Kenosis - an old heresy resurfaces

Published at: 10/08/2021

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In Christian theology, kenosis (Greek: κένωσις, kénōsis, lit. [the act of emptying]) is the 'self-emptying' of Jesus' own will and becoming entirely receptive to God's divine will. Hypostatic union is Jesus Christ being both God and man. He is both perfectly divine and perfectly human. The Athanasian Creed seeks to set this out in a written declaration.

Pope Pius X11 in 1951 in Semperiternus Rex restated the decision of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD that Jesus Christ in his earthly manifestation was fully human and fully divine, that is that God the Father and Jesus Christ were of the same divine substance and not created. Previously in 325, the first ecumenical council (First Council of Nicaea) determined that Jesus Christ was God, "consubstantial" with the Father, and rejected the Arian contention that Jesus was a created being. This was reaffirmed at the First Council of Constantinople (381) and the Council of Ephesus (431).

So that is settled, let's move on. But unfortunately there is a revival of this heresy with a slight twist. Among newer Pentecostal church movements there is an embracing of a teaching proposed by William Branham and others

“He came down on earth and took the form of a bondsman, not an Angel. Not come down in the great Jehovah glory, but He came down as a Man to redeem man, to die for man, to die for–as a man. He never died as God. He died as a man. The sin of man was upon the Son of man, and He had to become a man in order to pay the penalty.

What did He do? The Bible said He was made a little lower than the Angels in order for death that He might take away and abolish sin and take away sickness from the world. Now, when He came down from the highest, Logos from God, He came down through Angels, and came down, and was made a man, and He said, “I am not even a man. I am a worm and no man,” for He was despised and rejected.” William Branham

So we have a semi-Arian doctrine that when Jesus came to earth he emptied himself of his divine nature and took on the nature of a man. On earth he was a man, not divine, and like any other person had to rely upon the Holy Spirit to enter into the supernatural.

This goes against the clear teaching of the Old and New Testament Isaiah 7

14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 New American Standard Bible

23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

John 1 John Identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God

29 John saw Yeshua coming toward him the next day and said, “Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

John 7

28 Then, while Yeshua was teaching in the temple courtyard, he said loudly, “You know me, and you know where I come from. I didn’t decide to come on my own. The one who sent me is true. He’s the one you don’t know. 29 I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

Various views on kenosis

Lou Engle on prayer campaign

Rick Joyner teaches

What is about to come upon the earth is not just a revival, or another awakening; it is a veritable revolution. The vision was given in order to begin to awaken those who are destined to radically change the course, and even the very definition of Christianity. The dismantling of organizations and disbanding of some works will be a positive and exhilarating experience for the Lord's faithful servants...the Lord will raise up a great company of prophets, teachers, pastors and apostles that will be of the spirit of Phinehas ... this "ministry of Phinehas" will save congregations, and at times, even whole nations. ...Nations will tremble at the mention of their name..."(THE HARVEST, Rick Joyner)

New Apostolic Reformation

NAR is a loose coalition of church leaders predominantly within the Pentecostal and Charismatic spectrum of current Christianity that generally share three key concepts see Wikipedia article

  • the church is entering a new phase with a new apostolic leadership
  • the church has a mandate to conquer seven mountains or domains Seven Mountain Mandate
  • just as Jesus emptied himself (kenosis) of his divinity and became a man who relied upon Holy Spirit for his supernatural abilities we too are called to do and live as Jesus with the same power and authority because we are in essence sons of God.

As might be expected there is much emphasis on supernatural experience and giftings of the Holy Spirit. Raising the dead Church prays for resurrection of child, miracles of healing and prophecy are expected to be validation of this experience with the aim of overcoming anything opposed to God ushering in a world wide triumph of the gospel to prepare for the return of Christ.

Expose of NAR

While I admit to finding much of their teaching and music encouraging and even exciting, there are some alarm bells about certain practices and frankly I do not share their eschatology, nor do I accept the need for a new apostolic leadership or the seven mountain mandate and I regard the kenotic doctrine as unbiblical, wrong and false teaching. The Roman Catholic church to its credit has stood for the truth on this issue.

2 Peter 1:3 (CEB) Christian life in outline

By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory.

That said, I do admire their zeal for God and one of their preachers that I enjoy listening to is Tim Sheets but it is informative to discern what is the underlying intent in some of what is being proclaimed. I consider that we need to hold fast to the truth and reject deception and the modern kenosis teaching is contrary to Scripture.

Tim Sheets message

A Review of Overthrowing Thrones of Iniquity

Speaking in tongues is governing intercession, restoration of dominion mandate Seven Mountain Mandate
Zephaniah 3: 9 restored language and pure prayer in to bring unity in spiritual warfare led by Holy Spirit

Overthrowing thrones of iniquity

2 Corinth 10: 3 we warfare not in flesh or against human powers

  • Church is expected to overthrow and destroy demonic thrones, battle against hell's culture, cultural iniquity
  • Many do not believe church should be involved in cultural matters, leave demonic culture alone
  • Church is meant to be seated with Christ in authority

This is clear seven mountain mandate teaching

Colossians 1: 12 inheritance of saints to kingdom of Son, who has dominion over dominions and powers and head of church

Jesus to have pre-eminance. Thrones and authorities are established by God, they are visible and have authority, governing power and dominion

Dominion theology

What about invisible dominions? They exist but are not seen. We cannot see throne of God and Jesus at right hand. Decisions in heaven affect us on earth. Lucifer fought God for throne of Heaven Isaiah 14 Revelation 12 If Lucifer dared to try to take God's throne why do we think he will not try to take earthly thrones? He takes earthly thrones and regions to affect natural world and its people. He brings warped ideas and ideologies to earth's people by giving ideas and platforms to those who agree with him.

  • Ideas such as atheism, abortion, same sex marriage, antiSemitism, assisted dying

Ezekiel 28: King of Tyre was not a man but Lucifer, he controlled government and worshiped Baal with human sacrifice

US election to decide who holds the throne of USA.

Rev 12: 7 war in heaven between Michael and Lucifer

Angels are being called to destroy thrones that defy God

Lord of Angel Armies === Holy Spirit

  • Isaiah 9 : 6 Zeal of Lord see etymology

  • disciple nations - we do this by praying with Holy Spirit language which agrees with heaven to destroy demonic power

  • USA has a demonic culture that needs to be thrown down and destroyed as it is opposed to God

  • Holy Spirit language gives an advantage in cultural warfare and obstacles to God's authority because we need to use spiritual weapons not carnal ones

Too much prayer is about getting a new job, car a better life on life, God wants to change the government of the world, do we want to bring that about or be an obstacle or opponent

Images for this post from Unsplash by Mick Haupt and Vasily Koloda