By Troy J. Edwards
seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." We are told yet again in Heb. 13:9, " Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.
For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace..." These passages show us that there is a definite need for the true
apologetics ministry in the church.
The early church fathers such as Iraeneus, Origen, Chrysostom, Polycarp, and others spent quite a bit of time defending the truth of Christianity against the well known heresies of their era. These men were true apologists in every sense of the word. Even before them, Paul, John, and the other early apostles had to continually defend the truth against the error that crept into the church.
Though I may not have always agreed with him, Walter Martin, the founder
of the Christian Research Institute, was a true apologist. God raised up
such a man when the American scene was becoming so filled with cults that
it became difficult to distinguish them from Orthodox Christianity.
His landmark book, Kingdom of the Cults, provided us with sufficient information
on the different cults in America and how to deal with them
The Difference Between Apologists and Heresy Hunters
Nevertheless, there comes a fine line between the valid ministry of
an Apologist (one who is defending the faith given to the church) and the
need to search for something to use against those you may disagree with
theologically in order to make them appear cultic and heretical to the
general public. The latter is a Heresy Hunter. Heresy Hunting has become
a cultic practice unto itself and the purpose of this essay is to show
the reader the invalidity of such a practice. I will show you seven tactics
that these people use in their vendetta against those they do not agree
with. I will especially show you how these tactics have been used in the
attacks against the Word of Faith movement.
1. False Labeling
The heresy hunters seem to enjoy labeling those that they theologically disagree with as "cultic, heretical, etc." The Word-Faith movement has been labeled a "metaphysical" movement when their has been no trace of metaphysical teaching within this group. We have also been called "Gnostic," "Universalists," "Eastern Mysticism," and a host of other names. One web site labels Marilyn Hickey as the "fairy God-Mother" of the Word of Faith movement.
The heresy hunter even like to falsely label themselves. Many of them say that they are Pentecostals or that they are Charismatics. They do this so that they can be accepted among these particular groups while still attacking everything uniquely Pentecostal or Charismatic. They do this in order to turn the hearts of Pentecostals and Charismatics away from the essential truths that distinguish these two movements. The unfortunate thing is that it has actually worked. Many Pentecostals and Charismatics treat their Word of Faith brethen as if they have been sprayed by skunks. They now do everything to separate them from their groups.
Many of the heresy hunters say that they are members of Assemblies of God churches or affiliated with "Charismatic" churches such as Calvary Chapel. Yet, when you listen to them talk they often sound like Hyper-Calvinists and Cessationists. It's a shame because the same criticism that they make against the Word-Faith and other movements were made against the movements that they claim to be affiliated with.
In the beginning of the Pentecostal movement at Azusa street in 1906, the leaders of this movement, William J. Seymour and Charles Parham were labeled "rulers of spiritual Sodom." Another person labeled them, "Satan's preachers, jugglers, necromancers, enchanters, magicians, and all sorts of mendicants." This same person also labeled the Pentecostal movement as "spiritualism." Another well known preacher of that time labeled it, "the last vomit of Satan." A Bible teacher whose writings I love made a statement about the Pentecostal movement that I disagree with: "emphatically not of God and founded by a Sodomite".
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Pentecostals were also falsely
labeled as "hypnotists," "mentally unstable" and attributed the miraculous
That Pentecostalism was initially successful cannot
be gainsaid. It seemed to be scripturally oriented and appeared to
I suppose now that many Pentecostal denominations have established a certain amount of "respect" in the evangelical community, they would not want to be associated with a movement that is being rejected by the community at large. It is recorded later that the American Assemblies of God, a major Pentecostal denomination, rejected what is known as the Charismatic movement. Those who were Assemblies ministers who approved of this movement lost their ministerial credentials and were disfellowshipped from the AoG. Two of the more well known are David Du Plessis and Ralph Wilkerson. Is this not a case of the persecuted becoming the persecutors?
Centuries before this, John Calvin and Martin Luther were persecuted for discovering the truth of "justification by faith." Once this truth was established, Luther persecuted the Anabaptists because they felt the need to bring further Biblical reforms into the church. Luther blasted these "zealots" from the pulpit and written literature. He labeled them "stupid spirits," "rabble preachers," "infiltrators," and "messengers of satan."
George Mueller, who was a great man of faith, was able to trust God
for a millions dollars a day to feed thousands of orphans. He did this
with no advertisements and no letters appealing to others for support.
He totally prayed and relied on God. Unfortunately, due to his tremendous
faith, some in his time had falsely labeled him and connected him to spiritualism,
the cultic influence of that time:
A striking case is that of Mr. George
Muller, of Bristol, who has now for forty years depended wholly for his
Muller was one of the greatest men of faith and greatest example to the church in how to put our full trust and reliance upon God. Because of this apparent success in prayer, he is labeled a medium and the "spirits" (presumably "demonic" spirits) are given the credit for the provisions that he received.
