THE WORD-FAITH MOVEMENT

WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING

By: Victor T. Stephens

"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears." (Acts 20:29-31)

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The Threats from the Untouchables

Word-Faith teachers do not take kindly to being challenged. They demand everyone submit to their authoritarian rule and rendition of the scriptures without a critique. Their corrupt agenda entails taking advantage of those who are unskilled in biblical interpretation. When confronted by someone who is proficient in proper biblical exegesis, they use evasive tactics and resort to threats rather than offer constructive dialogue.

 

Word-Faith teachers are aware that they can't deal with the facts, and thus, if their errors are exposed they have much to lose in power and fortune. In an effort to silence those who dare question or criticize them, Word-Faith leaders hide behind the verses below to inflict fear of retribution from God upon anyone who takes such a dauntless interrogation into their "anointed" teachings.

 

Saying, "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm." (Psalm 105:15)

 

"Judge not, that you be not judged." (Matthew 7:1)

 

"Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand." (Rom. 14:4)

 

Not only do Word-Faith teachers attempt to deprive proper scriptural discernment through fear tactics, they have also mentally conditioned their devoted followers to parrot these verses to anyone who critiques their pastor. To question their "man of God" can be recognized as questioning God Himself. It should be apparent that this type of stratagem can be identified among extreme cult leaders.

 

Let's now consider the following threats issued by Word-Faith teachers to those who criticize their heretical teachings:

 

As reported by Kenneth Copeland:

"There are people attempting to sit in judgment right today over the ministry that I'm responsible for, and the ministry that Kenneth E. Hagin is responsible for....Several people that I know had criticized and called that faith bunch out of Tulsa a cult. And some of 'em are dead right today in an early grave because of it, and there's more than one of them got cancer." (Kenneth Copeland, "Why All Are Not Healed")

According to Paul Crouch:

"I think they're damned and on their way to hell and I don't think there's any redemption for them .... I say to hell with you! Oh hallelujah. Get out of God's way, quit blocking God's bridges or God's gonna shoot you if I don't!"

(Paul Crouch, TBN, April 2, 1991)

On sound doctrine, Crouch states:

"Let Him (God) sort out all this doctrinal doo-doo. I don't care about it." (Paul Crouch, TBN, "Praise the Lord")

 

Benny Hinn had this to say:

"You hear this. There are men and women in Southern California attacking me. I will tell you under the anointing now; you'll reap it in your children. You'll never win. And your children will suffer. You're attacking me on the radio every night; you'll pay, and your children will. Hear this from the lips of God's servant. You are in danger."

(Benny Hinn, Melodyland Christian Center)

"Dear God in heaven, I wish I can just...You know, I have looked for one verse in the Bible, I just can't seem to find it; one verse that says, 'if you don't like them kill them....' Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun, I'll blow your head off!" (Benny Hinn, TBN, November 8, 1990)

One would not be surprised to hear statements such as these from radical Islamic terrorists and their supporting state networks. However, an alarm should sound if they are emanating from those who supposedly come in God's name. The fact that numerous so called Christians would rather applaud and say "Amen" instead of rebuking this ungodly behavior illustrates that many are walking in self-imposed blindness and idolatry. Jesus Christ, Paul, and the noble Berean Christians would find these unscriptural dispositions appalling, but not surprising, in these last days of great deception.

 

Let's now examine Psalm 105:15, Matthew 7:1, and Romans 14:4 and discover how the Word-Faith teachers have clearly misapplied these verses.

Analysis of Psalm 105:15

           

Psalm 105:15 has absolutely nothing to do with challenging and correcting false teachings within the church. The phrase, "My anointed ones", is typically used in reference to Israel's kings (1 Sam. 12:3,5; 24:6,10; 26:9,11, 16,23; 2 Sam. 1:14,16; 19:21; Psalm 20:6; Lam. 4:20). The phrase, "My prophets", is used in reference to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 20:7; Psalm 105:6-15). In the context of Psalm 105:15, it is literally speaking in terms of not inflicting physical harm upon God's anointed and prophets in the Old Testament. Neither of these designations means that an appraisal regarding the teachings of the modern church is inappropriate. The true purpose of this form of spiritual abuse is to halt opposition, suppress the truth, and prevent legitimate criticism from diming the dazzling light that may uncover the darkness of the Word-Faith teachers' false ministries.

