Recently I had an online chat with a friend of mine who is an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) who is also a Christian. We’ve discussed numerous things over the years. This one, though got me thinking of the need to do my first “blog series.”
It seems she has encountered some folks who have some rather bad theology. What I want to do in this series is explore why the particular theology is bad, where it comes from, and (hopefully) how to respond to it. To be honest, though, I’m going to need your help when it comes to that last bit.
The theology goes by a number of names: “Word of faith,” “Name it and claim it,” “Hyper-faith,” “Spoken word power,” and others. I prefer the name my best friend calls it, which is a pun on the last names of two men, both named Kenneth, who push this theology: the Copeland-Hagin heresy.
In this initial post, with my friend’s permission, I’ll give you the chat. She has given me permission to publish the chat, even using her real name. For her sake, though, I’ll use the name “Bobbi Sue” instead.
8:42:56 PM Bobbi Sue: I have a question for you
8:43:08 PM Joe Sewell: Go for it.
8:47:33 PM Bobbi Sue: I have two friends that have been giving me a real had time about my health and dealing with doctors and medicine. They are trying to tell me that I am not trusting God by going to doctors and taking meds. One of them told me to put myself in a bubble and don't even bother trust God. Both of them have told me that carrying an EpiPen is wrong because its not trusting God and relying on drugs instead. They also laugh at me because I choose to take a proactive role regarding my health and that I choose to allow the doctors to run all the tests they are running to find out what is wrong with me. They told me that I should not be relying on these test and that I should not let the docs do them.
8:48:06 PM Bobbi Sue: I reminded them of the seriousness of the recent events.
8:49:30 PM Bobbi Sue: I also reminded them that they are insisting that I go against my better judgment as a trained EMT and I told them if I had patients with the same problems I have going on. I would be rushing them to the hospital. My friends had the nerve to tell me well that is them not you. You're not trusting God.
8:50:06 PM Bobbi Sue: What would you tell these two knuckleheads that might get them to stop bugging me about it.
8:50:08 PM Bobbi Sue: ?
8:51:15 PM Joe Sewell: First off, let me throw a few links at you. These are from a site that specializes in answering questions from a Biblical perspective. I've been impressed with their answers.
8:51:34 PM Joe Sewell: The first is http://www.gotquestions.org/Christians-go-doctors.html which sounds like it deals specifically with this topic.
8:51:49 PM Joe Sewell: The second is http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-anti-depressants.html
8:53:01 PM Joe Sewell: I'd first ask them why they have so little faith in God that they believe He refuses to work through medicines He has provided.
8:53:40 PM Bobbi Sue: They think medicine came from man not God
8:53:56 PM Bobbi Sue: and its a ploy of the enemy to steer people away from leaning on God
8:54:00 PM Joe Sewell: God didn't create herbs?
8:54:38 PM Joe Sewell: God didn't create the first and most effective antibiotic known: penicillin?
8:55:03 PM Bobbi Sue: they don't see it that way
8:55:20 PM Bobbi Sue: but yet these two wear glasses and take medication. go figure
8:55:24 PM Joe Sewell: When Jesus healed one particular blind man, why did He make mud when He could've just snapped His fingers?
8:55:44 PM Joe Sewell: I understand, Bobbi, and it's quite likely that they will not listen to anything you say.
8:55:45 PM Bobbi Sue: but yet I am overreacting and going way overboard according to them
8:56:16 PM Joe Sewell: A simple response, then, would be, "take it up with God, then. He's the one I obey, not you."
8:56:49 PM Bobbi Sue: oh but I am not obeying Him because I am not learning to trust Him
8:57:01 PM Bobbi Sue: this is all the crap they have told me
8:58:07 PM Joe Sewell: Like I said, it sounds like they won't listen to anything you have to say, so just leave them with the simple truth: that you're trusting the wisdom of God, not the little idol they've put in a non-medical box.
8:58:10 PM Bobbi Sue: Then one of them called me at 11 p.m. last night to ask me a medical question of all things.
8:58:54 PM Bobbi Sue: I just laughed and told them they needed to find someone else to answer their question because I was not going to since anything medical is not trusting God
8:59:32 PM Joe Sewell: Good answer. Actually, "trust your god" would've worked, too.
8:59:55 PM Joe Sewell: I'd emphasize that they're trusting "their god," not the one true God.
9:00:53 PM Joe Sewell: Tell them your God isn't limited by the spoken word, or by a higher power called "Faith." Tell them your God can do whatever He wants, however He wants, whenever He wants, with or without your permission.
