Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Capped Idol of Copeland-Hagin, Part 7: More on the Image of God

A thought occurred to me, as it has a tendency to do, that I hadn’t considered when I wrote my multi-part series on the Word of Faith — or, as I called it, the Word™ of Faith™ — movement. One of the foundational thoughts behind the idea that we “mere mortals” can harness the power that God allegedly harnessed when He “spoke the world into existence” is that Adam and Eve, and therefore every single one of their descendants (that includes you), resembles God.

In this article I want to examine a little better the first story of the first man & woman as told in Genesis 2:5-3:24.

Genesis 2:5-7 tells of the specific creation of Adam, the first man. While it does not say that Adam was created “in the image of God,” let’s assume that this is an extended version of the short story recorded in Genesis 1:26-28. That would indicate that Adam, and later Eve in Genesis 2:18-23, were created in God’s image.

The great struggle with that term “in the image of God” has always been the extent of that image. Does it mean that God is humanoid? Does it mean that God has 5 fingers on each of 2 hands, a single head, and so forth? More importantly, does it mean that Adam and Eve were replicas of God, with all the abilities He has? And what about their offspring?

Consider †his: no matter how much Adam, Eve, you, and I resemble God, we were never like God … not even before the first sin.
How can I say this? Let’s start with Genesis 2:16-17. God gave Adam his diet plan: every tree except one is available. That tells us two things: first, Adam ate, and second, Adam wasn’t allowed to eat from one specific tree.

So does that mean that God eats? Does that mean that God is not allowed to do certain things? That leads to an even more important question: is God subservient to someone or something else? Well, Charles Capps alleged that God used “the power of His [Faith™]” to create all this, as if God’s power wasn’t adequate. That, though, would result in circular reasoning, since Capps concluded that based on tons of misinterpretations of other Scriptures ripped from their context.

Genesis 2:18-24 brings forth a second trait of Adam: it wasn’t good that he be alone. But he wasn’t alone, for God walked with him. Still, God said that he needed a helper, and none of the animals filled that slot. Thus God created Woman, later named Eve, from one of Adam’s ribs. That leads us to know that Adam needed Eve.

So what about God? Many have speculated that He somehow “needs” mankind to love, since He is love (1 John 4:7-8). That’s stretching things a bit, though. After all, what did He do before He made us? He is I AM. He is eternal. He existed before anything was created. How did He fulfill this alleged “need” before He created Adam? Yes, the Bible refers to those who choose Him as their God as His “bride,” but the connection is still rather thin.

The biggest difference, though, comes in one of the saddest sections of the Bible: Genesis 3:1-7. The serpent tempts Eve by first trying to claim that God lied. Genesis 3:5, though, pegs it: he claims that Eve will be like God after she eats the fruit. How could this have been a temptation to someone “made in the image of God” if that truly meant that she was exactly like Him? Can God sin? (James 1:13 is just one of numerous answers to that question.)

In summary, Adam and Eve, before they sinned, if they were created “in the image of God,” were not identical to God in that:
  • they had a command to follow;
  • they needed someone other than God;
  • they didn’t know the difference between good and evil;
  • they could sin.

So, you tell me: does “made in the image of God” really mean that we are exactly like Him? Did it ever mean that?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

You Are Not Alone!

One way that our great enemy, the devil, loves to try to get to us is to make us feel alone and isolated. After all, he schemes, if man cannot connect with you, certainly a superhuman God cannot understand what you’re going through. Never mind what you’re going through is common (a bit of generalization of 1 Corinthians 10:13). Never mind that God With Us and in us knows what we’re going through.

No matter what you’re going through, you are not alone!

That’s the premise for a book being released this week from Civitas Press, called Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression. You can get it on Amazon right now. The book is unique in that it brings together a variety of different stories from a variety of different people on the topic of depression. What is it like to go through depression? What’s it like to come out of depression? Why do some people feel depressed even when they try to “think positive?”

I’m part of a “blog festival” promoting the book. I don’t get any “kickback” from this other than a link from the editor’s blog. I’m also a contributor to the book.

Allow me to share with you some snippets from my contribution to the book:
For all we know about it today, depression remains stigmatized by society, especially the one place where safety should be found: the church. So many people don’t realize that depression may very well be “just in your head,” but that it’s a real medical condition, at least for some of us.
I’ve been diagnosed with, and treated for, a serotonin imbalance. This means, in essence, that much of my depression & anxiety is outside of my mental control. I can’t “think it away” with “positive thoughts” or excitement. In fact, “excitement” can often trigger panic & anxiety attacks, which are related. The beginning of my recovery might be disappointing for some hoping for a “miracle.” I went on an antidepressant and a tranquilizer, taken as needed, for those times when I get out of control. That may seem boring, even undesirable to some, but for me it was a miracle.
The medications remove one of the barriers to my healing: whatever glandular defects are involved that inhibit either the production or proper usage of serotonin. Yes, that’s how I treat the physiological part of my depression, as a physical defect. No, that doesn’t mean God made a mistake, any more than He did when someone is born without arms or legs, or with Type 1 diabetes. I look at the medications as a Type 1 diabetic looks at insulin: it’s “medically necessary” for my survival.
The psychological part of it has been a different story. No, you really can’t tell what aspects of your depression are purely from the serotonin issues and what aspects are psychological results of the physical. I’m no psychiatrist or psychologist, but I haven’t been able to distinguish between the two. Both feed on each other. Hurt compounds on hurt, anxiety upon anxiety, excuse for depression upon excuse.
You read that correctly. I called it an “excuse.” In Christ there really is no excuse for depression outside of the physical. That’s not saying recovery is easy, especially if you’ve dealt with the physical issues for years before getting treatment. It took over 30 years for me to be diagnosed officially with depression, but it was the same moment that I learned of the physical side of it. As the physical side is overcome, it’s time to start believing the promises found in God’s Word, such as there being no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1) or that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:31-39 … I suggest The Living Bible, if you can find it, for this particular passage).
For the rest of my story, and for stories from several others, go get the book.

