Seven Tactics of the Heresy Hunters (Troy J. Edwards)

Seven Tactics Of The Heresy Hunters

By Troy J. Edwards

Webster defines “heresy” as, “an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards.”[1] In 1 Timothy 4:1 we are told: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” We are told yet again in Heb. 13:9, ” Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace…” These passages show us that there is a definite need for the true apologetics[2] ministry in the church.

The early church fathers such as Iraeneus, Origen, Chrysostom, Polycarp, and others spent quite a bit of time defending the truth of Christianity against the well known heresies of their era. These men were true apologists in every sense of the word. Even before them, Paul, John, and the other early apostles had to continually defend the truth against the error that crept into the church.

Though I may not have always agreed with him, Walter Martin, the founder of the Christian Research Institute, was a true apologist. God raised up such a man when the American scene was becoming so filled with cults that it became difficult to distinguish them from Orthodox Christianity. His landmark book, Kingdom of the Cults, provided us with sufficient information on the different cults in America and how to deal with them.

The Difference Between Apologists and Heresy Hunters

Nevertheless, there comes a fine line between the valid ministry of an Apologist (one who is defending the faith given to the church) and the need to search for something to use against those you may disagree with theologically in order to make them appear cultic and heretical to the general public. The latter is a Heresy Hunter. Heresy Hunting has become a cultic practice unto itself and the purpose of this essay is to show the reader the invalidity of such a practice. I will show you seven tactics that these people use in their vendetta against those they do not agree with. I will especially show you how these tactics have been used in the attacks against the Word of Faith movement.

1. False Labeling

The heresy hunters seem to enjoy labeling those that they theologically disagree with as “cultic, heretical, etc.” The Word-Faith movement has been labeled a “metaphysical” movement when their has been no trace of metaphysical teaching within this group. We have also been called “Gnostic,” “Universalists,” “Eastern Mysticism,” and a host of other names. One web site labels Marilyn Hickey as the “fairy God-Mother” of the Word of Faith movement.

The heresy hunter even like to falsely label themselves. Many of them say that they are Pentecostals or that they are Charismatics. They do this so that they can be accepted among these particular groups while still attacking everything uniquely Pentecostal or Charismatic. They do this in order to turn the hearts of Pentecostals and Charismatics away from the essential truths that distinguish these two movements. The unfortunate thing is that it has actually worked. Many Pentecostals and Charismatics treat their Word of Faith brethen as if they have been sprayed by skunks. They now do everything to separate them from their groups.

Many of the heresy hunters say that they are members of Assemblies of God churches or affiliated with “Charismatic” churches such as Calvary Chapel. Yet, when you listen to them talk they often sound like Hyper-Calvinists and Cessationists. It’s a shame because the same criticism that they make against the Word-Faith and other movements were made against the movements that they claim to be affiliated with.

In the beginning of the Pentecostal movement at Azusa street in 1906, the leaders of this movement, William J. Seymour and Charles Parham were labeled “rulers of spiritual Sodom.” Another person labeled them, “Satan’s preachers, jugglers, necromancers, enchanters, magicians, and all sorts of mendicants.” This same person also labeled the Pentecostal movement as “spiritualism.” Another well known preacher of that time labeled it, “the last vomit of Satan.” A Bible teacher whose writings I love made a statement about the Pentecostal movement that I disagree with: “emphatically not of God and founded by a Sodomite”.[3]

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Pentecostals were also falsely labeled as “hypnotists,” “mentally unstable” and attributed the miraculous manifestations in the churches as “demonic power.” One historian makes this observation:

That Pentecostalism was initially successful cannot be gainsaid. It seemed to be scripturally oriented and appeared to be the answer to the prayers of countless thousands as the revitalizing force needed to combat spiritual lethargy which they had felt had engulfed the religious world of the twentieth century. Within a short time, however, the Pentecostal revival became the object of scurrilous attacks. It was denounced as “anti-Christian,” as “sensual and devilish,” and as “the last vomit of Satan.” Its adherents were taunted and derided from the pulpit as well as in the religious and secular press. Some leaders were actually subjected to violence.[4]

I suppose now that many Pentecostal denominations have established a certain amount of “respect” in the evangelical community, they would not want to be associated with a movement that is being rejected by the community at large. It is recorded later that the American Assemblies of God, a major Pentecostal denomination, rejected what is known as the Charismatic movement. Those who were Assemblies ministers who approved of this movement lost their ministerial credentials and were disfellowshipped from the AoG. Two of the more well known are David Du Plessis and Ralph Wilkerson.[5] Is this not a case of the persecuted becoming the persecutors?

Centuries before this, John Calvin and Martin Luther were persecuted for discovering the truth of “justification by faith.” Once this truth was established, Luther persecuted the Anabaptists because they felt the need to bring further Biblical reforms into the church. Luther blasted these “zealots” from the pulpit and written literature. He labeled them “stupid spirits,” “rabble preachers,” “infiltrators,” and “messengers of satan.”[6]

George Mueller, who was a great man of faith, was able to trust God for a millions dollars a day to feed thousands of orphans. He did this with no advertisements and no letters appealing to others for support. He totally prayed and relied on God. Unfortunately, due to his tremendous faith, some in his time had falsely labeled him and connected him to spiritualism, the cultic influence of that time:

A striking case is that of Mr. George Muller, of Bristol, who has now for forty years depended wholly for his own support and that of his wonderful charities on answers to prayer…. The Spiritualist explains all this as a personal influence. The perfect simplicity, faith, boundless charity, and goodness, of George Muller, have enlisted in his cause beings of a nature; and his mediumistic powers have enabled them to work for him by influencing others to send him money, food, clothes, etc., all arriving, as we should say, just in the “nick of time.”[7]

Muller was one of the greatest men of faith and greatest example to the church in how to put our full trust and reliance upon God. Because of this apparent success in prayer, he is labeled a medium and the “spirits” (presumably “demonic” spirits) are given the credit for the provisions that he received.

Muller is now respected in both Charismatic and Evangelical churches and is often used as an example of the kind of faith that is needed to do the work God has called us to do. However, there were some that wanted to imply that he was embracing “spiritualism.” Is it any wonder that in our day our major faith teachers who have demonstrated faith in God are made to look “cultic” by those who disagree with them?

God’s persecuted children are in good company. John the Baptist and even our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ have had to deal with false labeling by religious leaders:

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. -Matt. 11:18-19

John the Baptist was labeled as demon possessed, and Jesus was called a few other names. Later on Jesus Himself would be accused of being in league with the devil (Matt. 12:23-26).

