as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. - Romans 4:17 (ESV)
I am sure that we have witnessed many times over the age-old declaration from local and popular magicians - abracadabra! This decree is usually uttered as the "magical word" before the execution of some trick or illusion. For the vast majority of parlor trick practitioners this word means nothing. The reality however is that for centuries Hebrew scholars have agreed that it is a bastardization of the Hebrew - ebrah k'dabri, meaning "I will create as I speak." I note this as an interesting backdrop to the topic today of declaring and decreeing within the Christian church. We all have seen this in action in chaismaniacal churches where pastors or leaders will declare and decree certain realties that have essentially not come to pass yet. I have seen the declaration and decreeing of increased favor, blessings, finances, as well as the impartation of healings just to name a few. It is not surprising that in a church enamored with itself, that it would essentially scream abracadabra before claiming things that are simply not true. This side of the showy, look at me demonic spirit infecting the church is known as word faith heresy.
Word faith is a specific heresy that has infected much of the body of Christ today. It is centralized on the notion that our spoken words have the same power of that of God Almighty. Some popular word faith preachers are Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and Creflo Dollar. Now it is true that these charlatans espouse many different and varied heresies but in the mix is word faith. It permeates even otherwise sane ministries that may strive to preach the true gospel but have been taught so poorly in this area. Before dismissing it, you should be very wary that this is no casual heresy, if there can be such a thing. This is essentially the same sin that had Lucifer cast out of heaven. It is the same sin from the Garden of Eden that saw Adam and Eve cast out. God is God alone. He does not need help. He does not share his glory. Our role as believers is one of humble servanthood, not usurper. The link above is from Karen Hardin, noted dominionist within the NAR. She is going to try and make a biblical case for this heresy. Let us once more reason together.
"In recent weeks I've heard respected teachers speak against decreeing, declaring and prophesying to "see a shift in the atmosphere." One teacher called it an "an occultic practice." I encountered that same claim this past weekend in a firestorm attack on social media. One of the issues surrounded a book I quoted in which the author, Mark Batterson said, "Prayers are prophecies. They are the best predictors of your spiritual future. Who you become is determined by how you pray." Several commenters seemed to lose the book's message about praying and decreeing Scripture over our families and situations and instead got derailed over an example he used about creating a circle of prayer. Please stay focused with me. This article is not about Batterson. It is not about prayer circles. It is about praying, decreeing and prophesying God's Word over a situation, which has been described as witchcraft and unbiblical." - Karen Hardin
I do not wish to get bogged down in the argument about whether it is occultic or not because it distracts from the fact that it is indeed heretical. That said, many of the occultic beliefs center around spoken spells, which one could easily correlate to the practice of declaring and decreeing, so I see the parallel even if Karen Hardin cannot. Citing Mark Batterson only further proves this point as he has written the prototypical witchcraft book disguised as a Christian offering in the Circle Maker. In this book, Batterson teaches Christians to be petulant in prayer, gather in literal circles that they should draw, and demand God answer their prayers. Prayers are not prophecies. The notion that they are is unbiblical and silly. If they were, God would not use two different words for them. How can we be sure? Prophecies, at least true prophecies, always come true. Prayers are often answered "no." Therein lies some of the biblical disconnect for word-faithers. They often believe that God must answer in the affirmative. This is where the notion of divine healing comes from where God must always heal us, a notion that robs God of His sovereignty. The use of the circle was not "an example he used." It was the entire premise of the book. So much so that it was the title! Karen tries to shift the goalposts here by claiming this is really about declaring God's word over a situation but we will see that is subterfuge on her part. It is about her believing she has the power that only God has.
"This is an important issue, which Satan can use to make Christians fearful of using these tools to pray with authority. One of the detractors stated in his article, "You just won't find that line of thinking, terminology or practice in the New Testament. 'Prophesying' into the atmosphere, causing a 'shift' in regions and 'warring' in the heavenlies are mystical terms that produce hype in the hearers and nothing in the earth realm. There are no examples of it in the Bible. There is no Scripture for it. New Testament prophets don't prophesy into the atmosphere. Neither do Old Testament prophets for that matter." Let's look at his statement, which I feel is dangerousespecially at a time when we need to better understand our power in prayer. I believe the very thing that we are called to do is to pray, proclaim, decree and prophesy the Word of God into the atmosphere to see a shift. Why do I believe that? Because it is what Jesus did. The practice is completely biblical, and Jesus is our example. In fact, there are numerous examples in both the New Testament and Old Testament. It is one of our greatest weapons of warfare. It started in the beginning. When God created the world, He spoke it into existence. He called what was not into being. He decreed it. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water. God said ..." (Gen 1:1-3a). God spoke into the atmosphere, and it shifted." - Karen Hardin" - Karen Hardin
Satan wants you believing you have the same power of God. It is exactly what he used to lure Eve into sin. What harden does here is the same sleight of hand that most word faith adherents traffic in. They conflate biblical prayer with unbiblical practices that are not the same. Note the examples she starts with. God certainly called into existence the world with just His spoken word. There was no atmosphere! The verse she cites says there was nothing! It earth was a void! The word void means a completely empty space! This whole "shifting of the atmosphere" is simply nonsense made up by people who are drunk for claiming their own power at God's expense. Either way, the notion that you read God spoke the world into existence and therefore I get to do the same is not only unsupported but borderline blasphemous.
