"But there were also false prophets among the
people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly
introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them,
bringing swift destruction on
Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their
condemnation has long been
hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping." (2 Peter 2:1-
I firmly believe that the above quoted text finds startling fulfillment in what is happening in certain sections of the Church today. I would ask the reader to bear the above text in mind when examining the quotes below. Many Christians seem to think that error is something that always occurs 'outside' the Church. This certainly does occur with the existence of such groups as Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, but error has also manifested itself in the Church as well. Indeed, the founders of Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses were brought up in Church environments.
The above text in Peter describes how false teachers will rise up 'amongst us'. The heresies that they introduce are subtle distortions of biblical Christianity. In today's Bible illiterate Christian world, many Christians think that doctrine is not important. Weak sermons devoid of biblical truth are preached and much emotionalism is passed off as a work of the Holy Spirit. As a result, many Church goers do not recognize heresy when it is introduced. The ancient Israelites were often led into error because they were not sufficiently grounded in the knowledge of God (Hosea 4:1, 6) and many Christians today are equally being led into error because they are not testing what they hear by the standard of God's Word. The quotes below are not statements that the mentioned leaders say often, but there is a consistency and a pattern in what they are saying. With this in view, I have arranged their quotes under topical headings. The text in Peter says that "They will secretly introduce destructive heresies..."
They will 'deny the Lord'. I am sure you will agree, after reading the quotes below, that these teachers do indeed deny the Lord by what they say.
Peter foretells how "Many will follow their shameful ways..." Sadly, this is happening today. Christians seem to think that just because many of these leaders have large ministries, with a large following, then they must be of God. However, is the size of a leaders following the correct way to determine if a ministry is of God or not? There are some who would seem to think so. However, by using the same reasoning one would have to arrive at the conclusion that Mormonism is also of God, with its millions of members.
Peter also describes how these teachers "will bring the way of truth into disrepute." The Living Bible paraphrases this in the following way: "...because of them Christ and his way will be scoffed at." Sad though this is, there have been many high profile leaders who have taught so many ridiculous things, fleeced people for money, and promoted such carnality, that unbelievers look on and mock the entire Church and say: "If that's Christianity, you can keep it." Such one's then keep Christ and the Church at arms length not realising that they have simply been exposed to a counterfeit gospel and a false Christianity.
Peter also speaks of these teachers being filled with greed. Certainly, a consistent theme that emerges with many of the Health and Wealth Prosperity teachers is the emphasis on money. Christians who attend their crusades and become partners in their ministries are regularly pressed to give money. Some of the poorest Christians are manipulated to give what they cannot afford to support the lavish lifestyles of these men and women. I have personal experience of seeing the tragic effect of this first hand. Many years ago, I worked as a care assistant in a nursing home. There was a disabled man there who was on the Morris Cerullo mailing list. On a regular basis this poor brother would be sent letters with appeals to give his money. Once I accompanied this man to a large gathering in Birmingham and was horrified to hear how people were being pressurised to give. This brother sincerely believed that by giving he would be healed or blessed in some way. Sad to say, but he returned home with his disability as well as being considerably poorer! Money is not the only thing that these teachers are greedy for. Some are also greedy for power and recognition.
A final observation on the 2 Peter passage, in connection with some of the teachers in today's Church, comes with the mention of believers being exploited by these false teachers with stories they have simply invented. Rather than be like the early Bereans, whom the Apostle Paul called "noble" for testing his words against Scripture (Acts 17:11), many Christians tend to gullibly believe anything that is said. It seems that these days, any teacher can come along with a charismatic personality, claim to have had a vision from God or a prophecy etc., and they are simply believed.
The quotes below have been arranged below in topical arrangement so that the reader can see that there is a movement at large, in the Church, which is teaching specific false doctrines in a consistent manner.
Man as a God
"[The Spirit of God]...declared in the earth today what the eternal purpose of God has been through the ages...that He is duplicating Himself in the earth" (John Avanzini, "The End Time Manifestation of the Sons of God," Morris Cerullo World Evangelism tape).
"Did you know that from the beginning of time the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself?...And when we stand up here, brother, you're not looking at Morris Cerullo; you're looking at God. You're looking at Jesus" (Morris Cerullo, "The End Time Manifestation of the Sons of God," Morris Cerullo World Evangelism tape 1).
