This is a smaller version of my Word of Faith debunking efforts. Designed to focus in on just the core teachings. It is also not an essay but is a bullet point outline with a few references suitable for use as a discussion guideline. I write this as an ex-Word-of-Faith member, I was once deeply into these teachings.
Please forgive the frank and direct tone of this document, I name names, and don't mince any words, I mock a few false teachings to try to make the point and rescue people out of this stuff.
Word of Faith by other names:
The leaders of the word of faith movement are false teachers and in fact are heretics or cult leaders because both a false god and a false gospel are taught, as well as inflation of man's power and authority and deflation and marginalization of God's sovereignty. Most of the Word-of-Faith leaders are seen on TBN, which is unfortunately one of the major peddlers of false teaching in the world today.
Some quotes of note:
Creflo Dollar, who lives in a million dollar home, drives a Rolls-Royce, and flies around in a $5 million dollar jet, is one of the most successful prosperity teachers today. He teaches similar doctrines to Kenneth Copeland (the defacto leader of the word of faith movement today) and Kenneth Hagin (the father of the Word of Faith movement) and asserts that we have equality with God, we are an exact duplicate of God including size and shape and have the ability to create reality with our words just as God does. This is the essence of the word of faith movement as it is taught by its leaders. It is also the Devil's lie to Eve in the Garden repackaged for modern times.
Dollar's idea of how we should rebuke the devil to obtain our stolen prosperity: "I AM THE LORD THY GOD, GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN"
To see the actual Dollar quote of we are god (and lots of other fascinating quotes where he defends this position) see: www.myfortress.org/CrefloDollar.html
Dollar has also been caught teaching modalism (one God, three manifestations, same as the oneness pentecostals, this is a false God because it denies the trinity). He has lots of company as T.D. Jakes and Rod parsely are also oneness modalists.
Kenneth Hagin (who really started it all) is interesting too, He claimed to receive the gift of healing in an out-of-body visionary encounter with Jesus. In the vision he describes seeing the triangular shaped holes of the nails in Jesus' palms. Roughtly ten years later archeologists dug up the first (of many) crucified skeletons, and the world learned that the nails went through the wrists. Obviously it was a false vision but Hagin's followers were not fazed at all as they too are false teachers.
A terrible fact is that there are more recorded deaths of children today in the word of faith movement because parents refused medical care believing God would heal them than there are in the so-called cults who refuse medical care as part of their theology. Rodney Howard Browne's (the holy laughter guy) daughter died in this way and prayers for her resurrection failed. They grow old and lose loved ones just like everybody else. Prayers for the resurrection of Kenneth Hagin (the father of the word of faith movement) by his disciples also failed, but they don't mention that much any more. Word of Faith doesn't work for them either. Remember its promises are that if you just get it right you never have to be sick, and you can be wealthy too. See: http://www.letusreason.org/Wf25.htm and learn more about how faith healers and their families get sick just like everybody else.
The false gospel is worst of all, they teach that Jesus died spiritually (in order to die spiritually you have to sin) and went to Hell, was born-again in Hell by the Holy Spirit, and that any born-again believer could have done on the cross what Jesus did (actually Hagin and Copeland are on record as saying this, Dollar hasn't gone this far yet). This teaching is nearly identical to the New Age who have their Christ who "ascended" and we are to discover the "Christ" or "God" within us and follow. Speak to your circumstances says word of faith, create your own reality says the New Age. Both the New Age and the Word-of-Faith movement declare we are God. Do you see how close Word-of-Faith has come to straight-up New Age teaching? Only the vocabulary is slightly different, the teachings are the same.
