What is the Word of Faith Movement?

What is the Word of Faith Movement?

The Word of Faith Movement (WoF) is a cult. Such figures as of E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, T.L. Osborn, William Branham, Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joseph Prince, Joyce Meyer, Charles Capp, Jerry Savelle, Paul and Jan Crouch, Robert Tilton, Peter Popoff, and Creflo Dollar have been some of the main figures involved in this false teaching.

The WoF message is essentially one of teaching a false view of: (1) faith, (2) health, and (3) prosperity. On faith, essentially, God is subject to the authority of man upon earth. They use a formula to 'name it, claim it and frame it.' Essentially one names what they desire and continue to confess it (claim it) until they have it (frame it). Prayer is replaced by confession. It presents God as some sort of cosmic genie. It fails to recognize God as the sovereign King of Kings of his Kingdom.

On health, they believe God always heals if one has enough faith. They assert that all sickness is from Satan and not God's will for man. They believe that if one does not get well then they have a lack of faith. This is false doctrine. The WoF fails to see God's use of "bad things" in maturing his saints (2 Cor 12:1-10; Job, etc.). God doesn't heal everybody (2 Tim 4:20). Indeed, the ultimate sickness is death and all die (Heb 9:27), even those in the WoF movement.

On prosperity, they believe that God desires all his people to richly prosper. They misinterpret such passages as Malachi 3:10; Matthew 25:14-30; John 10:10; Philippians 4:19, and 3 John 1:2 to teach that God desires all his people essentially to be very wealthy. Of course this is heresy as Jesus himself says to not lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (Matt 6:19-20). While it is not a sin to be wealthy, it is not what a Christian should be seeking. As Jesus says, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matt 6:33). If this is not the longing of one's heart then one should question as to whether or not they are really a Christian.

It makes God a weak faith-being who is at the mercy of his own laws. As to the atonement, the WoF Movement asserts that when Jesus died upon the Cross he did not atone for the sins of all his people. Rather he had to take upon himself the sin-nature of the Devil, causing his spirit to die. Then the Father gave the order for Jesus to be re-created as a re-born man. Jesus was the first of many reborn sons. Redemption in the WoF Movement is all about man taking dominion by faith over his health and wealth to establish one's proper place as a god upon this earth. Some in the movement have taught that there is a nine-member God-head. As to being gods, Creflo dollar teaches:

Dollar: "If horses get together, they produce what?"

Congregation: "Horses!"

Dollar: "If dogs get together, they produce what?"

Congregation: "Dogs!"

Dollar: "If cats get together, they produce what?"

Congregation: "Cats!"

Dollar: "So if the Godhead says 'Let us make man in our image', and everything produces after its own kind, then they produce what?"

Congregation: "gods!"

 Dollar: "gods. Little "g" gods. You're not human. Only human part of you is this flesh you're wearing."

The WoF movement has numerous other false teachings (including but not limited to; (1) Jesus' atonement extended to the "sin" of material poverty and illness; (2) church members should give to get; (3) prayer is a God-given tool to force him to grant health and wealth to believers, (4) a form of Gnostic dualism, setting up a false division between the physical and spiritual worlds, etc.). In essence, it focuses upon the things of this world (1 John 2:16) instead of God, his glory, and man's depravity and need of grace. Its theology sees man as a god and demotes the true and Living God to being less than God himself. The WoF movement is a cult (Matt 7:15; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 4:3-4 ). The leaders of the WoF movement prey on the poor and the scripturally illiterate. It is another gospel - which is no gospel at all (Gal 1:6-8; cf. 2 Cor 11:4). It is heresy (Gal 5:20; 2 Pet 2:1).

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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).