The Heretical Word-Faith Movement (Part 3)

What happens to the victims – those who lose “Faith in Faith”?
In counselling those who have been caught up in the Word-Faith doctrines and then have been disillusioned, one finds many who have difficulty breaking free of these teachings. A consistent pattern of behaviour can be observed in these people. First, as with all cultic teachings, no one has ever come up with this teaching through Bible study alone. People generally find it through the influence of Word-Faith churches and the literature, tapes and seminars which originally promulgated from the USA. At this level, strong indoctrination takes place. It is through the literature and seminars that people become “positive confessors.” At this point, no negatives are allowed. God wants you healthy, wealthy, and wise. Sickness, poverty, and want are signs of spiritual weakness. If something does not go right, lack of faith is at fault. There are unfortunates, deceived by this heresy, who are still awaiting the replacement of an artificial leg or eye “when they have enough faith.” Unfortunately the Word-Faith teachers never mention the casualties of their deception which are often picked up by orthodox Christian counsellors.

At this stage, Word-Faith adherents often gain an attitude of superiority. Word-Faith adherents consider any criticism of their doctrine to be an attack by those who are not “spiritually mature,” and have not had this “higher revelation.” Then, some time later, after all the teaching, confessing and testifying, reality begins to rear its ugly head. Common human suffering teaches Word-Faith adherents that their system just does not work! By embracing a faulty view of faith, thousands have exposed themselves to the power of Satan and the results are seen in the depression which results from inevitable failure to achieve the claimed results. Breakdown of relationships, loss of faith and personal tragedies at work and in the home result – with inevitable breakup of families through divorce and despair. People have died or lost their children because they denied the reality of sickness and were persuaded not to take medical advice but to rely on this “faith in faith!” Once faced with this, they either admit hat Word-Faith teachings are fallacious and throw themselves into the arms of a loving, sovereign God, or they begin to consciously deny reality. Word-Faith victims who seek counselling often display three characteristics: confusion, guilt, and fear. The confusion is usually the result of inner conflicts set up by contradictions between what is taught by Word-Faith teachers and what is in the Bible.

But “Confessing It Means Possessing It”?
Word Faith celebrity Kenneth Copeland says, “What you are saying is exactly what you are getting now. If you are living in poverty and lack and want, change what you are saying. The powerful force of the spiritual world that creates the circumstances around us is controlled by the words of the mouth.” (Copeland, Laws, 98). Kenneth E. Hagin, who served for many years as Copeland’s mentor, echoes his protégé: “Your right confession will become a reality, and then you will get whatever you need from God.” (Kenneth E. Hagin, Right and Wrong Thinking for Christians (Tulsa: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1966), 30). Positively confessing something is the very first step to getting what is wanted (i.e., healing, a luxury home, someone to marry, etc.). The “force of faith” coupled with a carefully conceived positive confession is really the only way to produce results because such methods release God’s ability to bring about the things desired: “God’s Word conceived in the heart, then formed with the tongue and spoken out of the mouth becomes a spiritual force releasing the ability of God.” (Capps, Dynamic, 33). The stress placed on correct “speaking” often leads to some rather interesting instructions on how to “make” God work: “What do you need? Start creating it. Start speaking about it. Start speaking it into being. Speak to your billfold. Say, ‘You big, thick billfold full of money.’ Speak to your checkbook. Say, ‘You, checkbook, you. You’ve never been so prosperous since I owned you. You’re just jammed full of money.’ Say to your body, ‘You’re whole, body! Why, you just function so beautifully and so well. Why, body, you never have any problems. You’re a strong, healthy body.’ Or speak to your leg, or speak to your foot, or speak to your neck, or speak to your back. … Speak to your wife, speak to your husband, speak to your circumstances; and speak faith to them to create in them and God will create what you are speaking.” (Marilyn Hickey, quoted in Hanegraaff, Crisis, 63). This exhortation, as humorous as it sounds, masks a cruelty that comes through whenever someone in the Word Faith movement faces trials. Just as positive words have the power to create positive (good) results, negative words have the power to create negative (bad) results, according to the Word Faith followers. Consequently, those suffering have only themselves to blame, say the Word Faith teachers. As Frederick K. C. Price says, “If you keep talking death, that is what you are going to have. If you keep talking sickness and disease, that is what you are going to have, because you are going to create the reality of them with your own mouth. That is a divine law.” (Price, Realm, 29). Deceived Christians are being mocked by Satan as they stumble around waiting for a missing limb or eye to be replaced – if and when they have enough faith and stop confessing negatively!

