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Sermon No: 10916-Calvinism and Arminianism - Part 6a - The atonement



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SERMON TOPIC: Calvinism and Arminianism - Part 6a - The atonement

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 22 January 2017

Topic Groups: IT IS FINISHED, HERESY, ATONEMENT

Sermon synopsis: One early theory of the atonement is called the Ransom Theory. It was propagated particularly in the work of Origen. The idea is that the death of Christ was a ransom sacrifice in satisfaction for the bondage and debt on the souls of humanity as a result of inherited sin. But who was the ransom paid to? Origen and Gregory of Nyssa believed it was owed to Satan!

Yet many in the Word-Faith Movement teach a modern-day variation of the Ransom to Satan Theory, that is far more extreme and perverse than its predecessor. They contend that Jesus died physi­cally on the cross but this was not sufficient for the atonement. Jesus had to die spiritually as well. He did this by taking on a Satanic nature and then descended into hell after his death, where he was tormented by Satan and all his demons. This torture was the ransom that God paid to Satan. Because Jesus “died spiritually” he had to be “born again” in hell, at which point he rose from the grave. According to Hagin, by being “born again”, the believer becomes “as much an incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth”. This is one of the most flawed views on the Atonement.

Although Arminians and some Calvinists (5-point) disagree on the extent of the Atonement, they generally agree that - while the Penal Substitution model may not be the only valid view of Atonement - it is the best. We agree that Jesus was a substitute for man - by repaying our debt owed to God, not Satan. We also agree that sin was atoned for by the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross, not by demonic torture in hell.
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ARMINIANISM

& CALVINISM

PART 6a

THE ATONEMENT

DEFINITION: The English word atonement is one of the few theological terms of English origin. It was coined by William Tyndale and originally meant at---one---ment i.e. being “to make one”, in harmony, with someone.

VIEWS ON ATONEMENT

Theories

Champion

Date

Proponents

Recapitulation

Irenaeus? / Athanasius

2nd C / 4th C

Early church, Eastern Orthodox

Ransom

Origen / Gregory of Nyssa

3rd C / 4th C

Early church

Satisfaction

Anselm

11th C

Catholics

Moral influence

Peter Abelard

12th C

Modern liberals

Penal substitution

Reformers

15th C

Lutheran, Calvinist & Arminian Protestants

Governmental

Hugo Grotius

17th C

Some Arminian Protestants

Christus Victor

Gustaf Aulén

20th C

Early church?

Ransom (modified)

Kenyon, Hagin (Snr), Copeland

20th C

Word-Faith

One early theory of the atonement is called the Ransom Theory. It was propagated particularly in the work of Origen.

The idea is that the death of Christ was a ransom sacrifice in satisfaction for the bondage and debt on the souls of humanity as a result of inherited sin.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom (Greek: lytron) for many.”

Lytron: a redemption price, the purchasing money for freeing slaves, a ransom, the sacrifice by which reparation for guilt is effected

RANSOM THEORY

But who was the ransom paid to? Origen and Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 - c. 395) believed it was owed to Satan!

Origen (185-254 AD) contended that:

Now it was the devil who held us, to whom we had been sold by our sins. Therefore, he demanded the blood of Jesus as our price. 1

To whom did Christ give his life a ransom for many? Certainly not to God. Could it then be to the evil one? For he was holding us fast until the ransom should be given him—that is, the life of Jesus—being deceived with the idea that he could have dominion over it, and not seeing that he could not bear the torture in retaining it. 2

1 Homilies in Romans, 2:13 2 Commentary on Matthew 16:8.

WHO GETS PAID?

So the view teaches that Christ’s death was a ransom sacrifice, usually said to have been paid to Satan or to death itself, in some views paid to God, as compensation for the debt of humanity as a result of inherited sin.

Essentially, this theory claimed that Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall; hence, justice required that God pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil’s clutches. God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ’s death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil accepted Christ’s death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan’s grip. 1

1  Robin Collins, Understanding Atonement: A New and Orthodox Theory

WHO GETS PAID?

