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Shall We Write Off Kenneth E. Hagin? Dave Hunt? How About E. W. Kenyon, Part 4

by Karl Kemp  
9/25/2013 / Bible Studies

We continue with "Shall We Write Off Kenneth E. Hagin, Dave Hunt? How About E. W. Kenyon?" here in Part 4.

Hagin emphasized that we are instructed to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. (See page 15 in this book, "Bible Prayer Study Course," for example.) He was always very clear on the distinction between the Persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. (On the Trinity, see my papers "Who Do We Worship?"; "Who Do We Pray To?"; "More on the Trinity"; and "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son.")

What Hagin says on pages 31 and 32 (in his "Bible Prayer Study Course") about the instructions the Lord Jesus gave him to solve his desperate financial problems at that time could be turned into an occult technique if it were taken out of the context of being centered in God (the God of the Bible; the God of creation). We need to consider a preliminary question. Did the Lord Jesus really reveal these things to Hagin, or was he deluded or deceived by a messenger of Satan? I am very much aware that many sincere people, including some sincere Christians, have been deceived by clever demonic messages that they thought were from God. Based on what I know of Hagin, I believe he received this revelation from the Lord Jesus. I believe it is also important to note that Hagin didn't say that Jesus instructed him to teach all Christians to follow these steps.

At that time Hagin was serving God on a full time basis, going from church to church holding meetings, but he was going deeper in debt every month. (The financial problems began when Hagin quit pastoring churches to begin to travel, at the instruction of the Lord Jesus.) For one thing, as Hagin mentions other places, Jesus required an attitude adjustment on Hagin's part (and his wife's too). Hagin resented the fact that he had to be away from his wife and two young children most of the time after he was required to begin a traveling ministry. When Hagin saw that he couldn't rightly continue to complain about his assignment (from God), he repented. Also, I am quite sure that Hagin was a special target for the devil, who was making it a top priority item to try to stop his ministry. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ, and the devil, believed that Hagin's ministry was quite important.

Hagin says the Lord Jesus gave him a three step solution to his financial problems: (Actually Hagin only mentions two of the steps here, but he mentions the other step other places, and I believe it is important for us to consider that other step.) (1) To claim before God (God who always was in the center of Hagin's life and ministry, not some occult technique, etc.) the money he needed/wanted (this is a type of prayer before God); (2) to send the ministering spirits (angels of God) to fulfill their role in bringing the money to Hagin; and (3) to command the devil (and his hosts) to take his hands off of the money.

The Bible warns Christians that we must not worship angels or look to angels for anything. (I'm sure Hagin agrees!) We must look to God for everything we need, not angels, even though God frequently uses His angels to minister to/for us (cf., e.g., Heb. 1:14; Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9; the Bible frequently mentions the ministry of God's angels; it also warns us to be very careful we don't look to, worship, or submit in any way to Satan or his angels or demons [cf. Col. 2:18; 2 Cor. 11:12-15]).

I'll quote a few sentences from page 143. ((One of the biggest problems I used to see around many faith movement people was that they insisted that if they would pray in faith they would receive an answer to their prayers, their prayers for healing, for example. They didn't want to hear about any conditions for their receiving; they said that whether a person was living in sin, or not, wasn't relevant. I don't think this problem is as widespread now as it used to be. Anyway, Hagin always made it clear (not that he made it clear ever time he spoke of praying in faith) that we shouldn't expect an answer to our prayers before we repent, where repentance is required.))

On page 143 Hagin was dealing with James 5:13-18. "...If he has sinned he will have to confess it. ... If he hasn't confessed it to God, he is not going to get healed with unconfessed sin in his life. ... You are not going to get healed with unconfessed sin in your life no matter who prays." Hagin's teaching makes it clear that sometimes we are required to make things right with another person we have wronged. Repentance includes making things right to the extent we are able to do so.

One last comment regarding the "Bible Prayer Study Course." I'll quote a few sentences from page 167, "We know...that saving the lost is [God's] will. We know that because we know the Word. It was to that end that Jesus died. 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten [unique] Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The point I want to make here is that Hagin frequently spoke of the death of Christ, or the cross of Christ, or the blood of Christ, etc. That was his emphasis even though in a few of his writings he made the serious mistake of (following Kenyon and) speaking of Jesus dying spiritually, taking on the nature of the devil, of His needing to be justified and born again like we are, and of His being tormented in hell for three days.

