False Teachers of The Word of Faith
(Gal. 1:9- “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.”)
Last week we began with Paul speaking to the Galatian church about how false teachers had crept into the church there and had polluted the Gospel message with error. The false teachers and preachers had infiltrated from within and disguised as Christian teachers and preachers had added “improvements” to the gospel message making it not the gospel at all but heresy (grossly false doctrine). Today I want us to look at one of the fastest growing cults within the church. This false movement is called the “Word-Faith Movement” or “Word of Faith Movement” (hereafter will be WoF). You might know some of the names of the false teachers I name today but most importantly we will expose the lies they espouse as gospel.
I. Cultic/Occultic Origins(2 Tim. 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”) – You may not be familiar with the name Word-Faith or Word of Faith movement but you might have heard of some of it’s teachers/preachers: Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Robert Tilton, Creflo Dollar, John Avanzini, Eddie Long, Marilyn Hickey, T.D. Jakes, Juanita Bynum, Fred Price, Rod Parsley, John Hagee, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, Paul Crouch (TBN), Charles Capps, Leroy Thompson, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Joel Osteen, Pat Robinson, R.W. Schambach, Myles Munroe.
The WoF movement did not start overnight, but began in the early 1900’s with a man named E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon was greatly influenced by New Thought founder Phineas Quimby (his false teachings are the basis for the cult called Christian Science started by Mary Baker Eddy; early New Age beliefs). E.W. Kenyon went to Emerson College of Oratory in Boston which was a breeding ground at the time for the newly emerging New Thought cult. New Thought claimed to have discovered laws of faith, advancing a Christianized version of their occult teaching.
With these cultic/occultic teachings Kenyon would mix and blend it in with orthodox Christian doctrine to create the false, peculiar beliefs that became the WoF. So we see then cultic/occultic roots of WoF and now let’s look who brought into the present. The man who was most influential in spreading this heresy into the 20th and 21st century is Kenneth Hagin. And his disciples and devotees affectionately call him “Dad” Hagin. “Dad” Hagin died in 2003 but the heresy of the WoF keeps rolling on even stronger today. But what do you ask is the false teachings of the WoF.
II. WoF False Doctrines – (1 Tim 4:1- “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”)-
1. Faith in Faith- The primarily false teaching of the WoF’ers is that a Christian by their faith can make God do anything. In the WoF they put their faith in their ‘faith’. To them faith is a force that we use to make God heal us and keep us healthy or make God make us rich and get us all that we desire. WoF say faith is the stuff God made the earth, the universe, and even humans according to the WoF false teachers. They twist the scripture in Heb. 11:1 (in the KJV)- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…”; this proves to them that faith is a substance that allows God to be a slave for you, to make him create the world that you want and desire, to be healthy, wealthy, and master of your own life. The WoF heresy is nothing more than Christianized humanism that we are in control because God is not and that only saved man can allow God to work in the world and we activate God by the law and force of faith but we will get to more of that later. The truth of Hebrew 1:1 is that the archaic terms of the KJV is not very understandable to us, so the better translation of ‘substance’ here is the word ‘assurance’ (NASB). True faith is the assurance that the promises of God never fail, it is human beings trusting in a God they cannot see, to do things that He has promised. To the WoF teachers faith is the substance that we get what we desire, even God has to have faith because faith is the source of God’s power. And this leads us to our next WoF false teaching, positive confession.
2. Positive Confession- This is the WoF belief that we have what we confess because words are the containers of faith. For example, if we speak positive confessions of healing and quote bible verses (even taken out of context) then the force of faith is activated and healing and health will eventually be manifested to you but you must keep on positively confessing in order to stay healed or if your broke it will make you rich if you use the same formula of faith: confess or speak it, believe it, and receive it because God is obligated to do so because we use faith and confession. Because the WoF God used the same formula when He made the universe because to them He spoke (and visualized) it in the beginning when He said, “Let there be…” and of course He had to believe it would happen because it came into existence, for every faith-filled word that He spoke. But there is a drawback to confession because if there is a positive confession there must be a negative confession. Positive confession works off of faith and it attracts God’s power to work on the our behalf to make us rich and well, while negative confession is fear that attracts the Devil to allow him to make us sick and poor. They say our words are so powerful that we attract sickness like cancer and even death if we just accidentally utter a negative confession like “My head is killing me” when we have a headache because it could cause us to die of a brain tumor or a brain hemorrhage. The WoF teacher has the answer to reverse the curse by only having us utter positive things even though our bodies may tell us we’re sick, we are to ignore and deny the symptoms and confess we’re fine, we’re well, we’re healed, and free of pain and to quote over and over “by His stripes we are healed” or twist some other scripture with the word ‘healing’ in it to suit our need of confession. (Side note: If you ignore symptoms of being sick and deny them it won’t make you well no matter how much you confess you are healed, symptoms are God’s built in warning system that something is wrong and needs attention.) Contrary to the beliefs of the WoF movement sickness and poverty is not the individual’s results of each person’s sin. It is a part of this cursed and fallen creation we are born into without choice. It is not sinful to be sick or poor (which is what they teach; K.Copeland: “Poverty is an evil spirit”; J. Hagee: “Poverty is caused by sin and disobeying the Word of God.”). They need to be informed that it is sinful to be spiritually sick and spiritually poor believing the heretical teachings of the WoF movement and living selfishly (Rev 3:16,17- “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked”) that is their spiritual state.
