THE WORD FAITH MOVEMENT
(aka: Word Faith)
Graduate of Oral Roberts University and Word Faith critic D. R. McConnell has written:
“Seldom if ever, has there been a gospel that has promised so much, demanded so little. The Faith gospel is a message ideally suited to the twentieth-century American Christian. In an age in America characterized by complexity, the Faith gospel gives simple, if not revelational, answers. In an economy fueled by materialism and fired by ambitions of the upwardly mobile, the Faith gospel preaches wealth and prosperity. The Faith gospel promises health and long life to a world in which death can come in a myriad of different ways. Finally, in an international environment characterized by anarchy, in which terrorists strike at will and nuclear holocaust can come screaming from the sky at any moment, the Faith gospel confers an authority with which the believer can supposedly exercise complete control over his or her own environment.”
The Word Faith movement is a part of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Christian church so much so that today the movement is considered not just part of, but the actual charismatic movement itself.
It has been labeled heresy, cultic, Gnostic, and a work of Satan by some. Rev. Curtis A. Crenshaw in his work Man as God: The Word of Faith Movement, stated: “…a form of transcendentalism or Gnosticism (from which come such metaphysical cults as Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, and now the health and wealth cult).”
Although many of the teachings of the Faith Movement are heretical, they are also subtle. It is in this “sense of ease” that most followers seem to miss the false doctrine that otherwise is very apparent to the discerning Bible student. The very frequent use of biblical terminology along with the many “proof texts” that they espouse to back up their claims is how and why it has become the most attractive and therefore the most popular message that’s being preached today. The vast majority of “televangelists” are Word Faith proponents.
The fact is, that so much of what is taught in Word Faith circles is actually unreasonable, and the “promises” and “rights” that proponents claim every believer has, are actually beyond the reach for the multitudes of followers.
The bottom line: The main fallacy the movement teaches is that we are actually god’s ourselves and can simply decree things and events to come to pass by speaking certain words of confession. This is the biggest proof of the fact that Word of Faith is considered a cult.
SOME HISTORY OF WORD FAITH BELIEFS
Most researchers would agree that the roots of Word Faith lie in the beliefs and teachings of one E. W. Kenyon. In the early 1900s Essek William Kenyon (1867-1948) was greatly influenced by Phineas Quimby (1802- 66), the founder of what is known as “New Thought.” Around the same time, other cultists such as Mary Baker Eddy had what might be termed early New Age beliefs - although there is nothing “new” about the New Age movement - who also began to spread her serious heretical teachings called Christian Science. To this general time frame belongs a list of other heresies, which were started in the United States, such as Theosophy, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, all mind science factions, the teachings of E. O. Allen, A. B. Simpson. Spiritism flourished in many different ways. Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of several, more or less, famed spiritists.
Kenyon attended Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, Mass., which was a breeding ground for these new ways of attracting new ideas about the spirit world, and thus seeking to find a connection between that biblically forbidden realm and the Scriptures. This “marrying” of the occult and Christianity is a major goal of Satan; in this way, he was able to blend and therefore distort and pervert true faith in God.
From Kenyon the mantle was passed on to a man named Kenneth Hagin who is affectionately known as “Dad” Hagin by his underlings such as the Copelands, Trinity Broadcast Network’s (TBN) the Crouches, and others.
One of the main teachings of Word Faith is that physical healing is a right of all believers in Jesus Christ. The problem is that this belief isn’t Biblical; rather, was bred through belief in the paranormal via parapsychology. Quimby, who began his career as a mesmerist taught that bodily sickness is caused by false beliefs in the mind about health and could be corrected by changing the beliefs of the individual’s mind. These are the so-called positive confessions which are so prominent in the Word of Faith movement.
To this they conveniently added other ails of society like poverty, lack, and unhappiness in people, and taught that all this could be overcome by believing for the cure and backing this belief up with corresponding “positive” words of confession. These wonderful advances in healing and prosperity, through confession of God’s Word, is taught as a divine right established by the Lord Himself.
Quimby called his system of positivity, the science of Christ. Other early proponents of these false ideas were William Branham and John G. Lake. From there it was easy for Kenneth Hagin Sr., Oral Roberts, Norman Vincent Peale (a major heretic and shepherd over Robert Schuller of Glass Cathedral fame - as well President Donald Trump), the Copelands, Benny Hinn, and a slew of others to take the world by storm. The teachings of divine healing, which came out of the Holiness Movement, became the catalyst for easy incorporation with biblical teachings, albeit, twisted. Robert Schuller would then infect individuals like Rick Warren of Purpose Driven fame. They end up advocating and teaching heretical blasphemies, along with other contemporary liars of the Emergent Church persuasion, who are touted in the press as America’s top Evangelical “pastors,” of which Brian McLaren and Rob Bell are just the tip of the iceberg.
It is this mind control over our own environment that attract many to this message, never mind that the Bible tells us in John 15:4-5:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I Am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
The emphasis is that He (Christ) is the vine and that we are the branches, and unless we trust and obey Him we can do nothing. In contrast, the Faith Movement teaches that if we have the God kind of faith we can do everything that God can do, if we speak the right confession enough times and if we don’t give up “standing on the Word.” All such strategies are of course learned through the various teachings on tape, CD, DVD, and books, from the various Faith ministries as well as a multitude of “believer’s” meetings across the world and via the airwaves, especially on TBN.
