Things satan has said and continues to say:
“Has God indeed said…” Genesis 3:1
“You will be like God…” Genesis 3:5
“I will make myself like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:14
The above are just a few scriptures of what satan has said from the beginning. After all, if you can be a god, and even be as God, then there is no need for God. These scriptures and those (word of faith, WOF, word faith, positive confession, seed faith, prosperity teachers ) who teach such a thing, are their own gods. And as scripture says, frighteningly so, truly they have their reward already.
Anyone with access to the world wide web can simply google some of the terms above and a variety of mostly outlandish and almost unbelievable things will flood your search engine. However it can be easy to look from the outside at the most blasphemous claims (and behaviors) made by people in this movement and think what in the world are these people thinking? Then, there are the folks on the outskirts who essentially are passing by and unknowingly get “swept up” into some of the less outlandish and more subtle versions of what this blog will highlight.
I have learned that words matter and defining terms is essential. I will provide a real life example of how important this defining of terms is. I recently met an elderly woman, who was well dressed, wearing a plain cross around her neck, and had a old tattered book titled the sermon on the mount in her lap. In my mind, I immediately thought, well praise the Lord, I can chat with this woman about Jesus and surely she will understand what I am talking about! Then very quickly a sense that something was very very wrong came over me. She seemed a certain way, she looked good but something wasn’t right and I was about to find out exactly what that was.
As we engaged in a conversation I began asking her about the book she had. I “knew” not by my own understanding that there was something wrong with that book. She clenched it ever so tightly as if her very life was in that book and said “this is the only thing I have read for 30 years!” She proceeded to exclaim to me “you must have a copy, it will change your life!” In my head I thought, I am sure it will change my life, but not for the better, this book is not from God. The sermon on the mount spoken by Jesus Christ has changed and continues to change my life. However this woman’s book the sermon on the mount was everything that is antichrist but posing itself as Christian using all the same terms yet meaning something entirely different. The book she had that was written in 1934 by New Thought spiritual leader Emmet Fox.
I am mentioning all this to bring this back to the word of faith teachings that are solely based upon new thought, “christian science”, new thought metaphysical movement, gnosticism, with some “peppered” scripture in there as a condiment to “appear” Christian just like this elderly woman I met.
Here are some resources on the occult origins that are the very spring board of the Word of Faith movement:
At this point I would hope the reader is already starting to see this has nothing to do with God at all and we haven’t even begun to get into mainstream “christian” word faith teachings that have come from this.
EW Kenyons writings went on to heavily influence Kenneth Hagin Sr. who is the recognized “father” of the Word of Faith Movement also referred to as Neo-Charismatic, prosperity gospel, force of faith, faith healers, positive confession movement. This movement is also heavily intertwined with the New Apostolic Reformation movement previously touched upon here.
A few very short examples of the heretical teachings from the word of faith movement are:
The false teaching that “we are little gods” is central to WOF teaching as well as the NAR movement. It has to be so they can maintain the position of (“I will be like the most high”) the scriptures mentioned in the opening of this blog. The correct biblical exposition of the “little gods teaching” is here.
God “speaks words of faith” with his mouth is basic to Word-Faith doctrine is the idea that God created the world by literally speaking aloud words of faith. Thus, Hagin taught that “God created the world with words, human beings were created to be gods.”
Although Word-Faith teachers affirm that Jesus Christ was and is God, this affirmation is compromised by other elements of their teaching. According to basic word of faith teaching- Jesus was born again in hell and then rose from the dead. The correct biblical view is that Jesus was not “born again” He has always existed. They also argue that healing from disease or illness is assured in the atonement in this current temporal life, missing the true understanding of what Christs atonement entails, not just in this temporal body, but life everlasting. The focus is here and now and self centered, rather than glorifying God. Some teaching on biblical healing can be found here, here, and here.
I mention biblical healing because there is an overemphasis and idolatry of healing and money (materialism and good health is equated to spirituality) within this movement. If people are not healed of diseases they are left with their faith bankrupt. If they are financially poor it’s because they didn’t give enough money or they “spoke out” (AKA negative confession) against their finances. As is the case within my own family I have witnessed this movement cause serious spiritual damage. There is plenty of public testimony where this movement has even caused death in circumstances because people trenched in this view often refuse medical treatment because “sickness is just an illusion.”
