'Replies from Word-Faith'

Josephine Melrose - 7

2nd August, 2004

(Continued from previous page)

Word-Faith reasoning makes Christians guilty of not being set 'free' and of living in 'fear' and therefore bringing suffering on themselves!

In your later e-mail -
15th October 2004 3.56AM - you write:

Freedom for Bondage

"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. "And you shall know the truth, and
the truth shall make you free." John 8:31- 32

Boldness for Fear of Judgment

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment (Greek: kolasis, is rendered "punishment" in the RSV).  But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:17

TCE:  By your reasoning, in your attempt to explain away Paul's lack of the 'prosperity gospel,' these words cannot apply to all Christians.  Apparently, Paul was not set 'free' and must have lived in 'fear' if he was not set free from 'torment/punishment' but was caused to suffer for having taken part in the persecution and killing of the early Christians.  Only enemies of the gospel of Christ could make such a claim.

You write:  We can spend a lot of time debating the fine points of doctrine, but the bottom line is your argument that The second beast in Revelation 13:13: ''performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men''. The Bible does not present these counterfeit ''signs and wonders'' as anything other than supernatural events which are not sleight of hand but genuinely demonic. It is noticeable that, just as the magicians of Pharaoh''s court mimicked the miracles wrought through Moses, contemporary signs (healings, visions, tongues, exorcisms, prophecies etc.) are reproduced in non-Christian religions. Outwardly, there is no difference in the signs - except that one will be done in the name Jesus and the other not. In other words you are saying that most people who are doing signs and wonders such as myself and my friends even though we are Christians are demon possessed and are doing it all through the power of Satan?

Wow! I sure would hate to be in your shoes and to even make such as statement for it's not different than what was said of Jesus ...'

TCE:  When you try to twist our words you forget the long section we wrote; we will now highlight (in this colour) the parts you ignored which show your juvenile conclusion to be biased garbage:

'More worrying for Christians who place the authority of the Bible above emotions and hype is the knowledge that 'signs and wonders'
can be performed quite outside the legacy of the God of the Bible. The Egyptian magicians matched Moses miracle for miracle for a while (Exodus 7:8 -  8:18) and Paul predicted (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10):
'The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles,
signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing'

The second beast in
Revelation 13:13:

great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men'.

The Bible does not present these counterfeit 'signs and wonders' as anything other than supernatural events which are not sleight of hand but genuinely demonic.  It is noticeable that, just as the magicians of Pharaoh's court mimicked the miracles wrought through Moses, contemporary signs (healings, visions, tongues, exorcisms, prophecies etc.)  are reproduced
in non-Christian religions.  Outwardly, there is no difference in the signs - except that one will be done in the name Jesus and the other not. 

More than fifteen thousand people a year claim healing under Roman Catholic auspices at Lourdes. Testimonies of healing are reported in every issue of the
Christian Science Sentinel.  Pakistani Muslims claim that one of their revered saints, Baba Farid, has healed people with incurable diseases and travelled great distances in an instant. Thousands of Hindus claim healing each year at the temple dedicated to Venkateswara in Tirupathi.  Some Buddhist sects also provide claims of such supernatural healing.

None of this means that we must deny that genuine miracles have ceased or that all miracles ostensibly performed in a Christian context are necessarily counterfeit or even demonic. It is simply to insist that because, both in Scripture and in Christian experience, miracles can occur both in the context of Biblical religion and outside it, it is unwise to rely on 'signs and wonders' as evidence that the Christian gospel is being preached, for it is always perilous to equate the supernatural with the divine.

Signs and wonders performed within the believing community today
can have deceptive force just as they did in ancient Israel (Deuteronomy 13:1-5):

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, 'Let us follow other gods' (gods you have not known) 'and let us worship them,' you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow.

This Scripture does not question the reality of those signs and wonders or assign them to the work of the devil.  At one level, God Himself is behind them:  'The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul'!  Often these false prophets announced that they were speaking for Yahweh, the Lord - as Hananiah did in Jeremiah 28.  Not all idolatry and false prophesying was in the name of 'another god' and the biggest danger of a false prophet within the believing community is precisely because, like Hananiah, he or she appeals to Yahweh's name and says that Yahweh has spoken even when Yahweh has not spoken.'