It must be pointed out, too, that within the Faith Movement are many well-meaning, Jesus-loving, born-again real Christians who have not as of yet woken up to the Scriptural assaults that the leadership of this movement propagate. [We’ve been there, and done that, and were in leadership at one of our local Word Faith Charismatic churches. With us it was one thing after another, which the Lord would use to cause us to realize something isn’t right. Over time, the sheer amount, of questionable things got to be too much, with no satisfactory biblical answers from our pastors, and we knew we had to separate ourselves from this nonsense, which we did after some 11 years of involvement.]
When abiding in the truth is no longer a fact, no matter how sincere a person might be, and if the truth is let go of long enough, the consequences are dire - to say the least. One of the biggest mistakes, besides the obvious ones, is the adherence to the belief that God is not to be feared, just “revered.” The reason is that God is Love and that Jesus went about healing all who were sick and oppressed by the devil. Unfortunately, this mentality lends itself to serious error in many ways. The most obvious would be no fear, no revere. Why would anyone revere God without there being a real fear for the soul? The natives revered King Kong because they feared him. This analogy is not so far out when one considers the words of Jesus:
“But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear Him which after He has killed has power to cast into hell; yes, I say unto you, fear Him.” (Luke 12:5)
Many of the Proverbs deal with the fear of the Lord, such as this one :
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But fools despise wisdom and instructions.” (Prov 1:7)
And Psalm 111:10 states,
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endures forever.”
boldly proclaims, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
The word “fear” means exactly what everybody already knows it means. The Scripture that brings the point home succinctly is Hebrews 10:31, which tells us, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
The word “fearful” here means exceedingly frightful, a terror. Doesn’t sound like the reverential, half-baked sort-of-almost respect that they say it means. Also, since the teaching is that we ourselves are indeed gods and by speaking “faith” we can get what we want because of certain “spiritual laws” that even God has to adhere to, God is actually left out of the picture.
We Are Gods!
It is important to remember that Jesus said, that what defiles a man is not what goes into the mouth but what proceeds out of the mouth. (Matthew 15:11)
Kenneth Copeland says of God, “He’s very much like you and me, a being that stands somewhere around 6’-2, 6’-3, who weighs somewhere around a couple of hundred pounds, a little better, [and] has a [hand] span of nine inches across.” The bible however states that, “There is none like unto the Lord our God.” (Exodus 8:10)
Another Copeland quote is, “God spoke Adam into existence in authority with words (Gen. 1:26, 28). These words struck Adam’s body in the face. His body and God’s were exactly the same size.” (Hanegraff, Christianity in Crisis)
Jerry Savelle made this claim:
“God is not 437 feet tall, weighing 4000 pounds, and got a fist as big around as this room. He’s big, but He’s not a monster. He [God] measured out heaven with a nine-inch span. ….the distance between my thumb and finger is not quite nine inches. So, I know He’s bigger than me, thank God. Amen? But He’s not some great, big, old thing that couldn’t come through the door there and, you know, when He sat down, would fill every seat in the house. I don’t serve the Glob. I serve God, and I’ve been created in His image and in His likeness.” (ibid, Christianity in Crisis, p. 122)
The Bible states, “…I will at this time send all my plagues against thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:14)
Also, (Isaiah 46:9) proclaims, “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.”
And (2 Samuel 7:22) Thou art great , O Lord: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
And again, “Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.” (Jeremiah 10:6)
Here is one that’s succinct all by itself concerning whether God is 6’2” or not, or whether He has a 9” hand span: “God is not man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent." (Numbers 23:19)
And yet again, “For He (God) is not a man that He should relent” (1 Samuel 15:29)
And Psalm 9:20, “Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah!”
And lastly for our purposes here, “For I am God and not Man.” (Hosea 11:9)
If, as the Scriptures say, “God is not a man,” then God is not a man! Therefore, He also couldn’t have a 9” hand span, and so forth.
I have to ask, why even say something as silly as that? It can’t be proven and Scripture certainly doesn’t back it, but it does lend itself to the metaphysical; which roots run deep in the Word Faith Movement.
According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, “metaphysics = meta-beyond or after + physikos relating to external nature. It refers to abstract reasoning. A division of philosophy, which includes ontology, or the science of being.”
Having read all of the above Scriptures about the being of God, look at what popular WOF teacher Casey Treat claims, “God created man and woman as exact duplicates of Himself”
Charles Capps, also a favorite WOF teacher, writes in his book Authority in Three Worlds, “God duplicated himself in kind! Adam was an exact duplicate of God’s kind.”
Morris Cerullo, another favorite ‘star’ of WOF movement concurs: “Did you know that from the beginning of time the whole purpose of God was to reproduce himself?” (Hanegraff)
Kenneth Copeland, the recognized leader of the WOF movement since the death of Kenneth Hagin, says this: “God’s reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself, and in the Garden of Eden He did just that. He [Adam] was not a little like God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even…Adam is as much like God as you can get, just the same as Jesus…Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh.” (Hanegraff)
So much for this nonsense about “not really having a WOF doctrine,” like some have claimed. The Emergent Church cronies say the same thing; yet when compared, they all teach the exact same heretical, blasphemous trash.
There are obviously serious problems with these beliefs. First off it’s made up of man’s ideas instead of what Holy Scripture says of the matter, which brings it into the realm of the occult, and second, it in no way squares with correct biblical exegesis. Exegesis is the critical explanation of Scripture, and hermeneutics, which is the science of interpretation and explanation especially that branch of theology which defines the laws applied by exegesis.