Quite a few times faith people have rejected my ministry because I said that Jesus didn't die spiritually, take on the nature of the devil, etc. It is sad when Christians make a wrong doctrine a test of orthodoxy. I am totally sure that Hagin did not make that mistake, and I have read that Kenyon did not make that controversial (wrong) doctrine a test of orthodoxy.

I determined to read (actually reread) one last book of Hagin to see how much he said, if anything, of God's law of faith that will work for anybody, saved or not, etc., "What to Do When Faith Seems Weak & Victory Lost" (RHEMA Bible Church, 1979, 123 pages). I'll quote the chapter titles of this book: 1) Recognize the source [God or Satan? We need to resist temptation (including the temptation to doubt God and His Word or to let our mind dwell on things that are against God and His divine order) and all the work of the devil]. 2) Be sure the promises of God cover the things you ask for. 3) Be sure you are not living in sin. 4) Be sure no doubt or unbelief is permitted in your life. 5) Sincerely desire the benefit. 6) ASK GOD IN FAITH NOTHING WAVERING [my emphasis]. 7) Do not tolerate a thought to the contrary. 8) Count the thing done. 9) GIVE GLORY TO GOD [my emphasis; Give the glory to God even before the answer to your prayer comes into manifestation]. 10) Act as though you have received. And, In Summation. Just reading the chapter titles shows that the faith spoken of in this book is centered in God; We ask God in faith, based on His Word; we receive from Him; and we give Him all the glory.

I'll quote a few sentences at the beginning of chapter 2 (page 25), "FAITH - BIBLE FAITH - IS BASED ON THE WORD OF GOD [my emphasis]. It comes by hearing the Word of God. 'So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God' (Rom. 10:17 [KJV]). If you get out beyond the Word of God, you have no basis for faith - and you will be in trouble." On page 33 he said, "RECOGNIZE THAT WHEN WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FAITH, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FAITH IN GOD [my emphasis] - and faith in God is faith in His Word." On page 71, 72 he said, "The Bible says, 'Resist the devil, and he will flee from you' (James 4:7). When you resist doubt, you are resisting the devil. Whatever is of the devil, when you resist that, you are resisting the devil. If fear comes, speak to it. ... One of the greatest fights you will ever have in life is to fight fear. How are you going to do it: With the Word of God. 'Resist the devil and he will flee from you' (James 4:7). The Bible says that God has not given us the 'spirit' of fear: 'For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind' (2 Tim. 1:7)."

We need to spend some time discussing Hagin's step 8 of this book, "Count the thing done that you have asked" (pages 99-113). As long as we are clearly praying in accordance with God's Word, and we are walking in agreement with the covenant He has made with us (we shouldn't think that we have a covenant right to appropriate the blessings of the covenant while we fail to walk in agreement with the covenant [by God's grace]), it is biblical to believe we have received when we pray. In Mark 11:24, for example, Jesus speaks of believing you have received the things you have prayed for before you see the answer (based on God's character, His covenant promises, and His ability to deliver). Jesus said, "Believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you." He didn't say, however, that they will necessarily be granted to you immediately. (And he didn't say that you can be assured of an answer while you press on in sin, in violation of the covenant God has made with us, without repentance.)

When Hagin received his healing and left his death bed behind (in 1934), based on Mark 11:24, he said something like, If it takes 50 years, or 100 years, I am going to continue to confess that I believe I received my healing when I prayed. Keep in mind that the Lord Jesus led Hagin to step out in faith for his healing, based on the Word of God. I don't believe Hagin was out beyond the Word of God into presumption.

Although somebody could take the words, "Count the thing done that you have asked," in an unbiblical sense, Hagin is speaking of having faith in a Bible-faith sense, where our faith is in God, and the things we have asked for are clearly promised us in God's Word, and where God is the One who gives us the things we have asked Him for and He is thanked and given all the glory for giving us these things. This is the way Hagin typically speaks of faith, including in the books I mentioned above and this book. However, Hagin says several things in this chapter that substantially confuse the issue. Much of this material could have come from somebody that Hagin was quoting in a teaching, perhaps Kenyon. Anyway, Hagin is responsible for the content.

On pages 100, 101, Hagin says "We are faith children of Abraham because we have the same kind of faith that he had. What kind of faith did he have? He called those things that be not as though they were." He then quoted Rom. 4:17 (KJV), "(As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth the things which be not as though they were." I discussed Rom. 4:16-21 in some detail on pages 50 and 51 of my "A Paper on Faith," which is on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). Hagin continues, "Somebody said, 'Yes, but that's talking about God there, who calls those things which be not as though they were.'

