Costi Hinn Interview (Iron Sharpens Iron)

Costi Hinn’s recent interview on Chris Arzens “Iron Sharpens Iron” broadcast is now available to listen to at this link. Costi (the nephew of Benny Hinn) has much to say regarding the lifestyle and teaching of the word of faith movement. I’m involved a little in asking a few questions (as a former word of faith pastor myself), but I must say, Costi did an outstanding job and I am praying that this interview will be used of the Lord to help many people caught up in deception.

Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed? What Does it Mean?

Article: Frequently Abused Verses: Did God Forbid us to Critique or Criticize Church Leaders? (Psalm 105:15; 1 Samuel 24:10) by Cameron Buettel (original source here)

False teaching thrives in environments where it is unlikely to be questioned. Charlatans and heretics prey on uncritical minds, and work tirelessly to protect and preserve that gullibility. Their success depends on dismantling every challenge to their authority and accuracy.

John MacArthur describes why that problem is rampant in the modern church:

In a time like this of tolerance, listen, false teaching will always cry intolerance; it will always say you’re being divisive, you’re being unloving, you’re being ungracious, because it can only survive when it doesn’t get scrutinized. And so it cries against any intolerance. It cries against any examination, any scrutiny.

In recent decades, some of the most notorious charismatic church leaders have been doing just that. They continually warn their critics to back off or face the imminent danger of divine judgment. Claiming God’s stamp of approval, they wield Psalm 105:15 like a loaded gun: “Touch not [the Lord’s] anointed” (KJV).

And lest you think such a description to be hyperbole, the following clip from Benny Hinn is a spectacular example.

Hinn’s handling of Psalm 105:15, as well as the story of Saul and David, is hopelessly wrong on too many levels to address in one blog post.

For example we could discuss how Hinn utterly fails to understand Judas’s role in God’s sovereign plan for the crucifixion, while woefully underestimating the deity of Christ. We could invalidate Hinn’s warnings against criticism by pointing out the time Paul rebuked Peter—or when Hinn has publicly rebuked Joel Osteen, among others. Then there’s the problem of Hinn basing his threats upon the extra-biblical revelation of another false teacher (Kenneth Copeland).

What does it mean to “touch”?

But there is one simple, glaring error that explains all the other problems and exposes Hinn as the incompetent and unqualified Bible teacher that he is. When David says, “I will not stretch out my hand against [Saul], for he is the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24:10), he is explaining why he didn’t kill Saul, not why he didn’t criticize Saul. In fact, David was openly critical of Saul on numerous occasions. Moreover, 1 Samuel 24:10 is part of a larger discourse where David rebukes Saul face-to-face over his murderous scheming: “I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you” (1 Samuel 24:11–13). Even if Benny Hinn was “the Lord’s anointed”—he’s not—none of his critics are attempting to “touch” him in the sense described in 1 Samuel 24:10 (or Psalm 105:15; or 1 Chronicles 16:22).

Who are the anointed?

There is another fatal flaw in Hinn’s interpretation. He—and all those who follow this teaching—assume that only certain persons are “anointed.” They claim that pastors and self-appointed prophets and apostles have a unique anointing from God that immunizes them from criticism. But such a concept is foreign to Scripture. In short, the Bible teaches that all believers have an anointing from God.

In his first epistle, the apostle John explained what it means to be anointed as a New Testament believer. After warning his readers about antichrists who were coming to deceive them, John reminded them of their security because of Christ’s anointing:

These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1 John 2:26–27)

The anointing John refers to is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—a reality for all true Christians. John MacArthur explains the context and meaning of “anointing” as it appears in 1 John:

The false teachers who threatened John’s readers employed the terms for knowledge and anointing to describe their religious experience. They arrogantly saw themselves as possessing an elevated and esoteric form of divine knowledge, and as the recipients of a special, secret, transcendent anointing. That led them to believe they were privy to truth that the uninitiated lacked. John’s response, which was both a rebuttal to the antichrists and a reassurance to the believers, was to assert that, in reality, all true Christians have an anointing from the Holy One.

Because believers have received that anointing, they have the true understanding of God that comes exclusively through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). They do not need any secret, special, or transcendent understanding or esoteric insight. Anointing (chrisma) literally means “ointment” or “oil” (cf. Hebrews 1:9). In this text it refers figuratively to the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21–22), who has taken up residency in believers at the behest of Jesus Christ, the Holy One (cf. Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14), and reveals through Scripture all they need to know (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10). (John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1–3 John (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2007), 102.)

The anointing we have as believers reveals the truth and therefore exposes the lies of false teachers. How ironic that the “anointing” Benny Hinn evokes to extort and manipulate churchgoers is actually our warning system to expose the self-serving deception of wolves like him.

Costi Hinn Interview

On Life & Theology With Costi Hinn by Adam Powers (original source here)

I recently had the privilege to sit down with Costi Hinn for a rare Publicans Blog interview. It was a pleasure to get to know the man and hear his heart for the Truth. He has been through a lot in his journey from heresy to faithfulness and we can learn much from him. He is not only a godly man, he’s a husband, father, and faithful pastor seeking to honor Christ in all he does. Our interview is below, enjoy!

Adam: Thank you for joining me for this interview. I don’t think many of our readers will know who you are, even though they may recognize your last name. Could you briefly share about yourself and how God has brought you where you are now?

Costi: Thanks for inviting me to join you Adam. From what I’ve read and seen thus far, “The Publicans” is a blessing to a lot of people.

My name is Costi, but what sticks out to most people is my last name – Hinn. I grew up in the Word of Faith and Prosperity gospel movements and was born and bred to be a tongue-speaking, name-it-and-claim-it, healthy and wealthy charismatic Christian. Some people may have heard of Benny Hinn. He’s my uncle. I grew up traveling globally with him and my father (his brother), and even worked with him when I was 18. My job was to be a “catcher” at the healing crusades. In other words, I was supposed to catch people when they were “slain in the spirit” by uncle Benny’s hand, breath, or infamous white jacket.

Though I had questions about the integrity of his ministry, and the legitimacy of the manifestations and healings occurring at the crusades, the pleasures of the prosperity lifestyle were enough to keep those questions at bay for a time. Luxurious accommodations, private air travel, and the finest things in life were, after all, the blessings of God for our faithful “ministry” work. I often justified any concerns with that belief.

Furthermore, any confusing teachings or things that my uncle said in contradiction to the Bible were never to be challenged. We are taught strictly that one is never to “touch the Lord’s anointed.” That meant no speaking out against or challenging any preacher – no matter what shady things they did behind closed doors or said in error from the pulpit. I was completely blind to the truth and didn’t dare challenge the system.

Eventually God saved me from my life of deception and suddenly the Bible that I had been reading most of my life made sense more than ever before! I experienced illuminating work of the Holy Spirit in a remarkable way. It was as though a light bulb just flipped on and it was obvious that I had been preaching, serving, and believing in a false version of Jesus Christ. Like many believers who have left false beliefs behind, it was a series of providential events in my life and exposure to faithful Bible teachers that led to my conversion.

I’ll never forget the day I wept bitterly over the life of hypocrisy that I had lived. I repented of my sin, and walked away from my false beliefs forever. It was at that time that I committed to being discipled by the pastor who had been used to show me my errors, and reading voraciously to grow in sound doctrine.

Shortly after, I enrolled in seminary. By God’s grace today I am fully committed to preaching the true gospel, and serving God’s people as a faithful under-shepherd for the rest of my life. I currently am on staff as an Associate Pastor at Mission Bible Church in Tustin, California. Our teaching pastor is my brother in the Lord and close friend, Anthony Wood. He’s the one who discipled me closely during my conversion.

Adam: Praise God! It’s encouraging to hear this. God has taken you through a complete theological renovation hasn’t He? I can only imagine the high cost you’ve experienced in turning away from what your family has taught you for so long. I’m guessing that you once rejected suffering as a lack of faith in God? If so, are you now encouraged by the numerous passages of Scripture teaching us that conflict and suffering will be a normal part of the Christian life?

