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Shall We Write Off Kenneth E. Hagin? Dave Hunt? How About E. W. Kenyon?, Part 12

by Karl Kemp  
10/04/2013 / Bible Studies

Part 12 begins with section 16 of my paper, "Shall We Write Off Kenneth E. Hagin? Dave Hunt? How About E. W. Kenyon?"

16. "Christianity in Crisis" by Hank Hanegraaff (Harvest House Publishers, 1993). (I commented briefly on this book under section 15.) I had read this book back about 1995, but I reread much of it to see what I need to include in this paper. I'm going to limit my comments to things that Hanegraaff said regarding Kenneth Hagin. He didn't say all that much about Hagin, and he said less about E. W. Kenyon.

On pages 74-77 Hanegraaff deals with Hagin's "How to Write your Own Ticket with God" in his chapter "The Formula of Faith." Hanegraaff is using the 1979 booklet "How to Write Your Own Ticket with God." I don't have that booklet, but I have that article in Hagin's 1984 "Bible Faith Study Course," and I have the tape series by that name. (I briefly dealt with this article earlier in section 3 of this paper, when discussing several articles from Hagin's "Bible Faith Study Course.")

I believe Hanegraaff's critique of this article leaves several serious wrong impressions. He makes it clear that he doesn't think it is possible for us to consider this to be a genuine revelation from the Lord Jesus to Hagin. He says, "Any Christian with an open mind who reads Hagin's booklet must conclude that Jesus Christ of Nazareth did not appear to Kenneth Hagin. Nor did He say the things Hagin claims He did. Either Hagin is dreadfully deluded or else he had a conversation with another Jesus who presented him with another gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4)." That's a serious charge, and wrong, I believe.

If I didn't know any more about what happened that Friday evening in December, 1953 than what Hanegraaff says here, and if I didn't have any respect for Hagin and his ministry (along with Hanegraaff), it would be rather easy to reject what Hagin said in this article. Hanegraaff says "Hagin claims that Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him and personally gave him THE FORMULA FOR FAITH [my emphasis]." It is important to understand that Jesus was actually just giving Hagin the four points of a sermon outline for a sermon that would complement two other sermons that Hagin preached on a regular basis that deal with the woman with the issue of blood of Mark 5:25-34. That makes quite a difference! He had also received the sermon outlines for the two other sermons by revelation.

I don't especially like the title, "How to Write your Own Ticket with God." Hagin picked that title; it wasn't given to him. I'll give a few more details about the context in which Hagin received this sermon outline. He was holding a meeting in an Assembly of God church in Phoenix, Arizona. After a Friday evening service, in the home in which he was staying (the home of a couple who were members of that church), Hagin, the couple, and a few others were gathered for fellowship and refreshments.

Hagin had a strong urge to pray, and to pray then. The others joined him. He was caught up in the Spirit for about forty-five minutes, interceding for someone who was lost. (Thanks be to God for His concern for lost souls! We were all there! And thanks be to God for such intercessory prayer! I know one man who is very thankful for that particular intercessory prayer.) When the burden of prayer lifted, he had a vision of the coming Sunday evening service. He saw the people; he saw himself preach; he saw himself giving the altar call and saw himself speaking to a man on the second row of seats from the front. He told the man he didn't believe in hell, but he already had one foot in hell and the other foot was slipping in. He saw the man come forward, kneel at the altar, and be saved. It came to pass just that way on Sunday evening. Later the seventy-two year old man informed them that he had been taught that there is no hell and that he had serious heart problems. Hagin had told the people that Friday evening what he had seen, and they were all excited to see the man seated where Hagin had seen him sitting, dressed as he had seen him dressed, etc.

Hanegraaff didn't mention any of that. But he did mention that Hagin said that Jesus appeared to him. He appeared to him right after that time of effective intercessory prayer. Jesus spoke to Hagin about his ministry and his finances; He also spoke to him about our country, including the fact that He had been involved in Eisenhower's becoming president (he was elected president in 1952). When Jesus had finished speaking with him and started to leave, Hagin made a request of Him. He told Jesus that he believed that there was a third sermon to complement the two sermons he was preaching about the woman with the issue of blood, and he asked that if he was right that Jesus would give him the outline. Jesus said he was right and gave the four points of the outline with some explanation. The four steps that Jesus gave Hagin must be kept in the context that Hagin explains in this article. Hagin didn't claim that Jesus gave him THE FORMULA FOR FAITH.

I want to comment on what Hanegraaff says on page 335. He is quoting from Hagin's "I Believe in Visions" (Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1981), page 51. I have the 1972 edition of the book by Fleming H. Revell, page 50. He says, "Hagin claims that Jesus appeared to him in 1950 and gave him a special anointing to minister to the sick." I believe it is true; Hanegraaff clearly doesn't. During this encounter Hagin was able to see Jesus' hands. Hagin says, "I saw in the palms of his hands the wounds of the crucifixion - three-cornered, jagged holes. Each hole was large enough so that I could put my finger in it. I could see light on the other side of the hole." I know that the Romans sometimes used four-sided nails (with four corners); I don't know about three-sided.

Hanegraaff says "...Jesus could never have shown Hagin the alleged holes in His palms. As any student of Scripture and history knows, the nails were driven through Christ's wrists as opposed to His palms." I have always wondered about this. I wouldn't expect Hagin to miss it on a detail like this, but it's certainly possible. In his endnote 33 Hanegraaff shows that the Greek noun ("cheir") that is translated "hand" can include the arm, and therefore can include the wrist.

I'll quote part of Hanegraaff's endnote 34. "Dr. Pierre Barbet was the chief surgeon at St. Joseph's Hospital in Paris. He performed experiments on cadavers in the 1930s which showed that crucifixion by nails though the palms would not have supported the weight of the body on the cross. The nails would have ripped through the flesh. See Pierre Barbet, "A Doctor at Calvary," Eng. transl. (P. J. Kennedy and Doubleday, 1953 [French orig. 1950]) cited in Ian Wilson, "The Mysterious Shroud" (Doubleday, 1986), 17, 20; and Frank C. Tribbe, "Portrait of Jesus?" (Stein & Day, 1983), 80, 99-104.

Interestingly, an actual crucifixion victim of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70, named Yohanon ben ha-Galgol, was excavated by Israel archeologists in a New Testament-era cemetery just outside Jerusalem in 1968. Johanan was crucified with a nail through the radius and ulna bones of the forearm, as evidenced by grinding found on the inside of the radius bone at the wrist end (Wilson, 32, 33; and Tribbe, 86-87).

Barbet's experiments with cadavers have recently been repeated and confirmed by Paris orthopedic surgeon Dr. Pierre Merat ('Critical Study: Anatomy and Physiology of the Shroud,' 'The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the XXth Century,' no. 218 [April 1989], 3-4)."

I have always believed that the Shroud of Turin could be the actual burial cloth of the Lord Jesus Christ. One strong argument against the shroud has been the carbon-14 dating in 1988, where three labs all dated the shroud between 1260 and 1390, far too late for the shroud to be genuine if the dates are accurate. Everyone agrees that if the samples are contaminated in any way it can affect the dating of the samples. [[I had a footnote: Frederick T. Zugibe's book, "The Crucifixion of Jesus" (M. Evans and Company, 2005), is packed with information about the Shroud of Turin. I'll say more about Dr. Zugibe as we continue. In chapter 19 of the book, Zugibe dealt with the strong possibility that the small sample of cloth that was taken toward the edge of the shroud and divided into three parts for the carbon-14 dating of 1988 was not representative of the original cloth of the shroud, because of later repairs to the shroud, and that this could be sufficient to explain the late dates (AD1260-1390) that were obtained by the carbon-14 testing. It is quite possible that carbon-14 tests using samples of the original cloth will verify the cloth to be about two-thousand years old.]] There are many articles on the internet, starting in March 2013, discussing new scientific evidence, using a different method of dating that dates the shroud in the days of Christ plus or minus a few hundred years.

