What is “The Word of Faith,” and is it true? The Word of Faith can be found within scripture but should not be confused with the movement that is within the church today. My goal in writing this paper is to communicate what is false about the movement and what is scripturally true regarding The Word of Faith.
Proverbs 18:21 (KJV)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
The Hebrew word for tongue is Strong’s number 3956 meaning: the tongue (of man or animals), used literal (as the instrument… speech), and figurative (speech, an ingot, a fork of flame, a cove of water) :- + babbler, bay, + evil speaker, language, talker, tongue, wedge. Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
The Word of Faith “believers” believe that they have the power to speak “creation” into their lives simply by their confession. Scriptures such as Proverbs 18:21 which teach the “power of the tongue” are often used to support the teaching of this movement. This movement emphasizes in their teachings that although scripture is true “death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and this teaching wrong! Interpretation of a carnal minded believer is an enmity against God and is nothing more than “men’s doctrine” i.e. half-truth. Half-truths are a total lie; it is either the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” or it is not.
“Word of Faith teachers, such as Kenneth E. Hagin and Charles Capps, have argued that God created the universe simply by speaking it into existence (Genesis 1), and that humans have been endowed with the ability (power) to speak things into existence. Thus, making a “positive confession” (by reciting a promise of scripture, for example), and believing that which God says, generates power which enables those things to come into fruition. This teaching is interpreted from Mark 11:22-23. Word of Faith preachers have likened faith to a “force”.” (Emphasis mine) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_of_Faith#Faith_and_confession
Many believers are a “witness unto themselves” when trying to understand scripture. The enemy does not care if a person reads his or her bible, just as long as we do not try to understand the bible by the bible. According to the Hebrew meaning for tongue it can be associated with speech i.e. speaking. If we stopped there in trying to understand what this passage means, we would be a “witness unto ourselves” and have a carnal interpretation of this passage, because we would be leaning upon our own PERSONAL EXPERSIENCES AND FEELINGS.
The bible is accurate in this statement “death and life are in the power of the tongue,” but we must take the WITNESSES THAT GOD HAS GIVEN to come to a proper conclusion.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (KJV)
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach (to announce good news “evangelize” especially the gospel “the cross of Christ”) the gospel (the cross of Christ): not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching (speech, communicate, utterance, say…) of the cross is to them that perish foolishness (dull, sluggish, stupid; “salt that has lost its savour”; “foolish man that built his house upon the sand” Vine’s Topical Bible); but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
When the cross of Christ is upon our “tongue” then life is being spoken, and when something other than the cross of Christ is being brought forth, death is being spoken. We must ask ourselves, what is the most prominent thing upon our tongues, the cross or something else? What we believe is revealed by what we speak.
Matthew 15:18 (KJV)
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart…
When a believer confesses that they believe upon the cross of Christ, as any Christian would if confronted directly, but constantly speaks about “other” things, then their faith is not in the cross but in self and/or “law.” People that have heard me speak know that the cross is all I talk about. What would people that heard “you” speak, say about you? A house built upon sand is the gospel being preached upon man’s foundation. This “gospel” is just Jesus Christ being preached and not Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Mark 16:15-17 (KJV)
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel (Cross of Christ) to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
New: denotes “new,” of that which is unaccustomed or unused, not “new” in time, recent, but “new” as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old. “‘The new tongues,’ kainos, of Mark 16:17 (emphasis is mine)
Vine’s Expository Dictionary
Romans 10:14-15 (KJV)
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach (the cross of Christ), except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Peace and glad tidings of good things can only come by the cross of Christ. Preachers that are sent forth preach only the cross of Christ. Laymen i.e. regular church goers can now know if a particular preacher has been sent by God or not, simply by what is upon his tongue. If a preacher has truly been sent, then the cross will continually be his message, but if they preach another message then they have not been truly sent by God.
Jesus Christ AND him crucified is the new tongue spoken of in Mark 16:17, and that “new tongue” sets within the mouth of the preacher. Christ changes our speech. A believer that believes that ANYTHING they speak has the power to change their circumstance is a WIDE AND BROAD path, but for someone to walk down the NARROW path speaks only Jesus Christ and him crucified.
“The fastest growing segment of professing Christianity today is the Word-Faith Movement, also known as the Positive Confession or simply “Faith” movement.
Well-known personalities within the movement include Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Robert Tilton (who is staging a come-back), Paul Yonggi Cho, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Frederick K.C. Price, John Avanzini, Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Morris Cerullo, and of course, Paul and Jan Crouch.” Gary E. Gilley “The Word of Faith Movement”
These people are well liked across the world, and I want to make it clear that I am in no way judging the intentions and motivations of these preachers’ hearts. What I can do is judge the doctrine that is being preached.
