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Demotion and Demolition

Tuesday, January 05, 2010 | Comments (22)

First, listen to this 9-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Here's the topic for today's discussion:

The major teachers in the Word-Faith movement, influencing millions around the world, seem intent on demoting Jesus and demolishing His work on the cross. I've got a few questions for you...

First, who has an interest in demoting Jesus and demolishing His perfect, finished work on the cross?

Second, what are the consequences of a demoted Jesus and a demolished cross?

Third, if Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel advocates claim to be orthodox, why do they publicly promote (rather than silence) aberrant teachers?


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#1  Posted by Nathan Keen  |  Tuesday, January 05, 2010at 6:59 PM

1. Those who demote Jesus are those who are interested in lifting up man: "come to Christ and He'll give you health, wealth and happiness", or, even more subtely (and even across all churches), "come to Christ and you won't have to go to Hell" - notice the motive in the unbeliever will be selfishness, not to glorify or serve God.

2. Consequences of a demoted Jesus: Self-centeredness, greed, humanism, licentiousness

3. Promotion of aberrant teachers: well "don't touch the Lord's anointed". duh!

#2  Posted by Rodrigo Avila  |  Tuesday, January 05, 2010at 7:23 PM

Thank Pastor MacArthur for your sound doctrine.

Certainly these false teachers are the descendents of an old generation of vipers.

God bless you

#3  Posted by Laneisa Jackson  |  Tuesday, January 05, 2010at 7:28 PM

Living in Dallas Texas, I have watched this business grow over the years and swallow people in its superstition and lies. The modus operandi that has succeeded in my opinion is the same one used in this homosexual revolution. Make it "not that big a deal" even to those who disagree. There is no greater frustration than to witness with the Truth to someone who has accepted this stuff.

I would like to see them more loudly called the blasphemers that they are more often. Ken Copeland is the kind of salesman that overcomes the expected objection before it is given. His greed and deceitfulness infuriates me and I resent his influence on my family so strongly that it burdens me.

Is he the kind of person that we are told in Jeremiah not to pray for?

#4  Posted by Armando Teran  |  Tuesday, January 05, 2010at 7:48 PM

John's precise exposition of the word faith movement is at the root of how many charismatic circules percieve the work of our Lord,s atonement. It was not satan working along side as if there was assitance in the strongly and grossly explict process Christ had to yield to atone for sin's, with satan. It was not possible for christ to succumb to temptation (Matt 4:1/James 1:13) let-alone dragging to hell. This is why teaching proponents of the evangelical charismatic churches bi-large are always dicpicting and espousing in testimonies by way of story telling and esortic experience to explain away thier own sinful tendencies' and disposition. Sort of like the "The devil made me do it" excuse. These expousers howl (Is. 52:5).

#5  Posted by Orlando Delgado  |  Tuesday, January 05, 2010at 10:42 PM

The first question as to who has interest in demoting Jesus and … is a given, Satan does, and as the father of all lies, he puts on his custom as a sheep or angel of light. These people use the word of God to act against the truth in it. Satan knows the written word of God as recorded in Mathew 4, Mark 1, and Luke 4. These people had their origin with EW Kenyon and his mesmerism, faith healing, and the power of confession (that as you claim it, in turn it will change your reality). This lie of the confession combined with personalizing Jesus (making him your personal God, providing altering attributes to his atoning work) brings about the second question about the consequences of a demoted Jesus.

These consequences eventually are eternal separation from God, for the spreaders of these lies and the blinds that follow them. Also, this separation from God is nothing more than eternity in hell or lake of fire. Demoting Jesus represents that the atonement work was not necessary, nor did it need completion, so now what, where do we go? The answer to our problem according to them lies on man (themselves), and material things. Millions of people follow and support the Word of Faith movement economically, and ‘spiritually’. They have personalized an easy to manipulate god. It is a subtle way to conduct 16 Century Roman Catholic Indulgences, through music and alteration of the word of God.

