Every quarter our Southern Ukraine association of churches puts on an all day fellowship/seminar for the brothers. They invited me to speak this time and I decided to talk about the rise of the “Word of Faith” movement, which is unfortunately gaining a lot of speed in Ukraine as it is in many countries.
If you’re not familiar with the Word of Faith teaching just check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_of_Faith. Often it is called “Prosperity Gospel” or “Health and Wealth”. Some of the main teachers you may have heard of such as, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn to name a few.
Their main teachings revolve around three key points:
- “Positive Confession”
They teach that words have power in and of themselves. If you believe it, think it, act like it and say it, then God will give it to you. Some go as far as to say that we can create with our words, we must carefully use use them because we might accidentally create something! Check out this example from Pastor Osteen
- Little gods
If man is able to create with his words as God is able to create with His words then the logical conclusion is that man must be a god.
- Limited God
Of course the “little god” doctrine leads to something even worse. If man is a god, then God Himself must be limited in some way. Thus many of the Word of Faith teacher claim that God the Father has a body and is bound by laws that limit His ability to act.
Problems with Word of Faith teaching
The theological dangers of the Word of Faith movement are many but I would like to note just a few below.
- It places a heavy burden on the believer. Luk 11:46, Mat 11:30
- It puts constraints upon God. Isa 14:27
- It ignores million of Christians who live in persecuted countries. 2Ti 3:12
- It places large emphasis upon man rather than God. Eze 36:22
- It cheapens Christianity by making blessedness based upon the external conditions of our life. Mat ch. 5
Ways to avoid Word of Faith fallacy
- Make sure our preaching and teaching comes from God’s Word. 2 Tim 2:15-16
- Encourage our people to investigate God’s Word themselves. Acts 17:11
- Make sure our focus is on God’s glory. Psa 105:8
- Teach people to pray for miracles and healing but we do not demand them from God. Mat 12:39 Joh 9:3
God can and God does miracles today. I prayed for God to miraculously heal my son when doctors diagnosed him with cancer. We should pray these kind of prayers but we should not demand from God or assume that God owes us anything!
Questions: Do you agree? Is there any advice you would add to my list on how to avoid Word of Faith teachings?