By Eric J. Swarbrick
NEW! The author’s latest book, Swaggartism is now released. For information click HERE.
“The Cross of Christ, without fail, must be the object of our faith…The Cross must ever be the object of our Faith…” . And again, “It is the Cross alone which can bring about this Work of the Spirit. The Believer is to ever make the Cross the object of his Faith…” The Evangelist February 2004, On the Dark Side of the Desert and — http://www.jsm.org/message-cross.html
The fundamental flaw in these statements is that it suggests that the cross of Christ is the only means or path to Jesus. This is Jimmy Swaggart’s corrupt and unhealthy emphasis on the cross. This statement suggests that “The cross is the way” when we all know that “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one can come to the Father except through Him” So you see, Jesus is the way, not the cross.
Followers of Swaggart will say that by “the cross,” they mean Jesus and what he did on the cross. Nevertheless making the cross the prime object of faith is problematic, for it limits Jesus’ actions and power to the cross alone. For example, this is similar to saying the Bible is in the book of John. It is more accurate to say that the book of John is in the Bible. You see, the Bible has more to offer than the just the book of John. It’s just the same with Jesus. When you make the cross the object of your faith, you are only taking one thing that Jesus did. This minimizes everything else he did and is still doing, which is plenty, as seen here:
“Christ Jesus…who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:34)
“Much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10)
Saved By His Life
You see, we are not just saved by his death on the cross, but also by his life. He is now interceding for us. He is now desiring to commune with us and have a living vital life-changing relationship with us. But Swaggart’s doctrine denies this. He says, “There is nothing before the cross and nothing after because there doesn’t need to be.” This is not biblical teaching.
The proper perspective is that we should put our faith in Jesus Christ AND what he did on the cross AND all that he is now doing for us. You see, we are not to just put our faith solely in “what he did on the cross,” we put our faith in Jesus, in the totality of all that he is,which includes but is not limited to what he did for us on the cross. For example, 1 Peter 1:3,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”
You see, it was “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” and there is no mention of the cross here. It is not that the cross is insignificant or that it doesn’t play a vital role to our salvation, but it is that it becomes dangerous to speak exclusively and say something like “the cross of Christ, without fail, must ever be the object of our faith.”
Jesus Is More Than The Cross
Swaggart’s statements wherein he says “Without fail” and “the object of” are modifiers that exclude important aspects of our faith and renders his doctrine unbalanced. Faith in Jesus is the only thing that you can make exclusive statements about because Jesus Christ circumnavigates everything; death, burial, and resurrection, whereas the “cross alone” theology leaves out the resurrection and his current intercession and working in our lives. These are fundamental aspects of our faith that should not be minimized.
Jimmy Swaggart’s followers use 1 Corinthians 2:2 as a proof text:
“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
They fail to note that what Paul is saying here is actually a criticism and not intended to be a prescription or a proclamation saying that only the cross should be taught to Christians. Rather he is writing a letter to the people of Corinth telling them how immature they were (when he was with them) and how they were not ready to grow further in Christ and that when he was there he had to stay on basics, determining to teach them nothing more than “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
Paul calls this teaching “milk.” Within the first few chapters of 1 Corinthians you can easily see the context of this verse. For example, in chapter 3 Paul says:
“I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly.”
This is also reiterated in Hebrews 5:13-14:
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
You see, Jimmy Swaggart is “not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness” because his unhealthy emphasis of the cross keeps the believer on “milk” rather than moving on to “solid food.”
Paul gently chides the people of Corinth that they still required milk and that he had to teach nothing to them except “Christ, and Him crucified.” However, he was eager to see them move on to solid food, and grow in the full counsel of God.
There is much more that could be said about Swaggart’s strange doctrines and practices, such as always capitalizing the “C” in cross as though the cross itself were deity, even changing the punctuation of actual scripture in the King James Version in his Expositor’s Study Bible to this end. Scripture should not be tampered with in this way. His strange assertions that God the Father and the Holy Spirit have bodies is also peculiar and unbiblical.
Swaggart’s distain and disparagement of the rest of Christendom is particularly egregious:
“The tragedy is almost all Christians think they know all about the Cross. The truth is this generation of Christians knows almost nothing about the Cross, especially about the Cross as it regards their Sanctification. These Christians can be set free only by the “Cross” being preached to them.” (From Me To You,The Evangelist, January 2004)
A man who fancies that he has cornered the market on all Christian thought and claims that all of the Church is in error is a very dangerous cultic leader and any who follow him should take caution.
He is an accomplished orator with a smooth and slippery tongue. He’ll preach fifteen minutes of sound doctrine and then slip in and out of cultic teaching, blending truth with error. It can be difficult to catch.
Be advised that Jimmy Swaggart’s “New Revelation of the Message of the Cross,” that he claims to have received by divine revelation from God, is fundamentally flawed. To new Christians or curious unbelievers who may be reading this: If any is unsure of where faith should be placed or what you have to do to be saved, take heart! For it’s been made clear to us in the book of Romans:
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9) Put all your faith in Jesus, for scripture declares, “He who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” Romans (9:33)
Very good read I really enjoyed it. Good job!
I almost bought the Jimmy Swaggarts Expositor’s Bible. Thank The Lord. I didn’t. They all believe in ‘The so-called Gap Theory ‘
Lucifer’ so-called Kingdom. Which comes from another ‘Heretic’ The Dakes Bible, which deny that Jesus was born The Son of God. And many other Heresies. John from Swansea, UK.