Gregory of Nyssa believed that God tricked Satan by hiding Christ’s deity under his flesh. Jesus then offered himself as a ransom and as a result, Satan lost both his victims and Christ.

In order to be sure that the ransom on our behalf might be easily accepted by Satan who required it, the deity of Christ was hidden under the veil of our human nature. Thus, as with hungry fish, the hook of the deity would be gulped down along with the bait of flesh. In this way, life would be introduced into the house of death, and light would shine in the darkness. And so that which is diametrically opposed to light and life would vanish. For it is not the nature of darkness to remain when light is present, nor of death to exist when life is active. 1

1 The Great Catechism 22-23, in Nicene and PostNicene Fathers

JESUS AS BAIT

It is clear that a price was indeed paid by Jesus to redeem us:

Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Acts 20:28b Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Rev 5:9b “… with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

1 Cor 6:20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.

RANSOM THEORY

But some rejected the notion that anything was owed to Satan.

Gregory of Nazianzus, a 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople, vigorously denied that Christ was a ransom paid to the devil.

John of Damascus (AD 676-749) agreed that Christ paid a ransom for fallen humanity by his death, but held that the ransom was given to God the Father, because the sin of humanity had been committed against him. 1

Presently the Ransom to Satan view of atonement is not widely accepted by Christians, except by some Anabaptist peace churches and some figures in the Word of Faith movement.

1 Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 3.27.

RANSOM THEORY

The Ransom theory only has merit for those who believe that the ransom was payable to God. In fact the “ransom” is mentioned in context of Christ’s mediation work between God and man.

1 Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

The purpose of the atonement is to save us from God’s wrath, not Satan’s.

John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

RANSOM THEORY

Yet many in the Word-Faith Movement 1 teach a modern-day variation of the Ransom to Satan Theory, that is far more extreme and perverse than its predecessor.

E.W. Kenyon, the major influence on the Word-Faith movement, taught that the blood of Christ did not affect the sin issue at all! He also declares, as does the movement he inspired, that Jesus’ physical death was only the beginning of the redemptive work.

While Copeland and Hagin do not totally discount the cross from being a part of the atonement, they don’t believe it alone was sufficient to complete redemption. Instead, like Kenyon, they teach that redemption was a process completed in hell.

1 E.g. Kenneth Hagin Senior, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Frederick Price, Charles Capps and Joyce Meyer.

RANSOM THEORY

They contend that Jesus died physi­cally on the cross but this was not sufficient for the atonement.

Jesus had to die spiritually as well. He did this by taking on a Satanic nature and then descended into hell after his death, where he was tormented by Satan and all his demons.

This torture was the ransom that God paid to Satan.

Because Jesus “died spiritually” he had to be “born again” in hell, at which point he rose from the grave.

According to Hagin, by being “born again”, the believer becomes “as much an incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth”. 1

This is one of the most flawed views on the Atonement.

1 “The Virgin Birth” in Word of Faith Magazine (Dec 1977)

RANSOM THEORY

The debt was owed to God, not the devil.

In the model prayer, sin is expressed as a debt to God.

Matt 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt 18), Jesus compared a servant owing a great debt to his master - to us requiring God to forgive us a debt (of sin).

DEBT TO GOD

OT sin sacrifices were made to God, not the devil. E.g. Noah sacrificed to God, to appease his wrath after his judgement.

Gen 8:20-21 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and… he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”

DEBT TO GOD

The priests offered sin sacrifices (of which the cross was the fulfilment) to God.

Lev 14:19-20 “Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from his uncleanness. After that, the priest shall slaughter the burnt offering and offer it on the altar… and make atonement for him, and he will be clean.”

DEBT TO GOD

The whole idea of a ransom sacrifice paid to Satan is totally at odds with the Book of Hebrews. The Bible never talks of Jesus being tortured in hell as a payment to Satan. But it does portray Jesus in the heavenly temple offering himself as a sacrifice to God.

Heb 9:23-26 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence… But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

DEBT TO GOD

The Penal Substitution theory of Atonement correctly teaches that Jesus died to satisfy God’s wrath, not Satan’s:

1 Cor 5:9-10 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.

So Jesus didn’t have to be tortured by Satan as part of the Atonement.