New Age & Cult Leaders Believe The Same Thing
In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck, a psychologist popular in New Age and “Christian” circles, says this,: “God wants us to become Himself, (or Herself, or Itself). We are growing toward Godhood. God is the goal of evolution.” (P. 270)
Pierre Theilhard De Chardin (1885-1955), a former Jesuit priest who got thrown out of the RCC because of his heresies, which were too much even for the Vatican at the time, has stated, “Christ is above all, the god of evolution.” (Hartwich, Condemned To Hell; Insight Publishing, p. 116)
Well-known witch Margot Adler, quoting the Whole Earth Catalog, proclaims, “We are gods and might as well get good at it.” (Drawing Down the Moon, 1986, p. 25)
Hindu cult leader Rajneesh, who took on the title Baghwan Shree, which means, “Sir God,” said this: “When you call Jesus, really you have called me. When you call me, really you have called Jesus.” (Quoted in Fear is the Master, Jeremiah Films, 1987)
Transendental Meditation’s guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, trashed Scripture when he slipped in the word you for I in Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Meditations of MMY, New York; Bantam, 1968, p. 178)
Also, cult leader Jim Jones taught his followers: “…And when you recognize that you’re a god, I shall go back into principle and will not appear as a personality. But until I see you knowing who you are, I’m gonna be very much what I am-God, Almighty God.” (Quoted in James Reston Jr. and Noah Adams, Father Cares: The Last of Jamestown, program on NPR April 23, 1981)
One would expect heretical trash to come out of the mouths of heathens just mentioned - but also out of the mouths of “leaders” in the Church?
As noted by the numerous quotes by some of the leaders of the WOF movement, they teach that Adam was equal to God, just like Jesus. Consequently, if Adam was a god, then it stands to reason that all of us after Adam are also gods. Indeed, that is what they teach.
Copeland declares, “We are a class of Gods.” And again, “you don’t have a god in you, you are one.” (Various sources i.e. interviews on TBN, The Believers Voice of Victory TV, written materials, books, magazines; this author has personally heard Kenneth Copeland as well as others make this proclamation many times) “…And what does work inside us, brother, is that manifestation of the expression of all that God is and all that God has. And when we stand up here, brother, you’re not looking at Morris Cerullo; you’re looking at God. You’re looking at Jesus.” (Morris Cerullo)
Kenneth Hagin concurs stating, “This eternal life that He [God] came to give us is the nature of God…It is, in spirits…Eternal life is the nature of God. It is the being or substance of God.”
In an article titled The Incarnation, in the magazine, The Word of Faith, Dec. 1980 issue, on page 14, Hagin notes, “The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”
Again, Hagin states, “Man…was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presents without any consciousness of inferiority…”
This statement, if not the many others, makes it clear beyond any shadow of doubt, that there is no fear of God in these people. Why would it be needed in the first place since they believe they are gods themselves? On the other hand, we have this biblical indtruction: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Ps. 111:10)
In The God Kind of Life, Hagin states, “Many in the great body of full gospel people do not know that the new birth is a real incarnation. They do not know that they are as much sons and daughters of God as Jesus… Jesus was first divine, and then He was human. So, He was in the flesh a divine human being. I was first human, and so were you, but I was born of God, so I became a human-divine being!” (p. 40)
I see no difference between Hagin and Jim Jones or Maharishi Yogi or any other liar.
To quote Gloria Copeland, “We are the Word made flesh, just as Jesus was.” (Hanegraaf)
NOW LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT!
“Mankind in God’s image and likeness. Two Hebrew words are used in O.T. passages that assert that man was made in the ‘image and likeness’ of God. (Gen. 1:26,27) The word selem means ‘image’, ‘representation.’ …Dmut, translated ‘likeness,’ is a word of comparison. It is used to attempt to explain something by referring it to something else that it is like….the likeness-image is not of physical form. …It is the inner nature of human beings that reflects something vital in the nature of God…the likeness is rooted in all that is required to make a human being a person in our intellectual, emotional, and moral likeness to God.” (Lawrence O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, Zondervan, 1985, pp. 350-351)
R. Laird Harris, Gleason Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke in their book, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, explain that, “Hebrew scholars point out that the word ‘likeness’ [Dmut]… ‘defines and limits’ the other word translated image [selem]....in Gen. 1:26-27 ‘to avoid the implication that man is a precise copy of God, albeit miniature.’”
God inspired Moses to use words that could not be twisted to mean; other than what they mean yet multitudes of Word Faith teachers are doing just that and therefore falsifying the truth. After all, what could be better than actually believing you are god?
This is no better than any of the other cults and religions all of which also make the claim of godhood either now or in the future. Copeland even goes so far as to claim that heaven is just like planet earth somewhere beyond the universe and is in fact the “mother planet” itself. The Mormons also believe that God originally came from a planet far away called ‘”Kolob.”
Concerning man’s supposed divinity, the Bible declares,
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am He: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” (Isaiah 43:10, KJV)
And again from (Isaiah 44:8), “Is there a God beside me? Yeah there is no God; I know not any.” (Psalm 9:20) and many more examples could be given.
Even devils believe that there is only one God; “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19, KJV)
The scary thing from these purveyors of heresy is that they don’t seem to be “trembling” like the demons do. That can only mean that they’ve allowed themselves to be so deceived that they’ve bought the lie hook, line, and sinker. THESE PEOPLE HAVE NO FEAR OF GOD!
