Amazing Grace


What God made from the dust He has returned to dust. Millions of people — I pray you were one — followed the end-of-life journey of Joey Martin Feek. For any who are walking that difficult road I want to offer you my heartfelt prayer that our blessed Lord will be a comforting source of peace and strength to you and your family.

Though we continue to mourn the loss of a beautiful spirit I am compelled, once again, to challenge the heretical teaching of those who preach the false gospel that is Word of Faith. You see and hear them all day on Christian television and radio — Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Fred Price, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar and many others.

Rod Parsley, for example, said:

Don’t you pray ‘If it’s Thy will.’ Perfect faith cannot exist where the will of God is not known. Did you hear me? I said healing is not a promise, it’s an established fact. First Peter 2:24 records that sickness was defeated as a result of the stripes Jesus bore on His back. When the Roman cat-of-nine-tails whistled through the air and stripped His back until His flesh hanged round His legs like ribbons, every lash laid on Him purchased healing for our sick bodies. Because Jesus bore those stripes you don’t have to be sick anymore.[1]

Messiah Gate has recently published articles on 1 Peter 2:24 so we won’t revisit that except to say that the Word of Faith interpretation of Peter is wrong.

In a recent article I posted the following:

There was an incident where the faith healer told a disabled man to get out of his wheelchair and walk. Well, the man got up and fell … repeatedly. The pastor screamed at the man for his lack of faith. He commanded him over and over to get up and walk — only to fall again and again. The stunned assembly watched in gasping disbelief at the abuse inflicted upon this helpless person. The pastor (Andrew Womack) had the nerve to share this story on TCT, and with no remorse for it was the man’s fault that he was not healed.

Perry Stone recalled a service where he and others were performing a laying on of the hands:

There are some people who when you touch them you can feel the anointing. When you lay your hands upon them there is a surge of power (as when the woman reached out to touch Jesus). Others, it’s like laying your hands upon a rock — there’s nothing. [2]

Womack and Stone both explained that they had confidence in their ability to transfer the healing power of the Holy Spirit, but the afflicted person had to possess the power of faith to receive it. As hard as it was to watch the crippled man fall, a mystified Womack insisted that it was the lame man’s fault that he was not healed.

The assertion of faith healers is that you are not healed either because of a lack of faith, or unconfessed sin. This is what caused me to fall away in my early Christian walk because I listened to (and believed) these false teachers. I mean, let’s call them out — Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Joseph Prince, Robert Schuller, Oral Roberts, Jesse Duplantis, Clarence McClendon and most of what you see on TBN, TCT and The Church Channel. Did I mention Daystar?

It’s a gospel call to health and prosperity. Just name it and claim it is the pulpit mantra. T.D. Jakes, citing the example of blind Bartimaeus, said:

It was not what was in Christ’s mouth that got him healed. The power was in Bartimaeus’ mouth. He would have whatever he said. And Jesus was saying ‘My hands are tied because I can’t do any more for you than what you say.’

If the power of life and death is in the tongue and you can have whatever you say and if you’ve been praying and praying and praying and you finally got God’s attention and now He’s looking at you and saying ‘What do you want?’ … What do you want? Name it, baby, name it … Declare it! Speak it! Confess it! Get your list out! [3]

To a degree, yes, we must have faith, but even that is a gift from God. When Jesus returned to Nazareth it is recorded that He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58). How might we judge the crippled man whom Andrew Womack could not heal? That a man bound to a wheelchair made the effort to attend a faith healing service would seem to suggest that he at least possessed a mustard seed of faith. Why, then, wasn’t he healed?

Perry Stone suggests that without the anointing of God you cannot receive healing. So, if I’m anointed by God I will be healed? Maybe the Jewish scriptures can help us to understand. When Elisha was preparing to succeed Elijah he asked the prophet to bless him. We read from the Masoretic text as translated by the Jewish Publication Society (1917):

And it came to pass, when they were gone over (the river Jordan), that Elijah said unto Elisha: ‘Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken from thee.’ And Elisha said: ‘I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.’2 Kings 2:9

Was this double-dose anointing enough to preserve Elisha’s life? Safeguard him from affliction? Well, no. Only a few chapters later Elisha is confined to his sick-bed:

Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he was to die; and Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over him (2 Kings 13:14).

There was no miracle healing for Elisha, but there was a miracle after he was buried.

And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a (marauding) band; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet (2 Kings 13:21).

That was quite an anointing Elisha received. He died — yet a dead man lived. As Christ died (and was resurrected) so shall we live also. The mystery of the Gospel, hidden in the Jewish scriptures, is yet again revealed. And by this interpretation we correctly understand what Peter was saying — that by the wounds of Christ we were healed of our sin condition. Sin is a fatal disease, but the healing is in the blood of Jesus.

The Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon, who studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Mind science (where “name it and claim it” originated) was combined with Pentecostalism, resulting in a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism.

At the heart of the Word of Faith movement is the belief in the “force of faith.” It is believed words can be used to manipulate the faith-force, and thus actually create what they believe Scripture promises (health and wealth). [Ed: God is subject to these laws according to WOF.]

From here, its theology just strays further and further from Scripture: it claims that God created human beings in His literal, physical image as little gods. [4]

Creflo Dollar (sounding so much like the Serpent to Eve):

I’m gonna say to you right now that you are gods, little ‘g.’ You are gods because you came from God and you are gods. My whole attitude now should be I have equality with God. Now somebody says, ‘Well it’s hard to think that way.’ Well, keep saying it … Talk yourself into it. [5]

So, we can talk ourself into health and wealth — visualize it and possess it? Where is that taught in Scripture? It’s not. It is New Age mysticism and idolatry.

If Jesus had commanded a crippled man to rise from his wheelchair what do you think the result would have been? Or consider this — does a dead man have faith? I’m speaking of Lazarus. By whose faith was he raised, but by the power of Almighty God.

In her final days Joey Martin Feek said:

I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed I’d discover I was healed. But I realized I was healed in a different way. I was healed in my relationship with Christ, because it just drew me closer.

And what of the over two million people who said a prayer for her? Were they all lacking in faith? Even Paul who discovered that (in his affliction) the grace of God was sufficient enough.

Amazing grace, indeed.

Notes:

1. Christianity Still in Crisis?, Bob Hunter, Christian Research Journal, volume 30, number 3 (2007).

2. Manna-Fest, Perry Stone, published on Mar 4, 2016.

3. Source, see #1.

4. Is the Word of Faith Movement Biblical?, Got Questions.org.

5. Source, see #1.

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One thought on “Amazing Grace”

  1. So well said. I believe prayer can bring about healing. But like all our prayers, sometime’s the LORD’s answer isn’t what we expect or want. He is after all, sovereign. And it’s not about us. It’s about Him.

    I’ve noticed a lot of Christians focus their faith on what they do, rather than focusing on what Messiah has done, is doing and will do. Jesus said we must be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect. But we can’t be perfect by following the Law (Torah). Jesus fulfilled the Law — not us. We can’t make ourselves perfect by religious performance, which in essence is what the word of faith movement preaches. We are the clay, not the Potter. But we can abide in Him and walk in his light.

    Part of our faith is simply trusting our heavenly Father’s response to our prayers. He is not bound by our instructions, directions or micromanagement. Rather than “name it and claim it”, I agree with the words of Gloria Gaither: “Should the harvest never come, I still will praise You; Should I not tie the sheaves with my own hand, I still will praise You for the promise of the sowing; And though I should never see it, I know the harvest will be grand.”

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