Can you not see how foolish you have proved yourself to be?  And how the Scriptures you quote all point to your behaviour - particularly:

Matthew 12:35 - "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 12:36 "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 12:37 "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

In your next e-mail you continue in the same idiotic manner:

You write:   Apostle Paul prayed for the faithful saints in Ephesus that the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ would grant them according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith; that they, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that they might be filled with all the fullness of God? The Church at Ephesus which had works, labor, patience, did not bear those who were evil, tested those who were false, persevered, sill [sic] did not hear nor understand but left its first love. It did not have an ear to hear what the Spirit was saying to the churches that only those who overcome will be given the right to eat of the tree of life. As a result they did not repent and their candle stick was removed. The church of Ephesus in time ceased to exist and Ephesus became a desolate Ghost town. These kind of thing do happen even in the current time of life. Doing all the right things but not loving God with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves just creates a dead faith or religion? A miss of an inch on a target might as well be a mile. For it is still off the target and the results are the same. A total miss?

TCE:  Where in Scripture does it say that the prayers of any man or woman - even if answered by God - will continue to apply to a person or church fellowship for a long time, or eternity?  Nowhere!  Read this passage which reveals how thousands of Israelites witnessed every kind of miraculous love from God but lost sight of him and chose to sin - which is why Paul gives the high-lighted warning in verse 12:

1 Corinthians 10:1-14 (KJV) - Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples (example or type): and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
v12 - Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Ironically, your later query and charges regarding the claims of 'Once Saved, Always Saved' proves that you do not believe this to be true!  If only you had thought the accusation through you would have seen that Paul prayed for the church, as
Acts 20:17-38 records (in a passage that is a damning indictment of 'Word-Faith' and every other heresy which has added to the gospel he proclaimed), and the very verse following this statement contains his prediction that the danger he warned them about would overtake them!:

Acts 20:17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with
great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. Acts 20:22 "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Acts 20:25 "Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

Acts 20:32 "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33
I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: `It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

Acts 20:36 When he had said this,
he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

How can you attack this great servant of God - who can declare that he was '
innocent of the blood of all men' (does this sound like God was holding his past over him as punishment?) - while defending money-grubbing heretics like Hinn and Copeland?  The poignancy of these farewell prayers and tears speak volumes against the modern apathy of Western churches.

Also note his indictment of your 'Word-Faith' heroes in verse 32-35 containing the clear denial of your heretics methods - 33
I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing!  How different from the covetousness of the Hinn's, Copelands, Meyers, etc.!

The elders of the church at Ephesus were personally trained by Paul over a period of three years. Yet he said to them: "...29
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30). If elders whom Paul had trained went astray, obviously other early church leaders could - just as they can today!  The only valid guide is Scripture itself.  In Revelation, seven candlesticks are seen in heaven in Christ's presence. These are not used in worship but represent "the seven churches" to which Christ writes (1:20). There is one further mention of a candlestick: Christ warns the church at Ephesus to repent or He will "remove thy candlestick," i.e., no longer acknowledge it as a true church.

When do you think Paul prayed for Ephesus?  Scriptural authorities agree that his farewell from Ephesus, after his third missionary journey, was no later than 57 A.D.  John was banished to Patmos in about 93-96 A.D. and received Revelation concerning the fate of Ephesus in about 88-93 A.D.  So the church actually survived in some form for a considerable number of years despite (or perhaps because of) Paul's inspired prayers warning of the deceptions to come!

Incredibly, in another demonstration of your carelessness, in your next e-mail you even admit this:

And inspite [sic] of Paul's prayer for Christians all over the place, there are those who had once known the way of righteousness, than having known it turned from the holy commandment delivered to them. For the word of God teaches that as there were also false prophets among the people, there will be false teachers among them also who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

Do you ever read through your typing before you mail it?  If you took the advice of Proverbs you might be protected from your worst mistakes
(Proverbs 29:20):

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Are you even going to take your own advice before you '
pay a dear price for this fault'?  After all, you believe that 'A miss of an inch on a target might as well be a mile. For it is still off the target and the results are the same. A total miss?'