So God Himself, who came to earth to shed His precious blood for all men is being labeled a man who is in league with the devil whose works he came to destroy (1 John 3:8). These accusations were made by the religious leaders of his day. Sounds familiar? Jesus goes on to tell us that because we are his disciples, we can expect this same type of persecution:

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? -Matt. 10:25

By giving the false labels to Word-Faith which these heresy hunters have done, they have placed themselves in the same league as the Pharisees of Jesus day and have placed us in the same company as our Lord Jesus. Those of us affiliated with the Word-Faith movement should be thankful for this minor persecution.

2. Taking Statements out of context

This is an attempt to misconstrue the original intent of what the person was intending to say or trying to convey. This is outright dishonest. It is equivalent to what many do in the secular media. The secular media uses soundbites, half quotes, and one sided approaches to give the appearance of “evil” to the watching public. The secular media has been quite successful in destroying businesses this way and even a few ministries. The heresy hunters have done an excellent job of incorporating this tactic in their attacks on the Word-Faith and others they disagree with.

Although there are enough books that one can buy that gives plenty of examples of this particular heresy hunting tactic, one need not waste his or precious hard earned dollars. There are enough examples on the world wide web. Take notice of a Kenneth Hagin quotation on the Watchman Fellowship web site:

Word-Faith teachers say that not only is God a big man, but man is a little god. Kenneth Hagin has asserted, “man…was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority…. He made us the same class of being that He is Himself…. He lived on terms equal with God…. The believer is called Christ, that’s who we are; we’re Christ” (Zoe: The God Kind of Life, pp. 35-36, 41). “[8]

Notice all of the “…” used in this misquotation of Hagin’s teaching. Those “…” show that the person quoted was not fully quoted. If I had never read Hagin’s books and this was the first quote I ever read by him, I would stand against his theology too. I would shout “heresy” along with the rest of these heresy hunters. However, when we look at Hagin’s teaching in it’s full context, we will see that Hagin’s statements were completely taken out of context:

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. -Romans 5:17

What does this verse mean? It means that everyone of us who has been born again and has received the life of God has come into a kingly state. We are accepted by God to reign as kings in life. We are no longer servants in the realm of spiritual death, but we have passed out of death, Satan’s realm, into the realm of the heavenlies. Man was never made to be a slave. He was made to reign as king under God. He was made on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority. Notice Psalm 8:4,5: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” In some translations there is a number or letter by the word “angels” in this text. If you read the margin you’ll find that the Hebrew word here is Elohim – the same word or name for God. The Hebrew Bible actually says (talking about man), “Thou hast made him a little lower than God.” That means that God has made us as much like Himself as possible. He made us in His image. He made us in His likeness. He made us the same class of being that is Himself. He made Adam with an intellect of such caliber that he could name every animal, vegitable, and fruit, and give them names that would describe their characteristics. When God could do that with man, man belonged to the realm of God…..

God made man His understudy. He made him king, to rule over everything that had life. Man was master. Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms of equality with God.

(Zoe, pp. 35-36)


15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial?

Finally, the believer is called “Christ” and the unbeliever is called “Belial.” That’s who we are; we’re Christ!

Jesus is the head and we’re the Body of Christ. Your head doesn’t go by one name and your body by another, does it? You don’t call your body Henry Jones and your little finger Louise Simpson, do you? Your little finger has the same name as the rest of your body because it belongs to that body. (p. 41)[9]

Notice that Mr. Hux neglected to deal with the Scripture passages that Hagin used. Notice also how Mr. Hux totally misinterpreted Hagin’s message. Hagin was not demoting God and elevating man as Mr. Hux would imply. Hagin stated that man was God’s understudy. Does this sound as if Hagin was promoting man to a higher level than God? Hagin was simply teaching the level on which God created man. Take Psalm 8:4-5 for example. There are a host of Bible translations that state that man was made a little lower than God.

When Hagin and others speak of man being in God’s class, most of this teaching centers on passages in Psalms 8:4-5; Heb. 2:7; Psalm 82:1, 6, and John 10:35. The KJV took the Hebrew word “Elohim” in Psalm 8:5 and translated it to “angels” instead of God. I understand that it was also translated this way in the Septuagint, which is the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Many Bible translations have decided to translate the Hebrew word correctly. Among the older ones are Revised standard version, Young’s literal Translation, American Standard Version, Hebrew Names Version, World English Bible, and the Amplified Bible. Among the newer translations that quote it this way are God’s Word To the Nations translation, Contemporary English version, New Living Translation, and Today’s English Version. These all speak of God creating man a little lower than Himself vice creating man a little lower than the angels.

Commentaries by men who are respected in the church who also seem to agree with this interpretation is John Wesley, Adam Clark, Warren Wiersbe, Ray Stedman, and John Calvin.

Therefore, Hagin was simply stating that man was created in God’s image and has a higher place than the angels and other created beings. In this sense, Hagin is teaching that man was created in God’s class. Further more, Hagin was simply teaching the truth that we are members of Christ’s body. He was not teaching that each Christian is the Messiah Himself. He was teaching that we are a part of one body and that we have a place and position in Christ that we often do not recognize. Besides, Mr. Hux neglected to include Hagin’s proof Scripture (2 Cor. 6:15) as well as Hagin’s full statement. Hagin was by no means teaching that God was a big man and that we are on His level.

3. Comparison method

Used to compare the statements of well known faith teachers against those of well known heretics and/or cultic leaders. These statements are often taken out of context.

Jesus methods of healing and deliverance were also compared to the cultic exorcists of His time on earth. Jesus was accused of being demon possessed:

And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? -Matt. 12:23-26

One web site does this by quoting major faith teachers out of context and then compares their statements to those of Mormon leaders such as Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders. It’s an endless charade.

An example of how some of these “apologetical” websites do this is displayed below. One Apologist takes a quote by Copeland and compares it to a quote by a New Age leader:

“Faith activates the force of God fear is a force that activates the Devil. Copeland says, God did not create the world out of nothing, He used the Force of His Faith.’ (Spirit, Soul and Body, #01-0601, Tape #1)

New Ager Benjamin Creme says, for example, “One doesn’t pray to oneself, one prays to the God within. The thing is to learn to invoke that energy which is the energy of God. Prayer and worship as we know it today will gradually die out and men will be trained to invoke the (inner) power of deity.” (The Reappearance of Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, pp. 135-136)[10]

This is just one example of how Copeland’s “force of faith” teaching is compared to a well known cult to make him look as if he were receiving his theological perspective from them. One other person makes it sound like Copeland has been watching too many science fiction movies:

Faith is a Force (like Starwars).
(Spirit, Soul and Body, #01-0601, Tape #1) [11]

I am giving you the exact quote as it was written on this website which is supposed to be a compilation of “erroneous” quotes from Word of Faith teachers. I am absolutely sure that the “like starwars” insertion in the parenthesis was not from the person quoted, but the interpretation of the quoter. The Heresy Hunter will add or take away from the words of the faith teacher in order to make the faith teacher sound heretical.

