Through books, tapes, radio and television, the influence of Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin and Benny Hinn upon Christians is astounding. Many of us are unaware of the serious doctrinal deviations proclaimed by these men. Following are selected quotations.
In his February 1987 issue of Believer’s Voice of Victory magazine, Copeland delivered a prophecy in which Jesus spoke through him: “They crucified Me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah. That’s what you’re doing” (p. 9, emphases added). Would Jesus say this? Who, then, was speaking through Copeland?
Because Copeland is not aware of the meaning of “firstborn” when it describes Jesus (it depicts, in part, enthronement and exaltation, not the first one to be born again, as Copeland teaches), he makes the following error, implicitly denying the uniqueness of Christ: “Now listen! From the Book of Acts, all the way through all of the epistles, all the way through the Revelation of John, Jesus is no longer called the only begotten-Son of God” (audiotape, “What Happened from the Cross to the Throne”).
Speaking of Adam, and again implicitly denying the uniqueness of Christ, Copeland states, “Adam is as much like God as you could get, just the same as Jesus. When He came into the earth He said, ‘If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.’ He wasn’t a lot like God; He’s God manifested in the flesh. And I want you to know something. Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh. He was God’s very image, the very likeness. Everything he did, everything he said, every move he made was the very image of the Almighty God” (audiotape, “Following the Faith of Abraham”).
Copeland teaches that Jesus was born again. This is known as the Born Again Jesus doctrine, wherein on the cross Jesus took on the nature of Satan, died, went into hell to finish His work (He did not finish it on the cross!) and was born again out of hell: “Jesus was the firstborn man to ever be born from sin to righteousness…. You have to realize that He died! You have to realize that He went into the pit of hell as a mortal man made sin! But He didn’t stay there. Thank God! He was reborn in the pit of hell” (audiotape, “What Happened from the Cross to the Throne”). But only sinners must be born again. What, then, does this teaching say about Jesus?
Key to Copeland’s theology is that believers are gods: “You don’t have a god in you; you are one” (audiotape, “The Force of Love”). But Copeland takes this even further, and is consistent with his above implicit denials of the uniqueness of Christ: “And I say this with all respect, so that it don’t upset you too bad. But I say it anyway. When I read in the Bible where He says, ‘I Am,’ I just smile and say, ‘Yes, I Am, too!’ [the audience responds here with “Amen!”]” (“Believer’s Voice of Victory” broadcast, TBN, July 19, 1987).
The Born Again Jesus doctrine is proclaimed by Hagin: “Jesus is the first person ever to be born again” (Kenneth Hagin, The Name of Jesus, 29-30). Hagin as well implicitly denies the uniqueness of Christ when he writes, “The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth” (“The Incarnation,” Word of Faith magazine, December 1980, p. 14).
Hinn’s Way Out Statements
Here is a sampling of the teachings of Benny Hinn. The first concerns Adam: “Adam was a super being when God created him. I don’t know whether people even know this, but he was the first superman that really ever lived. First of all, the Scriptures declare clearly that he had dominion over the fowls of the air, the fish of the sea, which means he used to fly! Well, of course! How can you have dominion over the birds and not be able to do what they do? I’ll prove it to you. The word ‘dominion’ in the Hebrew clearly declares that if you have dominion over a subject, that you do everything that subject does…. I’ll prove it further. Adam not only flew, he flew to space. He used to be, he, he, he, he, he, he was, with one thought he’d be on the moon” (audiotape on file with SDM from the Christian Research Institute).
Concerning believers being gods: “Kenneth Hagin has a teaching. A lot of people have problems with it, yet it is absolute truth. Kenneth Copeland has a teaching. Many Christians have put holes in it, but it’s divine truth. Hagin and Copeland say, ‘You are God. Ye are God.’ [Hinn now anticipates a response] ‘Huhhh! I can’t be God!’ Hold it. Let’s bring balance to this teaching. The balance that is being taught by Hagin–it’s those that repeat him that mess it up. The balance is being taught by Copeland who is my dear friend–but it’s those that repeat what he says that are messing it up. You see there brother! When Jesus was on earth, the Bible says that first He disrobed Himself of the divine form. He, the limitless God, became a man, that we men may become as He is” (Ibid.).
Warning the Ephesian elders, Paul rightly anticipated the infestation of false teaching that would come from within the four walls of the church (Acts 20:29-30). It is no different today. From many sides the uniqueness of Christ is denied or downplayed, man is exalted to a place never intended by God’s Word, and all kinds of strange doctrines are allowed to go virtually unchecked so that in time they become “truth” for the undiscerning. Watch!