THE WORD OF FAITH MOVEMENT

An expose of the teachings of the Word-faith cult.

The doctrines of the Faith movement investigated in this article would not normally deserve a response, were it not for the fact that multitudes of sincere people have fallen prey to, and unknowingly accepted, a false view of the events leading up to and including the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The problem here is that we are scripturally commanded to test the spirits whether they are of God (1 John 4) and to be Bereans - to search the Scriptures to see if what they say is true (Acts 17:11) - many of the followers of these heretical teachers don't follow this instruction, because if they did, they would soon see that they are being exploited "with stories their teachers have made up" - they have ignored the warning:
2 Peter 2: 1  But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.  2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

[Word Faith teachings] [Quotes from their leaders] [History]
A 27 page indictment of Word-Faith - Banner Ministries

Error is never more deceptive than when presented with a mask of Truth. Some of what these people teach may be correct, but the error that they do teach on Essential/Salvation doctrine, makes their entire teaching wrong, according to Scripture.

Leading identities of the Faith movement are: Kenneth Hagin, Ray McCauley (RHEMA), Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Rodney Howard-Browne, Kenneth Hagin Jr., Gloria Copeland, Fred Price,  Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps, Norvel Hayes, John Osteen, Robert Tilton, Lester Sumrall, John Avanzini, Marilyn Hickey, Buddy Harrison, Creflo Dollar and Morris Cerullo.

WORD-FAITH DOCTRINE

Word-Faith doctrinal teachings can be proven from actual quotes from their leaders... through ignorance and perversion of the Scriptures, twisting out of all reasonable context their meaning, they arrive at their cultish standpoint, claiming a new Revelation from God. Most of these churches are built on the premise of pastoral GREED, where, through false teaching, followers are coaxed into giving all their worldly possessions to the church, in return for a "Scriptural" "pour out on you blessing" from God. (Please see The Truth about titheing). Meanwhile, Pastors live in luxury mansions, drive Rolls-Royces, own Lear Jets, dress in designer clothing, drip in diamonds and gold and fleece their own congregation in the light of their favourite verse, Malachi 3:8, which in fact talks of the tithe of the LEVITES (The Priests/pastors!), not of the congregation. Ironically and tragically, in their ignorance, pastors who teach the titheing verse "will a man rob God", miss the whole point that Malachi wrote this verse to the PASTORS, they were the one's who were robbing God!

FAITH IS A "FORCE"
It makes the Almighty God and Creator a weak 'faith-being' who is at the mercy of His own universal laws.

Although Word-of-Faith ministers speak of God in a personal way, they treat Him like an impersonal "force" that can be operated by the use of laws - laws which even God has to obey in order to create and run His universe. God, they say, has left the control of the planet in man's hands and is powerless to intervene without a covenant partner. Is God not omnipotent and completely sovereign?

POSITIVE CONFESSION - 'NAME IT, CLAIM IT, FRAME IT'
Word-of Faith teaches Christians to draw upon powerful 'forces' that reside in the human spirit - such as the "force" of faith - to bring certain laws into operation. They emphasize that we have power to operate all these spiritual laws. So, learning and confessing the Word continually is the method used to obtain anything we want. This self-rule leads to pride and greed. Biblically, a Christian must deny himself and submit to the entire will of God, as revealed moment-by-moment by the Holy Spirit. When 'Positive Confession' first arrived into "Christianity", it transformed some dead churches and struggling Christians. However, as so often in Church history, the movement soon revealed its true nature as something more like a cult, with extremes of belief that brought the Name of the Lord into disrepute. Unfortunately, it seems this was inevitable - the roots of the doctrine were firmly planted in the soil of the metaphysical cults. The errors that produced New Thought and Christian Science had also produced Word-of-Faith as a Christianized version.

In Word-Faith religion the believer uses God, whereas, the truth of Biblical Christianity is--God uses the believer!  Word-Faith theology sees the Holy Spirit as a Power to be put to use for whatever the believer wants. The Bible teaches, however, that the Holy Spirit is a person who enables the believer to do whatever God wants.  It is absolutely the opposite of Scripture.

A PROSPERITY GOSPEL

Word-Faith writings . . . and there are myriad of these things, you can't even keep up with them.  There is almost no end to the proliferation of literatureWord-Faith articles carry titles like, "How to Write Your Own Ticket with God," "Godliness is Profitable," "The Laws of Prosperity," "God's Creative Power Will Work for You," "Releasing the Ability of God Through Prayer," "God's Formula for Success and Prosperity," "God's Master Key to Prosperity," "Living in Divine Prosperity," and so it goes.