First, if it is wrong for me to call things which be not as though they were, it is wrong for God to do it. [[I believe this is an unfortunate statement. God is able to call things that be not as though they were because He is God and He can, and does, change things, like He did when He gave Abraham and Sarah (who had not been able to have children, not to mention their advanced ages at that time) the promised son, Isaac. We are not God (or little gods; and we do not have creative faith [I had a footnote: On page 196 of Kenyon's "In His Presence" (1944), he says, "Romans 4:19-21 gives us a picture of Abraham's creative faith."], and the only time we are able to call things that be not as though they were is when we are saying something in full agreement with what God has already said. What God said, He can and does make good, and He gets the glory. We don't change things by faith, but God changes things when we pray, in faith, in line with His Word and will.]]

Second, why does God call those things that be not as though they were? Because He is a faith God. [[(This double bracket continues for thirteen paragraphs. Then I'll continue to quote from Hagin.) Here we have a substantial error. I don't know where Hagin picked up this idea that God is a faith God (it could be from Kenyon; as I will demonstrate, he taught that), but it is undoubtedly related, at least to some extent, to a misinterpretation of Heb. 11:3. I'll quote the verse, "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." Kenyon, in his book "Two Kinds of Faith" (Kenyon's Gospel Publishing Society, 1942, page 20) interpreted Heb. 11:3 of God's creating the universe by faith. He said, for example, "Faith-filled words brought the universe into being...." However, it is very important for us to see that Heb. 11:3 is speaking of OUR faith, just as the word "faith" at the beginning of verses 1, 4, 5, 7, and many other verses of Hebrews chapter 11, refers to OUR faith.

By faith in the Word of God (in Genesis chapter 1), we understand that our universe was created by God. Hebrews 11:3 doesn't say that God created the universe by faith. ((This double parenthesis continues for ten paragraphs. I'll quote a little more from what Kenyon said on page 20, "and faith filled words are ruling that universe today. ... I have known of several women who have had organs restored that surgeons had removed through operations. Creative faith is just as real today as it was when Jesus walked in Galilee." I assume that God worked a miracle for these women through the Lord Jesus Christ in response to faith in God and His Word. If so, then God (not the creative faith of Kenyon, or these women, or anybody else) must receive the glory for those miracles. However, if they received a miracle through some occult faith technique (I don't believe this happened), then God should not be glorified (we don't glorify God for what the devil does) and the "miracle" will not result in ultimate good.

It is beyond the scope of this paper (and beyond my knowledge) for me to try to fully present what Kenyon taught, but I believe it will be helpful to go a little further here, since the idea of Christians (and even non-Christians) having creative faith that works in accordance with a "law of faith," apart from the involvement of God, is a key point in Hunt's accusation against Hagin, Kenyon, and others. Throughout this paper I make it clear that I don't believe Hagin believed or taught this. I'm not denying that Hagin made a few comments that could fit that viewpoint (most of us have made unfortunate comments), but those few comments go against the whole thrust of Hagin's teaching and his life.

But how about Kenyon? On pages 29-31 of "The Hidden Man" (1996) Kenyon says, "Creative faith, Dominating faith, Healing faith, and Saving faith, are all in the spirit." As he continues he makes it clear that he is speaking here of the recreated human spirit of born-again Christians. He goes on to (wrongly) say that when the Bible speaks of walking by the Spirit in Gal. 5:16, 25 and Rom. 8:4 it means to walk by the recreated human spirit, not the Holy Spirit. And he says that "Your spirit is the realm of creative faith, of dominating faith, faith that rules demons and disease." (I discussed much of what Kenyon says on Gal. 5:16, 22, 23, 25 and Rom. 8:1-4 above, on pages 12, 13 of the original paper.)

On page 35 of "The Hidden Man," Kenyon says, "...we are dealing with the basic laws of man's being, the great spiritual laws that govern the unseen forces of life. There are several great forces that emanate from the recreated human spirit. ... The first force of the recreated human spirit is faith. ... God is a faith Spirit. He brought the universe into being by faith. ... He is a faith God. He works by faith. As recreated men and women, we are to work and live by faith. ...."

