From: Josephine Melrose How Biblical is the 'Word-Faith' doctrine of 'ordering God' instead of seeking His Will?!
Sent: 2nd August 2004
Subject: Persistent Prayer
And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; 'for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; "and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'? "I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:5-10
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:12-14
In Korea, where the church has grown from almost zero to a projected 50% of the entire population in this century alone, Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho attributes his church's conversion rate of 12,000 people per month as primarily due to ceaseless prayer. In Korea it is normal for church members to go to bed early so they can arise at 4.00 am to participate in united prayer. It is normal for them to pray all through Friday nights. It is normal to go out to prayer retreats. Cho says that any church might see this sort of phenomenal growth if they are prepared to 'pray the price,' to 'pray and obey.' Cho was once asked by a local pastor why was it that Cho's church membership was 750,000 and his was only 3,000 when he was better educated, preached better sermons and even had a foreign wife? Cho inquired, 'How much do you pray?' The pastor said, 'Thirty minutes a day.' To which Cho replied, 'There is your answer. I pray from three to five hours per day.'
In America one survey has shown that pastors on average pray 22 minutes per day. In mainline churches, it is less than that. In Japan they pray 44 minutes a day, Korea 90 minutes a day, and China 120 minutes a day. It's not surprising that the growth rate of churches in those countries is directly proportional to the amount of time pastors are spending in prayer.
When we read the biographies of William Carey, Adoniram Judson, David Livingstone, Hudson Taylor, or whomever, the initiating thrust of the work of their lives began in prayer encounters. About a century ago, John R. Mott led an extraordinary movement which became known as the Student Christian Movement. It was based amongst college and university students. It supplied 20,000 career missionaries in the space of thirty years. John Mott said that the source of this amazing awakening lay in united intercessory prayer. It wasn't just that these missionaries were recruited and sent out in prayer; their work was also sustained through prayer.
Hudson Taylor told a story of a missionary couple who were in charge of ten stations. They wrote to their home secretary confessing their absolute lack of progress, and they urged the secretary to find intercessors for each station. After a while, in seven of those stations, opposition melted, spiritual revival broke out and the churches grew strongly. But in three there was no change. When they returned home on their next furlough, the secretary cleared up the mystery. He had succeeded in getting intercessors for only seven of the ten stations. S. D. Gordon (1983:40) concludes, 'The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is to pray.'
Luther, Calvin, Knox, Latimer, Finney, Moody, all the `greats of God' practised prayer and fasting to enhance ministry effectiveness. John Wesley was so impressed by such precedents that he would not even ordain a person to ministry unless he agreed to fast at least until 4.00 pm each Wednesday and Friday. Matthew Henry wrote, 'When God intends great mercy for His people, He first sets them praying.' Across the country prayer meetings were networking for revival. A passion for evangelism arose. Converts were being won not through the regular services of the churches, but at the prayer meetings! Some were held at 5.00 am, some at midnight. Some preChristians were drawn by dreams and visions. Some came to scoff but were thrown to the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes there was noise and confusion; sometimes stillness and solemnity. But always there was that ceaseless outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Whole denominations doubled, tripled and quadrupled in the next few years. It swept out from England to Wales, Scotland, United States, Canada and to some Third World countries.
Well Jesus taught us on the power of persistent prayer with a promise, So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. These words should encourage us to continually and persistently pray until we received our desired results. Each one of us has a right to salvation, healing and prosperity as a result of the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. And we are to pray till we receive as much as we need from God just like the woman of Canaan whose daughter was demon possessed received. God's word is unchanging:
Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us." But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:21-28
None of the persistent people of faith in the bible including Jacob who wrestled with God and the Roman Centurion whose servant was sick brought into their persistent prayers the idea if it is God's will. The bible records for our profit and instruction:
Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!" So He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob." And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." Genesis 32:34-28
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour. Matthew 8:5-13
Obviously those who are in bondage to the doctrine of demons that prayer is only answered if it is God's will receive nothing from God because as Fred Price on a television broadcast had stated:
"If you've got one dollar faith and you ask for a ten-thousand dollar item, it ain't going to work. It won't work. Jesus said, 'According to your [faith],' not according to God's will for you, in His own good time, if it's according to His will, if He can work it into his busy schedule. He said, 'According to your faith, be it unto you.'
