2 Timothy 3:1-3 KJV

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good”

Lance Goodall 20 May 2021

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This article is two for one.

Steven Furtick the ever popular North Carolina preacher of Elevation Church who has made a name for himself as the dynamic speaker has a heart to serve, but is being lead along by false views particularly espoused by men like T D Jakes. Furtick launched Elevation Church in 2006. He has a master of divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife have three children.

Is Megachurch Pastor Steven Furtick Denying the Traditional View of the Trinity?

In fact the teachings of men as ‘little gods’ and Modalism (god in three forms , not 3 persons) is a distinct T D Jakes teaching, at least in our day. We note that T D Jakes is now Furtick’s ‘go to guy’, and mentor.

Little Gods Theology

One of the most blasphemous teachings in Word Faith theology is their repugnant Mormon-like mythology that we are all “little gods.” Christian apologist Clete Hux explains:

Word-Faith teachers say that not only is God a big man, but man is a little god. Kenneth Hagin has asserted, “man…was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority…. He made us the same class of being that He is Himself…. He lived on terms equal with God…. The believer is called Christ, that’s who we are; we’re Christ” (Zoe: The God Kind of Life, pp. 35-36, 41).

“God’s reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself…He was not a little like God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even” (Copeland, Following the Faith of Abraham, 1989, Tape #01-3001). He also proclaims, “You don’t have a God in you ‹ you are one!” (Copeland, The Force of Love, 1987, Tape #02-0028).

Morris Cerillo says “the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself. …you’re not looking at Morris Cerillo, you’re looking at God, you’re looking at Jesus” (The End Time Manifestation of the Sons of God, Audio Tape 1, Sides 1 &;2). (source)

Mormonism, teaches the heresy that people can become gods in their own right. 

Roman Catholicism teaches what it calls the divinization of men: “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 3, Paragraph I, I:460), although the Catholic meaning is that believers are united with Christ through the Eucharist is still a distortion of the canon of scripture and biblical truth.

What has been popularly termed the “little god controversy” originated with Word of Faith pastors and teachers. The basic idea behind the controversy is that humans are actually divine, created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27) not only in having a soul, having dominion over the earth, or living in relationship with others, but by being of the same “spiritual class” as God Himself. Biblical theologians decry this concept as misguided at best, and heretical and cultic at worst.

The main tenet of Word of Faith is that, when we ask something of God in faith, He is compelled to fill the request. As “little gods,” our words have much power. This error is taught by some television evangelists, and its roots in Pentecostalism have made it more common in charismatic churches. The Word of Faith movement has a number of popular monikers including “name-it-claim-it,” “prosperity theology,” and “health and wealth gospel.”

God

There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Sourced from the potters house belief statement on 20 May 21

The basis for the “little gods” claim is found in two Scripture passages. Psalm 82:6 reads, “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’” Jesus quotes this psalm in John 10:34, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I have said you are gods’?” However, both of these passages include explanations in the immediate context that clearly do not indicate human divinity. Psalm 82:6 is followed by a warning that “you will all die like mere men, you will fall like every other ruler” (verse 7). The reference is to mortal men who represent God’s authority in the world—kings, judges, and magistrates. (Please see our article on Psalm 82:6.)

Psalm 82 is a warning to unjust leaders who consider themselves “gods” (Psalm 82:1) yet who “know nothing,” who “walk about in darkness” (Psalm 82:5). Jesus used this passage in response to those who accused Him of blasphemy. Essentially, Jesus asked why, when human rulers were called gods, “the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world” (John 10:36) was blaspheming by claiming to be God’s Son.

Claiming divinity for Christians is insupportable, especially taking the rest of the Bible into account. God is God alone (Isaiah 37:16). We have never been God, we are not God now, and we never will be God. Jesus was fully God and fully man (a combination called the hypostatic union). If the “little gods” hypothesis is accepted, it imputes to Jesus a lesser divinity of some kind; He became a “little god” like us. John said that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14), but this does not indicate “a lesser divinity.” Jesus took on human flesh and blood in order to die for our sins (Hebrews 2:14), yet He retained His full position in the Godhead. God created us with a spirit, but that spirit does not hold divine qualities.

Please read more about the image of God in us here.

[Excerpts from Crept In Unawares: Mysticism]

The following quote from Kenneth Copeland is the worst of the worst blasphemy, and should shake all from ever listening to his voice ever again.