Muller is now respected in both Charismatic and Evangelical churches and is often used as an example of the kind of faith that is needed to do the work God has called us to do. However, there were some that wanted to imply that he was embracing "spiritualism." Is it any wonder that in our day our major faith teachers who have demonstrated faith in God are made to look "cultic" by those who disagree with them?
God's persecuted children are in good company. John the Baptist and
even our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ have had to deal with false labeling
by religious leaders:
For John came neither eating nor drinking,
and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking,
John the Baptist was labeled as demon possessed, and Jesus was called a few other names. Later on Jesus Himself would be accused of being in league with the devil (Matt. 12:23-26).
So God Himself, who came to earth to shed His precious blood for all
men is being labeled a man who is in league with the devil whose works
he came to destroy (1 John 3:8). These accusations were made by the religious
leaders of his day. Sounds familiar? Jesus goes on to tell us that because
we are his disciples, we can expect this same type of persecution:
It is enough for the disciple that he
be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the
master of the
By giving the false labels to Word-Faith which these heresy hunters
have done, they have placed themselves in the same league as the Pharisees
of Jesus day and have placed us in the same company as our Lord Jesus.
Those of us affiliated with the Word-Faith movement should be thankful
for this minor persecution.
2. Taking Statements out of context
This is an attempt to misconstrue the original intent of what the person was intending to say or trying to convey. This is outright dishonest. It is equivalent to what many do in the secular media. The secular media uses soundbites, half quotes, and one sided approaches to give the appearance of "evil" to the watching public. The secular media has been quite successful in destroying businesses this way and even a few ministries. The heresy hunters have done an excellent job of incorporating this tactic in their attacks on the Word-Faith and others they disagree with.
Although there are enough books that one can buy that gives plenty of
examples of this particular heresy hunting tactic, one need not waste his
or precious hard earned dollars. There are enough examples on the world
wide web. Take notice of a Kenneth Hagin quotation on the Watchman Fellowship
Word-Faith teachers say that not only is God a big
man, but man is a little god. Kenneth Hagin has asserted,
Notice all of the "..." used in this misquotation of Hagin's teaching.
Those "..." show that the person quoted was not fully quoted. If I had
never read Hagin's books and this was the first quote I ever read by him,
I would stand against his theology too. I would shout "heresy" along with
the rest of these heresy hunters. However, when we look at Hagin's teaching
in it's full context, we will see that Hagin's statements were completely
taken out of context:
For if by one man's offence death reigned by one;
much more they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of
What does this verse mean? It means that everyone
of us who has been born again and has received the life of God
God made man His understudy. He made him king, to
rule over everything that had life. Man was master. Man lived in
2 CORINTHIANS 6:15
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial?
Finally, the believer is called "Christ" and the unbeliever is called "Belial." That's who we are; we're Christ!
Jesus is the head and we're the Body of Christ. Your
head doesn't go by one name and your body by another, does it?
Notice that Mr. Hux neglected to deal with the Scripture passages that Hagin used. Notice also how Mr. Hux totally misinterpreted Hagin's message. Hagin was not demoting God and elevating man as Mr. Hux would imply. Hagin stated that man was God's understudy. Does this sound as if Hagin was promoting man to a higher level than God? Hagin was simply teaching the level on which God created man. Take Psalm 8:4-5 for example. There are a host of Bible translations that state that man was made a little lower than God.
When Hagin and others speak of man being in God's class, most of this teaching centers on passages in Psalms 8:4-5; Heb. 2:7; Psalm 82:1, 6, and John 10:35. The KJV took the Hebrew word "Elohim" in Psalm 8:5 and translated it to "angels" instead of God. I understand that it was also translated this way in the Septuagint, which is the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Many Bible translations have decided to translate the Hebrew word correctly. Among the older ones are Revised standard version, Young's literal Translation, American Standard Version, Hebrew Names Version, World English Bible, and the Amplified Bible. Among the newer translations that quote it this way are God's Word To the Nations translation, Contemporary English version, New Living Translation, and Today's English Version. These all speak of God creating man a little lower than Himself vice creating man a little lower than the angels.
Commentaries by men who are respected in the church who also seem to agree with this interpretation is John Wesley, Adam Clark, Warren Wiersbe, Ray Stedman, and John Calvin.
Therefore, Hagin was simply stating that man was created in God's image
and has a higher place than the angels and other created beings. In this
sense, Hagin is teaching that man was created in God's class. Further more,
Hagin was simply teaching the truth that we are members of Christ's body.
