Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Rayola Kelley

In the early 1990’s, Jeannette and I attended a missionary school. We were hoping to go to Russia on a short-term mission.

The school’s curriculum included Derek Prince’s book of discipleship that had been compiled from teachings he had aired over the radio. This book proved to be controversial among the students because it contained both subtle and blatant error.

Each student was assigned a different chapter. My chapter was on faith. As I read through it, I began to see where Mr. Prince had changed the meanings of words, thus cleverly changing the spirit or intent behind them. I found my spirit becoming increasingly agitated by his material.

Because of the subtle error we encountered, Jeannette and I began to closely examine the rest of his material. We found a couple of chapters on how Jesus had died spiritually.

We were not the only ones who were having problems with his presentations. Like us, others were struggling with Prince’s subtle, erroneous doctrines. Further investigation led to his teachings about Christ dying “spiritually”.

A protest developed as a result of his doctrine. The leadership, at the time, admitted Prince’s presentations were below standard and that they had discarded his teachings about Jesus dying spiritually.

I remember asking them why they used his book. They told us that it was the only discipleship book they could find. This showed us that the church does not have access to godly discipleship material.

I was shocked that the church Jesus died for would even give this blatant error any consideration. Sadly, I knew that this doctrine had cleverly taken root in the church, undermining the very character of God.

This is my summary of this error according to my understanding of it. I say this because I am so repulsed by it I have not given it very much consideration.

Jesus supposedly died spiritually on the cross and after being put in the grave He became subject to Satan’s torment in hell. Since He was spiritually dead, He “had to be born again” in this wretched place. He rose from the grave three days later and ascended to heaven, where He took some of His blood and sprinkled it on the altar in heaven, securing our redemption.

Can you tell me what is wrong with this doctrine? I pray you can.

First of all, it undermines the very nature of God. For Jesus to have died spiritually, requiring Him to be born again, would mean He had to lose His deity or cease to be God for three days while Satan had his way with Him. Does this not sound absurd?

The author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is the same today, as He was yesterday and will be forever (13:8). There has never been a point in Jesus’ existence where He ever ceased to be anything but who He is, God.

Another point to keep in mind is that Satan, at best, could only tempt Jesus. This temptation came along the line of His humanity and not His deity. There is no point where Jesus ever totally became subjected to Satan. Jesus always held the reigns of the circumstances that surrounded Him and His destiny.

Agood test for any doctrine is whether it upholds the complete character of God or whether it denies it. If it denies or contradicts any area of God’s character, it must be rejected, period!

This belief also promotes another gospel. It declares that our redemption was not secured on the cross. Jesus’ statement on the cross, “It is finished,” has been downplayed to mean something else of lesser significance.

There is no place in the Word that states our salvation was secured in hell or heaven. It is very clear that it was secured on the cross. (See Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:16 & 17; and Colossians 1:20-22; 2:14.)

No wonder Paul made this declaration in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” A message that adds to Christ and the cross or points past or beyond the cross is not only another gospel, but it is a genuine enemy of the cross of Christ.

The Word is clear that Jesus went to the lower parts of the earth, but not to be tormented of Satan. It tells us in Ephesians 4:8-10, He descended in order to ascend with captives. Many believe that Jesus emptied Abraham’s Bosom so those who belong to Him would be with Him forever.

I am the first one to admit I don’t know it all nor do I have a corner on the truth. But, the initial doctrine that was established by the prophets of old and the New Testament apostles has not changed. They point to, (or are founded upon), the Person of Jesus and they line up with, not only who He is, but also what He accomplished on the cross for you and me.

The first apostles never preached about a Jesus who went to hell, but about a Jesus that went to the cross to be a substitute on our behalf. They never preached about a Christ that was tormented by Satan but about a Christ who overcame the world, put Satan under His feet and took the keys of death and hades away from him. They never proclaimed a Christ that failed to redeem man fully on the cross so He had to go to heaven via hell; but they preached about a Christ who paid the full price for our redemption on an old wooden instrument.

My question is why do Christians buy such lies? The answer is simple, they don’t really know God, understand the Gospel that was first delivered to them, and/or they are not established upon the right foundation. So many Christians have been left to themselves to define everything from who God is down to what constitutes real Christianity.

Because Christians lack the basics of Christianity, they do not have any root system by which they can grow up in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Without a root system, seeds of error can easily find their way into a person’s belief system defiling that which is pure.

Let me ask you, are you susceptible to seeds of deception because you do not have the right root system? Do not assume anything about your life before God. Find out if you have the right root system that is based on whether or not you are founded on the Person of Christ. Make sure your understanding of Who He is and what the Gospel is lines up with Him in every way.

We want to thank you for supporting us. Each of you are very special to us. Our heartfelt prayer for each of you is, “That you may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death, that you may ultimately apprehend your Precious Lord and Savior in all of His glory and beauty.”