I will now use this same tactic and compare the “force of faith teaching with quotes from a classic Bible teacher that many consider “orthodox” and whose books are even sold and read by some of these apologetical ministries:

Many grand deeds have also been born of faith, for faith works wonders. Faith in its natural form is an all-prevailing force. God gives salvation to our faith because He has touched the secret spring of all our emotions and actions.[12]

Now what “heretic” would make a statement like that? Long before the so called New Age movement, and long before the popular Star Wars movies (long before movies, period), Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) made the above statement. In a later essay on this subject I will show you similar statements by other men of days gone by, men who bare the names of Albert B. Simpson, Edwards M. Bounds, Frederick Marsh, and others. These men also believed that faith, prayer, and even the death of Christ is a “force.” Were they heretical too? You will be surprised at the statements these men made that would be considered “heretical” in today’s heresy hunting atmosphere.

However, allow me to quote another surprising statement by the “prince of preachers himself once more in this regard:

Faith is the mightiest of the mighty. It is the monarch of the realms of the mind. There is no being superior to its strength, no creature that will not bow to its divine prowess. The lack of faith makes a person despicable; it shrivels him up so small that he might live in a nutshell. Give him faith, and he is a leviathan that can dive into the depths of the sea, a giant who takes nations and crumbles them in his hand, vanquishing hosts with his sword and gathering up all the crowns as his own. There is nothing like faith. Faith makes you almost as omnipotent as God, by borrowed power of its divinity. Give us faith and we can do all things.[13]

Now is that heretical by today’s standards or what? Is this any more heretical then Copeland saying that faith activates the force of God? So perhaps Spurgeon and modern day faith teachers were heretical. Was Jesus heretical when He said that “all things are possible to him that believes” (Mark 9:22-23)? Was Paul heretical when he compared faith to a “shield” (Eph. 6:16)? I have no doubt that Copeland had no intentions of implying that faith was something similar to the star wars force or the New Age definition. Faith is a weapon or force that can be used in resisting the devil (1 Pet. 5:8-9; James 4:7).

Let’s look at another Scripture that is not often taught outside “spiritual warfare” circles:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. -Matt. 11:12

Was Jesus speaking of a “metaphysical force” when He made this statement? No. The word “force” used in this passage comes from the Greek word Biazo. According to Vines dictionary this word can be translated to be “….expressive of the special interest which the doer of the act has in what he is doing.”[14] It can also be synonymous with violence.

Paul tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17). Perhaps when Copeland speaks of the force of righteousness, or the force of Joy, or the force of faith, he is speaking of taking the kingdom of God by this type of force. Or perhaps he meant it as a comparison to the “force” of electricity as F.B. Meyer did in one of his sermons over a century ago.[15]

Comparing Copeland’s words to a well known cultic antiChristian group or to a popular science fiction movie and not take other, more orthodox references into account is totally dishonest on the part of these heresy hunters. They should be ashamed of themselves.

4. False Implications

After quoting a person out of context, and then comparing the person’s statement to a well known cult leader or heretic, the next step is to make a false implication concerning what the individual teaches. The interpretation of a statement by the Heresy Hunter is usually never what the writer/preacher originally meant to convey.

In John 2:18-21 we find this incident concerning Jesus Christ:

Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

Now it is clear that Jesus was not speaking of the literal temple but of His own body. It is also clear that he said nothing about destroying this temple Himself but that others would do the destroying. Now watch how this is expertly used against him during His trial just before He is crucified:

Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, [yet] found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This [fellow] said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what [is it which] these witness against thee? (Matthew 26:59-62).

Now you see how these men came to the wrong conclusion concerning Jesus’ statement. Jesus spoke of the temple of his body but these men made it seem as if Jesus were speaking of the temple (building). The incorrect implications were drawn from the Lord’s statements. The Bible calls these men “false witnesses.” This spirit is still resident in our time in the “ministries” of the modern day heresy hunter. We can see how this tactic is used on one “apologetical” website:

E.W. Kenyon wrote, “We have sung ‘Nearer the cross’ and we have prayed that we might be ‘Nearer the cross’ but the cross has no salvation in it. It is a place of failure and defeat” (Advanced Bible Course, p.279) [emphasis mine]. As usual, the others merely echo Kenyon’s ideas about this.

What the Bible says:

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to those who are being saved it is the Power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18) See also Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20 and 2:15.[16]

The conclusion we draw from this misquote of Kenyon’s work is that Kenyon has no regard for the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sounds almost similar to a Rev. Moon philosophy (I’m surprised that this apologist did not use this “comparison” method).[17] The author then attempts to prove that Kenyon has made a heretical statement by quoting a passage of Scripture that supposedly contradicts what Kenyon said. First we will look at the fool context of this quote so that we can see EXACTLY what Kenyon was saying, we will give Scripture references that show that Kenyon was attempting to convey a truth to his students that was not often taught in his time, and then we will show you from Kenyon’s own writings what he truly believed in regards to the cross of Christ. Here’s Kenyon’s full quote:

If Jesus had gone no further than dying on the cross, no one have ever been saved through Him. There is no New Birth, no New Creation, in the dead Christ.

We have sung ‘Nearer the cross’ and we have prayed that we might be ‘Nearer the cross’ but the cross has no salvation in it. It is a place of failure, a place of death, a place where Jesus was made sin, a place where God forsook Jesus, turned His back upon Him after He had made Him sin. It was a place where Satan had apparently won a victory over the Man who had ruled him for three and a half years. So for us to sing, “Jesus, keep me near the cross,” is for us to be kept near failure and defeat.

No, there is no salvation in a dead Christ or a suffering Christ hanging on the cross.

Many who read this will feel shocked because they have worshipped a dead Christ. Had Jesus stopped, had He gone no further than the cross, we would never have heard from Him.

You see, the disciples only understood what the physical senses registered, as they gathered about the cross and watched Him in His death throes.