He was not teaching that each Christian is the Messiah Himself. He was
teaching that we are a part of one body and that we have a place and position
in Christ that we often do not recognize. Besides, Mr. Hux neglected to
include Hagin's proof Scripture (2 Cor. 6:15) as well as Hagin's full statement.
Hagin was by no means teaching that God was a big man and that we are on
3. Comparison method
Used to compare the statements of well known faith teachers against those of well known heretics and/or cultic leaders. These statements are often taken out of context.
Jesus methods of healing and deliverance were also compared to the cultic
exorcists of His time on earth. Jesus was accused of being demon possessed:
And all the people were amazed, and said,
Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said,
One web site does this by quoting major faith teachers out of context and then compares their statements to those of Mormon leaders such as Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders. It's an endless charade.
An example of how some of these "apologetical" websites do this is displayed
below. One Apologist takes a quote by Copeland and compares it to a quote
by a New Age leader:
“Faith activates the force of God fear is a force
that activates the Devil. Copeland says, God did not create the world
New Ager Benjamin Creme says, for example, “One doesn't
pray to oneself, one prays to the God within. The thing is to
This is just one example of how Copeland's "force of faith" teaching is compared to a well known cult to make him look as if he were receiving his theological perspective from them. One other person makes it sound like Copeland has been watching too many science fiction movies:
Faith is a Force (like Starwars).
I am giving you the exact quote as it was written on this website which is supposed to be a compilation of "erroneous" quotes from Word of Faith teachers. I am absolutely sure that the "like starwars" insertion in the parenthesis was not from the person quoted, but the interpretation of the quoter. The Heresy Hunter will add or take away from the words of the faith teacher in order to make the faith teacher sound heretical.
I will now use this same tactic and compare the "force of faith teaching
with quotes from a classic Bible teacher that many consider "orthodox"
and whose books are even sold and read by some of these apologetical ministries:
Many grand deeds have also been born of faith, for
faith works wonders. Faith in its natural form is an all-prevailing
Now what "heretic" would make a statement like that? Long before the so called New Age movement, and long before the popular Star Wars movies (long before movies, period), Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) made the above statement. In a later essay on this subject I will show you similar statements by other men of days gone by, men who bare the names of Albert B. Simpson, Edwards M. Bounds, Frederick Marsh, and others. These men also believed that faith, prayer, and even the death of Christ is a "force." Were they heretical too? You will be surprised at the statements these men made that would be considered "heretical" in today's heresy hunting atmosphere.
However, allow me to quote another surprising statement by the "prince
of preachers himself once more in this regard:
Faith is the mightiest of the mighty. It is the monarch
of the realms of the mind. There is no being superior to its strength,
Now is that heretical by today's standards or what? Is this any more heretical then Copeland saying that faith activates the force of God? So perhaps Spurgeon and modern day faith teachers were heretical. Was Jesus heretical when He said that "all things are possible to him that believes" (Mark 9:22-23)? Was Paul heretical when he compared faith to a "shield" (Eph. 6:16)? I have no doubt that Copeland had no intentions of implying that faith was something similar to the star wars force or the New Age definition. Faith is a weapon or force that can be used in resisting the devil (1 Pet. 5:8-9; James 4:7).
Let's look at another Scripture that is not often taught outside "spiritual
And from the days of John the Baptist
until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take
Was Jesus speaking of a "metaphysical force" when He made this statement? No. The word "force" used in this passage comes from the Greek word Biazo. According to Vines dictionary this word can be translated to be "....expressive of the special interest which the doer of the act has in what he is doing." It can also be synonymous with violence.
Paul tells us, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness,
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17).
Comparing Copeland's words to a well known cultic antiChristian group
or to a popular science fiction movie and not take other, more orthodox
references into account is totally dishonest on the part of these heresy
hunters. They should be ashamed of themselves.
4. False Implications
After quoting a person out of context, and then comparing the person's statement to a well known cult leader or heretic, the next step is to make a false implication concerning what the individual teaches. The interpretation of a statement by the Heresy Hunter is usually never what the writer/preacher originally meant to convey.
In John 2:18-21 we find this incident concerning Jesus Christ:
Then answered the Jews and said unto
him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
Now it is clear that Jesus was not speaking of the literal temple but of His own body. It is also clear that he said nothing about destroying this temple Himself but that others would do the destroying. Now watch how this is expertly used against him during His trial just before He is crucified:
Now the chief priests, and elders, and
all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
Now you see how these men came to the wrong conclusion concerning Jesus'
statement. Jesus spoke of the temple of his body but these men made it
seem as if Jesus were speaking of the temple (building). The incorrect
implications were drawn from the Lord's statements. The Bible calls these
men "false witnesses." This spirit is still resident in our time in the
"ministries" of the modern day heresy hunter. We can see how this tactic
is used on one "apologetical" website:
E.W. Kenyon wrote, “We have sung ‘Nearer the cross’
and we have prayed that we might be ‘Nearer the cross’ but the
What the Bible says:
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). “I decided to know nothing among you
The conclusion we draw from this misquote of Kenyon's work is that Kenyon
has no regard for the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sounds almost
similar to a Rev. Moon philosophy (I'm surprised that this apologist did
not use this "comparison" method). The author then attempts to prove
that Kenyon has made a heretical statement by quoting a passage of Scripture
that supposedly contradicts what Kenyon said. First we will look at the
fool context of this quote so that we can see EXACTLY what Kenyon was saying,
we will give Scripture references that show that Kenyon was attempting
to convey a truth to his students that was not often taught in his time,
and then we will show you from Kenyon's own writings what he truly believed
in regards to the cross of Christ. Here's Kenyon's full quote:
If Jesus had gone no further than dying on the cross,
no one have ever been saved through Him. There is no New Birth,
We have sung ‘Nearer the cross’ and we have prayed
that we might be ‘Nearer the cross’ but the cross has no
No, there is no salvation in a dead Christ or a suffering Christ hanging on the cross.
Many who read this will feel shocked because they
have worshipped a dead Christ. Had Jesus stopped, had He gone
You see, the disciples only understood what the physical
senses registered, as they gathered about the cross and
The next picture of Jesus is the one that has brought
life and light to the human race. It is the Resurrected,
So what was Kenyon teaching here? He was teaching that so many focus on the death of Christ and do not focus on His RESSURECTION and EXALTATION. They look at the DEATH of Christ but overlook the other aspects. They forget He is no longer on the cross. Kenyon was teaching people to get past the cross and move towards the resurrection and ascension. The cross was a necessary part of salvation but Kenyon is teaching here that the death of Christ would mean nothing had He not been raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God.
In a paragraph above this, Kenyon relates the story of how he saw a picture in the street of Christ dead on the cross. This seems to be the only picture of Christ that has been in the minds of many in the church. I remember before I received Christ as my personal savior, my girlfriend sent me a cross. I thought I would impress my friend, who was a true born again Christian by showing him. When I did, he said, "Troy, Jesus is no longer on the cross." Those words struck me. As far as I know, this man was not a Word-Faither. He was Protestant.
Christ is no longer in the grave. He has risen. This aspect of Christianity is what separates us from Islam, Buddhism, and a host of other world religions. It is not as Rev. Moon stated (that Christ failed) but the resurrection proves that Jesus was SUCCESSFUL. He was victorious.
There were good reasons why Kenyon needed to point this out. For example,
our salvation relies not so much in the death of Christ, as important as
this aspect is, but it relies primarily in His having been raised from
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him
Our victory over sin and our identification is to not only acknowledge
the cross but the resurrection as well:
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead
to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were
Because of this resurrection that Christ is able to work His mighty
power toward those of us who believe:
And what is the exceeding greatness of
his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty
There is a full abundance of Scripture that we can use in this regard,
but this is sufficient. F.E. Marsh (1858-1931) said it this way, "A crucifix
is not an emblem of Christianity, but an empty tomb is. How much that empty
What Kenyon Believed About The Cross
How Did Kenyon feel about the cross? Was it an unimportant aspect of
redemption? If we read Kenyon's books we would see that he held the cross
of Christ in high esteem. Remember in the quote from his book, Advanced
Bible Course, Kenyon was expounding on the importance of the resurrections.
This by no means implies that Kenyon did not think that the cross was important.
Kenyon states in one of his books:
The cross was the climax of love in manifestation.
There is no love without action. It is not love until it acts. Love was
Kenyon believed that the cross held a very important place in the work of God. Kenyon believed that the cross is where Jesus became our substitute on the cross. In another of his books, Kenyon says, "But God has dealt with the sin problem in His Son. He has put sin away by the sacrifice of that Son."
Kenyon believed that the cross is where Jesus bore our sins. Kenyon
certainly believed that the cross was a necessity. The reading of several
of his books would affirm this. The references are too numerous to quote.
However, Kenyon believed strongly in the message of the cross. He simply
wanted his readers not to stop there and settle on the cross but to go
beyond that to the resurrection and the ascension. However, the modern
day apologists will not tell you that.