The third point has to do with their love for money. It is about bringing the cash in. They can claim anything as far as their religiosity, but at the end everything boils down to cash and a good life. They are enamored with new shocking revelation about anything. They are about empowering or embracing the spiritual world. I went to a church that supports the teachings of Word of Faith. There were a few self proclaimed prophets. One of them after the piano and the singing were at the right tone, he shouted across the room to the church’s pastor and the congrgation “the Holy Spirit told me that he was going to fill up the empty chairs in the temple.” He was speaking of increase of more people attending church.

People are mesmerized with this movement and the teaching in it, we must pray God that in love we proclaim the word to them so the Spirit of God convicts them of their sin and come to Jesus in repentance begging for a new heart.

Thanks Pastor MacArthur for the opportunity, may the Lord continues blessing GTY Ministries.

#6  Posted by Suzanne Shirley  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 3:49 AM

PRAISE GOD for you John MacArthur! I cannot tell you how grateful I am for you doing the work of an evangelist, speaking the truth from your pulpit!! I pray for you, your church and Grace to You!!! And I pray for my charasmatic friends who are so lost in this movement. THANK YOU!!! GOD BLESS YOU!

#7  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 5:59 AM

Man's sin in conceiving and teaching this heresy is dangerously close to that of Lucifer as spoken in Isaiah 14:13, "You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God, I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;". It is no less than man wanting to be God and no more than the Devil himself still working towards his chief purpose (to glorify and full enjoy himself). Praise God that He alone is sovereign and that this dualist nonsense will fall away before the truth of His word!

#8  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 8:45 AM

Little correction I just noticed that my comment needed....it should be "his [the devil's] perceived chief purpose. His actual purpose is serving the will of God...as it is with all of creation, though I seriously doubt he'd admit it.

#9  Posted by Danny Osorio  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 9:52 AM

Any unregenerate, unsaved man always has theintent of demoting Christ in any way, first of all by not repenting and having faith in Him. By not recieving his work he is demolishing it for himself and demonstrating his sinfullness and depravity. By doing that any sort of sin is possibe from then on.

The consequences of demoting Christ and demolishing His work on the cross is an unclear idea of religion and the start of heresy if the person claims to be religious. It will end up as another sin God will punish that person if he is not saved, even worse if he teaches false doctrines to many peaple, and he will deserve it for false teachers will go through greater condemnation. Surely religious demoting of Christ would be related to a love for money and self, for it is the root of all evil.

I believe the reason they promote astrayed preachers is because they want to tell the world that what we know as orthodox, historical and true is not what we teach but what they teach. There vision is probably change what even the conservative Christians believe to be legitimate theology. They have realized that they are powerful in influence but us Christians have to rise against them, not with an arny or sword but with the Spirit and Truth.

God bless you Pastor John Macarthur, you have been an inspiration for me and helped me realize many truths before hidden to me. We will be victorious.

#10  Posted by Barbara Eversberg  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 10:16 AM

The idea that our Lord Jesus did all He did as a “Spirit-Filled-Man” is/was taught even by “preachers” who also oppose Kenneth Copeland and his type of Prosperity Gospel. I remember Jimmy Swaggart teaching this back in the ‘80s, and my best guesstimate is that Swaggart got it from his Dake’s Annotated Bible. Before the heirs of Dake filed a lawsuit against Swaggart for copyright infringement, Swaggart borrowed heavily from the Dake Bible, and this Bible was/is the “must-have” item in the Pentecostal/Charismatic circles. Perhaps many of the other perverted ideas can also be traced to the Dake Bible, although Dake may also not have originated them, perhaps also “borrowing” from others, such as Kenyon, or Alexander Dowie - I certainly am no expert.

The point I am making is that some portions of the aberrant teaching are used even by those who oppose others portions. The idea that Jesus did what He did as a “Spirit-filled-Man” means that any believer can do all the works of Christ.

Such ideas are still put forth as gospel truth on the Dake Discussion board today, even quite recently. In those circles, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, William Branham are all considered heroes of the faith.

