"Wells Without Water (4b)"
by Tricia Tillin
The Errors of the Word-of-Faith Movement (Part four of Four)
This four-part study is designed to demonstrate, using verbatim transcripts of the tapes of Kenneth Copeland, some of the errors in the "Positive Confession" movement.
You may find it hard to believe some of the things Copeland is reported as saying! But trust me, there has been NO tampering with the tapes. Not only did Copeland say these things in the 1980's when this study was first created (as a tape set called "Wells Without Water" on the Banner Ministries tape list) but he continues to reiterate them up to this very moment. So do many, many others in the Word of Faith leadership.
These teachers are totally unrepentant of their heresies, despite having been approached by countless brethren who tried to point out their unscriptural teachings. They continue to teach doctrines that are dishonest in their scriptural content, deceptive in their outcome, and destructive to the genuine faith of a Christian.
Part four: teaching OR travesty?
The next except from Copeland’s teaching, beginning "You are a being of three worlds" is important because it illustrates a basic error in all the Word of Faith doctrines.
EXTRACT FOUR: UNLIKE SATAN, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE LIKE GOD
First, Copeland says that we human beings function on three levels: the spiritual, the "middle", and the physical realm. I'd like you to consider this statement for a moment.
What precisely is this "middle" realm?
Since we have a spirit, soul and body, logically, the spirit functions in the spiritual realm (supposedly), the body in the physical, and the SOUL in the "middle" realm - which would then be the psychic realm, but of course Copeland would not use this word!
Later, what he says about "the intellectual realm" suggests this middle area is that of the mental/intellectual functions. But just how these function separately to the physical realm, I do not know, and Copeland does not explain this mystery.
Next, Copeland says we are entitled to stand up and say, 'I will be like God' - and it’s a blessing to man. God sees it as dedication, he says. Well, when Adam said so, it caused all mankind to fall into sin. I know Copeland tries to qualify his statement by saying it’s different to wanting to be a god in your own right, but is there any real practical difference?
The book of Genesis says that Satan tempted Eve with the words, 'you will be as gods'. Surely it is more than a coincidence that the very same prideful act of Satan when aspiring to godhood is the temptation he then presents to Eve? And the result is just the same: Satan was cast out of heaven, and Adam and Eve were also cast out of the presence of God. Their perfection depended on their obedience and subservience to Almighty God. Their aspirations to godhood led only to the downfall of the entire human race, and a severance of their relationship to God. That same prideful attitude also led to the sin and evil we are now experiencing all around us!
Adam was God's servant. God had given mankind a task, to fill the earth and subdue it. They were not given carte blanche to take dominion over God's creation and become a divine rulers of the world in their own right. That was Satan’s plan for man, not God's.
We have already (in the previous section, part 4(a)) gone over the scriptures pertaining to godhood and man made in the likeness of God. We have also seen how the Word-of-Faith leaders preach that re-born man is as much a god as Jesus, with the same rights, authority and powers. This teaching comes from the same source.
If God is so pleased that we could stand up and boldly say "I will be like God" then why is the one who achieves this noble aim called "the son of perdition"?
Will we be like God? Yes, in the Resurrection - but never on this earth, not by striving, by education, by spiritual knowledge, by anointing or by any other thing.
EXTRACT FIVE: ANIMALS GO TO HEAVEN.
Do you realise, if Copeland is telling the truth, if animals do have eternal spirits (and we know all creation is fallen because of Adams sin), then we are responsible for saving the souls of all creatures to prevent them going to hell?!
Can you imagine such nonsense being preached in the name of Christian truth?
At the start Copeland says that human beings were created to function spiritually, mentally (?) and physically - and that’s true. But then he says, animals function on two of these levels: physically and spiritually, but not mentally.
Come on, anyone who owns a pet knows that they have a mind of their own! If animals had no intellect, they would be robots, unable to think or reason, which is clearly not true.
My cat has memories that go back to kitten-hood. He can work out whether I’m upstairs or in the garden, and remember what time he gets his supper. He certainly has an intellect, a very sharp one sometimes. What else causes him to reason within himself - shall I obey this call to come in, or shall I keep on chasing this interesting leaf around the lawn? And he comes to a reasoned (but not reasonable!) decision which demonstrates he has a thought-process of his own that frequently opposes mine. Don't you know what I mean!!
But does he have a spirit? Does he have a God-consciousness? If he did, then I would have to preach him the gospel and get him saved, just like the dog in the story. Does my cat have a nature that allows him to commune with God Almighty? If he does, I’ve never seen it in action. I don't know - have you ever noticed your hamster trying to pray?