The next picture of Jesus is the one that has brought life and light to the human race. It is the Resurrected, Ascended, and Seated Christ.[18]

So what was Kenyon teaching here? He was teaching that so many focus on the death of Christ and do not focus on His RESSURECTION and EXALTATION. They look at the DEATH of Christ but overlook the other aspects. They forget He is no longer on the cross. Kenyon was teaching people to get past the cross and move towards the resurrection and ascension. The cross was a necessary part of salvation but Kenyon is teaching here that the death of Christ would mean nothing had He not been raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God.

In a paragraph above this, Kenyon relates the story of how he saw a picture in the street of Christ dead on the cross. This seems to be the only picture of Christ that has been in the minds of many in the church. I remember before I received Christ as my personal savior, my girlfriend sent me a cross. I thought I would impress my friend, who was a true born again Christian by showing him. When I did, he said, “Troy, Jesus is no longer on the cross.” Those words struck me. As far as I know, this man was not a Word-Faither. He was Protestant.

Christ is no longer in the grave. He has risen. This aspect of Christianity is what separates us from Islam, Buddhism, and a host of other world religions. It is not as Rev. Moon stated (that Christ failed) but the resurrection proves that Jesus was SUCCESSFUL. He was victorious.

There were good reasons why Kenyon needed to point this out. For example, our salvation relies not so much in the death of Christ, as important as this aspect is, but it relies primarily in His having been raised from the dead:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. – Romans 10:9-10

Our victory over sin and our identification is to not only acknowledge the cross but the resurrection as well:

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. – Romans 6:2-9

Because of this resurrection that Christ is able to work His mighty power toward those of us who believe:

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. -Eph. 1:19-23

There is a full abundance of Scripture that we can use in this regard, but this is sufficient. F.E. Marsh (1858-1931) said it this way, “A crucifix is not an emblem of Christianity, but an empty tomb is. How much that empty tomb proclaims!”[19]

What Kenyon Believed About The Cross

How Did Kenyon feel about the cross? Was it an unimportant aspect of redemption? If we read Kenyon’s books we would see that he held the cross of Christ in high esteem. Remember in the quote from his book, Advanced Bible Course, Kenyon was expounding on the importance of the resurrections. This by no means implies that Kenyon did not think that the cross was important. Kenyon states in one of his books:

The cross was the climax of love in manifestation. There is no love without action. It is not love until it acts. Love was unveiled on the cross. That God Man who hung there had come of His own volition. He was not a martyr; He was a supreme lover.[20]

Kenyon believed that the cross held a very important place in the work of God. Kenyon believed that the cross is where Jesus became our substitute on the cross. In another of his books, Kenyon says, “But God has dealt with the sin problem in His Son. He has put sin away by the sacrifice of that Son.”[21]

Kenyon believed that the cross is where Jesus bore our sins. Kenyon certainly believed that the cross was a necessity. The reading of several of his books would affirm this. The references are too numerous to quote. However, Kenyon believed strongly in the message of the cross. He simply wanted his readers not to stop there and settle on the cross but to go beyond that to the resurrection and the ascension. However, the modern day apologists will not tell you that.

5. Sensationalizing

This is an attempt to make a person believe that the group that they are attacking is a real threat to present day Christianity. In other words, the said group or doctrine along with it’s teachers and adherents is causing a real “Crisis” with Christendom as we know it. Unless these “heretics” as they are labeled are done away with, the whole foundations of Christianity will be destroyed.

What really gets me is one internationally known heresy hunter who claimed that the Faith teachers were causing a Crisis in Christianity was the same one to criticize other brethren (although I agree he was correct in doing so) for using sensationalism to promote the Y2K scare back in 1999. If only this same “apologist” had followed his own advice about sensationalism to sell books.

This same critic of the faith teachers have labeled another group of people that use similar tactics as himself as “a Cult of Gossipers.” Although I may agree with him on this, I must also say that this is the proverbial “pot calling the kettle black.” It is terrible that these heresy hunters will see sin in their brothers and yet commit the same sins. It’s the case of not being able to pull the speck out of your brother’s eye until you have pulled the moat out of your own (Matt. 7:1-5)

The caption on one Heresy Hunter’s webpage would be funny if it were not so pathetic: “JUST LIKE AIDS…The Christian Church is Being Destroyed from Within!” This is in reference to the Faith movement, of course. Is God not able to remove a “cancer” or “AIDS” from His own body (The Body of Christ)?

This type of sensationalism is used quite often in the secular media to stir up viewer’s emotions. The Heresy Hunter has skillfully adopted this technique in his war against the Faith Movement. What good Christian would not want to remove AIDS from the body of Christ? What good Christian would want to keep the church from being destroyed from within?

God is fully capable of keeping His church from being “destroyed from within.” However, the Heresy Hunter must use such sensational tactics as Christianity being in a “Crisis,” or that the Faith Teachers are preaching a “different” gospel, or that we have become a “cancer” or “AIDS” in the body of Christ.

It’s So Sensational

Sensationalism sells books. Non Christians often use this tactic but unfortunately so do Christians. In 1988 the Christian bookstores sold a book titled 88 Reasons Why Christ Will Return In 1988. The book sold well and it also disappointed so many people when their expectations were not met.

We mentioned the Y2K scare earlier. So many Christians “prophesied” about the disasters that would occur when the clock struck twelve midnight due to the negligence of our major computer programmers to figure in a four digit date into all of our computerized appliances. Many of these same people sold shelters and survival kits. I am sure that the reader remembers that the impending doom did not occur.

Unfortunately, the Charismatic movement that I have aligned myself with has been guilty of sensationalism. In the 1940-50s during the healing revival we have often sensationalized this wonderful provision of God with our flamboyance. This gave a bad name to healing. The 1970s gave us some insight into deliverance from demonic possession but again, the church moved into sensationalism, giving the deliverance ministry a bad name. Even now so many of our brethren are using sensationalism to promote their ministries.

We could write volumes on how “satanic ritual abuse” sensationalism has promoted the ministries of some (and has also caused their downfall when the truth about them were exposed). Then there was the “Illuminati” sensationalism. The church seems to have our own “conspiracy theories.” These are just a few examples of the sensationalism that has reared its ugly head in the church far too often.

The sensationalism has not been limited to the Charismatic movement. We have seen that the evangelicals have done well in this department too. The Heresy Hunters have especially been good at this tactic. Many of them attack anything and everything that they do not agree with and will use any way possible to get the attention of the church. Some of them have a desperate fleshly need for this attention.