Matthew 7:16 (KJV)
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Jeremiah 23:31-32 (KJV)
31 Behold, I am against the prophets (inspired man: imbued with the spirit to do something, by or as if by supernatural or divine influence; inhaled), saith the Lord, that use their tongues (i.e. speech), and say, He saith.
32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:36 (KJV)
And the burden of the Lord shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of hosts our God.
There are many believers that could be considered “inspired” by God, including those mentioned above. When a believer is “inspired,” they can carnally misrepresent scripture thinking that God is revealing a mystery to them, because they are operating in inspiration.
God refers to these messengers as “prophets” communicating unto us that they were operating in the office of a prophet. The reason why God was against them in scripture was because there were certain prophets who would use their own tongue i.e. words. When a believer leaves the doctrine of the cross then perversion begins to enter into the heart and mind of the believer.
Creflo Dollar states, “Many Christians who have been defeated in life are defeated because they believe and confess the wrong things. Therefore, we must understand the law of confession. We have been given access to the power of God through our words, which are weapons against the enemy.” “Confessing God’s Word works because it causes our faith to work… When we confess the Word, our inner ear hears and receives what we are saying.” http://www.creflodollarministries.org “The Law of Confessions”
“The Law of Confession” is not found anywhere in scripture. In the New Testament there are seven laws mentioned: Law of God, Law of sin and death, Law of the mind, Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Law of liberty, Law of faith, and Law of Christ. Many Christians that are defeated are defeated because they are believing in “self” for deliverance, and not the cross of Christ. The cross of Christ is the only thing that can set the captives free. Christ won the victory over every enemy at the cross and if we put our faith into the cross of Christ, then we too can partake of that same victory. To find access to the power of God we must totally put our faith in the cross of Christ and not “our” words. The law of confession is therefore based on man’s wisdom and not God’s.
1 Corinthians 1:18 (KJV)
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it (the cross) is the power of God.
Another word of faith teacher, Joyce Meyer, states “To help you declare war on your thoughts, I want to give you some battle strategies—Power Thoughts—for setting your mind in the right direction. Meditate on each Power Thought for a week, over and over again until it literally becomes a part of you.” http://www.joycemeyer.org “Win the Battle with Powerful Thoughts”
If all we had to do was “think” the right thoughts, and “speak” the right things then why did Christ have to die upon that cross? This is nothing more than the Law of the mind i.e. will power. The world “thinks” if they could just change their habits or speak and think the right thing then success is assured. We as believers should be separated from worldly conceptions like these and be different. God’s kingdom is not of this world.
John 18:36 (KJV)
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world…
Kenneth Copeland states, “It wasn’t the physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin … anybody could do that.” Kenneth Copeland “What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost”
Hebrews 9:22 (KJV)
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
1 John 1:7 (KJV)
… the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
One of the most fundamental faiths of Christianity is that Christ shed his blood for salvation. Jesus Christ was not just “anybody” but he was the Word made flesh, totally conceived by the Holy Ghost in the belly of Mary, and the only begotten Son of God. Millions tune in and support this type of heretical programming everyday. If the cross of Christ is misunderstood then everything that follows there after would be false doctrine.
“Every prophet that walked the face of the earth under the Abrahamic covenant could have paid the price if it were a physical death only” “When He said ‘It is finished’ on that cross, He was not speaking of the plan of redemption. The plan of redemption had just begun; there were still three days and three nights to go through.” “[Jesus] accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own Spirit, and at the moment that He did so, He cried ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’.” “He [Jesus] was down in that pit and there he suffered the punishment for three horrible days and nights for Adam’s treason … There a new birth takes place in the very depths of the earth, when the command of God says ‘That’s enough, loose him and let him go’.” Kenneth Copeland “What Happened from the Cross to the Throne”
2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)
For he hath made him to be sin (the sin offering) for us, who knew no sin (Christ was innocent, Holy and Pure); that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Christ did not literally become sinful, rather he BARED the sin for us. In the Old Testament the high priest would place his hands upon the head of an animal sacrifice transferring all sin of the sacrifice, but the sacrifice did not become sin, it bared the sin. This is the “laying on of hands” in Hebrews 6:2, referring to the ministration of the Levitical priesthood.
