Shall We Write Off Kenneth E Hagin? Dave Hunt? How about E W Kenyon?, Part 5
by Karl Kemp
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We continue with the discussion at the end of Part 4 here in Part 5.
I believe the things Hagin says in chapters 1-7 of this book ("What to Do When Faith Seems Weak and Victory Lost") and in chapter 9 to the end of the book show that he understood that God is the One who heals us, etc., but he confuses the issue by the things he says here in chapter 8, and sometimes Christians (or those who aren't genuine Christians) whose faith is not firmly grounded in God and His Word, latch onto misstatements and try to build their lives on them. As I mentioned, some of the things Hagin said here in chapter 8 were probably borrowed from somebody else, probably Kenyon. They don't fit well with the thrust of Hagin's teaching on faith throughout his lengthy ministry.
Well, didn't Jesus tell the woman who was healed when she touched His garment that her faith had made her well (Mark 5:34)? Yes, but what did He mean? The context shows that she was healed by receiving/appropriating by faith the healing power with which Jesus was anointed by God the Father (Acts 10:38). (And healing power like that isn't manifested apart from the involvement of God, who is actively involved in every aspect of our lives and ministries.) Her faith did not create the healing! And God the Father and His Son must receive all the glory. Again, it makes a very big difference how we think about these things in our hearts. It is all too easy to miss the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches, and Satan is always eager to help us misinterpret God's Word. For one thing, we need to humble ourselves before God and before one another.
We haven't quite finished with chapter 8 of Hagin's book "What to Do When Faith Seems Weak & Victory Lost." On page 108 Hagin quotes Rom. 10:9, 10 from the KJV and comments on these words. (Romans chapters 9-11 are discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site.) I'll quote Rom. 10:10 from the KJV (in the form which Hagin used), "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and WITH THE MOUTH CONFESSION is made unto salvation." I'll quote part of what Hagin said here (on pages 108, 109), "It is his confession that brings it [salvation] into being. [[Hagin made it clear here that what we believe in our heart is based on what the Bible says, and he understands that God saves us, but it is confusing (and wrong) to say that our confession brings salvation into being. I believe it would be better to translate the last words of Rom. 10:10 "and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation," with the NASB. "Resulting in" is an effective way to translate the Greek preposition "eis" that is used here. Our believing and confessing the gospel is necessary, but God is the One who "brings our salvation into being," not our believing/having faith in God and His gospel, or our confessing it. As I have mentioned, it makes a big difference how we think about these things.]] ... God is a faith God. We are faith children. ... Count the thing done that you have asked. [[Note that Hagin mentioned asking (God). As long as we remember that we are asking God (God Who answers prayer; God Who hears us when we [in Jesus name, before Him] command a mountain to be removed and be cast into the sea and Who moves mountains that need to be moved; God Who creates; God Who saves; etc.) and give Him all the glory, we will maintain the right (Biblical) perspective.]] Follow in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, who followed in the steps of the faith of God. [As we have discussed the Bible doesn't speak of God's having faith.] Call those things that be not as though they were." Abraham had faith in God, which included knowing that God would bring to pass all that He had promised He would bring to pass. Abraham didn't have any wrong ideas (like some people in the faith movement do) about his ability to change things through his faith/confession like God changes things.
As it has often been pointed out, some Charismatics are weak in their understanding of the Bible (for one thing, it's easy to put the emphasis on experiences and being "spiritual"; and some disdain the need to really study the Bible verse-by-verse, in context), and there is a lot of sloppy thinking. (That problem isn't limited to Charismatics,) I have always appreciated hearing Hagin say that he agreed with Smith Wigglesworth, who was mightily used by God in miracles, etc., who insisted that we must exalt the Word of God above our experiences that take place through the Spirit of God. For one thing, if we don't put the emphasis on God's Word, we may well be led astray by doctrines, prophecies, miracles, etc. that have come from the kingdom of evil. I have heard Hagin say many times that Christian ministries must be based first and foremost on the Word of God, not on gifts of the Spirit. He said he saw many ministers eventually fail because they tried to build their ministries on the gifts of the Spirit.