DEBT TO GOD

The claim that Jesus’ physical death was insufficient and that he had to die spiritually is untrue.

Kenneth Hagin states: “He (Jesus) tasted spiritual death for every man. And His spirit and inner man went to hell in my place. Can’t you see that? Physical death wouldn’t remove your sins.” 1 Copeland says, “When His blood poured out it did not atone.” 2

But the Bible says:

1 John 1:7 … and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Rev 1:5bTo him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.

1 How Jesus obtained his name tape # 44HO1 side 1 2 Kenneth Copeland: From a personal letter to D.R.McConnell, dated 12/ 3/ 79. Cited in A Different Gospel, p.120

PHYSICAL DEATH

E.W. Kenyon wrote “We have sung ‘Nearer the cross’ and we have prayed that we might be ‘Nearer the cross’ but the cross has no salvation in it. It is a place of failure and defeat”. 1

Col 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Gal 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…

1 Advanced Bible Course, p.279

PHYSICAL DEATH

Jesus himself instituted the Communion service, where we remember his body and blood (i.e. physical death) as being the vehicle for bringing about forgiveness of sin – not spiritual death by means of torture by the devil.

PHYSICAL DEATH

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt 26:28)

The symbols of our New Covenant by which we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26) are the bread and wine – symbols of Jesus’ physical body (his flesh and blood).

It was his physical death that gives us life. Jesus says in John 6:51 “This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Heb 9:22 says that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (ESV).

PHYSICAL DEATH

The Bible never speaks of our redemption being accomplished in hell, or even as a process completed in hell – it only refers to the blood of Jesus shed on the cross as washing us from sin.

Redemption was accomplished on the cross through the physical (i.e. flesh) suffering and death.

Eph 2:14-16 (NASB) For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

PHYSICAL DEATH

Copeland says: “Now it wasn’t the physical death on the cross that paid the price for sins, because if it had’ve been, any prophet of God that had died for the last couple of thousand years before that could’ve paid that price. It wasn’t the physical death. Anybody could do that.”

Frederick Price has this to say, “Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell and to serve time in hell separated from God....” 1

The real reason no one else could pay for sin wasn’t because physical death was inadequate; it was because they were not sinless – it would be a blemished sacrifice.

1 Ever Increasing Faith Messenger

PHYSICAL DEATH

Peter uses the OT imagery of a sin sacrifice made with an unblemished lamb to speak of Jesus’ death.

1 Pet 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Scripture is clear; Jesus’ death on the cross was the atonement for sin and “his blood availed for me” because he was sinless.

1 John 3:5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.

PHYSICAL DEATH

Reconciliation with God was accomplished on the cross.

Col 1:19-20 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

In 1 Cor 15:3-4 Paul gives us the Gospel in a nutshell:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: (1) that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (2) that he was buried, (3) that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

Listing the steps Christ went through to redeem man, the Word-Faith atonement concepts are conspicuous by their absence - No mention made of an alleged descent and torment in hell!

PHYSICAL DEATH

Jesus took on a Satanic nature when he died spiritually.

Hagin: “... just as receiving eternal life means that we have the nature of God in us, spiritual death means having Satan’s nature.” 1

Copeland: “Why do you think Moses, upon instruction of God, raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That use to bug me. I said, ‘… Why didn’t you put a lamb on that pole?' And the Lord said, ‘Because it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.’” 2

Benny Hinn: “… the serpent is a symbol of Satan. Jesus Christ knew the only way he would stop Satan was by becoming one in nature with him.” 3

SPIRITUAL DEATH

1 K. Hagin, 1966 “Redeemed” pg 29 2 Tape - “What Happened From the Cross to the Throne?” 3 Benny Hinn broadcast on TBN, 15 Dec 1990

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up” (John 3:14) – the analogy Jesus is making is that both were “lifted up” not that he would become the serpent. In fact John clarifies the “lifting up” analogy by saying “He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die” (12:33) i.e. crucifixion.

