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

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro,
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness,
whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
Ephesians 4:14

    Some people seem to be born with the type of brain that loves arithmetic, and they have no fear of jumping into what I call the incredible, yet terrible and wonderful mystery of mathematics. Unfortunately, this is one “gifting” that definitely passed me by. In fact, I wasn’t just “behind the door” when mathematical gifts were “passed out” (as the old saying goes), but somewhere beyond the reaches of outer space. “Math and me” have simply never been pals, and try as I might, never will be. It was a doomed relationship from the “git go.”

      Having said all that, however, there is one area that involves “adding” or “subtracting” that has the potential of grabbing my complete attention, while instantly igniting a burning fire within—and that is when it comes to those who intentionally “add to” or “subtract from” the Word of God. The LORD God warned Israel, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” Deuteronomy 4:2. The Hebrew word for diminish is gara, which means to scrape off; to shave, remove, lessen or withhold: abate, clip, take away, keep back, restrain, make small, withdraw. All such actions certain rebellious and prideful members of the human race, being under an evil persuasion and temper of mind, have consistently practiced throughout history, and especially so in these end times, thereby fulfilling prophecies foretelling of their “cunningly devised fables.”

      Flippantly ignoring such verses as Proverbs 30:5, 6, which states, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” the false prophets continue on with their tales, while leading those with itching ears down the broad path to destruction. “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” Revelation 22:19. It can’t get any plainer than that.

      God never changes. His Word never changes. Why? Because “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” John 1:1, 2. The Lord Jesus Christ declared, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” Luke 21:33. Nevertheless, when false workers come along with their impressive titles, positions, education or so-called “spiritual experiences,” such heretics will be openly embraced by undiscipled, undiscerning people whose souls are either lean (starving), or who innocently trust wolves in sheep’s clothing. Heretics also attract carnal people with “itching ears” who crave something “new” or “sensational,” and people who are willing to trade diligence in studying the Word of God for a “fast ride on a short cut” to some sort of “feel good spiritual experience” that costs them nothing. Others, who do not know, believe or love God and His Word, and who are looking for “another spiritual path” and power can be quick to embrace New Age beliefs, practices, and techniques which open the door to the occult. In other words, people who boo the Bible, ditch discernment, tire of truth, and love lies are easy prey for ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing who are masters of deception by subtly “adding to” or “subtracting from” God’s Word (usually always for fame, fortune and fed egoes.) The truth is adding to God’s Word causes it to say what it clearly does not say; therefore, there is also a subtraction (diminishing) of God’s Word because the truth becomes “tarnished” through man’s manipulation. “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” 1 Peter 1:25. By perverting the written Word, heretics pollute what is holy, and put their followers in danger of perdition. Paul warned, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” Titus 1:9-11. There is no doubt that we are living in the prophesied time of apostasy—the falling away from the truth.

      One example of manipulating God’s Word through “adding and subtracting” is the “Jesus Died Spiritually” (JDS) teaching. To quote from the Moriel Archive, this teaching “has been documented and often pointed out that this ‘Jesus died spiritually doctrine’ comes from Christian Science and ‘New Thought’ teacher E.W. Kenyon. Kenneth Hagin is commonly thought to have simply copied it directly from him. This may be true. Hagin at times copied Kenyon’s writings word for word, even when describing his own ‘personal revelations of Christ’. It must be noted though that even John Calvin alluded to the ‘Jesus suffered in hell’ idea.”

    “Word of Faith” (WOF) teachers, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Frederick Price, and Charles Capps have capitalized on this heresy and with the addition of a few fanciful embellishments of their own teach it as a biblical fact. (Note: Benny Hinn adds to God’s Word by teaching the fallacy that Jesus “died spiritually” in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mormons also teach this.) A summary of the teachings of these WOF leaders is: Jesus went to hell, Jesus was separated from the presence of God, Jesus finished the atoning work in hell. When Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross it did not atone (“completely atone” is the implication), and Jesus had to be born again. Jesus’ words in John 19:30 contradict what the WOF people teach, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” [Emphasis added.] Colossians 2:14, 15 tells us that the finished work was done on the cross, “Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” To sum it up, here is a quote from a discerning Christian: “When was the sin debt cancelled, blotted out, wiped away, erased?  It was taken care of at the cross–not in hell and not by Jesus suffering there. Nowhere does the Bible teach that the atonement was finished in hell. This is so serious that anyone teaching that the atoning work was not finished in the cross is denying the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.” (

      Contrary to the cunningly devised fable that the WOF people have adopted and embellished that Jesus “died spiritually” (which as Deity He could not do) and that He had to be “born again,” (which would indicate that He was a sinner, and not Deity), 1 Peter 3:18 declares, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened [resurrected physically] by the Spirit.” [Emphasis added.] In the next two verses we read what took place when Jesus descended into hell after he, on the cross, commended His spirit into the Father’s hands. (See Luke 23:46.) 1 Peter 3:19, 20 says, “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison: Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water.” So we see that Jesus, having all authority and power, preached to the captives in prison. Compare these verses with Ephesians 4:8-10, which says, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens that he might fill all things.)