The passage in the third letter of John "3John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers." is always used to demonstrate that God desires his people to "prosper" - that is, to be rich. Prosperity is a big subject in the Faith teachings, and the John passage seems central to their exposition of that doctrine.

Yet this is a distortion of the scripture, because the word "prosper" does not mean "wealth" as evidenced by the latter part of that scripture "even as thy soul prospereth". Souls do not receive material wealth, although they can become rich in faith. The word Prosper in scripture means to be "helped along the way", and it signifies a daily walk that is successful in all areas. It does not simply mean that a believer "has prosperity" in terms of being financially well-off!

REVELATION KNOWLEDGE
Like the gnostic heresies all through the ages, the "God spoke to me, saying", or "God, as he has revealed himself to me" or the preacher "having a public conversation with God on stage", Word-of-Faith needs special knowledge in order to be effective. Leaders see themselves as having an "anointing" to bring new spiritual revelation to the Body. In this scheme, it is not sin and disobedience that causes us to fail, but ignorance of the "anointing". Moreover, this revelation knowledge is limited to the few who can receive it; the less intelligent are at a disadvantage.

The Truth of the matter is that ALL believers have the SAME ANOINTING, when they are born again. The Holy Spirit indwelling each believer is the anointing.

All Christians should note that God reveals Himself to believers in..............His Word!

JESUS NEEDED TO BE BORN AGAIN
It makes the Divine Son of God into a born-again man who had to die in Hell to pay the price for our treason.

Jesus, according to Word-of-Faith doctrine, discarded His divine powers and walked earth as a mere man filled with The Spirit. He had to use the Word and the laws of faith to do miracles. When He died, His blood did not atone, but He had to take upon Himself the very sin-nature of the Devil, causing His spirit to die, and suffer three days and nights of hellish torment AS A MAN before the Father gave the command for Him to be re-created as a re-born man. Thus, they say, Jesus was just the first of many sons, the Pattern for us all to follow.

"Why didn't Jesus openly proclaim Himself as God during His 33 years on earth? For one single reason. He hadn't come to earth as God, He'd come as man." Kenneth Copeland.

MEN ARE GODS
It elevates man to equality with Jesus.

A consequence of the 'Jesus-died-spiritually' doctrine is that all born-again Christians stand in the same place of power and authority as Jesus - not by virtue of their unity with Him, but in themselves, as men filled with the Spirit. This would mean that we have already been resurrected from the dead and it only remains for us to gain 'knowledge' of our new condition in order to discard the trappings of the fleshly body and begin living as spiritual gods on earth!

Thus, the Christian walk is one of education in using the same spiritual laws as Jesus in order to dominate circumstances and do miracles. In Word-of-Faith teaching, believers do not depend on God's own power, nor submit to His will, but feel they have the right to develop their own powers, and to discover the laws governing creation and dominion on the earth. To understand the special position that Word-of-Faith gives to man, we need to know their interpretation of the Creation. In their teaching, man HAS NO NATURE OF HIS OWN but takes his nature from his 'lord'. When God was his Lord, then man had a divine nature - for Adam was created as god of the earth, they say - but after man's fall, he took the sin-nature of the Devil and became like Satan. (All this, of course, is contrary to scripture). So, Word-of Faith believers would reason that a born-again man has regained his divine nature. Thus, he is entitled to use the attributes of his divinity, such as creative powers and domination of the environment etc.

It makes the redemption into a restoration of Dominion and Power for mankind.
Word-of-Faith teachers stress the loss of dominion over the earth, not sin, as the root problem. So, salvation becomes a matter of re-discovering one's place of godhood and learning to rule as kings on earth. The role Jesus had to play in redemption was that of a substitute-Adam, coming to earth to fulfill all that Adam failed to do, demonstrating the possibilities of dominion, and then taking Adam's place in Hell to let mankind 'off the hook'. The worship given to Jesus by Word-of-Faith believers is more from a sense of gratitude than a recognition of His divinity. It also misses the whole point of redemption: that Jesus HIMSELF is the Life and Salvation of mankind and that we are only saved in union with Him.

