Review: Prosperity Gospel in Norway

Det guddommeliggjorte menneske og den menneskeliggjorte GudDen nye reformasjonen

Det guddommeliggjorte menneske og den menneskeliggjorte Gud (The Deification of Humanity and the Humanization of Deity), by Kjell Olav Sannes. Oslo, Norway: REFLEKS-Publishing, 2005.

Den nye reformasjonen (The New Reformation), by Lars Olav Gjøra. Oslo, Norway: REFLEKS-Publishing, 2006.

While positive confession theology (also known by the monikers “prosperity gospel” or “word-faith”) originated in America, it has made significant inroads into many segments of the worldwide Christian church. Numerous American authors have attempted theological and historical assessments of this phenomenon. Now, two new books by Norwegian scholars offer critiques of the theologies and personalities involved in the prosperity gospel movement in their own context.

Kjell Olav Sannes, a professor at the Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology in Oslo, Norway, presents and discusses the views of Kenneth E. Hagin in his book, Det guddommeliggjorte menneske og den menneskeliggjorte Gud. Sannes offers a critical theological analysis of the interrelationship between humanity and God in the writings of Kenneth E. Hagin. The title, which in English translates as “The Deification of Humanity and the Humanization of Deity,” reflects the theological issue at hand. The volume’s central thesis is that Hagin “deifies” humanity and “humanizes” God. This confusion of identities, the author avers, leads to two errors: (1) humanity, in particular the “born again believer,” is given status, authority and possibilities which, according to scripture, are reserved for God; and (2) God is viewed as limited in His power and authority in a way that reflects humanity’s own limitations. Hagin’s God looks a lot like Hagin. Ironically, something similar happened when the Jesus Seminar, a group of liberal scholars, determined that Jesus was essentially a twentieth-century western liberal.

Lars Olav Gjøra, in Den nye reformasjonen, offers an analysis of the Norwegian Faith minister Åge Åleskjær and his so-called “New Reformation.” This book, which originated as a master’s thesis at the Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology in Oslo, Norway, begins by exploring Åleskjær’s theological influences, including positive confession teachers E. W. Kenyon and Kenneth Hagin and dispensationalists J. N. Darby and C. I. Scofield. The bulk of the work, though, is a historical-theological analysis of Åleskjær’s teachings. According to Gjøra, Åleskjær draws on Kenyon’s hermeneutical distinction between the four gospels and the Pauline epistles. Åleskjær contends the gospels have limited application for Christians because they were not written to “born again believers.” The epistles, which were written for Christians, occupy a more esteemed place in Åleskjær’s canon than do the gospels. Gjøra provides alternative interpretations on key Scriptural renderings, such as 2 Tim 2:15; Rom 13:8-10, Eph 6:1-3, 1 Cor 7:19 and Matt 5:17-18, in response to Åleskjær’s theological claims.

Reviewed by Darrin Rodgers

Det guddommeliggjorte menneske og den menneskeliggjorte Gud. Click here for more information. Paperback, 172 pages. Price: NOK 238 plus postage.

Den nye reformasjonen. Click here for more information. Paperback, 83 pages. Price: NOK 188 plus postage.

Order from: REFLEKS-Publishing, Ravnkroken 60 G, N-1254 Oslo, Norway. Contact Geir Lie (geir_lie9@live.no) for additional information.

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