Although Jimmy Swaggart and his son Donnie, whose anti-prosperity-gospel sermons are quite popular on You Tube, and wife Frances, on her “Frances and Friends” Radio programs and website, all openly oppose Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, and TBN, I don’t know if they have ever backed off this teaching that the Lord Jesus did not do his miracles and mighty works because He was God, but rather because He was a Man empowered by the Holy Spirit. And although Swaggart's audience is a very small fraction of what it once was, it is sizable, I would guess at least 20,000, maybe 50,000 viewers worldwide - combining Radio, Television and Internet.

This idea leads to the false idea that any of us can do everything the Lord did, and it is clearly man-centered, rather than God-centered.

As to the three discussion questions:

1. Anyone who wants to promote himself/herself to God status would be interested in this “gospel.”

2. The consequences of believing this is having the wrath of God abide upon oneself, because God isn’t going to share His glory with a mere corrupted and mortal man.

3. They don’t see it as aberrant and so they aren’t going to speak out against it. Most of them are swimming in wealth, fame, and power, and love their lives “as is.”

#11  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 10:45 AM

Being a former "Charismatic Pentecostal" who had fully bought into the word of faith movement, I can say that it is a doctrine that is fully exploited (often by sincere believers who sadly don't know any better) for the benefit of self. I remember defending the idea using John 14:12 completely out of context as many do. ("Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.") That last phrase "because I go unto my Father" is the key that is so often overlooked. The only reason God can use any man to do works akin to what Christ did (ie. miracles) is because Christ ascended and the Spirit became accessible in a way that it wasn't previously so. Christ's godhood and place in the Trinity was secure, even in his earthly form. Nothing was missing from the Trinity when he was here. That's what set him apart. That's why he can die for my sins, but I can die for no other's. God would not elevate a mere man to equality with himself. How badly the ungodly wish it were so...it's sad.

#12  Posted by Corey Fleig  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 11:56 AM

After spending 4 years traveling across the U.S. visiting churches across the Midwest and south, I noticed that not only do preachers teach error like this, but congregations all over exhibited virtually no discernment at all. I worry sometimes more about the people than the leaders, because the people are the ones giving all the money to pay for this stuff. I get very very concerned for congregations that can't seem to think themselves out of a paper bag. Why don't people at Fred Price's church notice the errors? Why did college students are ORU not pay attention to what Roberts was teaching? You won't find people in Florida calling Benny Hinn to repentance!

#13  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 12:04 PM

All I have to say that this is very frightening, no wonder the child of God is admonished to study to show oursleves approved, dividing the word correctly. This teaching is blasphemy, if Christ is not God then we are all dead in our sins and our faith is in vain.

These teacher dont get it, if you remove one part of salvation the rest of it falls to peices. A man told me he doesnt believe in original sin and all that God made is good, so why on earth did Jesus die on the cross.

These false teaching are repulsive but may The LORD open their eyes to truth!

Is it possible to listen to the whole message?

Thanks!!

#14  Posted by Bryan Chasteen  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 12:18 PM

1) Demoting Jesus...If we want to exalt ourselves, we must (humble) Jesus. So, I think that people who want to exalt themselves and Satan himself wants to demote Jesus. In regards to demolishing His perfect, finished work on the cross, the Judaizers in Galatians who were telling the believers that they must be circumcized were diminishing the efficacy of the Cross. Whoever was telling the Colossian believers that we need to pray to angels (or saints if you are Catholic), were diminishing the cross by saying that as believers that we are at the mercy of evil spirits unless we get some greater spirit to fight for us such as Michael or Gabriel or Raphael. So, anyone who restricts our freedom in Christ by adding on additional requirements to our faith or anyone who emphasizes "spiritual" experiences is de-emphasizing the importance of Christ's work on the cross. Jesus disarmed the rulers and principalities and triumphed over them on the cross.