      The JDS proponents are foolishly preaching “another gospel” with “another Jesus” that promotes “another spirit.” The Law required a physical death, with shed blood, to atone for sins. The Gospel is clear that after Jesus paid the price of redemption, His physical body was committed to the grave, where in three days it would be raised anew, but Scripture shows us that His spirit was not subject to any other entity for upon His death, He personally commended it in an upward direction. Clearly, there was a separation on the cross for Jesus, but it was not a spiritual one. Just as He stated in John 12:23-27, His humanity fell into the ground to produce more seeds unto eternal life for His glory, while He placed His spirit in the hands of the Father, and not Satan and hell (Luke 23:46).

      The examples found in Scripture clearly back this up. There is no such thing in the entire Bible that even remotely hints that animals had to “die” spiritually to atone for sins. Instead, there had to be the shed blood of the sacrifice which pointed to Christ’s shed blood on the cross for us. Christ’s life was not taken; rather He laid it down for us (John 10:18) so that by His physical death and the shedding of His blood He would fulfill the requirement of the blood sacrifice in relationship to God’s holy Law, as a means to atone for our sins so that we (believers) do not have to suffer spiritual death.

      At no time did Satan ever have power or control over Jesus. To teach this is blasphemous, and insinuates that Satan is more powerful than Christ. In a nutshell, “The teaching of the word of faith/positive confession movement upon examining clearly takes away the redemption work of Christ’s blood, and in its place subtly presents three heretical essentials to what happened to Christ from the Cross to the Resurrection, which implied are: (1) Jesus died spiritually and had to take on Satan’s corrupt nature, (2) Jesus was dragged to hell and tortured by the devil for three days and nights, and (3) Jesus had to be born again by His spirit becoming re-created.” Scripture refutes such insane blasphemy by continually reinforcing that the blood of Christ is the most important factor relating to one’s salvation, as the entire reason for Christ going to the cross was for His blood to be shed for the forgiveness of our sins. At the last supper He took the cup and said, For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28).


     The WOF teachers will not only come under the judgment of the Word for adding to it in the matter of the JDS error, but also for teaching mind-science, New Age occult techniques to gain control over people and situations through “positive confession,” and “psychic prayer” (witchcraft) in order to bring about desired results through concentrated meditation, imagery, and focused “energy.” People need to wake up to the very real dangers involved in any of the subtly different forms of mind altering meditations and practices such as contemplative prayer, which can have as powerful an effect on the mind as certain drugs, whether legal or illegal, in producing an “altered state of consciousness,” which is a wide open door for demons and familiar spirits.

      Consider that all of the examples, types, and shadows in the Old Testament sacrifices (see Leviticus 1-7) that symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. There is nothing in the Old or New Testaments to suggest in any way that Jesus had to go to hell for us, die spiritually, be tormented by Satan in our place, or have to be born again. This blasphemous Scripture twisting demeans the completed work of redemption on the cross by His shed blood, throws a blanket of confusion over the Gospel (since it is “another gospel”); demeans the Person of Jesus Christ (presents “another Jesus”) which results in “another spirit.” That the Passover lamb was a type that pointed to the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29b is beyond dispute. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” 1 Corinthians 5:7. “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” 1 Peter 1:19. (See Isaiah 53:7; Revelation 7:9; 15:3; 21:22.) Obviously, the Passover lamb that was sacrificed, and the blood that was applied to the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses so that the Lord would pass over them, sparing them from death, portrayed the blood that Jesus would shed for sin on the cross. There is no indication whatsoever that somehow the Passover lamb had to die “spiritually” in order for the Lord to “pass over” when He saw the blood! (The rite of the Passover is instituted in Chapter 12 of Exodus.)

     This is what God’s Word says: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood and without shedding of blood is no remission” Hebrews 9:22b. [Emphasis added.] In 1 Peter 2:24 we read, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” [Emphasis added] Isaiah 53:4, 5 is specific in describing what Jesus accomplished on the cross. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

      Oswald Chambers, on the substitution of Christ, and referring to 2 Corinthians 5:21, which says “He hath made Him to be sin for us . . . that we might be made the righteousness of God. . . .” taught, “The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy. The New Testament view is that He bore our sin not by sympathy, but by identification. He was made to be sin. Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the explanation of His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy with us. We are acceptable with God not because we have obeyed, or because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and in no other way. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the Fatherhood of God, the loving-kindness of God; the New Testament says He came to bear away the sin of the world. The revelation of His Father is to those to whom He has been introduced as Saviour. Jesus Christ never spoke of Himself to the world as one Who revealed the Father, but as a stumbling block (see John 15:22-24). John 14:9 was spoken to His disciples.

     “That Christ died for me, therefore I go scot free is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that ‘He died for all’ (not—He died my death), and that by identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have imparted to me His very righteousness. The substitution taught in the New Testament is twofold: ‘He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.’ It is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me.” (My Utmost for His Highest, pg. 303.)