Many times people ride the waves of what seems to be popular. Word-Faith bashing has been very popular for the past twelve or so years. Before that, many people were teaching “faith,” “discipleship,” and “deliverance.” To them it was a fad. They were riding the waves of it’s popularity.

Now many of these same people have become the staunchest critics of these doctrines. It’s no longer fun to them. It’s not the “in” thing anymore. Word-Faith bashing is now the “in” thing and they must ride the waves of opportunity before the next fad. It is so sad that when God reveals a truth to His church and people begin to walk in light of that truth, others seem to come along only for the ride, or for the sensation and thrill of the moment.

The real test of whether you believe any truth from God’s Word is when that truth and its adherents come under attack and persecution. That is the time that we see whether a person truly believed what he was taught or preaching or whether he or she was riding the wave of sensationalism. Many preachers turned from the Faith movement due to the books written against it. Many of them have endorsed the books and believe that simply because they were once a part of this movement that they are now experts.

Sensational wave riders are not experts. They were only on the train for the ride. They did not get grounded in the true principles of faith teaching and some of them were probably the biggest propagators of it’s excesses. That’s the result of just coming along for the ride. We will see what happens as this wave of Word-Faith name calling popularity begins to die down. What train will many of these men and women hop on next?

6. Theological Prejudice/Bias in interpreting proof texts of those that they disagree with

If Word-Faith (which is primarily an Arminian movement) interprets Scripture from and Arminian viewpoint, their accusers will use the Calvinistic interpretaion. If Word-Faith interprets a passage from a covenantal viewpoint then the heresy hunter will use the dispensational argument to refute those that they oppose. In other words, the Heresy Hunter uses whatever method he possibly can to prove to his listeners/readers that those whose ministries they wish to destroy are wrong and heretical.

There are those who feel that one MUST embrace a particular theological system (either Calvinism or Arminianism) and stick only with the tenets of that system or they are in error. Unfortunately for the heresy hunter, Word-Faith and other Charismatics have defied such logic by seemingly incorporating a mixture of both theological systems in each case.

Jeff Beard in his testimony, “Freedom from the Faith Movement: The Personal Testimony of Jeff Beard” shows how his freedom was achieved theologically:

My eagerness for answers was soon satisfied, for I received a book from John MacArthur, Jr., that addressed many of the concerns I had — _and he used Scripture._ I then purchased a book by G. Campbell Morgan, and was given still another book by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones. For the first time, I felt I was eating real spiritual food. The Bible was coming together at last, and I saw clearly that God was a _personal_ God and not just a bunch of spiritual laws to tap into.[22]

Notice the writings that had the major affect on Beard’s theological perspective. I am not as familiar with Martin Lloyd Jones (though I am told that he supported the Charismatic movement) but I can certainly show the reader the anti-Pentecostal and anti-charismatic bias of the other two writers.

In case the reader is not informed, John MacArthur is the pastor of one of the most thriving Reformed Calvinist churches in this nation. He is also the author of a popular book titled Charismatic Chaos, a book that criticizes everything Charismatic. MacArthur is well known for his cessationist theology.

Pentecostal historian Vinson Synan, in his book, The Holiness-Pentecostal movement records this statement concerning Dr. G. Campbell Morgan at the beginning of the Pentecostal revival: “Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, one of the most respected preachers of the twentieth century, called the Pentecostal movement ‘the last vomit of Satan.'”[23]

Another writer who seems to have changed Beard’s views concerning the Faith Movement happens to be a someone whose writing I also enjoy. Nevertheless, this person also falls into the category of a Reformed Calvinist/Cessationist. His name is A.W. Pink:

We soon accepted a position as associate pastors and Bible school directors in another state and shoved off to put to use all we had been taught. To prepare for my Bible classes, I studied for hours in the Bible alongside the writings of A.W. Pink. (No, Rhema did not endorse or promote the writings of Pink.) This was probably the best thing I had going for me. After a few months of Pink’s writings conflicting with my Rhema theology, I knew I needed some answers.[24]

Notice that Pink’s writings conflicted with “Rhema theology.” I have read Pink’s writings and I have been blessed by them. However, “Rhema theology” as Mr. Beard refers to it comes from an Arminian/Wesleyan/Holiness/Pentecostal background (in spite of what the critics say). Pink, like MacArthur and probably Morgan are from the Calvinistic/Reformed/Cessationist background. This is not only a CONFLICT, but a MAJOR one.

I have no problems with people changing their theological position. That is their perogative. What I have a problem with is Word-Faith critics who pose as Charismatics/Pentecostals and yet embrace theological positions that conflict with the labels they claim. There is nothing wrong with a person reading the writings of those with opposing theological views. I have done this and continue to do it. However, if these views are in conflict with one’s foundational teachings, would it not be better to refer to the Scriptures to bring the understanding you need rather than totally throw away your foundation?

In a book review by CRI concerning one book criticizing the faith movement, the reviewer makes this statement:

A distinctively “Reformed” analysis, packed with quotes and footnotes. At its best when refuting the biblical proof-texts most often used by Faith teachers; at its weakest when relating Faith teachings to the Mind Science cults and the New Age movement. [25]

The book that was reviewed is titled, Man as God: The Word of Faith Movement, was written by Curtis Crenshaw, an associate of John MacArthur. Notice that the CRI reviewer acknowledges that the book was written from the reformed perspective and found the book to be at it’s “best” while refuting the Faith teachers from the Scriptures (but thankfully the reviewer felt that the metaphysical and New Age connections were weak).

The Word-Faith critics have portrayed themselves as Pentecostals and Charismatics while at the same time blasting anything that was birthed from this movement and endorsing the writings of nonCharismatics. By this portrayal, these critics have successfully turned the hearts of other Pentecostals and Charismatics against the Word-Faith movement.

I have noticed in my conversations with ex-Word of Faith people that the majority of them embrace Reformed theology. In most cases they may add certain Charismatic distinctives. Nevertheless, while rejecting the Word-Faith movement they usually reject all Arminian/Wesleyan views and totally embrace Calvinism – minus Calvin’s cessationism in most cases.

Many who embrace Calvinism believe that Calvinism is the gospel and that the five point Calvinistic system of Bible interpretation (known as TULIP) is the correct way to interpret the Bible. Any other method is believed to lead a person into error. Not all become critics of the Word-Faith. Many of them are thankful for what they have learned from the movement. Unfortunately, too many others who leave the movement become critics of it and build websites and write books and pamphlets against it. While criticizing the faith teachers for being “arrogant,” they show their own arrogance by their pride in their “theological” position.

