In this post, I want to deal once and for all with the Word™ of Faith™ heresy. I've described so far how this group believes that the spoken word, whether it be a Biblical quotation or something based on it, uttered in what they consider to be faith, activates a creative power in each of us, since we are all made in the image of God.
Previous articles in this series have dealt with these beliefs, and how they compare to what the Bible actually says in context. The final issue to address here is in the power of the spoken word. This idea that the words must be spoken to be effective is unusual, to say the least. It has always made me wonder about the mute, the person with a tracheotomy stoma before technology allowed him to speak again, or even the person with laryngitis. Then again, I suppose those people just didn't have enough Faith™ to speak against their illnesses and disabilities while they still could.
Yeah, that sounds like a merciful and grace-filled God.
The Bible does speak of the importance of communicating the gospel to everybody. It takes courage to say out loud that you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord (or LORD, to use the term some translations use to represent the actual name of God), especially in areas that are hostile to any belief system other than the "official" one … areas such as the United States, steeped as it is in the belief of naturalistic "science" and "tolerance" of anything except Christ. (Of course, we are hardly persecuted compared to other parts of the world … at least as of this writing.)
There's nothing significant that I can see, though, about the actual sounds emitted from our throats. If it were, I'd have to wonder if we were using the correct language, or if Faith™ is intelligent enough to speak whatever language we speak.
I have to agree with what some writers claim. Consider †his: the practice of speaking certain words out loud to summon powers outside of ourselves comes not from Scripture, but from the occult! To think that "confessing" Bible verses mandates that God or Faith™ must act upon them is significantly closer to the idea of the mystical incantation, the "open sesame" for the magic door or the "abra cadabra" that enables genie-like forces to work.
Naturally the practitioners of the spoken confession know better than to "confess" that their practices so closely resemble witchcraft. Even they know that they cannot admit to that without somebody seeing through their ruse. Instead, they insist that their way is the way, and threaten those who would come against them or their teaching.
The problem is that, one day, they will see another word, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-10) who promised no genie to come on command, but Who will one day judge these people for turning their backs on Him and His spoken words, choosing instead the lying angel that Kenneth Copeland claims to hear from. (I still say that could be true, as long as we recognize that a third of the angels chose to go with the devil in rebellion against God.)
Consider †his: our salvation is not in the spoken Word™ of Faith™ that makes promises it cannot keep, then blames our failure of Faith™ to cover up its own lie. Our salvation is in the Almighty Word of God, Jesus Christ! In Him we can do all things (Philippians 4:10-13). He is before all things, and in Him — not our Faith™ —all things hold together (Colossians 1:17)! The substance of worship belongs to Christ; let no one disqualify you, insisting on … worship of angels, going on in details … and not holding fast to the Head, which is Christ! (Colossians 2:8-23)
Let's be honest, though. Don't we all from time to time use a pre-written "prayer," rather than talk with God using our own words? Don't we all from time to time quote a verse out of context, or utter the phrase "in the name of Jesus," as if it brought about some sort of power? I still find myself stumbling down that path. Is that any less of an "incantation?" Perhaps if it reminds us of Whose we are … but, no, I have to be honest with myself here. I fall into that same trap.
I know I will.
The links are:
- The WORD on the Word of Faith (blog)
- "Word Faith teaching - A spiritual copy of Mind Sciences" (via Let Us Reason)
- "Word Of Faith Movement" page on Deception in the Church
- "Positive Confession" on The Watchman Expositor (not affiliated with the Jehovah's Witnesses, as far as I know)