I have heard some faith teachers go far with wrong ideas about faith, ideas that line up better with what the occult teaches about faith. Hunt is right, if our faith is based on a law that will work for anybody, then, for one thing, God is left out of the equation. He would be a bystander, and He wouldn't be glorified for the things that take place, as He must be glorified. Also, as Hunt rightly says, our faith must be in God and His Word. Faith isn't a force we use, and we don't create things by faith, or move mountains by faith. God is the Creator; He moves mountains; and He must receive all the glory. We aren't little gods, but we do have the great privilege to be born-again sons of God, who will reign with Him, starting when we are glorified at the end of this age.
If we have an occult faith, the power that brings the results will be Satan's power. We don't want those results! I am convinced that sincere Christians can stray from biblical reality and get involved with Satan's kingdom of darkness, and it isn't all that difficult to do. For one thing, we have been warned to test those who are ministering among us and the Spirit, or spirits, that are anointing (speaking and working through) them. First, we must test what they are saying against God's Word. We must also determine whether they are living in line with God's Word, in His righteousness and holiness. When Christian ministers aren't living right before God, which includes believing and living in line with the balanced truth of what His Word teaches, it can open the door for Satan to work through them, very much including doctrines of demons and miracles caused by demons, and he and his gigantic number of helpers are willing to "help" all that they can.
As I mentioned, I started following Kenneth Hagin's ministry in the spring of 1966, and for many years I read essentially everything he wrote. That includes the lessons he sent out before he started publishing books. I went to quite a few of his meetings (in greater St. Louis and in Tulsa) and listened to many audio recordings of his teachings. His teaching blessed me in many ways: It encouraged me to press on in faith and to resist the evil one; I learned a lot about demons and spiritual warfare through his ministry. And it encouraged me that I could walk with the victory over sin and demons. It isn't good enough to trust God to make all things work together for good while we aren't doing the things He requires of us, which includes walking in faith and resisting the evil one. Sometimes we must step out in faith, take some initiative in faith in line with the Word of God; faith is active, and it involves more than passively trusting God. Hagin's teaching also encouraged me that I could really cast my cares upon God because He cares for me (1 Pet. 5:7); etc.
Do I believe that the visions and revelations Hagin says he received from God were from God and actually happened? For the most part, at least, Yes, I do! I am not saying, however, that I can endorse every single thing that Hagin says that God has revealed to him, or every detail, in the accounts of the visions he shares. I agree with everything that God revealed to Hagin, but that is different than agreeing with everything that is said in Hagin's accounts of what God revealed. For one thing, different accounts of the same vision sometimes differ on details, and quotations of things Jesus said are not always word for word quotations.
There are a few places that I know of where Hagin spoke of things that he supposedly received from Jesus by revelation (typically dealing with issues that are not foundational issues of Christianity; Hagin didn't learn that Jesus died spiritually by a revelation from God, for example) where I have to disagree with what he said. I believe that he has misunderstood, or that his memory was faulty, or that his own ideas (or the ideas of others) got involved in recounting the vision. These things can happen when you are giving accounts of things that happened fifteen, or twenty, or thirty years ago. Things get more complicated with many of Hagin's writings because many of them were taken from audio recordings of his earlier teaching/preaching, and editors can introduce errors too. Also (as I discuss other places in this paper), Hagin frequently quoted, or borrowed heavily, from others when he was teaching/preaching without mentioning that he was quoting, or borrowing heavily, from others.
I'll give two examples from Hagin's account of the vision that took place in December, 1952 that is recorded in chapter 4 of his "I believe in Visions" (1972), where I believe he made a mistake, one way, or another. ((The same vision is described, for one place, in Hagin's "Demons and How to Deal with Them," Vol. 2 (1968). That account, which was published some four years before "I Believe in Visions," is quite condensed compared with the account in "I Believe in Visions." And I have audio recordings of Hagin's teaching at a church in 1963 where he dealt with this vision.)) On pages 69-71 Hagin shares what Jesus told him about the four divisions of evil spirits that the apostle Paul listed in Eph. 6:12 (NASB), "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers ["principalities" (KJV)], against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly places."
Hagin said the Lord told him that "the highest spirits with which you have to deal are the rulers of the darkness of this world." And, "It is always one of these rulers of the darkness of this world that possesses a person. They rule not only over those who are within the darkness of this world, but they also tell the principalities what to do. Then the principalities rule over the powers and tell them what to do. The lowest type of demons [which would have to be the "powers," according to this account] have very little to do. They do very little thinking of their own, and are told what to do." I believe that this account got messed up, one way, or another.