The contradictions continue with the claim that Jesus actually took on Satan’s nature. In The Name of Jesus, Tulsa, Faith Library, p. 31, Kenneth Hagin proclaims, “Spiritual death means something more than separation from God…Spiritual death also means having Satan’s nature….”
To that Copeland adds, “Jesus died two deaths. He died spiritually and He died physically.” (Believers Voice of Victory, April 1982, p. 3; ‘Jesus Our Lord of Glory’) and again, “He accepted the nature of Satan in His own spirit.” (What Happened From The Cross To The Throne, 1990, audiotape side 2, #02-0017) To that Gloria Copeland adds, “….After Jesus was made sin, He had to be born-again…Jesus is a born-again man…Jesus was changed from being made sin into a new creature.” (God’s will For You, KCP 1972, p.5)
Paul E. Billheimer in Destined For The Throne, on page 83, declares, “…While Christ was identified with sin, Satan and the hosts of hell ruled over Him as over any lost sinner.”
It is now March 2019 and their tune has not changed. Bill Johnson, one of many Hagin and Copeland cronies, can be seen on You Tube spewing this exact same trash that Jesus had to be born-again in “hell”. Their lack of biblical knowledge is astounding, yet they are fooling millions around the world who should know better. What they are in tune with is their own delusion because they confuse Spirit with emotion and false miracles that supposedly are manifesting in healings, etc.
The English word “hell” is the problem for many King James readers of Scripture. The word used in Psalm 16:10 is “Sheol,” which is where David sets forth a prophecy concerning Jesus, his future son. To qualify as King of the Jews, Jesus had to have an established royal blood line in his earthly parents. The psalmist here is speaking prophetically of Christ, since his own body (flesh) did see corruption, that is, physically died and experienced the grave.
The Hebrew word Sheol, unfortunately translated hell, does not mean that. It was translated into Greek in the Septuagint as Hades, a term that can mean Hell but not exclusively. Sheol was the place of the departed or the netherworld. It had two parts, one part being Abraham’s Bosom, described in Luke 16:19-31, and the other being Gehenna, the real Hell and place of torment. Those who belonged to God, such as those who are called O.T. saints went to Abraham’s Bosom (the air-conditioned side), and those not of God went to Gehenna (the hot side).
To say Jesus was tortured by demons and needed to be born-again robs Him of His Deity and shows the greatest ignorance of God’s Word. Jesus went to Sheol, not Gehenna, when He was in the grave for three days and nights. He had to go there to reveal Himself to the O.T. saints who believed in the “coming” messiah; and now they were to meet Him face-to-face. They would be transported with Him to heaven now that Calvary had come and gone and the price was paid in full. It was now a reality, and the wait for the hope (the future fact) of “One” who was coming to pay the price was finally over.
The “Word of Faith” Jesus is not THE Jesus; therefore, followers of him can’t be justified by faith in him, because only the REAL Jesus paid that price.
So, these people actually have Jesus turned into Satan himself by supposedly taking on Satan’s nature. The Bible, however, doesn’t even come close to such absurd statements.
1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “Fore as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Hebrew 9: 14 informs us, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God…”
Ephesians 5:2 “Christ also hath loved us and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”
Luke 23:46 “and when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” [Notice it’s not Satan’s hands]
Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Jesus was never changed into anything or anyone. He died as Jesus and rose again as Jesus. He is the Word of Truth and Truth never changes.
Having Faith In Faith
Besides the delusion that they are gods, which in itself is bad enough, these teachers of the Word Faith actually peddle the notion that we ought to have faith in our own faith to get things from God. Consider this quote from “Dad” Hagin from ‘Having Faith in Your Faith’, (Tulsa Faith Library, 1980, p. 4-5): “Did you ever stop to think about having faith in your own faith? Evidently, God had faith in His faith, because He spoke words of faith and they came to pass….Having faith in your words is having faith in your faith. That’s what you’ve got to learn to get things from God.”
Without doubt, the two Scriptures that Faith teachers throw around the most are Hebrews 11:1, and Mark 11:22. These passages that they “stand on” to prove faith in faith actually do the exact opposite when considered in their correct interpretation. The entire Faith Movement’s theology rests on the interpretation of the Greek word translated faith, which is pistis, as substance. They argue that substance is akin to building material, like what you would use to construct a house. They use this to assert that the building blocks of the universe were already in place and God then ordered them to fall into place with His Word.
Never is the word used in this fashion in the entire Bible. Faith, pistis, cannot be construed to mean building blocks of any kind. This is one place of several where the King James version of the Bible has issues. When it tells us that pistis is the substance it isn’t talking about building blocks but rather assurance. Assurance is the correct interpretation of hupostasis. The whole phrase reads, “estin de pistis elpizomenOn hupstasis progmatOn elegchos ou blepomenOn.” (Hebrews 11:1; Greek Interlinear Bible, on-line)
Faith is the ultimate assurance and the ultimate evidence that things not seen are realities (pragmata). (Robert W. Ross, Wycliff Commentary on Heb 11:1, p. 931)
There are three elements that true biblical faith in God encapsulates: (1) trust, (2) knowledge, and (3) agreement. Faith must have an object, God. It is a channel of living trust and assurance that flows from man to God. There is no such thing as faith in faith, or faith in anything other than God, for that matter.
