Monday, December 26, 2005

What's Wrong with Word of Faith Teaching...

I just recieved a blast from Pr David Hoad of ChristianEvents.com.au - a website that promotes Word of Faith teachings... You know... the whole "God wants you rich... If you are sick it is YOUR fault - you lack faith..." type of teaching...
Apparanently he takes exception to comparing the teachings of Brian Houston of Hillsong fame with the Bible to see whether or not they square up that is at my main website LINK ... and he apparently has no great love for Christian Goths either for he says:

You are a hypocrite , on one hand you pull down Christians (Hill Song) and on the other you lift up the devil with your support of Christian Gothic sites which are of the devil. You need to pray about which side you are on. Are you truly saved as you say. If you are you would not pull down brothers in Christ (Psalms 133)

Pastor David Hoad

Well, there are links to the article in question above and my reply to him is bellow... And I invite readers to make up their own minds...
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In the Word Faith Movement, the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite, God uses the believer. Word Faith or prosperity theology sees the Holy Spirit as a power to put to use for whatever the believer wills. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person who enables the believer to do God's will. The movement closely resembles some of the destructive greed sects that infiltrated the early church. Paul and the other apostles were not accommodating to or conciliatory with the false teachers who propagated such heresy. They identified them as dangerous false teachers and urged Christians to avoid them.

Paul warned Timothy about "constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.... But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness." (1 Timothy 6:5, 9-11.).

Paul said covetousness is idolatry (Ephesians 5:5) and forbade the Ephesians to be partakers with anyone who brought a message of immorality or covetousness (Ephesians 5:6-7). .

Prosperity teaching prohibits God from working on His own, meaning that God is not Lord of all because He cannot work until we release Him to do so. Faith, according to the Word of Faith doctrine, is not submissive trust in God; faith is a formula by which we manipulate the spiritual laws prosperity teachers believe govern the universe. As in the name "Word of Faith" implies, this movement teaches that faith is a matter of what we say more than whom we trust or what truths we embrace and affirm in our hearts.

A favorite term in the Word of Faith movement is "positive confession." It refers to the Word of Faith teaching that words have creative power. What you say, Word of Faith teachers claim, determines everything that happens to you. Your confessions, especially the favors you demand of God, must all be stated positively and without wavering. Then God is required to answer. Thus God's ability to bless us supposedly hangs on our faith. James 4:13-16 clearly contradicts this teaching, "Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that. But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil."

Far from stressing the importance of wealth, the Bible warns against pursuing it. Believers, especially leaders in the church (1 Timothy 3:3), are to be free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5). Love of money leads to all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus warned, "Beware and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions" (Luke 12:15). In sharp contrast to the Word Faith's gospel's emphasis on gaining money and possessions in this life, Jesus said "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19). The irreconcilable contradiction between prosperity teaching gospel and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is best summed up in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:24, "You cannot serve God and riches."

Make no mistake... Word of Faith teaching is decidedly unbiblical. It is not a denomination, and does not have a formal organization or hierarchy. Instead, it is a movement that is heavily influenced by a number of high-profile pastors and teachers such as Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, and Fred Price.

The Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the latter 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon, who studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Mind science (where "name it claim it" originated) fit well with the emerging Pentecostal movement and its emphasis on the supernatural, so he combined them and created a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism. Kenneth Hagin in turn studied under E. W. Kenyon and made the Word of Faith movement what it is today. Although individual teachings range from completely heretical to completely ridiculous, what follows is the basic theology most Word of Faith teachers align themselves with.

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). Laws supposedly governing the faith-force are said to operate independently of God's sovereign will and that God Himself is subject to these laws.
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. Before the fall, humans had the potential to call things into existence by using the faith-force. After the fall humans took on Satan's nature and lost the ability to call things into existence. In order to correct this situation, Jesus Christ gave up His divinity and became a man, died spiritually, took Satan's nature upon Himself, went to hell, was born-again, and rose from the dead with God's nature. After this, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to replicate the Incarnation in believers so they could become little gods as God had originally intended.

Following the natural progression of these teachings, as little gods we again have the ability to manipulate the faith-force and become prosperous in all areas of life. Illness, sin, and failure are the result of a lack of faith, and are remedied by confession--claiming God's promises for oneself into existence. Simply put, the Word of Faith movement exalts man to god-status and reduces God to man-status. Needless to say, this is a false representation of what Christianity is all about. Obviously, Word of Faith teaching does not take into account what is found in Scripture. Personal revelation is highly relied upon in order to come up with such absurd beliefs, which is just one more thing counted unbiblical.

Countering Word of Faith teaching is a simple matter of reading the Bible. God alone is the Sovereign Creator of the Universe (Genesis 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:15), and does not need faith--He is the object of faith (Mark 11:22; Hebrews 11:3). God is spirit, and does not have a physical body (John 4:24). Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27; 9:6), but this does not make him a little god nor divine. Only God has a divine nature (Galatians 4:8; Isaiah 1:6-11, 43:10, 44:6; Ezekiel 28:2; Psalms 8:6-8). Christ is Eternal, the Only Begotten Son, and the only incarnation of God (John 1:1, 2, 15; 1:14, 18; 3:16; 1 John 4:1). In Him dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). By becoming a man Jesus gave up the glory of heaven but not His divinity (Philippians 2:6-7) though He did choose to withhold His power while walking the earth as man.

The Word of Faith movement is deceiving countless people, causing them to grasp after a way of life and faith that is not biblical. Our hope is in the Lord, not in our own words, not even in our own faith (Psalm 33:20-22). Our faith comes from God in the first place (2 Peter 1:1), and is not something we create for ourselves. So, be wary of the Word of Faith movement, and any church that aligns itself with Word of Faith teachings.

2 Comments:

Blogger Newbirth said...

Thanks! Great piece. I was innoculated against WoF teaching early in my Christian walk through the local Christian radio station, who showcased mostly sane teachers. :)

3:43 AM  
Anonymous Puritan Belief said...

My thoughts exactly about the word of faith teaching I like this bit.

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"In the Word Faith Movement, the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite, God uses the believer"
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Each man is given a measure of Faith. Romans

"..Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians

So much for having to activate your faith.

12:12 PM  

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