This is an attempt to make a person believe that the group that they are attacking is a real threat to present day Christianity. In other words, the said group or doctrine along with it's teachers and adherents is causing a real "Crisis" with Christendom as we know it. Unless these "heretics" as they are labeled are done away with, the whole foundations of Christianity will be destroyed.
What really gets me is one internationally known heresy hunter who claimed that the Faith teachers were causing a Crisis in Christianity was the same one to criticize other brethren (although I agree he was correct in doing so) for using sensationalism to promote the Y2K scare back in 1999. If only this same "apologist" had followed his own advice about sensationalism to sell books.
This same critic of the faith teachers have labeled another group of people that use similar tactics as himself as "a Cult of Gossipers." Although I may agree with him on this, I must also say that this is the proverbial "pot calling the kettle black." It is terrible that these heresy hunters will see sin in their brothers and yet commit the same sins. It's the case of not being able to pull the speck out of your brother's eye until you have pulled the moat out of your own (Matt. 7:1-5)
The caption on one Heresy Hunter's webpage would be funny if it were not so pathetic: "JUST LIKE AIDS…The Christian Church is Being Destroyed from Within!" This is in reference to the Faith movement, of course. Is God not able to remove a "cancer" or "AIDS" from His own body (The Body of Christ)?
This type of sensationalism is used quite often in the secular media to stir up viewer's emotions. The Heresy Hunter has skillfully adopted this technique in his war against the Faith Movement. What good Christian would not want to remove AIDS from the body of Christ? What good Christian would want to keep the church from being destroyed from within?
God is fully capable of keeping His church from being "destroyed from
within." However, the Heresy Hunter must use such sensational tactics as
Christianity being in a "Crisis," or that the Faith Teachers are preaching
a "different" gospel, or that we have become a "cancer" or "AIDS" in the
body of Christ.
It's So Sensational
Sensationalism sells books. Non Christians often use this tactic but unfortunately so do Christians. In 1988 the Christian bookstores sold a book titled 88 Reasons Why Christ Will Return In 1988. The book sold well and it also disappointed so many people when their expectations were not met.
We mentioned the Y2K scare earlier. So many Christians "prophesied"
about the disasters that would occur when the clock struck twelve
Unfortunately, the Charismatic movement that I have aligned myself with has been guilty of sensationalism. In the 1940-50s during the healing revival we have often sensationalized this wonderful provision of God with our flamboyance. This gave a bad name to healing. The 1970s gave us some insight into deliverance from demonic possession but again, the church moved into sensationalism, giving the deliverance ministry a bad name. Even now so many of our brethren are using sensationalism to promote their ministries.
We could write volumes on how "satanic ritual abuse" sensationalism has promoted the ministries of some (and has also caused their downfall when the truth about them were exposed). Then there was the "Illuminati" sensationalism. The church seems to have our own "conspiracy theories." These are just a few examples of the sensationalism that has reared its ugly head in the church far too often.
The sensationalism has not been limited to the Charismatic movement. We have seen that the evangelicals have done well in this department too. The Heresy Hunters have especially been good at this tactic. Many of them attack anything and everything that they do not agree with and will use any way possible to get the attention of the church. Some of them have a desperate fleshly need for this attention.
Many times people ride the waves of what seems to be popular. Word-Faith bashing has been very popular for the past twelve or so years. Before that, many people were teaching "faith," "discipleship," and "deliverance." To them it was a fad. They were riding the waves of it's popularity.
Now many of these same people have become the staunchest critics of these doctrines. It's no longer fun to them. It's not the "in" thing anymore. Word-Faith bashing is now the "in" thing and they must ride the waves of opportunity before the next fad. It is so sad that when God reveals a truth to His church and people begin to walk in light of that truth, others seem to come along only for the ride, or for the sensation and thrill of the moment.
The real test of whether you believe any truth from God's Word is when that truth and its adherents come under attack and persecution. That is the time that we see whether a person truly believed what he was taught or preaching or whether he or she was riding the wave of sensationalism. Many preachers turned from the Faith movement due to the books written against it. Many of them have endorsed the books and believe that simply because they were once a part of this movement that they are now experts.
Sensational wave riders are not experts. They were only on the train
for the ride. They did not get grounded in the true principles of faith
teaching and some of them were probably the biggest propagators of it's
excesses. That's the result of just coming along for the ride. We will
see what happens as this wave of Word-Faith name calling popularity begins
to die down. What train will many of these men and women hop on next?
6. Theological Prejudice/Bias in interpreting proof texts of those
that they disagree with
If Word-Faith (which is primarily an Arminian movement) interprets Scripture from and Arminian viewpoint, their accusers will use the Calvinistic interpretaion. If Word-Faith interprets a passage from a covenantal viewpoint then the heresy hunter will use the dispensational argument to refute those that they oppose. In other words, the Heresy Hunter uses whatever method he possibly can to prove to his listeners/readers that those whose ministries they wish to destroy are wrong and heretical.