He declared this heresy in a prophetic utterance allegedly from Jesus, “Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you are God…. They crucified Me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah. That’s what your doing.”1)

Robert Bowman references recent history of this heresy. “The ‘manifest sons of God’ doctrine is the view, taught by some of the Latter-Rain leaders in the 1950s, that Jesus was simply the prototype of many divine sons of God.”2) Sam Fife, a leading apostle of manifest Sons of God represents this pure Gnosticism. He had preached a doctrine of immortality, and “taught that the aging process had stopped for him and when asked his age, he would simply answer ‘I AM’. He assured people that he would never die but was in the process of being changed into a [sic] incorruptible life.”3)

Copeland’s Deification Doctrine

The numbers of similar ideas abound in charismatic circles today. Again, quoting Kenneth Copeland

And I say this with all respect, so that it don’t upset you too bad, but I say it anyways: When I read in the Bible where He [God] says, “I AM,” I just smile and say, “Yes, I Am too.”4)

Allowing Copeland to explain for himself, he has stated on the Trinity Broadcasting Network: “Am I a god? Man was created in the god class, was not created in the animal class, it was the gods class. He has a uniqueness about him that even angels do not have…Now Peter said by exceeding great and precious promises, you become partakers of the divine nature. Alright, are we gods? We are a class of gods…. God Himself spawned us from His innermost being.”5) God did not spawn man from Himself, but created us out of dirt. Being spawned from God’s innermost being would identify man as sharing in the very essence of God which is implied by Copeland.

Once again, we find similarities to Copeland’s teachings as to what is taught in Kabbalah. In an interview with Michael Berg, Rebecca Phillips explains, “To underscore the point, I often ask people the meaning of the biblical passage that says that man was created in God’s image. There aren’t many ways to explain it, except in that simplest form. It means that every one of us is built with the essence of God. Our soul is the essence of God, and that means that every single one of us has the potential to become like God and to heal, to bless, to do almost everything that God can do.”6) The Catholic Catechism also is to be understood in a false interpretation of man created in the “image of God” as Emil Brunner explains,

If, on the contrary, as in the Catholic tradition, the Imago Dei is conceived in the formal structural sense as the endowment with reason, as creative freedom, then Man possesses the Image of God in himselfThis view of the Imago Dei is the gate by which a pantheistic or an idealistic deification of man can enter. Man then possesses the divine reason in himself; his spirit is then a “spark” from the Divine Spirit.7)

Notice that the interpretation of being created in the image of God is endowment of a divine spark giving us the ability of creation. This idea is the core of the Word-Faith movement’s concept of men being co-creators as seen in Kenneth Copeland who literally has stated that we are the very same nature as God.

God is God, He is a Spirit… And He imparted in you when you were born again—Peter said it just as plain, he said, “We are partakers of the divine nature.” That nature is life eternal in absolute perfection. And that was imparted, injected into your spirit man, and you have that imparted into you by God just the same as you imparted into your child the nature of humanity. That child wasn’t born a whale! [It was] born a human. Isn’t that true?

   Well, now, you don’t have a human, do you? No, you are one. You don’t have a god in you. You are one.8)

Mary Baker Eddy’s teachings are consistent with this reasoning. “ Confirming that “Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.”10) She concludes, “Human philosophy has made God manlike. Christian Science makes man Godlike.”11) Pagan philosophers had done that many millennia before Mary Baker Eddy, she only followed the Gnostics of utilizing Christian terminology to restate what the ancient pagan philosophers presented.

Hagin’s Incarnation Doctrine

Kenneth Copeland has only mimicked what he heard from Kenneth Hagin. “Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”12) This repeats the thought from the Gnostic scripture The Gospel of Philip. “This person is no longer a Christian but is Christ.”13) Kenneth Hagin appears to quote this text. “Man was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority…. God has made us as much like Himself as possible…. He made us the same class of being that He is Himself…. Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God…. [T]he believer is called Christ….That’s who we are; we’re Christ!”14)

Hagin writes, “Originally, God made the earth and the fullness thereof, giving Adam dominion over all the works of His hands. In other words, Adam was the god of this world.”15) Charles Capps follows suit. “We were created to be gods over the earth, but remember to spell it with a little ‘g’.”16)

This all goes back to pre-Pentecostal preachers such as John G. Lake whose work is published today by Kenneth Copeland. John Lake taught, “The power of God, the Holy Ghost, is the Spirit of Dominion. It makes one a god.”17) In his preaching we find the root of Hagin’s theology of Christians being an incarnation. Lake said, “I want you to hear what Jesus said about himself. God was in Christ, wasn’t He? An incarnation. God is in you, an incarnation, if you were born again. You are incarnate.”18) He further elaborates his deification doctrine. “God’s purpose through Jesus Christ is to deify the nature of men.”19) The nature of man is actually deified in this theology, becoming one and the same essence as God, united to Him as the persons of the Trinity are one in essence. E.W. Kenyon admits just that. “Christian Science, Theosophy, New Thought and Modern Unitarianism teach, consciously or unconsciously, the Incarnation of the human family, that is they teach that every man has a God in him. If a man has God in him then he and God are in union, and if united, Incarnated.”20) Kenyon confirms, “The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”21)

Benny Hinn seems to be the only one to remember man was made from the dust of the earth only he follows through to the false conclusion as the rest. “God came to earth and touched a piece of dust and turned it into a God…. Are you a child of God? Then you’re divine! Are you a child of God? Then you’re not human!”29) 

[Excerpts from Crept In Unawares: Mysticism by Heath Henning is available for purchase here.]

