March 19, 2008

Christ Gospel Church on Scripture

(Christ Gospel Church is an international sect with affiliate churches in half a dozen African countries and shortwave broadcasts to many others. You can read the previous posts in this series here: What Does Christ Gospel Church Teach?)

I. Scripture

We believe that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God, which has been given to man to reveal God's eternal Master Plan and Purposive Will for all creation. We believe the Bible is infallible, authoritative, and that it provides the rules of faith and conduct for all Christian living. God's Word is all-sufficient and meets mankind's every need, both spiritually and naturally (II Timothy 3:16,17; I Thessalonians 2:13; II Peter 1:21).[1]
Because of CGC's Pentecostal and fundamentalist roots, the church's sacred book is the Christian Bible. It is foundational for all of their beliefs and practices.

A. The Word of God

Confirming Our Faith in the Holy BibleIn her writings, Hicks assumes a very high view of the Bible—it is the Word of God. "The excellency of the Scriptures is that they were given by the Inspiration of God; therefore, they are His Word. Not only does the Bible contain God's Word, but it is God's Word."[2] The Bible is inerrant, infallible, complete, and unique.[3] Hicks states the Bible's purpose as: "It was given to enable to creature to know his Creator and to know himself."[4] As a result, the Bible has supreme authority in determining God's truth.

Nevertheless, this fact does not mean that all translations are acceptable. Hicks maintains, "We, in the Crucified Way, hold to the King James Version because this translation has a special Bridal Anointing on it. The Patterns and Statures of the Bride's Truth have been beautifully preserved in this Version."[5] While the modern versions may be helpful as commentaries, the King James Version is the superior translation.[6] Hicks uses this version exclusively in her writing and her preaching.

B. The Method of Interpretation

Even with the correct translation, there is a specific way to understand its contents. Hicks discloses this method:

. . . since they [the modern translations] do not follow the mathematical patterns and forms found in the King James Version and since the exact wording from the original is not used, it is impossible for a Bible student to use any better source than the comprehensive, unparalleled help afforded by Dr. James Strong's Concordance. Dr. Strong's works have been highly recommended for many decades. . . . The King James Version is the most accurate for study purposes. The exact word meaning can be checked with the original Hebrew and Greek texts through use of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.[7]
Therefore, the mathematical patterns and forms in the King James Version along with Hebrew and Greek word study enables a person to correctly interpret the Bible.

A sincere interaction with the text will also reveal Scripture's moral spiritual principles. They are defined as: ". . .God's Divine Theories which are chief, highest in rank, first in degree of importance, and most notable in influence."[8] Hicks identifies these principles throughout the Bible: "Let us look at the chronological order of God's twenty seven-historical Spiritual Principles, established in the Old Testament; then, we will see these same historical Spiritual Principles repeated or reproved (proved again) in the twenty-seven Books of the New Testament."[9] These truths are seen as vital and will greatly benefit individuals' lives. "God's Divine Principles of Truth will assume the Rulership over our life if we will embrace them, join them to our heart, and yield to their Power. We will find these Principle Truths forming the very braces and supports of our spiritual Temple."[10] Consequently, these spiritual principles should be embraced and followed.

For the followers of CGC, Hicks' material also plays an important role in interpreting the Bible. According to their introductory booklet, "Rev. Hicks's teachings are unique in the way she is able to tie together spiritual themes and principles in the Bible. She relies on her study of Hebrew to bring out hidden meanings of words in Scripture."[11] Additionally, "Rev. Hicks has written and published over 90 books, which include studies on the Old Testament tabernacle, the three fold nature of man, evolution and creation, overcoming depression, and many spiritual exegeses of various books of the Bible."[12] In light of her exclusive insight into the meaning of Scripture, members of CGC read and study Hicks' works to guide their understanding of biblical truth. They also listen to her preaching and teaching as much as possible.

Although she is now seventy-five years old, Rev. Hicks still preaches an average of two services each week at the Jeffersonville church, continues writing books and Christian training materials, and answers hundreds of letters each week. Annually, she preaches six major conventions, four in Jeffersonville to a packed church, and two in Mexico, one in Tampico to a filled 15,000 seat stadium, and a minister's training convention in Mexico City. She still travels extensively and holds meetings in various churches.[13]
Therefore, Hicks' ministry has a central role in interpreting the Bible for members of CGC.

[1]Articles of Faith, 1999 ed. (Jeffersonville, IN: Christ Gospel Churches International, Inc., 1999), 3.
[2]B. R. Hicks, Confirming Our Faith in the Holy Bible (Jeffersonville, IN: Christ Gospel Press, 1978), 11. Emphasis in original.
[3]Ibid, 10-16.
[4]Ibid, 9.
[5]Ibid, 19.
[8]Ibid, 58.
[9]Ibid, 59. For the twenty-seven spiritual principles, see Ibid, 58-116.
[10]Ibid, 58.
[11]Preaching a Crucified and Living Christ to a Dying World.
According to CGC's web site, Hicks has now "written and published over 110 books."
[13]Ibid. Given the time since the publication of this booklet, Hicks is now around 90 years old.