On pages 114 of "In His Presence" (1944, page 114) Kenyon said, "Faith is the mightiest force in the universe. It is the creative ability of God. IT IS THE CREATIVE ABILITY OF MAN [my emphasis]. ... Man was created in the image and likeness of the Faith of God." It is significant that back on page 113 Kenyon had just wrongly interpreted Heb. 11:3 to teach that God created by faith, and in the following paragraph he said, "That explains the first verse [Heb. 11:1], 'Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen,' or 'Faith is giving substance to things hoped for.' " For the faith of Christians to give substance to things hoped for would be creative faith. On page 211 of "The Hidden Man" (1996) Kenyon, referring to Heb. 11:1, said, "Faith is giving substance to a thing that has never been real as yet. ... Faith is changing the base metal into the purest gold."

I'll go a little further with what Kenyon said to try to bring some balance to this picture. Kenyon was quite inconsistent on several points. (I had a footnote: On page 165 of "What Happened from the Cross to the Throne" [1945] Kenyon mentioned another translation for Heb. 11:1, "Faith is the title deed to things prayed for; the evidence that they are yours before they are seen." And he comments, "Faith is counting prayer answered before the Father has acted." But statements like these don't take away his widespread wrong interpretation of Heb. 11:1 and 3, where Kenyon teaches about our creative faith that is like God's creative faith, and about our giving substance to things hoped for.) It seems that Kenyon didn't try to reconcile these inconsistencies; it is quite possible (even probable) that he considered all of his teaching to be accurate REVELATION KNOWLEDGE; from his point of view, he wasn't limited to RATIONAL SENSE KNOWLEDGE like so many Christians are. (We'll come back to the point of Kenyon's inconsistencies later in this paper.)

Even though Kenyon did often (wrongly) speak about the creative faith that born-again Christians can and should have, sometimes he demonstrated that he didn't (or at least he didn't always) isolate the creative faith of born-again Christians (who live on terms of equality with God) from God's involvement with the things that supposedly take place through our supposed creative faith.

A few paragraphs back I quoted part of what Kenyon said on pages 29-31, 35 of "The Hidden Man." He spoke, for example of "the great forces that emanate from the recreated human spirit. ... The first force of the recreated human spirit is faith." I am somewhat surprised that he also said in the same chapter, back on page 27, that "The Holy Spirit makes His home in the physical body and DOMINATES THE HUMAN SPIRIT that has been recreated." I don't know how to reconcile these two ideas; they seem to be inconsistent to me (and Kenyon does this often), but I'm thankful that sometimes Kenyon spoke of born-again Christians' obvious, continual dependence on the Holy Spirit. This is what the New Testament teaches.

Kenyon is speaking of the faith of born-again Christians in the following excerpts from "Two Kinds of Faith" (1942): "Salvation, Redemption, Eternal Life, the New Creation, THE INDWELLING PRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT [my emphasis], the legal right to use the Name of Jesus, and all of our privileges as sons and daughters of God, are based upon grace through faith. No one earns them. ..." (page 26). "Faith is a problem only when we do not know the Lord and we do not know the Word. Give place to the God inside of you. ... Just reckon on the God inside of you. Plan your work with the consciousness of His ability to put it over. ... You know when you command that disease to stop being that it will stop being. ... You know that when you take the Name of Jesus Christ for finances to meet an obligation that as sure as the Father sits on His throne the money will come. You know that His Word in your lips will save the lost, heal the sick, give courage and strength to the weak and victory to the defeated. ... How rich and beautiful life becomes when the Word gains ascendancy in our hearts! It will be a great day to you when you know that YOUR FAITH DOES THINGS, WHEN YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN ABILITY TO REACH THE EAR OF LOVE [my emphasis; "To reach the ear of love" refers to God's hearing our prayers and our words of command to a disease, for example.] When you know that YOUR PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED, THAT GOD HEARS YOU [my emphasis], you are no longer dependent on another's Faith, you have your own" (pages 36-38). These words demonstrate that Kenyon's concept of creative-faith doesn't eliminate (at least it doesn't always eliminate) God's direct involvement with the things that come to pass. (As I mentioned, Kenyon wasn't consistent, and sometimes he seems to eliminate the need for God's direct involvement with the things that come to pass, since we [being those who have been recreated on terms of equality with God] have creative faith, the same faith that God used to create our universe. I believe large numbers of faith-movement Christians have understood the faith of Mark 11:22, 23 this way. Why even bother to argue for our having creative faith, like God has creative faith, if we are thinking of God's changing things, moving the mountains, etc. through our FAITH IN HIM?