Still, Consider †his: God still extends grace and mercy no matter what “excuse” we have for what we do.

I have issues with depression, panic, and anxiety, stress and worry, and many other things that are essentially out of my control … I don’t know how to deal with them or make them stop. I can listen to the “God cannot stand sin” people and believe that I have no hope … or I can listen to the God of the Bible and know that He still loves me. That doesn’t always help the body chemistry going whacko, but it keeps me alive.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Capped Idol of Copeland-Hagin, Part 6: The Word of Faith vs. The Word of God!

As always, allow me to provide links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 of the series so far.

In this post, I want to deal once and for all with the Word™ of Faith™ heresy. I've described so far how this group believes that the spoken word, whether it be a Biblical quotation or something based on it, uttered in what they consider to be faith, activates a creative power in each of us, since we are all made in the image of God.

Previous articles in this series have dealt with these beliefs, and how they compare to what the Bible actually says in context. The final issue to address here is in the power of the spoken word. This idea that the words must be spoken to be effective is unusual, to say the least. It has always made me wonder about the mute, the person with a tracheotomy stoma before technology allowed him to speak again, or even the person with laryngitis. Then again, I suppose those people just didn't have enough Faith™ to speak against their illnesses and disabilities while they still could.

Yeah, that sounds like a merciful and grace-filled God.


The Bible does speak of the importance of communicating the gospel to everybody. It takes courage to say out loud that you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord (or LORD, to use the term some translations use to represent the actual name of God), especially in areas that are hostile to any belief system other than the "official" one … areas such as the United States, steeped as it is in the belief of naturalistic "science" and "tolerance" of anything except Christ. (Of course, we are hardly persecuted compared to other parts of the world … at least as of this writing.)

There's nothing significant that I can see, though, about the actual sounds emitted from our throats. If it were, I'd have to wonder if we were using the correct language, or if Faith™ is intelligent enough to speak whatever language we speak.

I have to agree with what some writers claim. Consider †his: the practice of speaking certain words out loud to summon powers outside of ourselves comes not from Scripture, but from the occult! To think that "confessing" Bible verses mandates that God or Faith™ must act upon them is significantly closer to the idea of the mystical incantation, the "open sesame" for the magic door or the "abra cadabra" that enables genie-like forces to work.

Naturally the practitioners of the spoken confession know better than to "confess" that their practices so closely resemble witchcraft. Even they know that they cannot admit to that without somebody seeing through their ruse. Instead, they insist that their way is the way, and threaten those who would come against them or their teaching.

The problem is that, one day, they will see another word, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-10) who promised no genie to come on command, but Who will one day judge these people for turning their backs on Him and His spoken words, choosing instead the lying angel that Kenneth Copeland claims to hear from. (I still say that could be true, as long as we recognize that a third of the angels chose to go with the devil in rebellion against God.)

Consider †his: our salvation is not in the spoken Word™ of Faith™ that makes promises it cannot keep, then blames our failure of Faith™ to cover up its own lie. Our salvation is in the Almighty Word of God, Jesus Christ! In Him we can do all things (Philippians 4:10-13). He is before all things, and in Him — not our Faith™ —all things hold together (Colossians 1:17)! The substance of worship belongs to Christ; let no one disqualify you, insisting on … worship of angels, going on in details … and not holding fast to the Head, which is Christ! (Colossians 2:8-23)

Let's be honest, though. Don't we all from time to time use a pre-written "prayer," rather than talk with God using our own words? Don't we all from time to time quote a verse out of context, or utter the phrase "in the name of Jesus," as if it brought about some sort of power? I still find myself stumbling down that path. Is that any less of an "incantation?" Perhaps if it reminds us of Whose we are … but, no, I have to be honest with myself here. I fall into that same trap.

As I researched for this specific post, I came across several links to other sites that have more to say on the subject. Rather than plagiarize from them, allow me to close with links to them. Then, in true faith in Christ, pray and repent of any connection to the occult you may inadvertently have caused by believing in "positive confession" or the Word™ of Faith™.

I know I will.

The links are:
For Part 7, click here.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Capped Idol of Copeland-Hagin, Part 5: The Truth About Faith

For the record, here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this series.

So, finally, we get to the Christian “f-word” — faith! In earlier parts of this series, I have been disgusted with discussed what I’ve called “Faith™,” the trademark symbol representing the false faith that the Word™ of Faith™ movement pushes on folks. For those just coming in, three of the big talkers in the Word™ of Faith™ movement are Kenneth Hagin and his Rhema school, Kenneth Copeland, and Charles Capps; from their names come my punny title for the series. Oh, and the trademark symbol after Word™? It represents the all-important “spoken word” idea that I’ll be covering in the appropriately-numbered Part 6 of the series.

So what is faith? Do a word search on “faith” on Bible Gateway or any other Bible-related search page, and you’ll get tons of references, depending on the translation you search. Be careful, though! Satan knows how to take Scripture out of context, as he does when taking the verses on faith and using them to support the kind of Faith™ that dethrones God and tries to place us alongside of Him!

First, let’s look at how a modern dictionary, in this case an edition of the Oxford Dictionary, defines faith:
1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something : this restores one’s faith in politicians
2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. 
  • a system of religious belief : the Christian faith
  • a strongly held belief or theory : the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe.
I personally have some issues with definition #2, especially the “spiritual apprehension rather than proof” idea, but I’ll deal with that later. Instead, I’d define “faith” as something like this: faith is a deep-seated belief that fosters complete trust in the person or thing in which that faith is placed.

That brings up a few important qualities about faith. First, faith isn’t alone; one has to have faith in someone or something. Second, faith in the wrong person or thing does not guarantee that it becomes real. Finally, faith can change how we look at things.

Here’s where atheists and anti-theists can start getting flaky. We all have some sort of faith in some sort of idea. That’s how our minds work. Students of deductive reasoning should know that any set of deduction, or proof of a theory, must start with some set of “givens.” These are ideas that are accepted as true, or are the results of previous lines of reasoning. For example, I assume that what I’m typing right now will be published on my blog once I hit the “Publish” button. That comes, in part, from past experience, from reading the instructions (yes, I’m a guy and I read the instructions first … well, usually), and from assuming that the system is working “properly.” On the other hand, I’m a software engineer. I know that Blogger doesn’t always work “properly.” Since I can’t tell until I try, I assume that I’ll be able to recover this if I need to, thanks to Blogger claiming it is saving periodically. (Again, though, that’s having faith in the little “Save” button that changes to “Saving…” all on its own once in a while.)

Regarding God and/or things beyond the natural, I assume — I have faith — that all natural things do not necessarily compose the entirety of existence. To put it another way, I don’t have faith that the only things that exist are the natural. That’s where I differ from many atheists and anti-theists. They want “proof,” rather than faith. I say, though, that there is no “proof” that they can accept because it violates their faith in the lack of the supernatural, or their faith in the non-existence of anything that cannot be proven using their methods and their assumptions or “givens.”

Did you see something important in that last paragraph? My faith in God makes Him no more real than the atheist’s faith against God! God is either real, or He is not. My belief doesn’t affect that, nor does the atheist’s belief. There is no inherent power in the faith of either one of us to create or destroy God.

On the other hand, my faith in God allows me to accept the gifts He gives me (Romans 5:1-2), which includes faith in Him (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 2:1-10). That allows me to do so much more through Him. He who has faith in himself alone has nothing else to stand on. In that sense, then, my faith gives me different abilities. On the other hand, the atheist who has faith only in the natural will see a similar advantage from her point of view. Each one’s faith, then, gives us the courage — and perhaps even the power — to see, hear, and do a variety of different things that we wouldn’t do otherwise.

The Word™ of Faith™ movement claims that God used “His Faith™” to speak things into existence. True faith doesn’t do that. In fact, God needs no faith! How can an all-knowing being have faith? He already knows what we will do, and He knew it before Eve plucked the forbidden fruit from the tree and passed some on to Adam. He knew the stupid mistakes and evil desires of our hearts when Jesus was nailed to the cross for them! God is not human, needing faith. We are not gods, knowing all. God doesn’t need us, but we need the living Word of God (John 1:1-10)!

This is just the nutshell version of what true faith in God is all about. It makes no sense to the mind of the person who insists that there is no God. It didn’t make sense to me while I made that choice … while I had faith in the naturalistic ideas forming the foundation of current scientific “knowledge.” It didn’t make sense to me until He opened my eyes and challenged my assumptions … my faith without Him.

What will it take to allow you to Consider †his?

For Part 6, click here.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Capped Idol of Copeland-Hagin, Part 4: The True Image of God

Just as a reminder, this is part 4 in a series. Click on these links for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

In this part, I want to deal with one of the two factors that the Word™ of Faith™ movement gets wrong: the image of God. As I mentioned earlier, part of the power behind the heresy is that, since we are create “in the image of God,” then we must be like God. At this point they carry it so far as to claim that we have the same power through Faith™ that God does. (The earlier parts will explain why I put the little “trademark” symbol after the word “faith” when referring to what they call “faith,” and a similar mark for “word.” A future installment will deal with faith vs. Faith™ in greater detail.)

First, I’d like to refer you to one of my favorite sites,, and their response to the question, “What does it mean that man is made in the image of God?” While this doesn’t cover everything I want to address, it provides a good starting point.

There are several issues to deal with when talking about man being made in the image of God:
  1. What, exactly, does “the image of God” mean?
  2. What does the “image of God” not include?
  3. Are we still in the image of God?
The first point is: What, exactly, does “the image of God” mean? The Hebrew word translated “image” in Genesis 1:26-27 refers to a shade, a phantom, an illusion, a resemblance, or a representative figure, “especially an idol” according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. This could, therefore, refer to God’s physical appearance, or something similar to it. In modern terms, a photograph, painting, statue, or digital image (note the word) could apply. In modern usage we can also refer to someone as the “image” of a relative. For example, if a son looks exactly like his father did at the son’s present age, we can say that the boy is an “image” of his dad.

Genesis 1:26-27 also refers to “likeness” in many translations. The Hebrew word is related to the word for “resemblance.” It can also refer to a model or shape. The same type of arguments mentioned above apply here as well. A likeness is even less concrete than an image. Again, though, something with the same shape as a dog, for example, isn’t a dog.

The point often made regarding the “image of God,” though, comes from John 4:24, where we are told that God is spirit. “Spirit” here can refer to the breath of life; the Greek word, in fact, is the root of our word “pneumatic,” as in something that is inflated with air. Genesis 2:7 says that man, unique among the other creatures, was given the “breath of life;” some translations complete the sentence saying that man became a “living spirit.” Again, this says nothing about power or abilities, only that we, like our Creator, are also spirit.

The second point to look at is: What does the “image of God” not include? As we saw earlier, an “image” or “likeness” is not necessarily a full replica of the original. Can a photograph of you do everything you can do? No, it cannot. It cannot move. It cannot speak. It cannot do your homework. It cannot fill in for you at work. It cannot love, hate, breathe, or die. An image does not necessarily have the same abilities as the original. The son that is the “spitting image” of his dad cannot necessarily do everything his parent can do, because the boy may not be old enough or not properly trained the same way that his dad was. The father’s abilities aren’t automatically passed on to the son.

The third point is: Are we still in the image of God? I believe this is the most important point in the whole discussion. Adam was made in the image and likeness of God. Since Eve came from Adam, she was also made in His image (which doesn’t mean that God is somehow both male and female, by the way). Like God, they were sinless. Unlike God, though, they had the ability to sin. And sin they did! Once Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, they both saw that they were naked, and they both became self-absorbed. Genesis 3:14-24 record the consequences of their sin. They had separated themselves from God. They hid from God; God didn’t hide from them! There would be pain, sweat, and death in their future and that of their offspring. What’s curious is that God said that they had become more like Him after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3:22). No matter what, the image had changed.

With all of that in mind, the final question arises: do we have the same creative power that God has? I have to conclude that no, we do not have the same power to create something from nothing. We do not have the power to “speak what is not as if it were.” Even if God had to depend on Faith™ to create, mankind does not necessarily have that same ability now, if we ever did.

I am not saying that we do not have God-given gifts! John 14:1-14 says that we will do greater deeds than even Jesus Himself did before His death, resurrection, and ascension. John 15:1-11 tells us, though, that we can do nothing apart from Him. It doesn’t say that we need Faith™! It doesn’t say that we are connected to Faith™ through speaking His words; the seven sons of Sceva can attest to that (Acts 19:11-20).

As I continue this series, I want to deal, of course, with the true meaning of faith, and how it actually connects to the power of God. I also want to show some of the history of the Word™ of Faith™ movement, and how it is little more than occult practices wrapped up in a Christian wrapper.

How would you answer the questions I pose? Are we still in the image of God? What does that mean to you?

For Part 5, click here.

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Capped Idol of Copeland-Hagin, Part 3: The Idol and The Image

This is the third part in a series on a great heresy that has permeated the thought processes of too many Christians. Part 1 provides the basics in a chat I had with a friend, whom I’m calling “Bobbi Sue.” Part 2 starts dealing with some of the belief system involved. In there I refer to something I’ve chosen to call “Faith™” … the little “trademark” symbol is there to represent what they refer to as “faith,” as opposed to the more common definitions of the term, including the Bible.

So what is faith? References to faith occur throughout the Bible. We are saved by grace through faith that doesn’t even come from us, so that we cannot even brag about that (Ephesians 2:8). Faith allows us to persevere, assured that what we do not see right now or that we hope will happen will be there, if not something even better (Hebrews 10:32-12:2). Faith gave courage to those who were in dire straits in the world — those who were poor, literally beaten down, and without any earthly hope (Hebrews 11:32-40). Faith even gave people like Moses the courage to go against the “good life” of being a Prince of Egypt to do what God had called him to do (Hebrews 11:23-27)!

So what is Faith™? I almost wish I still had some of Charles Capps’ books handy, so I could cite passages to you that should make you fear for his very soul. Faith™ is the creative power “activated” by our rhema (see Part 2 for more details) — our actual spoken words, which I’m calling the Word™. Faith™ does what we command, if we believe without any doubt! Faith™ permits no questioning of its existence, its abilities, or its availability. Faith™ is within all of us, and it is our “responsibility” to bring it to life and effect those changes we are told are necessary to be made on this planet. Faith™ requires our spoken word to work, and it requires a complete absence of doubt! If what we speak does not come to pass, then our Faith™ was inadequate. (How that fits in with Deuteronomy 18:20-22 is, it seems, another story.) Faith™ doesn’t fail; we fail with our lack of Faith™.

Perhaps the most chilling part of the whole discussion, to me, was when Capps started discussing Genesis 1’s account of creation. As I mentioned in the previous part of this series, God used His spoken word to create the universe. Capps goes way out on a limb by saying that “God used His Faith™ to bring the universe into existence!” What does this say to you?

This says to me that God is not all-powerful! It says that God had to use a power limited in its powerfulness by the “spoken word” to do something He apparently could not do on his own!

The bigger connection, though, comes with a wild interpretation of Genesis 1:26-27. There it refers to God making “man” (“male and female” “man,” so don’t freak out, ladies) “in his [God’s] own image.” The exact meaning of this phrase has been a bone of contention for centuries. The bottom line, though, is that the Word™ of Faith™ teachers claim this means that mankind has exactly the same power as God! We were created “in His image,” therefore we must be so much like Him that we can do everything He can.

This means, according to these teachers, that each one of us can use our Faith™ to bring things into existence, to “speak [into existence] that which is not [in existence]!” It also means that, since we have sinned, we can also speak negative things, such as illness or decay or death, into existence!

In other words, we are effectively “little gods!”

In summary, then, these false teachers inform us that God is subservient to His portion of power known as Faith™, which He used to create everything in the universe. This brings God down from His topmost point. Since we are made in the “image of God,” we can do all this, too. This brings us up to the level of God.

Does anyone else see any problem here?

As we continue in this series, I intend to show just what true faith is, why we don’t have the power of God, and where our place is in God’s kingdom. That’s a tall order, but that’s what I sense God calling me to do in this series. I ask you to pray for me as I continue writing.

Let me end this with the same question I’ve posed before: if you don’t accept that Faith™ is what it’s claimed to be, how do you discuss this with those who believe otherwise? Have you had any successes in showing people the error? I’ve tried to include an additional question for those who subscribe to the Word of Faith or Positive Confession movement, but this time I honestly can’t think of one other than: how can you honestly think that usurping God’s rule comes from any place other than Hell?

For Part 4, click here.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Capped Idol of Copeland-Hagin, Part 2: The Basics

I hope you’ve already read Part 1 of this series. If not, go ahead and read it. If you can still stand my writing after that, we’ll carry on from here.

If you read through the entire chat, you’ll see that I get a bit “fired up” over the whole idea of the “Word of Faith” theology. That’s because too many people treat it as Biblical, when it really is not.

Before I go deeper, though, allow me to describe what this movement believes. Of course, some may not accept all of this, and there are those who do not subscribe to the major points that still believe in “positive confession” and/or avoiding “speaking negative.” With God’s help, I’ll deal with those as well.

The foundation of this belief system comes from the first 2 chapters of Genesis. Chapter 1, of course, deals with the general creation of the universe. Genesis 1:3, for example, informs us that “God said, ’Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:6-7 continues with “God said, ’Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters …’ 7 And God made the expanse…” Genesis 1:3-27 continues the pattern of “God said … and it was so.”

Here’s where things start to go haywire, though. They emphasize the notion that God spoke, and what He commanded happened. They conclude, or otherwise use the pattern to prove, that God’s spoken word was the critical part in the act of creation. God’s creative power, in other words, came from His spoken word. To back this up, John 1:1-10 is used out of context, as it refers to the powerful “Word” that was present at creation.

The “power of the spoken word” provides a word study (no pun intended) of the word “word,” at least in the Greek. They note that there are 2 Greek words for “word:”
  • λόγος (logos, word #3056 in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
  • ῥῆμα (rhema, word #4487 in Strong’s)
Both of these Greek words can be translated into the English word “word.” Consider, though, that The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon (© 1979, 1981), gives the equivalent of 2 whole pages for the former, and ½ page for the latter. Obviously the author considered the details to be of vital importance.

Logos is both the richer and harder to pin down of the two, as it is used extensively throughout the New Testament and the Septuagint, or the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Logos literally refers to “a collection,” but Thayer notes that it appears to have 3 distinct usages in the Bible. Generally speaking, it refers to an idea communicated by spoken language, such as a saying, or to a line of reasoning. Thayer also notes that John 1:1-10’s use of “Word” uses logos.

Rhema, often one of the key terms used in the movement, refers specifically to a series of spoken words, or the sound that is produced in speaking them. For some reason this is of vital importance to the Word of Faith. It’s so important that Kenneth Hagin named his university after it. One definition Thayer provides for one usage of this word is “utterance,” a word that just seems to sound holy to many people.

What we have so far, then, is that God used the sound of the spoken word (even before He created air, it seems) to cause creation to occur. Charles Capps, an author of many thin books on this ideology, claims there is direct power in the speaking, or that speaking the words “activates” a power that brings about what is spoken.

That power is given a name by Capps: Faith. A cursory glance at the word would make people think of a solid belief or a system of beliefs, but Capps and his cohorts take it well beyond that. Allow me, then, to refer to it as “Faith™”, with the little symbol by it, to distinguish it from the simpler, more common definition. (Curiously, Capps and the Kenneth’s do not refer to the single Greek word, πίστις or pistis (Strong’s #4102), that is usually, if not consistently, translated “faith” in the New Testament.) Since that power is activated by a specific kind of Word, namely the spoken rhema word, I'll also “trademark” their Word™.

In the next installment of this series, I’ll investigate how Faith™ differs from ordinary “faith,” and begin to expose just how Faith™ begins to supplant the sovereignty of God.

In closing, let me ask those of you who have dealt with the Word™ of Faith™ people: how do you explain to them why the spoken word is nothing special? For those of you who believe that the spoken word indeed holds or activates power, let me ask you this: what of the person who is temporarily or permanently mute? How does one who cannot speak, either at the moment (perhaps due to having the breath knocked out of them) or over a longer term, “activate” their Faith™?

(Let me remind everybody that comments need to remain civil. Explaining a different perspective is great. Saying someone is wrong just because you happen to disagree isn’t so great.)

For Part 3, click here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Capped Idol of Copeland-Hagin, Part 1: The Chat That Started The Series

Recently I had an online chat with a friend of mine who is an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) who is also a Christian. We’ve discussed numerous things over the years. This one, though got me thinking of the need to do my first “blog series.”

It seems she has encountered some folks who have some rather bad theology. What I want to do in this series is explore why the particular theology is bad, where it comes from, and (hopefully) how to respond to it. To be honest, though, I’m going to need your help when it comes to that last bit.

The theology goes by a number of names: “Word of faith,” “Name it and claim it,” “Hyper-faith,” “Spoken word power,” and others. I prefer the name my best friend calls it, which is a pun on the last names of two men, both named Kenneth, who push this theology: the Copeland-Hagin heresy.

In this initial post, with my friend’s permission, I’ll give you the chat. She has given me permission to publish the chat, even using her real name. For her sake, though, I’ll use the name “Bobbi Sue” instead.

8:42:56 PM Bobbi Sue: I have a question for you
8:43:08 PM Joe Sewell: Go for it.
8:47:33 PM Bobbi Sue: I have two friends that have been giving me a real had time about my health and dealing with doctors and medicine. They are trying to tell me that I am not trusting God by going to doctors and taking meds. One of them told me to put myself in a bubble and don't even bother trust God. Both of them have told me that carrying an EpiPen is wrong because its not trusting God and relying on drugs instead. They also laugh at me because I choose to take a proactive role regarding my health and that I choose to allow the doctors to run all the tests they are running to find out what is wrong with me. They told me that I should not be relying on these test and that I should not let the docs do them. 
8:48:06 PM Bobbi Sue: I reminded them of the seriousness of the recent events.
8:49:30 PM Bobbi Sue: I also reminded them that they are insisting that I go against my better judgment as a trained EMT and I told them if I had patients with the same problems I have going on. I would be rushing them to the hospital. My friends had the nerve to tell me well that is them not you. You're not trusting God.
8:50:06 PM Bobbi Sue: What would you tell these two knuckleheads that might get them to stop bugging me about it.
8:50:08 PM Bobbi Sue: ?
8:51:15 PM Joe Sewell: First off, let me throw a few links at you. These are from a site that specializes in answering questions from a Biblical perspective. I've been impressed with their answers.
8:51:34 PM Joe Sewell: The first is which sounds like it deals specifically with this topic.
8:53:01 PM Joe Sewell: I'd first ask them why they have so little faith in God that they believe He refuses to work through medicines He has provided.
8:53:40 PM Bobbi Sue: They think medicine came from man not God
8:53:56 PM Bobbi Sue: and its a ploy of the enemy to steer people away from leaning on God
8:54:00 PM Joe Sewell: God didn't create herbs?
8:54:38 PM Joe Sewell: God didn't create the first and most effective antibiotic known: penicillin?
8:55:03 PM Bobbi Sue: they don't see it that way
8:55:20 PM Bobbi Sue: but yet these two wear glasses and take medication. go figure
8:55:24 PM Joe Sewell: When Jesus healed one particular blind man, why did He make mud when He could've just snapped His fingers?
8:55:44 PM Joe Sewell: I understand, Bobbi, and it's quite likely that they will not listen to anything you say.
8:55:45 PM Bobbi Sue: but yet I am overreacting and going way overboard according to them
8:56:16 PM Joe Sewell: A simple response, then, would be, "take it up with God, then. He's the one I obey, not you."
8:56:49 PM Bobbi Sue: oh but I am not obeying Him because I am not learning to trust Him
8:57:01 PM Bobbi Sue: this is all the crap they have told me
8:58:07 PM Joe Sewell: Like I said, it sounds like they won't listen to anything you have to say, so just leave them with the simple truth: that you're trusting the wisdom of God, not the little idol they've put in a non-medical box.
8:58:10 PM Bobbi Sue: Then one of them called me at 11 p.m. last night to ask me a medical question of  all things. 
8:58:54 PM Bobbi Sue: I just laughed and told them they needed to find someone else to answer their question because I was not going to since anything medical is not trusting God
8:59:32 PM Joe Sewell: Good answer. Actually, "trust your god" would've worked, too.
8:59:55 PM Joe Sewell: I'd emphasize that they're trusting "their god," not the one true God.
9:00:53 PM Joe Sewell: Tell them your God isn't limited by the spoken word, or by a higher power called "Faith." Tell them your God can do whatever He wants, however He wants, whenever He wants, with or without your permission.
9:01:47 PM Joe Sewell: Then encourage them that, when their god-in-a-box fails them — and it will — you'll be glad to tell them about the real God.
9:02:57 PM Joe Sewell: They probably won't listen to this, but the whole "word of faith" movement, which it sounds like they're a part of, actually has at least two characteristics that betray the fact that it's a lie from Hell itself.
9:03:29 PM Joe Sewell: First, God "used His Faith" to "speak the universe into existence."
9:04:35 PM Bobbi Sue: Oh they are into the name it claim it stuff
9:05:00 PM Joe Sewell: Second, since we are "made in the image of God," we, too, have creative power in our spoken words … in other words, we are "little gods."
9:05:23 PM Joe Sewell: The first dethrones God, the second elevates man to the position of God. Sound familiar?
9:05:39 PM Bobbi Sue: yep
9:05:55 PM Joe Sewell: Oh, and if they try to pull anything about an angel speaking to Kenneth Copeland, who told him this garbage, remind them what happened to a third of the angels. :)
9:06:45 PM Joe Sewell: One thing you'll have to do, though, is stick to the simplicity of the gospel, make it clear that their god is not God, and tell them that you'll be ready with more only when they are willing to listen.
9:07:29 PM Bobbi Sue: The way I see all of this is that if God was so against medicine and doctors, I would think that I was have a guilty conscience about being and EMT and attempting to save lives. 
9:08:08 PM Joe Sewell: True. On the other hand, they could say the same thing in reverse.
9:08:20 PM Bobbi Sue: ?
9:08:51 PM Joe Sewell: In other words, they could say that their "heart" or "spirit" confirms their own belief about medicine being "of the devil" and that you're just misled.
9:09:59 PM Bobbi Sue: If that is the case then why am I still alive? My life has been saved several times by doctors or EMTs
9:10:24 PM Joe Sewell: They would probably say it was God's "grace" or some such nonsense.
9:10:48 PM Bobbi Sue: I bet they would say because God is giving me a chance to wise up
9:10:53 PM Joe Sewell: Yep.
9:12:05 PM Bobbi Sue: Their crap just makes me mad and raises my blood pressure to dangerous levels.
9:12:28 PM Joe Sewell: Believe me, I understand. Been there, done that.
9:12:39 PM Joe Sewell: Shredded the T-shirt in anger. :)
9:13:01 PM Bobbi Sue: Oh get this by checking my blood pressure several times a day because my doctor told me to I am overreacting and not Giving God a chance to heal me. 
9:13:09 PM Joe Sewell: They are so confident in their belief, though, that only God can redirect them.
9:13:47 PM Joe Sewell: Just tell them that you'll pray for God to show them the truth.
9:14:00 PM Joe Sewell: It sounds arrogant, but it's no more so than what they're throwing at you.
9:14:13 PM Joe Sewell: Then *do* pray for them.
9:14:24 PM Bobbi Sue: One of them did not used to be like this. It's only since she got in touch with a lady that was mentoring her that got her all screwed up and now the church she goes to. 
9:14:41 PM Joe Sewell: Yep, the blind leading the blind.
9:15:17 PM Joe Sewell: They're so insecure in their faith, so afraid that God won't do what *they* want Him to do, that they'll grab hold of anything that promises them control.
9:15:28 PM Joe Sewell: That's not how they see it, of course.
9:16:26 PM Joe Sewell: That article on doctors addresses this, and they've got more on the "Word of Faith" movement (or what I like to call "folks from Copeland-Hagin")
9:16:52 PM Bobbi Sue: Ok real dumb question here. Why do you think God allows us to get sick and even almost die?
9:17:21 PM Joe Sewell: Not a dumb question at all. Not an easy one, either.
9:17:55 PM Bobbi Sue: You would think I would have this figured out by now after all the year I have been a Christian
9:18:44 PM Joe Sewell: Not really. I've struggled with it myself over the years.
9:18:45 PM Bobbi Sue: I have been asked by people if I feel like I am going against God's will or trying to play God when I attempt to save people. 
9:19:05 PM Joe Sewell: No, you're being Christ-like.
9:19:08 PM Bobbi Sue: I don't even know how to answer that question
9:19:18 PM Joe Sewell: Jesus healed.
9:19:42 PM Joe Sewell: Actually, that's part of the answer to your earlier question. There's the story of the man born blind.
9:20:37 PM Joe Sewell: The disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents, that he was born blind. In that day & age, as now, people thought that bad things only happened to bad people … but only to a certain set of "bad" people.