The Greek noun that was translated "powers" by the KJV and NASB is the noun that is almost always translated "authority" or "authorities" by the NASB. The NIV translates "authorities" in Eph. 6:12. I am confident that it is not true that the "authorities" "have very little to do" and "do very little thinking of their own, and are told what to do." Hagin could have picked up this faulty "information" from some other books he was reading; he read a lot.
In the audio recordings from 1963 Hagin says that the Lord told him that rulers of the darkness of the world rule over the powers (not over the principalities, as in the account in "I Believe in Visions"), who in turn rule over the principalities, who do very little thinking for themselves. As I mentioned, it isn't reasonable to speak of the powers ("authorities') having "very little to do" and that they "do very little thinking on their own, and are told what to do." The same thing is true for the "principalities" (translated "rulers" in the NASB, which is a good translation). In Eph. 3:10, for example, the apostle Paul mentioned "the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places," using the same Greek nouns translated "rulers" and "powers" in Eph. 6:12 (NASB).
When you consider that that the demon-possessed man from Gadara that Jesus delivered had a very large number of demons dwelling in him (Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39), it is reasonable to think that most of the demons (or all of them, except the one who possessed him) could have been lower level spirits subordinate to the rulers/principalities, or something like that. Some two thousand swine were drowned (Mark 5:13). A Roman legion could contain as many as six thousand soldiers. I tend to agree with the commentators who say "legion" was used in Mark 5:9 and Luke 8:30 in a figurative sense of a large number, probably at least a few hundred, if not more.
The second example is more troublesome. Hagin tells how at one point in this vision where the Lord Jesus was teaching him about the devil and demons and anointing him to begin to minister more effectively in this area, a demon came and put a cloud between the Lord Jesus and Hagin and began to make a noise so that Hagin could no longer see the Lord or understand what He was saying. Hagin was surprised that the Lord didn't stop the spirit, and he eventually commanded the spirit, in the name of Jesus, to stop his interference and to leave the premises, which it did.
Hagin says the Lord knew what he was thinking and told him that if he hadn't used his authority to stop that demon, He couldn't have. I realize that there are some things that God can't do for us (for example, He doesn't resist temptation for us or keep us from listening to demons or the people who speak for them, and the New Testament shows that we have been given the assignment and the authority to cast out demons), so I wouldn't have much of a problem, if any problem, if this was all that was said in Hagin's account. ((I had a footnote: One of the most important things I have learned through Hagin's ministry is that demons are working against us on a rather consistent basis (trying to keep us from becoming Christians in the first place; doing everything they can do to try to keep us from knowing and walking in the fullness of what God has provided for us in new-covenant salvation, especially trying to keep us in bondage to sin and to keep us from the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches; they are always trying to keep us as ineffective as possible in the kingdom of God, especially ministers, and if possible to get us back into his kingdom of darkness), and the victory over demons is far from being automatic, and it isn't always easy. God requires us to do our part in achieving and maintaining the full victory over sin and demons by grace through faith. This victory is not something God can just give us apart from our continuous cooperation with His Word and His Spirit, which includes using the authority we have been given, through an active faith, faith in God and His Word.)) However, Hagin went on to say that Jesus told him that we shouldn't pray for God to do anything about the devil, because He isn't going to do anything more about the devil until He binds him at the beginning of the millennium. And Hagin says that Jesus told him that He delegated the "all authority" (Matt. 28:18) that had been given to Him on the earth to the church, and He supposedly told Hagin, "I can only work through the church [not apart from the church], for I am the head of the church."
I have heard Hagin say things like you can see a book with your head, but you can't pick it up without the rest of your body, and in the same way, the Lord is dependent on the church for Him to do things on the earth. I believe that is an unfortunate statement. (It is true that God does a lot through His people on the earth, but I believe it goes way too far to infer that He can't do anything on the earth without us.) Significantly, when the New Testament speaks of the Lord Jesus being the "head" of the church, it is using the word "head" in a figurative sense, meaning that He has authority over the church (see 1 Cor. 11:3, for example). We are not supposed to think of a physical human body with Jesus being the "head" of the body and us being the rest of the body.