 

Let's postulate momentarily that the Word-Faith teachers' interpretation is correct. Then how would we know who not to "touch"? How would we know who is teaching falsely? Anyone can claim to be a preacher, pastor, or evangelist. Perhaps the latter question is just what Word-Faith leaders secretly fear. Satan ministers do not want us to see them for who they really are: Wolves under sheepskin preying on your pockets. True men of God welcome an examination and critique of their teachings; for they are established above all by their immaculacy of character and doctrine (2 Cor. 4:2; Titus 1:7-9; 2:7-8).

Solomon stated:

 

"Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you." (Proverbs 9:8)

Analysis of Matthew 7:1

 

In reference to Matthew 7:1, if we read verses two through five, it should be clear that these verses are instructing us not to judge hypocritically, self-righteously, and unfairly. This passage does not mean that we are prohibited from investigating or judging what is taught by church leaders. If we go forward and read verses 15 and 16, Jesus continues by saying:

 

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits...." (Matt. 7:15-16) 

 

How can we to know who the false teachers and false prophets are if we do not judge their teachings by the Word of God? John 7:24 states:

 

"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." (John 7:24)

 

That means we are commanded to exercise moral and doctrinal discernment. In Romans 16:17-18, Paul commands believers to:

 

"note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom. 16:17-18)

 

Unfortunately, many "Christians" are not yielding to Jesus' and Paul's command regarding proper discernment. Even after evidence is presented which exposes and refutes false teachings within their church, they will continue to defend and support "their man of God." Who are they worshiping? Is it our Lord and Savior, or the man behind the pulpit?

Analysis of Romans 14:4

In regard to Romans 14:4, if we read verses two through four, it will be discovered that this passage is about judging one in regards to what is proper to eat. In other words, we should not become embroiled over non-essential, senseless and inconsequential matters. Likened to the previous two examples of scripture, this verse has no relation to judging significant deviations of scripture within the Word-Faith movement. Their faith doctrine, their viewpoint of God and Jesus; their atonement theology, and their health and wealth doctrine considerably deviate from essential doctrines in the Word of God. Thus, we must divide.

 

There are a number of passages in the Word of God that give believers the moral right to judge and discern. The following is taken from my article entitled, "Judging and Touching the Untouchables":

John 7:24 says that we are to "Judge with righteous judgment" --- meaning that we are commanded to exercise moral and doctrinal discernment.

1. In Romans 16:17-18, Paul commands believers to,

"note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom. 16:17-18)

The word "note" means to "discern and judge". When false teachers are identified, Scripture commands us to "avoid them"; yet many Christians will ignore the warning and blindly follow them.

2. First Timothy 5:20 says,

"Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that others may take warning." (1 Tim. 5:20)

Public sin, which includes teaching false doctrines, is to be judged and rebuked publicly to warn others of impending danger.

3. In the Book of Galatians, Paul publicly exposed (Judged) Peter's hypocrisy.

"When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, 'You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?'" (Gal. 2:11, 14)

4. In the first Book of Timothy, Paul judges the false doctrines of Hymenaeus and Alexander.

"Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." (1 Tim. 1:19-20)

5. In 1 John 4:1, it says to,

"Test the spirits to see whether they are of God." (1 John 4:1)

In order to "test the spirits", we must judge them.

6. In 1 Cor. 5:12, it states,

"Do you not judge those who are inside?" (1 Cor. 5:12)

This verse clearly indicates that Christians should judge sinful acts, which include those who teach false doctrines within the church.

