Posted by: John Edwards | July 16, 2008

Another Eye Opens

I have received a lot of emails from people asking me what led me out of the Word of Faith movement. It was actually a series of fortunate events. I blogged about one of my eyes being opened earlier and will share about my other eye today.
I had the opportunity to preach to a large group of Christians in Kenya. I was to be the first charismatic/word of faith minister that had ever been to that particular church. I was very torn on what message to give them. It was a toss up between my two most favorite topics, “Who we are in Christ” and a sermon that I stole from Mark Hankins called “Lego” based on an erroneous interpretation of Mark 11:23. I went with “Lego” unfortunately.
I began with the question: “How many of you would like to go to America?”. Everyone of them raised their arms up in the air and started shouting with glee. I then told them that I was going to show each of them how they could use their faith and their words to get to America. They were innocent and excited as school kids!
I taught them that the Greek word for “saith” in Mark 11:23 was “Lego” and that lego meant that they would have whatever they said systematically. That is the way I learned it from Mark Hankins. I have since talked to a professor of Greek that told me that I was quite wrong.
I was so into “Lego” that I had two Lego note books full of confessions and affirmations. I had pages of stuff written out on everything from how much I wanted to weigh to how much money I wanted to make to where I wanted to go on vacation to what kind of car I wanted. I had fourteen pages of confessions.
Word of Faith teachers teach us that we can have what we say, good or bad, that every word that rolls off our lips will come to pass. I taught this in Africa because I thought it would help them to start speaking into existence the good things that they wanted in life.
One morning I was laying on my office couch going through my ritual of Lego when a thought popped into my head. The thought was: “Why am I saying this every day. If I believed it then why keep saying it after the first time I said it? Then I thought to myself, “Why am I not just praying this stuff out to God?”.
Next I started thinking about how all of my faith and trust was wrapped up into the words that I spoke. I began to question what or who was I trusting in. God or my words? That led me to do another in depth study of Mark 11:23. The Word of Faith teachers always teach it out of the King James Version. That’s because the whole doctrine of you can have what you say only works in the KJV. So I dug up every translation that I could find and read every thing that I could find on line about Mark 11:23 in the Aramaic and the Greek.
I come to learn that the word for word formula that I and others had been teaching was false and not found in the original texts. In fact, all of the research I did indicated that the whole verse of Mark 11:23 was common hyperbole and an everyday saying that Jews and Aramaic’s used. It was not a literal saying as we had taught. We had based a theology on a hyperbole.
In my confusion I began to think of the hundreds of hours of teaching that I had received from Kenneth Hagin on tape, CD and in person. Kenneth Hagin had said that he had been visited by Jesus Christ himself on several occasions and that God had spoken to him and commented on the mechanics of Mark 11:23 and how to work it. (I cant believe I fell for this.)
Well Kenneth Hagin always told us that if what he was teaching didn’t line up with the Word than to reject it. He also told us not to believe or receive any visitation or manifestation that doesn’t line up with the Word. Based on that instruction, Kenneth Hagin’s vision and teachings are not based on the Word of God. What he said Jesus said about Mark 11:23 and other faith scriptures conflict with the original Greek.
Kenneth Hagin had a lot of teachings based on what he said Jesus said. The fool thing is that I believed him. Some one is wrong. Either Kenneth Hagin is right and the Bible is wrong or some one isn’t telling the truth. As for myself, I decided to stick with the Word and the Word only. More later!

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Responses

  1. JWE, did you ever hear Hagin talk about the time Jesus appeared to him and told him how we can write our own ticket with God?
    Did you ever hear him explain his plagerism of Kenyon?

  2. But in my mind, listening to Hagin’s teaching does not go anywhere near making me feel like I wanna preach that any Kenyan who wants to can confess his way to America. That’s not what I hear Hagin saying at all.

    I have a theory about why some might not be hearing Hagin right:

    Remember Hagin was a basically conservative, stable, sound, logical, common sense, suit-and-tie kind of gentleman. He had a solid Baptist foundation.

    So although he did not spend the majority of his public ministry teaching those foundational truths, anything else he said (about faith, healing or whatever) was said with those foundations in mind.

    Now if one of Hagin’s listeners understood Hagin’s foundational starting-point, and if he was himself also firmly grounded in those same doctrines and common sense like Hagin was, then he won’t apply Hagin’s teachings in ways that Hagin never intended. He will understand that Hagin threw the ball to second base only because first-base was already covered.

    But if someone else listened to Hagin who didn’t have the same solid grounding or who perhaps had a more out-there personality before coming to Christ, he could very easily start applying and preaching Hagin’s teachings in ways that might make even Hagin reel.

    It’s like when a kid is making a lego tower – it’s understood that you don’t make the structure top-heavy: the widest point must always be the base. Similarly, Hagin always intended that his teaching should build-upon common sense and other solid doctrines – not to build on air.

    The same happened to Paul. Two people can listen to the same teaching: one person who lacks a certain foundation could apply it to extreme then start giving the doctrine a bad name; another person will follow the teacher’s life not just his teaching and he’ll begin to reflect accurately what his teacher was trying to impart. Paul was criticized because of the antics of the many who were misapplying his preaching.

    You can know what Hagin meant by what he lived. You know him better than me, but from what I know of him, he didn’t appear to live the extreme word of faith lifestyle which you are describing in your blog. We know what Hagin meant by what he lived, not by how certain people took it.

    I hear people today preaching a version of the faith message with a very different attitude to what I perceived in Hagin. I never perceived arrogance in Hagin. But I saw faith. There is a difference. A huge difference.

    And as for the things Jesus allegedly explained in a vision to Hagin concerning Mk 11:23,24 – I wouldn’t in a thousand years take it to mean that we should preach at a mass-crusade in Kenya that anyone in the audience who wants to may confess his way to America. That’s so out of context it’s not funny.

    When I look at Hagin’s countenance, I see the shine of a person who has received the Word with a meek spirit. Others preach ‘faith’ with almost though not quite with a look like they’re ready to repeat the Civil War and feel totally justified of course. That was never Hagin’s heart, nor his lifestyle, nor his intention in his teaching.

    But my theory needs to be tested. It’s still early days with it yet.

  3. Coni just finished a book by John MacArthur “Charismatic Chaos”
    She found it facinating. You can go to Google.com and spend days watching and reading exposes on the WOF.
    You got to ask yourself why every reputable mainstream christian oganization has these guys on their cult list.
    But, the fact is Hagin claimed to have been tutored by Jesus face to face and I cannot accept that. Anyone that does might as well go out and buy the Book of Mormon and get sucked into that too. It is extra revelation either way.

  4. That is the deception of it…..I didnt see or hear it either for 14 years then all of a sudden I could see all kinds of error and greed in this message.
    http://www.sliceoflaodicea.com/

  5. Far out! Is that how bad it gets? The extremes you are describing certainly needed some constructive critique.

    But I have to say it again: I never understood Kenneth Hagin to mean anything like what you’ve described. I’ve listened to loads of Hagin, and yet the thought never once occurred to me that he was ever suggesting the types of extremes you’ve described. Not once! In fact, you’ve prompted me to go over some of his material again – and yet I still can’t see a basis in his sermons for the types of extremes you’ve described. And yet, many have obviously understood it that way.

    So I wonder why I’m hearing something so different to what others are hearing?


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