Reverend Kenneth E. Hagin
Kenneth E. Hagin was born in the United States in the town of McKinney, Texas on August 20, 1917, weighing barely two pounds. Though he was pronounced dead by the attending doctor, Kenneth’s grandmother picked him up and cradled him, detecting a tiny spark of life in him. The doctor gave her some infant formula mix to feed him and flatly said, “This will last longer than he will,” and left the room. Recalling this incident later, Brother Hagin said, “But I outlasted it!”
Later, tests showed Kenneth had a deformed heart and an incurable blood disease. He could never run and play like ordinary children. At the age of 15, he became completely bedfast, and on August 22, 1933, while on the bed of sickness, Kenneth died and felt himself being drawn down, down, down, to the very gates of hell. He was filled with fear. Although he had been raised in church and attended services every week, he had never made Jesus his Lord and Saviour. Just as he was about to enter hell’s gates, a voice from above spoke in a tongue unknown to him, and immediately, he found himself ascending back up to the earth’s surface. This happened two more times. As he ascended for the third time, Kenneth finally proclaimed Jesus as Lord. He knew that if he did not do that, he would descend a fourth and final time. [For more detailed accounts of this story, see Rev. Hagin’s books I Went to Hell and I Believe in Visions.]
After being snatched from the gates of hell, Kenneth began to praise God and thank Him every day for saving him. Although he was still bedfast, partially paralyzed, and extremely weak, Kenneth had peace and contentment. He knew that if he were to die, he would not go to hell.
In the fall of 1933, Kenneth’s grandmother began to prop him up in bed so he could read from her old Methodist Bible. He was weak and could concentrate for only 10 to 15 minutes at a time, before his vision would blur. After a few weeks, he could read for an hour, and eventually, could read as long as he wanted. Thinking he would die any day, Kenneth decided to read the New Testament. As he read through the Gospel of Mark, he came to the scripture passage that would transform his life and become the cornerstone of his ministry.
Mark 11:22–24 (KJV) “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Kenneth was thankful for his salvation, but in Mark chapter 11, he saw the possibility of receiving something more. As he read this passage, the Holy Spirit was revealing something he had never seen or been taught before. In August 1934, as Kenneth continued meditating on the passage, the truth about faith in God’s Word began to drop into his heart. He saw that receiving what God promised came as a result of believing God’s promise. Kenneth recalled that moment in his book I Believe in Visions:
“I saw exactly what that verse in Mark 11:24 meant. Until then I was going to wait till I was actually healed. I was looking at my body and testing my heartbeat to see if I had been healed. But I saw that the verse says that you have to believe when you pray. The having comes after the believing.”
Kenneth now believed he had been healed. On the outside, his situation had not changed. He was still bedridden. He still could not move his legs. The only thing that had changed was the light of revelation he had on the inside.
The Holy Spirit said to him, “If you are healed, then you should be up and out of bed.” In agreement, Kenneth pushed himself into a sitting position and then used his hands to swing his legs off the bed one at a time. While the devil assaulted his mind with doubt, Kenneth began to proclaim that he was healed and that he would stand and walk. He slowly, but surely, worked his way into a standing position, while tightly grasping the bedpost of the bed that had held him for 16 long months.
He had some initial dizziness, but then feeling started coming back into his legs. “It was like two million pins pricking me,” Kenneth said. After a short time, the pain subsided and he began walking around his room. He didn’t tell anyone what happened that day. But the next morning, he got out of bed, dressed himself, and joined his family at the breakfast table!
After he received his healing, Kenneth was eager to share his experience with anyone who would listen, and preached wherever and whenever he had the chance. In 1936, he began pastoring a small church in Roland, Texas. Over the next 12 years, Kenneth pastored various churches throughout Texas. During this time, he married his wife, Oretha, and they had two children, Kenneth and Patsy. He entered what was then called the field (traveling) ministry early in 1949. While he was on the road, his meetings included healing services, but he primarily focused on teaching faith.
In May 1950 while in Houston, Texas, Kenneth heard an audible voice from God saying, “Go teach My people faith. I have taught you faith through My Word. I have permitted you to go through certain experiences. You have learned faith both through My Word and by experience. Now go teach My people what I have taught you. Go teach My people faith.” From that time on, Kenneth had an increased determination to teach faith in God’s Word.
With the message of faith burning in his heart, Kenneth took steps to fulfill the Lord’s mandate by holding faith seminars across the United States. However, on many occasions he felt as though the seminars weren’t reaching enough people. He often cried out to God for help. “The world must hear this message!” he’d say. “It’s not my message—it’s the Word of God. How can we get it out?”
God’s plan for fulfilling the mandate became clear during Kenneth Hagin Ministries’ first Campmeeting in 1973. Speaking under the unction of the Holy Spirit, Kenneth E. Hagin said, “We’re going to start a Bible School.” He later gave his son, Kenneth W. Hagin, the task of starting what is now RHEMA Bible Training College. When the school opened in September 1974, 72 students enrolled as RHEMA’s charter class. Fifty-eight of those students graduated the following spring.
Today, the unique philosophy of RHEMA Bible Training College (RBTC) continues to set it apart from other Bible schools. The focus is not merely on academics, but also on practical ministry. Over the years, RBTC’s student body, faculty, curriculum, and programs have grown. As of February 2013, there are more than 150 RBTC campuses around the world, with over 60,000 graduates worldwide. In addition, RHEMA has had a significant impact in at least 114 nations.
For many, Brother Hagin’s teachings brought life to a muted Gospel and shouted the truth about our mighty God and His loving Son. Although he never liked the title, Kenneth E. Hagin is often called the father of the modern-day faith movement. In addition, he was a mentor to many ministers in the Body of Christ. Tens of thousands of RHEMA students, and millions of others, have been changed by God through his teachings.
Kenneth E. Hagin ministered for almost 70 years after God miraculously healed him at the age of 17. Although he went home to be with the Lord in 2003, the ministry he founded, and his legacy of faith, continues to bless multitudes around the globe through the on-going work of his son, Pastor Kenneth W. Hagin, President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries.
Pastors Kenneth W. and Lynette Hagin
Kenneth W. Hagin, son of the late Kenneth E. Hagin and pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, ministers across the United States and around the world.
Known for calling the Body of Christ to steadfast faith, he seizes every ministry opportunity to impart an attitude of “I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.”
Rev. Hagin began preparing for his call to ministry—a ministry that now spans 50 years—at Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
He graduated from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Faith Theological Seminary in Tampa, Florida.
In his early years of ministry, Rev. Hagin was an Associate Pastor and traveling Evangelist. Later, he went on to organize and develop RHEMA Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and expand RHEMA’s influence to countries around the world.
Kenneth W. Hagin’s array of responsibilities also includes Director of RHEMA Ministerial Association International (RMAI), A Call to Arms®, an annual Men’s Conference, a weekly television programme called RHEMA Praise, which he co-hosts with his wife, Lynette, and RHEMA for Today, a weekday radio programme, broadcast throughout the United States. He and Lynette also conduct Living Faith Crusades, spreading the message of faith and healing around the world.
Recognizing that the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent, Rev. Hagin has expanded his speaking schedule beyond his regular pastoral duties. To fulfill the urgent call of God to prepare the Church for a deeper experience of His Presence, he delivers messages that reveal key spiritual truths about faith, healing, and other vital subjects. He ministers with a strong healing anointing, and his ministry leads the Body of Christ into a greater experience of the glory of God.
Kenneth W. Hagin and his wife live in Tulsa, Oklahoma.