Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning (J. Lee Grady)

Kenneth Hagin is a phenomenal Bible teacher.  His ministry was Scriptural, faith-filled and balanced.  Although he knew that Jesus was not poor and that we are redeemed from poverty, Kenneth Hagin did not agree with some practices making the rounds today.  This article by J. Lee Grady explains exactly what:

Before he died in 2003, the revered father of the Word-Faith movement corrected his spiritual sons for going to extremes with their message of prosperity. Charismatic Bible teacher Kenneth Hagin Sr. is considered the father of the so-called prosperity gospel. The folksy, self-trained “Dad Hagin” started a grass-roots movement in Oklahoma that produced a Bible college and a crop of famous preachers including Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps, Jesse DuPlantis, Creflo Dollar and dozens of others—all of whom teach that Christians who give generously should expect financial rewards on this side of heaven. Hagin taught that God was not glorified by poverty and that preachers do not have to be poor. But before he died in 2003 and left his Rhema Bible Training Center in the hands of his son, Kenneth Hagin Jr., he summoned many of his colleagues to Tulsa to rebuke them for distorting his message. He was not happy that some of his followers were manipulating the Bible to support what he viewed as greed and selfish indulgence. Those who were close to Hagin Sr. say he was passionate about correcting these abuses before he died. In fact, he wrote a brutally honest book to address his concerns. The Midas Touch was published in 2000, a year after the infamous Tulsa meeting. Many Word-Faith ministers ignored the book. But in light of the recent controversy over prosperity doctrines, it might be a good idea to dust it off and read it again. Here are a few of the points Hagin made in The Midas Touch: 1. Financial prosperity is not a sign of God’s blessing. Hagin wrote: “If wealth alone were a sign of spirituality, then drug traffickers and crime bosses would be spiritual giants. Material wealth can be connected to the blessings of God or it can be totally disconnected from the blessings of God.” 2. People should never give in order to get. Hagin was critical of those who “try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine.” He denounced those who link giving to getting, especially those who give cars to get new cars or who give suits to get new suits. He wrote: “There is no spiritual formula to sow a Ford and reap a Mercedes.” 3. It is not biblical to “name your seed” in an offering. Hagin was horrified by this practice, which was popularized in faith conferences during the 1980s. Faith preachers sometimes tell donors that when they give in an offering they should claim a specific benefit to get a blessing in return. Hagin rejected this idea and said that focusing on what you are going to receive “corrupts the very attitude of our giving nature.” 4. The “hundredfold return” is not a biblical concept. Hagin did the math and figured out that if this bizarre notion were true, “we would have Christians walking around with not billions or trillions of dollars, but quadrillions of dollars!” He rejected the popular teaching that a believer should claim a specific monetary payback rate. 5. Preachers who claim to have a “debt-breaking” anointing should not be trusted. Hagin was perplexed by ministers who promise “supernatural debt cancellation” to those who give in certain offerings. He wrote in The Midas Touch: “There is not one bit of Scripture I know about that validates such a practice. I’m afraid it is simply a scheme to raise money for the preacher, and ultimately it can turn out to be dangerous and destructive for all involved.” (Many evangelists who appear on Christian television today use this bogus claim. Usually they insist that the miraculous debt cancellation will occur only if a person “gives right now,” as if the anointing for this miracle suddenly evaporates after the prime time viewing hour. This manipulative claim is more akin to witchcraft than Christian belief.) Hagin condemned other hairbrained gimmicks designed to trick audiences into emptying their wallets. He was especially incensed when a preacher told his radio listeners that he would take their prayer requests to Jesus’ empty tomb in Jerusalem and pray over them there—if donors included a special love gift. “What that radio preacher really wanted was more people to send in offerings,” Hagin wrote. Thanks to the recent resurgence in bizarre donation schemes promoted by American charismatics, the prosperity gospel is back under the nation’s microscope. It’s time to revisit Hagin’s concerns and find a biblical balance. Hagin told his followers: “Overemphasizing or adding to what the Bible actually teaches invariably does more harm than good.” If the man who pioneered the modern concept of biblical prosperity blew the whistle on his own movement, wouldn’t it make sense for us to listen to his admonition?

The Midas Touch is available from Tree of Life Bookshop.

Published by Tree of Life Church

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5 thoughts on “Kenneth Hagin’s Forgotten Warning (J. Lee Grady)

  1. Excellent Post … and needed. Yes, there are many, many Scriptures showing us that prosperity IS in the house of the righteous {ie: Psalm 112:3}, but which are we seeking ….. the wealth or the Giver. Blessings on your Blog / site! FaithSpeaksInc.

  2. Amen to that Faithspeaksinc.

    It is clear from Scripture that wealth is a blessing and poverty is a curse. It is also clear that Jesus Christ completely and utterly redeemed us from poverty. He became poor so that we could become rich.

    However, it is equally clear that we seek first the kingdom of God and these things shall be added to us.

    It is true that if you give, you will receive a return pressed down, good measure. But to preach on this for forty-five minutes before an offering leaves people walking out of church feeling mugged.

    Charismatics manipulate giving by promising a return immediately, and ignoring the fact that prosperity is a process involving wisdom in every area of your life; evangelicals manipulate giving by guilt – showing films and pictures of starving children, or making people feel wrong that they are blessed.

    Both are wrong – the Lord loves a cheerful giver, someone who is giving without manipulation, without compulsion and with no other motive other than the love of God.

    Thanks for your feedback – may goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life.


  3. Excellent!

    I agreed with you Ben. That is very true. It is time to teach the proper way or aim to the right point. Yeah, I do know there are some teachers went a bit off the points. Someday, they might realize and correct themselves. I do hope they would listen to their inner men.

    Great Post.

    Jesus is LORD!

  4. James, great to see your post here. The Lord has richly blessed you and your ministry and increase is coming your way! It is a difficult thing to say that some people have gone overboard in prosperity – partly because so much of the church is still in the poverty-trap and has so much false teaching that poverty is a blessing which is utterly unscriptural; and partly because some of the people I feel have a wrong emphasis are people I have spent a long time listening to and learning a great deal from – but it is the case. I would recommend Hagin’s “The Midas Touch” (you can purchase it from our online bookshop for under a tenner!) which is the best book on finances I have ever read. Soundly Scriptural, kind, and very balanced. Just like Hagin’s ministry.

    Also, I always feel on finances I am more comfortable listening to a pastor rather than a traveling preacher because people are often more prudent when they know they are going to be preaching to the same people again and again. I thoroughly recommend Keith Moore’s series “Your Wealthy Place” as a fine example of great Biblical prosperity teaching.

    Every blessing,

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