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Neo Gnosticism In the Word-Faith Movement
AUTHOR: Hux, Clete
PUBLISHED ON: May 1, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN

þ Neo-Gnosticism In The Faith Movement

– by Clete Hux

Many times in the history of the church there have been
winds and waves of heretical teachings passing through and
Christians have been alert enough to spot the errors. Other
times, the Church has not been quite so discerning and the
result has been reaping a whirlwind of counterfeit beliefs
and practices. Such is the case of gnostic elements in the
“word-faith,” “word of faith” (WOF), or “positive
confession” movement.

All too often Christians have spoken out against the blatant
and excessive abuses of the so-called “name it and claim it”
or “health and wealth” gospels of the WOF movement without
realizing there are far more serious teachings of the
movement which need to be addressed. Why do many Christians
fail to spot the real doctrines of the WOF? Perhaps one
reason is the camouflaging of Gnostic beliefs with Christian
terminology.

The term Gnosticism derives from the Greek word gnosis,
meaning “knowledge.” A person designates as “gnostic” is one
who exalts knowledge above any spiritual, moral, or
intellectual value. Knowledge becomes the tool for
controlling life.  As a first century heresy, Gnosticism
taught that there is “secret knowledge” or “gnosis” and that
these esoteric secrets are obtainable only to an elite group
of Gnostic priests.

The elite group in the WOF movement claims to receive
“revelation knowledge” (apart from the scriptures). They say
they are the “Lord’s Anointed” (Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth
Copeland, Charles Capps, Frederick Price, Benny Hinn, Robert
Tilton, etc.) and impart these revelations to others who sit
under their teachings.

Cerinthus, an early Gnostic heretic, tried to merge
Christian doctrine regarding Christ with more mystical
concepts. He taught a distinction between the man and the
“Christ spirit” which descended upon Him at His baptism and
later departed at His crucifixion. This information is well
documented in Ireneaus’ monumental work, “Against Heresies.”
This doctrine is repeated within the WOF teachings as the
leaders of the movement claims that Christ died spiritually
and thus gave up His divinity and was born again in His
resurrection.

Judith Matta documents in her book,  ‘The Born Again Jesus
of the Word of Faith Teaching,” that many doctrines of the
WOF movement were lifted directly from the writings of 19th
century Mind Science cults such as Christian Science and New
Thought.

How could this early Gnostic teaching get into the modern
day WOF movement? D.R. McConnell in his penetrating book, “A
Different Gospel” has documented that the real father of the
WOF movement is E.W. Kenyon, who died in 1948. McConnell
shows that Kenyon was heavily influenced by the Mind Science
cults.

In the second chapter of his book, McConnell records this
statement from John Kennington, once a follower of E.W.
Kenyon, “At one time, I was a blind follower of Kenyon…
Now with the passing of a little time and with a little more
understanding, I have come to realize that E.W. Kenyon has
simply ‘baptized’ many concepts from Christian Science. In
so doing, he became a source for a form of ‘Pentecostal
Christian Science,’ even though Kenyon himself was not a
Pentecostal” (McConnell, “A Different Gospel,” p.15).

Today, Kenneth Hagin is viewed as being the father and
founder of WOF. However, McConnell documents that Hagin
actually plagiarized Kenyon, getting most of his teaching
from Kenyon’s published works.(Ibid., p.6)

Greg Durand of Logos Outreach, another counter-cult
ministry, in their publication, Outreach Expositor, ties
Gnosticism and WOF together. He says, “Like all forms of
Gnostic philosophy, the Faith movement downplays the
significance of the physical realm… To those in the WOF
man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body” (Vol.5,
No.2, p.16).

Durand goes on to say, “To those entrenched in the WOF, the
real man is supposedly a spirit creature that exists in
God’s Class…the body is seen as merely the tabernacle in
which the spirit man temporarily resides” (Ibid., p.16).”

The Faith teachers believe that only through the Spirit can
one receive direct communication with God, or “Revelation
Knowledge” as it is called. On the other hand, the soul or
mind of a person, is viewed as bound by “Sense Knowledge,”
and therefore completely incapable of understanding spiritual
matters. (K. Hagin, “Man on Three Dimensions, “Faith Library,
1991, pp. 5-8).

A dualistic rivalry is created between spirit and matter,
wherein logical thought processes, as well as physical
senses, are to be rejected in favor of the intuitive
impressions of one’s heart or spirit. In Paul Crouch’s
words, “The man with an experience is never at the mercy of
a man with an argument” (Trinity Broadcast Network, 23
October 1992).

Kenneth Hagin states it this way, “One almost has to bypass
the brain and operate from the inner man, which is our heart
or spirit” (“Right and Wrong Thinking,” Rhema, 1986, p.27).
Hagin seems to be unappreciative of the human mind as the
gift of God and quite valuable for objective reasoning of
truth and error.

The Lord tells us that as Christians we are to be
“transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2); to
think in accordance with who we are positionally in Christ,
not to reject them as unreliable sources of information (see
I Cor.2:16). In Isa.1:18, God makes an appeal to man’s
ability to reason.

In accordance with Scripture, let us with our minds, using
the reasoning ability God gives us to discern truth from
error empowered by the Holy Spirit, look to see if this
“Revelation Knowledge” the WOF leaders say they are
receiving is from God and aligns with His truth or not?
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