What is wrong with the “Word Faith” movement, known also as the “Faith” movement or “Word of Faith” movement? At first it was difficult for me to find a starting place, there is so much error. I believe the best place to start is with the person of Jesus Christ our blessed Savior. If the person of Jesus is being misrepresented by a church, a pastor, or a movement, it separates the people who are involved in the misrepresentation from the truth of the scriptures and from believers of the truth. If one is conducting a study to see if a particular group, preacher, or person is of God, it can save a lot of time and effort to begin the study with the person hood of Jesus. If they are not scripturally correct when it comes to Jesus, then they cannot be of God and as such we should flee this group and their teachings. With this in mind, I began my study of the “Word Faith” movement.
Beginning with the person of Jesus, what does this movement teach? To explain the teaching of the Word Faith or Word of Faith movement as to the person hood of Jesus, one needs to begin with the creation of Adam. Why start with Adam to understand the Word Faith teaching about the person of Jesus? It is with Adam that the heresy begins in relation to the person of Jesus. The Word Faith teaching is that when God breathed into the nostrils of man that He transmitted His very self into him. That
God imparted the same spiritual substance of which He is made into Adam’s being, (Believer’s Voice of Victory, June, 1986, p. 10).
Since according to their teaching Adam was infused with God’s own self, then it is not a far stretch to teach that Adam was a god or a little god. Adam, in the Word Faith teaching is
as much like God as you can get, just the same as Jesus when He came to earth. And I want you to know something ¾ Adam in the Garden of Eden was God manifested in the flesh.
This quotation is taken from the sermon tape, Following the Faith of Abraham, by Kenneth Copeland. This is akin to the Mormon teaching on the Adam-God theory. So in their teaching Adam was just the same as Jesus. This one portion of their teaching elevates man to God’s status and lowers God to man’s stature. This is blatant heresy and a doctrine of demons. If you are in a church that teaches this, run as fast as you can out of that place. This is a teaching of cults, not the teaching of any Christian church or ministry. In the Force of Love sermon tape Copeland states,
You don’t have a God in you, you are one.
Kenneth Hagin, the granddaddy of the Word Faith movement said in Word of Faith magazine,
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)
So not only was Adam just the same as Jesus, but so is every believer. This comes from a misrepresentation of Genesis 1:26, which states,
And God said, Let us make man in our image.
The greek word used here that is translated image is, (tselem), which means likeness or resemblance. Basically it means the same thing as image does if it is looked up in an English dictionary. This is why I consider this to be a misrepresentation. No understanding of the original language is needed here, just a simple understanding of a simple English word which can be looked up in a dictionary. This is a deliberate attack on the person hood of Jesus and His gospel. These men and this movement are at enmity with scripture. Scripture teaches the Divinity of God, not man. Scripture teaches the fallen nature of man, not God. The writers of scripture who wrote by divine inspiration are as far removed from the teachings of Word Faith as the East is from the West. I’ll say it again, these are not Christian teachings. These are the teachings of apostate men, or men who never were saved. These are the teachings of babblers who know not the God of the Bible. These are men who twist the simplest words into making themselves gods. Some will say that these men don’t have an understanding of the word “image” and pass this off as a misunderstanding of scripture. I don’t think these men are that dumb. I give them more credit than this, at least where mental ability is the question. These are devious men, who have sold their souls and sold the gospel out for monetary gain. Another Word Faith “preacher”, Casey Treat, said the following in his tape series, Believing in Yourself.
I’m an exact duplicate of God! When God looks in the mirror He sees me! When I look in the mirror, I see God! Oh, hallelujah! You know, sometimes people say to me, when they’re mad and want to put me down. You just think you’re a little god. Thank you! Hallelujah! You got that right! Who’d you think you are, Jesus? Yep! Are you listening to me? Are you kids running around here acting like gods? Why not? God told me to! Since I’m an exact duplicate of God, I’m going to act like God!