Doctrines of Word of Faith
|Massive end-times revival preceeds return of Christ.||The end times church is described clearly in scripture as apostate, self-seeking, lukewarm, mistaking material prosperity for God's blessings, following seducing spirits, abandoning sound doctrine, and chasing after lying signs and wonders. Here is an article refuting the great end-times revival teaching: www.letusreason.org/Pent10.htm|
|Victorious Church raptured out.||Only the faithful (to His word) remnant will be saved. The apostate church will comprise the vast majority (Narrow is the road and few are those who find it...). Jesus' only compliments to the two churches in revelation He had no criticism for, were that they held fast to His word - that is held to sound doctrine in the face of both persecution and temptation to compromise. Our victory is over sin, persecution, and compromise, not a worldly political victory of "taking the world for Christ."|
|The anointing can be passed around and increased by various methods.||There is only one anointing in the Bible, and we receive it when we are born-again, no teaching that it can be passed around or increased is in the Bible. No Biblical case for spiritual gymnastics of any kind can be found. The anointing is simply Jesus Himself, and again there are no gymnastics to increase His "presence" or the likelyhood of prayers getting answered. Here is an article refuting the false anointing thinking of today: www.letusreason.org/Pent2.htm|
|Spiritual growth is about power and anointing.||Spiritual growth is never about power, it is about the fruits of the spirit (graciousness, peace, patience, etc), and knowledge of Christ (sound doctrine). Faith is a gift from God, not a muscle to be developed by spiritual gymnastics, impartations, and other occult practices.|
|Spiritual warfare can conquer cities and nations for Christ.||There is no Biblical teaching we are to gain dominion for Christ. The world has historically become more hostile to the Gospel as time passes. Over seventy percent of the world's population today lives under governments mildly or severly hostile to the Gospel and the trend is towards increasing hostility in complete agreement with Bible prophecy. The true church has always been a persecuted minority. Dominion teachers have no Biblical or historical legs to stand on. This "church militant" philosophy also fundamentally denies that Jesus defeated the Devil on the cross.|
|excessive reliance on the subjective - visions, personal prophecy - deemphasize scripture.||False visions, and false prophecies abound. Special revelation is closed, anyone with a vision of heaven or hell is false. These visions are also filled with heretical and unbiblical doctrines and are easily debunked by people who know theology. I have personally known gentle christ-like Christians who have had full blown out-of-body (near-death-experiences) visions with terrible heresy in them. The warning about angels from heaven appearing and preaching false gospels and false gods is there for a reason. Many testimonies of people getting into severe trouble by following "mental impressions" attributed to God exist. More than just the humorous and ever popular revelation "I shall be mightily used of God..." Following the subjective is one of the fastest ways to yield control of your life to the Devil there is.|
|God must speak (or we must speak for Him) for things to be accomplished.||God does not need to speak to do things, you don't have to read past Genesis chapter 1 to find this out. No authority is delegated to us to speak for God. Even the famous passage of us speaking to a mountain to be cast into the sea (mar 11:23) say that it will be done for us, not that we shall accomplish it with our words. It is a teaching on faith, not authority. It in no way elevates us above or equal to God in authority or power, nor does it grant us any power at all.|
|Faith is a creative force, imparted to all believers through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Copeland's teaching of it). We speak to our debt, our diseases, our circumstances, and our unsaved loved-ones and command all things to line up with our wills through faith.||Faith as a creative force is a straight up New Age teaching. Since it asserts that God uses this same creative force of faith it also teaches a false God (Copeland says God is made of faith, the Bible says He is spirit), hence the conclusion it is heresy and a cult. It also elevates us above God and reduces Him to the status of our servant.|
|Healing is for all, right now, as part of the atonement.||Complete healing of the body is promised for the time yet future when we receive our glorified bodies. This terrible teaching always blames the sheep when they are not healed. You would think after a hundred years of this teaching being popular that at least one healing evangelist would have gotten it right, but they all make excuses why not everyone gets healed. Jesus healed believers and unbelievers with equal effectiveness, but those making excuses forget that part. See www.letusreason.org/Wf9.htm|
|Prosperity is the right of every Christian just as much as healing and forgiveness of sins.||The Bible is filled with warnings against greed. If the apostles were men of faith they were very poor at it since they were not rich (another false teaching easily contradicted by history and scripture itself), and they all (but one) died martyr's deaths, so they were obviously very poor prayer warriors too. Prayers for their resurrection (by hypothetical word of faithers) didn't seem to work either. See www.letusreason.org/Wf28.htm|
|Seed faith equated to money, equates blessing with material prosperity,||There is no cause to assign money as the value of the symbol for seed. The Bible says it is the word of God. Nowhere in the Bible is does anyone give out of their need to obtain more, nor is anyone commended for using their faith to get rich, but warnings about greed and love of money abound. Preaching covetousness in Christ's name is a bad thing, and is the hallmark of the Laodicean (lukewarm) Church that is destined to be vomited out of His mouth. Christ promises to meet our needs and care for us, he never promises to make us rich.|
|Giving money can also be used to obtain miracles (sow money, reap a miracle).||
Sowing money to receive a miracle is a con, plain and simple, they
want your money. Simon tried it and the Apostles were not complementary about
act 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
The way the teach it is funny too, sow into an "anointed" ministry to get best results, "our anointing is bigger than their anointing so give your money to us."
|Word of Faith has implicit the idea we earn our position with God through spiritual gymnastics, this borders on salvation by works and is very dangerous thinking.||Lack of understanding of grace permeates the movement. We are justified by grace through faith alone, our works and entire lives are justified this way too, an entire teaching on grace is really needed to rectify this one. See www.kurthutchison.com/grace.html.|
|Anti-intellectualism, anti-theology thinking permeates the movement, Seminaries are referred to as cemetaries, head knowledge quenches the spirit, etc.||
The leaders themselves lack theology degrees (not one of them has one).