      How intensely Satan despises the blood of Christ! How deeply Satan scorns the Gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! How profoundly Satan hates those who have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb! How miserably anguished and furious He is at the eternal written Word of God! How greatly he trembles in dread and cringes at the words, “Jesus, God Incarnate.” How tirelessly Satan works to overthrow the Way, the Truth, and the Life of the Kingdom of God in his effort to swallow up the entire world in his own kingdom of darkness and death! The truth is he was defeated by Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. He knows his time is short, and he will stop at nothing to spew forth his lies to deceive multitudes through his “false apostles” and “deceitful workers.” “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” 2 Corinthians 11:15.

      Concerning the work of Christ, C. H. Mackintosh wrote, “In considering this great subject, two things claim our attention: first, what Christ has done for us; secondly, what He is doing for us. In the former we have atonement; in the latter, advocacy. He died for us on the cross. He lives for us on the Throne. By His precious atoning death, He has met our entire condition as sinners. He has borne our sins, and put them away for ever. He stood charged with all our sins— the sins of all who believe in His name. ‘Jehovah laid on him the iniquities of us all.’ (Isa. 53) And again, ‘For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.’ 1 Peter 3:18….

      “This is a grand and all-important truth for the anxious soul— a truth which lies at the very foundation of the whole Christian position. It is impossible that any truly awakened soul, any spiritually enlightened conscience, can enjoy divinely-settled peace until this most precious truth is laid hold of in simple faith. I must know, upon divine authority, that all my sins are put away for ever out of God’s sight; that He Himself has disposed of them in such a manner as to satisfy all the claims of His throne, all the decrees of His Law, and all the attributes of His nature; that He has glorified Himself in the putting away of my sins, in a far higher and more wonderful manner than if He had sent me to an everlasting hell on account of them.

      “Yes, He Himself has done it. This is the very gist and marrow, the heart’s core of the whole matter. God has laid our sins on Jesus, and He tells us so in His Holy Word, so that we may know it upon divine authority — an authority that cannot lie. God planned it; God did it; God says it. It is all of God, from first to last, and we have simply to rest in it like a little child. How do I know that Jesus bore my sins in His own body on the tree? By the very same authority which tells me I had sins to be borne. God, in His marvelous and matchless love, assures me, a poor guilty, hell-deserving sinner, that He has Himself undertaken the whole matter of my sins, and disposed of it in such a manner as to bring a rich harvest of glory to His own eternal name, throughout the wide universe, in presence of all created intelligence…..

      “But oh the profound mystery of the cross!— the glorious mystery of redeeming love I see God Himself taking all my sins — the black and terrible category — all my sins, as He knew and estimated them. I see Him laying them all upon the head of my blessed Substitute, and dealing with Him about them. I see all the billows and waves of God’s righteous wrath — His wrath against my sins — His wrath which should have consumed my soul and body in hell throughout a dreary eternity; I see them all rolling over the Man (Christ Jesus) who stood in my stead; who represented me before God; who bore all that was due to me: with whom a holy God dealt as He should have dealt with me. I see inflexible justice, holiness, truth, and righteousness dealing with my sins, and making a clear and eternal riddance of them. Not one of them is suffered to pass! There is no connivance, no palliation, no slurring over, no indifference. This could not possibly be, once God Himself took the matter in hand. His glory was at stake; His unsullied holiness, His eternal majesty, the lofty claims of His government.”

      With the celebration of Thanksgiving in mind, in closing I would like to quote for you Andrew Murray on giving thanks. “Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” -Psalm 136:1

      “This psalm is wholly devoted to the praise of God’s mercy. In each of the twenty-six verses we have the expression: ‘His mercy endureth forever.’ The psalmist was full of this glad thought. Our hearts too should be filled with the blessed assurance. The everlasting, unchangeable mercy of God is cause for unceasing praise and thanksgiving. Let us read what is said about God’s mercy in the well-known Psalm103. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies’ (ver.4) Of all of God’s other attributes, mercy is the crown. May it be a crown upon my head and in my life! ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious, and plenteous in mercy’ (ver.8). As wonderful as God’s greatness is, so infinite is His mercy. ‘As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him’ (ver.11) What a thought! As high as the heaven is above the earth, so immeasurably and inconceivably great is the mercy of God waiting to bestow His richest blessing.

      “’The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him’ (ver.17). Here again the psalmist speaks of God’s boundless loving-kindness and mercy. How frequently we have read these familiar words without the least thought of their immeasurable greatness. Be still, and meditate until the heart responds in the word of Psalm 36: ‘Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens’ (ver.5) ‘How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God! Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings’ ver.7). ‘Oh continue Thy loving-kindness unto those who know Thee’ (ver.10). Take time to thank God with great joy for the wonderful mercy with which He crowns thy life, and say: ‘Thy loving-kindness is better than life.’” (Murray, The Secret of Adoration)

      Do you adore Him today?