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)
Historical and Theological Roots of the Word-Faith Movement
The introduction of Word-Faith theology originated in the mid 1800's with an individual by the name of Phineas P. Quimby (1802-1866). Mr. Quimby's thesis is rooted in the metaphysical New Thought / Science of Mind cult. New Thought indoctrinates the marriage of positive thinking (the force of faith) with positive confession (containers of force) to unleash the power to change one's reality. Some of the central points of Quimby's New Thought theology include:
1. The denial of sickness.
2. Belief that it is God's will that we experience financial wealth.
3. Belief that through the power of spoken words one creates his own experience either positive or negative.
4. The deity of man.
A close examination of the following statements from Mr. Quimby will reveal the dawning of Word-Faith theology:
"I say it is, for a person is to himself just what he thinks he is, and he is in his belief sick. If I am sick, I am sick for my feelings are my sickness, and my sickness is my belief, and my belief is my mind; therefore all disease is in the mind or belief. Now as our belief or disease is made up of ideas which are matter, it is necessary to know what ideas we are in; for to cure the disease is to correct the error; and as disease is what follows the error, destroy the cause, and the effect will cease. How can this be done? By a knowledge of the law of harmony...Your error is the cause of your sickness or trouble. Now to cure your sickness or trouble is to correct the error."
(Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond, "Is Disease a Belief", November 1859)
"To those who believe in disease there is, according to their belief, neither forgiveness nor cure except through the medium of medicine. But, to those who have been born again or who have learned that disease is the result of belief, disease has no power, and consequently medicine is useless."
(The Complete Collected Works of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, "Concerning The Use of Medicine", 1864)
Now compare Quimby's statements with those of Mary Baker Eddy (1821 - 1910), an associate of Quimby and founder of Christian Science. Here, you will detect parallelism of the notion that sickness is only a state of mind:
"When the first symptoms appear, dispute the testimony of the material senses with divine Science. Let your higher sense of justice destroy the false process of mortal opinions... Suffer no claim of sin or sickness to grow upon the thought. Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin... you have divine authority for denying that necessity and healing the sick. Disease is an experience of a so-called mortal mind. It is fear manifest on the body." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy)
Following in the footsteps of Eddy and Quimby was Essek W. Kenyon (1867-1948). Kenyon attended Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, Mass. which was an environment promoting the development of New Thought ideology (John Coffe, Richard L. Wentworth, A Century of Eloquence: The History of Emerson College, 1880-1980, Alternative Publications, 1982). Kenyon adopted the doctrines of New Thought-Christian Science and proceeded to introduce this peculiar mix of doctrinal divergence into orthodox Christianity. Many of the popular apothegms devised by present day Word-Faith teachers were originally formulated by Kenyon. Take into consideration the following phrases:
"What I confess, I possess." (E.W. Kenyon, "Hidden Man", Page 98. D.R. McConnell, "A Different Gospel", Page 135)
"It is what we confess with our lips that really dominates our inner being... (People) confess their fear and they become more fearful. They confess their fear of disease and the disease grows under the confession."
(E.W. Kenyon, "Two Kinds of Faith," Page 72. D.R. McConnell, "A Different Gospel", Page 137)
"It is wrong for us to have sickness and disease in our body when God laid those diseases on Jesus"
(E.W. Kenyon, "Jesus The Healer", Page 44. D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, Page 149)
Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003), the recognized "granddaddy" of the Word-Faith Movement, adopted and plagiarized the teachings of Kenyon and fused more fraudulent "enhancements" to the gospel in order to enthrall the Christian church. Hagin assures supreme health and prosperity to Christians, alleging:
"Yes, sin, sickness and disease, spiritual death, poverty, and everything else that's of the devil once ruled us. But now, bless God; we rule them --- for this is the Day of Dominion!"
(Kenneth Hagin, "Rejoice! This Is the Day Which The Lord Hath Made!", "The Word of Faith" Magazine, Page 16, July 1996)
"I believe that it is the plan of God our Father that no believer should ever be sick; that every believer should live his full length of time and actually wear out, if Jesus tarries, and fall asleep in Jesus. It is not --- I state boldly --- it is not the will of God my father that we should suffer with cancer and other dread diseases which bring pain and anguish. No! It is God's will that we be healed." (Kenneth Hagin, "Healing, The Father's Provision", "Word of Faith" Magazine, Page 9, August 1977)
"He (God) wants His children to eat the best, He wants them to wear the best clothing, He wants them to drive the best cars, and He wants them to have the best of everything." (Kenneth Hagin, "New Thresholds", Pages 54-55)
Hagin then taught this theological revisionism to his star pupil, Kenneth Copeland, who has today become the leader of the Word-Faith Movement.
In their efforts to nullify these historical facts, Word-Faith proponents allege that such claims are untrue. However, when challenged to present evidence to prove to the contrary, they either attempt to shift the subject, resort to name calling, or become interestingly silent.
In their efforts to protect their erroneous beliefs against those who dare question them, many Word-Faith teachers will attempt to overtly or subtly "flip the script" by engaging in "psychological projection". Psychological projection is a psychological safeguard system where a person subconsciously denies or suppresses their own negative characteristics and then projects their negative attributes to other people. Word-Faith teachers must first convince themselves that they are teaching truth and anyone who opposes them must be wrong; therefore, the psychological projection system works well to preserve their self image and position of authority. The thought of losing money, power, and fame is just too painful to bear.