If you have to question if it is God's will then you are not believing God and don't have faith and but rather you exhibiting unbelief. Either you walk in faith with God or unbelief. You chose one or the other and you receive accordingly from God depending on your faith or unbelief! Doubters and scoffers will always find a reason why God will not miraculously answer prayer. God's word is unchanging:
And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? "Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?" So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:54-58
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 2 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Hebrews 11:30-34
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. Hebrews 4:1-3
Unbelief kept the Children of Israel out of the Promised Land of wealth and blessing. Even though God did Marvelous things for them as dividing the sea and causing them to pass through and destroying their enemies in it they sinned even more against Him, by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. The bible records:
And they tested God in their heart By asking for the food of their fancy. Yes, they spoke against God: They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? Behold, He struck the rock, So that the waters gushed out, And the streams overflowed. Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?" Therefore the LORD heard this and was furious; So a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also came up against Israel, Because they did not believe in God, And did not trust in His salvation. Yet He had commanded the clouds above, And opened the doors of heaven, Had rained down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven. Psalm 78:18-24
It was unbelief on their part that was the cause of their troubles, and not any limitation or restriction on God's part that caused the Children of Israel not to inherit houses full of all good things, which they did not fill, hewn-out wells which they did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which they did not plant. But Joshua and Caleb who served the Lord fully and believed God got to enjoy all these things. They were able to testify
So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass. Joshua 21:43-45
Even though all the promises in the bible are theirs including God's mighty power, unlimited riches and resources, many of God's people live in a wilderness of their own choosing because of unbelief. They are like the elder brother of the prodigal son, thought he was serving his father faithfully "these many years" in his father's house, it was in the spirit of bondage and not in the spirit of a child, so that his unbelief blinded him and robbed of the privileges that the father had for him. It was his fault, not the father's that he did not enjoy everything that belong to the father including a fatted calf. Similarly it's the fault of God's children if there is a discrepancy between their life and the fulfillment and enjoyment of all God's promises. the majority of Christians regard the whole of the Spirit's work as confined to conviction and conversion not so much that He only came to dwell in our hearts, and reveal God to us but to make real and true to us all that belongs to God. God's word is unchanging:
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. "All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. John 16:12-15
Yes, God children must repent of their unbelief in not having God's best in everything and living in the wilderness of their own choosing. There are many children of God who need to confess, that though they are His children, they have never believed that God's promises are true and are ruled by the flesh, giving way to strife, temper, division, heresies, lusts and envy. God's word is unchanging:
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. James 10:1-13
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. Jude 1:5
TCE: replies: 5th September 2004
we regret that it has taken longer to reply than we assessed in our initial response, but we now enclose our thoughts on the points you brought up.
Were things really as Yonggi Cho said?!
You state: 'These words should encourage us to continually and persistently pray until we received [sic] our desired results. Each one of us has a right to salvation, healing and prosperity as a result of the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. And we are to pray till we receive as much as we need from God just like the woman of Canaan whose daughter was demon possessed received.'
TCE: Again this presents the 'Word-Faith' approach to prayer - seeking our desires rather than the will of the Father. Where in Scripture does it state that everyone will receive what they desire - and that we have 'a right to salvation, healing and prosperity'? Nowhere! Scripture informs us that we are to seek God's will (see references below), for He knows what you need before you even ask (Matthew 6:8). While His answer may not be the one you wanted, He will give you what He knows is good for you. And His will is not going to emulate the 'Word-Faith' heretics primary desires for luxury houses, jet planes and monetary rewards! Only this heretical view would demand 'a right to salvation, healing and prosperity'. Salvation is for those who acknowledge their need of a Saviour before God (Matthew 5) and such humble believers do not go around demanding 'as much as we need from' the Almighty God of the Universe! The Hinn's and Copelands of this world think they are 'little gods' - and, in trying to act as such, will take themselves away to Hell with those who follow them.
How different is the 'Word-Faith' view from the Biblical account that shows the reason the woman of Samaria was able to demonstrate her faith when Jesus 'answered and said, 'I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' When she worshipped Him and humbled herself before Him, He 'answered and said to her, 'O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour.' Again, how different this is from the supposed 'ordering' of God by 'Word-Faith' heretics.
Seeking God's will puts you in bondage to a 'doctrine of demons'?!
[TCE comment - 2018: Regarding Josephine's tale of Yonggi Cho and his 'extraordinary prayer life', note the many reports of his fall from grace, e.g.: HERE! HERE!! And HERE!!!
Note also that this is just one example of dozens from the world of 'Charismanic' and 'Word-Faith' leaders in the recent past!]
You write: 'None of the persistent people of faith in the bible including Jacob who wrestled with God and the Roman Centurion whose servant was sick brought into their persistent prayers the idea if it is God's will'.
TCE: It is impossible to use Jacob's early dealings with God, or the account of Jacob wrestling with 'a Man,' to try and build a picture conducive to 'Word-Faith' theology. You cannot ignore his transition from deceptive scoundrel to a servant carrying God's Name. The narrative is a clear picture of Jacob's struggle with God and epitomizes the whole of the Jacob narratives, just as it epitomizes every Christians' struggle. The verb for 'wrestle' and the place where this match occurs, Jabbok (v24), are from the same Hebrew root, one of the many word plays in this story. We all go through a 'Peniel' experience in our lives at some time. Throughout the narratives Jacob's life has been characterized by struggle, particularly by a struggle to obtain a blessing from God. Because of his nature, Jacob had struggled with his brother (Chapters 25, 27), his father (Chapter 27), his father-in-law (Chapters 29-31), and God (Chapter 32). The conflict expressed his ambivalent attitude to God, of love and enmity, defiance and dependence. Jacob had not been pitting his strength against men but against the will of God, as he now discovered; yet the initiative had been God's as it was this night as He chastened his pride and challenged his tenacity. The crippling and the naming show that God's ends were still the same: He demanded all of Jacob's will and purpose in life, but needed to purge his self-sufficiency and redirect Jacob's life towards the proper object of man's love - God himself.
The importance of Jacob's naming the site 'Peniel' (v30) is that it identified the one with whom Jacob was wrestling as God. Jacob said, 'I saw God face to face' (v30). As with other similar statements (e.g., Judges 13:22), when one saw the 'angel of the Lord' it was appropriate to say that he had seen the face of God. God first gives a name, and then Jacob gives a name. Jacob is doubly surprised. He has a new name, and he has seen God and lived to tell about it. The context favours the angel being the pre-incarnate Christ (cf. v30 and the phrase 'for I have seen God face to face'). There is some evidence for this in the prophecy of Hosea (Hosea 12:1-5):
'Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us; Even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial'.
'The Lord is his memorial' - or, 'the Lord is His name' shows that it was none other than Jehovah, the pre-incarnate Christ, who wrestled with Jacob that night (v25):
And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
The 'Old Jacob' was not going to give up easily - just as our 'Old Adam' does not give up the love of our old life (sin!); Jacob was not that kind of man - and he struggled against God until He 'wrestled' with him and crippled him - just as He 'wrestles' with us to defeat our pride and humble us.