According to Richard’s Dictionary, p. 80, p. 116 Greek scholars agree: “Hupostasis is translated in the NASB as ‘assurance’ in the NIV as ‘being sure.’ Faith provides an inner certainty about things that simply are not open to empirical verification but are communicated by God’s Word (Hebrews 11:1)….Pistis (‘faith’, ‘belief’) and related words deal with relationships established by trust and maintained by trustworthiness.” (Quoted in The Kingdom of The Cults, Walter Martin, p. 506)
Far from meaning building stuff, hupostasis actually refers to the assurance that God’s promises never fail, even if we don’t see them in this life.
Hebrew 11:3 is also abused by Faith proponents. The text in English is so clear that the Greek need not even be consulted, yet the Faith spinners manage to screw up this Scripture into unrecognizable folly. (Hebrew 11:3) says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God,…” Faith leaders maintain that this “proves” that God used His faith to speak the worlds into existence.
The correct reading is that we, by faith, understand that God created the worlds. God doesn’t have or need faith; we do.
The other major Scripture concerning “faith” is Mark 11:22. Liberty is taken here that reminds me of what the Jehovah’s Witnesses did to the book of Romans 10:13 in their translation of the Bible called the New World Translation. They maintain that the word Jehovah should have been used in the NT translation instead of Lord, nevermind the fact that Jehovah is a Hebrew word and the N.T. was written in Greek. So, the text of Romans 10: 13 in the NWT reads, “Anyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”
Disregarding the standard “Have faith in God” translation in favor of an erroneous rendering of the text, which reads, “Have the faith of God.” Charles Capps writes, “…a more literal translation of Mark 11:22 …says, ‘Have the God kind of faith, or faith of God.’ (God’s Creative Power Will Work For You, Tulsa, Harrison House, p. 2) He is actually partially correct. The Greek, “echete pistin theou,” word for word does say “have faith of God.” Where he missed it, however, is in the Greek grammatical construction of Mark 11:22, which makes theou an “objective genitive.” This means that the noun theou is the object of the action mentioned; namely, having faith. To clarify as mentioned earlier, God is the object of faith, not the possessor of it.
That being the case, the only meaningful and proper translation is to “have faith in God.” In Hagin’s Bible Faith study course he makes the remark that Greek scholars also teach that God has faith, which He uses. The truth, however, is that without fail, all reputable Greek grammar experts agree that God is always the object of faith and not the possessor, especially in Mark 11:22. Some of the internationally Greek grammar experts who agree on above are A.T. Robertson, H.E. Dana, Julius R. Mantey, William Douglas Chamberlain, Curtis Vaughn, Vitrus E. Gideon, James Hope Moulton, and Nigel Turner, among a slew of others.
Speak The Word
Have you ever heard, “words are containers, filled with either faith or fear”? This concept is anti-biblical, but is nonetheless a major belief and “law” of metaphysical and New Age thought.
New Age critic Ron Rhodes writes:
“According to New thought, human beings can experience health, success, and abundant life by using their thoughts to define the condition of their lives. New thought proponents subscribe to the “law of attraction.” This law says that just as like attracts like, so our thoughts can attract the things they want or expect. Negative thoughts are believed to attract dismal circumstances; positive thoughts attract more desirable circumstances. Our thoughts can be either creative or destructive. New thought sets out to teach people how to use their thoughts creatively.” (The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age Movement, 1990, p. 149)
E. W. Kenyon has stated, “Faith-filled words brought this universe into being, and faith-filled words are ruling the universe today.”
Kenneth Hagin wrote a booklet called How To Write Your Own Ticket With God, in which he claims that Jesus Himself appeared to him and gave him the formula for faith. In chapter 1 titled, Jesus Appears To Me, Hagin claims that he was in the spirit, just like the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos, when a white cloud enveloped him and he began to speak in tongues. “Then the Lord Jesus Himself appears to me” says Hagin. They supposedly had a casual conversation about ministry, finances, and current affairs. Then Jesus told Hagin to get a pencil and paper. Jesus told him to write down 1-2-3-4. Jesus allegedly told Hagin, “if anybody, anywhere, will take these four steps or put these four principles into operation, he will always receive whatever he wants from Me or from God the Father, including finances. The formula is simply this: ‘Say it, do it, receive it, and tell it.’”
According to Hagin’s Jesus, the formula is to be used by Christians because “it would be a waste of their time to pray for me [i.e. Jesus] to give them the victory. They have to write their own ticket.” Then Hagin besought the Lord not to leave until He gives him the “proof text,” apparently so people would believe him. 1 Samuel 17, which is the story of David and Goliath, is the supposed “proof text” that this formula is genuine, but in truth it has nothing to do with whether words are containers of good or bad and in no way states that you could just say it, do it, receive it, and tell it, and everything you desire will be yours. The obvious blasphemy is truly astounding!
How many of you got that idea when you read 1 Samuel 17? Proverbs 16 is also used to legitimize the saying aspect of getting what you want. However, the fact that we’re snared by the words of our mouths has nothing to do with positive or negative confession, but was written to underscore the fact that when we enter into a bad agreement, we’re snared because we have to see it through, because of promise or pledge.
Norvel Hayes also claimed to have had Jesus appear to him and give him formulas for faith, etc. In fact, every one of the top “Faith” personalities - has claimed to have had and continues to have - personal encounters with Jesus which makes it appear as if Jesus is the one who is obliged.