Costi: Yes it’s been a total transformation of my desires, beliefs, and teachings. Only God could do such a thing. I wake up thankful every day that He graciously saved me. As far as my view on suffering in the past, it certainly was tied to Word of Faith theology. For example, if there is conflict in a person’s life the culprit could be the “spirit of strife” or they could be causing the conflict with negative confessions, negative thoughts, or lack of faith. The solution is (normally) to rebuke the devil, pray in the spirit (meaning tongues), speak positive confessions, or even sow a seed into a ministry that is seen as good soil. This couldn’t be further from the biblical view on suffering but I was honestly clueless.

Since my conversion, a passage that has greatly encouraged me during conflict and temporal suffering has been Matthew 10:26-39. Jesus really is the dividing line – and serving Him faithfully is not going to lead to a cake-walk through this life. Since taking a public stand for the true gospel, I’ve been received death threats, threats of physical violence, cursed for “touching the Lord’s anointed”, been called a heretic, and more. I count it a privilege to experience barely a fraction of what better men of women have gone through long before I was saved. Ultimately, we are all standing on the shoulders of faithful generations who have stood for Christ before we did. I never intended to be divided with my family over doctrine, but I refuse to compromise the gospel or turn a blind eye when a false Christ is being preached.

Adam: Amen and well said. There is a lot of deep and good stuff here to chew on. It all seems to come down to right theology and the importance of it before, in, and after seasons of suffering. Having been corrected by God theologically you have found deeper and truer wells of joy, even in the midst of difficulty. What would you say to someone who thinks theology is too controversial or too divisive and therefore avoids it trying to have a simple faith, perhaps saying, ‘I don’t do theology, I just want to love Jesus’?

Costi: First off, to avoid theology because it’s hard, controversial, or divisive, in favor of just “loving Jesus” and keeping faith simple, is like keeping your marriage superficial and shallow for fear of ever having conflict. It doesn’t make for true relationship and is not a true relationship. Jesus can’t be loved without conflict of some kind. We will either be offending someone, or conflicting with our own sinful nature that doesn’t want to submit to Him. He said He would divide people (Matthew 10:34-36), He said if you love Him you’ll obey Him (John 14:23), and He said He was the only way to heaven (John 14:6) – which means all other roads lead to hell. You literally can’t love Jesus without controversy of some sort.

Second, we all need to “do theology.” By definition theology simply refers to the study of knowing God and His nature. What better way to have a relationship and thrive in true worship of God than to know Him deeply! Theology also provides an amazing platform for growing in our faith. Wrestling with doctrines, being sharpened by sound teaching, and having our man-centered pride crushed by the notion that we exist for God’s glory is sanctifying for the Christian.

Lastly, some people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to theology because of bad experiences. One of my seminary professors told us a story of how in his day, all seminary students tended to do was debate over non-essentials and forget about the Great Commission. I think there is a lesson there. Still, theology is the furthest thing from mere head knowledge that puffs up. To quote R.C. Sproul, “The purpose of theology is not to tickle our intellects but to instruct us in the ways of God, so that we can grow up into maturity and fullness of obedience to Him. That is why we engage in theology.”

Adam: I love these three things you state here, they’re absolutely necessary to keep them in view in order to do life glorifying God. Regarding your third statement here, what are the theological essentials we must never compromise on and what are the theological non-essentials we can afford to be a bit more open handed with?

Costi: Essentials are things like the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, the Trinity, the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, salvation by grace through faith, the resurrection of Christ, the return of Christ, and you could certainly add several more to this list under those headings but you get the picture.

As far as non-essentials, that list may look like the cessation or continuation of certain gifts, eschatology, ecclesiology, and church government structures. Again, several more could be added to this list but in general, these aren’t hills we should be dying on or spending our entire ministry solely focused on.

I would clarify this list by saying that many of these non-essentials can easily become essential issues when they infringe upon the deity of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, the sufficiency of Scripture or other excesses being witnessed in the church today. In other words, there is a huge difference between Wayne Grudem and Bill Johnson, though they both would be considered “continuationists.” One is a biblically sound theologian, the other is a false teacher.

Adam: Knowing the difference between what hills to die on and what hills to not die on is indeed extremely helpful. Thank you so much for your time with me and answering my questions. One last question: if you were stranded on an island and were allowed to have 5 books with you, what 5 would you take and why?

Costi: Thank you Adam. I’d take 1) My Bible for obvious reasons. 2) A Bible handbook because I enjoy background and context 3) J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone by Iain Murray because Ryle is one of my heroes and I’d be stranded alone on an island 4) The Sovereignty of God by Arthur Pink for those days when I’d question why God allowed me to end up stranded on an island 5) Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley because I never get bored of reading about where we’ve come from as Christians. We are just standing on the shoulders of faithful men and women who stood boldly for Christ long before us.

Adam: Well said sir, I praise God for the testimony of His grace in your life and will continue to pray for you and your ministry. May the Lord bless, increase, and spread His fame through you in the years to come. Thank you for taking time to spend with us Publicans 🙂

Costi: It was fun Adam – I enjoyed it! Keep up the great work at The Publicans.

Exposing The So Called “Prosperity Gospel”

On Friday, Sept. 8th I am scheduled to team up with Costi Hinn (Benny Hinn’s nephew, now converted and a Reformed Baptist Pastor in California) on Chris Arnzen’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” broadcast. The show’s theme for the two hours will be to bring the light of God’s word in exposing the Word of Faith movement. Please be in prayer that many will be drawn out of deception. Here’s a recent article Pastor Costi wrote:

Article: The Prosperity Gospel: A Global Epidemic by Costi Hinn (original source here)

Prosperity is hot topic in the church. Does God care if a pastor drives a nice car or lives in a nice home? Does God command that all who follow Him take a vow of poverty and starve their families in a protest of earthly comfort? Bible teachers sell millions of books and accumulate mass amounts of wealth, are they in the same league as other wealthy preachers? Some men will have deep convictions about attaining any measure of wealth, while others will be content use their wealth to give back to their church. Some will use their wealth to fund a child’s college tuition, or even scholarship a seminary student. Others will invest their wealth with the goal of giving even more away in the future.

Stewardship comes in all shapes and sizes but one thing doesn’t—God’s ability to weigh a man’s heart and motives. It is a man’s heart that God is most interested in and the gospel a man proclaims that God will judge most. When Heaven’s final bell rings and every man is recompensed according to his deeds, God will have the final say. The issue will not be whether that pastor took home a six-figure salary; the issue will be what that man taught and wrote while representing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In this article, the prosperity gospel is placed front and center as one of the deadliest teachings in the world today. It has attached itself to the Bible, and to Jesus Christ—though it has no business doing so. Billions chase after it in search of stability and hope. Yet, all those who live and die trusting in the prosperity gospel for salvation will be left wanting in both this life, and the next.

What is Prosperity Gospel Theology?

A very basic definition of the prosperity gospel can be described as this: God’s plan is for you to live your best life now. Health, wealth, and happiness are guaranteed on Earth for all who follow Jesus. Heaven is simply the eternal extension of your temporal blessings. The prosperity gospel’s theological foundation can be traced to at least three twisted versions of biblical truths. Prosperity preacher’s twist these in order to legitimize their version of the gospel.

Christ’s Atonement Means Abundant Life Now

The Bible clearly teaches that Christ died to atone for our sin (Isaiah 53) and that because of what He accomplished through His death and resurrection, we’ll experience the abundant life that He came to give us (John 10:10). Though we enjoy some benefits of the atonement now—such as the forgiveness of our sins and assurance of salvation—His atonement guarantees eternal promises that won’t be fully be realized until Heaven. We’ll receive a glorified body, there will be no death, no sin, no pain, no suffering, and no disease! Those are just a few of the eternal benefits of the atonement. Best of all, we’ll enjoy perfect fellowship with our God forever more.

Prosperity preachers teach that health and wealth were “paid for” in the atonement—just like sin. Therefore, this twisted interpretation allows them to teach people to expect complete healing, monetary riches, and total victory in every area of their earthly life. Instead of telling people to put faith in Jesus Christ and excitedly await their best life in heaven, they offer an empty gospel that promises people their best life now.

God’s Covenant with Abraham Means Inheritance Now

There’s an old children’s song that goes something like this: “Father Abraham had many sons. Many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s just praise the Lord!” It’s used by many faithful Christians as a way to teach children about the great joy associated with God’s covenant with Abraham. Specifically speaking, the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12:1-3) has much to do with redemption, and God’s promises to His people. However, prosperity preacher’s use the covenant as a means to promise an inheritance (usually land and money) for their followers now. This has become their most common use for it.