We don't know of any churches that are arrogant enough to think that they are '
all anointed ones and are full of the Holy Ghost'.  It would be wonderful if any Christian group was witnessing the Name and Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ powerfully to people, never mind performing 'great wonder and signs among the people?'  Your statement: 'In the secular world people have no problem doing their all to achieve something even if it would cost them their life' is indicative of how far we have strayed from the true gospel.  Paul and his fellow apostles were certainly willing to lay down their lives for the faith, but few today, outside of missionaries to some of the grimmer nations of the world, are in such danger.

Do you really believe that 'God put no limits on what is people can achieve, have or be except the limits that they set on themselves!'? Where do you put the limit on this statement?  Nowhere does God say that we will become 'little gods' as the 'Word-Faith' heretics teach.  We are indeed limited by God and should know our place, as apostles and angels recognise (
Acts 14:11-15; Revelation 22:8-9).

How 'Word-Faith' shares in errors with such heresies as 'Christian Reconstructionism'!

You claim:  'There are no shortages in heaven of anything including the mercy and grace and there should be no shortages on earth'.

TCE:  You ignore the fact that this is still a sin-filled earth and we are not perfected yet (Philippians 3:12).  For this reason there grows out of faith the desire and longing to be with Christ and to enjoy full fellowship with Him.  This is possible only when one leaves this body and goes home to be with Christ. Then the Christian will live in full fellowship with the Lord. The present is therefore marked by the combination of "not yet" and "but already": the Christian is not yet perfect, not yet with Christ, but he lives by faith in the certain hope that the consummation will come, when he will be united with Christ in a glorified, resurrected body.

Coupled with the 'prosperity now' error comes another fake idea from a branch of the apostasy in the church called 'Christian Reconstructionism' that teaches that we are now in the Millennium with Satan bound and the church gradually taking over the world.  Reconstructionists still have no biblically based eschatology and fail to find a single Bible verse to support their post-millennial eschatology.  In
Genesis 1:26-29, God tells man that, as a higher order of creation made in God's image, he has been given dominion over the earth and everything upon it: the trees, herbs, fish, fowl, animals and all other life forms.  Reconstructionists draw four false inferences from these verses - inferences that simply do not follow from the text:

1. That this "dominion mandate" includes ruling over other human beings, setting up governments and institutions etc.;
2. That "dominion" was lost by Adam at the Fall;
3. That the key purpose of Christ's death, burial and resurrection was to restore the dominion over earth and lower creatures which Adam allegedly lost; and
4. That the Great Commission of
Matthew 28 is simply a restatement in New Covenant terms of the original "dominion mandate," and thus involves "fulfilling the same task."

The entire reconstruction movement has been erected upon this faulty foundation of "dominion theology."  Yet
Psalm 8:6-8 confirms what we each know by experience - we still suffer sickness and disease and have to labour for our food.  Even after the Fall man retained his God-given dominion, which is simply a stewardship responsibility to care for the earth.  Moreover,  this scripture reaffirms what is also clear from Genesis 1:26-29 - that "dominion" has nothing to do with ruling over other human beings, but is limited to the things God has made ("the works of thy hands...sheep and oxen...beast...fowl ...fish....").  Although Adam did not lose "dominion," he lost his relationship to God and his place in Eden. Our hope, however, is not for a return to that paradise. As "new creations in Christ Jesus" (2 Corinthians 5:17), we have been promised something far better - life in a new universe of absolute perfection into which sin and death can never enter.  In contrast to Adam who died, we have eternal life and can never perish; and in contrast to the earthly God-visited paradise which Adam lost, we will dwell forever in the very presence of God in heaven - in the "Father's house of many mansions" (John 14:2), from which we will never be expelled. Therefore, to teach, as do the Reconstructionists, that Christ's redemptive work restores what Adam lost," is the very "reduction of Christianity" which they decry.  It is a further "reduction of Christianity" to suggest that the Great Commission calls us to reassert the allegedly lost "dominion" over this earth and its lower creatures. And it is a gross perversion to turn the Great Commission into a "cultural mandate" which assigns to the church the task of taking over the world to establish the kingdom of God before Christ returns. Yet this "dominion theology" is rapidly gaining ground among charismatics and evangelicals alike. Many are probably not aware of the heavy reconstructionist/kingdom-dominion/shepherding influence in the charismatic movements in which they move.