Here again we see the deliberate misrepresentation of the word image in Genesis 1:26. God told Casey Treat to act like God Himself? He also thinks he is Jesus? Maybe there are some bats in the belfry after all. Maybe I am judging too harshly. Maybe the Word Faith elevators not only don’t go to the top floor but are stuck in the basement? Either these guys are out to lunch mentally or they are conniving spiritual hucksters. I tend to believe it is the latter because of the simplicity of the texts that they twist. Again, I am giving them credit for having the capacity for mental thought and processes.
Psalms 82:6 is a proof text used by the Word Faith preachers. This verse reads,
I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High.
When pulled out of the context and read on its own, it does seem to say that all children of the most High are gods. One of the first rules of hermeneutics, however, is to read the context surrounding the verse. Hermeneutics by the way is a systematic way of interpreting scripture. Cults are very astute at pulling a verse out of context and establishing a reason for their existence from this one, stand alone, maligned verse. If the entire context is read it becomes easy to understand that God is deriding judges who have esteemed themselves too highly and have perverted justice. He makes a distinction between Himself and these judges that He sarcastically calls gods by saying in verse 7 that these judges, gods in their own mind, will die like men. This verse proves the opposite of what the Word Faith preachers portend it to say. It can even be applied to the gods, (preachers), of the Word Faith movement because they too will die as men. They will not live as God. They are headed for destruction as is anyone that has set himself up as equal to the Almighty. As an aside, the Mormons also use this verse to prove that they are gods. A heritage to be proud of for sure.
Michael Horton points out in his book, Agony of Deceit, that
any teaching that denies that Christ is ‘the only begotten Son, the One and Only incarnation of God’ is heresy. (p. 269; John 3:16, 1:14,18; I John 4:1).
This is very important. This divinity and exclusivity of the second person of the Godhead is of utmost importance. Jesus is referred to several times as the only begotten Son. This speaks to His exclusivity because this word in the original language means that He is the only one of His kind,(monogenes), only begotten. We are not exact replicas of Him, because His “kind” is an exclusive “kind”. This cannot be amplified enough. WE ARE NOT gods. WE ARE NOT JUST LIKE JESUS. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.
In the Believer’s Voice of Victory, Aug. 1988, Copeland says,
He voluntarily gave up that advantage, living His life here not as God but as a man. He had no innate supernatural powers. He had no ability to perform miracles until after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit as recorded in Luke 3:22.
This teaching is needed by the Word Faith preachers to explain their teaching that Jesus died spiritually. The Word Faith preacher proclaims a Jesus who experienced the same spiritual death that entered man in the Garden of Eden. From the book, God’s Will for You, page 3. Of course spiritual death came to Adam and Eve due to disobedience, Jesus death on the cross was due to obedience. This is another example of not wanting to or not having the mental capacity to reason things out properly on the part of Word Faith. Word Faith defines spiritual death as
something more than separation from God. Spiritual death also means having Satan’s nature. Jesus tasted death – spiritual death – for every man.
This is found on page 31 of Kenneth Hagin’s book In the Name of Jesus.
Word Faith also teaches,
When (Jesus) said, `It is finished’ He was not speaking of the plan of redemption. The plan of redemption had just begun. There was still three days and three nights to be gone through before He went to the throne.
This is found in the teaching tape, What Happened From the Cross to the Throne by Kenneth Copeland. Again W/F misrepresents what scripture clearly says. One does not have to be a scholar in order to look into what the original text says, especially in our day and time. This can be found on the Internet. This is either the height of sloppiness on his part and all others that proclaim this message or the height of blasphemy, rebelliousness, or witchcraft or all of the above. The word translated as “It is finished” in this text is, tetelestai. This word means “Paid in full”. Our sins were PAID IN FULL at the cross. Again the price for our sins, your sins, my sins, the saints of olds sins, even future believers’ sins were PAID IN FULL at the cross of Christ Jesus, by Christ Jesus. This was a term that was used when a person would take out a loan or buy something on time. When the payment was finished, a stamp would be dipped in ink and then blotted across the receipt would be the word, tetelestai, PAID IN FULL. Every Jew near enough to the cross to hear this knew what He meant when He cried triumphantly, PAID IN FULL. All of Hell knew what He meant when He cried from the tree, PAID IN FULL. He didn’t go to Hell to be punished of the Devil to pay the rest of the ransom for our sins, but He went triumphantly to Paradise, the non-burning side of Hades, and ripped the keys from the scrawny, bony, fingers of Satan. He then entered Paradise with the thief at His side, to whom earlier He had said,
Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise,
the triumphant, and the victorious over death, Hell, and the grave, Only Begotten Son of God.