In the prosperity gospel, God’s covenant with Abraham is littered with statements like, “If you’ll sow a seed of faith like Abraham, God will bless you”, or “If you speak it and live it by faith like Abraham, God will prosper you.” These type of statements are a way to present any temporal or eternal inheritance that awaits God’s people as a blanket guarantee.

If these twisted versions of the Abrahamic covenant were true, then the millions who trust in the prosperity gospel would become millionaires and land-owners overnight. Thus far, it is mainly the prosperity preachers who are benefitting from the offerings of those they deceive.

Faith is a Force You Can Use to Control God

The Bible teaches that Christians are justified by faith (Romans 5:1), that Christians overcome the world through faith (1st John 5:5), and that Christians live by faith because of what Christ has done (Galatians 2:20). The list of verses on the blessings of faith is endless! Faith pleases God, is directly related to salvation, and is the evidence of trust in God for the believer.

Prosperity gospel preachers depart from this orthodox teaching on faith when they teach that faith is a force you can use to get what you want from God. In other words, you were able to obtain salvation and justification by faith, so why can’t you obtain a Ferrari the same way? Prosperity theology is centered on the notion that right believing, right thinking, and right speaking are all linked with faith in order to create physical blessings. This is where the word of faith movement also hybrids with the prosperity gospel.

How Did the Prosperity Gospel Get So Popular?

Long before the Catholic Church was selling indulgences, the correlation between ministry, money, and manipulation was crystal clear. The Bible even describes Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24) as a magician who thought he could buy the gift of God with money. Specifically speaking, the modern day roots of the prosperity gospel go back approximately seventy years. It was during the 1950’s that this divergent gospel pioneered its way into the mainstream evangelical scene and nobody at the time could have imagined that it would spread across the globe.

Born in 1918, Granville “Oral” Roberts was, in many ways, the lead prosperity pioneer. He went from being a local pastor, to building a multimillion dollar empire based on one major theological premise: God wanted people to be healthy and wealthy.

Oral Roberts didn’t mince words about his version of Jesus or the gospel. He adamantly taught and defended his belief that Jesus’ highest wish is for us to prosper materially and have physical health equal to His peace and power in our soul. He twisted the Bible to make his point and would teach that it was Jesus who said, in 3rd John 1:2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth,” when in fact that was the Apostle John’s loving way of greeting his readers at the time. John’s greeting is comparable to the first line of many of our modern day e-mails that begin with, “Hi! I hope everything is going well for you.” Continue reading

Is it Always God’s Will to Heal?

Article by Costi Hinn, Pastor of Adult Ministries at Mission Bible Church in Orange County, CA. Costi is married to the love of his life Christyne, and has two children. (original source here)

Jesus is getting a lot of really confusing press when it comes to physical healing these days. This post will answer one of the biggest questions that arises from all of the confusion.

As of right now, miraculous healing is one of the most popular subjects inside and outside the church. Preachers are preaching it, televangelists are guaranteeing, desperate people need it – it’s a healing-hungry world out there.

Recently, I was on a camping trip with my family and thought I was free and clear of any healing ministry enthusiasts. That first night a man walked up to my campsite out of the blue, introduced himself, and proceeded to spend 2 hours telling me about his divine healing ministry. The crescendo of our campfire pow-wow? No, he didn’t heal my wife’s asthma (or even offer). But he did give me two copies of his most recent book on using the power of positive words to speak healing into every sick person I know. After I declined his offer of 400 copies for our church, I shared truth, and he didn’t return again.

You probably experience the same kind of chaotic intrusion from time to time as well. Peruse through your local TV stations or mainstream Christian bookstore and it won’t be long before you’re promised divine healing and a miracle of some sort. On the flip side to all of that, there’s a whole slew of authors and teachers who will tell you that God does nothing supernatural, so not to get your hopes up.

All of the opinions can be downright confusing for people who just need a clear answer to one begging question:

Is it always God’s will to heal everyone during their life on earth?

To find this answer we don’t need a faith healer’s FAQ webpage, or a blanket guarantee from someone who has “seen and experienced some things” in a healing room or a jungle overseas. We need nothing more than to incline our ears and fill our minds with answers from the word of God.