We believe as firmly as any Christian that every area of the Christian's life belongs under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and that the conduct of Christians must be above reproach. We do not believe, however, that the unsaved world can be "Christianized" by getting it to "conform to biblical standards." Paul's explanation of why Israel failed to conform is conclusive: "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh..." (
Romans 8:3).  Moreover, even if this were possible, it would tend to provide sinners with a veneer of self-righteousness that would make it all the more difficult for them to see their need of Christ as Saviour and Lord. 

Reconstructionism believes that God's power over the earth came about through Christ's death and resurrection (
Matthew 28:18-19:  "All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore ...") and that Christians, therefore, can take over the media, schools, government, etc. in Christ's name.  In fact, God has always had power not only over this earth but over the entire universe, although the 'Word-Faith' teachers deny this fact.  Does that mean that everything that happens is according to His will?  Obviously not.  God's "control" of the universe did not prevent Lucifer from rebelling in His very presence. God surely had all power over the Garden of Eden and its inhabitants, but that did not prevent the serpent from completing his deception, nor did it prevent Adam and Eve from rebelling. Why then suggest that, because all authority has been given unto Christ as a result of His death and resurrection, Christians can therefore take over the world in His name?  God's kingdom does not come by force of arms but through the redemptive work of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Far from promising them that they would take over the world, Christ told His disciples that they would be hated, persecuted and killed by this world's inhabitants.  Thus, true Christians have always suffered at the world's hands exactly as Christ foretold.  The Bible states that Anti-christ will set up his kingdom and be worshipped by the deceived of the entire world.  He will make war with the saints and overcome them, and finally he will lead the armies of the world against Israel, and Christ will intervene to stop the destruction of all flesh at Armageddon.  This hardly sounds like Christians will have taken over the world.

Unfortunately, like all 'Word-Faith' proponents, you try to explain suffering through a convenient appeal to the sovereignty of man where there are no victims, nothing is out of control, and everything can change because those afflicted are calling the shots.  As long as someone possesses enough knowledge about what God has promised, says the right words, and has enough faith, all will be taken care of and bills will get paid, family members will be healed, and money will fall like manna from heaven. 
Thus your heretical teachers claim that their own words control life because words "are the most powerful things in the universe today' (Capps, Creative Power, p25) and 'health, success, happiness and prosperity are God's Will for you when you believe His Word enough to act on it."  (T. L. Osborne - quoted in Hanegraaff, Crisis, 361).

It is an interesting contradiction to consider the source of 'Word-Faith' belief that all suffering is caused by man, rather than God allowing (and even causing) such acts to occur.  'Word-Faith' teacher Frederick K. C. Price said:  "You are suffering because you're stupid!"  The even worst blasphemous statements come from the lips of the main players of 'Word-Faith':

"If God is running everything, He does have things in a mess."  (Kenneth E. Hagin,
The Interceding Christian, 1978, p14).

I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible actually is.... The biggest one in the whole Bible is God.... He lost His top-ranking, most anointed angel, the first man He ever created, the first woman He ever created, the whole earth and all the fullness therein, a third of the angels at least. That's a big loss, man. I mean, you figure that out - that's a lot of real estate, brother, gone down the drain.... Now the reason you don't think of God as a failure is He never said He's a failure. And you're not a failure till you say you're one.'  (Kenneth Copeland, TBN videotape, 1988: cited in G. Durand, 'In God We Trust ... Part Three,' The Expositor 6, No. 1, Winter 1992; 22)

Which view are you going to stick with - that of the Word-Faith leaders (that all suffering is caused by man), or your earlier view that the apostle Paul was not set 'free indeed' by his conversion, but continued to suffer in the same way king David suffered for his evil treatment of Uriah and Bathsheba (
2 Samuel 11) because God decreed it so!

In your e-mail (sent
15th October 2004 3.56AM) you write:

As a supposed Christian, you are rude and deceiving and as a Christian I don't appreciate your tongue in cheek character assasination of Benny Hinn or Kenneth Copeland, not that they are perfect or men with out faults, but it's very easy to look at all the Evangelicals and fundamentalists and read about how immoral and adulterous their leaders are and yet the [sic] claim to be Bible believing born again Christians?