Changing Forms – Changing Locations

See teaching from 24 – 30 min

I want to say that maybe Furtick didn’t mean for it to sound the way it sounds, but it is a little hard to ignore when he says, “I am changing forms”, and more than once.

Even if it was a mistake, this is a clip that has been pulled out of an entire sermon and been used on Furtick’s social media accounts. If you realized you said something that sounds like heresy, wouldn’t you have it taken down?

Sadly, these types of clips are becoming common occurrences with Furtick to the point where it would be hard to argue they are accidents or missteps. Note these type of statements are never clarified so that we assume he believes it, rather than is just the poor choice of words or English usage.

We have to be careful what we are teaching from the pulpit because Scripture tells pastors they will be held accountable for it. They are leading sheep—in Furtick’s case, a lot of sheep. Pastor’s are responsible to rightly handle the word.

What I am not doing in writing this is making a judgment of Steven Furtick’s status before God because that is certainly not my place. What I am unapologetically doing is encouraging you to quit listening to him. I am encouraging you to walk away, ignore, and not to give him your endorsement. Even if these are all mistakes or accidents and we are being extremely charitable, ask yourself, “Why would I invest my time, energy, and attention in a teacher who is not rightly handling the Word of God and teaching me what it says?”

According to a post from Reformation Charlotte, a group of evangelists, journalists and apologists in North Carolina, a recent sermon from Furtick – a pastor at Elevation Church – shows that he has rejected the orthodox view of the Trinity and instead is embracing modalism, where God is one person who has revealed himself in three forms at separate times.

Modalism says that God is a single person who has manifested as Father, then later the Son, and finally the Holy Spirit. Modalism is unlike the belief in the Trinity, where God exists as all three persons at once.

Steven Furtick shows more clearly that he is heretic. He preaches a false prosperity gospel and milks his congregation for money.

He has made absurd claims about not only the Scriptures but God himself such as claiming that God reflects his image (rather than man reflecting God’s image), that without man, God is just an abstract concept, and denies God’s sovereignty over His own plans.

But until recently, it was at least thought that Furtick had an orthodox view of the Trinity.

But, apparently not, as Furtick has spent far too much time around modalistic heretic, T.D. Jakes.

Seemingly, Furtick now embraces the same heresy that Jakes affirms, rejecting the orthodox view of the Trinity that teaches three distinct, co-equal, co-eternal persons of one substance, and instead replaces three distinct persons with three separate manifestations that do not co-exist simultaneously but instead changes forms at different times.

During a recent sermon Furtick preaches, Furtick, twisting John 16:7, says that Jesus is not leaving you, but changing forms.” He then goes on to say “up until now I have walked with you, But when I send my spirit, I will be in you.”

This is exactly not what this passage teaches. Instead, Furtick twists it to promote a doctrine that was condemned by the Church as early as the third century by Tertullian and later systematized by the Church through creeds such as Athanasian and Nicene

In the sermon, Furtick quotes John 16:7, which says, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.”

“How could you say something like that Jesus?” Furtick says. “How could you say it is good that you are going away? We followed you. We trusted you and now you are leaving us.

“No, I am not leaving you,” Furtick adds. I am changing forms. Up until now I have walked with you, but when I send my spirit I will be in you, so I am not leaving you, I’m just changing locations.

The coalition wrote in its post that Furtick “twisted” the passage to promote modalist doctrine.

According to the Elevation Church website, it seems the church believes that, in regard to the Holy Trinity, “God has existed in relationship with Himself for all eternity. He exists as one substance in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Although each member of the Trinity serves different functions, they each possess equal power and authority.”

This isn’t the first time Furtick has drawn criticism. Some have also pointed to what they call false teaching in Furtick’s messages, while others have pointed to his multi-million dollar home and expensive shoes.

Video courtesy: Elevation Church

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Sources:

https://www.apprising.org/2012/12/28/joyce-meyer-and-t-d-jakes-teaching-word-faith-little-gods-doctrine/

https://www.gotquestions.org/little-gods.html

The “little gods” Word of Faith Heresy

https://camlhyde.com/blog/2020/3/5/its-time-to-walk-away-from-steven-furtick

https://reformationcharlotte.org/2020/03/04/steven-furtick-denies-orthodox-view-of-trinity-embraces-modalism-heresy/

https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/is-megachurch-pastor-steven-furtick-denying-the-traditional-view-of-the-trinity.html