Word of Faith


word-of-faith

Brethren, we are engaged in spiritual warfare. And sometimes the opposition wears the mantle of Christianity. Paul warns us that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

I have been engaged in an intense debate with a blogger named Deanna who is a convert to the Word of Faith movement. View this post and scroll down to the comments section to see our exchange.

It’s interesting how this all began. Late one night I was awakened from a deep sleep, and the Spirit moved me to search for articles on faith and healing. Deanna’s WordPress blog popped up so I began to read. She was making the claim that we are wholly healed (body and spirit) by the sacrifice of Christ. (See our post: Word of False Teaching).

Well, I’m very familiar with the teachings of Word of Faith as I got entangled with that group 35 years ago. When I didn’t realize the promises of health and wealth I fell away. That in itself is a good lesson. You’ll hear preachers say that if you fall away you were never saved. Not so. Simply read the parables of The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and The Prodigal Son in Luke 15. God could have cut me off, but He didn’t. I am awed and humbled by His abundant grace.

Messiah Gate no longer links to Christian television for it is the platform of Word of Faith teaching. Benny Hinn said that if you attack him — that is, his message of health and wealth — your children will suffer. Not in a lack of substance, but in judgement. Creflo Dollar, sounding very much like the serpent in the Garden, teaches that you are a little god. T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland (as a small sampling) teach the gospel of positive thinking. Their message sounds like a Tony Robbins motivational seminar.

Meyer will ramble on for 30 minutes about cookies and cigarettes — You have power over that cookie. You can be the weight God wants you to be. You can break your nicotine addiction. She can go on and on without citing Scripture, or mentioning Jesus Christ.

The Gospel according to Joel Osteen: You can get that job. You can overcome that difficult boss. You can be all that God wants you to be. If you believe it then receive it.

I believed it, but I didn’t receive it. Jesus did not promise these things, but He did say we would suffer even as He came as a suffering servant:

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Trial and sorrow has been my experience. And you? Oh, but Word of Faith teaches you to create your own reality — Just name it and claim it — whatever that might be. Simply declare that you won’t be sick, or poor. Spoken words activate faith. Where is that taught in Scripture? And if it doesn’t work for you it is because you are lacking — there is a deficiency within your spirit. Your unbelief is creating a barrier to faith fulfillment. You are a little god, and as the Creator spoke the universe into existence you can speak a new reality into your life.

Deanna has forcefully utilized the three components of adherence — fear, manipulation and bullying. Been there … done that. It is the classic signature of a cult. She accuses me of being prideful, but it is her obsessive pride that compels her to not let up. I will not be bullied into believing a lie.

The testimony of pastor John Edwards is posted on the comment board of the linked post, and it would be profitable to share that with you all.

WHY I LEFT THE WORD OF FAITH AND RHEMA

My name is John Edwards, and I was a Faith Preacher for ten years and one month. My wife and I attended and graduated from the premiere word of faith seminary in the world. During school I had the opportunity of working for some of the most famous names in the word of faith movement.

As a word of faith Christian, I did all the things that the word of faith teaches. I confessed the Word. I talked in line with the Word. I called things that be not as though they were.

For many years I prayed, believed and confessed miracles, signs and wonders for our ministry. But not much happened along those lines. In fact, I buried a lot of people over those years, including my daughter that died of a brain tumor at the age of fourteen. I was constantly perplexed that the message of faith and healing that I was preaching did not seem to work in the lives of the congregation.

About a year and a half ago a good friend from Tulsa sent me a CD teaching on pride. I hated it. It really bothered me a lot and got me to thinking and praying which is sometimes a dangerous thing to do! It convicted me of pride. It opened my eyes to some of my motives. More than anything, it revealed to me that I had an enormous ego that could never, ever be content.

I realized that over the years, that I had transformed from being on fire for God to being on fire for me. Everything was about me. My vision, my church, my success, my reputation, my dream, my services, my anointing, my, my, my, me, me ,me.

The Word of Faith is a cult because it is led by people claiming special insight and revelation that is unorthodox. They also attempt to control their subjects with fear, manipulation and bullying.

Please do not be afraid to look at the evidence. I was too afraid to examine the evidence because I wanted things my way. The Word of Faith put me in charge of my own life, and I liked that. But when I got up the courage to begin to read and study, God opened my eyes with truth and freedom. [1]

Pastor Edwards noted that Word of Faith is a hybrid religion of New Age mind science and Charismatic theology. It bases its teaching on a key passage of Scripture:

Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them (Mark 11:23).

We can’t build a theology on one verse. We can’t interpret Scripture out of context. To whom was Jesus speaking? His remark was in response to a question posed by Peter. It was hyperbole, and understood as such by Jewish readers of the first century. As when Jesus said that you should pluck out your eye to keep from sinning, He did not mean that you should mutilate yourself. It was a Jewish idiom — a manner of speaking. To move mountains was a common way of expressing the overcoming of obstacles (like what the Apostles faced in preaching the Gospel).

Paul wrote … if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Though Deanna says she loves me there is no love in trying to convince me of a lie. Sometimes we are so emotionally invested in a deception that in our pride we cannot see that we are the ones deceived.

Notes:

1. WHY I LEFT THE WORD OF FAITH AND RHEMA by John Edwards, UC MINISTRIES BLOG, March 16, 2011.

PMI Center for Biblical Studies:

The origin of the positive confession teaching can be traced back to the life and teachings of E.W. Kenyon who was introduced to the philosophical ideas of positive confession at Emerson College of Oratory in Boston in 1880. [D.R. McConnell, A different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1988), p. 35-36]

The religious system promoted at Emerson College was New Thought metaphysics, which is a system of cultic belief that taught that true reality is spiritual, that the spiritual is the cause of all physical effects, and that the human mind through positive mental attitude and positive confession has the power to create its own reality: either health and wealth, or sickness and poverty. [D.R. McConnell, A different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1988), pp. 35-36].

To believe that true reality is spiritual, and that the human mind has the potential to create its own reality is sorcery. In Hinduism this is called maya, and is based upon the ancient sorcerer’s belief that the entire universe is an illusion created by the mind. [Dave Hunt, The Seduction of Christianity (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402), p. 138.].

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