In Galatians 3:1 Paul addresses those who have departed from the faith to follow the Gnostics by saying,
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
The Gnostics had a very similar view of God and Christ as do the Word of Faith “preachers” of today. They believed Jesus was just a man who became God at His baptism and on the cross the Holy Spirit left Him causing him to become just a man again. The problem with this teaching, besides not being backed up by scripture, is that once again Jesus is reduced to being just one of us. In Word Faith doctrine, just as the Holy Spirit coming upon Him made Him God, the same thing can happen to us. Once the Holy Spirit comes upon a person He becomes a god. This denigrates the divinity of Jesus at the same time elevating us, His creation, to His rightful place. To those who are sitting under W/F teaching, whether by television, radio, or in person at church, I ask the same question to you that Paul asked. O foolish Christian, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? Considering the similarity in the doctrine of the Gnostics and the doctrine of the Word Faith this is a fair question and application. So who has bewitched,(baskaino), or charmed you, or who has seduced you? This carries with it the same connotation as being seduced like a snake by a snake charmer, or for a spouse to be seduced by another lover. Who has seduced or charmed you from your first love to follow after a lesser Bride Groom and Savior. If you are following after the Word Faith teachers, then you are listening to teaching that denigrates Jesus and His Cross. What we do with Jesus and His cross has eternal consequences. This is the most important matter in all the world. What we do with Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross will determine where we spend eternity. Some will say that I’m splitting hairs here. This could not be further from the truth. This is not some incidental, non essential doctrine. This is an essential doctrine and could be said to be THE essential doctrine. If you get this one wrong friend, the others are all of no essence because you will be lost anyway. Word Faith is abhorrent teaching and doctrine. These Word Faith teachers have added to scripture either through ignorance or purposeful misrepresentation. It would appear to be the latter because of their lack of even entertaining a discussion on the matter. Their answer is always,
I don’t want to divide the body of Christ.
This they think is the high road, but it is they who divide with heretical teaching. It is they who have already taken the low road of demeaning Jesus and His cross. If there is anyone at fault for dividing the body of Christ it is those who preach another Jesus, a Jesus who is reduced to being like us and who did not complete His work on the cross, but it was completed in Hell with Jesus being tormented of the Devil. The Bible speaks of a Jesus who triumphantly and gallantly won our pardon by being obedient even to death on the cross. The Bible speaks of a Jesus whose death and shed blood ALONE bought our pardon. This is important enough for the Holy Spirit to tell John to right these words in the second epistle of John chapter one and verses 10-11,
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God Speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
It is a serious matter indeed for the Holy Spirit to exhort us through John to divide from these and not even greet those who do not teach the Gospel found in the Bible.
Finally, if you are preaching this other gospel, the Word Faith gospel, I beg of you as a lover of your soul to cease and desist from this heresy. Call upon the Jesus of the Gospels to forgive you and set to set you free from vain imaginations. Repent and preach the reality of the good news of the Gospel.
If you are one who is sitting under the teaching of the Word Faith gospel, get out of that church as fast as you can. Yesterday is not soon enough. Your loved one’s souls may depend on you taking quick action to leave that rubbish behind. Repent and get involved in a church where the true Christ is preached. I implore you as a one who loves your soul.
In case there is doubt as to who teaches and preaches this other gospel, below is a list of some of the more well known propagators of this other gospel.
List of Word Faith preachers/teachers
Kenneth Hagin JR.
Paul and Jan Crouch