9:01:47 PM Joe Sewell: Then encourage them that, when their god-in-a-box fails them — and it will — you'll be glad to tell them about the real God.
9:02:57 PM Joe Sewell: They probably won't listen to this, but the whole "word of faith" movement, which it sounds like they're a part of, actually has at least two characteristics that betray the fact that it's a lie from Hell itself.
9:03:29 PM Joe Sewell: First, God "used His Faith" to "speak the universe into existence."
9:04:35 PM Bobbi Sue: Oh they are into the name it claim it stuff
9:05:00 PM Joe Sewell: Second, since we are "made in the image of God," we, too, have creative power in our spoken words … in other words, we are "little gods."
9:05:23 PM Joe Sewell: The first dethrones God, the second elevates man to the position of God. Sound familiar?
9:05:39 PM Bobbi Sue: yep
9:05:55 PM Joe Sewell: Oh, and if they try to pull anything about an angel speaking to Kenneth Copeland, who told him this garbage, remind them what happened to a third of the angels. :)
9:06:45 PM Joe Sewell: One thing you'll have to do, though, is stick to the simplicity of the gospel, make it clear that their god is not God, and tell them that you'll be ready with more only when they are willing to listen.
9:07:29 PM Bobbi Sue: The way I see all of this is that if God was so against medicine and doctors, I would think that I was have a guilty conscience about being and EMT and attempting to save lives.
9:08:08 PM Joe Sewell: True. On the other hand, they could say the same thing in reverse.
9:08:20 PM Bobbi Sue: ?
9:08:51 PM Joe Sewell: In other words, they could say that their "heart" or "spirit" confirms their own belief about medicine being "of the devil" and that you're just misled.
9:09:59 PM Bobbi Sue: If that is the case then why am I still alive? My life has been saved several times by doctors or EMTs
9:10:24 PM Joe Sewell: They would probably say it was God's "grace" or some such nonsense.
9:10:48 PM Bobbi Sue: I bet they would say because God is giving me a chance to wise up
9:10:53 PM Joe Sewell: Yep.
9:12:05 PM Bobbi Sue: Their crap just makes me mad and raises my blood pressure to dangerous levels.
9:12:28 PM Joe Sewell: Believe me, I understand. Been there, done that.
9:12:39 PM Joe Sewell: Shredded the T-shirt in anger. :)
9:13:01 PM Bobbi Sue: Oh get this by checking my blood pressure several times a day because my doctor told me to I am overreacting and not Giving God a chance to heal me.
9:13:09 PM Joe Sewell: They are so confident in their belief, though, that only God can redirect them.
9:13:47 PM Joe Sewell: Just tell them that you'll pray for God to show them the truth.
9:14:00 PM Joe Sewell: It sounds arrogant, but it's no more so than what they're throwing at you.
9:14:13 PM Joe Sewell: Then *do* pray for them.
9:14:24 PM Bobbi Sue: One of them did not used to be like this. It's only since she got in touch with a lady that was mentoring her that got her all screwed up and now the church she goes to.
9:14:41 PM Joe Sewell: Yep, the blind leading the blind.
9:15:17 PM Joe Sewell: They're so insecure in their faith, so afraid that God won't do what *they* want Him to do, that they'll grab hold of anything that promises them control.
9:15:28 PM Joe Sewell: That's not how they see it, of course.
9:16:26 PM Joe Sewell: That gotquestions.org article on doctors addresses this, and they've got more on the "Word of Faith" movement (or what I like to call "folks from Copeland-Hagin")
9:16:52 PM Bobbi Sue: Ok real dumb question here. Why do you think God allows us to get sick and even almost die?
9:17:21 PM Joe Sewell: Not a dumb question at all. Not an easy one, either.
9:17:55 PM Bobbi Sue: You would think I would have this figured out by now after all the year I have been a Christian
9:18:44 PM Joe Sewell: Not really. I've struggled with it myself over the years.
9:18:45 PM Bobbi Sue: I have been asked by people if I feel like I am going against God's will or trying to play God when I attempt to save people.
9:19:05 PM Joe Sewell: No, you're being Christ-like.
9:19:08 PM Bobbi Sue: I don't even know how to answer that question
9:19:18 PM Joe Sewell: Jesus healed.
9:19:42 PM Joe Sewell: Actually, that's part of the answer to your earlier question. There's the story of the man born blind.