One of the primary purposes for this paper is to show that we need to think in terms of FAITH IN GOD, with His direct involvement in everything that takes place, and with Him receiving all the glory for everything that is accomplished. [The ten paragraph double parenthesis ends here.]))

The word "faith" is a perfect word to use for what WE are required to do. ((It is the most important word used in the New Testament to show what God requires of us. We are saved by faith. We appropriate God's saving grace in its fullness by faith. Saving faith isn't something God gives us, but it is our response to His saving grace; we couldn't have saving faith if God didn't do His part first, which includes sending His Son to die for us, His restraining the evil one so he couldn't destroy us, His sending the gospel to us, and His drawing, convicting, revealing, enlightening, etc. We don't earn salvation in any of its aspects by faith; we receive and cooperate with God's saving grace in all of its aspects by faith. See my "A Paper on Faith" for more on this super-important topic.)) God will make us strong in faith as we look to Him; also, there is a charismatic gift of faith (1 Cor. 12:9) and faith/faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

We have faith in God and in His Word. As Hebrews chapter 11 shows, faith includes an attitude of the heart where we put God first, trust Him, look to Him for all things (including the eternal city [cf. Heb. 11:10, 16]), believe Him, and obey Him. We must understand that we are enabled to obey God and live in His righteousness and holiness through His saving grace in Christ. It isn't a reasonable, or Biblical, concept to speak of God having faith in someone or something. You could say that He has faith in Himself, or in His Word, or in His Son, or in the Holy Spirit, but that doesn't need to be said, AND THE BIBLE DOESN'T SAY IT. He didn't create by faith! He created by virtue of who He was, and is! (Now I'll continue to quote from Hagin on page 100 of chapter 8 (point number 8) of "What to Do when Faith Seems Weak and Victory Lost.") (The thirteen double bracket ends here.)]]

Third, we are faith children of a faith God. [[No! God isn't a faith God, and we don't create by faith, or move mountains by faith; but God creates and moves mountains in response to our faith. It makes a big difference how we think about these things. It isn't just a matter of semantics. As I mention several places throughout this paper, when we start talking about us creating or moving mountains by our faith, we are sounding more like those with occult faith than a Biblical faith in God. This opens a door that should not be opened. The Biblical point of view is that our faith is in God!]] Therefore, we ought to act like God and call those things which be not as though they were. ... Children of God ought to act like God (Eph. 5:1). [[We should act like God when it comes to walking in the righteousness and holiness of God, and forgiving, etc. These are the things the apostle Paul mentioned just before Eph. 5:1, but we are not called to become creators or those who move mountains by OUR faith. We can, of course, create art, or a book, etc., but that is a different use of the verb "create," and when Christians create art, etc., they are not doing it [hopefully they are not doing it] apart from the grace of God in Christ.]] One way God acts is, He calls those things which be not as though they were [God does, but we aren't God! Of course we can call the things that be not as though they were when God has already said it, and we can say the answer to our prayer is on the way (based on Mark 11:24) when we have prayed (in faith) in line with the will of God]."

In the same chapter, on page 106, Hagin further confuses the issue by saying "My faith is giving substance to the things not seen. No, I don't see the healing, and I don't feel it. But my faith is giving substance to it." He was basing this statement on Heb. 11:1 (KJV translation), "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

((I am confident that the writer of Hebrew (or the ultimate Author of the book of Hebrews) did not intend to say, that "my faith is giving substance." Hagin could have picked up this wrong understanding of Heb. 11:1 from Kenyon. See Kenyon's "The Hidden Man," page 211, for example (which I briefly discussed back on page 30 of the original paper). On page 64 of "The Hidden Man," Kenyon says that "Faith is the creative force in the human spirit."))

The problem is that this statement of Hagin lends itself to the mistaken idea (an idea that I don't believe Hagin intended to communicate) that our faith, in itself (without the direct involvement of God), is bringing about (creating) the healing. We receive God's promise of healing by grace through faith. GOD GIVES SUBSTANCE TO THE HEALING; He brings it to pass; He creates it; and He receives all the glory for the healing, etc. I'll quote the NASB translation for Heb. 11:1, "Now faith is the ASSURANCE [my emphasis] of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." I believe the translation of the NASB communicates the intended meaning.

We will continue this study in Part 5.

Copyright by Karl Kemp Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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