Hagin told Jesus that He couldn't accept the idea that He couldn't have dealt with that demon (and we have to include the idea that God isn't going to do anything more about the devil until the beginning of the millennium) and asked Him to prove that by the New Testament. He says the Lord gave him Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8; and Eph. 4:7. These passages effectively demonstrate that there are some things that we must do by the enabling grace of God in Christ, but they don't begin to demonstrate that everything that the Lord Jesus does on the earth throughout this age must be done through the church.
We have been informed in this account that God the Father isn't going to do anything more about the devil until the beginning of the millennium (for one thing, He is going to send Michael to cast the devil and the evil angels down to the earth at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which will take place, I believe, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week), but at the end of this chapter we are informed that the Lord Jesus told Hagin that, although we have the assignment and authority to deal with the first three categories of evil spirits of Eph. 6:12, He will take care of the "wicked spirits in the heavenlies," which was the fourth category of evil spirits mentioned in Eph. 6:12, and I trust we can agree that Jesus will not deal with those evil spirits independently of God the Father, so this statement, by itself, is sufficient to show that it isn't true that God isn't going to do anything more about the devil until the beginning of the millennium.
Although this account ended up in a confused state, one way, or another, from everything I know about Hagin, he understood how dependent we are on God's direct involvement in our lives if we are going to be faithful to Him and walk with the victory over sin and the kingdom of Satan. In other words, some of the things stated in this account are inconsistent with what Hagin believed and how he lived his life and ministered. Hagin knew that God exercises His authority on the earth to limit what the devil and his hosts are permitted to do, including his limiting our being tempted beyond what we are able to endure (1 Cor. 10:13). We Christians have the authority on the earth to be what God requires us to be and to do the things He requires us to do (in accordance with His Word), but our authority over Satan is clearly rather limited, and the authority and victory we do have is dependent on our continued relationship with God by the indwelling Spirit of life, wisdom, righteousness, and holiness, and through prayer. We haven't been given the authority to take over the earth before the Lord Jesus returns, for example, as some teach. See my paper "Some Comments on 'Prophetic Scriptures Yet to Be Fulfilled' by Bill Hamon and Acts 3:19-21 with Mal. 4:5, 6; Matt. 17:11; Rev. 10:7; and 11:15."
Hagin understood, for example, that he was totally dependent on God's direct involvement in distributing and then manifesting gifts of the Spirit at the appropriate time that enabled him to be effective in spiritual warfare. (Hagin frequently mentioned that the gifts of the Spirit operate in accordance with the will of God, which includes His timing. Many of our prayers (prayers which God answers, as He is directly involved with our entire lives and ministries) are necessarily directly or indirectly against the devil, who does everything he can to frustrate God's plans for what is taking place on the earth, including all of the things pertaining to our lives and ministries.
I don't suppose Hagin stopped to think about the seriousness of communicating the ideas that God is not going to do anything about the devil until the end of this age and that the Lord Jesus can only work on the earth through the church. Hagin was probably being influenced by teaching he had received from others, perhaps mostly from Kenyon. Hagin had significant respect for Kenyon's revelation knowledge.
It is instructive to read what Kenyon said on pages 45-47 of "Two Kinds of Righteousness" (1965) about the extent of our authority on the earth. (This goes along with what Kenyon frequently said about the super-exalted status we have as born-again Christians, which I demonstrate in this paper. It also goes with his idea of the super-exalted status that Adam had before the fall, which I demonstrate in this paper.) I'll include some excerpts: "He [Jesus] said 'In my name, ye shall cast out demons.' When he declared that, He let us into the secret that we were to be masters of Satan. For if we can cast out one demon, we can cast out all demons. If we have dominion over the Adversary, we have dominion over all his works. ...
When He said, 'All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth,' - that was for the church, that was for this dispensation. THAT AUTHORITY WAS NOT FOR JESUS BUT FOR US [my emphasis]. ... ...He calls us to do the things that Jesus began to do - set men free, break the bonds of Satan over men and women, heal the sick, break the power of demons over communities and nations. [It is clear that we have a role to play in doing these things, but it isn't biblical to think of us doing these things without the continuous and active involvement of God, or to think of God's being limited to doing everything on the earth through us, the church.] ...