Men like T.D. Jakes have also been the subject of this heresy hunting crusade. Jakes, who pastors the 23.000 member Potter’s House Church in Dallas, Texas has been criticized by both Hank Hanegraaf, current president of the Christian Research Institute and Jerry Buckner, a radio host and pastor. While some feel that Jakes may be the successor to Billy Graham, a world renowned evangelist, Buckner has a different opinion:

“T.D. Jakes is a cult leader and his ministry is a cult,” Buckner told “Charisma” magazine last week. “He needs to repent of his theology if he is to be considered the next Billy Graham.”[26]

I suppose Buckner must have a considerable voting share in the “Billy Graham successor” stock. I guess Jakes success at winning the lost to Christ does not qualify in the eyes of those who are focused on “theology.” Not so much correct theology but not embracing their theology (by the way, I am a Trinitarian). Buckner goes on to question Jakes integrity by saying, “Jakes is hiding his ties to Oneness Pentecostalism in order to be accepted in the mainstream.”[27] This article goes on to say:

Buckner branded Jakes a heretic because of the Oneness ties, and because of a statement on the T.D. Jakes Ministries Web site that says God “exists in three manifestations.” Buckner and Hanegraaff’s California-based Christian Research Institute maintain that the use of the word “manifestation” is theologically unsound, and they insist that Jakes must correct his view by stating that the Trinity is “three separate persons.”

Jakes said, “I believe in one God. I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe that these three are distinct and separate in their function. Their distinctives are so separate that each has individual attributes, yet they are one. I do not believe in three Gods.”[28]

“Theologically unsound?!!!!” This is such a ridiculous excuse to brand someone a heretic. This is a blatant attempt to either get someone to conform to your “theological jargon” or brand the person as a “heretic.” I suppose Buckner, Hanegraaf, and CRI will now be telling us what is proper “theological wording” for our statements of faith. Perhaps the word “manifested” is a theologically unsound word to Hanegraaf and Buckner but the Holy Spirit may have felt differently when He had John write his epistle:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. – John 3:8

Think John would have been branded a heretic by today’s theological standards? Simply because Jakes does not use the “correct theological” wording acceptable to Buckner and Hanegraaf, he has become a heretic. Ministries such as Buckner’s and CRI feel that if one is not embracing theology as they believe it, then they are not adhereing to the “right” theology.

Does Embracing The “Right” Theology Make One Superior?

Ted Rouse, who has written a book in defense of the Word-Faith movement titled: Faith and The Pharisees, Has this to say about the theological perspectives of some Word-Faith critics:

People, especially religious men, who are bound and blinded by their own theological beliefs, will see only what they are looking for as they search to prove that their theology is right and what others believe is wrong. The sad part is they dishonestly twist and use whatever they can, true or not, to make their point, all in the name of religion.[29]

I share Brother Rouse’s opinion concerning many religious men. However, both Rouse and I could be bias concerning the theology of these critics since we are both sympathetic to the Word-Faith movement. However, another author who is not so sympathetic to this movement, Neil T. Anderson, has made a similar observation:

The only one who is right is God. We think we are defending the truth, but what we are actually defending is our theological position and worldview. Nobody has a perfect perspective of reality, and nobody fully knows the truth. We are not omniscient, and we all have a grid by which we interpret and evaluate life. I am not committed to my theology, and I’m certainly not committed to yours. What I am committed to is the truth. Theology is man’s attempt to systematize truth.[30]

Maybe the reader may better understand and receive an opinion of bias theology from someone outside of the Faith Movement and who is not sympathetic to it. Understand that we are all “bias” in the sense that we may embrace certain theological positions. However, all of us do not use our “bias” in the same way that the Heresy Hunter does. His intent is to discredit and perhaps destroy the ministry he opposes.

One of the most skilled “Theologians” of his time threw away all dead theology for what Kenyon has popularly labeled “revelation knowledge:”

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ – Phil. 3:4-8

Man may accuse Word-Faith for our desire to be taught the Bible by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) rather than following their dead theological traditions and systems. They may talk about us and persecute us but I’d rather be criticized and walk in newness of life than to conform to man’s theological boundaries and have the life of God choked out of me. Usually people like this who cannot get a fresh revelation of God’s Word (the Bible) have to spend time criticizing others in an attempt to make them as joyless as themselves. Theology is not bad in itself, but when we become so locked into a certain theological system that fresh truth cannot penetrate, then we have allowed the letter to kill and prevented the Spirit from giving life (2 Cor. 3:6)

7. Incorrectly using “Scholarship” to make their point

Basically, the Heresy Hunter uses “Bad Scholarship” in an attempt to make those that they oppose look ignorant. If the Heresy Hunter’s presentation looks “Scholastic” and “Well Researched” while those they oppose look like “ignorant bumpkins” then most people will be deceived by this tactic. Who can refute a book with hundreds of footnotes and references to great scholastic works while those of a group like the Word-Faith teachers refer only to the Scriptures.

Unfortunately, the “out of context” statements are pulled from hundreds of tapes, books, magazines, television shows, and other medium that most people are not going to buy or even can afford to buy. I have not read all of the material that these heresy hunters reference. However, I have read enough of the material by the faith teachers to know that some of the so called “scholarship” and “research” used by these people is not done in a prayerful manner.

There are some out there who really believe that a person cannot interpret Scripture correctly without the help of some scholarly commentaries, dictionaries, lexicons, etc. They do not feel that the Holy Spirit is sufficient for teaching a person the true meaning of the Scriptures.

Jack Deere, a minister with the Vineyard movement has received his share of criticism, especially since his excellent book, Surprised By The Power Of The Spirit, (read my review of this book) which does an outstanding job of refuting the cessationist viewpoint. One critic of the book takes issue with Deere’s teaching on healing from James 5:

A work on healing cannot ignore James 5. However, it must not merely recognize the passage and then conform it to one’s predetermined theology and/or experiences, as Deere has apparently done. Nowhere does the author attempt to deal with the text in order to answer probing questions such as, “Is the passage limited to the first century or is it applicable today? Does it apply to all humanity or just Christians? Does it extend to all Christians or just some? Is its purpose to prepare people to die or to restore people to quality living? Does it refer to physical, emotional, or spiritual problems? Is the practice to be done in a public service or privately? Does the intent involve medicinal or symbolic anointing? Is the healing miraculous or providential? Is the promise absolute or conditional?”[31]

All of these questions are the type that Scholars feel that everyone must use to study a passage. Why must we engage in such “scholarly” tactics when it comes to the Word of God? Is it not sufficient to simply believe what God says and accept it? Not according to the Scholar. I am convinced that such questioning actually undermines the Word of God:

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. -Thess. 2:13

The Word is not going to work effectively in us if we do not receive it at face value as the Word of God for today. My Bible tells me that all Scripture is profitable (2 Tim 3:16). It tells me that all of God’s promises are yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20). When we start having to ask questions like, “Is the passage limited to the first century or is it applicable today?” This question should not even be entertained for one moment. Yet, many feel that to not do so is anti-intellectual.