Jacob's own words express the substance of these narratives about him: 'I will not let you go unless you bless me' (v 26). Here we see a graphic picture of Jacob struggling for the blessing, struggling with God and with man (v28). Jacob's reply indicated that he had learned that the cause of his well-being would be God's blessing rather than his own deceptive resourcefulness. His change of name (v27-28) reflects this change of character (cf. 25:26; 27:36). Most significant is the fact that Jacob emerged victorious in his struggle, but not in the way he might have expected, through his own ability: 'You have struggled with God and man and have overcome' (v28). Jacob's victory, even in his struggle with God, came when the angel 'blessed him' (v29). The Angel's response means: 'You know who I am'. This is shown by v30. The wrestling continued until daybreak. Jacob displayed a few admirable characteristics. One of these is his confession of unworthiness when asked: 'What is your name?' 'Jacob,' he answered, for 'Jacob' was not only who he was, but what he was. Here is an explicit case where a name is descriptive of one's nature. The blessing constituted the changing of his name from Jacob, meaning 'heel catcher,' 'supplanter,' or 'deceiver,' to Israel, meaning either 'God's fighter' or 'may God strive (for him)'. In his new name, Israel, Jacob's query was already answered (cf. Judges 13:17ff.), as his response shows, for the el in Israel means the God of Israel. As with Abraham in chapter 17, a new name indicates a new destiny, for the first evidence of real spiritual transformation in Jacob's life is that he receives a new name.
We learn from the text that Jacob was not wrestling, or winning in any way, but just holding on. He found out that you do not get anywhere with God by struggling, resisting, and trying to force your will onto God. The only way that you get anywhere with Him is by yielding and just holding on to Him. Abraham had learned that, and that is why he believed God, and He counted it to him for righteousness (Romans 4:3). Abraham reached the end of his tether and eventually surrendered to the will of God - after years of trying to do it his way by listening to bad advice from men and women and much lying and scheming! When you are finally defeated by God, as Jacob was, then you trust God. When you are willing to just hold on to Him, He is there ready to help you.
Notice, verse 25 informs us that 'the Angel' dislocated Jacob's hip with a 'touch' - showing that He could easily have defeated Jacob at any time! Certainly, God could have pinned Jacob down by his shoulders, or any way He chose - but He chose not to pin down his will. God touches the hollow of Jacob's thigh - just a touch of the finger of God, and the man became helpless. But God does not pin down his shoulders. Now Jacob holds on to Him. The Man says, 'Let Me go,' and Jacob says, 'No, I want Your blessing.' Jacob was clinging to God now. The struggling and striving were over, and now Jacob was going to manifest a spiritual nature and dependence upon God. The change would not happen in a moment's notice and Jacob would lapse back into his old ways many times, but we begin to see something different in him now as he becomes a real man of God.
First, we saw him at his home and then in the land of Haran where he was a man of the flesh. Here at Peniel, at the brook Jabbok, he is fighting. After this, and all the way through down into Egypt, we see him as a man of faith. First a man of the flesh, then a man who is fighting and struggling, and finally a man of faith.
In the New Testament another young man, a son of Jacob by the name of Saul of Tarsus, tells us his struggle in chapter 7 of Romans. There were three periods in his life. When he was converted, he thought he could live the Christian life but quickly discovered his problem: 'For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do' (Romans 7:19). Paul found out that not only was there no good in the old nature, but there was also no strength or power in the new nature. Finally we hear him crying out, 'O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' (Romans 7:24). This is another blow to 'Word-Faith' theology - Paul admitting that he had a 'body of death' - why didn't he drop dead on the spot? Because he was relying totally on the Word of God - the Lord Jesus Christ, for he says (v25): 'I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord … so then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin'. This is the problem that Jacob could never fully deal with living under the Old Covenant - we all have that old nature, and it cannot do anything that will please God. In fact, Paul went on to say that it was against God: 'Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God' (Romans 8:7-8). We cannot please God in the flesh. Finally, Paul found victory by yielding to the Spirit of God. What the law could not do, the Spirit now is able to do in our lives. How does one do it? It is not until you and I yield to Him that we can please Him. Yield means that it is an act of the will of a regenerated person submitting himself to the will of God. And that is exactly what Jacob did. Jacob won, but he got the victory, not by fighting and struggling against God, but by yielding. What a picture we have here in him, and we are told that all these things happened unto them as examples to us (ref. 1 Corinthians 10:11: 'These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come').
