Shall We Write Off Kenneth E Hagin? Dave Hunt? How About E W Kenyon?, Part 7
by Karl Kemp
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We continue here in Part 7 where we stopped at the end of Part 6.
I'll quote the most controversial part of this chapter (the first chapter of Hagin's mini-book "Having Faith in Your Faith"; the part that Hunt was interested in on his page 122); Hagin was referring to Mark 11:12-14, 20-23, which he quoted here (which I won't quote): "Notice Jesus said 'Have faith in God.' The literal meaning of that phrase is 'Have the faith of God.' [As we have discussed, "Have faith in God" is the literal meaning here.] Jesus used the fig tree to demonstrate that He had that God-kind of faith [Rather, He had faith in God the Father], then He said to the disciples - and to us - 'You have that kind of faith.' [He exhorted them to have faith in God, like the faith He manifested.]
He [Jesus] went on to say in the next verse, 'For...whosoever...shall say...and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith' (v. 23). [[It is important that we keep these words in the context in which Jesus spoke them. He was speaking of people who have faith in the God of the Bible (verse 22), people who are looking to God to answer the requests made to Him, in faith (verse 24), people who live in line with His commandments, very much including the commandment to forgive (verse 25).]]
Jesus said He had the God-kind of faith [No! He had faith in God!]; He encouraged His disciples to exercise that kind of faith [to exercise faith in God who moves mountains (mountains that need to be removed in accordance with the will of God), yes]; and He said [in verse 23] that 'whosoever' could do it.
Why did he say 'whosoever'? Why didn't He say, 'If any of My disciples say it, or 'If some of My followers say it'? But He said, 'whosoever.' The reason is because all men are spirit beings. [[This short paragraph doesn't sound like Hagin at all. (I have noticed that Kenyon emphasizes the point that all people are spirit beings, but Kenyon typically puts all the emphasis on the fact that we must be born again before we can do much through our creative faith. I'll comment further on this point later in this paper.) Anyway, the fact that all people are spirit beings doesn't mean much. It's true that we aren't animals, but the angels (good and evil) and demons are spirit beings too. I'm totally sure that Jesus didn't leave any room for us to take verse 23 out of its context with verses 22-25 (and out of the greater context of everything else that He said) and to think of a faith that was not solidly grounded in God (the God of the Bible, His Father).]]
We live in a body, but we are spirit beings. (Our 'heart' is our spirit.) That is why Jesus said, 'whosoever shall say...and shall not doubt IN HIS HEART.' [It is important to know that Bible faith is of the heart. For one thing, Bible faith includes being committed to God and His Word in our hearts.]
It used to bother me when I'd see unsaved people getting results, but my church members not getting results. Then it dawned on me what the sinners were doing: They were cooperating with this law of God - the law of faith."
The sentence, "It used to bother me when I'd see unsaved people getting results, but my church members not getting results," fits Hagin OK if we limit (as I'm confident Hagin would do) what we mean by "unsaved people" to those who looking to the God of the Bible, even though they haven't become born-again Christians yet. I have heard Hagin speak of those who had not yet become born-again Christians submitting to his ministry and being healed, or receiving other answers to prayer. (See the following section of this paper that deals with Hagin's article, "The Law of Faith," for some important examples.) Many (or most) such people go on to become born-again Christians.
Hagin pointed out that some Gentiles manifested faith in the Lord Jesus and His ministry greater than the people of Israel. SIGNIFICANTLY, I DON'T BELIEVE HAGIN INTENDED THESE WORDS "THIS LAW OF GOD - THE LAW OF FAITH" TO INCLUDE ANY PEOPLE WITH OCCULT FAITH. I am quite sure that Hunt has misunderstood Hagin, but, admittedly, what Hagin said here is easy to misunderstand.
7. Now we will discuss the article, "The Law of Faith," that is included in the November, 1974 issue of "The Word of Faith" by Kenneth E. Hagin Evangelistic Ass'n. (Buddy Harrison was the editor and Billye Brim was the managing editor at that time.) Hunt referred to this article on page 64 of "Beyond Seduction," for one place.