Faith in Doctrines of Demons (1 Timothy 4:1-5) leads to Fear and Death!
Guilt is generally brought about by the tension generated when one was positively confessing but getting no results. According to the Word-Faith position, no results equals lack of faith or open sin in one’s life. This can, and usually does, cause excessive introspection and a tremendous guilt feelings. Sometimes the guilt is real and needs to be dealt with, but often there is no reason for the feelings. Whatever the person was positively confessing was not in God’s plan and He is not going to bring it about.

Fear comes from two areas. First is the obsessive compulsion to be positive in every word. Even using phrases such as “I’m just dying to do that” or “that joke just tickled me to death,” release satanic powers, say the Word-Faith teachers (The Tongue – A Creative Force, p. 90-92). People become afraid that they are going to slip up, utter a negative word, and give a place to Satan. Secondly, fear is a corollary to the guilt mentioned above. Fear and guilt usually work in a downward spiral. One feels guilty because of supposed lack of faith, then afraid because the confession is not “working.” Then there is more guilt, then more fear, and so on down into further despair. This cycle can be extremely spiritually and physically debilitating. All of these spiritual and psychological difficulties can be directly attributed to elevating man to the false position of being a god and saying that he has powers far greater than he really does.

Unfortunately, Word Faith proponents explain suffering through a convenient appeal to the sovereignty of man. There are no victims, nothing is out of control, and everything can change because those afflicted are calling the shots. As long as someone possesses enough knowledge about what God has promised, says the right words, and has enough faith, all will be taken care of–bills will get paid, family members will be healed, and money will fall like manna from heaven. One’s own words control life because words “are the most powerful things in the universe today.” (Capps, Creative Power, 25). “HEALTH, SUCCESS, HAPPINESS and PROSPERITY are God’s Will for YOU when you believe His Word enough to ACT ON IT.” (T. L. Osborne, quoted in Hanegraaff, Crisis, 361). In the Word Faith movement, all suffering is caused by man, rather than God. As Frederick K. C. Price says, “You are suffering because you’re stupid!” (Price, quoted in Crenshaw, Man as God, 156). The only alternative they suggest is blasphemous: “If God is running everything, He does have things in a mess.” (Hagin, The Interceding Christian (Tulsa: Kenneth E. Hagin Ministries, 1978, 14). The stupidity to which Price refers is expressed either through speaking negative confessions or through not realizing that positive confessions will bring about good things.

How should the church respond?
We have seen enough evidence to conclude that the Word-Faith message is a dangerous soul-destroying heresy that simply does not work. It is a body of presumptuous teachings that lacks the authority of the Word of God. It is a system of thinking that has been generated by a group of men drawing from each other’s teachings with an amalgamation of Christian theology, mysticism and Gnosticism bound together by one of the most fanciful methods of Scripture interpretation ever devised. All of this is buttressed by a mutual admiration society among the most popular of the Word-Faith teachers that admonishes critics to “touch not the Lord’s anointed,” often under dire threats of divine displeasure.

The Word-Faith movement has done more than its share of producing strife in the body of Christ. Scores of well-meaning Christians are in bondage to this unscriptural philosophy. The results of the Word-Faith teachings is to leave many people full of confusion, guilt and fear – the very things that the Word-Faith movement professes to eradicate.

The time is long due for Christians to take a serious look at the teachings of the Word-Faith movement. Very little has been written or said about the defective Christology of Word-Faith believers which is utterly blasphemous! We criticize such groups as the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians, or the United Pentecostal Church because of their unscriptural views of the Godhead. We expose the Mormon teachings declaring that men can become gods (the first Satanic lie! – Genesis 3:5) or the Witnesses heretical view that Jesus is “a god”, and not Almighty God, and was pre-existent as Michael the archangel. Can we do any less when the Word-Faith groups have introduced equally heretical teachings into the Body of Christ?


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