Skip to comments.Essays for Lent/Easter: The Word of Faith Movement
Posted on 04/24/2012 9:22:22 PM PDT by Salvation
The Word of Faith Movement
by Sebastian R. Fama
The Word of Faith Movement, sometimes referred to as the Positive Confession Movement or the Prosperity Gospel, has been making inroads into mainline Christianity. Although it primarily affects Bible churches, it has managed to influence some Catholics. Faith teachers include Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Robert Tilton, Paul and Jan Crouch, John Avanzini, Paul Billheimer, Charles Capps, Morris Cerullo, David Cho, Hobart Freeman, Norvel Hayes, Marilyn Hickey, T. L. Osborn, Frederick Price, and Jerry Savelle.
Faith teachers are not all the same. Some wander farther from the truth than others. However, there is much they have in common. For instance, they all teach that faith is a force. They also teach that fear is a force. Faith activates God and fear activates Satan. Words are the containers of faith or fear. Whatever is said with the mouth creates reality. If you speak words of faith, God must act on your behalf. If you speak negatively God cannot act on your behalf and Satan is given license to work against you.
Defining faith in this way leads to some strange beliefs. For example, Faith teachers claim there is no reason for a believer to be sick. Kenneth Hagin declares: "I believe that it is the plan of God our Father that no believer should ever be sick It is not I state boldly it is not the will of God my Father that we should suffer with cancer and other dread diseases which bring pain and anguish. No! It is God's will that we be healed" ("Healing: The Father's Provision," Word of Faith, August 1977, page 9).
If there isn't any reason to be sick, surely there isn't any reason to take medicine. Frederick Price speaks of medicine as a crutch for the immature believer. He states: "When you have developed your faith to such an extent that you can stand on the promises of God, then you won't need medicine." (Faith Foolishness, page 88).
The Faith teachers look to Isaiah 53:5 to support their claims: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we were healed." The beginning of the verse sets the context: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities." The healing spoken of here is spiritual not physical healing. This is made abundantly clear in 1 Peter 2:24: "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed."
While Isaiah 53:5 does not refer to physical healing Isaiah 53:4 does, and Matthew 8:16-17 notes this: "That evening they brought to Him many who were possessed with demons; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, 'He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.'" During His ministry Jesus did heal the sick. But Scripture no where claims that this would always be the case. In fact, we find evidence to the contrary. When confronted by the Pharisees on His associating with sinners, Jesus said: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." (Matthew 9:12). If Jesus came to abolish the need for physicians He surely would not have used them to illustrate a point and risk misleading His followers. Sirach 38:1-4 is more explicit: "Honor the physician with the honor due him The Lord created medicines from the earth and a sensible man will not despise them."
Perhaps the greatest example in the New Testament is that of Paul the apostle. Certainly Paul was a man of faith. And yet he was afflicted with a physical ailment. He writes of it in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9: "And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'."
No one knows for sure what Paul's thorn in the flesh was. But many scholars believe that it was an eye ailment. The Greek word rendered as thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:7 is skolops (σκόλοψ), which means withered at the front. It is derived from two other words, skelos (σκέλος), meaning to parch and optanomai (ὀπτάνομαι), meaning to gaze.
When someone in the movement does get sick they simply deny that they are sick. They claim that what appears to be an ailment is actually just a symptom put on them by the devil in order to fool them into believing that they are sick when they are not. The danger here is obvious. Ignoring symptoms can lead to greater problems sometimes, even death.
Larry and Lucky Parker paid a high price for their dedication to the Faith teachers. In their book We Let Our Son Die, they tell how, in accordance with the teachings of the Word of Faith Movement, they withheld insulin from their diabetic son. He lapsed into a coma and died.
A recent news report revealed the following: "A Benny Hinn crusade became a tragedy for four people including a baby and a young child who died while awaiting a miracle healing from Hinn. All had been hospitalized but had left the hospital to attend the crusade" (Religious News Service, May 8, 2000). Unfortunately these are not the only examples.
The Faith teachers themselves are not immune from sickness. Kenneth Hagin has suffered at least four cardiovascular crises including one full-scale heart stoppage. Paul Crouch also suffers from heart problems. Fred Price's wife has been stricken with cancer and has thanked her doctors for radiation and chemotherapy. And yet they continue to teach falsely.