There is a place for asking questions when studying a Bible text. Nevertheless, those questions should not be the type that would cause DOUBT as to whether any promise in God’s Word is applicable to the Believer today. Satan asked certain questions to Eve and Jesus intended to bring doubt to the validity of God’s Word rather than to incite further study (Gen. 3:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11). Could this critic of Deere’s book be doing the same? Here’s another quote from this critic:

As have others, this reviewer believes that Jack Deere’s work, in the main, is theologically defective. Rather than resembling a careful study by an open-minded, trained theologian, it is more like the product of an immature new convert who, after reading the gospels and Acts for the first time, concludes that what took place in the first century will continue throughout the church age.[32]

This author definitely does not seek to hide his cessationist bias. The author does not believe that the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised to send in order to be our personal Bible teacher (John 14:26) is sufficient for teaching the pupil. The cessationist cannot find a clear argument for his theology in Scripture so he must use other “scholarly methods. Much of the same thing is done in other books criticizing various Charismatic movements.

Quite often people are deceived by the intellectual argument rather than by embracing the simplicity of God’s holy and written Word. After all, they do not want to appear as if they lack intelligence as it is often portrayed among Pentecostals and Charismatics by their critics, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27)

Peter and John did not mind appearing to the people as anti-intellectuals:

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. -Acts 4:13

Because peter and John did not fit into the theological “in group,” they were made to look like they knew nothing. They were made to look like anti-intellectuals. The Bible shows us the grip that intellectualism has on people:

The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house. – John 7:46-53

The people of Jesus day are made to seem as if they do not know the law because they were drawn to Jesus. The standard of whether Jesus’ doctrine was correct or in error was supposed to be measured by whether the “theologians” of that time accepted. This sounds quite like many of our great “scholars” today. If it does not meet the litmus test of today’s theologians and if the teaching is not presented in a “scholarly” and intellectual manner, then it is heresy to them. After all, they have their doctorates of divinity and their masters in theology, so they are the experts. It is a shame that people are more prone to believe the educated more than to seek out the truth. People would rather not have to deal with the persecution that can come from the leaders of our time. They would rather stay with the in crowd:

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. -John 12:42-42

There is nothing wrong with education or scholarship, but when used the way these heresy hunters have used it to attack Word-Faith and other Charismatic ministries, then it becomes a tool of Satan. The sadducees were like that. They were equivalent to the cessationists of our day. The cessationist believe that the days of God moving in the miraculous are gone. The sadducees did not believe in a resurrection (Acts 23:8). They attempted to trap Jesus using their “scholarly” argument (Matt. 22:24-33). Jesus said that there problem was that they did not know the Scriptures or God’s power (Matt. 22:30).

Charles Finney, the great revivalist of the 19th century was subject to such scholarly attacks by the theologians of his day. A.M. Hill tells of one o the times Finney was subject to this persecution:

It seems that Rev. William R. Weeks, an extreme Calvinist of a community where Finney labored, opposed him on theological grounds. He “held that both sin and holiness were produced in the mind by a direct act of Almighty Power; that God made men sinners or holy at His sovereign discretion, but in both cases by a direct act of Almighty Power, an act as irresistible as that of creation itself; that, in fact, God was the only proper agent in the universe, and that all creatures acted, only as they were moved and compelled to act, by His irresistible power; that every sin in the universe, both of men and of devils, was the result of a direct, irresistible act on the part of God.”

Such an insane theology is certainly a blasphemous libel on God. Of course, a man holding such doctrines, and the philosophy and methods that would naturally follow, would be led to oppose Finney. He, and others like him, wrote letters abroad, misrepresenting the work and poisoning the minds of prominent leaders in Massachusetts and Connecticut, A great cry and excitement was raised against “New Measures.” He wrote a pamphlet, and so also did a Unitarian. Evil reports spread far and near, until, at last, in the summer of 1827, a Convention was called to meet at New Lebanon to inquire into the nature and evils of the late revivals in Central New York. Finney was, there, and the pastors with whom he had labored.

The clergymen present from the East were Dr. Lyman Beecher, then the leading revival pastor of Boston and Massachusetts; Dr. Herman Humphrey, president of Amherst College; Dr. Justin Edwards, of Andover, Mass.; Caleb J. Tenney, of Wethersfield; and Dr. Joel Hawes, of Hartford, Conn. Upon Dr. Beecher and Asahel Nettleton was thrown the responsibility of endeavoring to check the evils that were supposed to be fostered by Finney’s work.[33]

The terrible thing is that the theologians are still persecuting Finney posthumously. I was reading in one other book about someone who wrote a book that criticizes the Keswick movement of the early part of the 20th century. According to this “scholarly” work, these men were in error. Whenever I read the works by men such as F.B. Meyer, Andrew Murray, R.A. Torrey and other Keswickians, I see a life and devotion to God that is not found in the works of those who spend their whole writing “ministry” criticizing others.

Do you notice that the theology of Mr. Weeks is quite similar to that of many of those today who write and speak against the faith movement. One critic of the faith movement has stated that it is an incorrect view of God’s sovereignty that leads us to error. It amazes me how the Hyper-Calvinist[34] view of God’s sovereignty that is often propagated as “Orthodox” is always the view that has brought “death” to so many revivals and moves of God. I wonder which view of His sovereignty does God believe is in error? Then again, may be I don’t wonder.

Conclusion: The heresy hunters have caused quite a bit of stir in the church. They have caused the very division and strife that they often accuse those who they attack. They present themselves as “defenders of the faith” and “contenders for the truth.” Yet they use false accusations, innuendo, and other ungodly methods to contend for this “truth.” They are defending the truth as they see it. They claim to be modern day Bereans. I’m afraid that they do not qualify:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed…. – Acts 17:11-12b

The Bereans did not spend hours looking for holes in Paul and Sila’s teaching. The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily to if these things are so. The Heresy Hunters are looking for Scriptures to prove that what those they criticize say are not so. The Bereans received the word with readiness of mind. The Heresy Hunters receive it with a mind ready to attack. Their mind is made up that what the person is saying is wrong. This is not a readiness of mind. It goes on to say that many of them believe. The only thing the Heresy Hunter believes is that he can bring down the ministry that he is attacking. He does not believe the Bible. He only believes his theological view of the Bible.

