2009-02-25_1121_1_delhiholycow

The Word of Faith thing is weird.

And it’s a lie. I don’t think most Christians who agree with it or make use of its teaching think about it very deeply.

Well, we must think about it deeply because it is a very dangerous way to believe. It’s an unbiblical way to believe. It’s a superstitious way to believe. It’s a death-dealing, legalistic way to believe.

It’s a pagan way to believe.

Why is it pagan? Well, all other religions, except Christianity, believe that a person must do something, some act, in order to gain their god’s favor so the deity(ies) will then act. These actions vary from the horrendous—like the sacrifice of one’s own children—to the relatively benign, like burning money or candles, or sprinkling water on certain objects or sites. Some pagan belief systems require the recitation of phrases or chants. The purpose of these acts is to bring about a positive result, a “blessing.” However, a negative aspect exists, as well. If I must do or say certain things do bring a “blessing,” not doing certain things may have the opposite result. In Hinduism, for example, one must pay a priest to assign an “auspicious date” for weddings, so the marriage will be “blessed.” However, what if the couple doesn’t hire a priest to perform this duty? Should the bride and groom risk the possibility that their marriage will be “cursed” or lack a “blessing”?

So, why is the Word of Faith a pagan religious system? Because built into it is the belief that one must act—say or do something positive, to be specific—in order for God to act. One must say positive things in order to achieve positive results. You must “sow” positive words to reap positive rewards. For instance, if I am sick, after I’ve been prayed for, I must confess that I am healed. The other side of the coin is that I must not say that I am sick. That’s a negative confession, and I will reap the reward of that negativity. That destructive confession may bring the sickness back or cause me to “lose my healing.” Do you see how easy that was? In a couple of short steps, Christians behave like they’re pagans. God’s healing has now become dependent upon what you say, not upon His gracious sovereign power and will.

This is a belief system based on fearful legalism. In one short step, I am in bondage to what I can and cannot say. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken the simple truth about someone’s illness and been told, “Don’t say that!”

It’s a belief system that places the power of my words above the very power of God, which makes us into….little gods.

This belief system is clearly not biblical. Would someone find a time in the New Testament when Jesus healed someone and then told them to make sure they must go about confessing their healing or that they would lose it if they didn’t? Or that they shouldn’t say, “I am sick” or they will lose their healing?

Wait. What’s that I hear?

Crickets.

Here’s the truth: Jesus healed people by the power of the Holy Spirit. Period. They didn’t have to say or do anything, unless Jesus told them to as an act of faith. Here is one example:

“Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other” (Matthew 12:13–14). 1

This was an act of faith, a very small one. However, not everyone who was healed was required to do even that:

“And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, ‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him” (Luke 22:49–51).

This was also true in the ministries of His disciples:

“Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:3–8).

“It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him” (Acts 28:8).

When Word of Faith ministers tell people they must confess their healing or continue to confess it, they have jumped headlong into legalistic, fear-inducing paganism.

You do not need to do anything for the Lord to heal you, unless the Lord has told you to. He heals by His grace. God chooses whom to heal and when. He alone possesses the power to heal. Your words do not. Your words are not more powerful than the Lord God of the universe.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Thanks to Ben Williams for the photo.

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