"You don't have a god in you, you are one." (Kenneth Copeland, "The Force Of Love" tape # 02-0028)
Speaking of Jesus, Kenneth Copeland says: "I say this with all respect so that it don't upset you too bad, but I say it anyway. When I read in the Bible where he says, 'I Am,' I just smile and say, 'Yes, I Am, too!" (Kenneth Copeland, "Believer's Voice of Victory" broadcast on TBN, recorded 7/9/87)
"Gods reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself. He [Adam] was not a little like God, he was not almost like God, He was not subordinate to God even". (Kenneth Copeland, "Following the Faith of Abraham" tape # 01-3001)
"Adam is God manifested in the flesh" (Kenneth Copeland, "Following the Faith of Abraham" tape # 01-3001)
"God's reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself....Adam is as much like God as you could get, just the same as Jesus....Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh" (Kenneth Copeland, Following the Faith of Abraham I, side 1.)
"Don't be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you're God. The more you get to be like Me, the more they're going to think that way of you. They crucified Me for claiming that I was God. But I didn't claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah. That's what you're doing." (Kenneth Copeland, "Voice of Victory" Vol. 15, No. 2, 2/87)
"You have the same creative faith and ability on the inside of you that God used when he created the heavens and the earth." (Kenneth Copeland, Inner Image of the Covenant, side 2.)
"[Man] was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God's presence without any consciousness of inferiority...God made us as much like Himself as possible...He made us the same class of being that He is Himself...Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God...[The] believer is called Christ...That's who we are; we're Christ" (Kenneth Hagin, Zoe: The God-Kind of Life, 1989. pp. 35-36, 41)
"Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth" (Kenneth Hagin, "The Incarnation," The Word of Faith 13, December, 1980).
"You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was...the believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth". (Kenneth Hagin, "Word Of Faith" Dec. 1980, p. 14)
"I am a 'little messiah' walking the earth" (Benny Hinn, Praise-a-Thon" on TBN, November 6, 1990).
"Are you ready for some real revelation knowledge....you are god" (Benny Hinn, "Our Position In Christ", tape # AO31190-1)
"You are a little god on earth running around". (Benny Hinn, "Praise-a-thon" broadcast on TBN, November, 1990)
God as a Man and the Demotion of God
"I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible actually is. Everybody you ask "Who's the biggest failure?" They say "Judas", somebody else will say "No, I believe it was Adam", well how about the devil. He's the most consistent failure. But he's not the biggest in terms of material failure and so forth. The biggest one in all the Bible is God. What, what, what, don't you turn that set off, you listen to what. I told you - now you sit still a minute. You know me well enough to know I wouldn't, I wouldn't tell something I can't prove from the Bible."(Kenneth Copeland, "Praise-a-thon" program, TBN, April 1988)
God is someone "very much like you and me....A being that stands somewhere around 6'2," 6'3," that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds, little better, [and] has a [hand]span nine inches across." (Kenneth Copeland, Spirit, Soul and Body I, side 1.)
God is a "spirit-being with a body, complete with eyes, and eyelids, ears, nostrils, a mouth, hands and fingers, and feet." (Kenneth Copeland ministry letter, 21 July 1977.)
"If you stood Adam upside God, they look just exactly alike..." (Kenneth Copeland, Authority of the Believer IV (Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987, audiotape #01-0304, side 1)
"A copy of the mother planet [i.e., heaven] where God lives." (Kenneth Copeland, Following the Faith of Abraham I, Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989, audiotape #01-3001, side 1.)
"What was the appearance of God the Father? Like that of a man...God has the likeness of fingers and hands and a face." (Good Morning Holy Spirit, (Benny Hinn, Word, 1991, p. 82)
"What does God the Father look like? Although I've never seen Him, I believe - as with the Holy Spirit - He looks like Jesus looked on earth." (Benny Hinn, Good Morning Holy Spirit, Word, 1991, p.87)
"Something big is in the air! 1994 is going to be a pivotal year. I can feel it you can feel it, numerous Christian leaders and prophets of the Lord are declaring it! Pastor John Hickle of Christ Church, Los Angeles, received a word from the Lord that evil will be ripped from the land in June. Kim Clement, an evangelist from South Africa, has prophesied some astounding things for the near future. Paul Cain has seen, by the Holy Spirit, an earth-shaking outpouring of revival such as the world has never seen! Aquilla Wilkins Nash, who has told me many things by the revelation of God, has also prophesied some awesome events for the year and years just ahead ... Prophet Paul Cain has seen in the Spirit, a last days revival so powerful that hospitals will literally be emptied and people kneeling in public places to receive Christ will become commonplace! (Paul Crouch, "Blessed Are the Eyes Which See," Praise the Lord newsletter, March 1994).
