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Using Scripture Like Satan: The Word Faith Heresy vs. Jesus

faith messageI have of late, been addressing the popularity of Word Faith teachers whose central focus in ministry (other than collecting your offerings) is to tell you that God has promised you a rose garden of a life and that if you are not living a life of perfect health and abundant wealth then it is all your fault… if you had faith all this would be yours. It is an amazingly ear tickling message while simultaneously being a back door… sometimes front door… condemnation of the suffering. It is an encouragement to hubris (thinking one always knows the complete mind of God) and foolishness (determining to talk and walk in one’s own vision of life rather than in the reality before them… a rejection of wisdom in favor of “faith.”).

Part of the confusion that a lot of people feel about Word Faith Teachers centers around their rather confident and pervasive quotation of Scripture.

  • Joh 14:14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
  • Mar 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
  • Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
  • Mar 16:17-18 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
  • Mat 17:20 …For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
  • Isa 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
  • Jer 33:6 Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.

I could go on and on quoting similar passages.

The problem, of course is context. Not just the immediate context which often tempers the situation in the quoted passage (see my post “Jesus, Blank Checks, and Getting a Clue: ‘Whatever You Ask in My Name’ in John”) but also a larger Scriptural context and theological context in which the temptation to extreme application of some statements is curbed by the theological demands of other statements.

Jewish scribes often employed what Bernard Ramm has called “The Rule of Absurdity” in which any interpretation of a text whose logical outworking leads to an absurdity is seriously reconsidered.

Let me illustrate by quoting the Devil… A risky proposition at any time.

Mat 4:5-7 reads, “Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

This is how Word Faith teachers use Scripture and this is how the church at large should respond to them.

Word Faith teachers shed blood with the Bible. They tempt people to prove their faith by making foolish and reckless choices. They shame the sick AND their families.  They denounce the faith of the struggling. They take no responsibility for the lives they destroy, nor for those whose faith they destroy with constant disappointment in failed promises that God never made them.

How many have died rejecting medications or refusing medical treatment? How many sit around rebuking the Devil rather than changing their habits or getting real help? How many give to these ministers more than is wise in the hopes of promised bountiful returns? They rob the elderly with chain-mail like threats and false promises, sucking up the widow’s mite from hundreds of thousands.

How many walk and talk in the delusion of crafting their own realities in faith rather than dealing wisely with what is before them? They stand opposed to every Biblical proverb that speaks about confronting the ugliness in the world in wisdom. “Don’t see, don’t hear, don’t acknowledge” they trumpet.

Satan quotes a true verse at Jesus, a genuine divine word to messiah, but uses it to encourage a foolish and selfish path.

Jesus counters with a grand Scriptural and theological context. God, the all wise, all seeing, all knowing one, the sovereign and holy creator of all is not to be trifled with. He is to be followed not led. He is to be entreated not commanded. He is to be trusted not instructed.

It is the height of human arrogance to presume to know the will of God in every situation… to claim that only perfect health and abundant wealth is God’s design every time is beyond reckless… it is heresy of the first order… hubris run amuck.

Do not tempt the Lord your God… and put these false teachers behind you as you seek to discover not dictate what is God’s specific will for YOUR life… and death.

2 thoughts on “Using Scripture Like Satan: The Word Faith Heresy vs. Jesus

  1. Dan says:

    Ok, I will agree that there is definitely an error that can be transmitted from the word faith preachers to the hearers….. BUT, each person has a responsibility to search the scripture for themselves …… mark chptr. 4 , Jesus says to be careful what you are hearing…. the measure of thought and study YOU GIVE to the truth you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you…..and more besides will be given to those who hear……
    Also, it’s perfectly ok to tell someone ” hey I have ____x_____, agree with me to be healed…. healing comes from God after all, if you think God is making you sick to teach you something then why would you go to him to get rid
    of it ? If you did then you would be violating Gods will for your life, if you truly thought God made you sick ……. come to think of it ; wouldn’t all doctors be going against Gods will if He is the author of sickness and disease !
    WE MUST use our heads and our hearts……. it’s with your heart that you believe unto righteousness …… AND with your mouth your confession is made unto salvation …… salvation includes much more than going to heaven…… JESUS SAID ” I only do what I see my Heavenly Father doing, and I only say what I hear him say…… JESUS went about doing good and HEALING ALL that were oppressed by the devil FOR GOD WAS WITH HIM…… isn’t He our example ? JESUS did everything he did for you and me Not for himself.
    He became the curse so we could become righteous…. God accepted Jesus’s sacrifice and was satisfied , I accepted JESUS and became able to stand pure in the Fathers presence like JESUS does…… God has to accept me because I’m in Christ JESUS ….. I look just like Him in my spirit man ….. He is my brother The first born of many brethren and I am predestination to be conformed to HIS IMAGE by the renewing of my mind, that’s why He gave us the Bible so we could Know what He said about any given situation…listen , I grew up listening to these word of faith preachers…… and I’ll tell you what , I don’t care who is telling you what, if you don’t pray and seek God for yourself, and let the Holy Spirit paint the picture of what His word says instead of just taking everything as ” gospel”, then Your way off base to begin with……. so let’s get back on our faith, and let’s jack up our hope in Christ JESUS and begins to walk in love towards our fellow brethren instead of criticism ….. they’re doing what they believe God has called them to do just like you and me are…. and if you truly believe they are in error then we need to pray for them …… I belive God can handle his own reputation……

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