I'm quoting from the internet article "Science Shines New Light on Shroud of Turin's Age" by Shafer Parker in the "National Catholic Register"; the printed version is dated July 28, 2013. "A new book written in Italian...("The Mystery of the Shroud"), by Giulio Fanti, professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at the University of Padua's Engineering Faculty, and journalist Saverio Gaeta, states that by measuring the degradation of cellulose in linen fibers from the shroud, two separate approaches show the cloth is at least 2,000 years old. And while Fanti's methodology has been questioned by others, the book also states that another series of mechanical tests, designed to measure the compressibility and breaking strength of the fibers, corroborated these findings. ...the three separate tests, when averaged, showed the linen fibers of the shroud to have been woven into cloth around 33 B.C., give or take 250 years, thus nicely bracketing the year [AD] 30, when most historians say Jesus died on the cross." [I believe the evidence best fits AD 30 as the year Jesus was crucified, AND RESURRECTED.]

...Fanti explained that he used a pair of established techniques, infrared light (Fourier Transform Infrared, or FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy, to measure the amount of cellulose in shroud fibers.... ... Because cellulose degrades over time, he said, 'it is therefore possible to determine a correlation with the age of the fabric. ...."

Doug Stanglin in a "USA Today" article, "New test dates Shroud of Turin to era of Christ," dated March 30, 2013, mentions that "The new test, by scientists at the University of Padua in Northern Italy, used the same fibers from the 1988 [carbon-14] tests but disputes the findings. ... It determined that the earlier results may have been skewed by contamination from fibers used to repair the cloth when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages...." The article I quoted from above showed that Fanti was able to determine which individual fibers were from the original shroud before testing them. It also mentioned that his results are the outcome of 15 years of research.

I also found an interesting, and apparently quite important, 15 page article on the internet that deals with the question whether the person who was wrapped in the Shroud of Turin was nailed through the palms or the wrists. The article, "Pierre Barbet Revisited," was written in 1995 by Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons; Chief Medical Examiner, Rockland County, N.Y. (Retired). The article makes it clear that Zugibe has done his homework on this topic, including doing laboratory experimentation. Zugibe published his book "The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry" in January, 2005 (M. Evans and Company, Inc.).

I remind you that Hanegraaff referred to Pierre Barbet, as many others have done, to prove that Jesus was nailed to the cross through the wrists, not the palms. Zugibe argues, rather convincingly, that Barbet was wrong on the location of the nails in the hands/wrists of the person who was wrapped in the Shroud of Turin, and on the widely accepted idea that Jesus died of asphyxiation (which has been promoted by Barbet).

I'll just be dealing with the location of the nails in the hands/wrists. For one thing, Zugibe seems to effectively demonstrate that the location of the exit wound on the outside (not the palm side) of the left hand/wrist of the person who was wrapped in the Shroud of Turin (which is the only hand wound visible on the shroud; no wounds are visible for the palm side of either hand) doesn't fit Barbet's viewpoint, in that, for one thing, the wound on the shroud is toward the thumb side of the hand and Barbet's viewpoint was that the wound was toward the small finger side of the hand. That's important information, but not the primary thing that I (and many of my readers) am interested in.

Zugibe argues that there are only two possible entrance points for the nails in the hands of the person who was wrapped in the shroud. It is possible that the nail entered on the lower part of the hand, on the wrist, but toward the thumb side of the hand, instead of (with Barbet) toward the little finger side of the left hand. However, and this is why we are discussing Zugibe's work, he clearly favors the viewpoint that the nail entered "the upper part [the part toward the wrist] of the PALM OF THE HAND [my emphasis] not the middle of the palm." This locates the wound some three-quarters of an inch toward the wrist from the middle of the palm. It is clearly still in the palm of the hand. The nail would not have gone straight through the hand but would have been angled/slanted toward the wrist. With either one of these two possible entrance points, the nail would exit where the wound appears on the shroud, unlike with Barbet's viewpoint.

Zugibe listed seven reasons why the palm (toward the wrist) is the most plausible location for the nail(s) to enter. I'll list four of his reasons: 1. The palm region is the location most Christians across the centuries perceived the wound to be. 2. The path through the upper palm [the palm toward the wrist] is very strong and anatomically sound. 3. The path ends exactly where the shroud shows the wound image. ... 5. Fifth, it assures that no bones are broken in accord with Ex. 12:46 and Num. 9:12 [and John 19:36]."

