Historical and Theological Roots of the Word-Faith Movement
The introduction of Word-Faith theology originated
in the mid 1800's with an individual by the name of Phineas P. Quimby (1802-1866). Mr. Quimby's thesis is rooted in the metaphysical
New Thought / Science of Mind cult. New Thought indoctrinates the marriage of positive thinking (the force of faith) with positive
confession (containers of force) to unleash the power to change one's reality. Some of the central points of Quimby's New Thought
1. The denial of sickness.
that it is God's will that we experience financial wealth.
3. Belief that through the power of
spoken words, one creates his own experience; either
4. The deity of man.
A close examination of the following statements from Mr. Quimby
will reveal the dawning of Word-Faith theology:
- "I say it is, for a person is to himself just what he thinks he is, and he is in his
belief sick. If I am sick, I am sick for my feelings are my sickness, and my sickness is my belief, and my belief is my mind; therefore
all disease is in the mind or belief. Now as our belief or disease is made up of ideas which are matter, it is necessary to know what
ideas we are in; for to cure the disease is to correct the error; and as disease is what follows the error, destroy the cause, and
the effect will cease. How can this be done? By a knowledge of the law of harmony...Your error is the cause of your sickness or trouble.
Now to cure your sickness or trouble is to correct the error." (Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond, "Is Disease
a Belief", November 1859)
- "To those who believe in disease there is, according to their belief, neither forgiveness nor cure except
through the medium of medicine. But, to those who have been born again or who have learned that disease is the result of belief, disease
has no power, and consequently medicine is useless." (The Complete Collected Works of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, "Concerning The Use
of Medicine", 1864)
Now compare Quimby's statements with those of Mary Baker Eddy (1821 - 1910), an associate of Quimby and founder of Christian Science.
Here, you will detect parallelism of the notion that sickness is only a state of mind:
- "When the first symptoms appear, dispute the
testimony of the material senses with divine Science. Let your higher sense of justice destroy the false process of mortal opinions...
Suffer no claim of sin or sickness to grow upon the thought. Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because
you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin... you have divine authority for denying that necessity and
healing the sick. Disease is an experience of a so-called mortal mind. It is fear manifest on the body." (Science and Health
with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy)
Following in the footsteps of Eddy and Quimby was Essek W. Kenyon (1867-1948). Kenyon
attended Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, Mass. which was an environment promoting the development of New Thought ideology (John
Coffe, Richard L. Wentworth, A Century of Eloquence: The History of Emerson College, 1880-1980, Alternative Publications, 1982). Kenyon
adopted the doctrines of New Thought-Christian Science and proceeded to introduce this peculiar mix of doctrinal divergence into orthodox
Christianity. Many of the popular apothegms devised by present day Word-Faith teachers were originally formulated by Kenyon. Take
into consideration the following phrases:
- "What I confess, I possess." (E.W. Kenyon, "Hidden Man", Page 98. D.R. McConnell, "A Different
Gospel", Page 135)
- "It is what we confess with our lips that really dominates our inner being...(People) confess their fear and they
become more fearful. They confess their fear of disease and the disease grows under the confession." (E.W. Kenyon, "Two Kinds of Faith,"
Page 72. D.R. McConnell, "A Different Gospel", Page 137)
- "It is wrong for us to have sickness and disease in our body when God laid
those diseases on Jesus" (E.W. Kenyon, "Jesus The Healer", Page 44. D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, Page 149)
Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003),
the recognized "granddaddy" of the Word-Faith Movement, adopted and plagiarized the teachings of Kenyon and fused more fraudulent
"enhancements" to the gospel in order to enthrall the Christian church. Hagin assures supreme health and prosperity to Christians,
- "Yes, sin, sickness and disease, spiritual death, poverty, and everything else that's of the devil once ruled us. But now,
bless God, we rule them --- for this is the Day of Dominion!" (Kenneth Hagin, "Rejoice! This Is the Day Which The Lord Hath Made!",
"The Word of Faith" Magazine, Page 16, July 1996)
- "I believe that it is the plan of God our Father that no believer should ever be
sick; that every believer should live his full length of time and actually wear out, if Jesus tarries, and fall asleep in Jesus. It
is not --- I state boldly --- it is not the will of God my father that we should suffer with cancer and other dread diseases which
bring pain and anguish. No! It is God's will that we be healed." (Kenneth Hagin, "Healing, The Father's Provision", "Word of Faith"
Magazine, Page 9, August 1977)
- "He (God) wants His children to eat the best, He wants them to wear the best clothing, He wants them
to drive the best cars, and He wants them to have the best of everything." (Kenneth Hagin, "New Thresholds", Pages 54-55)
taught this theological revisionism to his star pupil, Kenneth Copeland, who has today become the leader of the Word-Faith Movement.
their efforts to nullify these historical facts, Word-Faith proponents allege that such claims are untrue. However, when challenged
to present evidence to prove to the contrary, they either attempt to shift the subject, resort to name calling, or become interestingly
Moreover, to protect their erroneous beliefs against those who dare question them, many Word-Faith teachers will attempt
to overtly or subtly "flip the script" by engaging in "psychological projection". Psychological projection is a psychological safeguard
system where a person subconsciously denies or suppresses their own negative characteristics and then projects their negative attributes
to other people. Word-Faith teachers must first convince themselves that they are teaching truth and anyone who opposes them must
be wrong; therefore, the psychological projection system works well to preserve their self image and position of authority. The thought
of losing money, power, and fame is just too painful to bear.