Listening to the Heresy Hunter can mean the difference between life and death for the Christian. If you desire to be miserable and joyless and to take on a critical spirit, join the heresy hunter crowd. If you desire to have life and peace, stay with the Word of God and stay away from those who make it their life’s work to criticize others.


  1. Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Miriam-Webster Inc., Publishers)

  2. Apologetics – defense of the faith as originally presented to the Apostles and Prophets in the Bible. It is a homonym (two word that are spelled and sound alike but have different meanings) of the word we normally used to express our regret for a wrong done.

  3. Synan, Vinson The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1971), pp. 143, 144

  4. Nichol, John Thomas Pentecostalism (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1966), p. 70

  5. Quebedeaux, Richard The New Charismatics (Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1976), p. 173

  6. Shelley, Harold P. Opposition To Radical Reform: Martin Luther Against Anabaptists and Radicals. An article written in the 1996 Alliance Academic Review (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications)

  7. Pember, G.H. Earth’s Earliest Ages (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1876), p. 219 An excellent book, especially if you believe in what is known as the “Gap Theory (A long time period between Genesis chapter one verses one and two). The main purpose of the author was to explain how the false religions have managed to creep their way in since the beginning of time. In relation to George Muller, Pember is quoting from an essay from a man named A.R. Wallace, who was a well known Naturalist and author.

  8. Hux, Clete Profile: Word-Faith Movement ( An otherwise good resource for finding information on cults, Mr. Hux shows a terrible lack of research when it comes to Word-Faith churches.

  9. Hagin, Kenneth E. Zoe: The God-Kind of Life (Tulsa, OK: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1989), pp. 35, 36, 41.

  10. From I will be the first to admit that because I have not read every single book, listened to every single tape, or read every newsletter, or even watched every television appearance of these teachers, I am not familiar with all of their statements. If these statements that are quoted (and misquoted in many cases) are true then I will be the first to admit that the faith teachers have made it quite difficult to defend them. Nevertheless, the disagreements on these issues should be DOCTRINAL and the tactics that are used by some of these so called “expose” ministries are just as heretical, if not more heretical, than the off the wall statements made by my Word of Faith brethren.

  11. Word of faith sayings compiled by Jim Fox.

  12. Spurgeon, Charles H. The Triumph of Faith in a Believer’s Life (Lynnwood, WA: Emerald Books, 1994) p. 36. Compiled and edited by Robert Hall.

  13. Ibid., p. 128

  14. Vine, W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985)

  15. Meyer, Frederick B. Christ In Isaiah (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade) On page 69 Meyer compares “faith” to natural “forces” such as the law of electricity and shows that we must obey the laws of “faith” as we obey the natural laws. Again, it is necessary to remind the believer that this was written over a century ago and Meyer knew nothing about “Star Wars” or the New Age movement. Though the Metaphysical movements were gaining popularity in his time, Meyer, like his contemporaries, despised this movement and it’s teachings (see page 27 of his book, The Prophet of Hope from Christian Literature Crusade)

  16. St. John, Stuart The “Faith” Movement May Be Prospering But Is It Healthy? (Can be found on the internet). The author in his end notes challenges his readers that are sympathetic to the Word-Faith movement to give an explanation to a statements made by Copeland and by Hagin. I may take him up on his challenge later. If anyone has a tape called “Following The Steps of Abraham (Part 1)” by Kenneth Copeland I would appreciate a copy of a complete transcript.

  17. Rev. Sun Myung Moon is the head of the Unification Church (a.k.a. The Moonies). Rev. Moon teaches that Christ did not come to earth to be crucified but to set the right ideal. However he was not recognized for who he was and was crucified. The Unification church says that in this respect Christ failed in his mission. Because of this failure God had to send a new messiah, the Rev. Moon. The Unification church also teaches that Christ did not have a body after His resurrection but that He was resurrected as a spirit.

  18. Kenyon, Essek W. Advanced Bible Course (Lynnwood, WA: Kenyon Gospel Publishing Society, 1970), p. 279

  19. Marsh, Frederick E. 1,000 Bible Study Outlines (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications), p. 84

  20. Kenyon, Essek W. What Happened from the Cross to the Throne (Lynnwood, WA: Kenyon Gospel Publishing Society, 1969), p. 40

  21. Kenyon, Two Kinds of Righteousness (Lynnwood, WA: Kenyon Gospel Publishing Society, 1965), p. 9

  22. Beard, Jeff, Freedom from the Faith Movement: The Personal Testimony of Jeff Beard (an article from the Testimony column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 4, 1990) Christian Research Institute, San Juan Capistrano, CA

  23. Synan, Vinson The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1971), p. 144

  24. Beard, Jeff, Freedom from the Faith Movement: The Personal Testimony of Jeff Beard (an article from the Testimony column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 4, 1990) Christian Research Institute, San Juan Capistrano, CA

  25. Carden, Paul Christian Research Journal Book Reviews, 1994. Book Reviews” (a column from the Christian Research Journal, Fall 1994, page 46). Review of Curtis I Crenshaw’s book, Man as God: The Word of Faith Movement. This review can still be found on

  26. From an article titled “T.D. Jakes Accused Of Heresy For Trinity Views.” From the Charisma News Service. Posted on the internet by Maranatha Christian Journal.

  27. Ibid.

  28. Ibid.

  29. Rouse, Ted Faith And The Pharisees (Tulsa, OK: Insight Publishing Group, 1999), p. 21

  30. Anderson, Neil T. Helping Others Find Freedom In Christ (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1995), p. 32

  31. Mayhue, Richard L. Who Surprised Whom: The Holy Spirit Or Jack Deere (Can be found on the internet). Mayhue is a senior vice president and dean and also a professor of pastoral ministries.

  32. Ibid.

  33. Hills, Aaron M. Life Of Charles Finney (Spokane, WA: Holiness Data Ministry, 1902)

  34. Hyper-Calvinism – An extreme interpretation of the writings of John Calvin never intended by this great reformer nor of his followers afterwards who developed the theological system known today as Calvinism.

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One thought on “Seven Tactics of the Heresy Hunters (Troy J. Edwards)

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