Dear Sir or Madam:
We are a number of students at the University of Northern Iowa involved in numerous facets of Christian ministry. On behalf of a great number of students we sincerely thank you for the service that you provide. The resources sold at your store have greatly encouraged and challenged and edified a great number of students and Christian leaders. We praise God for what He is doing through your service.
It is precisely because we so value the service provided by Cedar Book Store that we feel obligated to call to your attention an issue of great concern to us. We feel that we have truly invested in your store and thank you in advance for truly considering and seriously pondering the contents of this letter.
Within the Charismatic section of your store is a plethora of materials and resources which are products of the Faith Movement. To begin with, we believe that there is a clear distinction between the Charismatic movement and the Faith movement. It is not the Charismatic movement that we are taking issue with. It is specific teachings of the Faith teachers. While the Faith teachers are often considered Charismatics, we do not group them into the same category. However, the undiscerning reader will look at a Faith Teacher's book and mistakenly think that it is a biblical, charismatic book.
The teachers of the Faith Movement whose books are found on your shelf include Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Frederic K.C. Price, Charles Capps, and many others. Two recent books, Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraaff and The Agony of Deceit edited by Michael Horton, reveal that many teachings of the Faith Movement are heretical. As Warren W. Wiersbe has said in response to Horton's book, "It is frightening how many professed evangelical believers have fallen prey to false gospels and have turned from God's Word to fables. The message of this book is desperately needed, and I trust it will be heeded by all who read it." The teachings of the faith movement are not simply controversial, but are outside the bounds of historic Christian orthodoxy on central issues of the Christian faith. Hanegraaff says in the introduction to his book "It is no great joy to sound the alarm, but it is necessary. I grieve over the spiritual damage that so many have already suffered, and it is my hope that this book may rescue at least some of Christ's sheep from a terrible destiny." Respected evangelicals, such as R.C. Sproul, John Piper, Norman Geisler, Jerry Bridges, Erwin Lutzer, and J.I. Packer heartily agree. It would be no exaggeration to say that these men would be dismayed to see their books occupying shelves adjacent to those of the Faith Teachers. This impressive list of evangelicals alone should alert us that the stakes are high.
We know that there are many issues that Christians can disagree on within the bounds of historic, biblical Christianity (such as ordination of women, speaking in tongues, Calvinism and Arminianism, etc.). However, there are certain bedrock foundational truths that cannot be tampered with. When they are, it does serious damage to the body of Christ. One Baptist pastor who had read about Kenneth Copeland said "I never knew it was this bad...This is sheer heresy." And that it is.
Consider these quotes from some well known Faith Teachers. Kenneth Hagin has asserted: "You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was. Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth" (Kenneth Hagin, Word of Faith, December 1980, p. 14). Kenneth Copeland has said "You don't have a god in you. You are one!" (Kenneth Copeland, "The Force of Love," tape BCC-56 (Forth Worth, Tex. Kenneth Copeland), on file with Christian Research Institute). "Man was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God's presence without any consciousness of inferiority," Kenneth Hagin has said.
They also teach that Jesus had to be born again (!), that He took on Satan's nature on the cross, that we can have anything we want if we just claim it and receive it, and that any suffering or pain or disease is a direct result of unbelief and sin. How disheartening it must be for those in wheelchairs and with disabilities to read these books and find out that their unbelief is the sole reason their health has not been restored. (Ignoring Job's statements "Shall we accept good from the Lord and not accept adversity" and "The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away.") W have enclosed two brief articles (The Faith' Movement mayb be Prospering but is it HEALTHY? by Stuart St. John and What's Wrong with the Faith Movement: Part Two in the Christian Research Journal) which include many of the quotes that we have cited and give a more in-depth exposure of the heresy of the faith movement.
In light of all of this, we have a specific request for Cedar Book Store. For the glory of God's name and the health of His church, please remove all Faith Movement books from your shelves. Paul writes "Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?" (1 Corinthians 5:6). Perhaps Paul would tell us that a bad collection of teachings (heresy) could hurt an otherwise healthy bookstore. He tells us in 2 Timothy 3:5 to "have nothing to do with" with false teachers. These books can profoundly hurt our community. Wouldn't the loving thing to do be to remove this cancer?
Taking these books of your shelves will be a major decision. We do not believe that we can convince you to do so. But we believe that God can and will as you seek His counsel on this issue through prayer, Bible study, and investigation of the Faith Movement teachings. Removing the books may make some people upset. It may not be the most fiscally prudent thing to do. It may not be easy, but it is the right thing to do, and it would glorify God. We are not a group of "heresy hunters" who go around writing letters like this over every issue we have a disagreement over! But in this issue we cannot keep silent.
We thank you again for taking the time to wade through this letter and the enclosed articles. Please know that our motives are pure, and we continue to thank God for the resources you have provided for us in our faith journey. It is precisely because we value Cedar Book Store so much that we have written this to you. May the Lord grant us all wisdom in considering these issues (James 1:5). We eagerly await your response.
All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, by the Lockman Foundation.