Posted by: John Edwards | November 28, 2008

OUT OF the Word of Faith

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THIS POST was made by John Edwards, but we was unable to properly credit him in the title bar above, after the post where imported from his blog

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My exodus from the Word of Faith Movement began one year ago today.

Brian and I loaded up the Mighty Tundra and headed up to Indianapolis to attend the funeral of my Pastor’s father who had been killed in a car accident.

On the long ride up there I kept listening to a CD about pride from a sermon my good friend Cullen Swanson had preached. I listened to that same CD over and over. Pride and Self. God opened my eyes to the painful truth that I was consumed with Pride and Self.

My life had become all about me. My blessings. My vision. My dreams. My plans. My ministry. My prosperity. My healing. I had been on a fourteen year Self Fest. Everything in my life revolved around me and my happiness and success. That is what the Word of Faith Message did for me. It turned me into a greedy self centered person.

The Word of Faith Message is very attractive. It was the neatest thing that I had ever encountered in life.

Here was a brand of Christianity that promised me everything that I could desire. All I had to do was to believe and confess the promises of God. All I had to do was to have faith.

The Word of Faith Message is centered on Faith. Growing up Baptist, I had been brought up to put Christ first and others second. I was to live a crucified life. But the Word of Faith Message promised me everything. I could have long life, Divine protection, Divine health, Divine wealth, success, and all kinds of supernatural experiences with the Holy Spirit.
I immersed myself into the teachings of Kenneth Hagin. I bought and borrowed every single tape and book by him that I could find. I layed awake nights listening to his teachings. I memorized all of his faith formulas and all of his 1,2,3’s of Faith, Healing and Prosperity.

I had found a man that had a leg up on the Baptist. Brother Hagin had been personally discipled and tutored by Jesus! On no less than eight occasions Jesus appeared for one on one teaching seminars with Kenneth Hagin. He even got to go the Heaven and see the outline of Almighty God! He had visited with angels and done battle with real live demons! Jesus had taught Brother hagin how that we could write our own ticket with God. Jesus gave Brother Hagin specific steps on how we as Christians could win big in life.

What a neat religion! Health, wealth, Angels, visions, trips out of the body!

WOW!

For two years I feasted on all of these amazing stories and testimonies that this great Prophet had experienced. I wanted to be just like him. I almost named Brian after him.

So after two years I moved up there to Tulsa to be soaked and drenched in the atmosphere of faith. The first thing that caught my eye was the gigantic Faith symbol revolving around the top of the Mother Church. FAITH! My favorite word. After all, faith was the key to unlocking the storehouse of God’s blessings! I need only to get more faith so that I could operate on the same level as the Prophet.

I took Faith classes for two years. Coni and I studied faith in the morning and faith in the noon time and faith until the cows came home. We would set around and talk about faith with our friends.

Another exciting feature of the Word of Faith Movement was the “Holy Ghost Meetings” that took place in the summer and winter. We would gather by the thousands to hear all of Brother Hagin’s wonderful experiences and teachings. Then he would walk around the auditorium and make us fall in the floor and laugh. Those were called laughter meetings. People would go into a frenzy. People would be running, dancing, falling out in the floor and laughing themselves silly. I will admit that about 90% of it looked staged and fake. I never felt a thing. That was so upsetting to me at the time. I just wasn’t feeling the same thing that they were.

Soon the time came to leave Tulsa. We were full of faith and power. We were burning inside with the desire to teach Faith, Healing and Prosperity to everyone back home. And we did. We started with 4 people in our living room. We taught everything that Brother Hagin had taught us. We did it for ten years. We taught thousands of people from the pulpit to the mission field to the television screen.

It all sounds like a great story except for the fact that I was always frustrated and depressed. Why? No results. No visions. No miracles. No amazing clouds of Glory. No instant healings of sick people. No blind eyes opening. Nothing. People were getting saved and turned onto God, but that wasn’t good enough for me, I wanted the spectacular. I wanted thousands of people healed and I wanted visions and trips to Heaven. What was I not doing right? I spent so many hours, weeks and years praying for these things. I did all the confessions. They were not working for me or my friends at church.

Kenneth Hagin bragged that he never buried a church member in 12 years of pastoring. I buried a bunch, including my own 14 year old daughter. I had a teenager in my youth group killed in a car wreck. Both of these girls were full of faith and full of the Word. My daughter had Psalms 91 memorized. The other girl did her confessions everyday. I had other church members die. All of them that died were on fire for God and claiming their healings. I laid hands on everyone of them. They all died.

As I drove to Indianapolis and then onto Michigan to visit a church member that was in the hospital there, these questions and thoughts stormed my mind. Why wasn’t this Message working for my people?

Soon after arriving home I had a thought. It dawned on me that of all the stories that Brother Hagin shared, none of them were either current or in my life time. There were no witnesses, no names, no way to verify anything.

I began to do research and found out that Brother Hagin had plagiarized many of the writings of EW Kenyon. Five Pounds worth! EW Kenyon was the original father of the Faith movement. He was wrapped up into the New Age teachings. He was a big fan of many of the cultic Christian Scientist of his day. Eastern religion was sprinkled all over his writings.

I began to have more and more questions. As I began to make phone calls and to send inquiries, there were no answers. Important people in high places refused to answer my questions.

I kept reading and praying. I began to question everything charismatic in my life. Was any of it real? Where had my relationship with Jesus gone? I didn’t have one. My relationship was with formulas and teachings. Jesus had no longer thrilled me. Salvation and grace had taken the backseat to signs and wonders. I realized more than ever that my spiritual journey had been after the spectacular and not on Jesus. God on the Throne had been replaced with Me on the Throne. I lived by my confessions instead of a love for God.

By the time summer had rolled around, I was absolutely convinced that I had been wrapped up into a cult. A cult is any religious group that is following a leader that claims extra revelation of God in addition to the Bible. Another sign of a cult is the secrecy and the way they treat people that leave the cult. I know first hand. The Word of Faith is a cultic movement.

There have been many times over the past few months that I have wanted to delete this blog. But every time I decide to, some one writes me and thanks me for having the courage and integrity to write what I do. People all over the world are coming out of the Word of Faith and back into Grace. It is a great feeling to be trusting in God instead of trusting in my faith and in my words. I have had incredible peace. All of the self inflicted pressure is gone.

I wonder many times why God permitted me to stray so far away from Truth. I think that it is because I have the guts to speak out. I am not afraid. Others have left but still live in fear. They are still in the shadow of that shield up there.

It has been a great year. I have my relationship with God back. I am free from myself and I have no agendas. I live one day at a time. I go to an awesome church that worships God just because He is. The teaching is Christ centered. Its all about God and Jesus at my new church. Jesus is back in charge. Not me. Thes things that were boring to me about God have become glorious and facinating. God has become bigger. He is no longer bound to my confession. I now realize that we are living in the Age of Grace and not the Age of Miracles. We are to live by faith. We are under Grace.

What relief! It’s not up to me anymore. I am God’s child again, and not a product of my words.

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