Leviticus 16:21-22 (KJV)
21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat (i.e. the goat bared the sin, and did not become sin), and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities…
Romans 3:23 (KJV)
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
“All have sinned” which includes every prophet under the Abrahamic covenant. The sacrificial lamb had to be examined by the priest to ensure that it was a spotless and perfect sacrifice. Imperfect sacrifices were rejected because God requires a sacrifice without any blemishes. Sin spots a sacrifice and therefore these prophets would have been “spotted”.
“As a believer, you have a right to make commands in the name of Jesus. Each time you stand on the Word, you are commanding God to a certain extent because it is His Word.” Kenneth Copeland “Our Covenant with God”, KCP Publications, 1987, p. 32
James 4:2-3 (KJV)
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss (speak evilly; ask evilly), that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
“To ask,” …suggests the attitude of a suppliant, the petition of one who is lesser in position than he to whom the petition is made; e.g., in the case of men in asking something from God, Matt. 7:7; a child from a parent, Matt. 7:9,10; a subject from a king, Acts 12:20; priests and people from Pilate, Luke 23:23 …”); a beggar from a passer by, Acts 3:2. With reference to petitioning God, this verb is found in Paul’s epistles in Eph. 3:20; Col. 1:9; in James four times, James 1:5,6; 4:2,3; in 1 John, five times, 1 John 3:22; 5:14,15 (twice) ,16. See BEG, CALL FOR, CRAVE, DESIRE, REQUIRE. (Emphasis mine) Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
God cannot be bound because we are somehow using his “word,” and in most cases the “word” we are using to “command” God has been twisted because of a carnal mind. When our attitude is correct and we are humble, but we have not received, it may be because we have asked “amiss.” Amiss carries a meaning of diseased, evil, grievously, miserably, sick, sore.
Isaiah 1:5-6 (KJV)
5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick (malady: any disorder or disease of the body, especially one that is chronic or deepseated i.e. firmly implanted or established; anxiety, calamity), and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
What can be understood for the whole i.e. the church, can also be applied to the individual. Although this is a picture of the body of Christ (Church) in this present time, a church full of sores, bruises, wounds, and a head that is sick. We can associate this to the individual as well. False doctrine has been firmly established within the individual’s mind frame making the body disease-ridden. The believer has gone after “error” leaving the true path of the cross.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 (KJV)
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion (“a wandering,” whereby those who are led astray roam hither and thither (leaving the path of the cross), is always used in the NT, of mental straying, wrong opinion, error in morals or religion.), that they should believe a lie:
Truth is found exclusively within the cross, therefore “lies” are everything outside the cross of Christ. Someone that is “deceived” does not know that he or she is deceived but believes that the “lie” is the truth. When a person comes speaking the truth, they cannot receive it because they first must admit to being deceived. It is not easy to speak against the cross, it is much simpler to preach other things instead, lest they open their mouths and expose their error. The biggest “tell tell sign” of someone that is deceived is speaking something other than the cross.
Sadly, this is how far Christianity has moved away from the truth. The cross of Christ has been left, and men have gone after their own doctrine, originating from within their own heart and minds. Almost every major Christian Network carries Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, and Creflo Dollar’s teachings as well as others all over the world. Millions support them because they are being promised blessings and freedom. Believers are led around by a “carrot on a stick,” with the carrot just being out of reach. Blessings are being dangled in front of believers while the preacher promises that it is “just around the corner.” Believers never really attain the promises of God but are living in a “fog” of delusion. To be in delusion, a believer thinks they have attained the promises of God, but in reality, it is just a misconception.
2 Peter 2:17-19 (KJV)
17 These are wells (source or supply; of water, blood, enjoyment) without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts (desires) of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty (freedom), they themselves are the servants of corruption (decay; i.e. after the flesh, self): for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
We often associate corruption as those things that we have labeled “evil.” Spiritual corruption is a major issue within the believer’s life. This type of corruption is when we call “good things evil, and evil things good.” The cross of Christ is good and everything else is evil. When believers leave the cross of Christ to preach “other” doctrines, they have counted the cross as evil and as something that is not able to meet ALL THE NEEDS OF BELIEVERS. Only in the cross of Christ can liberty be found, and only in the cross of Christ can our need be met both here and the now, and in the everlasting.
Romans 10:8-9 (KJV)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
In closing, for every truth of God our adversary has many counterfeits. There is a “word of faith,” and Paul tells us specifically what that “word of faith” is: the Cross of Christ. To preach the gospel (cross of Christ) is life and the call is being given by God to return unto the true path of righteousness. Who will turn away from their own understanding and embrace exclusively the cross of Jesus Christ?