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  • Writer's pictureChuck

The Unbiblical Origins of the Word of Faith Movement

Updated: May 7

A rotting tree

Have you ever heard of the "Word of Faith movement"? Though the term might not ring a bell, chances are you're familiar with some of its teachings and figures. This movement, nestled within charismatic evangelical Christianity, boasts influential leaders often seen on television screens. Its core beliefs center around faith, the authority of believers, and the infallibility of Scripture, which can be alluring to many in today's church.

As someone deeply rooted in charismatic Pentecostal circles, particularly within the Assemblies of God, I'm ordained as a pastor in the AG. I think that a lot of time those outside of the charismatic movements tend to tie us all together into one group. But as we move along in our studies, I’m going to share some the stances and positions that the Assemblies of God have taken against hyper-charismatic and unbiblical practices. I'm committed to shedding light on certain issues within our broader movement. I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and we truly need to see the Holy Spirit move in our churches and in our lives as individuals. I'm also concerned about these extreme deviations from orthodox Christianity. The Word of Faith movement, poses a significant internal threat, mixing New Age and cultic theology with the twisting of Scripture. Mind you, this is only the introduction to many blogs to come on the movement. Think of this as setting the stage. Also, if you are interested in going deeper, I'm currently doing a video series on my YouTube channel. Here's a link to the first video The Unbiblical Origins of the Word of Faith Movement. But for this first post, I want to get you thinking about three important things, especially if you have been involved in the Word of Faith movement.

Cultic Roots of Word of Faith Theology: At the heart of Word of Faith theology lies a deep connection to New Thought metaphysics. This philosophy, dating back over a century, suggests that our thoughts shape our reality and advocates for positive affirmations to manifest desired outcomes. While the movement rebrands this concept as "the force of faith," the parallels with New Thought are undeniable. Figures like Warren Felt Evans and H. Emilie Cady, central to New Thought, emphasize the power of faith-filled words to bring about tangible results, mirroring the rhetoric of Word of Faith leaders.

Characteristics and Questionable Practices: Many of the traits and practices within the Word of Faith movement can be traced back to post-World War II faith healers and revivalists in Pentecostal circles. Influential figures like Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin draw inspiration from predecessors like T. L. Osborn and William Branham. However, Branham's rejection of foundational Christian doctrines and Osborn's adherence to misinterpretations of scripture raise red flags. Moreover, the movement's evolution has seen the amplification of dubious practices, such as deceptive fundraising tactics and false promises of miraculous healings.

The Downward Spiral of Heresy: The theological lineage of Word of Faith theology reveals a troubling pattern of deviation from orthodox Christianity. E. W. Kenyon (who we will talk more about next time), a key influencer, laid the groundwork for subsequent leaders like Hagin and Copeland. However, rather than correcting errors, each successive generation has compounded them, leading to alarming levels of heresy. Benny Hinn, among others, epitomizes this trend, perpetuating distorted teachings and practices that stray further from biblical truth.

In shedding light on the Word of Faith movement, it becomes clear that its roots in New Thought metaphysics and its trajectory towards heresy pose significant challenges to orthodox Christianity. As believers, it's crucial to discern truth from error and to remain grounded in the timeless principles of Scripture. By critically examining these issues, we can safeguard ourselves and our communities from theological drift and uphold the integrity of our faith.

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