in here with attributes and dignities that are not common to man.  He can't do that.  It's not legal" [Kenneth Copeland, The Incarnation, (1985), audiotape #01-0402, side 1, emphasis in original].

Kenneth Copeland teaches that Christ did not claim to be God.  He even quotes 'Jesus' as telling him this very thing:

"They crucified Me for claiming that I was God.  But I didn't claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me" [Kenneth Copeland, 'Take Time to Pray', Believer's Voice of Victory, Vol 15, No 2, (Feb 1987), p.9].

Yet in truth, the Lord was regularly attacked by His own countrymen for claiming He was God.  Throughout the Gospel of John, Christ used Hebrew idioms to announce His Deity:

"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He ... [said] that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God" (John 5:18),

"I and my father are one.  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him ... saying ... We stone thee ... because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God" (John 10:30-33),

"Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am [He]" (John 13:19),

"Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?  They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus saith unto them, I am [He]" (John 18:4-8).

When Christ said "I AM" (e.g. in John 13:19 and 18:4-8). He was using the covenant name of Jehovah.

[NOTE: the word "he" in these passages is in italics in the King James Bible, which indicates that it did not appear in the original Greek autographs.  For ease of reading in the English version of the Bible, the translators of the KJB on occasions added in extra words, but always italicised them so that the reader would know those words were additions included by the translators, and not part of the text of the original Greek manuscripts.  This is the case here.]

The phrases 'Son of man' and 'Son of David' were both epithets for the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God.  As Christ pointed out in Mark 12:36-37, the Messiah is also God:

"And Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, the LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.  David therefore himself called Him lord; and whence is he then his son?" (Mark 12:35-37).

 

Jesus Took Satan's Nature

Perhaps the most horrific teaching from the Word-Faith movement is that the Lord Jesus became a satanic being on the cross:

"Spiritual death means something more than separation from God.  Spiritual death also means having Satan's nature ... Jesus tasted death - spiritual death - for every man" [Kenneth Hagin, The Name of Jesus, (1981), p.31, emphasis in original],

"He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit.  And at the moment that He did so, He cried, 'My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?'  You don't know what happened at the cross.  Why do you think Moses, upon instruction of God, raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb?  That used to bug me.  I said, 'Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there - the sign of Satan?  Why didn't you put a lamb on that pole?'  And the Lord said, 'Because it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.'  He said, 'I accepted , in My own spirit, spiritual death'." [Kenneth Copeland, What Happened From the Cross to the Throne?, (1990), audiotape #02-0017, side 2],

"...the serpent is a symbol of Satan.  Jesus Christ knew the only way He would stop Satan is by becoming one in nature with him ... He did not take my sin; He became my sin ... It was sin that made Satan.  Jesus said, 'I'll be sin!" ... I'll be the totality of it!' ... Think about this: He became flesh, that flesh might become like Him.  He became death, so dying man can live.  He became sin, so sinners can be righteous in Him.  He became one with the nature of Satan, so all those who had the nature of Satan can partake of the nature of God" [Benny Hinn, The Person of Jesus, Orlando Christian Centre's Sunday Morning Service, (2 December 1990), emphases in original].

Each of the above quotes points to the brass serpent that Moses lifted up on the pole in Numbers 21:

"And the people spake against God, and against Moses ... And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.  And Moses prayed for the people.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived" (Numbers 21:4-9).

As is obvious from this passage, what Moses created and lifted up was not a real serpent; it was made of brass.  It looked like a serpent on the outside, in the same way that Christ on the cross looked like a cursed being to the onlookers, but the serpent (like Christ) had no venom, no poison.  It did not have the 'nature' of a serpent even as Christ didn't.

The spotless Lamb of God remained holy to the Lord even after death - just as any sacrifice for sin did under the law:

"And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a trespass offering ... it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy" (Leviticus 7:5-6),

"This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.  In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; ... it shall be most holy unto thee" (Numbers 18:9-10).

Christ was only "made sin" in the sense that He took upon Himself the burden, the punishment, for our sins:

"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; ... All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:5-6),

"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live by His righteousness" (1 Peter 2:24).

He was made the offering for sin, not the sin itself.

 

Jesus Died Spiritually

The effect of this teaching that Christ became "the very essence of sin" [Paul Billheimer, Destined For the Throne, (1988), pp.83-84] is that demons "dragged Him down to the very pit of Hell itself" [Frederick K.C. Price, Ever Increasing Faith Messenger, (June 1980), p.7], where they tortured Him for three days:

"He [Jesus] allowed the devil to drag Him into the depths of hell.  He allowed Himself to come under Satan's control.  Every demon in hell came down on Him to annihilate Him.  They tortured Him beyond anything anybody had ever conceived.  For three days He suffered everything there is to suffer" [Kenneth Copeland, 'The Price Of It All', Believer's Voice of Victory, Vol 19, No 9, (Sept 1991), p.3],

"And I'm telling you Jesus is in the middle of that pit.  He's suffering all that there is to suffer, there is no suffering left apart from Him.  His emaciated, little wormy spirit is down in the bottom of that thing and the devil thinks he's got Him destroyed.  But, all of a sudden God started talking" [Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory, programme on TBN, (21 April 1991)].

According the the Word-Faith teachers, the Lord Jesus died spiritually and was then begotten or reborn (i.e. born again) in Hell:

"Jesus had to go through that same spiritual death in order to pay the price.  Now it wasn't the physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin, because if it had have been, any prophet of God that had died for the last couple of thousand years before that could have paid the price.  It wasn't physical death - anybody could do that" [Kenneth Copeland, What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost, (No Date), audiotape #02-0022],

"That Word of the living God went down into the pit of destruction and charged the spirit of Jesus with resurrection power!  Suddenly His twisted, death-wracked spirit began to fill out and come back to life.  He began to look like something the devil had never seen before.  He was literally being reborn before the devil's very eyes ... Jesus was born again - the first-born from the dead" [Kenneth Copeland, 'The Price Of It All', Believer's Voice of Victory, Vol 19, No 9, (Sept 1991), pp.4-6].

But this all requires no small amount of Scripture-twisting, not least to explain away just about every word the Lord said on the cross - to the malefactor bedside Him, to His Father, and to all of us down the ages:

"Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43),

"Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34), and "into Thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46),

"It is finished" (John 19:30).

Not only does this Word-Faith teaching deny that it was Christ's body and blood and thus His physical death that paid the price for our sins:

"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ" (Romans 7:4a),

"For Christ sent me ... to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words; lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:17-18),

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13),

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against is ... nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:14-15),

...but it also denies these words of the Lord Jesus Himself:

"I have power to lay down my life and I have power to take it up again" (John 10:18).

The Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, cannot die spiritually: He is:

"...the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

 

Elizabeth McDonald
March 2016

 

 

 

 

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