9:21:03 PM Joe Sewell: Jesus blew them out of the water by saying that the reason had nothing to do with sin, but so that God would be glorified!
9:22:38 PM Joe Sewell: Sounds cruel, doesn't it? Someone born blind, remained blind for years, so that God could be glorified?
9:23:04 PM Bobbi Sue: ya it does
9:23:11 PM Joe Sewell: Yet God *did* get the glory in it all, even though the Jewish priests weren't too thrilled with the whole idea.
9:24:11 PM Joe Sewell: In Acts there's an almost throw-away bit about Peter and another person coming across a beggar who wanted money. "Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have I give to you." The beggar was healed.
9:24:39 PM Joe Sewell: Consider This, though: it was quite likely that Jesus passed by that same beggar numerous times before He was crucified.
9:24:54 PM Joe Sewell: Was it cruel for him to not heal the beggar?
9:25:07 PM Joe Sewell: Or was it better to allow Peter to be the conduit?
9:25:44 PM Joe Sewell: We live in a broken world. We're the ones who broke it, and keep on breaking it every time we sin.
9:26:15 PM Joe Sewell: God may have prevented Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of life so that they'd have some release from an eternity of sin.
9:26:31 PM Joe Sewell: Imagine, before Christ, being immortal and a sinner.
9:27:11 PM Joe Sewell: There are numerous examples of people whose lives have touched so many others through their damages and injuries.
9:27:38 PM Joe Sewell: There are numerous examples of people who reach out in the name of Jesus, rescuing them from an eternity without Him by saving their lives.
9:28:01 PM Joe Sewell: Each life *you* save is one more chance they have to accept God's gift of grace.
9:28:31 PM Joe Sewell: Each injury *you* prevent or help to heal is one less distraction.
9:29:13 PM Joe Sewell: On the other hand, each injury you *don't* get to fix completely may be the very thing that leads them to Christ, because some EMT cared enough about them to do their best to save them.
9:29:40 PM Joe Sewell: We cannot see things from God's perspective. His thoughts aren't our thoughts, indwelling Spirit or not.
9:30:15 PM Joe Sewell: We don't know what our actions, our writings, or even our Facebook chats will do to someone's eternal destination.
9:30:28 PM Joe Sewell: All we can do is do what God calls us to do!
9:30:52 PM Joe Sewell: All we can do is do our best, and have *REAL* faith that God will make up the difference.
9:32:32 PM Bobbi Sue: I do pray for each person I come in contact with. They don't know that I do but each one of them gets prayed for along with everything else I do for them.
9:37:11 PM Joe Sewell: And *that's* God's calling for you, no matter what anyone else says.
9:38:21 PM Bobbi Sue: I told my friends that I pray for everyone that I deal with and they said that that is by hypocritical because praying for them and trying to cheat death go against each other. 
9:38:53 PM Bobbi Sue: I wanted to slug the person that said that to me
9:39:13 PM Joe Sewell: Just tell them, "well, I'm glad I don't worship your powerless god, then."
9:40:11 PM Joe Sewell: Or try to keep yourself from laughing. Your choice.
9:41:48 PM Joe Sewell: Just tell them that you aren't "cheating any god of death," but obeying the God of Life. Make it clear that the god they're describing is *not* that same God.
9:42:52 PM Bobbi Sue: Over the years I have wanted to slug her so many times for the things she has put me through or said to me but then I thought it was not worth the effort because then I would have to save her because I would slug her hard enough to knock her teeth through her head and maybe even slam her head against something. I came so close to it once but I thought better of it. I know I sound like a horrible mean person to even be thinking like this considering what I do for a living. 
9:44:03 PM Bobbi Sue: she makes me so mad and now she has her roommate, the second friend talking like her. 
9:45:28 PM Joe Sewell: Trust me, I understand.
9:46:58 PM Bobbi Sue: Good I don't want you to think I am a violent person or anything. 
9:47:46 PM Joe Sewell: You just get as frustrated as I do, that's all.
9:48:00 PM Bobbi Sue: If I did what I described, I would lose my license real quick if a police report were filed against me. 
9:48:35 PM Joe Sewell: You'd probably lose your freedom from jail, too.
9:51:49 PM Joe Sewell: I had a friend in GA who sent me several books by Charles Capps, one of the big authors in the whole "word of faith/positive confession" heresy. What I described is just the tip of the iceberg, Bobbi. This stuff is pure Satanic mysticism. In fact, I recall coming across an article, maybe on Wikipedia, that traced its roots to mysticism.
9:52:37 PM Joe Sewell: Let's face it, the whole "spoken word has power" idea is nothing more than occult incantations!
9:53:42 PM Bobbi Sue: oh wow
9:53:47 PM Joe Sewell: Those caught up in the garbage, though, won't see it. It'll shake their faith, which is all the foundation they have.
9:54:03 PM Joe Sewell: That's how I make myself see it now.
9:54:12 PM Joe Sewell: It's not an attack on me, but on the throne of Heaven itself.
9:54:19 PM Bobbi Sue: I have some of his stuff that a friend gave me years ago. I don't even know where they are right now. I still have not unpacked everything yet.
9:54:39 PM Joe Sewell: These people aren't evil. They're misled. And they may not be Heaven-bound!
9:54:54 PM Bobbi Sue: That is scary
9:55:30 PM Joe Sewell: As soon as I saw it that way, I had to start praying for them, while letting them know with courage that they are *not* serving God.
9:55:45 PM Bobbi Sue: I have heard stories of people playing healing scriptures or reading aloud daily and around the clock and how people were healed just by hearing them.
9:56:43 PM Joe Sewell: The mind is still a powerful tool. We *can* believe certain things that will affect our body chemistry, and make us more healthy or overcome some illnesses.
9:57:27 PM Bobbi Sue: but where do you draw the line?
9:57:32 PM Joe Sewell: I read an article by Pat Boone that described something similar dealing with a man who had months to live from cancer. He died *years* later from something *not* cancer-related.
9:57:53 PM Joe Sewell: You draw the line where God tells you to.
9:58:13 PM Joe Sewell: You go with doctors and meds unless He says otherwise.
9:58:25 PM Joe Sewell: Or unless doctors & meds don't work.
9:59:25 PM Joe Sewell: Unless you believe beyond the shadow of any doubt, and get some sort of confirming incident or whatever that convinces you it's of God, that you avoid modern medicine, you don't.
10:00:22 PM Joe Sewell: Well, there's also the wisdom in studying for yourself about the various procedures, medications, and side-effects, which may be a show-stopper for you as well. In other words, be informed, just like anybody else.
10:01:23 PM Joe Sewell: For example, my mother-in-law had an angioplasty done to her leg this past week. The contrast dye they had to use could've caused her kidneys to fail, though they had medication that could counteract that issue.
10:01:46 PM Joe Sewell: If she refused that treatment, though, it was very likely that she would've lost her leg to gangrene.
10:02:16 PM Joe Sewell: Did she have faith? YES! She had the faith to trust God to keep her kidneys going in spite of the dye.
10:02:37 PM Joe Sewell: She had the faith to trust that she would be in Heaven if something serious did happen.
10:02:56 PM Joe Sewell: She had the faith to trust that God, not us, knows best!
10:03:54 PM Joe Sewell: That's the kind of faith the Copeland-Hagin Cappers don't have!!!
10:04:47 PM Joe Sewell: (This would make a good blog post. :) With your name removed, of course.)
10:05:51 PM Bobbi Sue: That would be a good post
10:07:41 PM Joe Sewell: With your permission, of course.
10:08:14 PM Bobbi Sue: Do you have a blog?
10:08:39 PM Joe Sewell: Yep. It's called Consider †his!
10:08:53 PM Bobbi Sue: Oh cool
10:09:11 PM Bobbi Sue: Publish away and I don't care if you use my name if you want.
10:09:13 PM Joe Sewell: I don't post every day, just when I have something worth posting.
10:09:22 PM Joe Sewell: Cool! Thank you.