The same logic applied to health is applied to wealth. Jerry Savelle claims that you can speak your world into existence (Framing Your World with the Word of God, Part 2). Marilyn Hickey shows us how this is done. She actually said the following:
What do you need? Start creating it. Start speaking about it. Start speaking it into being. Speak to your billfold. Say, "You big thick billfold full of money." Speak to your checkbook. Say, "You, checkbook, you. You've never been so prosperous since I owned you. You're just jammed full of money" (Claim Your Miracles).
The Faith teachers' obsession with wealth runs counter to the teachings of Scripture. Paul tells Timothy that "The love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith" (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus Himself warns us about such attachments. He said: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
Faith teachers use their bizarre theology to prey on people in need. Robert Tilton claims God wants you to flourish financially and physically. But you need faith. To prove your faith, you need to make a vow of faith. A vow of faith is usually a large donation to Robert Tilton's ministry.
Some Faith teachers claim equality with God. Kenneth Hagin says: "Man was created on terms of equality with God, he could stand in God's presence without any consciousness of inferiority He made us the same class of being that He is Himself" (Zoe: The God-Kind of Life). Morris Cerullo is a bit more direct. He once proclaimed: "You're not looking at Morris Cerullo; you're looking at God" (The Endtime Manifestation of the Sons of God, tape 1). Benny Hinn, John Avanzini, Kenneth Copeland, and Charles Capps have all made similar claims.
Some Faith teachers don't deal very well with criticism. In 1992, Benny Hinn threatened the Christian Research Institutes staff members and their families with the following statement:
You're attacking me on the radio every night you'll pay and your children will. Hear this from the lips of God's servant. You are in danger, Repent! Or God Almighty will move His hand. Touch not my Anointed
Millions have heard the false gospel of the Faith teachers. How many of them have rejected Christianity thinking it to be nothing more than a con game. Copyright © 2001 StayCatholic.com
Copyright © 2001 StayCatholic.com
For Further Study
Books - Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraaff
Audio Cassette - Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraaff
Anything to add here?
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
Now, having said this, I can say that many things I planned have happened - but not in the way I expected.
And to be honest, some of the things that happened differently than I expected I can now see as gifts from God.
When I plod along seeking God’s blessing on what I hope to offer to Him as my gift - submitting what I do to Him to use as he sees fit and acknowledging that I have no idea how to please Him but that I will move forward trying my best to serve Him - that is when I have “prospered”.
These men and women in this movement need to be exposed for the wolves they are. Their license to preach revoked. They lead those who are seeking the kingdom through the wide gate and to their death unless God sends the Holy Spirit to awaken them to their peril.
We who hold to the truth of Gods word must protect those who are new believers and keep them from stumbling.
Pray that the Lord will have mercy on them and change their heart to preach the truth. Jesus saves.
I did not know about the last part with Benny Hinn. Wow! Amazing.
I blame Star Wars. “Use the Force, Luke!”
In a way the faith teachers are correct. Faith is a powerful force for life and living. That no one can deny.
Some of these teachers (not all) though, take a sharp left to crazytown when they accuse the ill of having insufficient faith. Part of faith is acceptance of God’s will and of your own responsibility.
If you are sick, you are sick. If you are suffering from the various ailments of age (hoo boy, that is a massive list) it does not mean your faith is weak. It means you are getting old and your body is breaking down, as intended. You accept the aches and pains and give thanks that you are still alive and able to praise the Lord.
The wealth thing? Sorry, I got nothing. Always figured the Lord and Our Saviour owe me precisely nothing. The debt goes entirely the other way. Christ died to give me eternal life. I can live with a permanently empty wallet.
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
Well, Wine with water and no laying on of Hands. Hmmmm.
Be fair brother, it doesn’t say laying on of hands doesn’t work, just not to be hasty in using it!
Actually struck me that that particular passage could be read as a warning of something we are currently facing.
Our modern medicine equivalent of laying on of hands is popping pills, especially antibiotics. Our haste in doing so has given us antibiotic resistant bacteria.
And for most intestinal parasites a small amount of alcohol is a good way to get rid of them. Good for your heart too, if you have a fatty diet.
And thank you once more for these posts - they are always fun, instructive and a reminder to me to talk to God. He may not always answer, but I know he always listens!
In 1992, Benny Hinn threatened the Christian Research Institutes staff members and their families with the following statement:
You’re attacking me on the radio every night you’ll pay and your children will. Hear this from the lips of God’s servant. You are in danger, Repent! Or God Almighty will move His hand. Touch not my Anointed
Millions have heard the false gospel of the Faith teachers. How many of them have rejected Christianity thinking it to be nothing more than a con game.
There is a special place in Hell reserved for charlatans, like Hinn.
Yes, there is.
At the right hand of their lord and master.
Prosperity gospel will >NOT work in the Catholic Church. All are called to join their sufferings with Jesus Christ. All are called to help Jesus carry The Cross. A Corpus of Christ on the Cross emphasizes Christian suffering.
The prosperity-gospel is preached with an >empty Cross. I’ve heard ‘prosperity gospel’ preachers say >something like this,
‘You want your own children to be: successful, rich & happy. We are all children of God. & As such, God wants us to be RICH TOO! But first, you MUST MUST MUST plant seed like a farmer plants seed to get a bountiful crop.’
‘As it is promised by our Lord Jesus, the seed you plant can come back a hundred times.’ The prosperity-gospel preacher than says, ‘It’s time to cast your bread on the WATERS of our ministry. Became a faith-partner now! Go to the phone with your credit-card, write a check or buy a money order. God loves a willing giver.’
The choir starts singing, ‘Send us your money! Send us your money! Send us your money!’
The minister then says, ‘for a $100 gift, we’ll send this miniature prayer-shawl just like the one Lord Jesus wore.’
The choir again: ‘send us your money! send us your money! send us your money!’
The Catholic Church has lasted for 2,000 years because it teaches >true Christianity. We are ALL called to >suffer with Jesus. Our sufferings can >NOT be a complete mirror of the sufferings of Jesus Christ. But we are called, to see the face of Jesus on >ALL those who suffer.
Knelling before a Crucifix with God’s only begotten Son hanging >dead on the Cross, convicts us, that Rich or Poor, we all called to contemplate the last four things in life:
1. Death, 2. Judgment, 3. Heaven, or 4. Hell.
Good Catholic prayers: ‘Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have Mercy on us.’ & ‘Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church.’ >Everyone can get to Heaven & God provides the grace necessary to reach Heaven.
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
“Lord have Mercy!”
I moved to Georgia from New York. They have more allergens in Georgia. I get real bad. I mean real bad. So sometimes I go to bed with a glass or two of wine. Helps out a lot .
I think with long devotionals of pray we can just know when we can ask and receive. There are times when it is not like an "On" button but then you will just know it. It can just happen when it happens.
Devotional Moments with the Lord are more time spent in His Presence whether we feel it or not at times. The more we spend the more the Holy Spirit will open up layers of unseen wisdom in the Scriptures whether During Mass or Regular reading or Audio Bible.
My mother could pray until things were taken care in the Family. My Father had a stroke . The doctor told my mother he would never work again . My mother just looked at him declared are you in the office of God now. She then told the doctor He has to get well.
"He is the bread winner"
Then declared without a doubt he will be well. A mother of 7 standing on what she knew from long hours of pray. My father was healed went back to work in a month or two(I was young). He retired with a pension.
He will help our needs not our greeds.
My mother prayed some amazing results at many times. It is not to be flaunted the wrong way either.
I can know at times. It is not always but if I do it is always after beautiful time of pray I can see through the eyes of faith.
God is so Good!!
you forgot about Jesse Duplantis — the guy who visited heaven and comforted Jesus. Jesse is also the guy who said that God does not have the power of life and death...
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
PRAISE GOD FOR HIS WORD.
IT STILL APPLIES. IT WILL STILL APPLY AFTER THE MULTIVERSE HAS DISINTEGRADED AND BEEN REPLACED.
Amen!! Back at Ya!!
Oral Robert’s died of cancer. Look into the faith folks and see how many of them died in sickness.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.