2) In demoting Jesus through exalting experiences or good works, we are destroying the gospel because the gospel is about God's justice for breaking His law and Jesus' finished work on the Cross satisfying that justice and God's wrath. If Jesus were unable to satisfy God's wrath on the cross, we would need to do something to sort of "help him out" or would need to appeal to someone that had it in good with God to "put in a good word for us".

3) Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel claims orthodoxy while promoting heretical teachers because there is so much world in the church that you can claim Christ and act pretty much any way you want. I had a woman come in to my office yesterday and tell me that over the holidays that she went to church on Sunday and the next day went and danced at a strip club. Is it any wonder that these people are advocating heresy? They believe they can act any old way and so does the general population of our country. I believe it all goes back to the early 1900s when we started preaching that if you pray a prayer then you're in. Clearly, the Bible teaches that it is not up to us to choose God. Faith, Salvation, Repentance all are gifts from God.

#15  Posted by Scott Thompson  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 1:03 PM

how about MARK 11:23 this is the word of faith refrigerator verse. don"t think that they have changed there theology it"s still the same. no wonder we are called little gods and Jesus is demoted and man is exalted. it"s the totally perfect money making scheme. don"t be afraid turn over there and listen to kenneth copeland"s message you"ll hear the same carton stuff WE HAVE THE POWER or turn on saturday morning cartons even little kids love this WE HAVE THE POWER stuff its in all the movie theater"s book"s ect. its what sells the flesh always wants to hear how great it is .....God bless GTY

#16  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 1:40 PM

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#17  Posted by Paul Schnell  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 4:31 PM

Well said regarding the lack of discernment in churches that espouse this teaching. I, too, sat under this doctrine for far too long before my wife and I left that church. The challenge, sometimes is whether it is appropriate to burst from your seat and call the preacher on it on the spot or write a letter and leave. I still ponder whether I did the right thing by not more openly challenging the false teaching.

The discernment comes by spending time in God's Word, in prayer and listening to true biblcal teaching like that consistently delivered by Pastor MacArthur and his forebears (Spurgeon among them).

#18  Posted by thomas kennedy  |  Wednesday, January 06, 2010at 9:49 PM

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#19  Posted by Darla Wormuth  |  Thursday, January 07, 2010at 4:33 AM

I was saved in my car driving north on the Florida turnpike in the summer of 82'. I was ignorant to the bible and religion as I was rasied with an agnostic mother. In my heart I always believed in God, heaven and hell. I did not seek God, but I had come to the end of myself and cried out to God and He heard me and answered me.

I said all that to say this... I did not know one church from another and I did not have a Bible, but I did have an uncle who was a memeber of an Assembly of God. I ended up at that church for a short time and was baptized within a few months. I could not keep from reading God's word even though much of it I did not understand. So when I would go to this church and hear people like Kenneth Copeland, it just never sat well with me, so I just kept reading my bible.

God's says that he will keep us and he has kept me from falling and following into false teachings, and I believe that is so because I had a burning desire to read God's word, and it was and is His pure word that has kept me from false teaching. The Holy Spirit taught me and still teaches me today.

I am a member of a local church who teaches and preaches the whole word of God. I believe in the Doctrines of Grace and always have I just did not know there was a name for it. I thank God most often for John MacArthur who has been my greatest teacher as I follow him as he follows Christ.

#20  Posted by Bryan Chasteen  |  Thursday, January 07, 2010at 11:39 AM

That is a very encouraging story Darla. We don't see our need for a Savior until we come to the end of ourselves. I remember a similar occurrence in my life except that I had been raised in a Christian home and gone to church all my life but wasn't saved.

#21  Posted by George Law  |  Thursday, January 07, 2010at 12:55 PM

false doctrine is like crack-cocaine--better left untried than to have to recover from. Praise God that so many have been shielded from the reality of this temptation, even though this often leads to cockiness.

As one of God's elect I must continue to remain humble and rember that I am undeserving a worthless sinner. Except for the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross I would never stand in the company of God. Let alone on the day,To judge even the Angels.

#22  Posted by Douglas Mollett  |  Thursday, January 07, 2010at 1:29 PM

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