7. In 1 Tim. 1:3, it says:

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer…." (1 Tim. 1:3)

In order to determine if a doctrine is false, we must judge it by the Word of God.

8. In 1 Tim. 1:3, it says:

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer…." (1 Tim. 1:3)

In order to determine if a doctrine is false, we must judge it by the Word of God.

9. In the second Book of Timothy, Paul instructed Timothy to:

"Rebuke and encourage --- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Tim. 4:2-4)

Now, on what grounds would one be able to "Rebuke" without having to judge doctrine? Moreover, note that Paul says the time is coming when people will no longer adhere to sound doctrine, but rather congregate with, not a few, but many false teachers who teach what they want to hear. Thus, they will reject truth and follow false teachers. This is clearly happening today. That said; let's take a look at how Paul addressed the church at Corinth regarding false teachers.

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The abusive, illegitimate, and unbiblical threats issued by Word-Faith leaders should now be transparent to the unbiased reader. Furthermore, taking into account the corrections and refutations contained in this article, one should be able to clearly recognize that proponents of the Word-Faith Movement will utilize intimidation tactics in a diabolic and desperate attempt to preserve their high profit yielding extortion scheme. Although they may be engaging in some positive works, their determination to remain in error coupled with threats indicate that acquiring money and other valuable resources is their primary agenda.

Concluding Statements

As we have learned, Word-Faith teachers are expounding false doctrines in several key areas. Their chief established heresies entail:

Faith Theology

Deification of Man

Demotion of God

Atonement Theology

Confession & Health

Confession & Wealth

We have examined those essential points Word-Faith teachers profess and compared them to what is taught in Scripture.

 

We have recorded the successions of the Word-Faith Movement beginning with Phineas Quimby, Mary Baker Eddy, E.W. Kenyon, and Kenneth Hagin straight through the current Word-Faith camp.

 

It is important to remember that God's Words instructs us to "test all things (1 Thess. 5:21). The Berean Christians, who were of noble character, "searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things (which Paul taught) were so" (Acts 17:11). We are cautioned numerous times to be on the watch for false teachers and their corresponding false doctrines (Matt. 7:15; Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Titus 1:9-16). Failing to expose and separate (Eph. 5:8-11) from wolves in sheepskin simply permit them to have a "field day" on unsuspecting, naive', and idolatrous sheep. The wolves who quote and attempt to hide under Psalms 105:15, Matthew 7:1, and Romans 14:4 are so filled with greed that they don't want to see the errors of their ways and the inconsistencies in judging others who have an obligation to investigate what is taught from the pulpit (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16; 4:2-5; 1 John 4:1).

 

The bottom line is this: If we "test" and "search the scriptures", it will be discovered that the Word-Faith Movement is teaching a different God, a different Jesus, and a different gospel. We can rest assured that to refute and expose their false teachings brings swift inflamed responses from these self-professed "anointed ones" and their zealous supporters. While some readers of this article may get offended, we must understand that godly love does not rule out correction. Godly love for people does not signify that we disregard truth so that we not "rock the boat".

 

Proverbs 27:5 states:

 

"Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed." (Proverbs 27:5)

 

Godly love for people does not signify that we engage in self-imposed blindness ... tolerating false doctrine in order to maintain unity. Psalm 119:104 says:

 

"Through Your precepts I get understanding, therefore I hate every false way." (Psalm 119:104)

 

It brings discomfort to my spirit to observe how Word-Faith teachers have infringed upon the body of Christ; spreading their false and cultic doctrines while concurrently raping their victims of their financial resources. It further grieves my heart to observe Word-Faith proponents swindle and ridicule those who are handicapped. If you are someone who has been crippled by disease, an accident, etc., remember that the Lord loves you; and in whatever condition, God can use you to help bring glory to His Kingdom.

 

I will conclude this article with some words of warning from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

 "But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation.
  Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger.
  Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.
  Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false 
prophets." (Luke 6:24-26)

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