By Brannon S. Howse
The “non-Jesus” of Benny Hinn shows up in his teaching that:
[quote] When Jesus was on earth the Bible says that first he disrobed himself from the divine form. He the limitless God became man that we men may become as he is. . . . The new creation is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. The new man is after God like God, God-like, complete in Christ Jesus. The new creation is just like God. [end quote]
And to make the Jesus he teaches is even less like the Jesus of the Bible, he extends to us the opportunity to be like God when Hinn declares:
[quote] “May I say it like this? You are a little god on earth running around.” [end quote]
This is humanism, not biblical Christianity. Hinn suggests that Jesus modeled a pattern that we can follow, but Scripture teaches that we can do nothing for ourselves to become like God or acceptable to Him.
In addition, Word of Faithers, Kenneth Copeland among them, find a variety of ways to misconstrue Jesus. Copeland clearly does not teach the Jesus of the Bible when he says:
[quote] Why didn’t Jesus openly proclaim himself as God during his 33 years on earth? For one single reason: he hadn’t come to earth as God. He’s come as a man. . . . [Most Christians] mistakenly think Jesus was able to work wonders, perform miracles and live above sin because he had divine powers that we don’t have. Thus, they’d never really aspired to live like he lived. They don’t realize that when Jesus came to earth he voluntarily gave up that advantage, living his life here not as God but as a man. He had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after he was anointed by the Holy Spirit. [end quote]
The Word of Faith teaching that Jesus came to earth as a man and later became God is an ancient heresy known as Arianism. It’s named after Arius who lived around 300 A.D. Arius taught that Jesus came to earth as a man and later became God, an idea also known as kenotic theology. This was first recognized as an unbiblical teaching nearly 1700 years ago, so it is nothing new.
Christians should know better than to accept such an idea, but as so often happens in a situation like this, teachers dupe people by twisting Scripture. In this case, the scripture most often twisted is Philippians 2:6-7, which says of Jesus, “who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made himself of no reputation taking the form of a bond servant and coming in the likeness of men.” They say Jesus “disrobed” Himself of being divine and came to earth as a man. But if you look closely, you’ll see that this passage actually shows the very opposite. It says forthrightly that Jesus was “in the form of God.” He was in the form of God because He is God. False teachers skip over that and say He came to earth as a bondservant, coming in the likeness of men, so they can promote their pet theology of personal power. The truth is that Jesus came as man, but He was 100 percent man and 100 percent God. The tension of this seeming paradox is written in the Scriptures. Can you be 200 percent of something? No. We don’t understand it in our human minds. But it's taught in the Bible. Jesus never ceased to be God.
In his New Testament commentary on Philippians 2:6-7, John MacArthur offers a wonderful explanation of this truth:
[quote] Jesus Christ emptied himself completely of every vestige of advantage and privilege, refusing to assert any divine right on his own behalf. He who created and owned everything forsook everything. It must also be kept in mind that Jesus emptied himself only of certain aspects of his prerogatives of deity. Not of deity itself; he was never anything and never will be anything but fully and eternally God as Paul was careful to state in the previous verse, “Being in the form of God,” which we just discussed. [end quote]
McArthur goes on to say all four gospels make it clear that Jesus did not forsake His divine power to perform miracles, to forgive sin, or to know the minds and hearts of people. Had He stopped being God, He could not have died for the sins of the world. He would have perished on the cross and remained in the grave with no power to conquer sin or death.
Colossians 2:9 affirms this in speaking of Christ: “For in him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily.” Jesus Christ came to earth, fully God and fully man.
The Church of Rome also teaches a different Jesus, but Catholicism has another approach to its false teaching. The Roman Catholic “different Jesus” is seen most clearly in the practice called transubstantiation, the belief that during the Eucharist, the wafer literally becomes the body of Christ and the wine literally becomes the blood of Christ. A Catholic Church in Wichita, Kansas, explains in a Youtube video what happens in the Eucharist:
[quote] Father asks for the Holy Spirit to descend on the gifts of bread and wine. Father consecrates or changes the bread into the body of Christ. Father lifts the host for all to see and adore. Father consecrates the wine into the blood of Christ. Father lifts the chalice for all to see and adore. [end quote]
And where do they come up with this? By twisting Scripture, of course. They take John 6:54—“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day”—out of context. An article called “The Eucharist, the Body of Christ” on the catholicexchange.com website explains the Roman Catholic view of the Lord’s Supper:
[quote] The appearances of bread and wine stay the same. But the very essence of these realities which can’t be viewed by a microscope is totally transformed. What was once bread and wine are now Christ’s body and blood. A handy word was coined to describe this unique change, transformation of the substance which stands under the surface came to be called transubstantiation. [end quote]
Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott explains it this way: “The body and the blood of Christ together with his soul and his divinity and therefore the whole Christ are truly present in the Eucharist.” And the Catholic Encyclopedia provides this summary statement: “The quintessence of these doctrinal decisions consist in this, that in the Eucharist the body and blood of the god-man are truly really and substantially present.”
By their own description, this is not the Jesus of the Bible. Nowhere in Scripture do we see that Christ is offered up over and over through the communion as a way of forgiving or absolving sins or offering atonement. This change of substances is not what the Bible teaches. It teaches that Christ laid down his life as a ransom for sinners one time, and He declared, “It is finished.” Our debt was paid in full. Christ does not have to be slaughtered over and over as the literal body and blood of Christ in the Roman Catholic communion.
The Lord’s Table is not a way of atonement and forgiving or absolving sins, as the Church of Rome teaches. That is not what communion is for true believers. First Corinthians 11:18 explains the key to understanding who communion is for, as it says, “when you come together as a church” (emphasis mine). It is for believers, the Church, or called out ones. These people have already died to self and been made alive through faith and repentance in Christ alone. They’re not unbelievers who need to be forgiven of sins once again.
Believers do confess sins, of course, but it is so that we have a right standing in communion and fellowship with God. The communion as observed correctly and biblically is an observance and remembering what Christ did for us in a death, burial, and resurrection. It is not a process by which sins are forgiven or Christ is slaughtered once again.
The problem with the Roman Catholic use of John 6:54 is that Jesus is using figurative, spiritual language. He was speaking before the establishment of communion. It takes place prior to the Last Supper. Jesus also says in this passage that “I will raise them up at the last day.” He’s using spiritual talk about the literal spiritual resurrection that we have in Christ. He isn’t talking about eating the flesh or drinking the blood of Christ. In John 16:25, in fact, Jesus specifically tells His disciples that He sometimes uses figurative language: “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language. But the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language.” That’s what He’s doing in John 6:54 when He speaks of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. So transubstantiation is not in the Bible. The Roman Catholics may end up with an unbiblical Jesus in a different way than Word of Faith and NAR, but nevertheless, theirs is not the Jesus of the Bible.
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.