9:20:37 PM Joe Sewell: The disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents, that he was born blind. In that day & age, as now, people thought that bad things only happened to bad people … but only to a certain set of "bad" people.
9:21:03 PM Joe Sewell: Jesus blew them out of the water by saying that the reason had nothing to do with sin, but so that God would be glorified!
9:22:38 PM Joe Sewell: Sounds cruel, doesn't it? Someone born blind, remained blind for years, so that God could be glorified?
9:23:04 PM Bobbi Sue: ya it does
9:23:11 PM Joe Sewell: Yet God *did* get the glory in it all, even though the Jewish priests weren't too thrilled with the whole idea.
9:24:11 PM Joe Sewell: In Acts there's an almost throw-away bit about Peter and another person coming across a beggar who wanted money. "Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have I give to you." The beggar was healed.
9:24:39 PM Joe Sewell: Consider This, though: it was quite likely that Jesus passed by that same beggar numerous times before He was crucified.
9:24:54 PM Joe Sewell: Was it cruel for him to not heal the beggar?
9:25:07 PM Joe Sewell: Or was it better to allow Peter to be the conduit?
9:25:44 PM Joe Sewell: We live in a broken world. We're the ones who broke it, and keep on breaking it every time we sin.
9:26:15 PM Joe Sewell: God may have prevented Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of life so that they'd have some release from an eternity of sin.
9:26:31 PM Joe Sewell: Imagine, before Christ, being immortal and a sinner.
9:27:11 PM Joe Sewell: There are numerous examples of people whose lives have touched so many others through their damages and injuries.
9:27:38 PM Joe Sewell: There are numerous examples of people who reach out in the name of Jesus, rescuing them from an eternity without Him by saving their lives.
9:28:01 PM Joe Sewell: Each life *you* save is one more chance they have to accept God's gift of grace.
9:28:31 PM Joe Sewell: Each injury *you* prevent or help to heal is one less distraction.
9:29:13 PM Joe Sewell: On the other hand, each injury you *don't* get to fix completely may be the very thing that leads them to Christ, because some EMT cared enough about them to do their best to save them.
9:29:40 PM Joe Sewell: We cannot see things from God's perspective. His thoughts aren't our thoughts, indwelling Spirit or not.
9:30:15 PM Joe Sewell: We don't know what our actions, our writings, or even our Facebook chats will do to someone's eternal destination.
9:30:28 PM Joe Sewell: All we can do is do what God calls us to do!
9:30:52 PM Joe Sewell: All we can do is do our best, and have *REAL* faith that God will make up the difference.
9:32:32 PM Bobbi Sue: I do pray for each person I come in contact with. They don't know that I do but each one of them gets prayed for along with everything else I do for them.
9:37:11 PM Joe Sewell: And *that's* God's calling for you, no matter what anyone else says.
9:38:21 PM Bobbi Sue: I told my friends that I pray for everyone that I deal with and they said that that is by hypocritical because praying for them and trying to cheat death go against each other.
9:38:53 PM Bobbi Sue: I wanted to slug the person that said that to me
9:39:13 PM Joe Sewell: Just tell them, "well, I'm glad I don't worship your powerless god, then."
9:40:11 PM Joe Sewell: Or try to keep yourself from laughing. Your choice.
9:41:48 PM Joe Sewell: Just tell them that you aren't "cheating any god of death," but obeying the God of Life. Make it clear that the god they're describing is *not* that same God.
9:42:52 PM Bobbi Sue: Over the years I have wanted to slug her so many times for the things she has put me through or said to me but then I thought it was not worth the effort because then I would have to save her because I would slug her hard enough to knock her teeth through her head and maybe even slam her head against something. I came so close to it once but I thought better of it. I know I sound like a horrible mean person to even be thinking like this considering what I do for a living.
9:44:03 PM Bobbi Sue: she makes me so mad and now she has her roommate, the second friend talking like her.
9:45:28 PM Joe Sewell: Trust me, I understand.
9:46:58 PM Bobbi Sue: Good I don't want you to think I am a violent person or anything.
9:47:46 PM Joe Sewell: You just get as frustrated as I do, that's all.
9:48:00 PM Bobbi Sue: If I did what I described, I would lose my license real quick if a police report were filed against me.
9:48:35 PM Joe Sewell: You'd probably lose your freedom from jail, too.