Hi John – Thanks for your comment. So Dake’s denies that Jesus was born the Son of God? I didn’t know that. That’s good to know – thanks! God Bless,
I need to comment on this.
Just where does Dakes deny Jesus was born the Son of God?????
It states quite clearly:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” – John 1:1-2
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
This is in keeping with the King James version of the Bible (the greatest authority of God’s Word).
Hi Nettie, Thank you for your comment and question. Dake’s note on John 1:14 is where he claims that Jesus only became the Son of God at the incarnation, but is not the eternal Son of God. This website gives you the details: https://learntheology.com/dake_bible/false-teachings-dake-bible.html
Keep up the good work! Its too bad Jimmy is so dogmatic about the cross. I think he has been adversely affected by his previous scandals and needs to push his ‘newly enlightened’ doctrine. Its a vehicle through which he can personalise his own ‘work of repentance’ and bring everyone else along for the ride? He needed to renew himself, and perhaps needed a new doctrine to facilitate this fresh persona?
I think he is sincere. I hope he cant lead anyone to perdition. I do agree that he is stubbornly adhereing to a milk only diet…
I pray that our Lords word will not return unto Him void.
Hi David, thank you for your insightful comment. Yes, I think you are correct. Jimmy’s new doctrine, I believe, is a result of his deep shame over visiting prostitutes for 30 years while he was an evangelist. I think the fact that he married a 15 year-old child indicates that his struggle with sexual temptation began very early in his life. I think he hated what he was doing, but unfortunately, he failed to seek help and to resist the temptation.
But once he was exposed, then two questions became paramount in his mind: How to keep his million dollar business going and how to justify and come to terms with his actions in his own mind.
The answer was to claim that it was because the church had lost the true gospel, so its not really his fault, (He implies this in many of his writings) and secondly, now that the secret way to overcome sin was now discovered by him, he could still be a great leader by claiming the church could only be freed from bondage by listening to him.
This had the advantage of also keeping the money rolling in. There are always people out there that will be attracted to a charismatic person claiming they are the only one that has the secret truth. Turning cultic instead of turning to God became the means of keeping his gravy train going.
Back in the 80’s before he was found out, Jimmy used to say that God had called him (him alone) to reach the world with the Gospel. I thought then that this perhaps indicated a megalomaniac personality trait, for God gave that commission to the Church, not to Jimmy Swaggart. Jimmy seems to have a deep psychological need to be someone important. His new doctrine fulfills that need for him.
Some think I hate Jimmy Swaggart, but actually my heart goes out to him. I do pray for him and I hope he has truly repented. But I’m afraid his rabid excoriation of the Christian Church and his advancement of his new unbalanced teaching indicates that he still has the attitude he showed towards the leadership of his denomination (Assemblies of God) when they generously offered him help and to let him keep his ministerial credentials in good standing if he would stop preaching for one year while they provided marriage counseling and private Christian therapy. He declined, angrily telling them, “I hear directly from God! I don’t need you!” They had no choice but to revoke his ministerial credentials. To this day he and his son vehemently berate the Assemblies as a denomination fallen from grace.
Thanks again for your comment, God bless…
…You make clear and valid points. Yes he is very sore at the Assemblies Of God Ministry and harps on one eyed about “nearly” and “99%” of other Christian groups being in danger of going astray – which is very alarmist of him. It does expose his elitism, and it is rather disturbing. Yet like you, my heart goes out to Jimmy too. We here in Australia have been newly receiving the Sonlife Broadcasting Network over the past one or two years.
We are all human and all err from time to time, thankfully Jesus knows about this first hand and STILL He decided that we were worth saving! He also knows the true intentions of mens hearts and minds and I am glad he will be a Judge over us and not an earthly man alone. It is rare to have a 24 hour Christian broadcast in Australia and all errors and clumsiness aside, SBN (despite itself) is preaching the good news on a 24 hour cycle and it is entering the rooms of households all over the country… I am sure there are countless people stumbling across this ministry channel and when no one else is close by, they tarry longer than they expect and words from the Bible are spoken and resonate in fresh and stale ears alike?
I trust the word of the Lord does not return unto Him void and always hope His word will triumph in spite of our imperfection. God bless and keep on with the good work.
Hi David, Yes, I completely agree with you. I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul said,
“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” (Phillippians 1:15-18)
So we can rejoice if people are led to the Lord through his ministry. Yet we also grieve at the family relationships that are disrupted and the harm to the body of Christ that is caused by the argumentative sectarian dogmatism that is engendered by their contagious animus. What can we do but pray for them and warn the body of Christ to seek out ministries that are balanced and Christlike and remind them of the apostles’ warning: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them “ (Rom. 16:17)
Thanks again for your input!
Powerful, all I can say! Thanks for sharing. Keep writing. God bless you!
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Sad to see that their programs have now become a repetitious mantra of “the cross.” Like you said they are only giving people milk and no solid food. They are not really teaching the Bible. It’s so sad that they have such a platform and not using it in a way to edify the Bobby of Christ.
Thanks for your writings because it confirms what the Holy Spirit has been revealing to me.
Hi Kathleen, I’m so glad to hear you enjoy my writings and that they confirm what the Holy Spirit has been telling you. Since you enjoy my writings I want to make you aware of the books I have written. You can see them here…