Don’t give all glory to God. Reserve some for yourself.
That’s the message of Bethel Church’s Kris Vallotton the popular charismatic prophet and faith healer who helps to lead the Redding, California congregation and is a co-founder of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. In a blog post originally entitled, Why We Need to Stop Saying ‘All Glory to God, Vallotton argues that saying, “All glory to God,” is in fact misguided. There’s plenty enough glory to go around, including that which is to be retained by sinners like us.
Kids want to be the president, a princess or Spiderman, Vallotton asserted, but something goes off track and they stop “thinking big.” Part of that failure to think big is a quickness to give glory to God.
This has got to stop! I’m not talking about being arrogant. I’m talking about believing in who God created you to be. Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” When you’re acting like your heavenly Father, you’re actually being yourself!
Of course, the line, “When you’re acting like your heavenly Father, you’re actually being yourself,” is blasphemous. The imperative or command to be like God is not the command, “You be you” or “Be yourself.” We are not God and we are not by nature like God. The Scripture does not command us to “Be ye like ye, as I am like ye.” The Scripture commands, “Be ye holy, as I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). We, on the other hand, are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). The process of sanctification, which begins at justification, is the progressive and lifelong process of being made more like Jesus and less like ourselves.
One might wonder how Vallotton’s anthropology (his understanding of man) is so atrocious, so as to think that being more like God is being more like ourselves. The reason for his insanely misguided anthropology is because he – like the rest of Bethel Church – practices Word-Faith theology. Word-Faith theology, also known as Kenyonism, holds that people are essentially little gods.
Kenyonism teaches a spiritually perverted interpretation of Matthew 17:14-20, holding that Christians by faith can attain any of their desires, making faith itself into a force by which things can be attained. Central to Kenyonism is the notion of “positive confession,” that by speaking one’s desires as though they’ve already come to pass will actually cause those things to come to pass. Most Kenyonists also hold to “Little God Theology,” which teaches that man is just a smaller, weaker version of God, but essentially deified. Kenneth Hagin instituted this stream of thought into Kenyonism, and it has been taught by the most popular Kenyonists, from Kenneth Copeland to Creflo Dollar to Joyce Meyer.
You were born for greatness—in the image and greatness of God. I find that one of the biggest deterrents for owning your greatness is the fear of stealing God’s glory. I’m sure you’ve heard people respond to compliments with, “Oh no, it’s not me. All the glory to God!”
If you don’t want to steal God’s glory, then here’s some news: you ain’t that big! Not only are you not big enough to steal the glory of God, but the truth is you can’t steal something that was given to you!
In John 17:22 Jesus is praying for His disciples and says, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;”
There is some truth to at least one part of Vallotton’s assertion that God’s glory can’t be “stolen.” As C.S. Lewis is often cited, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness,’ on the walls of his cell.”
Of course, God’s actual, tangible glory cannot be “stolen” in the sense that it can be taken. However, to glorify God means to reveal or see Him in his glory, not that more actual, tangible glory is given to him. God’s glory is understood on two levels. The first level of understanding God’s glory is the marvelous holiness which belongs to him in Heaven and is immutable, never lost or diminished. The second level of understanding God’s glory is the extent to which creation sees or understands his marvelous holiness. Therefore, when someone speaks of “stealing God’s glory” they do not imply – as Vallotton suggests – that God’s actual, tangible glory in Heaven is lessened, but that they’re attempting to take glory from God and reserve it for themselves.
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Paul prayed in 1 Timothy 1:17, “All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.”
If all glory is to be given to God, and none reserved for oneself, then how should one interpret the passage of the High Priestly Prayer of John 17 as cited by Kris Vallotton? Did Jesus not say, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them…”? Does this not imply, as Vallotton suggests, that God has given away his glory to humanity? Here, a basic Bible commentary, something that seems to be characteristically missing from Bethel Church, might help.
Barnes’ Notes says of the phrase, “The honor which thou hast conferred on me by admitting me to union with thee, the same honor I have conferred on them by admitting them to like union with me.”
Elicott’s Commentary confers, “The fulness of the glory which awaits Him at His Father’s right hand is thought of as already given to Him; and the believers who have become, and will become, one with Him, to whom He has given eternal life (John 17:2), are thought of as sharers in it.”
The esteemed Gill is particularly helpful in unpacking the verse, writing, “Not the glory of his deity; this is the same with his Father, what he has in right of nature, and not by gift; nor can it be communicated to creatures; this would be to make them one in the Godhead, as the three are one, which is not the design of the expression in the close of the verse: nor his mediatorial glory, which he had with the Father before the world began; this indeed was given him by the Father, but is not given to the saints: nor the glory, of working miracles; which glory Christ had, and which, as man, he had from the Father, and in which his own glory was manifested; this he gave to his disciples; but all that are his have not had it, and some have had it who are none of his: rather the Gospel is meant, which is glorious in its author, matter and subject, in its doctrines, in the blessing: grace it reveals, and promises it contains, and in the efficacy and usefulness of it to the souls of men. This was given to Christ, and he gave it to his disciples.”
In other words, the only glory bequeathed to believers is due to the extent by which we are united with God himself, through Christ. As we are united in Christ, we are united with the glory of God. That glory is not innate within us, as Vallotton argues, but is alien to us and originating with and in the Godhead.
The original title of Vallotton’s article was, “Why We Need to Stop Saying ‘All Glory to God.'” After posting the article, he retitled it, False Humility is Killing Us. Vallotton announced on Facebook he had changed the title after receiving counsel. Perhaps someone explained to Vallotton that the Apostle Paul said that repeatedly.
[Editor’s Note: HT Churchwatch Central]