This Jesus is one of two things: Either he is in the imaginary dreams of these people or it was a real live visit from a real live devil. Faith teachers like Copeland, Price, Hagin, and the rest present a personal god in principle, but in practice they teach a metaphysical god who is bound by his own laws.
Copeland insists, “God cannot do anything for you apart from faith.” Also, “God is a faith God.” etc. However, Psalm 135:6 proclaims, “The Lord does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.” The truth about the God of the Bible is that He is not restricted in any way, shape, or form. He is “omni-everything!”
Psalm 50 tells us just what God thinks of those who would shrink His omnipotence and self-sufficiency: “You thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face. Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue.” Faith itself is made out to be the real power no matter who uses it, whether it be God or the believer. The truth is what we’ve already established – namely, faith is trusting God no matter what.
To get, or to use one of their favorite terms, “to receive” is achieved, according to Word Faith doctrine, by speaking what you want to come to pass. In his book The Fourth Dimension, Paul Yongi Cho makes the claim that we have to be specific in describing exactly what we want in order for God to be able to supply the want. He even talks about how proponents of the occult are able to do exactly the same thing, and far from him condemning the practice, he actually promotes it. He talks about wanting a bicycle while recovering from a sickness after an American missionary girl witnessed to him. After he didn’t get one from God and inquired of Him why, he was told that he didn’t describe it well enough so that God could give him the exact bike that Yongi Cho had in mind. This foolishness is not only still going on, but is much stronger than ever.
All of the “personalities” of the Faith Movement chime in with their agreement, on this most pagan mentality, of having to describe to God exactly what they want. The fact that they don’t even consider that they might be wrong is astounding.
During one of the several “ministers” meetings we attended in the 90’s, in Tulsa, Oklahoma which took place at Victory Christian Center and on the campus of Oral Roberts University, Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty (now deceased) mentioned to audience that Kenneth Copeland had called him and was hoping that they, Billy Joe and his wife, Sharon, would go with them to a meeting the Copelands been invited to by some other organization to talk about various doctrinal differences. The reason Copeland wanted Billy Joe and Sharon to go too was because he didn’t want to be the only one there getting “beat up.” This is the term Copeland used according to Daugherty.
This “beat up” process happens when they’re called to straighten out their faulty theology, but adamantly refuse, to budge. This is because they put more importance on what they believe the Holy Ghost tells them even if it doesn’t agree with Scripture, as Scripture demands it must.
The heads of the TBN Network, where many of these heresies are promoted, were warned by Walter Martin and others at the Christian Research Institute to come clean or be counted as a cult some 25 or more years ago. This dialog went on for over ten years with no change of heart by TBN and other Faith leaders and consequently resulted in their inclusion as a cult in the definitive book Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Martin.
The fact is, that faith as an external force, and human ability to manipulate the supernatural by words, are beliefs common in pagan magic, but are entirely foreign to true biblical faith.
Does God guarantee that Christians will always be healed as long as they have enough faith and are not in sin? No, He does not. There is no such thing as the right to be healed. Because God is merciful and kind, He does heal individuals. But He does so only in one of two ways, if and when He sees fit, and in accordance with His instructions as per the book of James chapter 5:14, 15. Scripture gives several examples of born-again believers with plenty of faith, who were sick but on whom God had mercy. These people weren’t healed miraculously as in the healings that Jesus performed but were brought through with conventional doctoring that was prevalent at the time.
Among them were the apostle Paul himself as recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 and Galatians 4:13- 15; Timothy was healed in 1 Timothy 5: 23; Trophimus in 2 Timothy 4:20 and Epaphroditis in Philippians 2:25-27.
The Faith teachers claim that it’s the believer’s right to be healed and they back this up by stating that it’s unmistakably God’s will and that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
It is interesting to note that only one of the reasons given is actually Scripture, but it is not referring to any sort of healing.
The Bible is clear as to what is meant by, the phrase “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It means that He is God and that He does not change. This is called immutability. It is again stating one of God’s attributes as in omni-science, omni-presents, omni-potence; He is also infinite/eternal, meaning He has no beginning and no end; yet, He is the Alpha/beginning and Omega/end. (Rev 1:8; 21:6; 22:13)
The Bible does not promise healing for everyone at any time, much less that it is the right of every believer. The things which were recorded were recorded so that we might “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that you might have life through His name.” (John 20: 31)
“Life through His name” is pointing to the finality of salvation, not earthly physical well-being. Romans 8:11 is clear about the restoration of our bodies, and verse 23 is succinct in telling us that we won’t be really healed until the resurrection of the body, which happens at the Rapture of the Church, the Bride of Christ. (See also: 1 Peter 1:24) When the body withers away it is actually decaying and what we call sickness and disease are simply a part of that. Nekros is the Greek term for the death of the physical body. Our bodies actually start dying after about the age of 19 or 20. God can and does preserve the life of some, but it is solely on His terms, and for His reasons. Our prayers may be heard, our faith may be encouraged, but if there is an actual healing for an individual, it is because God has a purpose for doing so. Our “confessing” or “decreeing” by the spoken word has no power over the effects of nekros.
Christ healed those who believed as well as those who did not. Matthew 8:13 is an example of those who believed, while John 9:1-38 is an example of those who did not.