The account of the faith of the centurion in the healing of his servant is likewise of no help to 'Word-Faith' believers (Matthew 8:5-13):
MATTHEW 8:5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 'Lord,' he said, 'my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.' MT 8:7 Jesus said to him, 'I will go and heal him.' MT 8:8 The centurion replied, 'Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,' and he goes; and that one,`Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,' and he does it.' MT 8:10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, 'I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' MT 8:13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, 'Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.' And his servant was healed at that very hour.
The centurion actually bowed to the will of Jesus in recognising the authority He wielded and demonstrated his own great faith by acceding that Jesus, who he acknowledged as Lord, and therefore in a far superior position to himself, had such great authority that He only had to 'say the word' and the servant would be healed. How very different is this humble attitude, that would not even seek Jesus' presence in his house (''Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof'), from the supposed ordering of God's will practiced by 'Word-Faith' heretics. Notice, also, that the centurion acknowledged that Jesus was the One who could 'just say the word' and did not follow the 'Word-Faith' 'formula' of speaking out 'words' himself! The account speaks volumes against 'Word-Faith' and the Luke account (Luke 7:1-10) reveals the utter humility of the Gentile centurion who sent, first Jewish elders who declared he 'loves our nation and has built our synagogue', and then servants because he felt too unworthy to be under the same roof as the One he acknowledged as Lord. And such was his faith that Jesus told him that 'It will be done just as you believed it would.' The centurion believed, acceded to Jesus' will, and did not order God, or fail to acknowledge His will, in any way whatsoever!
You write: 'Obviously those who are in bondage to the doctrine of demons that prayer is only answered if it is God's will receive nothing from God ...''Word-Faith' healers refuse to consider the clear Biblical evidence that proves we must pray to be in the will of God!
TCE: The real father, or grandfather, of the 'Word-Faith' doctrine of demons is E.W. Kenyon who, without Scriptural support, taught that Jesus died two deaths - physically on the cross and spiritually as he descended into hell: 'His physical death was but a means to an end.' The truth is that, although that death fulfilled perfect obedience, Jesus sacrifice did not eradicate sin and sickness which are essentially spiritual. Kenyon was the initiator, Kenneth Hagin the propagator, of the real 'doctrines of demons' which Fred Price, and other duped followers took on board. Price states: 'Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? ... No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God.'
'Word-Faith' 'healing' is to be accepted as an accomplished 'faith fact' even though it is not immediately manifested as a physical fact, just as in the 'Emperor's New Clothes' deception. We know 'Word-Faith' adherents here in Cardiff who refuse to accept that they have a glass-eye, or prosthetic limb. They claim that symptoms are not the disease itself, but are spiritual decoys from Satan to trick the believer into a negative confession that forfeits healing. Meanwhile everyone knows that they cannot see through their glass eye, or walk properly on the prosthesis, but still they parrot the falsehoods of 'Word-Faith'. Kenyon wrote: 'Confession always goes ahead of healing. Don't watch the symptoms - watch the Word.... You are healed. The Word says you are.' Kenyon taught that it is wrong for us to have diseases in our bodies, claiming that God laid them on Jesus, and that the believer who is not healed is out of God's will, for sickness is caused by unbelief or sin. It is no surprise to see you quote Price, who shares the Word Faith's contradictory view (which is consistent with that other metaphysical charlatan of mumbo-jumbo, Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science cult) toward doctors and medication. Most 'Word-Faith' leaders stop short of ruling out the use of medicine 'as necessary' because they know that they will also be caught out in its use, as Eddy was, but some will at least admit it to be a sign of weak faith. Can they detect the ambiguity in their teaching? Fred Price believes that medicine is not opposed to divine healing, but it should be considered a temporary measure:
'If you need a crutch or something to help you get along, then praise God, and hobble along until you get your faith moving to the point that you don't need a crutch.'
