Updated: Dec 8, 2021
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction, 2nd Peter 3:16.
I have learned that when I preach or teach something that some find difficult, there is usually someone who will raise their hand and ask a question. In most of my services it is acceptable and encouraged to ask questions. (We squelched that in our Sunday Morning service, not because it is too hard for me, but because visitors found it too strange.) I have learned that when I answer that one person's question or objection, others are quietly nodding as they too had the same question.
I have had long correspondence with a pastor from Texas who usually compliments or commends my posts. After my last post which mentioned the spiritual death of Jesus Christ, he objected and reproved me. In that he was straight forward and respectful, I had no qualms with what he wrote and it only furthered my respect for him. He wrote this:
Your post concerning the spiritual death of Christ is a doctrine that
has been propagated by many of the prosperity preachers of the past
and present. It started with E W Kenyon and taken up by Kenneth E
Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and many others in the past years. I was
around that false narrative and heard it quite a lot in the 80's. I
believe our Lord Jesus died physically on the cross and his body was
laid in the tomb and he rose from the dead after three days, but his
Spirit was at all times alive. Please investigate this further
especially who and when this was taught and why. So much is wrong with
the prosperity teachings and their claims. Please stay with the pure
Word of the Bible, the King James Authorized Text. You do a tremendous
job teaching this. Leave the other alone.
May God bless you and your ministry.
How can I help but to respect such a man? I am fairly certain that if one man objected, others probably did also. Here is my reply:
I'll take some time to answer what you wrote for two reasons. One is that I have coveted the correspondence that you have sent to me. Secondly, what one man in kindness expresses as an objection is usually something that others think, but are not gentlemen enough to say so.
Think for a moment of the Apostle Paul is his first foray into Macedonia. A young woman possessed with a spirit of divination follows him and in doing so correctly identifies him for exactly what he is, a servant of the most high God. The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation, Acts 16:17. No truer words were ever spoken but they grieved the Apostle Paul. Why? Because a great truth from God was being broadcast by a devil possessed woman. Anyone who heard that truth later from someone else's mouth would instantly associate it with doctrines of devils. Paul cast out that spirit.
Whether or not what I wrote about the spiritual death of Jesus Christ is true cannot be judged solely on whether or not a person possessed of devils or strongly influenced by devils said it before I did.
It may well be that when I am done, you may still strongly disagree. Before you do so, please consider this; is death separation as I said in the post? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, James 2:26. I know of no other definition in the bible for physical death other than James 2:26. The rich man in hell was conscious, but he was separated from his body. He had a bigger problem. He was separate from God.
Is the definition of spiritual death, separation from God?
When Adam sinned, God performed what he promised; Adam died the day wherein he ate of the tree; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, Genesis 2:17. He certainly and surely did not physically die that day. He lived 900 years. He became separate from God that day. By God's definition of what he did to Adam that day, Adam died spiritually.
His progeny have been born that way ever since with one exception. Jesus Christ was born without sin. He was not separated from the Father by his birth among men. He did not have a sin nature. He did no evil. Nevertheless, For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, 2nd Corinthians 5:21. He became a worm and no man, Psalm 22:6. One of two things happened; either the Father forsook him, or he feigned that the Father forsook him, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? Psalm 22:1.
I do not believe that Jesus feared the death of the cross when he prayed in the garden, Take away this cup from me, Mark 14:36. I have read the testimonies of too many brave men who faced terrible deaths to believe that when Jesus feared, he feared the cross. The bible says; he endured the cross, despising the shame, Hebrews 12:2. He endured it and despised it, but he did not fear it.
What then made him fear? Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared, Hebrews 5:7. Certainly he is not disobeying his own commandment not to fear what men can do unto them, but to fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body into hell, Matthew 10:28.
He was afraid to be separate from the Father and indeed he was separated. He was not separated because of any sin that he had done. Instead he tasted the agony of yours and my spiritual death. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man, Hebrews 2:9.
If you judge me to be wrong in this, please do so based upon the sense of scripture in its context, not on whether or not devilish men previously said it. There are things that the Jehovah Witnesses have right. The same can be said for the Mormons and for the Muslims. I will not throw out the truth because some cult happened to embrace it. All too often, evil men wrestle some truth in the scripture for devilish reasons and in so doing bring dishonor upon the word of God.
Thank you for the manly way in which you confronted this.