Mankind was created as a "living soul" to receive the "breath of life" from God. Thus, man has a spirit, whereas animals have only souls. For this, see Job 12:10 "In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind."
Animals were created as lower beings made out the dust of the earth, animated by a mind and soul ('Nephesh' in Hebrew). That is why when they die they return to the dust, and are no more. We get sentimental about our pets, but most of us know they are not going to heaven! If they were, we would be obliged to develop animal funeral rites, animal coffins and animal cemeteries.
On the other hand, why assume all animals make it to heaven, when human spirits don't? If dogs have to be saved to go to heaven, then presumably unsaved dogs go to hell?
The idea that animals have spirits leads to all kinds of problems, beginning with the concept of animal sacrifice in the Old Testament. Would God kill his own spiritual servants in order to redeem man's sin? Would he place Adam in dominion over the animal "kinds" if there was a spiritual unity between them?
Once you accept that animal have spirits, you are treading a dangerous path leading to the New Age view of the universe. You begin to see all creation as one in God, we and the animals being joint owners of the planet. We would have to agree, then, that to end the life of an animal is a crime. We would have to endorse the recent efforts to give apes and gorillas "human rights" and all the other animal rights lunacies. We would have to become vegetarians, and environmentalists, working to save the animal species instead of having dominion over them as God commanded!
The only proof Copeland offers for his theory is to say animals can be demon possessed. Well, yes, I believe that is true, (for example the herd of pigs that fled over the cliff.) But are demons possessing the spirit or the BODY of animals?
Now we see how muddled Word of Faith teachers are about the spirit realm! If, like Yonggi Cho, you think all spiritual activity - human, divine and demonic - happens in some parallel reality called the Fourth Dimension, then it makes some sense to say that demons posses the spirit. But Copeland strays from the fold here. (Or maybe his doctrine was formed before he heard of Yonggi Cho?).
The animals of heaven that Copeland mentions, such as the horse Jesus rides at the Second Coming, are of course heavenly creations of God. They were made to exist in heaven. I believe the Heavenly Paradise will have many animals, birds, and other creatures, but these are special creations of God, not reborn earthly creatures.
What does the Bible teach about the spiritual realms? The Holy Spirit, in inspiring the word of God, used a plural (or, dual) word for the "heavens" (shamayim) suggesting there are differences between the demonic realms and God's realm.
Paul speaks of the "third heaven" (2 Corinthians 12:2) and of "paradise" (2 Cor. 12:4), and the common understanding in his day was that "The first heaven is that of the clouds, the air; the second, that of the stars, the sky; the third is above both, where God's glory continually shines".
Since satan is "the prince of the power of the AIR" and his fallen powers are often referred to as "stars" we can see that the demonic realm is that of the sky and outer space, (but on a spiritual level, ie unseen!). However, God's Throneroom and Heavenly Temple exist in a higher dimension. (The word "paradise" means "garden" and is often used to describe a perfect Eden surrounding God's Temple which is inhabited by the saved. Since the earthly Temple was copied from the Heavenly realities, this garden would be represented by the Court of the Temple.)
And on the subject of animals, the Bible is plain. Peter likens false teachers to beasts and describes them, therefore, as creatures "made to be taken and destroyed" - that is the biblical view of animals. (2 Pet 2:11-12)
Psalm 104 describes the death of animals in this way: "thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust."
EXTRACT SIX: GOD IS THE BIGGEST FAILURE
The whole tone of this message is offensive to me and I imagine it would be to any sensitive Christian who loves and worships God. It is only human reasoning that calls God a failure, because man sees everything in terms of success and ownership and prosperity. Man measures by what he gains.
We are not at liberty to speculate on what was in God's mind when Adam sinned, but we know from scripture that He is a God of love, and love is glad to give all freely and without coercion.
Copeland portrays God as struggling with His emotions, trying to convince Himself to part with Jesus, as if Jesus were not God Himself and totally at one with the Father in any decision they made!
But instead of salvation being an act of love and mercy and grace, it is that God was forced to find something he could use to get back what He's "lost". God turns to the universal laws of the cosmos, supposedly, in order to win the world to Himself, and unfortunately those laws "obliged Him" to give up His beloved Son.
Do we see here an Omnipotent Ruler, an Almighty Lord, the One who foreknew all things, or a snivelling self-obsessed loser? Copeland says God was "the biggest failure..." so presumably he is portraying him as just that! What blasphemy!
