Kenneth Hagin, the man often referred to as the “father” of the so-called “Word-Faith” movement (WFM), died yesterday at 86 reports KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Hagin moved to Tulsa from Texas in 1966 and eventually created a religious empire based upon controversial teachings many Christians call “heresy.”

The WFM teaches that Christians can essentially claim anything in the name of Jesus. This includes health and material wealth. It has often been called the “health” and “wealth” gospel and more derisively the “name it, claim it” or “blab it, grab it” doctrine.

Hagin’s Rhema Bible Training Center USA founded in 1974 reportedly produced 23,000 alumni and is often cited as the wellspring of the WFM.

Notorious and flamboyant TV preachers Robert Tilton and Benny Hinn are perhaps the two most visible promoters of the WFM. Though Hagin’s devoted disciple televangelist Kenneth Copeland may be his most readily identified theological proponent.

The Word-Faith doctrines have historically caused friction between its adherents and conservative or traditional Christians. Hagin was also a focus of controversy within Pentecostalism, which largely rejected his teachings.

Two critical books written about Kenneth Hagin denounced him as both a heretic and plagiarist; these books are A Different Gospel by D.R. McConnell and Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraff

Another book, The Walking Wounded by Jeremy Reynalds, points out the causalities of the WFM.

Nevertheless Hagin delivered a popular message, telling many what they wanted to hear. That message was essentially you can have anything you want through faith, with an odd mix of proscribed and supposedly biblical incantations.

By the time of his death Hagin’s religious empire reportedly comprised training centers in 14 nations, with churches in more than a hundred countries. His legacy also includes the Rhema Prayer and Healing Center in Tulsa and two regular radio shows. A church Hagin founded in Tulsa now has 8,000 members.

Despite repeated allegations of willful plagiarism Hagin was a prolific and popular author who reputedly produced more than 65 million books through his Faith Library Publications. He also launched the monthly Word of Faith Magazine, which currently claims 400,000 readers.

Kenneth Hagin Jr., Executive Vice President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries runs the Tulsa mega-church started by Hagin Sr. and seems to be the shepherd of his father’s legacy.


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