SPIRITUAL DEATH

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us” (2 Cor 5:21) does not mean that Jesus took on a Satanic nature, but that God legally imputed our sin to Jesus (Isa 53:11 “… he will bear their iniquities”) as with the lamb in the OT sacrifice. So God treated Christ as if he were a sinner, just as he now treats believers as if they have never sinned.

The sin was not his own but he “was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many…” (Isa 53:12).

SPIRITUAL DEATH

Jesus never went to hell.

By saying “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43), Jesus showed that he never went to hell.

Some try and claim that Jesus was saying, “Truly I tell you today - you will be with me in paradise.” i.e. he was pointing out that he was speaking today (as opposed to speaking yesterday or tomorrow?).

Imagine you ask if you can come visit me and I say “I tell you today you can come and see me.” You arrive to find I’m not at home. When you ask for an explanation you find out that I didn’t mean I was at home today – I was just making a statement that you could in theory visit me – and I felt the need to state the obvious by highlighting out that my reply was made today?

JESUS IN HELL?

When Jesus takes the sin of the world he initially cries “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46).

But later Jesus’ relationship with the Father was restored before he died and thus he cries, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46) – hardly fitting for someone headed for hell. Note who his spirit is committed to - God.

A verse used to support this erroneous view is the flawed KJV rendering of Acts 2:27 “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell…” a verse which applies to Jesus. The word translated hell is actually “Hades” in Greek. The NASB rendering is “because you will not abandon my soul to Hades”.

JESUS IN HELL?

But we know from the account of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16) that Hades considered of 2 compartments, one for the righteous and the other for the wicked – separated by a “great chasm”.

Luke 16:22-23 (ESV) The poor man died and was carried

by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

The same applies to Rom 10:7 (ESV) “’Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)”. Although rendered “the depths” in many English versions the Greek word “abysson” here is the abyss – the equivalent of Hades, originally consisting of both hell and paradise.

1 Pet 3:18-20 (ESV) “For Christ also suffered once for sins… being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah…”

This proclamation (not “preaching”) to the wicked spirits does not necessitate Jesus going to the “hell” part of Hades - Luke 16 indicates that communication was possible between the righteous (Abraham) and the wicked (rich man).

JESUS IN HELL?

So Jesus was not dragged down into hell as a prisoner to suffer. Instead as a victor he proclaimed the defeat over Satan and sin to those in hell – and this he could have done from the paradise portion of Hades, just as Abraham proclaimed spiritual truth to the rich man in hell, while being in paradise himself (Luke 16:25).

Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

JESUS IN HELL?

By saying “It is finished” (John 19:30) before he died, Jesus indicated that the atonement was completed on the cross. (Word-Faith teachers allege that he was referring to his life being finished, while Copeland claims it refers to the Abrahamic Covenant being finished?)

“It is finished” is a single Greek word tetelestai (τετέλεσται) which means “paid in full.”

John Walvoord writes, “Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning ‘paid in full’… When he said, ‘It is finished’ (not ‘I am finished’), He meant his redemptive work was completed. He had been made sin for people (2 Cor. 5:21) and had suffered the penalty of God’s justice which sin deserved.” 1

1 “The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures 2:340

JESUS IN HELL?

So the word “tetelestai” was used regarding paying a legal debt. Jesus effectively cries out:

PAID IN FULL!

This is confirmed by Paul in to Col 2:14, where he writes that Jesus cancelled the debt and the record completely on the cross. I have no legal demands on me.

Col 2:14 (ESV) by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

The Bible constantly speaks of our salvation being accomplished on the cross (the place of sacrifice), not in hell!

JESUS IN HELL?

As Jesus died “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt 27:52), signifying that the way was made open to the Holy of Holies i.e. man’s fellowship was restored with God.

Heb 10:19-20 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body

JESUS IN HELL?

Jesus couldn’t be tortured by Satan in hell, because Satan isn’t there yet – and he’s not the caretaker.

Despite the absence of any mention in Scripture we get very graphic depictions of Jesus’ time in hell e.g.

Copeland: “The emaciated Spirit body of Jesus was dragged up and down the corridors of hell.”