17. I'll quote a few sentences from "Occult Invasion" by Dave Hunt from the Chapter on " 'Christian' Psychology" under the heading "Occultism and Selfism." "By turning the focus inward, the Freudian/Jungian obsession with the unconscious spawned a menagerie of selfisms that invaded not only the world but the church: self-love, self-acceptance, self-improvement, self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem, self ad nauseam. [I remember being taught self-actualization in a psychology class.] Selfism is at the heart of the occult. ... It is self and pride that seeks psychic power. ... Only 40 years ago, self-centeredness was considered a human failing, and an ugly one. Today self is the center of most psychotherapies, the god at whose altar one bows to beg favors. ..." (page 467). The more the devil is in control, the more he, not self, becomes the center of attention, but for now if he can get us centered in self, he can keep us from being centered in God, which we were created for, and what new-covenant salvation is all about.

I'll quote a few more sentences from this chapter on " 'Christian' Psychology." "We dealt with hypnosis in the previous chapter. It has been part of the stock-in-trade of witch doctors for thousands of years. [[In the last few years before I became a born-again Christian, I got involved in a class led by a professional hypnotist, and I followed up studying and trying to practice self-hypnosis. I was trying to find the power to solve my problems. I believe that I opened myself up to demonic influences through my involvement with hypnotism and that those influences worked against my becoming a born-again Christian. Anyway, thanks be to God, I became a born-again Christian in the spring of 1964 and I dropped all involvement with self-hypnosis. I repented and destroyed all of my books on the subject.]] ... An equally deadly form of shamanism now part of the occult invasion through 'Christian' psychology is visualization. In fact, it is the most powerful occult technique known and is the method used by most shamans for acquiring spirit guides" (pages 474, 475). Hunt goes on discuss the fact that many Christian psychologists [and it's not just Christian "psychologists" doing this; many Christian leaders/ministers use these techniques], are leading people to visualize Jesus. The scary part is that very often they begin to see Jesus, and often "He" will begin to interact with them, including speaking with them, and things happen. Some healings (especially inner healings) take place. What's scary about that? I agree with Hunt that (typically) this will be a demon impersonating Jesus. (With Roman Catholics they often visualize Mary.) When you use occult techniques don't be surprised if you get occult results, results that may look good for a while, but which will never work for true good and are designed to work evil for you, AND WHICH ARE FORBIDDEN BY GOD.

I won't quote any more from Hunt, but I want to mention an important section he has in "Occult Invasion" under the name "Inner Healing" (on pages 502-505). Also see chapters 9-13 of "The Seduction of Christianity." I am not endorsing everything that Hunt says in those pages/chapters, but I believe that we need to hear much that he says. I knew some Christians back in the late 60s and early 70s who were involved in this ministry. For one thing, inner healing techniques often involve having the person(s) visualize Jesus and suggest that He may start a conversation with you. I wouldn't touch a technique that involves visualizing Jesus (or Mary or any other being), whether it involves supposed inner healing or not, with a hundred foot pole. What an open door for demons to do what they have been doing for thousands of years in the world of the occult. They don't mind impersonating Jesus, or even singing songs about the blood of Jesus, in order to deceive.

I wasn't too shocked when I met one of the leaders of the inner healing movement back about 1970 who told me she didn't believe in demons. What a combination, using techniques that are an open door for demons and you don't believe in demons. And it seems that oftentimes most Christians have fallen asleep. Many Christians from a more liberal Christian background, which includes quite a few charismatics, don't believe in the devil or demons. What Hunt quotes (at length) from, and says about, some of the leaders who brought inner healing into Christianity, including to some extent evangelical and charismatic Christianity, is shocking. And, as Hunt shows, sometimes charismatic leaders strongly endorse such leaders without checking out where they are coming from. If you get results (like healing) that's all that matters. Right? Wrong! The occult has often produced results, including in the Old Testament. But everything occult was forbidden to God's people. Of course God cannot have His people looking to the devil for what they need. Such activity is at the heart of rebellion against God.

May the will of God be fully accomplished through this paper and His people be edified. In Jesus' name!

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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