According to the 'Word-Faith' camp, anyone who needs medicine doesn't have strong faith. The record of 'Word-Faith' followers - including many children - who died because they stopped taking their medication on these grounds is another cruel testimony to this real 'doctrine of demons'!
Finishing with your quote from Fred Price:
'If you've got one dollar faith and you ask for a ten-thousand dollar item, it ain't going to work. It won't work. Jesus said, 'According to your [faith],' not according to God's will for you, in His own good time, if it's according to His will, if He can work it into his busy schedule. He said, 'According to your faith, be it unto you.'
Considering the amount of material you used from gospelcom.net, it is noticeable that their writer(s) deny the 'Word-Faith' doctrines and accept the Biblical position!
'The first thing we shall look at is the times when Jesus says people had little or inadequate faith. I want to say straight off that Jesus never said to any sick person 'You remain sick because you lack faith.' The closest He ever comes to that is when the disciples fail to heal the epileptic boy... and there He blames the disciples and not the boy. It was the failure of the disciples faith not the lack of the sick person's faith that worried Jesus.'
It is a great pity, that has caused untold damage to thousands of suffering people, that the 'Word-Faith' proponents fail to see this obvious point from Scripture: in Scripture it requires faith by someone, not necessarily the sufferer, to reach the Father-heart of God who, in His mercy, heals.
You write: 'If you have to question if it is God's will then you are not believing God and don't have faith and but [sic] rather you [sic] exhibiting unbelief. Either you walk in faith with God or unbelief. You chose one or the other and you receive accordingly from God depending on your faith or unbelief! Doubters and scoffers will always find a reason why God will not miraculously answer prayer.'
TCE: Since positive confession teaches people that their words are determinative, God is no longer the object of faith and 'Word-Faith' devotees are taught to put their faith in their own words - or, as Hagin bluntly states: 'faith in (their) own faith ... having faith in your words is having faith in your faith ... that's what you've got to learn to do to get things from God'. Thus Hagin disparages the Father and Son with his ludicrous ramblings. How can he even talk about God having faith in His own Word (His Son!) and speak of the faith of an omniscient, sovereign God? He tries to turn faith into a magical formula where words spoken by humans are given the power to 'get things from God.' The complete absence of Biblical support for their doctrines does not seem to trouble the 'Word-Faith' heretics who reject the truth - that the only appropriate objects for our faith are God and his infallible Word, not our own words. Kenneth Hagin claims: 'Believe it in your heart; say it with your mouth. That is the principle of faith. You can have what you say.' He quotes John 14:14: 'If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it' - but ignores the plain implications of the phrase 'in My name' so he can use the verse as an unqualified promise that 'Word-Faith' believers can extort from God whatever they desire.
Thus the obscene 'blab-it-and-grab-it' ministries of such as John Avanzini and Robert Tilton solicit money from the gullible by 'suggesting' that followers make a 'vow of faith' in the form of a gift - to their ministry of course! Tilton follows the Kenyon formula and encourages his listeners to pray the prayer of faith: 'not one of those, 'Lord, if it be Thy will - ' I know what the will of God is when it concerns healing, and prosperity, and divine direction.... I don't have to pray a prayer of doubt and unbelief.' Of course, Robert Tilton wants you to make a big money vow of faith to his ministry - he isn't interested in peanuts and he certainly doesn't want you to pray for God's will on the matter. After all, you can demand what you want and God must give it to you. But the fact that this is deceitful, blasphemous, foolishness followed by thousands is shown by the fact that only those leading these ministries achieve the riches and prestige they claim everyone can demand. Of course, it works just like the Emperor's New Clothes in that no one can query this fact - because the reason they are not achieving the same results as the leaders is that they are weak in faith - just as only those who were wise could see the Emperor's 'magic clothes'! Hence it is no surprise to read your Fred Price quote in which he concluded:
'Now, I may want a Rolls Royce, and don't have but bicycle faith. Guess what I'm going to get? A bicycle.'