Where is the love of God in this reluctant sacrifice? And if God had to use His faith to operate a law, where is His omnipotence?
God had to scrape around looking for a plan of action, since He'd been thwarted by Adam and Satan. But the word of God says, "we were chosen in Him and foreordained before the foundation of the world." (1 Peter 1 19-20).
The doctrine that Jesus had to die in hell to pay for Adam's sin is covered in Part Two of this series, but it's interesting to see it preached here for a second time.
Jesus, the Bible says, went and preached to the spirits in prison by the Spirit of God. (1 Pet 3:18-19) How else could He preach the word of God except by the Spirit of God? So the Spirit was upon and within the Lord Jesus at that time, even in the realm of the dead. (Copeland calls this the place of the damned. No, there was no point visiting the damned, for they were eternally lost. It was to the righteous of the pre-redemption creation that Jesus went, to those who waited in hope for Christ's day.)
But wherever Jesus went, it was not as a dead, mortal, sin-ridden spirit as Copeland says on an earlier tape. He paid the price for our sin with His blood and by His death, 1 Peter 1: 19 says, "You were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot".
And as for there being "no guarantee" of Jesus ever coming back - what utter nonsense! The prophecies of the Old Testament as well as the very words of Christ Himself promised a return from the dead! Are we to believe that God cannot fulfil His own word? Jesus never once lost control of his destiny, for He says:
On top of the error of the " law of giving" being God's tool of salvation, Copeland says that the same law of giving was a guarantee that men would respond to the gospel. Jesus was God's best seedcorn, and having planted Him, there MUST be a return.
O yes? So, we are not creatures of freewill, but obliged by universal law to accept Jesus, not because of our faith in Him, but because nothing can withstand the law of giving and receiving!
However, there is actually no obligation upon us at all to believe the gospel. If there were some kind of compulsion in this way, it would not have been a genuine offer, a free gift of life eternal!
God foreknew that many would believe Him, though. The word says that we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, and those He foreknew, He predestined to be justified and glorified in Jesus. But - that was not a result of any law!
In any case, that "before the foundation of the world" demonstrates conclusively that God wasn’t stuck for a way out after Adam sinned. Copeland represents it as a big surprise and shock to God. Not at all! We were chosen and foreordained to salvation BEFORE the Fall in Eden!!! The Plan of salvation was already laid.
EXTRACT SEVEN: TWO SIDES OF THE BRAIN - SOUL AND SPIRIT
This final piece of nonsense is a classic! I simply do not see how anybody can revere Copeland as a Teacher in the Church, when he not only accepts New Age hype as scientific but gives it a twist of his own like this!
You are probably aware of the New Age interest in this issue of right-brain/left-brain. It is one of the areas in which they depend on supposed scientific evidence, but the real aim is the religious one. The hidden agenda is to open us up to the mystical realm where we can develop psychic powers and meet spirit-guides.
For a start, New Agers say that man, in his fall, lost the use of his imagination and visionary abilities, his creative and god-like skills, and the knowledge of how to perform supernatural feats, like levitation for example. (Remember how Luke Skywalker in Star Wars was taught by his spirit-guide to shut his eyes and visualise himself being able to raise a spaceship out of the water? It was done with the powers of his imagination, because the belief is, whatsoever you can imagine you can DO.)
The problem, New Agers say, is that we have lost contact with the right side of our brains! We have become a left-brained society, too analytical, methodical and word-oriented to move in the realm of visualisation. We need to teach ourselves to re-integrate the right and left brains. To do this, we need to develop the neglected half of our brain - the right brain. We must meditate, imagine, visualise and drift in the subconscious dreamworlds where creative urges spring up and cause us to explore new revelations.
To achieve this, all kinds of strange devices have been tried, including hallucinogenic drugs, hypnosis, meditation music, brainwave inductors, and sensory deprivation tanks.
Unfortunately, the truth is that seeking to develop the imagination in this way is a fast track to bondage and oppression, because demons love the fertile ground of any passive, drifting, open mind. They quickly steer it towards the worship of false gods.
However, Copeland goes even further down this road by telling us we have two halves of the brain, one used by the spirit and one used by the soul! According to this version, we need to develop the "spiritual side of our brain" where the powers of creation and imagination are.
There is so much that is wrong here that it's hard to know where to begin commenting.
