But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. - 2Timothy 3: 1-5 (ESV)
The devil has done a masterful job in these end days of infiltrating the church with all sorts of damnable heresies. The people are so easily led astray because they do not do the work of a Berean. They readily accept what is spoken to them. They do not test everything holding onto the good; instead they hold onto everything by testing nothing. Even when there is progress made into exposing heresies you can always expect the devil to try and muddy the waters. Such was the case this week on an increasingly false Christian platform, Charisma News:
Now I understand those under deception need to defend the deception they are under or else their house of cards crumbles but the job we have as ministers is to expose what is false according to the Book of Titus. I am not going to pick this article apart piece by piece because the excessive length is part of the deception. The premise of the article asks the seemingly innocent question of what is the word of faith movement and is it of God? The problem is that these questions are never properly answered. The entire article is a ruse designed to muddy the waters. Confuse people with enough religiosity and an overwhelming trip through the history of religious reforms to make people feel better somehow about their heresy.
Reverend Brown walks us through the various denominations in Christianity and how they arose. I agree with him at the start of the article that denominations are not necessarily of God. They are not the answer in and of themselves. I find it amusing when people try to stick me into a manmade box that they think they have stuck God into. I do not think any denomination has it all right and I find it arrogant to think any finite human mind can fully understand our infinite God. Doctrine deals with what you believe but denominations deal with how you translate them into some form of ceremony. Instead of diving into the muddy waters, let us extract where the egregious errors are.
The Word of Faith movement adds to the Church what has been missing for the last several centuries, primarily the teaching that the believer can receive answers to every prayer that is based on God's Word, as long as he has enough faith and that there is nothing in his life that could be hindering his prayer. This is a revolutionary thought to most of Christendom.
Yes it is a revolutionary thought because it is in rebellion to God! The inherent problem in this theology is that the answer assumed is always yes. That as long as you can strip mine the bible for a verse that suits your desire, and you convince yourself that you are "good enough" (that is the hindering prayer issue) then God is somehow forced to assent. It removes the sovereignty of God. It turns God into our servant. It does not matter if that is not what you meant. That is what you teach. Seriously, read that paragraph again and ask yourself who is it about? Is it about God or about you? As long as YOU have enough faith and there is nothing YOU are doing to hinder your prayer life, then God has to answer YOU. Beloved, God answers all prayers already and He always has. The answer is sometimes no however and we need to get to a place in our faith that we understand "no" is a blessing just as much as "yes." Skipping past the trip through denominational history we approach the end of this article:
This brings us to the current move of God: the word of faith. This movement is an extension of the charismatic movement. It is bringing to Spirit-filled Christians everywhere the message of uncompromising faith--that believers can receive answers to their prayers, including healing, so long as they exercise sufficient faith.
The Charismatic movement, which I rife with its own doctrinal heresies may have indeed spawned the word of faith movement but that gives it no credibility in the eyes of God. The cleverness of this couched definition is that it only tells part of the reality of what true adherents of word faith believe. Let us turn to a definition offered by the father of word faith, Kenneth Hagin:
"Often you create your own negative situations yourself with wrong thinking, wrong believing, and wrong speaking. So start believing according to God's Word. Then begin making positive confessions of faith and victory over your life. ... You will never receive anything from God beyond the words you speak. ... If you don't like what you have in life, then begin to change the way you are thinking, believing, and speaking. Instead of speaking according to natural circumstances out of your head, learn to speak God's Word from your spirit. Begin to confess God's promises of life and health and victory into your situation. Then you can begin to enjoy God's abundant life as you have what you say!"
Do you notice the subtle difference? The issue is not that the word faith movement teaches people to have more faith in God's Word. It teaches them to have more faith in their words! It rips phrases or verse fragments horribly out of context and pretends that if you just say them and believe them then God is obligated to answer you in the affirmative. The other glaring problem with the last quote from Reverend Brown is the absurd assumption that word faith is a move of God! If it were it would not violate His Word so freely! These are some of the most commonly celebrated word faith preachers today:
Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyers, Joseph Prince, Kenneth Copeland.
That is an all star heretic lineup beloved. Besides the unbiblical notions already discussed they have a plethora of other heresies they teach. They believe that we are little gods. They believe that our words carry the power of creation. They routinely dismiss the Old Testament altogether. They sell temporal riches over eternal value. They blame the believer as not having enough faith of their heresy does not come to pass. They change Christianity to be about us instead of God. Do not overlook that last one because it is crucial. Watch any of these preachers I list and you will realize that they are preaching about YOU. About how God can help you. About how you can be more comfortable. More successful. More contented. The Bible is not about you - it is about God. How Reverend Brown can defend that is beyond my mere mortal understanding.
The heresy hunters are still here. When will they learn from the past and quit criticizing what God has begun?
Reverend Brown, let me be clear. God did not begin the word faith movement. A heretic did. Paul Crouch famously used the term heresy hunter as a pejorative but I embrace it as the Bible instructs me to be one: