Word of Faith

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The Word of Faith movement is centered around the power of faith through proclamation. Through the proclamation of the promises of God in accordance with the Word, one receives what they ask for. This notion is drawn from Marc 11:23, “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.”

They teach that at the cross, believers obtained complete restoration of the body, soul, and spirit. It follows that Christians have received salvation as well as physical healing, and that they were delivered from poverty. The verses used in support of this point are Isaiah 53:5, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed,” and Matthew 8:17, “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.'”

Prosperity

The movement teaches that God wants believers to thrive financially, be in good health, have flourishing marriages, and be prosperous across the board.

Suffering comes from Satan, and not from God. The idea that God would use suffering for our good is a lie from Satan and goes against God’s Word [i] (Bill Johnson, Face to Face with God).

If anyone does not prosper, it shows that they gave their lives over to Satan. God will never act in our lives unless we ask him to.

At the cross, Jesus Christ delivered us not only sin, but also from illness and poverty [iii] (Bill Johnson).

According to this movement, Jesus and the apostles were wealthy. The arguments used are the following:

  • Apparently, Jesus traveled for three years without working;
  • Jesus and the apostles owned houses;
  • Jesus had a treasurer (Judas);
  • Jesus had contacts in spheres of influence;
  • The apostles were apparently self-employed.

Here is a video of Georgian Banov preaching at Bethel Church. He explains that God wants to cancel the debts of everyone in the room and announces that God’s will is for everyone to own a large house. It is an example of the so-called prosperity gospel, which is preached at Bethel Church and elsewhere.

Little “gods”

In the movement, many stress the fact that believers are sons of God by using phrases such as “little gods.”

For instance, Kenneth Hagin wrote

“God made us the same class of beings that He is Himself.” [i] When someone converts, they become an incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth.

Kenneth Copeland said

“You don’t have a god in you; you are one.” [ii].

Jesus died spiritually

At the cross, Jesus did not only physically but also spiritually. Some, like Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson, claim that Jesus was “born again” when he rose from the dead. He was born through Mary, and then he was born again in the resurrection. Bill Johnson thus concludes that Jesus was the first person to be “born again” [4].

Through prayer, we allow God to act

They seem to believe that rather than man serving God, it is in fact God who serves man.

“Prayer is man giving God giving permission to interfere in earth’s affairs. […] God could no nothing on earth, nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving him access. […] He can only do what you permit him to do.” [5] Myles Munroe with Benny Hinn

“God has the power to take life, but he can’t. He got the power to do it, but he won’t. He’s bound. He can’t. He says “death and life is in the power of” whose tongue? Yours. You ready for this? You want something that’ll knock your lights off? You choose when you live; you choose when you die.” [6] Jessie Duplantis

The power of proclamation

They think that our words have the power to create; they refer to Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  This works as a self-fulfilling prophecy: “I want to talk to you today about the power of “I am.” What follows these two simple words will determine what kind of life you’ll live. I am blessed, I am strong, I am healthy […] or I am slow, I am unattractive. […] The good news is, you get to choose what follows the “I am”. When you go through the day saying, “I am blessed,” blessings come looking for you.” [7] Joel Osteen

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[i] Kenneth E. Hagin, Zoe: The God Kind of Life (Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Inc, 1989)

[ii] Kennteh Copeland, The Force of Love (Teaching tape, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987)

[iii] When we allow sickness, torment and poverty to be thought of as the God-ordained tools. He uses to make us more like Jesus, we have participated in a very shameful act. There is no doubt He can use them, as He is also known to be able to use the devil himself for His purposes. (He can win with a pair of twos.) But to think that these things are released into our lives through His design, or that He approved such things, is to undermine the work at Calvary. To do so one must completely disregard the life of Christ and the purpose of the Cross. None of us would say that he died for my sins but still intends that I should be bound by sin habits. Neither did He pay for my healing and deliverance so I could continue in torment and disease. His provision for such things is not figurative: it is actual. (Johnson, Face to Face with God)

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