By Brannon S. Howse
Word of Faith consists of people like Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, and New Apostolic Reformation folks include Cindy Jacobs, C. Peter Wagner, Dutch Sheets, and others who call themselves prophets and apostles. Yet they’re really one group and share much of the same theology and, like the Church of Rome, reject the biblical atonement of Jesus Christ. Let me explain.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Church of Rome says this about atonement:
[quote] If one saith that the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or, that it profits only the recipient; and that it ought not to be offered for the living and for the dead for sins, punishments, sanctifications, and other necessities; let him be an anathema. [end quote]
This avows that the Roman Catholic Church can atone for or absolve you of sins or forgive you of sins through the mass, and if you reject that, you are cursed. This does not reflect the biblical atonement found in Jesus Christ alone. Here’s why the mass is considered so important:
[quote] Holy Mass is a real sacrifice, instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. It represents Christ’s sacrifice of the Cross, but in an unbloody manner. Priest and victims are both Christ, who offers himself through the priest. The laity also offers the sacrifice, but does not have the power to transubstantiate.
The Eucharistic sacrifice is offered to God in praise, thanksgiving, petition, and atonement, for the living and the dead. Saints may also be commemorated in honor and petition. The Church has the responsibility of determining the rites and prayers to be observed.
The liturgy as a whole is the public worship by the mystical Body of Christ. In every liturgical activity Christ is present, in a manner that must be properly interpreted. [end quote] [source: Catholic Online, posted at: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/sacrament.php?id=2]
So how does this align with the view of atonement held by the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation? Since Benny Hinn is perhaps one of the most well-known spokespeople for the Word of Faith movement, let’s review some of his teaching. Here’s how he understands Christ’s work on the cross:
[quote] On the cross He cried, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” Isn’t that right? Which means the Father left Him. The Holy Ghost left Him. When He went to the underworld, He did not go down as the Son of God. He went down as the Son of Man. Now, please listen, He hung on the cross as the Son of God, but He went to face Satan, in his home in the underworld, in Hell, as a Son of Man. [end quote]
Apparently, according to Hinn, when Jesus cried out, “Father, why has Thou forsaken Me,” He stopped being God incarnate. Yet Bible-believing Christians believe that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He was Immanuel, God with us—fully God, fully Man, 100 percent man and 100 percent God. The Word of Faith misunderstanding, though, begins with their teaching on the birth of Christ. They believe that Jesus was simply a man when He first came to earth. He became God when the Spirit descended like a dove on Him when He was baptized. Before that, He was not God incarnate. Then, to bring their bizarre teaching full circle, He ceased to be God on the cross when He died and went to hell.
Benny Hinn says that once Jesus was in hell: “When He faced Satan, He face him as a man, as a full man. And if a man destroyed Satan, men can still destroy him.”
That’s why Word of Faith believers think they can go around binding Satan and his demons. But the bigger point here is that they believe Jesus spent time in Hell, helping to bring atonement for sins—an unbiblical view of atonement. Benny Hinn also promotes a wildly unbiblical view of Jesus as “begotten” of the Father. He claims that begotten means “born again.” Speaking of Christ in hell, Hinn says:
[quote] He’s in the underworld now. God isn’t there; the Holy Ghost isn’t there, and the Bible says He was begotten. Do you know what the word begotten means? It means reborn. . . .
Don’t let anyone deceive you, Jesus was reborn. You say, “What are you talking about?” Sir, please hear me. Did the Father leave Him? Come on, did the Father leave Him? . . .
That’s death. Did the Holy Ghost leave Him? . . .
That’s death. Did the Holy Ghost come back on resurrection morning? . . .
That’s rebirth. He was reborn. He had to be reborn. That’s—have you ever read the words begotten from the dead? Reborn from the dead as an example to me. If He was not reborn, I could not be reborn. Jesus was born again. You say, “Oh, really?” Let me prove it to you. He was dead spiritually. He died spiritually. Sir, when the Father leaves, you die. The Father left Him, yes or no? . . .
The Holy Ghost left Him, yes or no? . . .
That’s spiritual death. But when the Holy Ghost came back, He was begotten from the dead; He was born again. He was reborn. If he was not reborn, I would never be reborn. How can I face Jesus and say, “Jesus, You went through everything I’ve gone through except the new birth. I’ve got something You don’t know.” Uh-uh. Everything I’ve gone through, He went there first. [end quote]
To the contrary, biblical Christianity understands that Jesus died physically, but He did not die spiritually, but Word of Faith teaches that Jesus died both physically and spiritually, and then went to hell.
