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Kenneth E. Hagin

Kenneth Erwin Hagin
Born August 20, 1917 (1917-08-20)
McKinney, Texas, U.S.
Died September 19, 2003 (2003-09-20) (age 86)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.[1]
Cause of death cardiac arrest
Nationality American
Education some college
Occupation preacher
Known for Pioneer of the "Word of Faith" movement
Religious beliefs Pentecostal Christianity
Spouse(s) Oretha Rooker
Children Kenneth Wayne Hagin, Patricia Harrison
Parents Lillie Viola Drake Hagin and Jess Hagin

Kenneth Erwin Hagin (August 20, 1917 - September 19, 2003) was an influential American Pentecostal preacher. He is often referred to as the "father" (or "granddaddy") of the "Word of Faith" movement. Many of his followers often refer to him affectionately as "Daddy Hagin" or "Pappa Hagin".




Personal life

Kenneth E. Hagin was born in McKinney, Texas, the son of Lillie Viola Drake Hagin and Jess Hagin. He was married to Oretha Rooker. They had two children, a son named Kenneth Wayne Hagin, who is presently the pastor of Rhema Bible Church and President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries, and a daughter named Patricia Harrison.

His favorite scripture was Mark 11:23:

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Beginning to preach

According to Hagin's testimony, he was sickly as a child, suffering from a deformed heart and what was believed to be an incurable blood disease. He related that he was not expected to live and became bedfast at age 16. In April 1933 during a dramatic conversion experience, he reported dying three times in 10 minutes, each time seeing the horrors of hell and then returning to life. He also claimed that he was raised from a deathbed in 1934 by "the revelation of faith in God's Word" (Kenneth Hagin, I Went to Hell and What Faith Is).

Two years later he preached his first sermon as the pastor of a small community church in Roland, Texas, 9 miles (14 km) from McKinney. During the next twelve years he pastored five Assemblies of God churches in Texas: in the cities of Tom Bean, Farmersville (twice), Talco, Greggton, and Van.

Establishing a faith-based organization

In 1949, he began an itinerant ministry as a Bible teacher and evangelist. Hagin was at this time also given full admission to the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI) which had been established in 1951. He was also a part of the Voice of Healing Revival in the U.S. in the 40s and 50s together with Oral Roberts, Gordon Lindsay and T.L.Osborn. In 1963, Kenneth E. Hagin Evangelistic Association was incorporated, and the offices of the ministry moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1966. That same year, he taught for the first time on radio — on KSKY in Dallas. In 1967, he began a regular radio broadcast that continues today as Faith Seminar of the Air. Teaching by his son, Rev. Kenneth Wayne Hagin, is also heard on the program.

Since its inception in 1963, his organization grew to include numerous media outreaches and ministries. These are:

  • Faith Library Publications – with 65 million book copies in circulation
  • "RHEMA Praise" – a weekly television program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network
  • "Faith Seminar of the Air" – a radio program heard on many stations nationwide and on the Internet
  • "The Word of Faith" – a free monthly magazine with roughly 600,000 subscribers
  • crusades conducted throughout the nation
  • RHEMA Correspondence Bible School
  • the RHEMA Prayer and Healing Center, located on the Rhema campus in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

In 1974, Hagin founded RHEMA Bible Training Center USA, which now has training centers in fourteen countries and has 30,000 alumni. In 1979, he founded the Prayer and Healing Center there to provide a place for the sick to come to "have the opportunity to build their faith",. Its Healing School continues to be held free of charge twice daily on the RHEMA campus.


The Statement of faith of Hagin's Rhema Bible Training Center is identical to that of the Assemblies of God and most other major Pentecostal denominations. (Rhema Bible Training Center Information Pamphlet; 16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God) Additionally, as mentioned above, some of Hagin's theological beliefs and teachings were similar to those of E.W. Kenyon. For example:

Physical Healing: It is always God's will that a believer be physically healed of any sickness or infirmity. (Luke 5:13; 1 Pet 2:24). Hagin based the belief of healing for all on the understanding that healing for the physical body was included in redemption. If redemption was available to all, then healing would also be available to all. (Word of Faith magazine, 6/90; 7/92; 8/92; 12/92, Kenneth Hagin, Redeemed from Poverty, Sickness and Death and Healing Belongs to Us).

Material Wealth: It is always God's will that every believer be 'financially blessed' through faith. Although Hagin emphasized that material prosperity was a redemptive blessing, he never taught that living by faith excluded hard work and wise business practices. In his later years he wrote a book entitled, "The Midas Touch" in which he wrote sharply and correctively about the so-called prosperity gospel and many of the extreme teachings that were being circulated under this heading. He warned the body of Christ of the dangers of greed and explained that the purpose of financial blessing is for the furtherance of the work of the gospel. (Kenneth Hagin, How God Taught Me About Prosperity and The Midas Touch).

Faith and Authority: Hagin believed that the believer through his position in Christ had authority over elements of this world and elements of the satanic world. By faith the believer can exercise the authority of God to change impossible situations into possibilities (Luke 1:371:37) (Mark 11:22-24). Faith, to Hagin, is a matter of belief in God's word which also entails a vocal expression of God's Will or confession thereof. According to Hagin, God has promised to answer believing prayer and respond positively to the believer's exercise of faith (Kenneth Hagin, I Believe in Visions, What Faith Is, Bible Faith; A Study Guide).