It is no surprise to see that it is the 'Word-Faith' charlatans who travel to their meetings in Rolls Royce's while their supposedly feeble-faithed followers arrive on the metaphorical bicycle! Yet still they don't catch on to the scam. Since God's ability to bless us is supposedly determined by our faith the 'Word-Faith' preachers cannot pray 'If it be Thy will' and, while they will quote John 14:14: 'If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it' they seem to be completely ignorant of 1 John 5:14:
'This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us'
Incredibly, Hagin claims that no such truth is taught in the New Testament:
'Because we didn't understand what Jesus said, and because we've been religiously brainwashed instead of New Testament taught, we watered down the promises of God and tacked on something that Jesus didn't say, and added on something else to it: 'Well, He will all right if it's His will, but it might not be His will,' people have said. And yet, you don't find that kind of talk in the New Testament'.
Thus Hagin has also written:
'It is unscriptural to pray, 'If it is the will of God.' When you put an 'if' in your prayer, you are praying in doubt.'
If Hagin had not spent so much time absorbing and regurgitating Kenyon - sometimes word for word - he might have noticed that 1 John 5:14 clearly includes an 'if.'
In rejecting all prayers that are asked in God's will the 'Word-Faith' heretics boldly assert that such prayers are actually calling God a fool. But contrary to the claims of the faith teachers, Christ Himself prayed that God's will be done (Matthew 6:10: ... your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven'; Matthew 26:39: 'Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'), as did His brother James (James 4:15) in a passage that is altogether damning of the arrogant presumptions of the 'Word-Faith' heretics:
13Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.
The apostle Paul also prayed Scripturally (Romans 1:10):
10in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
And Romans 15:31-32:
31Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, 32so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.
Furthermore, Romans 8:27 tells us that even the Holy Spirit 'intercedes for the saints according to the will of God'.
These examples contradict the most fundamental 'Word-Faith' teaching and are supported by an abundance of other Scriptural testimony, such as the actions of the relatively 'good' king Josiah who did not seek the will of God and took it upon himself to attack the Egyptian king, Neco (2 Chronicles 35:20-24):
2CH 35:20 After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle. 21 But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, "What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you." 2CH 35:22 Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Neco had said at God's command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo. 2CH 35:23 Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, "Take me away; I am badly wounded." 24 So they took him out of his chariot, put him in the other chariot he had and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the tombs of his fathers, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him.
Although Neco addressed Josiah (v21): "It is not you I am attacking" because he desired to march along the Palestinian coast without further delay and so meet "the house with which I am at war," namely the Babylonian army under the command of the formidable Nebuchadrezzar, His words to try and persuade Josiah, that "God has told me to hurry," should have had a special appeal for a godly king concerned about keeping God's word.
Josiah (like King Ahab who ignored the will of God expressed through Micaiah, a true prophet of God, and thus died at Ramoth Gilead - cf. 2 Chronicles 18:29), then "disguised himself" (v22) for protection against his fate rather than seek or listen to the will of God. For though this might have come as a surprise to the king, "what Neco had said" actually had come "at God's command." The Lord's consistent message to His people has always been that they must rely on Him and, correspondingly, seek His will and keep themselves from independent involvement in such as international power politics (cf. the results of such actions at 16:2, 9; 28:16; 32:1, 5).
It is the faith teachers themselves who are acting like fools in that they fail to realise that the Sovereign God can act exactly as He pleases! The truth is that, as a result of the fall, all of creation groans under the curse of suffering (Romans 8:19-21), and disease will only be fully defeated in the believers life when death is defeated with the coming of Christ and the general resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). It is only then that the natural body, characterised by perishability, weakness, and dishonour will be raised imperishable, powerful, and in glory (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
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