I suspect that Benny Hinn’s mention of the word begotten is a reference to John 1:14 which says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” But what is meant by begotten or only begotten of the father in this context? Benny Hinn argues that it means to be born again, but it absolutely does not. It is a perfect example of someone twisting Scripture to promote his own theological position. To combat such teachings is why I went to the trouble to write Twisted Scripture, Twisted Theology, in which I discuss 42 of the most commonly misused scriptures and show what they really mean.
In the notes on John 1:14 in John MacArthur’s study Bible, Dr. MacArthur offers an explanation of Benny Hinn’s teaching about what it means that Jesus was begotten. He believes that only begotten in the English text of this scripture is a mistranslation of the Greek word. The word does not come from the term meaning beget but instead conveys the idea of the only beloved one. It refers to the singular uniqueness of Christ’s being beloved of the Father like no other. So the word used in regard to the Father and the Son in the godhead does not connote origin but rather unique prominence.
Benny Hinn also uses another Scripture reference to support his ideas about Jesus’ “re-birth”: “Perhaps you’re familiar with this verse, begotten of the dead or begotten from the dead.” Although in this presentation, he doesn’t say what verse he’s quoting, I suspect he’s thinking of Revelation 1:5, which in the King James Version says, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness and the first begotten of the dead.” But Benny Hinn’s re-born concept is not what begotten of the dead means. Reading the same verse in the New King James reveals a better understanding: “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead.”
The word begotten, does not appear, and Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary explains why: “He—Jesus Christ—is the First-born from the dead, who will by his own power raise up his people” (emphasis mine).
In other words, we have the guarantee of spiritual resurrection because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. He is the preeminent and unique one, and because of Him, we will be spiritually alive and resurrected spiritually.
The “loopholes” in Word of Faith and NAR atonement theology leave the door open for uniting with the Church of Rome, but acceptance from places like Liberty University also helps. provides an excellent example. During the appearance of Liberty’s Ronald Godwin on Benny Hinn’s television program (mentioned in Chapter 8), a dialog between Godwin and Hinn
spelled out the relationship between Liberty, Hinn, and Dan Reber’s Institute: [Transcript]
HINN—Explain the connection between the University and the Institute.
GODWIN—Well, the Institute is Dan Reber’s organization. But the content that is produced and published by that Institute is recognized by Liberty University because it is of the highest quality. We’ve had our deans and our content experts evaluate it and assess it, and we find that while it’s offered by the Institute and not Liberty University, it is of such high quality, we’ve decided we’ll accept it and give you three credit hours for each of the surveys, if you transfer that credit into our school.
HINN—So, someone watching, they will take the studies from the Institute, and then they want to come to Liberty, or do it online, and you’ll give them the credits?
GODWIN—That’s right. And we’ll give them three credit hours for each of those courses.
HINN—Okay, now people may want to ask—they probably are asking—is the Institute like a branch of the University or totally separate?
GODWIN—Well, it’s a separate entity, but it is recognized and endorsed by Liberty University. [end of transcript]
In something less than a coincidence, within minutes of my sharing this information on one of my radio programs, Liberty University issues a press release that said:
[quote] Statement: Liberty not partnering with Hinn.
Liberty University is not partnering with Benny Hinn. Liberty transferred the operations of Liberty Home Bible Institute, a non-accredited biblical study certificate program, to Mr. Dan Reber a number of years ago. It’s also our understanding that LHBI’s new operators are working with Benny Hinn, but LHBI is no longer operated by Liberty University. Mr. Reber was granted certain licensing rights to use Liberty’s name because the Liberty name is deeply embedded in LHBI course materials. He was also required to obtain permission from Liberty University for any changes in marketing of the course, and Liberty University is investigating to determine whether this new marketing approach violates the terms of its agreement with Mr. Reber. [end quote]
Liberty University obviously wanted to distance itself from Benny Hinn, but it seems, at best, disingenuous when the “partnership” in question was discussed during a program on which the school’s senior vice president of academic affairs was a featured guest. Hinn certainly seems to think he’s working with the school. Benny Hinn’s 2009 book Blood in the Sand references Hinn as “founder of Benny Hinn School of Ministry, now with more than 11,000 students, offering a cooperative relationship with Liberty University in college-level studies” (emphasis mine).
Benny Hinn’s website is consistent with the statement in the book as it explains the result of taking the Institute course: “Upon completion of this course, you’ll receive a diploma from Liberty University.” This means Word of Faith false teachers can now gain credibility by hanging a Liberty University Bible Survey diploma on their wall. When evangelicals promote people such as Benny Hinn and Glenn Beck who deny a biblical atonement, this aids in the religious syncretism that will create a false global church.
Copyright 2015 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.