There are those who feel that one MUST embrace a particular theological system (either Calvinism or Arminianism) and stick only with the tenets of that system or they are in error. Unfortunately for the heresy hunter, Word-Faith and other Charismatics have defied such logic by seemingly incorporating a mixture of both theological systems in each case.
Jeff Beard in his testimony, "Freedom from the Faith Movement: The Personal
Testimony of Jeff Beard" shows how his freedom was achieved theologically:
My eagerness for answers was soon satisfied, for
I received a book from John MacArthur, Jr., that addressed many of
Notice the writings that had the major affect on Beard's theological perspective. I am not as familiar with Martin Lloyd Jones (though I am told that he supported the Charismatic movement) but I can certainly show the reader the anti-Pentecostal and anti-charismatic bias of the other two writers.
In case the reader is not informed, John MacArthur is the pastor of one of the most thriving Reformed Calvinist churches in this nation. He is also the author of a popular book titled Charismatic Chaos, a book that criticizes everything Charismatic. MacArthur is well known for his cessationist theology.
Pentecostal historian Vinson Synan, in his book, The Holiness-Pentecostal movement records this statement concerning Dr. G. Campbell Morgan at the beginning of the Pentecostal revival: "Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, one of the most respected preachers of the twentieth century, called the Pentecostal movement 'the last vomit of Satan.'"
Another writer who seems to have changed Beard's views concerning the
Faith Movement happens to be a someone whose writing I also enjoy. Nevertheless,
this person also falls into the category of a Reformed Calvinist/Cessationist.
His name is A.W. Pink:
We soon accepted a position as associate pastors
and Bible school directors in another state and shoved off to put to
Notice that Pink's writings conflicted with "Rhema theology." I have read Pink's writings and I have been blessed by them. However, "Rhema theology" as Mr. Beard refers to it comes from an Arminian/Wesleyan/Holiness/Pentecostal background (in spite of what the critics say). Pink, like MacArthur and probably Morgan are from the Calvinistic/Reformed/Cessationist background. This is not only a CONFLICT, but a MAJOR one.
I have no problems with people changing their theological position. That is their perogative. What I have a problem with is Word-Faith critics who pose as Charismatics/Pentecostals and yet embrace theological positions that conflict with the labels they claim. There is nothing wrong with a person reading the writings of those with opposing theological views. I have done this and continue to do it. However, if these views are in conflict with one's foundational teachings, would it not be better to refer to the Scriptures to bring the understanding you need rather than totally throw away your foundation?
In a book review by CRI concerning one book criticizing the faith movement,
the reviewer makes this statement:
A distinctively "Reformed" analysis, packed with
quotes and footnotes. At its best when refuting the biblical proof-texts
The book that was reviewed is titled, Man as God: The Word of Faith
Movement, was written by Curtis Crenshaw, an associate of John
The Word-Faith critics have portrayed themselves as Pentecostals and Charismatics while at the same time blasting anything that was birthed from this movement and endorsing the writings of nonCharismatics. By this portrayal, these critics have successfully turned the hearts of other Pentecostals and Charismatics against the Word-Faith movement.
I have noticed in my conversations with ex-Word of Faith people that the majority of them embrace Reformed theology. In most cases they may add certain Charismatic distinctives. Nevertheless, while rejecting the Word-Faith movement they usually reject all Arminian/Wesleyan views and totally embrace Calvinism - minus Calvin's cessationism in most cases.
Many who embrace Calvinism believe that Calvinism is the gospel and
that the five point Calvinistic system of Bible interpretation (known as
TULIP) is the correct way to interpret the Bible. Any other method is believed
to lead a person into error. Not all become critics of the
Men like T.D. Jakes have also been the subject of this heresy hunting
crusade. Jakes, who pastors the 23.000 member Potter's House Church in
Dallas, Texas has been criticized by both Hank Hanegraaf, current president
of the Christian Research Institute and Jerry Buckner, a radio host and
pastor. While some feel that Jakes may be the successor to Billy Graham,
a world renowned evangelist, Buckner has a different opinion:
"T.D. Jakes is a cult leader and his ministry is
a cult," Buckner told "Charisma" magazine last week. "He needs to
I suppose Buckner must have a considerable voting share in the "Billy
Graham successor" stock. I guess Jakes success at winning the lost to Christ
does not qualify in the eyes of those who are focused on "theology." Not
so much correct theology but not embracing their theology (by the way,
I am a Trinitarian). Buckner goes on to question Jakes integrity by saying,
"Jakes is hiding his ties to Oneness Pentecostalism in order to be accepted
in the mainstream." This article goes on to say:
Buckner branded Jakes a heretic because of the Oneness
ties, and because of a statement on the T.D. Jakes
Jakes said, "I believe in one God. I believe in the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe that these three are
"Theologically unsound?!!!!" This is such a ridiculous excuse to brand
someone a heretic. This is a blatant attempt to either get someone to
He that committeth sin is of the devil;
for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God
Think John would have been branded a heretic by today's theological
standards? Simply because Jakes does not use the "correct theological"
wording acceptable to Buckner and Hanegraaf, he has become a heretic. Ministries
such as Buckner's and CRI feel that if one is not embracing theology as
they believe it, then they are not adhereing to the "right" theology.