The twisting of Scripture is truly phenomenal, and the sad thing is they get away with on earth because most Christians don’t know the Word of God and of the ones that do, not enough speak out in boldness against these heresies. That God can and does heal is not in question; it’s how, when and where, that’s the sticking point. This is where deceivers make absurd claims to present the individual with the notion that they, by doing these “seven, nine, or twelve steps,” can be in control of their own destiny.
While all of the Faith teachers make the very same claims concerning healing, there’s one who without doubt has taken center stage. His love for performing on stage as a youth has served him well in the various crusades he holds the world over. His books have been best sellers, selling in the millions and his unbiblical, anti-Scriptural antics are being tolerated by a following that has been so deceived as to not being able to tell the difference between truth and fakery.
This individual has no formal Bible training but convinces his followers that he has personal visits with the Lord almost daily, and has said that on one of these visitations the Lord practically begged him to spend just 5 more minutes with Him because He loved him so much. “And as I was about to leave, I felt someone take my hand and say, ‘five more minutes’. Just five minutes more. The Holy Spirit longed for my fellowship.” (G. Richards Fisher et al., The Confusing World of Benny Hinn)
Listening to this trash is sickening to the serious disciple of the Lord. This person, at various times, on the TBN Praise the Lord show, taught clear heresies concerning the beginning of creation, via the “gap theory” and other “revelations” he supposedly received from God Himself. The problem is none of these revelations can be substantiated through the Scriptures as they must be, but this doesn’t stop him from responding to serious inquiries about his heresies, with, “don’t mess with God’s anointed.”
From this warning, we are supposed to get the clue that some evil would befall us from the Lord if we were to question such a highly anointed deeply spiritual man of God. This man admits and attributes his strange and faulty interpretations of Scripture to the fact that he’s had no real Bible training, as in a three-way telephone interview involving Randy Frame, J. Rodman Williams, and Benny Hinn, in preparation for Frame’s article that appeared in the October 28, 1991, issue of Christianity Today, “Best Selling Author Admits Mistakes, Vows Changes,” pp. 44-45, (quoted in The Confusing World Of Benny Hinn. P.235)
Says Benny, “You know in a way I really envy those who have had Bible training. …I was really hoping I could go to Bible school or something. But it never really happened that way.”
But in 1995 in his publication of Welcome Holy Spirit he claims that, “After over a decade of
Bible instruction [combined with] a lifetime of living in the Holy Land…you could say I had mastered the Bible. …I have spent thousands of hours studying the Bible and reflecting on practically every word.” (Benny Hinn, Welcome, Holy Spirit, Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1995, pp. 57, 199)
Benny Hinn was born Toufik Benedictus Hinn in Jaffa, Israel, on December 3, 1952, Hinn’s biography is replete with the same supernatural events described by most of the luminaries of the Mystical Christian Movement (MCM). Although all of them allege Scriptural precedence, Hinn’s claims are typical of those in the MCM who want special attention, such as William Branham, Paul Cain, Bob Jones, and Kenneth Hagin.
Hinn’s alleged experiences include:
- Visitations from Jesus at an early age (age 11 in this case),
- Dreams and visions with visitations from angels,
- Protracted times of private worship and prayer,
- One-on-one dialogues with the Holy Spirit,
- Out of body experiences with accompanying angelic warfare.
These experiences portray Hinn as a man of God who has seen “revelations” and “visions” unparalleled since biblical times. (CWBH, pp. 1-2)
The trouble is he can’t be trusted. Throughout his career he has denounced the Faith Movement on several occasions, only to come back to it time and again. The Faith Movement, which thrives on extra-biblical experiences, is where Hinn and others get their most loyal followers. It seems that people, even those who call themselves Christians, have a need to display a longing toward the mystical.
Dr. Jay Adams explains:
“Mysticism is a selfish as well as an arrogant approach to life because the mystic believes his special access to God is the most important thing in life, and while he wallows in it, the world can go hang. There is a self-centered absorption in one’s self that few other activities can approximate. Of course, the so-called “Christian mystic” is no more in some special relation to God than the Muslim or the Indian mystic. All have an experience that is similar, but it is of their own manufacturing. They fabricate this experience which, they maintain, is so ethereal and blessed they cannot describe it.” (CWBH, p.3)
And again, “At length the mystic, having centered into his esoteric experience, finds it difficult to think himself as anything but in a class of his own. While he may speak of the experience as humbling, humility does not seem to be his outstanding characteristic. Rather, he is inclined to look upon those who have not entered into such experience as spiritual peons. There is nothing about mysticism in the Bible. It is a movement in many religions that has (wrongly) been incorporated into Christianity. But it does not fit.” (ibid)
Although Benny Hinn is just one of the many “gurus” of the Word Faith message, he is unmistakably the leader in the field of healing, having taken over that position which once belonged to Oral Roberts. After repeated attempts to obtain proof of his thousands of so-called healings, the Christian Research Institute (CIR) founder Dr. Walter Martin finally was obliged with three cases and they too had to be discarded because they were proven false. YOU CAN HIDE A LIE ONLY FOR SO LONG.