"I want to say something this morning to Hank Hanegraaff. Hank Hanegraaff, you may feel like that you can put on the badge of heaven and put on your white cap and saddle up on your big horse and ride through the kingdom of God straightening everybody out. But I don't know who called you to be the high sheriff of heaven and go around straightening everybody out. I don't know who did that. But I'm going to tell you one thing.
You may criticize other people and other moves of God and other ministries, but you'd better leave your hands off of this one! Better leave your hands off of this one.
We're walking humbly before God. We're praying. Our lives are in order. Our finances are in order. Our families are in order. We're not in adultery and we're not in deception. We're only trying to manage and pastor a move of God. And Mr. Hanegraaff, I want to say to you, before you get back on national television and start spouting off at the mouth again about something of which you know nothing of, you'd better be careful, because God said, "Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord."
And I want to say something else to you. If you want to keep any kind of a semblance of a ministry, you better back off from this revival and what God is doing. You better back off, because I'm going to prophesy to you that if you don't, and you continue to put your tongue in your mouth on this move of God, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down. I said, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down.
And I speak that as a man of God. I don't speak that out of vengeance, I don't speak it out of selfishness, and I don't speak it out of a hurt feeling, because my feelings are not hurt. I feel as normal today as I've ever felt. I don't have a chip on my shoulder, I don't have an ax to grind. But this is a move of God and you better leave it alone. [Applause.]
And I want to tell you something else. If you don't want your head to start shaking - you make fun of somebody in the choir shaking. If you don't want your head to do like this, you better lay your mouth off of her. I know this girl. She's a godly girl. She's a school teacher, and she lives a godly life.
Wait a minute. Stand up here. Listen. Tell them what God did to your neck.
Woman: He healed me of a neck and back injury from a car accident.
She had a neck and a back injury from a car accident and couldn't move. And God has given her a sign. Every service you can't do this if you have a neck and a back injury. But when the Lord set her free, He's given an example to everybody that He's a healer. And friend, let me tell you something. Listen! [Applause]
What happened? Why do you shake like that?
Woman: I think it started as confirmation of my healing, 'cause I didn't have full range of motion and I had a lot of pain and my neck would have never been able to do this before it was healed.
Mr. Hanegraaff! I want to say something to you. Better walk a mile in another man's moccasins before you make a judgment on him. I want to say something else. Am I ashamed that I've got a woman in my choir that shakes like she's got palsy? No! Every time I look up there it's going to be a reminder "I am the Lord thy God Who healeth thee." [Applause]
...And let that be a lesson to the church this morning, and Mr. Hanegraaff, let it be a lesson to you, and let the rest of the body of Christ learn a lesson this morning that God is at work and heaven has its hard hat on and God is doing a last day quick work before the soon-coming of His Son, Jesus Christ. And I think the last thing He needs is a distraction of ungodly people that call themselves Christians that can't do anything but murmur and complain and gripe.
I tell you what I want to do before the trumpet sounds and before the Lord Jesus comes back. I want to have a repository built up in heaven in the ears of God where I praise Him through every trial and every difficulty and every season of tribulation.
...I want to close by giving ten proclamations about how things are going to be. Mr. Hanegraaff, and all other devils, listen up." (John Kilpatrick Prophecy Against Hank Hanegraaff and CRI, Brownsville Assembly of God, April 6, 1997).
An observation are is in order concerning the words of Kilpatrick. Notice that Kilpatrick says that Hank Hanegraaff of Christian Research Institute (CRI) would be "brought down" in "90 days" by the Holy Ghost. This word was given in April 1997 but Hank Hanegraaff and CRI have continued to operate as usual. Ironically, not only did nothing happen to Mr Hanegraaff, but soon after Kilpatrick was involved in an accident himself!
Burgess and McGee's book of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements describes how William Branham (By the way, Branham was also a Oneness believer who denied the Trinity) said that "...by 1977 all denominations would be consumed by the World Council of Churches under the control of the Roman Catholics, that the rapture would take place, and that the world would be destroyed." (Burgess and McGee, Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, p. 96)
The Atonement of Christ
"Jesus had to go through that same spiritual death in order to pay the price. Now it wasn't the physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin, because if it had of been any prophet of God that had died for the last couple of thousand years before that could have paid that price. It wasn't physical death anybody could do that." (Kenneth Copeland, "What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost" (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, audio tape #020022)
Copeland believes Jesus said: "It was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross...I accepted, in my own spirit, spiritual death; and the light was turned off." (Kenneth Copeland, What Happened from the Cross to the Throne, side 2.)
Jesus had to "accept the sin nature of Satan." (Kenneth Copeland, What Happened from the Cross to the Throne, side 2.)
"He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, 'The only way I can stop sin is by Me becoming it. I can't just stop it by letting it touch Me; I and it must become one.' Hear this! He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan where He became sin!" (Benny Hinn, TBN, 12/1/90).
"Satan conquered Jesus on the Cross and took His spirit to the dark regions of hell" (Kenneth Copeland, Holy Bible: Kenneth Copeland Reference Edition (Kenneth Copeland, Fort Worth: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1991), 129.)
"He [Jesus] allowed the devil to drag Him into the depths of hell....He allowed Himself to come under Satan's control...every demon in hell came down on Him to annihilate Him....They tortured Him beyond anything anybody had ever conceived. For three days He suffered everything there is to suffer." (Kenneth Copeland, "The Price of It All," 3.)
"How did Jesus then on the cross say, ‘My God.’ Because God was not His Father any more. He took upon Himself the nature of Satan. And I’m telling you Jesus is in the middle of that pit. He’s suffering all that there is to suffer, there is no suffering left . . . apart from Him. His emaciated, little wormy spirit is down in the bottom of that thing and the devil thinks He’s got Him destroyed. But, all of a sudden God started talking." (Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory (television program), TBN, 21 April 1991.)
Jesus "had to give up His righteousness" (Kenneth Copeland, The Incarnation, side 2.)
A Born-Again Jesus?
"That Word of the living God went down into that pit of destruction and charged the spirit of Jesus with resurrection power! Suddenly His twisted, death-wracked spirit began to fill out and come back to life....Jesus was born again -- the firstborn from the dead the Word calls Him, and He whipped the devil in his own backyard." (Kenneth Copeland, "The Price of It All," 4-6.)
"The Spirit of God spoke to me, and He said "Son, realize this" Now follow me in this, don't let your tradition trip you up. He said "Think this way. A twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain." And I threw my Bible..I said "What?" He said "A born-again man defeated Satan - the first-born of many brethren defeated him." He said "You are the very image, and the very copy of that one." I said "Goodness Gracious, saints alive." I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said "Well you don? mean - You couldn't dare mean that I could have done the same thing?" He said "Oh yeah. If you'd had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did you could've done the same thing cause you're a re-born man too." (Kenneth Copeland, "Substitution and Identification", Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989, audio tape #00-0202, side 2)
Cursing of Critics
"I think God's given up on a lot of that old rotten Sanhedrin religious crowd, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. I think they're damned and on their way to hell and I don't think there's any redemption for them...the heresy hunters that want to find a little mote of illegal doctrine in some Christian's eye and pluck that little mote out of their eye when they've got the whole forest in their own lives and in their own eyes. I say to hell with you! Oh hallelujah. Get out of God's way, quit blocking God's bridges or God's gonna shoot you if I don't! I refuse to argue any longer with any of you out there. Don't even call me. If you want to argue doctrine, if you want to straighten out somebody over here, if you want to criticize Ken Copeland for his preaching on faith, or Dad Hagin. Get out of my life! I don't even want to talk to you or hear you. I don't want to see your ugly face! Get out of my face in Jesus' name." (Paul Crouch, "Praise-a-thon" broadcast on TBN, recorded 4/2/91)
"God, we proclaim death to anything or anyone that will lift a hand against this network and this ministry that belongs to You, God. It is Your work, it is Your idea, it is Your property, it is Your airwaves, it is Your world, and we proclaim death to anything that would stand in the way of God's great voice of proclamation to the whole world. In the Name of Jesus, and all the people said Amen!" (Paul Crouch, TBN, 11/7/97)
"If you have attacked me, your children will pay for it." (Benny Hinn, TBN "Heresy Hunters" October 23 1992)
"What do you need? Start creating it. Start speaking about it. Start speaking it into being. Speak to your billfold. Say, "You big, thick billfold full of money." Speak to your checkbook. Say, "You, checkbook, you. You've never been so prosperous since I owned you. You're just jammed full of money." (Marilyn Hickey, "Claim Your Miracles" (Denver: Marilyn Hickey Ministries, n.d., audiotape #186, side 2)
"Poverty is from the devil and that God wants all Christians prosperous." (Benny Hinn, TBN, 11/6/90)
"Jesus was rich and that He left us with an example to follow. That is why Fred drives a Rolls Royce; he is following Jesus' example!" (Fred Price, An Examination Of The Word-Faith Movement, Richard J. Vincent, 1991)
"...Jesus lived in great prosperity..." (John Avanzini, Was Jesus Poor?, Believer's Voice of Victory, January, 1996, p. 8)
"The fact is, Jesus had a nice house." (John Avanzini, Was Jesus Poor?, Believer's Voice of Victory, January, 1996, p. 9)
"Another thing you may not realize is that Jesus wore designer clothes...Why do you need to know that? Because until you know that Jesus was prosperous, you won't be either. You may have His kindness, you may have His gentleness, you may have all His other attributes, but you'll never have His prosperity." (John Avanzini, Was Jesus Poor?, Believer's Voice of Victory, January, 1996, p. 8)
"If your body belongs to God, it does not and cannot belong to sickness." (Benny Hinn, Rise and Be Healed, 1991, p. 62).
"...how can you glorify God in your body, when it doesn't function right? How can you glorify God? How can He get glory when your body doesn't even work? ...What makes you think the Holy Ghost wants to live inside a body where He can't see out through the windows and He can't hear with the ears? What makes you think the Holy Spirit wants to live inside of a physical body where the limbs and the organs and the cells do not function right? ... And what makes you think He wants to live in a temple where He can't see out of the eyes, and He can't walk with the feet, and He can't move with the hand?...The only eyes that he has that are in the earth realm are the eyes that are in the body. If He can't see out of them then God's gonna be limited..." (Frederick K.C. Price, "Is God Glorified Through Sickness?" (Los Angeles: Crenshaw Christian Center, n.d.), audiotape #FP605)
"Of course, some sincere-hearted believers have gotton confused about healing because they've seen or heard of instances where good a Christian didn't receive it. We've all heard the stories. "Well, healing couldn't be included in redemption because sister So-andSo who taught Sunday school every week for 65 years got sick and God didn't heal her." I want you to know something about those stories: They are lies. Granted, those who tell them usually don't realize it, but they are lies just the same." (Kenneth Copeland, The Great Exchange, Believer's Voice of Victory, February, 1996, p. 7).
"Healing always comes. The problem has been in our receiving, not in God's giving" (Kenneth Copeland, The Great Exchange, Believer's Voice of Victory, February, 1996, p. 7).
Other Heretical and 'Off the Wall' Statements
Benny Hinn said that he hears from the dead saints: "This might even shock you a little more. The Lord gave me a vision of Kathryn Kuhlman sitting with what seemed to be a group of people...and every one of them seemed to be urging me to pray. Now, I know this sounds crazy, but it's all right. I don't mind crazy because I liked what I saw...I was in prayer at uh, least hours...At least fifty to seventy of them sitting in a group, and they were saying to me, 'Pray! Ask God to give you a healing ministry that will touch the world! And suddenly, I heard Kathryn's voice and suddenly there she was its crystal clear. And she in her beautiful smile, she said, 'Ask! We're waiting for you to ask! We're praying with you to ask!" (Benny Hinn, Blaisdale Arena, Honolulu, HI, February 28, 1997).
God has 9 parts. (Benny Hinn, Benny Hinn broadcast, recorded 10/13/90). Hinn later renounced this teaching.
"...the anointing is dependent upon my words. God will not move unless I say it. Why? because He has made us coworkers with Him. He set things up that way." (Benny Hinn, The Anointing. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. 1992, p. 82.)
"Holy Spirit said something to me and I had to go like a mad man and looking in the Word. He says, ‘God’s original plan is that the woman was to bring forth children out of her side.’ What? You know that there is nowhere in the Bible but where God gives birth out of His side. Jesus gives birth to the church out of His side. Adam gives birth to his wife out of his side. It was sin that turned the thing around. And it was sin that transformed her flesh and her body." (Transcribed From A Message Given By Benny Hinn, Paw Creek Ministries).
"'One night I was preaching on hell,' Howard-Browne says, 'and [laughter] just hit the whole place. The more I told people what hell was like, the more they laughed'" (Rodney Howard-Browne, Charisma, August 1994, pg. 24).
"For the time will come when men will not put
up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather
around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-
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