Here are six clear truths that explain God’s will in regards to healing:

I. GOD DOESN’T HEAL EVERYONE ALL THE TIME

This is the most important point to start off any discussion on God’s will and miraculous healing. God doesn’t heal everyone all the time and the Bible gives irrefutable evidence to support this. Miracles of healing were primarily done through God the Son – Jesus Christ, and His Apostles. Jesus healed just one man out of a multitude of sick people at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:3-8). Jesus didn’t heal people in His hometown of Nazareth (Matthew 13:58). After a healing-spree in the district of Galilee, Jesus plainly decided to go somewhere else to preach even though desperately sick and hurting people were looking for Him (Mark 1:38). His reasoning was simple: “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.”

Christ didn’t come to earth to hold a healing crusade, He came to bring salvation! As for the most prolific Apostle and writer of 13 New Testament books? Paul wielded miraculous gifts yet told Timothy to take wine for his stomach issues. Why didn’t the Apostle wield his gift of healing? (1 Timothy 5:23). Paul also left one of his faithful ministry teammates, Trophimus, sick at Miletus. Why didn’t he heal him and bring him along? (2 Timothy 4:20). Clearly, God heals as He wills and even sovereignly controlled the specially gifted Apostles. God’s will in healing is not a formula that man can master. Continue reading

Can Faith Forestall Death and Give You Longer Life?

Here’s a recent article (original source here) written by my pastor friend in Kenya, Elly Achok Olare:

CAN FAITH FORESTALL DEATH AND GIVE YOU LONGER LIFE?

I pose this question because of a post I read from a Facebook conversation. The person wrote among other things this statement which we wish to investigate in the light of scripture.

“The reason as to why God brought Jesus on the scene is to restore us to longevity even though it is a choice based on an individuals level of knowledge and understanding (Hosea 4:6)”.

This is an extremely startling statement, but sadly one that is representative of the majority report within the faith movement. It is lethal because it paints Jesus ‘in good light’ our knight in shining armor-sentiments which easily resonate with the scripturally ignorant majority. It is not an innocent statement when it is marinated in proof texts – illegitimately pressed beyond their proper hermeneutics.

What this person is saying, in not so many words, is that longevity of life depends upon your level of knowledge. If you die in-car crash as have many good people from the word of faith movement, and HERE I CALL ATTENTION TO DR. MYLES MUNROE who crashed with a private plane close to 2 years ago. Well…says this logic, his premature death (by the way what is premature or mature death?), was due to His knowledge and understanding. Or the late Dr. Paul Crouch, the great founder and proprietor of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), who died of cancer as well.

So to be honest, this faith, this knowledge and understanding is not working very well for its adherents does it? Sooner or later the strongest faith preachers reckon with sickness and disease just like the rest of ‘mere mortals’. They soon come to terms with the naked reality they have been fighting to rebuke, declare and confess away-they all soon die, many at a relatively young age.

The illusion is just that -illusion, it’s a fairy tale sold to millions who fear death and are desperate to cling to some kind of hope. It is palatable to those who are not sure of the life hereafter and would cling to this one as long as possible. Why would one embrace the fact of their death when they have no idea what the other side of life portents for them? The other side is a scary unknown for many and the maximum they are likely to embrace is the one offered in disguised forms by the faith movement.

Joel Osteen would call it “your best life now”. As Pastor John MacArthur has observed “For those outside Christ, this is indeed your best life…because an eternity of untold torment in the lake of fire awaits you on the other side when God unleashes His unmitigated wrath on you. This is what the Rich man in Luke 16:19-23, found out. However for those who trusted truly in the redeemer this is your worst life, your master Himself tells you “in this world you will have many troubles .” The Apostles who bore the Gospel that saved you are united in their testimony that your life here on this earth will be full of sorrows and pain and hurt and suffering (Romans 8:18-23, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

For those redeemed by the sin atoning blood of the lamb like Apostle, the faith message is ridiculous. They say “to die is gain…for to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord (which is far more preferable). This is a mindset that is at stark variance with the faith preachers, it has to be because it a language of children of zoonotic, not children of Babylon, it is the speech of the future glory, not one of present material aggrandizement.

