Joel Hemphill's Denial of Jesus' Deity

December 30, 2014 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org)

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Joel Hemphill has been a popular Southern Gospel singer and songwriter since the 1960s, having penned more than 350 songs. Many of these are considered “Gospel classics,” such as “Jesus Saves,” “I Claim the Blood,” “He’s Still Working on Me,” and “Master of the Wind.” His first songs were recorded by the Happy Goodman Family to whom he is related on his wife’s side. He and his family have received eight Dove Awards. The Hemphills have appeared regularly on the Gaither Homecoming videos. In 2007, Hemphill was inducted in the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Hemphill denies the Trinity. At one time he was Jesus Only, believing that only Jesus is God, but he says that he had a divine revelation in 2005 teaching him that Jesus is not God but rather a sinless created being, and that only the Father is God. He presented this heresy in his book
To God Be the Glory: Exalting the Bible View of God. In a letter responding to criticism of the book, he said:

“The focus of my book isn't what Jesus is not, but rather who God the Father is. GOD IS IMMORTAL - JESUS WAS NOT. He was appointed to death Heb. 9:27. God is omnipresent - Jesus was not. He said at Lazarus' tomb, ‘I am glad for your sakes that I was not there’ John 11:15. GOD IS OMNIPOTENT - JESUS WAS NOT. ... Hebrews teaches, and I believe that Jesus did not come in the God family (there is only one God), or the angel family, but in the human family (Heb. 2:7, 9). He is perfect, sinless man, but man nevertheless! … A GOD-MAN COULD NOT REDEEM US. It took a sinless man, the Lamb of God, with righteous blood untainted by the sin of Adam, to redeem mankind. HE IS THE SECOND ADAM, NOT THE FIRST GOD-MAN… If the disciples who had just seen Jesus ascend to heaven in Acts chapter one, did not pray to him in Acts chapter four, then HE IS NOT GOD!… The incarnation as taught by modern Christianity is a fable” (Hemphill, “Response to ‘To God Be the Glory,’” www.trumpetcallbooks.com/Glory_Response.html).

In a telephone conversation with Evangelist Robert Sumner in 2008, Hemphill said, “We’re going to bring down the doctrine of the Trinity” (“Musician Joel Hemphill,” The Biblical Evangelist, Sept.-Oct. 2008).

Hemphill pastored a Southern Baptist Church that knew of his denial of the Trinity, obviously loving music more than they love God (Ibid.).

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