Frederick Price: “Satan and all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound and they threw a net over Jesus and they dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence.” 1

1 Ever Increasing Faith Messenger

SATAN IN HELL?

It is evident that the whole demon host, when they saw Jesus in their power simply intended to swamp Him, overwhelm Him, and they held Him in fearful bondage until the cry came forth from the throne of God that Jesus had met the demands of justice; that the sin problem was settled and man's redemption was a fact. When this cry reached the dark regions, Jesus rose and hurled back the host of darkness, and met Satan in awful combat. 2

It is quite obvious and evident that whole demon hosts, when they had Jesus within their power intended to swamp Him, to overwhelm Him, and to hold Him in fearful bondage. But the cry came forth from the throne of God that Jesus had met the demands of Justice, that the sin problem had been settled, that man’s redemption was a fact. And when that cry reached the dark regions, Jesus arose and threw back the host of demons and met Satan in awful combat. 1

1 Hagin (1976) “The Name Of Jesus: The More Excellent Name”; The Word of Faith 2 Kenyon (1927) “The Wonderful Name Of Jesus”

SATAN IN HELL?

It is quite obvious and evident that once again Hagin plagiarised Kenyon’s work here.

But Satan is not currently in hell. He wants to be in hell as much as you and I want to be there. He is only thrown into the Abyss in the future Millennium (Rev 20).

He is “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Eph 2:2)

Jesus calls him “the prince of this world” (John 14:29).

He still “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8).

He is depicted as still having access to heaven as the accuser of the saints (Job 1-2, Luke 22:31, Rev 12:10).

SATAN IN HELL?

He doesn’t spend the night in hell either. When he’s not in the Divine Council in heaven, he wanders the earth.

SATAN IN HELL?

Job 1:7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Neither are the demons in hell. In fact the demons begged Jesus not to send them to hell “before the appointed time”.

DEMONS IN HELL?

Luke 8:31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time? (Matt 8:29)

Demons either inhabit people’s bodies or wander the earth when driven out, indicating that they still have freedom of movement on earth – not in hell. The body of the host is referred to as its “house” – not an apartment in hell.

Matt 12:43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.”

DEMONS IN HELL?

Satan and demons do not punish and torture people in hell. They will ultimately be sent there to be punished themselves.

Matt 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”

But Copeland claims, “He allowed the Devil to drag Him into the depths of Hell as if He were the most wicked sinner who ever lived… He allowed Himself to come under Satan's control....”

Satan puts no one in hell. God assigns sinners there. Jesus says, “Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell…” (Matt 10:28 NLT)

1 Believer’s Voice of Victory

SATAN IN HELL?

Is it correct to speak out against false teachers like this? Well Copeland claims that those who oppose his teaching are in danger of being struck down by God. In commenting on one minister who rigidly opposed the teaching, he states: “That fellow is dead today. Now I said that to warn you. Don’t criticize people for preaching (Identification). If you don’t understand it, keep your mouth shut and pray.”

It’s not a matter of not understanding it - it’s precisely because we do understand what he is saying that we condemn it as unbiblical and heretical.

Rather than advising people who disagree with us to “keep your mouth shut and pray”, we should refer them to the Word of God. The Bereans were commended by Luke because they “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

OPPOSING HERESY

Jesus denounced the Pharisees and their teaching in strong terms (Matt 23), calling them “vipers”.

Paul spoke out against Hymenaeus and Alexander who “suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith” (1 Tim 1:19-20). And he says that of Hymenaeus and Philetus that “Their teaching will spread like gangrene” (2 Tim 2:17).

Jesus denounces a prophetess he dubs “Jezebel” in the church at Thyatira, because “By her teaching she misleads my servants” (Rev 2:20). He likewise condemns “those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans” at the church in Pergamum (Rev 2:15).

OPPOSING HERESY

Jesus was not born again in hell in same way that believers are “born again”. We are not incarnations of God.

