Word of Faith Crosses Heresy Line

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Word of Faith Crosses Heresy Line

“Satan conquered Jesus on the cross.” “He died spiritually! …Jesus Christ understood that spiritual death is union with the satanic nature.” “Man was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority.” “He [God] doesn’t even draw a distinction between Himself and us. …I have His name. I’m one with Him…I am a little god! Critics, be gone!”

Shocked? You may have just read the above four quotes from four separate individuals and are wondering, “What blasphemy is this? Who teaches such heresy? Mormons? Jehovah’s Witnesses?” You would be correct in discerning such statements as heretical but, unfortunately, incorrect in assuming that they come from groups considered outside of orthodox Christianity; they come from within.

More commonly known as the Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, or Prosperity gospel, the Word of Faith (WOF) movement comprises the majority – though not all – of what is seen on cable Christian television. WOF doctrine is beamed to hundreds of countries around the world via Christian networks such as TBN and Daystar, and preached in thousands of churches across the United States.

Much of WOF doctrine is in line with orthodox Christianity. However, the error is sufficient and egregious enough to persuade many, myself included, to conclude that the Health and Wealth gospel is indeed a different gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).

The WOF movement compromises the non-negotiable fundamentals of the faith. The origins of the WOF movement can be traced directly to the metaphysical cults such as Unity School of Christianity, Religious Science, Christian Science, and New Thought. Though the father of the modern WOF movement is often considered to be Kenneth Hagin (whose son can be seen preaching today on TBN), as he is referred to by Charisma magazine, this dubious honor actually goes to one Essek W. Kenyon (1867-1948), whose works were extensively plagiarized by Hagin.

Kenyon was heavily influenced by the metaphysical cults which flourished at Emerson College of Oratory where he attended. Kenyon, in turn, was influenced by Phineas P. Quimby (1802-1866), a student of occultism, hypnosis, and parapsychology and the father of New Thought. Knowing the roots of a theological movement or system is critical in understanding its teachings and practical implications.

What follows is a very brief listing of some of the doctrines of the WOF movement:

  • Positive confession – The belief that what is spoken can be brought into literal existence. Believers may simply speak the things which they desire of God and He is obligated to give it to them; hence the label “Name It and Claim It” gospel. If this sounds eerily like God’s act of creation in Gen. 1 and 2, it is.

  • Little gods doctrine – The belief that man was created to be an exact duplicate of God. Believers, then, are little gods on the earth.

  • Spiritual death of Jesus – The belief that Christ’s physical death was insufficient to atone for sin. He also had to die spiritually. Of course, if Jesus died spiritually, then He ceased being God and if He ceased being God even for an instant, He never was God to begin with.

  • Revelation knowledge – The belief that God dispenses to certain believers, apart from the Scriptures, secret knowledge of Himself. This is a modern day version of the ancient heresy of Gnosticism against which the New Testament repeatedly warns.

  • Health and wealth – The belief that all believers have the right to walk in perfect, divine health and prosper financially. This stems from the erroneous view that sickness was paid for by Christ’s spiritual atonement in hell and that prosperity is a cosmic law ordained by God respectively.

Heresy is never promoted in a manner which exposes its darkness for all to see. Rather, its poison is wrapped in familiar Christian language to make it more palatable. The WOF movement has craftily packaged its counterfeit gospel to look like the real thing. It is making alarming inroads into all Christian churches, including Southern Baptist churches. Many honest, sincere, born-again Christians are being deceived and hurt.

–Justin Peters

Originally printed 9/25/03
in the Baptist Record
mbcb.org/business_services/br/peters.aspx

Peters can be contacted at (601) 636-2493
 or by e-mail:
jpeters@fbcvicksburg.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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