As far as revelations go, listen to what Hinn said in 1991 on TBN concerning how Adam was created:
“Adam was a super being when God created him. I don’t know whether people know this, but he was the first superman that really lived. First of all, the Scriptures declare clearly that he had dominion over the fowls of the air, the fish of the sea - which means he used to fly. Of course, how can you have dominion over the birds and not be able to do what they do? The word “dominion” in the Hebrew clearly declares that if you have dominion over a subject, if it does something you cannot do, you don’t have dominion over it. I’ll prove it further. Adam not only flew, he flew into the space. He was – with one thought he would be on the moon.” (Hank Hanegraff, Christianity in Crisis, Eugene, Harvest House, 1993, p. 119)
This idiotic type of gobbleddy-gook according to Hinn comes straight from the Holy Spirit. Hinn obviously has no understanding of the concept of dominion. The Hebrew verb, radah in Genesis 1:26-28 translated “have dominion,” also carries with it the meaning of rule and reign. Its meaning has nothing to do with being able to do what the subject can do.
Following Hinn’s definition, then, Adam would not only be able to fly like a bird, but also spin webs like a spider, hibernate like a bear, and photosynthesize like an eggplant. This sort of deliberate trash insults the intelligence of man in general, and every true Christian in particular.
This sort of rhetoric is common to “Faith” teachers the world over. They realize that their twisting of Scriptures isn’t enough to convince everybody so they call upon the Spirit to personally tell them that they are on the right track.
Kenneth Copeland called on such an experience and claims this:
“The spirit of God spoke to me and He said, ‘son, realize this. Now follow me in this and don’t let your tradition trip you up.’ He said, ‘think this way, a twice-borne man whipped Satan in his own domain.’ And I threw my bible down…like that. I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘A born-again man defeated Satan, the firstborne of many brethren defeated him.’ He said, ‘You are the very image, the very copy of that one.’ I said, ‘Goodness, gracious sakes alive!’ And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said; ‘Well now you don’t mean, you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?’ He said, ‘Oh yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of God that He [Jesus] did, you could have done the same thing, ‘cause you’re a re-born man too.’” (ibid, p. 172)
Did you get the significance of what Copeland is claiming? God had supposedly just explained to Copeland that not only was Jesus indeed born-again, but that Copeland himself could have done what Jesus did (in paying for the sins of the world) if he had simply known the Word of God the way Christ did. The heretical blasphemies don’t get bolder than that.
This evil doctrine of Jesus having the nature of Satan and that Jesus having to be born-again is part and parcel of this name-it- and-claim-it cult. The term “begotten” does not mean born-again, but only born. The biblical concept “re-borne,” as in John 3:3, applies only to sinful, lost humanity and not to Jesus. Jesus alone is fully God and fully man and had no need to be born-again.
The fact is we’ve been trying to play god ever since the Garden, when Satan first put that lie into the thought of Adam and Eve. Once they took the bait, they had indeed become gods, but only in their minds. Adam was not actually deceived, but the woman! (I Tim 2:14) Unfortunately, this is also what drives the Word Faith Movement. Proponents would argue that they don’t believe that they are gods, but their basic doctrines and practices tell a different story. Meetings of these people are inundated with professions of “faith.” Speaking the outcome, confessing what they want, decreeing even to the degree of commanding not only angels, but almighty God Himself.
The biblical truth that “God speaks of things that aren’t as though they were” (Romans 4:17) is immediately taken as, we too can legitimately make this claim for ourselves. Of course, anyone who has tried that quickly finds out that this is mere fantasy. Everybody goes around “laying hands” on people to have “a point of contact” through which God can heal them. This is an invention concocted by Oral Roberts. There are no actual healings to which anyone of them can attest, although they are quick to say they can. The Osteens the Prices, the Hagins, the Copelands, the Hinns, all visit with their personal doctors. In fact, Billy Joe Daugherty died at the age of 57 after a brief battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I’m sure decrees to heal went out from him and for him, but the fact is he’s no longer in this space/time/dimension, no matter by whom or how these orders to God were presented. [I have personally heard Daugherty make fun of people who didn’t have the faith to be healed.]
The Bible is clear regarding: the omnipotence and sovereignty of our Lord and God, and His need of nothing from us. He is bound by neither anything we say nor anything He Himself created. Man has made himself to be god in his own imagination, aided, of course, by thoughts and ideas from demons. It was our rebellion against THE God that has brought this about. Psalm 82: 6 is used to “prov” that we are gods. About this Psalm, Jesus is telling them that they didn’t understand their own Scriptures, so they were in no position to condemn Him saying that He was God. Dave Hunt comments:
“Jesus was not complimenting the Jews of His day, but reminding them of their rebellion against the true God. Indeed, we are gods, just as Jesus said, but it isn’t good. Through rebellion man has broken free from God and is now a little god on his own. It is a terrible thing to be called ‘gods,’ to be identified with demons who have rebelled against God and are seeking to reign in His place.
“The lake of fire, we are told, was created for the devil and his angels but we consign ourselves to the same fate when we not only join Satan’s rebellion, as all of us have done, but when we refuse to admit the sin of masquerading as gods. If we are to be saved, then we must make a full confession of the real nature of our sin: that we have tried to play God. Instead of that, a ‘positive confession’ is preached: ‘confess your healing, confess your prosperity, confess your dominion over this earth, confess your divine right; command God to heal and bless!’
“Such ‘confession’ is not the repentance that qualifies for the forgiveness which God offers by virtue of the fact that Jesus Christ has paid in full the penalty for our rebellion. This ‘positive confession’ is a renewed declaration that we want the same godhood that Satan offered to Eve.” (Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon, The Seduction of Christianity, Eugene, Harvest House, 1985, p. 88)