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

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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.

The Reason For Your Unhappiness is Your Selfishness

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I think that is one of the most radical, yet true, statements I have ever heard. I am still processing it in my life and will do for some considerable time.

Andrew Wommack has just taught on his TV show on Self-Centredness being the root cause of all grief. It has been some very powerful, yet very clear Biblical teaching, and I have enjoyed it and been challenged immensely.

I firmly recommend it to all of you: http://www.awmi.net/tv/2008/week53

Blessings,
Ben

Not For Today

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There is not a single Scripture to show that the early church was to be endued with miraculous spiritual gifts but that later these gifts were to be withdrawn. You cannot find such a Scripture. . .

We one day came by accident upon some stamped addressed envelopes scattered on the ground in a remote part of the Congo forest. We gathered them carefully and enquiry proved that a native postal runner, finding his mail-bags heavy, had deliberately extracted some of the letters and thrown them away, lightening his load. Of course he received severe punishment. Do you think that we can go unscathed if we set aside the plain statements of God’s Word – if we lighten our load by discarding portions of revealed truth?

Our only picture of the Church in its everyday life is in the Acts of the Apostles. That is the normal church life and the epistles of messages of the Spirit to the seven churches in Asia only confirm it. Had there been some other sort of church life, short of miracles, we should have been told about it. Right up to Paul’s letters to Timothy just before his death, we read “Stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (2 Tim. 1.6). The Acts of the Apostles should still be continuing. Thank God there are churches where they are still continuing.

How pathetic it was that the Pharisees before whom a withered arm had just been restored (Matt. 12.13), and a blind and dumb demon expelled (Matt. 12.22), should still follow the Lord Jesus asking for a sign (Matt. 12.38). The fact is unbelief was blinding their minds to the signs wrought in profusion befre them. Is it not the same in these days? “He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matt. 13.58).

I can only account for opposition to healings and tongues in a similar way, for thousands of humanly incurable people are being healed in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and even the highest authorities in the medical profession admit it.

– W.F.P. Burton, 1949.

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