Today's Coalition of Heretics
The following false
teachers associated with the Word-Faith Movement today are some of the most well-known and influential individuals within the church.
Click on the names to read and hear some of their perfidious and unbiblical teachings. While this is a tall list, it is nevertheless,
not all inclusive.
not all Word-Faith teachers are unified in their positions, they do however; share an array of tenets that are an indignity to doctrinal
purity. Their chief established heresies entail faith theology, deification of man, demotion of God, atonement theology, confession
and health, and confession and wealth.
As we study these six points, we should be able to determine that Word-Faith theology
clearly paints a strange misrepresentation of God, Jesus, Faith, Man, the atonement, healing, and prosperity.
Analysis of Word-Faith Theology
Let's now examine these six key issues. Before we begin, bear in mind that Word-Faith teachers
engage in clever and subtle manipulation of the scriptures that give their false teachings a surface presentation of authenticity.
However, if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and study the scriptures in their proper exegetical context (John 16:13; 2 Tim. 2:15),
it will become very clear that Word-Faith theology deviates from the veracity of God's Word.
1. The Force of Faith
examine Hebrews 11:1:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
Using this verse, the Word-Faith teachers' commonly
held view is that faith is a force; an invisible substance that can be tapped into to acquire anything we desire --- health, wealth,
success, etc. It is proposed that spoken words are the "spiritual containers" that activates the force of faith either positively
or negatively. Positive words of faith incite God to act on our behalf; and negative words incite the Devil to cause havoc in our
lives. Whatever is confessed with the mouth, one can create in their own reality.
Spiritual laws supposedly execute the force
of faith autonomously of God's sovereignty. Even God, they say, had to use the force of faith to create the heavens, the earth, and
mankind. Kenneth Copeland, regarded as today's chief Word-Faith representative, claims that:
- "God cannot do anything for you apart
or separate from faith" on the grounds that "faith is God's source of power.... God used words when He created the heaven and the
earth.... Each time God spoke, He released His faith --- the creative power to bring His words to pass.
(Kenneth Copeland, "Freedom
from Fear", Pages 11-12; "The Power of the Tongue", Page 4)
Copeland's clone and "spiritual son", Creflo A. Dollar, echoes these same
- "Now, God used faith substance to make everything that He made ... in every one of those words they were filled with
faith substance, because words are nothing but containers.... Every time God speaks, He can't help but to speak words that are filled
with faith.... God's guts are called faith stuff..... Everything in Him is faith. What's in His heart is faith. If you were to cut
God open, you're seeing nothing but faith. Every time He opens His mouth, He automatically fills those words with His faith material.
(Creflo Dollar, "Changing Your World", September 20, 1998)
So, what's wrong with these teachings? Firstly and noticeably, the Word-Faith
Movement's unbiblical theology is branded with the fingerprints of the New Thought cultic teachings of Phineas P. Quimby, Mary Baker
Eddy, and E.W. Kenyon. Secondly, faith is not a force that is carried by spiritual containers (spoken words). Thirdly, there are no
scriptures in the Bible that indicate or suggest that "God's guts are called faith stuff". In Hebrews 11:1, "substance" is from the
Greek Word "hypostasis" and is more accurately defined as:
- "an assured impression, a mental realizing" extended from man to God."
("The Analytical Greek Lexicon", Page 419)
2. The Divinity of Man
Word-Faith theology states that man was created as little
gods. Three passages of Scripture that are frequently cited to support this belief include the following:
Then God said, "Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..." So God
man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He
created them. (Gen.
Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, You are gods" '?
....by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises,
these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that
the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)
Kenneth Hagin in Word of Faith Magazine states:
- "You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was. Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity
is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth." (December 1980, p. 14)
The notion that mankind are
gods is the same lie that lead to Lucifer's downfall (Isaiah 14:14); and his lying tactics are the same. As recorded in Genesis 3:5,
this is the exact lie that Satan used to initiate the fall of Adam and Eve. Since then, in every age of human history, Satan has used
his ministers to promote the myth of the divinity of man.
The International New Thought Alliance, an organization that also
adopted the teachings of Phineas Quimby, states in their constitution and bylaws:
- "To teach the Infinitude of the Supreme One; the
Divinity of man and his infinite possibilities through the creative power of constructive thinking and obedience to the voice of the
indwelling Presence, which is our source of Inspiration, Power, Health, and Prosperity." (Source: "A History of the New Thought Movement",
By: Horatio W. Dresser, 1919)
Let's reminisce the notorious Jim Jones who led nearly one thousand men, women, and children to their
brutal deaths. This infamous, misguided cult leader stated to his followers:
- "It is written that ye are gods. I'm a god and you're
a god. And I'm a god, and I'm gonna stay a god until you recognize that you're a god. And when you recognize that you're a god, I
shall go back into principle and will not appear as a personality. But until I see all of you knowing who you are, I'm gonna be very
much what I am -- God, almighty God." (Jim Jones, quoted in James Reston, Jr., and Noah Adams, "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown",
program on National Public Radio [April 23, 1981])
By: Victor T. Stephens