Does Embracing The "Right" Theology Make One Superior?
Ted Rouse, who has written a book in defense of the Word-Faith movement
titled: Faith and The Pharisees, Has this to say about the theological
perspectives of some Word-Faith critics:
People, especially religious men, who are bound and
blinded by their own theological beliefs, will see only what they
I share Brother Rouse's opinion concerning many religious men. However,
both Rouse and I could be bias concerning the theology of these critics
since we are both sympathetic to the Word-Faith movement. However, another
author who is not so sympathetic to this movement, Neil T. Anderson, has
made a similar observation:
The only one who is right is God. We think we are
defending the truth, but what we are actually defending is our
Maybe the reader may better understand and receive an opinion of bias theology from someone outside of the Faith Movement and who is not sympathetic to it. Understand that we are all "bias" in the sense that we may embrace certain theological positions. However, all of us do not use our "bias" in the same way that the Heresy Hunter does. His intent is to discredit and perhaps destroy the ministry he opposes.
One of the most skilled "Theologians" of his time threw away all dead
theology for what Kenyon has popularly labeled "revelation knowledge:"
Though I might also have confidence in
the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust
Man may accuse Word-Faith for our desire to be taught the Bible by the
Holy Spirit (John 14:26) rather than following their dead theological traditions
and systems. They may talk about us and persecute us but I'd rather be
criticized and walk in newness of life than to conform to man's theological
boundaries and have the life of God choked out of me. Usually people like
this who cannot get a fresh revelation of God's Word (the Bible) have to
spend time criticizing others in an attempt to make them as joyless as
themselves. Theology is not bad in itself, but when we become so locked
into a certain theological system that fresh truth cannot penetrate, then
we have allowed the letter to kill and prevented the Spirit from giving
life (2 Cor. 3:6)
7. Incorrectly using "Scholarship" to make their point
Basically, the Heresy Hunter uses "Bad Scholarship" in an attempt to
make those that they oppose look ignorant. If the Heresy Hunter's
Unfortunately, the "out of context" statements are pulled from hundreds of tapes, books, magazines, television shows, and other medium that most people are not going to buy or even can afford to buy. I have not read all of the material that these heresy hunters reference. However, I have read enough of the material by the faith teachers to know that some of the so called "scholarship" and "research" used by these people is not done in a prayerful manner.
There are some out there who really believe that a person cannot interpret Scripture correctly without the help of some scholarly commentaries, dictionaries, lexicons, etc. They do not feel that the Holy Spirit is sufficient for teaching a person the true meaning of the Scriptures.
Jack Deere, a minister with the Vineyard movement has received his share
of criticism, especially since his excellent book, Surprised By The Power
Of The Spirit, (read my review of this book) which does an outstanding
job of refuting the cessationist viewpoint. One critic of the book takes
issue with Deere's teaching on healing from James 5:
A work on healing cannot ignore James 5. However,
it must not merely recognize the passage and then conform it to
All of these questions are the type that Scholars feel that everyone
must use to study a passage. Why must we engage in such "scholarly" tactics
when it comes to the Word of God? Is it not sufficient to simply believe
what God says and accept it? Not according to the Scholar. I am convinced
that such questioning actually undermines the Word of God:
For this cause also thank we God without
ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us,
The Word is not going to work effectively in us if we do not receive
it at face value as the Word of God for today. My Bible tells me that all
Scripture is profitable (2 Tim 3:16). It tells me that all of God's promises
are yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20). When we start having to ask
There is a place for asking questions when studying a Bible text. Nevertheless,
those questions should not be the type that would cause DOUBT as to whether
any promise in God's Word is applicable to the Believer today. Satan asked
certain questions to Eve and Jesus intended to bring doubt to the validity
of God's Word rather than to incite further study (Gen. 3:1-7; Matthew
4:1-11). Could this critic of Deere's book be doing the same? Here's another
quote from this critic:
As have others, this reviewer believes that Jack
Deere's work, in the main, is theologically defective. Rather than
This author definitely does not seek to hide his cessationist bias. The author does not believe that the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised to send in order to be our personal Bible teacher (John 14:26) is sufficient for teaching the pupil. The cessationist cannot find a clear argument for his theology in Scripture so he must use other "scholarly methods. Much of the same thing is done in other books criticizing various Charismatic movements.