When Jesus said, 'All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and use this authority. I will give you the legal right to use my Name. I will give you the Power of Attorney.' He bids us come boldly to the throne room, to the throne of grace and make our requests known. [This last sentence helps bring some balance to this picture that significantly overstates the authority we have been given.] ... HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER OUR FEET [my emphasis]. He gave Jesus, our Lord, to be the Head over all the governments of the world. [The Lord Jesus isn't going to take over the governments of the world until the Father sends Him back to judge the world (and to do some other things) at the end of this age (e.g., Rev. 11:15-18).] WE ARE TO FUNCTION AS RULERS THAT DOMINATE SPIRITUAL FORCES AND REIGN AS KINGS NOW IN JESUS CHRIST [my emphasis]. Understand that he who can rule spiritual forces can also rule political conditions. The church should absolutely dominate the political elements of the world for the benefit of the human race. ... Let us take OUR LIMITLESS PRIVILEGES AND ACT THE PART OF GOD'S OWN RULERS IN THIS WORLD OF DARKNESS AND HATRED AND SELFISHNESS [my emphasis]." Let us do everything that we can do IN THE WILL OF GOD!
I'll also include a few brief excerpts from Kenyon's "In His Presence" (1944) that further demonstrate Kenyon's over exalted concept of our role in the things that take place on the earth: "You become His 'Mike [microphone].' He speaks through you. You are His transmitter, His willing instrument through which His will can be done. What He wishes done is done. YOU SEE THAT IT IS CARRIED OUT. He can cast out demons through your lips now. ... YOU HAVE HIS 'ALL AUTHORITY' THAT WAS GIVEN TO HIM AFTER HE AROSE FROM THE DEAD. ... I hardly dare give you the next sentence: His Word in your lips makes you a superman. YOU HAVE ALL AUTHORITY OVER THE POWER OF THE ENEMY. ... YOU ARE MASTER OF THE LAWS OF NATURE THAT WOULD HURT AND HINDER. YOU STAND QUIET IN THE PRESENCE OF HUMANITY'S NEEDS KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE AUTHORITY TO OPEN THE FLOOD GATES OF GRACE [my capitalization for emphasis], of life and love and let them pour over the wounded broken-hearted men and women struggling in life's uneven light" (pages 187, 188).
And I'll include an excerpt from page 22 of Kenyon's "In His Presence" that demonstrates his super-exalted concept of our status as born again Christians, with our recreated spirits. (I have several similar excerpts in this paper.) "Let me state it again: Jesus in His earth walk as the Incarnate Son of God, beginning with His baptism, lived exactly as every child of God should live today [As I demonstrate in this paper, Kenyon taught that we are incarnate sons of God too, which isn't true. The Spirit of God dwelling in us is not the same thing as God the Son becoming flesh (John 1:14) through the virgin birth.] God wasn't any more His Father that He is ours. He said, 'The Father loveth you even as He loves me.' [Jesus said that the Father loves us even as He loves Jesus in John 17:23, but that doesn't give us a relationship with God the Father equivalent to the relationship that the Eternal Son of God has with the Father, far from it, but we do have a glorious relationship with the Father through God the Son.] He was the Son of God. You are a son of God. He was Deity. You are a partaker of the Divine Nature, that is Deity. [[We are partakers of the divine nature through being united with the Lord Jesus and by the indwelling Spirit of God (2 Pet. 1:3, 4), but we don't become deity/divine, and there is a gigantic difference between the Lord Jesus and us, and there will still be a gigantic difference between the Lord Jesus and us even after we are glorified and begin to reign with Him. He is deity (with God the Father and God the Spirit); we will worship Him forever.]] He had the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him. You have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. The difference is that Jesus gave the Holy Spirit right of way in a sense of which we have never yet learned. He took advantage of the God-life within Him in a way that we have never yet been able to take advantage of the God-life within us. ...."
It is true that grace has been provided for us to be righteous and holy and to accomplish what God the Father wants us to accomplish, which is a key point that Kenyon was making here, but we must be careful to understand, and to emphasize, the gigantic difference between God the Son, who is deity, and us adopted (born-again) sons of God who are not, and never will be, deity/divine. It is true that Jesus said that we would do greater works than He did, because He was going to return to the Father (after He had overthrown sin, Satan, and spiritual death through His all-important atoning death and resurrection). For one super-important thing, we (under God) can offer people (all who will repent and submit to God, His Son, and the gospel in faith) the new birth (and the indwelling Holy Spirit of God) and new-covenant salvation, things that were not yet available when Jesus ministered on the earth.
We will continue with this study in Part 6.
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