Perverted Understanding of Faith

The modern misconception of faith is often referred to as a power force, which is tangible or conductive. Kenneth Copeland states: “faith is God’s power.”[1] In other words, the source of God’s power does not reside in Himself, but in the believer’s faith. This notion distracts believers by subtly shifting their focus from faith in God, to faith in faith.

Capps notes, “you can speak God’s words after Him and they will work for you.”[2] Rather than trust in God, there is trust in one’s recitation of God’s words, which Joyce Meyer adds, “Words are containers of power.”[3] Faith and, by extension, the declarative act itself become a force whose power is catalysed by the Christian’s confession. In effect, God becomes a servant who is directed by the speaking of faith-filled words. 

The “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it,” as well as references to “faith muscles” which need only to be flexed in order to obtain whatever is wanted from God. Meyer states, “faith has to be active…keep saying and don’t give up hope.”[4] The tongue agrees that the power the Christian needs is in his speaking: “turn loose of the problem and get hold of your confession. Quit praying the problem and start saying the answer.

There is a creative power within you. Learn to use it wisely.”[5] This would imply that the power of faith within the believer might be used unwisely, like a loaded gun that could misfire. Meyer goes on to mention “the tongue promises, “you can have what you say.”[6]This philosophy that is widely spreading, has replaced God with “faith-works” as both the source and object of faith, making God subservient to the “creative power” within the believer. Hagin affirms “you can write your own ticket with God.”[7]

Despite the ever-growing popularity of this notion of faith, it cannot be found in the scripture. A good example of this is Hagin’s report that Jesus physically appeared to him while he was in a trance- “He stood within three feet of me” and discussed in “King James English,” Hagin’s ministry and his finances.[8]  

Then Jesus outlined for him a four-step plan for writing “your own ticket with God” so that “you can have what you say.”[9] Hagin describing his dream quotes Jesus verbatim: step one is to simply “say it: according to what the individual says, that shall he receive.”[10]Step two is to “do it: I’m going to get my healing.”[11] Step three is to “receive it: if we can learn how to plug into the supernatural power we can put it to work for us.”[12] Step four is to “tell it so others may believe.”[13]

Jesus purportedly assured 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.”[14] In this formula, faith has been reduced to a set of metaphysical principles to put into operation for the purpose of obtaining whatever one desires. Copeland maintains that victorious Christians “have exerted the force of faith,[15] and that they “cannot get faith’s result without exerting the force of faith.”[16] What is even more surprising is that Meyer has a “faith” principle that works for unbelievers. 

The story of a doctor who was not a believer but who had discovered the power of the principle I am sharing with you. His prescription to his patients was to go home and repeat several times daily: “I am getting better and better every day.” He had such marvellous results.[17]

That is not faith: that is a confession, or denial in pretending something is not happening to you, although realistically there is no difference. Our society is full of deluded people who live outside reality and these formulas are no different. McArthur states that Word-Faith teachers owe their ancestry to groups like Christian Science, Swedenborgianism, Theosophy, Science of Mind, and New Thought, not to classical Pentecostalism.

It reveals that at their very core, Word-Faith teachings are corrupt. Their undeniable derivation is cultish, not Christian. The sad truth is that the gospel proclaimed by the Word-Faith movement is not the Gospel of the New Testament. Word-Faith doctrine is a mongrel system, a blend of mysticism, dualism and Gnosticism, that borrows generously from the teachings of the metaphysical cults. The Word-Faith movement may be the most dangerous false system that has grown out of the Charismatic movement so far, because so many Charismatics are unsure of the finality of Scripture.[18]

[1] Kenneth Copeland, Freedom from Fear (Tulsa: Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1996), 16.

[2] Charles Capps, The Tongue, A Creative Force (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1976), 12.

[3] Joyce Meyer, Me and My Big Mouth  (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1997), 78.

[4] Ibid,125.

[5] Ibid, 25-26.

[6] Ibid, 32.

[7] Kenneth E. Hagin, Exceedingly Growing Faith (Tulsa: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1983), 77.

[8] Ibid, 74.

[9] Kenneth E. Hagin, Exceedingly Growing Faith (Tulsa: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1983), 76-77.

[10] Ibid, 77-78.

[11] Ibid, 79.

[12] Ibid, 80-81.

[13] Ibid, 84.

[14] Ibid, 76.

[15] Kenneth Copeland, Faith and Patience: The Power Twins (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1992), 21.

[16] Ibid, 24.

[17] Meyer, 67.

[18] Charismatic Chaos, 290.

Categories: Theology

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