9:51:49 PM Joe Sewell: I had a friend in GA who sent me several books by Charles Capps, one of the big authors in the whole "word of faith/positive confession" heresy. What I described is just the tip of the iceberg, Bobbi. This stuff is pure Satanic mysticism. In fact, I recall coming across an article, maybe on Wikipedia, that traced its roots to mysticism.
9:52:37 PM Joe Sewell: Let's face it, the whole "spoken word has power" idea is nothing more than occult incantations!
9:53:42 PM Bobbi Sue: oh wow
9:53:47 PM Joe Sewell: Those caught up in the garbage, though, won't see it. It'll shake their faith, which is all the foundation they have.
9:54:03 PM Joe Sewell: That's how I make myself see it now.
9:54:12 PM Joe Sewell: It's not an attack on me, but on the throne of Heaven itself.
9:54:19 PM Bobbi Sue: I have some of his stuff that a friend gave me years ago. I don't even know where they are right now. I still have not unpacked everything yet.
9:54:39 PM Joe Sewell: These people aren't evil. They're misled. And they may not be Heaven-bound!
9:54:54 PM Bobbi Sue: That is scary
9:55:30 PM Joe Sewell: As soon as I saw it that way, I had to start praying for them, while letting them know with courage that they are *not* serving God.
9:55:45 PM Bobbi Sue: I have heard stories of people playing healing scriptures or reading aloud daily and around the clock and how people were healed just by hearing them.
9:56:43 PM Joe Sewell: The mind is still a powerful tool. We *can* believe certain things that will affect our body chemistry, and make us more healthy or overcome some illnesses.
9:57:27 PM Bobbi Sue: but where do you draw the line?
9:57:32 PM Joe Sewell: I read an article by Pat Boone that described something similar dealing with a man who had months to live from cancer. He died *years* later from something *not* cancer-related.
9:57:53 PM Joe Sewell: You draw the line where God tells you to.
9:58:13 PM Joe Sewell: You go with doctors and meds unless He says otherwise.
9:58:25 PM Joe Sewell: Or unless doctors & meds don't work.
9:59:25 PM Joe Sewell: Unless you believe beyond the shadow of any doubt, and get some sort of confirming incident or whatever that convinces you it's of God, that you avoid modern medicine, you don't.
10:00:22 PM Joe Sewell: Well, there's also the wisdom in studying for yourself about the various procedures, medications, and side-effects, which may be a show-stopper for you as well. In other words, be informed, just like anybody else.
10:01:23 PM Joe Sewell: For example, my mother-in-law had an angioplasty done to her leg this past week. The contrast dye they had to use could've caused her kidneys to fail, though they had medication that could counteract that issue.
10:01:46 PM Joe Sewell: If she refused that treatment, though, it was very likely that she would've lost her leg to gangrene.
10:02:16 PM Joe Sewell: Did she have faith? YES! She had the faith to trust God to keep her kidneys going in spite of the dye.
10:02:37 PM Joe Sewell: She had the faith to trust that she would be in Heaven if something serious did happen.
10:02:56 PM Joe Sewell: She had the faith to trust that God, not us, knows best!
10:03:54 PM Joe Sewell: That's the kind of faith the Copeland-Hagin Cappers don't have!!!
10:04:47 PM Joe Sewell: (This would make a good blog post. :) With your name removed, of course.)
10:05:51 PM Bobbi Sue: That would be a good post
10:07:41 PM Joe Sewell: With your permission, of course.
10:08:14 PM Bobbi Sue: Do you have a blog?
10:08:39 PM Joe Sewell: Yep. It's called Consider †his! http://conthis.blogspot.com
10:08:53 PM Bobbi Sue: Oh cool
10:09:11 PM Bobbi Sue: Publish away and I don't care if you use my name if you want.
10:09:13 PM Joe Sewell: I don't post every day, just when I have something worth posting.
10:09:22 PM Joe Sewell: Cool! Thank you.
As you can see, I really have little sympathy for people who fall into this line of thinking. I know the preachers who mislead their flocks with this garbage want to “fight” anyone who stands in their way. That just means to me that they’re fighting the living God!
This series will go through this whole conversation and defend what I said, as well as expand upon it. I will tell you right now that this line of thinking is severely flawed at best. In fact, I personally believe it comes from the pit of Hell itself! I’ll tell you right now that, if you disagree with me on this, you’d better have some solid proof other than single verses taken out of context! That’s the type of talk that allows these preachers to continue to deceive people, and I will have none of it here.
For Part 2, click here.
For Part 2, click here.