TCE:  Accusing us in this way, without supplying evidence of the deception we supposedly committed (as 'supposed Christians'!), is consistent with the example of those you follow.  Clearly you have no idea of the definition of 'tongue in cheek' or 'character assassination' - never mind the clear Scriptural warrant for warning about false teaching which we supplied to you.  It is also ironic that you should begin to attack people whom we would never defend (you must have read the introduction to our ministry on our homepage), e.g. Bill Clinton (ref. your next e-mail), despite the fact that you are relying on dozens of second-hand and unsupportable witnesses and yet, earlier, you were trying to make a case against such behaviour!

Since you choose to remain blind to the truth we must remind you of the recommendation of Scripture, which we take in equal seriousness to every other verse of the Word of God (
2 Timothy 2:14ff.):

14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the truth ...23 Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  2TI 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -  5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.  6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth - men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

There is a difference between arguing about the real meaning of passages of Scripture and nit-picking over irrelevant details and 'quarrelling about words' as you now do by introducing 'foolish and stupid arguments'.  In typical fashion you have followed the trend of all who attack Christians who mention the importance of accuracy of language, when
you state:

I have also noted that for all your criticism of scriptural correctness that you didn't talk about the victories of the cross or all that Jesus did there but rather about the importance of knowing things in Greek? You have ignored what God's word states about the power of the Cross and how it destroys the wise and foolish for it takes child like faith and trust to get a miracle ...

TCE:  we have barely mentioned the 'importance of knowing things in Greek' so, for you to accuse us in this way simply shows, again, the desperate depths to which you will stoop to try and save face.  You also forget that you began the discussion and set the agenda - to which we have merely responded.  Why is it that you choose to mention such an important matter now?  Because you have followed the agenda of the 'Word-Faith'/Vineyard movement?

In the same accusation you claim we '
didn't talk about the victories of the cross or all that Jesus did there'.  Really?  Have you forgotten the time we spent in examining Wimber's lack of the mention of the cross (our first reply!)  and the errors of 'Word-Faith' beliefs regarding the cross?  In our second e-mail we discussed 'the cross' in 21 references - as any 'find and replace' action in word-processing proves!  Yet you call us deceivers?

Here again, you ignore the context of the Scriptures you quote in order to attack those who mention the importance of God's choice of words in the original languages.  All this in your attempt to prove that '
the power of the Cross ... destroys the wise and foolish' in a way that you hope will make your ignorance represent 'child like faith and trust'.

1 Corinthians 1:19 the meaning of the perfect tense form (gegraptai, "it is written") conveys the idea that the effect of what God promised in Isaiah 29:14 continues to be true:  God will make ineffective the insight or understanding of man as a means of attaining salvation.  The Hebrew term (satar) in Isaiah 29:14, carries the meaning; "shall be hid completely from themselves" - an idea conveyed by the use of atheteso.  These verses (v18-25) flow logically from the proposition of v17 that Paul did not come preaching with human wisdom, but this in no way nullifies the use of human expertise and logic in languages etc.  Paul avoids human ostentation by stating that the straightforward presentation of the message of the cross produces two effects:  It is foolishness to those who are lost, but the power of God to those who are being saved (Romans 1:16). In his emphasis that God's power for salvation is in the cross Paul (v19) quotes and adapts from this argument from Isaiah 29:14 to show that God deplores the man-made precepts and mouthing of words for salvation (Isaiah 29:13) and declares that He will set aside men's wisdom and understanding as a means of finding favour with him and as a means of salvation.  After establishing God's rejection of man's striving for salvation through wisdom, the apostle now asks just where in fact "the wise man" (v20) can be found who is able to do what the message of the cross of Christ has done.  By "wise man" Paul may already be alluding to the Greeks (v22b).  The "scholar" (grammateus, "scribe" - "teacher of the law," NIV and elsewhere) was the Jewish professional who was skilled in the law and often emphasized its technicalities.  "The philosopher of this age" (v20) was the man who wanted to dispute every issue and solve it by human reason.  The designation could fit Greek and Jew - and us - if we are not careful to avoid the trap of applying our reason to explain away the efficacy of the cross, or to find another way to God.  This is a world of difference from using knowledge of ancient languages to prevent such as the Jehovah's Witnesses from playing their games with the ancient languages in their attempt, for example, to deny the deity of Christ.  As we warned on this page!

'The time is long due for Christians to take a serious look at the teachings of the 'Word-Faith' cult. Very little has been written or said about the defective Christology of Word-Faith believers which is utterly blasphemous! We criticize such groups as the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Christadelphians, or the United Pentecostal Church because of their unscriptural views of the Godhead. We expose the Mormon teachings declaring that men can become gods (the first Satanic lie! - Genesis 3:5) or the Witnesses heretical view that Jesus is "a god", and not Almighty God, and was pre-existent as Michael the archangel. Can we do any less when the Word-Faith groups have introduced equally heretical teachings into the Body of Christ?'

Without the expertise in languages demonstrated by so many contemporary scholars countless more people would have been deceived by those who come to our doors - and into our homes via radio, television etc. - in the guise of Christianity.

Paul goes on to explain (
v21) that, in God's all-wise purpose, men with all their philosophical and religious wisdom and searching "did not come to know God," as the definite aoristic effect of the verb shows. This is not to deny the truth that men have always had a certain knowledge of God through the natural creation (as Paul illustrates in Romans 1:18-20). Rather, Paul says, it was God's good purpose (eudokesen) to save those who believe by the seemingly foolish process of preaching the cross. The kerygma is the preached message, "the message of the cross" (v18).  In explanation of the world's seeking God through wisdom, Paul states that the Jews seek for "miraculous signs," and the Greeks seek wisdom (v22), and through these means they hope to find the answers to the questions about God and life. The Jews were seeking signs to identify the Messiah and the apocalyptic deliverance they hoped God would bring them (cf. Mark 8:11; John 6:30). But Jesus had said that the Jews would be given only "the sign of the prophet Jonah" (Matthew 12:39-40) to point to his death as Messiah.

Paul says (
v23) that his task is to preach Christ crucified.  To the unsaved Jews, however, this message of a crucified Christ was a "stumbling block," an offense, (Greek: skandalon; cf. English "scandal") for they expected a political deliverer.  To the non-Jewish world (ethne) the cross was "foolishness" - criminals died on crosses, and they could not see how the cross provided any moral philosophical standard to help them toward salvation.  Furthermore, the Greeks and Romans looked on one crucified as the lowest of criminals, so how could such a one be considered a saviour?

In contrast, Paul states that God has his chosen ones, "the called" (
kletous) from both the Jews and Gentiles (v24).  Paul has preached to such people about God's effective power to save them and of his wise plan through Christ to bring this about. He next uses a kind of paradoxical hyperbole (v25) to present the greatness of God's wisdom: God has foolishness, God has weakness! What Paul means is that God's smallest, least significant thought is more worthwhile than the wisest plans of mankind.  He has complete control and fully accomplishes his purposes, while the power, acts, and thoughts of men are in comparison as nothing.

If we fix these thoughts in our mind I do not believe we will, for a minute, ever believe that any kind of human expertise or knowledge can ever undo what God has done, or lead us astray if we keep close to Him and retain a constantly sanctified mind (
1 Peter 4:7; Ephesians 4:17-24) so that the cunning plans of men (Ephesians 4:14ff.) will never cause us to fall astray in 'Bible Code' meanderings or outright heresy.  As verse 27 concludes: God has chosen from the world those who seem foolish and those who seem weak and helpless so that he might put to shame the wise and powerful by showing how temporary and insignificant as to salvation their achievements are.  And in his grace he has showered his mercy on the foolish and weak of this world and made them strong and wise in Christ.  God has worked this way (v29) - choosing men according to his grace and not according to their merits - to show that no man may boast in God's presence that he has gained his salvation by his own effort.

We can argue that God chose fishermen 'the initial bearers of His Gospel', but who did He choose for the exposition of a very large part of His Word?  Saul of Tarsus!  Saul was a superb scholar of the Gamaliel rabbinic school (
Acts 22:23).  This, of itself, did not qualify him to expound the Word, for it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which opened his eyes to the truths of the Words of the Old Testament.  Doubtlessly there are many great scholars of the rabbinic schools of contemporary Judaism, but they will mainly be lost for eternity because their 'great learning' (Acts 26:24) has truly driven them mad.  We can only pray that God will reach some of them as His Sovereign Will decrees.

(Continued on next page)

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