article on "Defending the Word-Faith Movement" has
brought more response to me than any other article I've written
on my website. I wrote that article in October of '04. At the
time of this writing, that article is about 19 months old. I
have articles on this site dating back to July of 2000. No single
article has generated more email - both positive and negative
- than that one. Before going any further, let me suggest that
you read that article before
you read this one.
a result of that overwhelming response, I have decided to write
a sequel to that article. It seems that there are a great deal
of Christians out there who are absolutely determined to hold
fast to their notions that God does not want His children to
experience goodness, blessing, provision, healing, success,
victory, deliverance and the host of other "good and perfect
gifts" that His Word says we have a Covenant right to.
I make some statements, let me make a couple of things clear:
I am not trying to stir up controversy. I am simply trying
to communicate the goodness of the awesome God we serve. We
call it the gospel (good news) for a reason...it's good.
I do not appreciate people sending me pointed, accusatory,
presumptuous, and rude emails. If you cannot communicate in
a calm, respectful, and Christ-like manner...don't bother
me. And if your only purpose is to argue with me, and not
to discuss the Word of God - I simply do not have the time.
I have more important things to do for the Kingdom of God.
said that, let me make a few blanket rebuttals to some common
responses I get from those who oppose the Word-Faith view of
the gospel. Then I will make some theological statements:
I do not believe, nor have I ever communicated, that Christians
can have whatever they want, whenever they want it, however
they want it - and that all they have to do is speak it. Nor
do any of the Word-Faith teachers I have listened to. They
(and I) believe that the promises of God, spelled out in His
Word, are promises for us that we have a Covenant right to
receive by faith. If God didn't say it, then I don't believe
it. But if it is in His Word (which communicates His Will),
then I can with confidence receive it (1 John 5:14) because
He would not have given it to me if He did not want me to
I do not believe, nor have I ever communicated, that I can
command God or dictate my relationship with Him on my own
terms. God is sovereign. He is almighty. He is the creator
of the Universe, and everything that ever was, is and will
be. But I also know that He is a friend Who sticks closer
than a brother (Proverbs 18:24); that He is my Daddy (Romans
8:15); that He is the giver of only good and perfect gifts
(James 1:17); and desires even better things for me than I
do for my own children (Matthew 7:11). Everything that He
desires for me is spelled out in His Word. So I study His
Word in order to build my knowledge (and hence my faith) in
Who He is, who I am in Christ, what kind of relationship I
can have with Him, and what He has made available to me in
my covenant with Him (Romans 10:17).
I do not believe, nor have I ever communicated, that we can
base our theology on anything other than the Word of God. The
word "theology" literally means "God's Word".
So how can I base my "God's Word" on anything other
than God's Word? Some have accused Word-Faith people of basing
theology on personal experience and anti/extra-biblical revelation.
There is nothing that I believe that I cannot back up with Scripture.
And whenever I pray with someone, I make it a habit to specifically
ask them what promise of Scripture they are standing on, because
faith is based on the Word (Romans 10:17).
for a few theological statements:
The purpose of the Covenant that God made with us goes beyond
simply being saved from eternity in hell. There are promises
that we can receive on this earth as well as the promise of
the afterlife. This is true because:
Psalm 23:6 says that goodness and mercy will follow me "all
the days of my life", then I will dwell in the
house of the Lord forever.
In Mark 10:29-30, Jesus told us that what we give up for
the sake of the Kingdom of God will be measured back to
us 100-fold "in this present age", then in the
age to come - we will inherit eternal life.
Timothy 4:8 tells us that Godliness has value for all things
and holds promises both in the "present life"
and the life to come.
Hebrews 6:9-12 spells out God's Will for us to receive those
promises which "accompany salvation", and
to lay hold of them the same way they were received by those
who went before us - through faith and patience.
There is no biblical basis for the notion that healing is
available for some, but not for all. This would mean that
God "plays favorites". Of course, we know He doesn't
(Acts 10:34). The Bible is replete with promises of physical
healing throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus,
Who was the supreme example of how to live a Godly life, went
about healing all He came in contact with (Acts 10:38). This
can mean nothing else than that God wants us to minister healing
to all we come in contact with. Healing is for all.
The ideas that suffering, sickness, and affliction make one
closer to God may be popular notions in Secular Humanism -
but they are not Scriptural. In fact, those notions are a
slap in the face of the Savior Who died to give us life more
abundantly (John 10:10) and redeem us from the curse that
is in the earth (Galatians 3:13). Those Christians who think
they are being noble by holding fast to their affliction and
suffering are only short-cutting their own Covenant rights.
And they make those elements of the Work of the Cross a waste.
In other words, if Jesus bore stripes for our healing - and
we don't accept that gift - we have made those stripes a waste.
If you are going to stand firm on the notion that tongues
and prophecy have ceased, according to 1 Corinthians 13:8,
then you must hold to the notion that knowledge has
ceased as well. Since we know that knowledge has not ceased,
this is an extremely weak argument. You cannot pick and choose
what you want or do not want to believe in the Bible. It's
either all true, or it's all false. I choose to believe that
it is true. You can't pick 2 out of the 3 just because those
2 don't fit your beliefs.
Financial prosperity is a Covenant promise that is the result
of several things, among which are these:
God, His Kingdom principles, and His righteous as opposed
to seeking the things that the pagans seek after (Matthew
process of applying the knowledge of God's Word to our finances.
In Luke 7:22, the blind, lame, lepers, deaf, and dead all
received their immediate miracle. But the poor received teaching.
This is because prosperity is a learning process. This notion
of prosperity being a "process" is also mentioned
in Proverbs 13:11.
prosperity comes when one realizes that our purpose on earth
goes far beyond simply going to work to pay our bills and
eke out a meager existence attempting to meet our own needs
(Matthew 6:25). It comes when we seek His Kingdom purpose
for our lives (verse 33).
was never meant to be our master. It was meant to be our slave.
rich quick schemes, checks from the sky, and ill-gotten gain
are not God's mode of channeling provision to us (Proverbs
1:19). Nor is the idea that we can simply give an offering
and wait by our mail box for unexpected checks. Most of the
time God channels prosperity to us through ideas in which
we have to put our hands to work so that He can bless the
work of our hands. (Deuteronomy 28:12)
uses what we are familiar with to prosper us. On 3 separate
occasions, He used fishing to financially bless Peter - a
professional fisherman (Luke 5; Matthew 17; John 21). And
in Genesis 30:25 through 31:21 God showed Jacob how to prosper
through shepherding, something he had been doing for 20 years.
short-circuits God's blessing into our lives. (Deuteronomy
is a good God. His news is good news. His gifts are good gifts.
Anyone who wants to hold fast to their bondage has bought into
a lie. Some do it because they think that suffering brings them
closer to God. Some do it because they have a subconscious desire
for attention and sympathy for their suffering. Some want attention
for their "nobility" to withstand suffering. These
are prideful concepts, not worthy of a Christian.
a child of the King of Kings - the God of the Universe is your
daddy. Jesus died to bring you into a right relationship with
God and to establish a Covenant by which God can pour His goodness
into your life. Receive this goodness by faith, for it is His
Will for you to have it. Otherwise He would not have spelled
out all of these promises in His Word.