Hagin wrote that God “made us in the same class of being that he is himself,” and that the believer is “called Christ” because “that’s who we are, we’re Christ!” 1 Like Kenyon, he reasoned that humans are made in God’s image. As God is spirit, humans must essentially be spirit also and “in God’s class” 2 and thereby ‘gods’. 4

Copeland says Adam was “not a little like God... not almost like God...” 5 He has told believers that “You don’t have a God in you. You are one.”

1 Zoe: The God-Kind of Life 2 Kenyon – “The Father and His Family and “What Happened from the Cross to the Throne” 4 New Thresholds of Faith 5 “Following the Faith of Abraham: (teaching tape, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989)

LITTLE GODS?

A video clip of Creflo Dollar teaching contains this dialogue:

Dollar: “If dogs get together, they produce what?” Congregation: “Dogs!” Dollar: “If cats get together, they produce what?” Congregation: “Cats!” Dollar: “So if the Godhead says ‘Let us make man in our image’, and everything produces after its own kind, then they produce what?” Congregation: “gods!” Dollar: “gods. Little ‘g’ gods. You’re not human. Only human part of you is this flesh you’re wearing.” 1

1 https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Word_of_Faith NOTE: Critics like Matt Slick and W. Gary Phillips believe using scriptures Psalms 82:6 and John 10:34, where it is said that men are gods, is using these Scriptures out of context. These verses are addressed to the judges of Israel where they were called gods, not because they were divine, but because they represented God when they judged the people.

LITTLE GODS?

Dollar claims that we have equality with God:

In Philippians chapter 2, I want you to look at verse 5…. ‘Let this mind, let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.’ So now, what mind, what attitude is it that you want me to make sure that this same attitude is in me?… ‘Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God.’…Now, if I’m to take what he said here and put it on, then my whole attitude now should be I have equality with God… Now somebody says, well it’s hard to think that way. Well, keep saying it… Talk yourself into it.’” 1

This is twisting Scripture. The attitude Paul says should be in us is humility - although Jesus was equal with God, he “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…”

1 Believer’s Voice of Victory, TBN, May 23, 2002 - in conversation with Copeland

LITTLE GODS?

God says, “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me” (Isa 43:10). The Bible is quite clear on the origin of the doctrine that man can be as God (Gen 3:5).

LITTLE GODS?

… you will be like God…

Because we are born again, in the same manner that Jesus was allegedly “born again”, Benny Hinn says:

When you were born again the Word was made flesh in you. And you became flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. Don’t tell me you have Jesus. You are everything He was and everything He is and ever shall be.... It (the new man) says, “I am as He is.” That's what it says.. As He is, so are we in this world. Jesus said, “Go in My name, go in My stead.” Don’t say, “I have.” Say, “I am, I am, I am, I am, I am.” 1

But the most blasphemous statement of all comes from Copeland, who claims that he personally could have redeemed mankind. 2

1 B. Hinn, 1991, audiotape “Our Position in Christ #2-The Word Made Flesh” 2 K. Copeland Ministries, 1989, audiotape “Substitution and Identification”

LITTLE GODS?

To add more weight, Copeland has God endorsing his view:

The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, “Son, realize this. Now follow me in this and don’t let your tradition trip you up.” He said, “Think this way--a twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.” And I threw my Bible down… like that. I said, “What?” He said, “A born-again man defeated Satan, the firstborn of many brethren defeated him.” He said, “You are the very image, the very copy of that one.” I said, “Goodness, gracious sakes alive!” And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said, “Well now you don’t mean, you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?” He said, “Oh yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could’ve done the same thing, cause you’re a reborn man too.”

LITTLE GODS?

So besides threatening people that God might kill them if they preach against his doctrine, Copeland adapts another strategy to make his view more compelling. Instead of saying “This is how I understand Scripture”, he has God personally relating the teaching to him. The implication is that if you reject the doctrine – you’re not rejecting him – but God. I find it interesting how God speaks just like an American, complete with an “Oh yeah” thrown in.

But we believe in “Sola Scriptura”. The doctrine of Atonement must be based on Scripture, not on supposed new revelation delivered personally by God. In reality the doctrine of atonement in hell was plagiarised from E.W. Kenyon, who in turn borrowed the initial idea from Origen. The Bible says nothing about Jesus being tortured by Satan or Jesus being “born again” in hell.

