Exalting Man Part 1
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False Teachings _ Exalting Man
The exaltation of man is where the Word-Faith movement sharply deviates from the Bible and historic Christianity. The great lie of Satan has always been, _You will be like God_. In the beginning, Satan’s sin was pride. He declared the he would be like the Most High God. After Satan’s fall, this same echo of pride has been used to tempt man throughout the ages. Pagan religions appeal to people on the level of pride. Margo Adler, a wellknown witch in the Wicca religion, stated this well:
The reason people are so attracted to magic and pagan religions is because they want to be god. The fundamental thing of pagan religions is that ultimately they say that you are within yourself the god or goddess.
Isaiah 43:10 tells us:
"You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me._
Is there any other god other than the LORD? No. Will there ever be another god other than the God who has revealed Himself in scripture? No. The Bible is very exclusionary. God declared His word in such a way that it is impossible to accept pagan religions without rejecting scripture. Either this verse in Isaiah is a lie, or the pagans are following a lie. Both cannot be true. The claim that man is god is probably the most consistent error that Word-Faith doctrine teaches. Across the board, almost all prominent Faith teachers echo the same message. Some, like Benny Hinn, began by warning people not to believe this doctrine. However, now Hinn teaches it with great fervor. Early on, Hinn once taught the following:
One of the most dangerous things in the body of Christ today is this teaching going around that teaches men that they are God. When you say that you are God, you are putting your place right where Lucifer was standing. When someone tells you that you are God, that's just another serpent coming to say, 'taste it'. When you hear the teaching that you are God, remember what I am telling you, it's the serpent coming into your garden saying, 'has God said...? If you eat this, you'll be just like Him.' The devil hasn't changed his game.
Obviously, Hinn was influenced in this area by orthodox Christianity. Historic and Biblical Christianity soon gave way to sensationalism and pagan influenced doctrines. Hinn went from warning against this doctrine to defending it. Hinn states:
He laid aside his divine form so that I could one day be clothed on high with the divine form. People have a problem with Ken Copeland and Kenneth Hagan's teaching, but it is absolute and divine truth. Hagan and Copeland say, 'You are God'.
It cannot be overlooked that Hinn plainly stated that this teaching is absolute divine truth. Scripture does not teach that we will be divine. In spite of the Bible_s warnings, Hinn now teaches the very thing He once declared to be of the devil:
God came from heaven and became a man. He made men into little gods. Went back to heaven as a man. He faces the Father as a man. You say, 'Am I little god?'. You're a son of God aren't you? You're a child of God aren't you? What else are you? You say, 'I AM'. You are identifying yourself with Him. Are you a part of Him? Are you His offspring? You can't be human."
The Bible does not teach that Jesus was merely a man. Word-Faith doctrine teaches that Jesus is only a man and man is a god. As we will examine a little later, this completely contradicts scripture. The reason Christ is demoted and man is exalted is so that both are on the same level. God and man must be peers in the Word-Faith doctrine. The reason for this is because the non-biblical teachings of this movement we have been discussing these several weeks is that man can do as God did _ create reality with faith-filled words. Ultimately, we become our own god in this movement. Let_s break down the Word-Faith_s doctrine of man_s divinity so we can examine it against the clear teaching of scripture.
God's purpose for man
What is God_s purpose for man? As we will see, the Word-Faith movement answers this question completely different that Biblical Christianity. In Word-Faith doctrine, mankind was created divine and had equality with God. We only need to recognize our god-potential and believe that we are gods. It's amazing how closely the Word-Faith teaching aligns to New-Age and pagan beliefs. Here are some examples from Word-Faith teachers:
"God's reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself. In the Garden of Eden, He did that. He was not a little like God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God. Adam was as much like God as you can get. Just like Jesus was God manifested in the flesh, Adam was God manifested in the flesh."
- Kenneth Copeland
Word-Faith doctrine teaches that man was created as God manifested in the flesh. Is there a difference between Adam and Jesus? According to Word-Faith teaching, the answer is no. Is there a difference between you and Jesus? According to Word-Faith teaching, the answer is also no. Make a note of the key points in the above quote. When we examine scripture, the differences will be obvious. The points presented as _truth_ are: the purpose of man is to be a reproduction of God Himself; Adam (or mankind) is a replication of God; man is not subordinate to God; Adam was God in the flesh; Adam was identical to God. This is echoed throughout the Word-Faith movement. Here is Herbert W. Armstrong:
As God repeatedly reveals, his purpose is to reproduce himself into what may well become billions of God persons. Why did the Creator God put man on the earth? For God's ultimate supreme purpose of reproducing himself, of recreating himself.
Note the key points presented here: God has revealed His purpose for man; man_s purpose is to be a God-person; we are a recreation of God. John Avanzini states:
"Eternal purpose of God has been throughout the ages...that God is duplicating Himself throughout the earth."
Morris Cerello declares God_s eternal purpose according to Word-Faith doctrine:
Did you know that from the beginning of time the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself? Who are you? Come on! Who are you? Come on; say it, sons of God! All that is at work within us is that manifestation of all that God is, all God has and when we stand up here, you're not looking at Morris Cerello, you are looking at God! You're looking at Jesus!
Key points to note: man becoming God was the intention from the beginning; God reproduced Himself by creating man; man is all that God is and all that God has; we are God; we are identical to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
A Biblical response:
The Bible draws the line in the sand. 1 Kings 18 states:
21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word.