Its goal is the transformation of the earth by spiritual dominion.
Because Word-of-Faith believers see themselves as having returned to their god-like dominion of the earth, they foresee the time coming when - by sheer force of numbers, probably - they will force all mankind to bow the knee to God. They teach that all the wealth of the world will flow to the Church, and that the laws, government and entire social structure of the world system will have to change. Despite scriptural warnings of apostasy and increasing wickedness in the end-times, they foresee a great victory for the Church in the future, as the Spirit sweeps millions into the 'kingdom' on earth. Whether or not they claim to believe in the end-times plan of Revelation, the Rapture, the Millennium or any of these things, they still seem to be able to fit a scheme of global Church unity and triumph into the plan of the ages.

THEY DENY THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
No Christian should be Sick or poor.

Word-of-Faith ministers teach that the only true reality is spiritual, and the earthly senses are deceptive. Thus, believers are taught that it is a sin to be sick, a sin to be poor, a sin to be in any way below par. They are taught to overcome adversity by confessing a suitable 'positive' scripture, instead of seeking God's guidance. They are taught that if they are not healed "in the name of Jesus", they don't have enough FAITH! Also, the reality of sin, and the need for forgiveness is glossed over by teaching that a simple confession of the Lordship of Jesus will effect a change of lifestyle.

It focuses on self and the world instead of God and Heaven.

The emphasis in Word-of-Faith doctrine is all on success, prosperity, advancement, gain, health and strength. There is little compassion for those who fail to come up to these exacting standards. Any adversity is said to be a 'lack of faith' to confess the appropriate Word. This is a great misunderstanding of the Sovereignty of God, and His plan to bring his children to glory, for if we refuse to share in the trials, setbacks and persecutions of Jesus, we are not ready to share His glorification. [Rom 8:17]

BRINGING CHRIST INTO DISREPUTE
Some of the Word-of-Faith teachers and ministries have been the worst offenders in bringing the Name and the cause of Jesus Christ into disrepute. Ministries that emphasize prosperity have ended up in greed, manipulating believers into giving money they can little afford. Over-emphasized teaching about God's healing has led to extravagant claims for miracles that have been exposed as hyperbole and sham. Doctrines about man's godhood and superhuman abilities have led to arrogance, self-will and the use of psychic powers to perform miracles instead of a simple dependency on the Holy Spirit. Also, teachings about faith have become rituals and formulas for producing instant result; and many who could not or would not go down this road were derided and rejected as "having no faith".

CONCLUSION:

What we can learn from the Word-of-Faith doctrines is really no more than straight-forward biblical teaching in the first place - faith in God and in His Word, belief in divine intervention in our affairs, a positive outlook based on the promises of God, and a knowledge of the defeat of satanic powers in Jesus - all this and more is good and sound, but the Word-of-Faith movement today has gone far beyond these boundaries and created a monster that is devouring both its leaders and followers alike.

It is not necessary to buy into a Word-of-Faith system in order to benefit from the plain teaching of scripture. Any who are followers of Word-of-Faith ministers should think very carefully about their position as followers of men and of a dubious man-inspired system of formulas, and also should be wary of the manipulation to give gifts and tithes to these ministries. It would be better to seek scriptural inspiration from the Holy Spirit who is our only Guide and Teacher.

HISTORY OF THE MOVEMENT

The major doctrines of the Faith movement were plagiarized by Kenneth Hagin from the teachings of E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon (1867-1948), who gained much of his theology from the mind-science cults, predominantly metaphysics. He incorporated these teachings with his Christian beliefs in an attempt to satisfy the desires for, as he termed it, a new type of Christianity which people had been longing for. Hagin adopted many of these ideas, adding his own theological views gained from his days in classical Pentecostalism and healing revivalism. The five central doctrines of the Faith movement: Revelation Knowledge, Identification, Faith, Healing and Prosperity, however, were all taken from Kenyon's writings, a man who often drank from the well of the Metaphysical cults, particularly, New Thought and Christian Science.

QUOTES FROM ACTUAL STATEMENTS MADE BY WORD-FAITH LEADERS

What do these men teach that provokes such an outcry against them by true bible-believing Christians?
Below is a list of some of the statements made by the most respected Word-Faith teachers (researched by Jim Fox, Banner Ministries, 1992).
Most of them defy any logical explanation, and are so absurdly blasphemous that they don't even warrant argument. Those who follow after the teachings of these men are in serious danger.

2 Peter 2: 1 (NIV)  But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.  2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

“these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up” – can anyone find biblical justification for the blasphemous teachings of Copeland and Hagin….? read what they say!