LITTLE GODS?

This is the Biblical sequence of events between the cross and the resurrection.

On the cross Jesus initially addresses God as “Father” - “Father forgive them…” (Luke 23:34).

He then suffers for us as the sin of the world is imputed to him. At this point the Father turns his back on his Son. Jesus cries “My God… why have you forsaken me?”) and there are 3 hours of darkness.

ON THE CROSS

Once the sacrifice is complete, Jesus says “It is finished!” or “Paid in full!” (John 19:30).

His relationship with the Father is restored, because he cries “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

ON THE CROSS

He then descends into paradise – “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Paradise is then located in the heart of the earth and he is there for 3 days.

“… the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights” (Matt 12:40)

“… ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)”. Rom 10:7 (ESV)

He is in the “paradise” part of Hades, as described in Luke 16, with Abraham. Here all the OT saints are – they could not go to heaven because their sins are not yet paid for. Thus the righteous Jacob says “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning…” (Gen 37:35). Sheol (Hebrew) is rendered “Hades” in the Greek Septuagint.

IN PARADISE

Jesus proclaims the victory of the cross to the wicked spirits.

1 Pet 3:20 (ESV) “… he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah…” 1

The fact that “the days of Noah” are mentioned may be a reference to the fallen “Watcher” angels of Genesis 6, who fathered the Nephilim and who were cast into the Abyss (2 Pet 2:4, Jude 6).

1 Some claim that this refers to Christ preaching through Noah years ago by means of the Holy Spirit, but this interpretation seems awkward. The context seems to suggest that those being preached to are currently in prison (hell) and that they “formerly” (i.e. in the past) “did not obey”.

IN PARADISE

Hades has gates (Matt 16:18) and after 3 days Jesus is resurrected and takes the keys to these gates, freeing the souls of the righteous dead.

Rev 1:18 “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

The price for redemption is paid. As a result Jesus’ church will never have to pass through the gates of Hades (as did the OT saints), but will go to paradise in heaven.

Matt 16:18 (ASV) “… I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

RESURRECTION

The resurrected saints appeared to many in Jerusalem.

Matt 27:52-53 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

It’s not clear whether this refers to people resurrected in mortal or immortal bodies. Some believe that these were the “firstfruits” along with Christ’s resurrection to immortality. If so, it must be placed not at the death, but resurrection of Jesus.

1 Cor 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

RESURRECTION

Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene before ascending to the Father. The High Priest cannot be touched while performing his duties.

“Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:17)

RESURRECTION

He ascends to heaven with the former captives (the righteous dead) in his procession.

Eph 4:8-10 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)

Paradise is now located “up” in heaven and not in the heart of the earth.

2 Cor 12:3-4 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise

IN HEAVEN

He presents himself as a sin sacrifice to the Father in the heavenly temple.

Heb 9:24-26 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence… But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

IN HEAVEN

After numerous appearances to his disciples, he ascends back to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9).

He sat at the right of the Father, indicating that the work is complete.

Heb 10:12-13 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool…

IN HEAVEN

THEORIES

DEBT OWED TO

PLACE OF ATONEMENT

Ransom

Satan

Cross

Penal substitution

God

Cross

Ransom (modified)

Satan

Initiated on cross, completed in hell

Although Arminians and some Calvinists (5-point) disagree on the extent of the Atonement, they generally agree that - while the Penal Substitution model may not be the only valid view of Atonement - it is the best.

We agree that Jesus was a substitute for man - by repaying our debt owed to God, not Satan. We also agree that sin was atoned for by the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross, not by demonic torture in hell.

CONCLUSION

Both Arminians and Calvinists believe that:

A gulf was formed between God and man because of the sin in the Garden of Eden. The world permanently changed into a place of decay, death, disease and sin.

CONCLUSION

SIN

This sin was subsequently imputed to all of their descendants down to the present generation (original sin).

Jesus’ death on the cross allows men who put their faith in Christ to bridge the gulf and be reconciled with God.

MAN

GOD

JESUS

CONCLUSION

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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