Quite often people are deceived by the intellectual argument rather than by embracing the simplicity of God's holy and written Word. After all, they do not want to appear as if they lack intelligence as it is often portrayed among Pentecostals and Charismatics by their critics, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise" (1 Cor. 1:27)
Peter and John did not mind appearing to the people as anti-intellectuals:
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter
and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they
Because peter and John did not fit into the theological "in group,"
they were made to look like they knew nothing. They were made to look like
anti-intellectuals. The Bible shows us the grip that intellectualism has
The officers answered, Never man spake
like this man. then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
The people of Jesus day are made to seem as if they do not know the
law because they were drawn to Jesus. The standard of whether Jesus' doctrine
was correct or in error was supposed to be measured by whether the "theologians"
of that time accepted. This sounds quite like many of our great "scholars"
today. If it does not meet the litmus test of today's theologians and if
the teaching is not presented in a "scholarly" and intellectual manner,
then it is heresy to them. After all, they have their doctorates of divinity
and their masters in theology, so they are the experts.
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also
many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess
There is nothing wrong with education or scholarship, but when used the way these heresy hunters have used it to attack Word-Faith and other Charismatic ministries, then it becomes a tool of Satan. The sadducees were like that. They were equivalent to the cessationists of our day. The cessationist believe that the days of God moving in the miraculous are gone. The sadducees did not believe in a resurrection (Acts 23:8). They attempted to trap Jesus using their "scholarly" argument (Matt. 22:24-33). Jesus said that there problem was that they did not know the Scriptures or God's power (Matt. 22:30).
Charles Finney, the great revivalist of the 19th century was subject
to such scholarly attacks by the theologians of his day. A.M. Hill tells
of one of the times Finney was subject to this persecution:
It seems that Rev. William R. Weeks, an extreme Calvinist
of a community where Finney labored, opposed him on
Such an insane theology is certainly a blasphemous
libel on God. Of course, a man holding such doctrines, and the
The clergymen present from the East were Dr. Lyman
Beecher, then the leading revival pastor of Boston and
The terrible thing is that the theologians are still persecuting Finney posthumously. I was reading in one other book about someone who wrote a book that criticizes the Keswick movement of the early part of the 20th century. According to this "scholarly" work, these men were in error. Whenever I read the works by men such as F.B. Meyer, Andrew Murray, R.A. Torrey and other Keswickians, I see a life and devotion to God that is not found in the works of those who spend their whole writing "ministry" criticizing others.
Do you notice that the theology of Mr. Weeks is quite similar to that
of many of those today who write and speak against the faith movement.
One critic of the faith movement has stated that it is an incorrect view
of God's sovereignty that leads us to error. It amazes me how the Hyper-Calvinist
view of God's sovereignty that is often propagated as "Orthodox" is always
the view that has brought "death" to so many revivals and moves of God.
I wonder which view of His sovereignty does God believe is in error? Then
again, may be I don't wonder.
Conclusion: The heresy hunters have caused quite a bit of stir in the
church. They have caused the very division and strife that they often accuse
those who they attack. They present themselves as "defenders of the faith"
and "contenders for the truth." Yet they use false accusations, innuendo,
and other ungodly methods to contend for this "truth." They are defending
the truth as they see it. They claim to be modern day Bereans. I'm afraid
that they do not qualify:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica,
in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and
The Bereans did not spend hours looking for holes in Paul and Sila's teaching. The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily to if these things are so. The Heresy Hunters are looking for Scriptures to prove that what those they criticize say are not so. The Bereans received the word with readiness of mind. The Heresy Hunters receive it with a mind ready to attack. Their mind is made up that what the person is saying is wrong. This is not a readiness of mind. It goes on to say that many of them believe. The only thing the Heresy Hunter believes is that he can bring down the ministry that he is attacking. He does not believe the Bible. He only believes his theological view of the Bible.
Listening to the Heresy Hunter can mean the difference between life
and death for the Christian. If you desire to be miserable and joyless
and to take on a critical spirit, join the heresy hunter crowd. If you
desire to have life and peace, stay with the Word of God and stay away
from those who make it their life's work to criticize others.
1.Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Miriam-Webster
(c) Copyright 2001 by Troy J. Edwards and Victory through the Word Ministries