Our forefathers in Africa lived much longer than the word of faith preachers yet their knowledge and understanding of scripture was very low, in many cases zero. On a comparative scale, I would say the knowledge of foods and herbs my forefathers had served them better than this faith serves its adherents. Conventional medicine does a whole lot better than the word of faith prescription .Most of the big names of this movement I know of suffer from one terminal illness to another (they do a great Job of hiding it from the public, but make no mistake, these men fall I’ll like the rest of us).

We know Benny Hinn struggles with a heart disease. Creflo Dollar was recently diagnosed with a cancer and the list goes on. Of course their convenient teaching allows them to lie in the name of faith by what is called “positive confession” (itself a justification for living in denial or simply outright lie).These men and women have the best doctors in the world looking after them, doctors procured by the large amounts they solicit for In terms faith seed. They ask you to depend upon a system they themselves don’t depend upon. It is to say the least treacherous and hypocritical.

HERE IS A QUESTION, is there any faith preacher (even the greatest of them like Kenneth Hagin) who does not age? Do their skins wear out and sag? Does white hair come upon their heads? Do they lose steadily the agility of youth like all humans? Do they get to menopause or sterility? Does their strength fail and voices distort with age? Do they get a point where they eyes fail, eye muscles weaken and they have need of reading glasses? If your answer is yes (in whatever format) that’s what is called the process of death. Death works in and on us while we live-we are dying while we live. Death is in that respect natural and native to all humans since the Fall of man. Continue reading

Testimony: Costi Hinn

I can relate to so much in this interview as I was once a pastor in the word of faith movement and a local TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) host. I praise the Lord for drawing me out and leading me into truth, just as He has for Costi here. The fact that we both are now Reformed pastors committed to expositional preaching is a sweet joy!

Benny Hinn’s Nephew, Costi Hinn, Refutes The False Teaching of His Uncle In His First Television Interview:

For the Cause of Reform in Kenya

Elly5Back in March I wrote, “Pastor Elly Achok Olare (Mumias, Kenya, Africa) has become a very precious friend of mine in recent months. He and I share a very similar background in that we both were at one time pastors in the word of faith movement.”

You can read an article he wrote at the Gospel Coalition website entitled, “How God Saved Me from the Prosperity Gospel”.

Pastor Elly had read my book “Twelve What Abouts” and wrote to me asking for permission to photocopy the book to hand out to his students. I said that with God’s help, I think we (King’s Church, Peoria) can do better than that.

This afternoon I had the joy of seeing photos of the 50 books we had sent to his ministry in Kenya now safely in the hands of Pastor Elly. He is more than delighted. He wrote, “My dearest brother, my friend and Co worker in the battle for souls, I have this day received with exceeding gladness the package of books you sent. It’s a blessing beyond words and thank you a million times.”
books - 50 kenya

Many of the students Pastor Elly teaches have a Pentecostal/Word of Faith background and now, through Pastor Elly’s ministry, five Reformed Churches have recently been planted in neighboring towns and cities in Kenya. Praise the Lord.

books - 50 kenya2Lets pray for our brother and his ministry and may God use the books in these students’ hands to drive many to God and His word, the true gospel of Christ and the biblical doctrines of grace.

books -50 kenya3Pour out Your Spirit O Lord and light fires in the hearts of many – for Your name, and for Your glory alone.

Psalm 91 and the Word of Faith

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Pastor Elly Achok Olare has become a very precious friend of mine in recent months. He and I share a very similar background in that we both were at one time pastors in the word of faith movement. I was recently asked a question about Psalm 91 and its proper interpretation and poised the same question to Pastor Elly who serves in Mumias, Kenya, Africa, asking for his thoughts on the matter. Here is his reply:

Hello there, I was just asked this: One of the most important verses that the word of faith movement refers to is Psalm 91 which they feel gives them authority over the devil. For example, the verses on trampling over the scorpion, the adder and the lion. They will refer to this verse as God giving them authority over Satan, and if they see that Satan is causing ill health, death, etc., then they see it as they have power over Satan rightfully given by God in this verse. How would you answer that? just wondering what sort of answer you would give for this question?