3. Little Gods: Man Promoted, God Demoted- A hallmark of any cult is to alter the truth about the Godhead and specifically undermine the person and work of Jesus Christ. The WoF does this as well, not only do they demote God but they promote man to a “little god” (they spell it with a little ‘g’). They promote the same lie as Satan hissed in the Garden, “You will be like God”. How do they get to the place to say that man is a “little god”? Well many of the WoF teachers believe that when God created man in His image and likeness that He made a “little god”. Their flawed reasoning to think this let me quote Joyce Meyer, “If you as human being have a baby, you call it human kind. If cattle have another cattle, they call it cattle-kind. I mean what’s God supposed to call us? Doesn’t the Bible say we’re created in His image? Now, you understand, I’m not saying you are a God with a capital ‘G’” (“Joyce Meyer-Little Gods” http://www.you tube.com/watch?v=7Y4eVu2oxP8). We are left with no doubt about what she is saying and the rest of the WoF teachers all mirror the same belief like Kenneth Copeland (“You don’t have a god in you, you are one!”; “The Force of Love”, Audiotape, 1987), Creflo Dollar (“You’re not a sinner saved by grace, your sons and daughters of the Most High God. You are gods!”; “Changing Your World”, April 17, 2002), and there are too many to quote but say and believe the same thing, they are gods. They believe when God made man (the “little gods”) that He gave man dominion over the earth and their belief about dominion was that man was a god over this world. But when the Devil deceived Adam and Eve well that defaulted man’s title over earth and gave it to Satan who became god of this world. God then was locked out from doing anything on earth and in the affairs of mankind. And God’s avenue back into this earth was through man and He found it in Abraham. The WoF teach that because Abraham and other people of faith gave God permission to act on the earth. They teach that their poor WoF God finally had access to earth and man finally had access to God. How twisted the WoF teachings are, man is deified and God is humanized and the devil is on an equal playing field with God and man is in control and allows God to work. How that false, evil belief is shattered by this verse about the sovereignty of God (Dan 4:35 – All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”). God is in control and we aren’t, thank God.
4. Spiritual Death of Jesus- How could any God-fearing, saved Christian man or woman believe that there is any other redemption or salvation other than the suffering and death of Christ on the cross. Well, the WoF false teachers do it again. According to them, Jesus paid for our sins not on the cross but in the very pit of hell itself they falsely claim Christ had to die spiritually and burn in hell to save us. I will quote one of the popular WoF teachers, “if you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on the cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price.” (Fred Price; ‘Ever Increasing Faith Messenger, pg.120). This is believed and repeated by all the WoF teachers from Kenneth Copeland to Joel Osteen, from Joyce Meyers to Paula White, and Benny Hinn to T.D. Jakes. But Galatians 6:14 gladly says this, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. We can boast only in the suffering, shed blood, and death of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and nothing else.
III. Things to Consider- This is just a small part of the false, cultic teachings of the WoF. It seems that I’m making this up and surely Christians don’t believe this fractured fairytale. They push these false teachings anywhere and through any outlet they can where they can make a buck and fleece the sheep. Irregardless if their false promises for healing kill someone because going to the doctor or taking medicine is sneered at for a “lack of faith” or if people have fallen on hard times or born into poverty their seen as sinful by these false brethren and tell those who have been deceived by them that if there sick or poor, it is because it’s their fault. These false teachers will have a fearful end. The Apostle Paul pronounced upon them anathema, destruction, false teachers will face the wrath of God and will receive their reward at the Great White Throne Judgment. Remember Jesus’ warning, Matt. 24:4, Stay true to the truth of God’s word and false teachers will easily be seen.