I'll quote Hunt's sentence that led to his referring to this article. "Kenyon's concept of 'creative faith' [[Hunt referred here, in a footnote, to page 20 of Kenyon's "Two Kinds of Faith," 1942. We have already dealt with this topic (see pages 29-32 of the original version of this paper), but I'll comment briefly on what Kenyon said on page 20. He referred to Heb. 11:3 and made the mistake of thinking that that verse teaches that God created the universe by faith and that we can create by faith too. It is important to point out that Kenyon was speaking of born-again Christians being able to do these things, not unbelievers, and he put some emphasis on our doing the things that God wills for us to do, not for us to do our own thing. And the quotations above from Kenyon's "Two Kinds of Faith" demonstrate that he didn't isolate (at least he didn't always isolate; he was not consistent on this point) the supposed creative faith of Christians from God's direct involvement in the things that take place through faith.]] formed the basis for Hagin's teaching (some of which contains word-for-word repetitions of Kenyon) that anyone can develop these universal 'laws of faith' to get what he wants. Hunt then referred to Hagin's article, "The Law of Faith" to back up his statement. However, as I have mentioned, when you read all that Hagin said in this article, it doesn't back up Hunt's point that Hagin taught there is a "law of faith" that will work for anybody, including those with occult faith. For one super-important point, when Hagin goes on to illustrate (in "The Law of Faith") what he means by the "law of faith" that will work for anybody, he demonstrates that he is speaking of people who look to the God of the Bible. He is not including those who are in the occult, for example, and who have "faith," but not faith in the God of the Bible.
At the beginning of Hagin's three page article, "The Law of Faith." we are informed that this teaching was "transcribed from the first session of Rhema Bible Training Center."
I'll quote the first two paragraphs of the article. "In the spiritual realm God has put into motion certain laws, just as He has set laws in the natural realm. Those laws [like the law of gravity] in the natural realm work, don't they? It doesn't take any intervention of God to make them work. They just work. Just as sure as you get into contact with those natural laws or put them into practice, they work for you. Over in the spiritual realm, the same thing is true.
I have come to the conclusion that the law of faith is a spiritual law, that God has set in motion, and that as surely as you come into contact with it, it will work for you." Hagin goes on to quote Mark 11:22-24; Rom. 10:9-10; and Heb. 11:6. What Hagin said here (or whoever he is quoting) is wrong, and I'm not surprised that Hunt was able to read so much into what Hagin said here that I'm sure Hagin didn't intend to say.
It was a serious mistake for Hagin to speak of faith working without the "intervention of God." That idea, wherever it came from, goes against just about everything Hagin ever said, and the way he lived his Christian life. It even goes against several things Hagin said in this brief article. For one thing he quoted Heb. 11:6, which includes the words that God "IS A REWARDER [my emphasis] of them that diligently seek him [in faith]." God is actively intervening when He rewards those who seek Him. And in one of the illustrations Hagin gave in this article, he spoke of GOD BLESSING a man and said that "he received God's blessing because he honored God"; he honored Him by faith. Hagin asked the question, "How come GOD HEALS [my emphasis] in this family?" The woman who had faith that God would heal her children said, "I know GOD LOVES those little children." God's love was manifested in healing her children. Furthermore there was no idea of our creative faith, or our force of faith, etc. bringing about the blessings that were granted.
I want to emphasize the point that the Bible makes is clear that God is directly and actively involved with every aspect of our lives. Consider, for example, Prov. 3:5-8; Matt. 6:8-13, 25-33; 28:20; 10:29-31; Luke 12:22-31; John 17:23; Rom. 8:26-39; 1 Cor. 10:13; and Phil. 2:12, 13. He knows our thoughts and he hears our words (including when we pray for healing, or command a demon to leave, or command a mountain to move, etc., etc.).
For people not solidly grounded in the Christian faith, accepting what Hagin said here (speaking of a law of faith that will work for anybody, without the intervention of God, like the law of gravity) could cause great damage. By speaking of the "law of faith" working as consistently as a law like the "law of gravity," Hagin was probably trying to emphasize the point that God is generous and CONSISTENT to always help those who LOOK TO HIM in faith. Anyway, we should drop that expression (the "law of faith") along with our creative faith, our force of faith, the idea that God has faith, etc.
As we have discussed, it isn't good enough to speak of people being healed or mountains moving because of a law of faith that God set up. Nothing is to be gained, and a lot is to be lost, by removing God from the very center of what is happening through a supposed law of faith, or anything else. Faith is an attitude of the heart where we put God first (in the center of everything) and trust Him, believe Him, obey Him, and give Him all the glory. (See Hebrews chapter 11, for example, which is discussed in my "A Paper on Faith.")