Perhaps today, all the true prophets of God (those who proclaim the truth of scripture) should call out, _If the LORD is God, follow Him, but if mankind is god, follow him; but don_t falter between the two_. If someone wants the divinity of man to be their god, we cannot prevent them. However, we should draw a clear distinction between the true God and the false godhood proclaimed by Word-Faith and pagan religions. Just be honest and choose. If we don_t want to God of the Bible, reject the Bible. Don_t choose paganism and then pretend that the Bible teaches it. These messages are not intended to bash the Word-Faith movement, but rather to show that it is a religion in direct conflict with scripture. If a man or woman wants this religion, they have the right to choose, but they do not have the right to drag the Bible down into a different religion. The god of the Word-Faith movement is not the God of the Bible. The purposes of the Word-Faith god is not the purposes of the God of the Bible. Mankind is not the same; redemption is not the same; our purpose is not the same. Choose who you believe _ the Word of God revealed in the Bible, or the word spoken by the so-called Word-Faith prophets who get their authority by supposed direct revelations.
The Bible tells us what the purpose of man is. Micah 6 says:
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
We are created to have a relationship with God and our purpose is to glorify Him. I struggle with knowing how much information is enough and how much is too much. There are hundreds of passages that show us what our purpose is, but for readability, I will limit this to a few passages. Let_s begin by looking at Romans 15
5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Man_s purpose is to glorify God _ not the other way around. It is not only the righteous who glorify God, but also the wicked. Look at Romans 9
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth."
God raised Pharaoh to be the strongest leader over the strongest world power of the ancient world so that God could reveal His power through a stuttering man with no self-confidence called Moses. God used the weak to confound the strong. This passage gives a few insights to help our understanding. First, we are told what the purpose of man is _ to show God_s power and declare God_s name. Or in other words we are to glorify God. The other insight is that even someone like Pharaoh gives God the glory. In ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh was worshiped as a god and he believed that he was a god. Even though he was at war with God, God used him to magnify God_s own name. We will glorify God. We will either glorify Him with obedience and praise, or we will unwillingly and often unknowingly be used by God for His purposes.
We were all created in the image of God for the purpose of reflecting His glory. It is because of sin that we fail to reflect God_s glory and attempt to reflect our own. Ultimately God will be glorified, however, His purpose is that our lives be the reflection of His glory and His great name. These passages teach us this truth:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
1 Corinthians 10
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Everything points to the glory of God. If we are in rebellion, God can and will still use us to show His power. If we surrender to Him, we have the honor of fulfilling our intended purpose of being beacons of light that reflect the glory of God to the world. There are so many more great passages that I could use here (Ephesians 1:9-12, Luke 4:43, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Revelation 15:4, Micah 6:8 just to name a few).
God_s purpose in creating man is not to reproduce Himself in the earth. Not one passage in the Bible remotely implies this false doctrine. God_s purpose for man is to have fellowship with our loving Creator and to reflect His glory and His great name.
You are a god
It all began with one act of pride, _I will be like the Most High_, declared Lucifer. He was once called _Lucifer_ which means _the bearer of light_. Now the Bible laments his great fall. Now his title is _Satan_ which means _the adversary_. His desire was to be like God _ not reflect the light and glory of God. He was never the light; he was the bearer of light. It is God_s light that made Lucifer shine. It is also God_s light that makes us lights of the world. Since his fall, Satan has echoed the same lie to everyone who will give him an ear. In the Garden of Eden, Satan tempted mankind by saying, _you will be like God_. That same message continues to be echoed through the ages. In our modern times the masses continue to be lured into the promise that they will be gods.
Joseph Smith _ the so-called prophet of the Mormon Church said: As God is, man shall become.
Shirley McClain proudly declared: I am God. I am God. I am God. I am God.
Jim Jones who lured thousands to commit mass suicide in Jonestown - You are what Jesus was. Jesus said that every human being was a god. It is written that you are gods. I'm a god and you are a god.
We are as gods and might as well get good at it. - Whole Earth Catalog
Copeland - You don't have a God in you, you are one.
Benny Hinn _ Don_t say you have Jesus. You are everything he was, is and shall be.
We expect this deception to be proclaimed from cults like the Ladder Day Saints, New Age worshippers like Shirley McClain and Margot Adler, and cultists like Jim Jones. This lie has been broadcast by pagan religions since the fall in the Garden. What is new is that so-called prophets of God are now proclaiming from the pulpits of the Christian church the same message _ and the congregations cheer and applaud. How can Kenneth Copeland say that God is not in you, you are god while the church remains supportive of his teaching? The New Age movement is now within the walls of the church and God_s own people do not have enough discernment to recognize this danger. Concerning the last days, Jesus asked a redundant question, _When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?_ The Bible repeatedly warns that there will first be a falling away within the church before Christ returns. Today, we are seeing the church fall from faith while congregations cheer. We were foretold that it will happen, however, we don_t have to be a part of it.
The truth of God has been abandoned as sensationalism gains the appeal of many. People would rather be gods than to worship God. According to scripture, the silent church is just as guilty as those who proclaim that you are god and you are the Messiah. Look at this doctrine the Word-Faith movement proudly teaches:
"When you were born again, the word was made flesh in you. Don't tell me you have Jesus. You are everything that was and everything that He is and ever shall be. The new man...says I am as He is. Don't say I have [Jesus], say 'I AM, I AM, I AM, I AM'". _ Benny Hinn
This is a direct reference to when God referenced Himself as the _I AM_, or the eternal One. This is found in Exodus 3:
14 And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' "
"Why you say, 'I am a Christian, you are saying I am a little Messiah walking on the earth. May I say it, you are a little god running around."
"We are gods. I am a little god. You are anything that He is." _ Paul Crouch
You are everything that He is or will ever be? You are a Messiah? You are a little god? We have heard the Mormons speak; we have heard the New Age speak; we have heard the Word-Faith teachers speak. Now let’s hear God speak.