Dear friend and fellow combatant in the faith once and for all time delivered to the saints’

Pastor John, you have put before me a question whose difficulty is only matched by it’s huge importance to our faith and churchmanship. I shall not pretend to have answers to that question which would even start to satisfy a curious mind. However, as you have placed a demand on me so I shall happily contribute my two cents on the matter. As I read the question, I recalled Luther’s appreciation for the aptitude and succinctness of his opponent Erasmus in “identifying the real issue, the matter upon which the debate turns”. In a real sense the question that was posed to you and which you now share with us is such a one in the whole matter of the Word of Faith/prosperity Gospel heresy.

Allow me dear friend to observe two quick points before I attempt my response.

First; I believe that for those already schooled in the foundational doctrines of Grace, having known Christ aright, and been taught of God, the explanation which shall proceed is the “bread of children”. It will be nothing more than a tying of loose ends, and a confirmation of those things which the Holy Spirit has already testified to in the heart. To borrow the words of scripture “a savor of life unto life”. However seeing how diametrically opposed this soul destroying system of the Word of faith or prosperity Gospel; so called, is to the Gospel of God’s Grace in the face of Jesus Christ, it will take a little more than explanation to wrestle such an enslaved mind to submission to the true doctrine of Christ.

The second point I would beg your indulgence upon is to wonder at the strange,albeit wonderful providence of God, in that when I happened upon this question of yours, it was during a short break during our Wisdom Training Center diploma class lectures. Would you believe what the subject was? PENTECOSTALISM, CHARISMATICS AND WORD OF FAITH THEOLOGIES, being part of our course module on cults and religions of the world. I thought that was a strange providence. I had my students engage with this question and therefore in a subtle way, their own contributions will also show in this response.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: OUR EXEGETICAL TAKE ON PSALMS 91

As with all heresies the first mistake is always incurred at the point of hermaneutics. The tendency is to ‘copy & paste’ texts of scripture from the written pages straight to application in our own lives, experience and expectations. However as we read and re-read this passage,we could not escape the subtle yet compelling feeling, that we were looking at one of those special texts. The language employed is too grand, too pure and altogether too exalted to attach primarily and directly to any ordinary human being-even if that human being is a believer in Christ.

This Psalm as with many others, is very Christological. Its application has to pass through the ‘sieve of Christ’, and the redemptive motif which burdens the Old Testament.

In my view, a failure to grasp this will derail any attempt at making sense of the Psalm. The word of Faith movement is a utilitarian system and we expect that they shall latch onto such texts to vindicate their un-biblical presuppositions.

It is noteworthy that at the temptation of our Lord in Luke 4:1-4, Satan appeals to some texts in this passage-verses 11 and 12 in particular,and applies directly to our Lord. Note the words of the tempter “if you are the Son of God”, as If to say “give proof of it in fulfilling this psalm. The tempter knew that the Son of God was the subject of that particular Psalm, it anticipated him and so as if to verify that He is The Son of God he tempts Him in this way. In the second place, observe that Our Lord does not rebuke Satan for applying this psalm to Him,He only rebutted thus “It also written…” We must observe in passing that the tempter here in the Lucan account dangles before our Lord exactly what the word of faith dangles to millions today, material gain and self aggrandisement. It was the same trap set for our first parents-lust of the flesh and a pursuit of materialism. The Lord would not be drawn in and in this, He unlike the first Adam, overcame the tempter.

This Son of God is the figure who dwells in the secret place of the most high. He is the one who is presently and for all eternity sitting at the right hand of majesty on high – Acts 7:56. Jesus Christ is one who staked His legitimate claim to that inner sanctum of glory, when he prayed thus “give me the glory which I had with you from the beginning” – John 17:5

It is this Lord whom the Father will “when He calls upon me,and I will answer Him”, the Psalm paints a further picture, “I will be with Him in trouble; I will deliver Him and honor him” – 91:15. Perhaps these are glorious foretastes of the humiliation and subsequent exaltation of our Lord – Philippians 2:6-11. Surely it is He who in the days of His flesh offered prayers and supplications with “strong crying and tears”, to He who was able to save Him” and was heard ” – Hebrews 5:7.

It is only about him might the words appropriately and legitimately apply when the psalm says “He holds fast to my love” – 91:14 and “I will set him on high, because he hath known my name”. Continue reading