It is important to see, as I demonstrate in this paper, that it goes against the whole thrust of Hagin's teaching to deny God's direct intervention in what is happening in response to our faith. The more He is removed from being directly involved in the center of our lives, as the One who meets all of our needs in response to faith (faith in Him, His Son, and His Word), the more our relationship and fellowship with Him will be diluted, the less He will be thanked, glorified, and worshipped, and the less we will receive from Him. Hagin seemed to have fellowship and communion with God on a consistent basis on a far deeper level than most Christians do: He understood that God was directly involved with all of his life and ministry. He wasn't a remote God who only interacts with us through laws He has set up.
See section 3 of this paper, "I read (with some skimming) several of Hagin's books to see how much of his teaching about faith could fit in the category of occult faith instead of Bible faith." It is very important to see that Hagin doesn't teach about a law of faith that also works for those with occult faith (instead of Bible faith in the God of the Bible), which is the most important accusation Hunt makes against Hagin's teaching on faith.
Hagin goes on throughout most of the rest of this article, "The Law of Faith," to give three illustrations that demonstrate what he means when he speaks of the law of faith working for "whomsoever." These illustrations demonstrate that when Hagin spoke of non-Christians (or Christians who are not being fully faithful to God) receiving according to God's (supposed) "law of faith," he was speaking of people who look to God (the God of the Bible and to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ); he was not including any people who have an occult faith.
In his first illustration, Hagin refers to a man who had not yet become a Christian but who attended Hagin's church with his wife and family. (He had not yet become a believer in the full sense of the word. Apparently the man's wife was a born-again Christian.) He was a contractor who had a partner who wasn't a born-again Christian either. A commercial building deal went bad for them, and they were advised to file for bankruptcy. The man and his partner decided to start paying tithes and within a month things had turned around for their business. Hagin didn't say any more about the partner, but the man who came to his church with his family went on to become a born-again Christian that year.
Hagin gave another illustration of a family that lived across the street from his church. The husband wasn't saved and the wife would only make it to church about every three months, and when she came she didn't bring their children. However, whenever their children were sick, she would always call for Hagin to come and pray for them, and they would always be healed. (They were healed by God through the healing anointing Hagin had received from God. That anointing worked by the direct involvement and intervention of God.) For one thing, she had faith (faith in the God of the Bible and faith in what the Bible says) that they would be healed. She would tell Hagin things like "I may not be walking in all the light that I have, but I know that God loves my children," and she would tell him what the Bible says about healing, etc. As I mentioned, Hagin thought in terms of God's healing the children; so did their mother and undoubtedly the children did too; Hagin did not think in terms of a "law of faith" that will work for anybody without "any intervention of God." The thought that they were healed through some impersonal "law of faith" that God had set up, without His direct involvement, was totally absent from the hearts and minds of Hagin and the mother and undoubtedly the children, and rightly so.
Hagin's third illustration dealt with a deacon of his church and his wife, who was a Sunday School teacher. When Hagin prayed for their children they never got healed. Hagin says that when he would go to their house to pray for the children he would hear things like, "Well I told my husband there's no use in your calling Brother Hagin. We are just wasting his time. We don't ever get healed. I don't know why it won't ever work for us."
So, even though Hagin mentioned a "law of faith" that will work for anybody ("whosoever" Mark 11:23 KJV) in this article, he was speaking of people who look to God (the God of the Bible), even though they may not have become born-again Christians yet, or may not be adequately living for God. He wasn't speaking of a "law of faith" in the sense Hunt understood him. Hunt wrongly (but sincerely, but we need more than sincerity) accused Hagin of including occult faith in his "law of faith," that will work for people who do not have faith in the God of the Bible. He called him a false prophet and seemingly wrote him off.
It would be better to forget God's supposed "law of faith"; the idea isn't really Biblical, and Hagin hardly ever used that terminology. (Was he quoting, or borrowing, from somebody here?) As I discuss in some detail in this paper, God saves, heals, moves mountains, etc., and He must be thanked and glorified for everything that He does. The more we would be healed by a "law of faith," which is like the "law of gravity," the more remote God would become, and the less we would feel a need to thank Him, live for Him, and glorify Him.
I know at least one reason that the "law of faith" approach appeals to some Christians. It's easier to think of some children not being healed (like with the deacon and Sunday School teacher's children that Hagin mentioned), for example, because of an impersonal "law of faith" than to speak of God's not healing them. However, what we need to do is straighten out the things we are believing and/or doing wrong and begin to walk in the full salvation that God has provided for us at a very high cost to Himself in the sacrifice of His Son and in His outpoured Spirit, in accordance with His Word, by grace through faith, for His full glory and for our full good. We glorify God to the max when we appropriate and walk in the full salvation that He has provided for us. On the other hand....
8. I'll quote a key sentence from page 119 of Hunt's "Occult Invasion" and then a similar sentence from page 64 of his "Beyond Seduction." He backs up both sentences by referring to pages 62 and 173-176 of Kenyon's "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" (Kenyon, 1945, 202 pages). Then we will discuss these references. ((This sentence by Hunt in his book "Occult Invasion" is in the same general context in which he referred to Hagin's "Having Faith in Your Faith" (which I quoted from and discussed above). And this sentence by Hunt in his book "Beyond Seduction" is in the same general context in which Hunt referred to Hagin's "Having Faith in Your Faith" and to the two articles in Hagin's "Word of Faith" magazine. We just discussed the November 1974 "Word of Faith" article, "The Law of Faith." As I mentioned, I could not find the other article with the wrong date.)):
"Kenyon also taught that man is a little god 'in God's class' and therefore can use the same faith-force that God does." (Hunt referred to pages 62 and 173-176 in Kenyon's "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" [Kenyon, 1945] in an endnote. [I had a footnote: I had purchased a 1998 edition of this book. I was able to borrow a 1945 edition of this book through the Inter-Library Loan. There wasn't any substantial difference between the 1945 and 1998 editions of this book for these pages.]) "Kenyon also taught the basic principles that make Positive Confession possible: that man is a little god 'in God's class' [Here (on page 64 of "Beyond Seduction") Hunt referred to page 62 of "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" (1945 edition) in an endnote.] and therefore can utilize the same universal forces that God does [Here Hunt referred to pages 173-176 of Kenyon's "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" in an endnote.] and which are available to Christian and non-Christian alike."
It's true that Kenyon said that "man is in the same class with God" on page 62, and that he was speaking of man as he was created by God, not limiting his words here to born-again Christians. ((I had a footnote: "It would be well to note this fact: that when God created man, He created him in His Own Image and likeness. Man belongs to the same class of being" ("Two Kinds of Life" [Kenyon's Gospel Publishing Society, 1971], page 37).)) His next words were: "He is an eternal being [he will exist forever]. He is a spirit being. He was so created that he could become a partaker of God's nature." Kenyon didn't say anything on page 62 about all people (Christian or non-Christian) being "little gods" or suggest that all people can utilize the same universal forces that God does. Kenyon took the fall of man and spiritual death very seriously. Most of his page 62 is devoted to speaking of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, which opened the door for us to be born again. I'll quote a sentence from page 14 of this same book (1945 and 1998 editions): "Now [now that the Son of God has been sacrificed for us] God can give to men [to those who submit to Him, His Son, and the gospel in faith] eternal life, His own nature."
I'll quote two sentences from page 65 and then one sentence from page 82 of "Two Kinds of Life" (1971), where Kenyon greatly overstates (as he frequently did) what it means for born-again Christians to become partakers of God's nature: "When we accept Jesus Christ we receive the same Nature and Life that Jesus did. We become partakers of the Nature of God" and "They were to become partakers of the Divine Nature, THE VERY ESSENCE AND SUBSTANCE OF DEITY [my emphasis]." With statements like this, it isn't all too surprising that Kenyon sometimes spoke of our "sense of equality" with God and that "The believer is as much an Incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth" (and similar expressions; see below). Kenyon greatly overstated what Adam had before the fall, and he greatly overstated what born-again Christians have. I'll comment on both of these points later in this paper.
Everything that Kenyon says on pages 173-176 is limited to born-again Christians being able to do great things through being united with Christ, being empowered with His power, having the authority that Adam lost in the fall, etc. He speaks of those who have received eternal life in Christ having God's nature (page 173). It is important to observe (and obvious to observe) that everything Kenyon says on pages 173-176, which were referred to by Hunt, applies only to born-again Christians, so they do not back up Hunt's point at all about non-Christians being able to "utilize the same universal forces that God does and which are available to Christian and non-Christian alike."
Kenyon often (wrongly) speaks of the creative faith (creative power) available to born-again Christians. (But my quotations from Kenyon's "Two Kinds of Faith" on page 31 of the original version this paper help bring some balance to this topic.) As I have mentioned, I believe it is a mistake to speak of Christians having creative faith like God has creative faith (for one thing, the Bible doesn't speak of God's having faith/creative faith). The more we think we can do things ourselves, by virtue of who we are and what we have in ourselves (as born-again supermen [Kenyon uses that word of Christians], who can dwell in the presence of God on terms of equality with Him [and Kenyon sometimes makes statements like this]), the more we are missing what Christian faith (faith in God) is all about.
First I'll give some examples from Kenyon's "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" to demonstrate that Kenyon goes pretty far with ascribing creative power to the spirits of born again Christians. I have already mentioned (earlier in this paper) that Kenyon taught that the fruit mentioned in Gal. 5:22, 23 is the "fruit of the recreated spirit," "not the fruit of the Holy Spirit" ("Two Kinds of Life," page 95). I'm totally sure Kenyon misunderstood the apostle Paul. Paul was emphasizing the point that the fruit we bear comes by the continuous enablement of the indwelling Spirit of God; he was speaking of the fruit of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Kenyon did mention that we are united with Christ the vine, but it seems clear to me he speaks far too highly of the recreated spirit of man. We'll see more on this point as we continue. As I demonstrated earlier in this paper, Kenyon also insisted that Paul taught that we are to walk by our recreated human spirit, not by the Spirit of God in Gal. 5:16, 25; and Rom. 8:4, for example, which is, I believe, a serious mistake at a foundational level.
We are continuously dependent on all the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Apart from a living contact with Him, the Spirit of life, there is no eternal life; apart from a living contact with Him, there is no fruit of the Spirit; apart from a living contact with the Righteous, Holy Spirit, there is no partaking of the desperately needed Righteousness and Holiness of God; apart from living contact with Him, there are no gifts of the Spirit; etc. Sometimes Kenyon speaks of the all-important work of the Holy Spirit in the life of born-again Christians, but he seriously confuses the issue with his inconsistencies.
I'll quote several sentences from Kenyon's "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" (1945 and 1998 editions), page 97. "What we have to recognize is, that it is man's Spirit that is recreated. [The New Testament speaks of us being born-again/recreated, not just our spirits. See under John 3:6 in my paper on John 1:19-4:54. I also recommend reading my paper, "Some Things We Should Know about the Meaning of the Words 'Spirit' and 'Soul.' "] The Spirit is the real man. This Spirit [Kenyon is referring to the recreated human spirit] gives birth to all creative ability. Whether it be in the inventive, literary, artistic, or musical line, the ability comes from the same source. You might say they are born of one womb, the Recreated Spirit [referring to the recreated human spirit of the born-again Christian]. That is not all that is born from this marvelous mother of science and art, but love and joy are also her offspring [Keep in mind that for Kenyon "love and joy" are fruit of the recreated human spirit]. ...(page 97)." "It was the creative ability of God that came into the spirit of man." Kenyon didn't mention the creative-faith of the recreated human spirit in the likeness of God's supposed creative-faith of Heb. 11:3 here, but I assume he believed that he could have mentioned that here.
However, when you read more of what Kenyon says in this book, you can see that he didn't intend to leave the impression that Christians can accomplish these things in isolation from God's direct involvement. ((This doesn't take away Kenyon's very serious overstatements regarding the recreated spirits of born-again Christians. We'll see more regarding these serious overstatements as we continue with this paper. Kenyon doesn't seem to be interested in tying his different statements together. He seems to be more interested in dealing with one train of thought at a time, which leads to serious inconsistencies. His strong emphasis on his revelation knowledge undoubtedly contributes to this problem. I'll say more about Kenyon's serious inconsistencies when we discuss the book by Dale Simmons later in this paper.)) I'll include some excerpts to demonstrate this (and I could have included more such excerpts): "The Holy Spirit is your ability" (page 128). "If we confess our freedom, that the Son has made us free, God makes that confession a reality. ... When we confess His Word, He watches over it to make it good... (page 157)." "Hebrews 11:1: 'Now faith is giving substance to things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.' ... FAITH IS COUNTING PRAYER ANSWERED BEFORE THE FATHER HAS ACTED [my emphasis]" (page 165). "Grace reaches down and takes us by the hand and lifts us up into the Spirit realm of His fullness" (page 171). "Paul recognized that it was God who was at work within him. Phil. 2:13, 'For it is God who is at work within me, willing and working his own good pleasure.' That was a thrilling, beautiful reality. Your heart now reaches out and grasps it in all its sweet simplicity" (page 172). "He said, 'Lo, I am with you always.' He is there to bless you, strengthen, to empower, to give wisdom until our whole being swings in rhythm with His will. He has not left us without authority. ... Our call is to go empowered with His power, filled with Himself, our lips with His words upon them" (page 173). And "It makes no difference how difficult the problem may look to us we have One seated at the Right Hand of the Father who ever lives to make intercession for us" (page 189).
We will continue this study in Part 8.
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