Firstly, the whole concept of the "two halves of your brain" and the supposed unused right side is a New Age myth. There is absolutely no scientific evidence for this belief. Brain scans show that thought processes occur all over the brain equally in both halves, and both sides of the brain are also active in imagination and dreaming. While there may be some differences in emphasis between the two halves, there is nothing like the total separation of function suggested here!
Medically speaking, the two sides of the brain are not as separate as all that. One section of the brain called the Corpus Callosum has been shown to be the link between the two halves and it channels information between them. Even when this is severed, there is still some interaction between the two halves of the brain. It may be that we use different areas of the physical brain for different functions - I don’t question that. But God did not create a brain that was half useless, that sits dormant until we consciously develop it. Both the soul and the spirit of man have equal access to the entire functions of all the body.
Despite Copeland's reminder that we are a spirit-being in a physical body (thus suggesting the spirit is more important) the Bible does not make such a distinct separation. Men are called "souls" in the Bible. (For example Lev 17:12) Also, the soul and spirit are so closely intertwined that the words for these areas in the OT are used interchangeably.
There is so much shared activity between the soul and spirit that we have difficulty dividing between them. It is perhaps one of our greatest problems as Christians, to know what is "of the spirit" as opposed to our own soulish activity. We are told that only the word of God, sharp and precise as a sword, can effectively divide between them - and as you read this familiar passage be aware that it is speaking not only of the written word but the WORD of God who is Jesus Christ.
Jesus knows and sees all things, and knows the interior workings of our hearts. He knows the difference between soulish emotions and the spiritual prompts from God, because he, too, once lived on earth in a human body and has been touched by "the feelings of our infirmities" and temptations. We, however, are often in the dark over this and confuse the workings of soul and spirit - making Copeland's claim that we use two completely different sides of our brain for soulish and spiritual activity a complete fallacy.
Also, contrary to Copeland's assertions, "imaginations" are said to arise from the heart, not the spirit. The "heart" is the emotional centre of man, the centre of thought, will and feeling. It is part of the fallen nature. Furthermore, the Bible usually shows these imaginations to be wicked and ungodly! (e.g.: Ps 140:2/Prov 12:20/Zech 8:17) In particular note:
Man may have been born a "visionary" but since the Fall he has been busy envisioning rebellion against God and wickedness against his fellow-man. Whenever we get to work with our imaginations, we invariably end up disobeying God. Isn't that the truth? How, then, can Copeland claim that our purified, reborn, spirits are responsible for our visionary skills?
If it were true that the spirit and soul are apportioned different parts of the brain by God, then logically the entire spiritual half would have ceased to function when Adam fell! No human being would have the full function of the right side of his brain until he became saved! You know that isn’t so.
No, we need all that God provided, and we use all that God provided. We have been created with a physical brain that is designed to get us effectively through this life on earth, with powers of thought, imagination, will, reason, logic and analysis - all are needed and all are used continually.
But let’s not confuse the physical mind and soul powers of our human existence with the spiritual gifts given us by God. These are totally different. If we do confuse them, as Copeland does, we could easily begin to accept the New Age view of man as a undeveloped superman who needs to enter into a spiritual realm by the development of his brain.
Copeland here is already calling "visualisation" a God-given spiritual gift, one of the most commonly used techniques for developing higher powers in the pagan religious cults, in Satanism and esoteric philosophies, and in all areas of the occult. It is visualisation that’s being used to bring man's thoughts (however evil) and dreams (however damaging) into reality.
This whole issue of visualisation is a burning topic in the church right now because some Christians feel that we can use pictures in our imagination to bring healing or peace, or to get answers to prayer. Ministers such as Dave Hunt, who wrote the book "The Seduction of Christianity", point out that as a technique it is much more a part of pagan culture than Christian.
His comments can be read in his book in chapters 9, 10, 11 and 12, and also in his sequel, " Beyond Seduction" chapters 10 and 11.
One final thought on the errors of Ken Copeland and the Word-of-Faith doctrines: where ignorant and deceived men raise themselves up into positions of power, they frequently become idols of the masses. Just because Copeland has millions of followers around the world does not make him correct in his doctrine. I have nothing against the man personally, but his teaching is - as I have shown - often completely misleading and wrong.
If you are a part of this Movement, consider that fresh and brackish water cannot come from the same source! There is enough brackish water here to fill a lake. Consider your Christian walk, and the safety of your eternal spirit, and if you value truth and have any regard to correct biblical doctrine, you MUST forsake this teaching.
And may God bless you with open eyes and hearts