They present a false dichotomy between head knowledge and spiritual revelation.
The Bible makes no such distinction, our growth in the knowledge of Christ
and sound doctrine are one and the same.
Both Dr. Luke and Paul were educated men, Paul was educated in theology from birth, and God used him to write the majority of the New Testament, theological sections in particular. Everyone knows some theology, it is whether it is accurate that matters.
A false teacher dissing theology is like a predator encouring an ostrich to bury its head in the sand.
|Seeks signs and wonders overmuch and abandons sound doctrine in favor of unity around miracles.||
Lying signs and wonders are prophesied for the end-times.
Jesus was not complementary of people who seek miracles:
mat 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; ...
|Believe signs and wonders is the primary evidence something is from God.||The cults claim many miracles too. When you see cults (catholics etc) manifesting the charismatic gifts, you can be sure they are not from God. There are two tests if something is from God, the fruits (look for graciousness), and sound doctrine (does it match up with scripture). Neither has anything to do with miracles.|
|Believe Jesus was our role model, He did all His miracles because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and so can we.||This teaching flatly denies the divinity of Christ. He did all those miracles because He was God. You can see how outrageously far they carry this heresy when they state we could have died on the cross too.|
|Apostles are among us today.||This teaching was invented by William Branham in the fourties, who was condemned as a heretic by the Assemblies of God church (a good pentecostal denomination) for this teaching and many others in 1949. There are twelve apostles in the Bible, period. Their names are engraved on the foundations of the Heavenly city. Claims to be an apostle today are invariably false, and are commonly made by word-of-faith cult members.|
|Prophets are among us today.||
While God still leads, it is risky to speak for Him to others,
because if you are ever wrong you come under the condemnation of
a false prophet. It is arguable that the office of prophet is closed.
A word of wisdom here or there perhaps, but those who claim
to be prophets cannot pass the Biblical test of innerancy. The best of them,
C. Peter Wagner, claims to have achieved a 95 percent accuracy rate.
He is condemned as a false prophet by his own words.
People who seek the gifts because they think it makes them more
spiritual are in deception, and open themselves up for more deception.
To all those who think they are prophets, I ask you which is worse: to die unrepentant in the sin of sexual immorality, or to die as an unrepentant false prophet? Think about it from God's perspective for a moment and you will see what I mean. Remember all those verses where He declares His fury against those who dare to speak falsely in His name.
|Use vast numbers of scriptural twistings to deflect criticism, they are in a demon spirit, a critical spirit, pharisees, poverty spirit, heresy hunters. They even pronouce curses on their critics: speak not against God's anointed ones.||Wiley E. Coyote to the Ostrich "just bury your head in the sand, anything else is unscriptural..."|
Word of faith puts people into deep bondage, because they have to do it all themselves, speak it, name it, claim it. It is a lot of work to rebuke the Devil every morning when you get up.
Some more nutshell truths:
A final comment, as an ex-word-of-faither, when I got here I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me, I felt lost and in shock, dazed that everything I thought was important in the Christian life was gone.
Months of follow-on study of sound doctrine however resulted in the peace of God like never before because I finally understand my rightful place in His grace. And I understand my rightful goal of developing graciousness, love, peace, kindness, and knowledge of sound doctrine. It is a much simpler and more peaceful life. I can't testify enough how fear was driven out, and peace came in, striving was replaced by peace, and fear with love, simply by studying sound doctrine. And frankly, my view of God got a lot bigger (and better) and I got a lot smaller (there is peace in that too).
Note: As I look back I now believe I was not saved when I was a WoF cult member, studying theology saved me, I give God the praise for leading me out of this stuff.
Here is an article specifically dealing with the word-of-faith heresy:
AN EXAMINATION OF THE WORD-FAITH MOVEMENT by Richard J. Vincent
More references, deprogram yourself with these fine sites:
The above sites generally attack teachings without engaging in venemous rhetoric or character assassination (a sign of a bad spirit). They also read like good sound theological sites too. I don't agree with everything, but they are a good start.
Reprogram yourself here:
If you want a simpler version try my summaries but the above sites are better: