Word of Faith-Revisited
Have you heard these things? "If I can confess it, I can possess it", "Name it Claim it", Speak those things that be not as though they were", "You have to speak those things." All these terms were coined over a century ago by E.W. Kenyon and made popular by Kenneth Hagin Sr.
Our modern day church has become inundated with the Word of Faith teachings and we can clearly see that the Son of Perdition has placed himself in what our American Western culture would call the Church. Our Pastors typically speaking are highly esteemed and are idolized rather than being that of a servant like Our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." I have noticed that some people highly esteem their pastors words higher than that of the Bible. What is Word of Faith and how can I watch out for this heresy? Please look with me as I examine the teaching that we in our day call Word of Faith.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!
Galatians 1: 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears
To define Word of Faith, it is a teaching within some Pentecostal and Charismatic churches worldwide. The central doctrine is that health and prosperity are promised to all believers, and are available through faith. This is done by so many who take Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2:24 to mean literal physical sickness. In Isaiah in context it is clear that the sickness he is referring to is spiritual sickness-sin, not meaning physical healing. This teaching is no longer only bound to the typical Charismatic or Pentecostal church but has spread like cancer and has made the mainstream along with the Ecumenical(everyone one included) movement, Postmodernism(seeker sensitive), and a plethora of many other all encompassing movements. When we understand heresy we see that whenever a heretical teaching looms on the horizon, they must always attack three essential things.
1) The nature of God,
2) nature of Jesus,
3) Infallibility of God’s Word. If you examine any cult or heresy, you will see these three essentials distorted.
To summarize the core teachings of Word of Faith. Some teach that Jesus paid for our sins in Hell, we have the power to speak things into existence(as mentioned in Romans 4:7-who did this? Only God has this ability), Jesus was rich on earth and wants you prosperous and never sick, we are little gods, and it makes the Almighty God and Creator a weak 'faith-being' who is at the mercy of His own universal laws.
The History-Briefly, Essek William Kenyon [aka] E. W. Kenyon started this heresy we call Word of Faith. There is nothing new under the sun. These terms were started by a man named E.W. Kenyon. Who was he? E. W. Kenyon was a man who started of as a Baptist preacher who began to intermingle with people who were in to what we would call positive thinking or new age thought. E. W. Kenyon thought he would mix the Christian faith with this new thought positive thinking. He began to read papers and books by Phineas Quimby. He enjoyed Quimby's material and thought it would mix well with Christianity. He became a great tool in the hands of Satan to get us to where we are today with American Christendom. As documented in “A Different Gospel” by D. R. McConnell you will see that Kenneth Hagin Sr. or Dad Hagin plagiarized verbatim the teachings and writings of Kenyon. So unlike Hagin would say, he did not get this from God, but rather from a man.
Word of Faith in essence is nothing new. It is just like ancient Gnosticism. What is Gnosticism? Gnosticism-A group of ancient heresies, stressing escape from this world through the acquisition of esoteric knowledge. Also defined as the doctrines of certain pre-Christian pagan, Jewish, and early Christian sects that valued the revealed knowledge of God and of the origin and end of the human race as a means to attain redemption for the spiritual element in humans and that distinguished the Demiurge (A deity in Gnosticism, Manichaeism, and other religions who creates the material world and is often viewed as the originator of evil.) from the unknowable Divine Being. In essence it means they get secret knowledge outside and aside from the Bible. Sounds like Word of Faith Churches right. They will tell you that you have the ability to speak death and life based on a contortion of Proverbs 18:21.
Gnosticism and polytheism was very prevalent in the early Christian church and especially with the Greeks. Paul dealt with this on the regular basis; one example would be Acts 17 with the Greeks and in Paul‘s letter to the Colossians. History does repeat itself. You see many people are claiming they have more revelation aside from the closed canon-The Bible. What is Canon you ask? The Canon is the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired. Aside from the Bible their is no other revelation we can find, when find other revelation like the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Word of Faith Knowledge, Oneness Pentecostals, Bahai Faith, Scientology and a myriad of others. They are all derived from new revelation and we call this Heresy. Heresy is something aside from sound doctrine and contradicts the foundation that the Apostles already laid. (Eph 2:20)
In conclusion Saints, I cannot make my plea strong enough! It is almost scary how the words of Apostle Paul just jump out at us as if he was just born in 1950. Times are getting worse and worse by the minute when we look at the state of the church. We have guys like Tony Evans who we used to esteem, now merging with charlatans like Eddie Long. Pioneers like Charles Stanley speaking at the Potter’s House with T.D. Jakes. So we see how ecumenical (all inclusive) our pastors who speak the truth are becoming. I would not say that they are guilty by association but when I weigh what they do against Christ and the Apostle Paul, I see an astronomical difference. Look at Acts 17. Yes Paul spoke at places he did not endorse but it was for a purpose. That purpose was to proclaim the true Gospel of Jesus the Christ, not to preach a happy message and be silent about the heresy. You see I believe that some of these churches need to have someone come in and speak the truth about the gospel, but when we do this we are not to compromise the Gospel of Christ. Don’t ever think we have arrived since God rescued us from the madness of the typical church. Have mercy, God is sovereign and capable of pulling people from this heresy, just think; he got you away from it, or are you still there?
Recommended readings: John Macarthur-Charismatic Chaos and The Gospel According to Jesus. Wayne Grudem-20 Things every Christians Should Know. Knowing God-by J.I. Packer. Basic Bible Interpretation-by Roy B. Zuck