Salvation: Hagin claimed in several of his books that he physically died three times as a child. Each time he descended to hell but was brought back to life when a voice spoke. On the third trip to hell, Hagin claims to have asked Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. Crying, 'God! I belong to the church! I've been baptized in water' twice, to no avail, he cried out a third time. It is at that point, he claims, that he was saved and brought back to life a final time. Hagin goes on to say that he was praying so loud when he arrived back in his body that ' traffic was lined up for two blocks on either side of our house!" After this dramatic experience, Hagin came to believe that church membership and water baptism were not sufficient to save but rather the 'new birth worked by the power of the Holy Spirit' in response to a personal confession of faith in the Lordship and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even though it seems that this new birth could apparently be had even after death, it is only through that he was already 'coming back to life' that he was saved.' (ibid., Word of Faith magazine, 10/01, Kenneth Hagin, The New Birth; I Went to Hell).

Substitutionary Act: Hagin spoke of Jesus' death in substituionary terms. It should be noted that the doctrine of 'Substitution' as taught by Hagin differs widely from the same doctrine as taught by many other branches of Christianity. The normal theory of Substitutionary atonement is that the son Jesus paid our debts, previous, current and future to the Father within the Godhead. Hagin claimed that Jesus died as the substitute for all of humanity and was buried and suffered the torments of hell for three days, as do most Christians (Bible, 2 Cor 5:14-15), but also believes Jesus 'defeated the devil', stripped him of all authority and was resurrected after being 'quickened in spirit' or 'born again'. Hagin held that those who received Christ were born again and shared in the benefits of Christ's resurrection and power through their identification with His death, burial and resurrection. (Kenneth Hagin,The Name of Jesus; The Triumphant Church).

Sacred Scriptures: Hagin's beliefs followed in the reformed tradition in that the Bible is viewed to be the literally true, inerrant word of God as written by men under the guidance of the Spirit of God. Although Hagin often spoke of the dramatic spiritual encounters he claimed to have had, he always insisted that faith was to be established upon the word of God alone and not upon the experiences of man. Many times in his ministry he made the statement, "Don't believe anything because I said it. Search the scriptures and prove it out for yourself" (Kenneth Hagin, How You Can Know the Will of God and The Believer's Authority).

RHEMA Bible Training Center

Hagin founded RHEMA Bible Training Center (RBTC) in 1974. RBTC is an unaccredited Bible institute located on 110 acres (0.45 km2) in Broken Arrow, a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma (USA). The curriculum is taught from a Charismatic/Pentecostal heritage. There are six ministry concentrations specializing in Children's Ministry, Youth Ministry, Evangelism, Pastoral Care, Missions, and Supportive Ministry.[2] RBTC has also established training centers in Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, the South Pacific, and Thailand.[3]

After Hagin's death in 2003, his son Kenneth W. Hagin continued to run the institution. RBTC claims to have trained more than 30,000 graduates who reside and minister in more than 100 countries.[4]

Alleged Plagiarism

In 1983, two unknown critics and students at Oral Roberts University alleged that the bulk of Hagin's theological teachings were lifted verbatim from the writings of other authors. The students opined in their allegations that Hagin had plagiarized the writings of evangelist E. W. Kenyon, teaching not only the ideas of Kenyon but also lifting text word-for-word from many of Kenyon's eighteen comprehensive and published works. These allegations were never verified independently and were compiled from the broad range of Kenyon publications that cover a wide spectrum of subject matter. Ordinarily, bible teachers that draw from the same scripture references may also draw similar conclusions and lessons from them. Christian belief generally allows that the same spirit of God (a.k.a the Holy Ghost as often referenced by Hagin) that inspired believing men of old to speak functions today in guiding inspired biblical teaching and preaching to the public. This is referenced in 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Timothy 3:16 and other scriptural texts.

Kenneth Hagin taught what he practiced and demonstrated compassion towards his critics. He was undeterred by critics of his teachings including William DeArteaga, who made claims that Hagin's plagiarism was conscious and systematic, Artega failed to prove these claims. Another Hagin critic, Derek Vreeland, presented his viewpoint at the Thirtieth Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies.[5] Vreeland, presented his view that Hagin unintentionally used the thoughts and ideas of Kenyon without properly attributing them to Kenyon.

Vreeland knew this was unintentional from his findings; Artega knew that rather it was conscious and systematic in his view; and still others attempted to stir controversies that based on the merit of the claims deserved legal action by Hagin for damage caused and lacking a legally factual basis. Hagin chose not to litigate against these reckless and false claims, as would have been his right, as these claims were hearsay meant to damage him apart from a factual basis. Hagin's critics had not understood his exemplary life of avoiding needless harm to others as stated in Romans 12 and other references to bless them which persecute you, bless, and curse not.

An official statement from Kenyon's Gospel Publishing House states, "Kenneth Hagin published a book titled The Name of Jesus. The book was taken from tapes of a seminar where he taught through Kenyon’s book The Wonderful Name of Jesus. He credits Kenyon both on the tapes and in the introduction to the book. He worked, through his editor, with Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society and had the complete approval of Ruth Kenyon Housworth (Kenyon’s late daughter) for the book when it went to print. Hagin’s ministry has always maintained a good relationship with Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society. One of Kenyon’s books is used in the curriculum at Hagin’s Rhema Bible Training Center. We consider Kenneth E. Hagin to be a great man of God. If E.W. Kenyon were here today, he and Hagin would probably be good friends. And from his vantage point in heaven, Kenyon is probably delighted that Kenneth E. Hagin has been so successful in getting the message of faith, so dear to Kenyon’s heart, out to so many in the world in this generation." [6]


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