Word of Faith says we should speak words of faith like God does: Since words spoken in faith are inherently powerful (Prov. 18:21 ” Death and life are in the power of the tongue ….” which is used out of context) what we say, if we believe it, is basically what we get. This is a “spiritual law” and God MUST act as we declare and decree a thing so.
John 10:10 “the thief” (comes to kill, steal, and destroy) … is another half verse quoted by WOF and some NAR to once again confirm that since according to their teaching, since it is always Gods will to be healthy, wealthy, etc. then if you’re not –‘satan has stolen your inheritance, or you need to stand firm and take back what the enemy has stolen (AKA money, health)!’ They equate “the thief” in this verse to satan, when (words and the meaning matter) the word “the thief” is referring to false teachers in the context of this whole chapter. The irony of false teachers using this verse once escaped me.
The WOF movement has cashed in on this verse : 3 John 2 “I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” … This is often used to “confirm” Gods will is always that you have good health, a lot of money, and always happy and prospering. Again words matter and in the context of 3 John 2…it’s a simple salutation. It would be the same if I sent an email to a long lost friend and said, “ It’s been awhile since we spoke, I hope you and your family are well, healthy, and doing ok.” The WOF movement has made an entire doctrine from this misused scripture.
Listed below are just some (not an exhaustive list) notable Word of Faith/Prosperity teachers/speakers today (some still living, some not) and for the most part they all share the same underlying/overlapping aberrant and even heretical belief systems which will also be explored. It is important to list these teachers as many of them are aging and rapidly “passing the torch” to the younger generation. For example- Kenneth Copeland is passing “his torch” or as word of faithers would say “passing the mantle and anointing” to Todd White. Listed below The Word of Faith and NAR (New Apostolic Reformation Movement) are very much overlapped in many ways and at the same time also have some unique characteristics unto themselves.
So we have covered only some of the elementary basics of the occult, new thought, christian science, and the influences it has had on major “Christian” leaders.
What is often seen in this and all false teaching is a mashing of pieces of scripture (and most often secondary non-canonical sources) and attaching to another not in the way of cross referencing/studying, rather just a “whole new” verse thus a whole new teaching can come from it.
Other central versus from Scripture within the WOF movement that will be explored in coming blogs:
“For those who believe …………these signs shall follow….”
“By His Stripes we were healed….”- is the mantra in WOF- and there is a reason why the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah is always quoted but the same reference in The New Testament (in Peter and Matthew) scriptures that refer to this passage in Isaiah are not the “go to” scriptures in this movement. Like I said very early in this blog– words and the meaning of words matter.
I was listening to The Berean Call radio and listened to a testimony of a man coming out of the false teaching of the NAR. When he was asked why do people continue to stay in something that they know to be false. He answered it’s largely due to the fact that people just cannot psychologically cope with the reality that they’ve been duped for 20 or 30 plus years.
I watched Pastor Steve Mitchell talk about seminary school and he met a man in seminary and they became acquainted. As I recall Mitchell speaking about this man, he says how he ministered to him for approximately 2 years before the man went off to be a catholic priest. The man agreed with Mitchell on the facts (and accepted 1st century apostolic biblical doctrine as true) that the teachings of Rome is diametrically opposed to biblical Christianity, but the man just could not let go of the belief that he had been given the power of transubstantiation. So it was more important for him to have that power than to have the truth of the Gospel. Power at the expense of Truth really is at the root of all false teachings.
So far people who may be following these teachers may not hold the belief systems mentioned, or like myself, not even aware they did hold to such unbiblical beliefs. A little leaven, leavens the whole lump, and trying to separate what is true from the lies in these teachings is like trying to strain the cream out once its been mixed in your coffee.
In the coming blogs about the Word of Faith movement deeper discussions and biblical content will be explored. Including more scriptures that are plucked out to base an entire doctrine on. I will also provide book excerpts and/or video/audio excerpts whenever possible for the reader to research on their own about the people mentioned.