"Jesus did it as well. "He rose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' Then the wind ceased and there was a great calm" (Mark 4:39). He decreed, commanded, prophesied ... whatever verb you want to use. Jesus spoke to the storminto the atmosphereand there was a change, a shift. Before He left, Jesus instructed us to do the works that He did. So by example, we are to also speak, command and prophesy to the storms, whether physical or spiritual. "Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father. I will do whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (John 14:12-14). When we pray God's Word, we are not prophesying according to our own will or desire. We are speaking His words back to Him. His words are His will. "This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1 John 5:14)." - Karen Hardin
Yes, Jesus spoke to His creation and demanded that the winds ceased. Now here is today's deep theology - it is not our creation. We do not have any control over it. Just look at the idiots who think they can pray hurricanes away and every year they embarrass the cause of Christianity over and over again. Certainly, we can pray for God's mercy with a category 5 hurricane barreling down upon Louisiana but that is vastly different than declaring it to go away! Do you see the not so subtle difference there? In one example we are praying for God, who is in control and leaving it up to Him and His sovereignty. The second example is us playing God and pretending we can control what only He can. That beloved is the heresy of word faith. The verses from John are right after Jesus refers to His miracles as proof of His deity. This assurance was given to the apostles, not you and I. God does not need to have His words spoken back to Him like He is forgetful. We integrate the word of God into our prayers to assure ourselves. It is to remind us of what God has said. It is crucial however that you have correctly interpreted the word before wielding it in prayer or else you are praying for something God never said or promised. Healing is a perfect example of this. Multitudes of false teachers will declare and decree healing over someone and state that they are standing on the word that says by His stripes we are healed. Let's make sure we understand that what this person is saying is that Isaiah 53 states that we must always be healed as followers of Jesus when that is absolutely not what the text actually says or even intends to convey. This verse comes from a prophecy about the coming Christ who will die for our sins. It is by His stripes; we will be spiritually healed unto God. Now, is there healing allowed in the New Covenant? Of course, God is God and He can always decide to heal. That does not mean He has to and in most cases to be frank, He does not. Timothy suffered from stomach ailments, but I do not recall Paul decreeing that He be healed because of the stripes of Jesus. Instead, Paul advised him to take some wine to ease his stomach. So yes, God does hear us clearly but the answer many times is no.
"What about in Ezekiel 37 when the Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones and speak/decree breath into them? Wasn't that a similar situation as we live in today? It was to bring life into that which was dead in a nation. Can we not do the same to speak life back into America and call the dry bones to come back to life? What about the disciples as they shared the gospel? Many times, they didn't pray but decreed and commanded into a situation to cause a shift, change or healing. "Then Peter said, 'I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk'" (Acts 3:6). "Then David said to the Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a shield, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have reviled. This day will the Lord deliver you into my hand. And I will strike you down and cut off your head. Then I will give the corpses of the Philistine camp this day to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And then all this assembly will know that it is not by sword and spear that the Lord saves. For the battle belongs to the Lord, and He will give you into our hands'" (1 Sam. 17:45-47). He prophesied and proclaimed what was about to take place." - Karen Hardin
This unbelievably bad theology is only matched by the unbridled arrogance. No, we are not comparable to God giving a vision to Ezekiel regarding His chosen people who were then still in captivity in Babylon. God was assuring His people that they one day would live again and be brought back into their land, which last they saw was destroyed by the invading Babylon. I understand why Harden makes this comparison. It is because she is a dominionist at heart who thinks America has replaced Israel. That we were once under covenant but have now fallen away. This is rank heresy and both historically and biblically inaccurate. This country was never under covenant with God. Israel remains the apple of God's eye and we are thankfully grafted in to the vine. Yes it is true that Peter healed that beggar but he was one of the apostles was he not? The promises previously spoken about applied to him. There was no shift in the atmosphere. There was no declaring and decreeing. In the name of Christ - walk! He even admits that he alone has nothing to give this man. It is only through Christ! That is the entire point. As for David - you are not him either. It is sloppy at best to scour the bible to find individual instances of where one person said one thing and thus I have the power to do the same. Hermeneutics do not work like that.
"In the book of Job it says, "For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and will lift up your face unto God. You will make your prayer to Him, and He will hear you, and you will pay your vows. You will also declare a matter, and it will be established unto you; and the light will shine upon your ways" (Job 22:26-28). I could go on, but clearly there is scriptural precedence for decreeing and prophesying to see a situation or atmosphere shift. It is part of the weapons of our warfare as a tool of prayer. It is not New Age. It is not an occultic practice. It is biblical and a powerful tool Jesus modeled for us. So why do we see so much division in the body of Christ, especially now, over these issues such as prophesy and prayer? Because Satan is desperately working to diminish and remove them. Without prayer, without understanding the power of His Word, we become a weakened and ineffective body. Remember, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much" (James 5:16b). Satan, hates it when we pray effectively and fervently. He hated it when Jesus did it. He hates it when we do it. And so, I have no doubt that this area of division is a tactic to stir confusion and controversy. The bottom line is praying scripture isn't witchcraft." - Karen Hardin