As you can see, I really have little sympathy for people who fall into this line of thinking. I know the preachers who mislead their flocks with this garbage want to “fight” anyone who stands in their way. That just means to me that they’re fighting the living God!

This series will go through this whole conversation and defend what I said, as well as expand upon it. I will tell you right now that this line of thinking is severely flawed at best. In fact, I personally believe it comes from the pit of Hell itself! I’ll tell you right now that, if you disagree with me on this, you’d better have some solid proof other than single verses taken out of context! That’s the type of talk that allows these preachers to continue to deceive people, and I will have none of it here.

For Part 2, click here. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011


One of my favorite blogs has just closed down. The only post available is this one:

My stalker and impersonator: Glen Baker ( | –Project Mathetes–

Now, I'll admit, Donald Borsch did have a manner of expressing things that could be taken wrong in a Rush Limbaugh fashion. Still, what he wrote was the truth, or at least as best as he could see it. Then along comes this mysterious stranger who … well, he does some illegal things that causes Donald to fear for his safety (and that of his family).

How low can this country, founded on Godly principles (whether you choose to believe the words of the founding fathers or not), sink?

Consider †his: the more we reject God, the more frail his “hedge of protection” will become!

Even though it’s too often taken out of context (as it refers to Solomon’s temple, and it may refer to something a bit more specific than it appears on the surface), 2 Chronicles 7:14 provides a bit of hope. On the other hand, there are a surprising number of verses in the Old Testament that have God instructing His prophets not to pray for the people (Jeremiah 14:11; Jeremiah 7:16; Jeremiah 11:14). In the New Testament, Paul instructs the church at Corinth to “turn [a particularly rebellious member] over to Satan” (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).

Even though dispensationalists consider us to be in an age of grace, God will still leave us alone if that’s what we want. As a society draws away from Him, He will draw away from it.

I may be way off-base here, but I believe this is just one small sign that the days of “easy faith” in the United States of America are coming to an end.

We do have it way too easy here. We battle amongst ourselves without any compassion for each other or those who see us and make a decision about God based on our shameful manners. We preach on Sunday morning that God is love, and we should be friendly to each other … yet we gossip about the woman with the skirt that’s “too short” or the man who didn’t wear a tie. We claim grace to the public, yet attack each other in our board meetings in such a way that some are ashamed to be a part of it. We pride ourselves not on being followers of Christ, but being a part of some denomination, as if that makes any difference. We claim grace, but refuse to reconcile with someone who has apologized for a mistake made.

Meanwhile, real Christians in China, India, the Middle East, and many, many other countries are being killed simply because they read the Bible. (OK, many US “Christians” don’t have to worry about being discovered doing that.) The persecution in some of these countries rivals the days when Christians were thrown to the lions in ancient Rome.

Scary? In one sense it should be.

Consider †his: if somebody were targeting Christians, would they even bother considering you?

I’d like to think that I would stand firm professing Christ when the threat of torture and death, or even cyber-stalking, were present. Let’s face it, though: I’m a wimp! I have absolutely no idea if I would buckle under pressure. Honestly, I would assume that I would indeed buckle.

At least I’m courageous enough now to eliminate much doubt in the minds of others now.

As for my friend and his stalker, pray for this Glenn Baker. Pray that his eyes be opened to see the evil nesting in his heart. Pray that he repents of his deeds. Pray that, if he chooses to keep his heart, mind, and eyes closed, that he lays off Donald Borsch, or at least gets caught and punished by our legal system, for the safety of others.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...