(13)Word-of-Faith Teachings are sugar-coated poisons.
The Prosperity gospel also known as Word of Faith,
Prosperity theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, Word-Faith
or simply Faith, is an often un-orthodox movement within
doctrine is that worldly health and prosperity are promised
to all believers, and are available through faith, though this
is generally never explicitly stated in the Bible in the context
which most churches use it in, and in most cases fails to be
Biblically supported due to 1 John 2:15. it has also become
known as “Health and Wealth”, although this is a term
usually applied perjoratively by its critics. Other names,
reflecting major aspects of the movement, include
“Name it and claim it” and “Positive Confession”.
Word-Faith teachings trace their roots to Essek Kenyon
that health and finances were the right of every believer
who would claim the promises of Scripture through faith.
Claiming promises was done by believing and verbally
confessing the relevant scriptures, and thus Kenyon
coined the phrase, “What I confess, I possess.”
Pentecostal preacher Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003), of
Tulsa, Oklahoma, was heavily influenced by Kenyon’s
writings, and began teaching the same doctrines as early
as the 1930s. Hagin is often referred to as being the
“father” of the modern Word-Faith, movement. He
elaborated on Kenyon’s theology of confession,
preaching a four-part formula for receiving God’s
promises: “Say it; do it; receive it; tell it.”
Other preachers in Tulsa were mentored by
“Dad” Hagin, and began to preach the same doctrines.
The most prominent of these is Kenneth Copeland.
The Word-Faith movement teaches that physical
is available here and now to all who believe. Frequently
cited in favor of the doctrine is Isaiah 53:5: “By his stripes
we are healed.”
Because Isaiah speaks in the present tense (“we are healed”),
many of the most prominent Faith preachers teach that
believers should deny the symptoms of sickness, and
instead positively confess that they are already healed.
Sickness is an attempt by Satan to rob believers of their
divine right to total health.
Most do not openly advocate dispensing with medical
treatment, although some, such as Fred Price, have
claimed to be strong enough in faith that they no longer
A common Faith teaching is that believers are
“little gods”, a known catchphrase of the New Age
movement. Kenneth Hagin wrote that God “made us in
the same class of being that He is himself,” and that the
believer is “called Christ” because “that’s who were are,
According to Hagin, by being “born again”, the believer
becomes “as much an incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth”.
Kenneth Copeland says Adam was “not a little like God …
not almost like God … not subordinate to God even”,
and has told believers that “You don’t have a God in you.
You are one.”
A common theme in Word-Faith preaching is that God
created man as “an exact duplication of God’s kind.”
The generally New Age attitudes of these sort of writers
often betray a lack of respect for God’s authority, and
are possibliy violations of the 1st commandment; their
attitudes could somewhat be classified as dangerous,
due to the apparent elevation of man to god-like status
they seem to preach.
This has predictably proved one of the most contentious
doctrines with the movement’s critics, who consider it
heresy. Hanegraaff contends the ‘little gods’ doctrine is
on a par with the teaching of the Maharishi Mahesh
Yogi and Jim Jones.
In response, Faith defenders have claimed the teaching
is simply underscoring the biblical view of the believer’s
“true identity in Christ”, and is no more heretical than
Orthodox Church, though they seem to have cited no
verses in the Bible or specified anything from the Eastern
Orthodoxy or C.S. Lewis to substantiate this claim.
According to Word-Faith theology, financial prosperity
and wealth was also included in the Atonement. This is
based on an interpretation of the words of
the apostle Paul: “Yet for your sakes he became poor,
that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
It is frequently taught that Jesus and the apostles were rich,
and therefore believers should expect the same financial
success. However, Jesus spoke of those who follow Him as
being “out of the world”, and that one should not store up
worldly wealth where rust and decay can ruin things, but
rather, to obtain treasure and riches in heaven. It is likely
that the Word-Faith theology concerning this subject fails
to understand (or simply ignores) the context of the New
Testament, which certainly appears to relate to riches in
heaven as opposed to riches of the world.
Faith & confession
In Word-Faith teaching, the central element of faith is
“confession”. The doctrine is often labelled “Positive
Confession”. Noted Word-Faith teachers such as Hagin
universe through the power of the spoken word (Genesis 1),
and that humans were created with the same power to
speak things into being by their words. Thus, making a
positive confession (by reciting a promise of Scripture,
for example) has the power to cause things to happen.
Word-Faith preachers have likened faith to a “force”,
which may mean that they consider man’s faith to be
causing things to happen all on its own as opposed to
God causing people’s prayers to come true.
Conversely, according to Word-Faith teaching,
“negative confession” can bring about negative results,
and therefore believers should be careful to watch their
words. This is often based on a literal interpretations of
Proverbs 18:21: “Life and death are in the power of the
tongue, and they that love them will eat the fruit thereof.”
Preachers & ministries
Proponents of the doctrine in the United States include
among others. Many of these pastors appear regularly on the
Trinity Broadcasting Network, whose founders and directors
movement’s chief proponent, and in the United Kingdom,
Critics & controversy
One of the earliest critics of the movement was Oral Roberts
University’s Professor Charles Farah, who published From the
Pinnacle of the Temple in 1979. In the book, Farah expressed
his disillusionment with the movement’s teachings, which he
argued were more about presumption than faith.
The following decade was to see several severe critiques of the
movement, including Dan R. McConnell’s A Different Gospel,
in which the author followed the research of scholar Dale H.
Simmons in suggesting that the Faith teachings had their origin
in the metaphysical cults of the 19th century, in particular
In 1993, Hank Hanegraaff‘s Christianity in Crisis charged the
Faith movement with heresy, and accused many of its
churches of being “cults“. He accused the Faith teachers of
“demoting” God and Jesus, and “deifying” man and Satan,
as per the Word-Faith proponents frequent comments
mostly affirming this belief of theirs.
theology as aberrant and contrary to the teachings of the
Critics have also condemned the teachings on wealth,
arguing that the Bible condemns the pursuit of riches,