By Larry Ray Hafley
Kenneth Hagin, Jr. is a Pentecostal preacher. In the January, 1986, issue of The Word of Faith, published by Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Mr. Hagin said:
Churches today (even charismatic churches) have many ordinances and rituals that are traditions. They are not divinely appointed, but because they come in line with God’s Word, they’re good, and there’s nothing wrong with them.
In view of the above quotation, certain thoughts come to mind.
(1) If “ordinances and rituals that are traditions. . . are not divinely appointed,” are they not, then, humanly appointed? They are, therefore, human traditions. What did the Son of God say about human traditions, those that “are not divinely appointed”? He said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. . . . Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:8,9,13). Thus, if a tradition is “not divinely appointed,” it is one of the commandments of men which our Lord said makes one’s worship “in vain,” void, empty.
(2) How can a tradition be “not divinely appointed,” yet “come in line with God’s Word”? I suppose Mr. Hagin would say that Christmas, Easter and infant baptism are traditions that “are not divinely appointed,” but, “they come in line with God’s Word.” Catholics claim the same for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and All Saints Day. Would Mr. Hagin say these are all “good and there’s nothing wrong with them”?
(3) What standard should we use to determine whether or not a human tradition is “in line with God’s Word”? The Bible? Pentecostal preachers? Catholics Councils? The Pope? If there is even one human tradition which Mr. Hagin rejects, what criteria or what rule does he use to determine that it does not “come in line with God’s Word”?
Catholics claim that the adoration and veneration of the “Blessed Virgin Mary” is “in line with God’s Word.” Do the Catholic traditions concerning Mary “come in line with God’s Word”? If not, what rule or standard of authority is used to determine that they are not “good, and there’s something wrong with them”?
(4) Paul, writing as the Holy Spirit directed, said, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15). Paul said we are to hold the traditions which he preached or wrote. Where did Paul say, “Hold the traditions of men that you believe come in line with God’s Word, though they are not divinely appointed”? Someone needs to find such a passage.
The Spirit said, “Hold fast the form (mold, pattern) of sound words, which thou hast heard of me” (2 Tim. 1:13). Further, we are “not to think of men above that which is written” (1 Cor. 4:6). A tradition “not divinely appointed” is “above that which is written,” is it not? If a tradition has not been heard from the New Testament, it is not the pattern of sound words. It is not “sound doctrine” (Tit. 2:1). It is above and beyond that which is written. It does not “come in line with God’s Word.” It is not (contrary to what Mr. Hagin says) “good.”
(5) Jesus taught that there are only two possible sources of a doctrine or tradition. It is either from heaven (of God), or it is from men. “The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven, or of men?” (Matt. 21:25) How can a tradition be “not divinely appointed,” yet be “of heaven,” i.e., from God? Whether we are speaking of the worship of Mary or the sprinkling of water on little babies, we need to know if it is from heaven or from men.
(7) Mr. Hagin says that traditions that are “not divinely appointed” are “good.” They are not in the Bible, but they, according to Mr. Hagin, “come in line with God’s Word.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17, says that the Scriptures furnish us completely “unto all good works.” If a doctrine or tradition is “not divinely appointed,” it is not in the word of God. If it were in the Bible, it would be divinely appointed. Since all “good” works or traditions are found in the word of God, how can a tradition be declared “good” if it is not divinely appointed?
(8) Mr. Hagin indicates that there are two types of churches, charismatic and non-charismatic – see his quote above. Such a distinction does not “come in line with God’ s Word.” Is Jesus the head of two types or kinds of churches; namely, charismatic and non-charismatic? Is there a charismatic body of Christ and a non-charismatic body of Christ? If there a charismatic Christ who is the head of the charismatic churches and a non-charismatic Christ who is head of the non-charismatic churches? If there are not two types of Christ over the two different types of churches, then which Christ (charismatic or non-charismatic) is head of the charismatic and non-charismatic churches? Confusing, is it? not? Confusion results when men like Mr. Hagin do not speak “as the oracles of God” (I Pet. 4:11). Mr. Hagin, not the Lord, is the author of this confusion of charismata (1 Cor. 14:33). His distinction between charismatic and non-charismatic churches is “not divinely appointed” and does not “come in line with God’s Word.”
(9) Mr. Hagin claims to have been baptized in the Holy Spirit as were the apostles. He believes Holy Spirit baptism, tongues, miraculous divine healing and prophecy are for believers today. With all of this claims and alleged power in the Spirit, he has contradicted the Spirit of God who wrote the Bible (2 Pet. 1:21). Do you really believe a man who says things that do not “come in line with God’s Word” is of God and has been baptized in the Holy Spirit (Isa. 8:20; 2 Jn. 9; Gal. 1:8,9)?
(10) Christians occasionally wonder if denominational preachers really say some of the things they are charged with. Now, what do you think? Should gospel preachers ignore such things and say nothing against human traditions and doctrines (Rom. 16:17)? As Mr. Hagin’s words show, error is still being taught, and if faithful men do not attack it, apostasy is certain. Do you want your children and grandchildren to grow up believing that a thing “not divinely appointed” may still “come in line with God’s Word”? That will justify and authorize everything from infant baptism to Christmas. If you are opposed to such teaching, support those who fight against it. Encourage and uplift those who are standing for truth and righteousness and cease and silence all murmurings against “negative” preaching.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 4, pp. 106, 116
February 20, 1986