'Replies from Word-Faith'

Josephine Melrose - 3

2nd August, 2004

(Continued from previous page)

'Word-Faith' adherents fail to recognise that the Bible warns against pursuing wealth!


What of 'Word-Faith' cult's emphasis on material wealth and prosperity?  How can adherents believe that this is what real faith is all about when, far from stressing the importance of wealth, the Bible warns against pursuing it?!  Believers - especially leaders in the church (1 Timothy 3:3) - are to be free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5), for love of money leads to all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).  How can gullible people swallow this heresy when Jesus warned:  'Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions' (Luke 12:15).  In sharp contrast to the 'Word-Faith' gospel's emphasis on gaining money and possessions in this life, Jesus said, 'Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal' (Matthew 6:19).  The irreconcilable contradictions between the 'Word-Faith' gospel and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is best summed up in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:24: 'You cannot serve God and mammon [riches].'

You quote: 'Matthew 13:54-58, Hebrews 11:30-34, Hebrews 4:1-3, Psalm 78:18-24, Joshua 21:43-45, John 16:12-15, James 10:1-13 [sic - 1 Corinthians 10:1-13], Jude 1:5 and comment:

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 ...  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 ...  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:

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:  Apart from reading 'Word-Faith' doctrine into the account of 'the Prodigal Son', you attempt to show that those who do not accept the 'Word-Faith' heresies are living in sinful unbelief and will be destroyed.  But you are clearly unaware of the gross inability of your teachers to answer the many Scriptures which manifestly reveal the contradictions and falsehoods of your beliefs.  Members of TCE - and many others who prefer the Biblical view to that of 'Word-Faith' - are not anti-charismatic or cessationists (believing that miraculous gifts have ceased) but fully acknowledge that God does heal miraculously - as He wills.  Our pages have some accounts of personal 'words of knowledge/wisdom' and prophecies that have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy.  This is contrary to the ludicrous false prophecies of Benny Hinn et al who have repeatedly shown that they have no anointing from God in any form whatsoever!  Sadly, those who attempt to claim their critics are 'anti-charismatic' are not even accurate about the Biblical definition of charisma (spiritual gifts endowed by God) nor are they factual in their assertions.  It is no surprise to find that many genuine 'Pentecostals' and 'Charismatics' are equally critical of the Word-Faith theology.

You claim: 'all the promises in the bible are theirs including God's mighty power, unlimited riches and resources', but fail to realise that the efforts of the 'Word-Faith' teachers to demonstrate 'God's mighty power' have failed utterly and their disastrous attempted healings and prophecies have only confirmed what true Bible believers recognise - they are deceivers.  Despite all this trumpeted hype, there have been deaths as a result of the false claims of healing by the 'Word-Faith' teachers and, despite the accumulated wealth (scammed off the poor, gullible followers!) of such as Hinn and the Copelands, they do not even begin to approach the riches and resources of such as king Solomon who foolishly went after the false gods of his wives (1 Kings 3:3; 11:1-13) and was severely punished for his transgression.  Although the Lord did not dethrone him, remove his loving-kindness from him, or take the kingdom from him (as he did to Saul), this was for the sake of his father, David (1 Kings 11:12) and not because of the faith, or lack of it, of Solomon - as we read in v12-13; 31-40:

12Notwithstanding in thy days
I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son13Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.  ...  31for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: 32(But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) 33Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.  34Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: 35But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes36And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.  37And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.  38And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.  39And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.  40Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam.  And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 

Solomon retained the kingdom because of the Sovereign decision of the Lord who also declared that he would  'take the kingdom out of his son's hand'!  Where is there room in this for the claims of 'Word-Faith'?  Solomon was unfaithful, disbelieving and even 'sought ...  to kill Jeroboam' - but still retained the kingdom and lived in opulence!  Surely the wonderful, faithful, 'Word-Faith' teachers should have many more of the wonderful possessions they so covet than Solomon possessed even in his unfaithfulness - but they don't!  Why not, if they really have more belief and faith than such Old Testament believers as Solomon?  They have much less than Solomon - is this because they are admitting to being worse than Solomon, an idolater and a man who schemed to murder Jeroboam?

Also notice that God was preserving the kingdom '
for David my servant's sake.'  What marred the record of this servant of God - adultery with Bathsheba, which resulted in a pregnancy and the death of the baby soon after birth, and the murder of Uriah to try and hide this deceit (2 Samuel 11)?  Despite admitting his sin, David then had to suffer at the hand of the Sovereign God who promised disaster against his household (12:10-11) and took this first baby (12:15) .  There was nothing David could do to change God's mind, although he reacted in the right way by repenting, pleading, fasting and praying.  Why didn't he apply 'God's mighty power, unlimited riches and resources' to get himself out of this predicament?  Because he was totally in the hands of the Omnipotent, Sovereign God  - and he knew it!  This was what made him the 'servant of God' that he was.  He did not try some foolish, arrogant, 'name-it-and-claim-it' ploy, but accepted that his fate was in the hands of the Perfect Judge who would also show him mercy and loving-kindness, despite the evil of his schemes.

God is not controlled by human thoughts or dictated to by the words of men and it is noticeable that, if Job, Jeremiah, David, Jonah, Elijah etc., had commanded their situations in 'Word-Faith' fashion by their thinking or words, they would have met with utter disaster because they all confessed negatively!  An example of such 'negativity' occurred when Elijah asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4).  But his words could not change his destiny and God took him to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11).  If visualisation and positive confession automatically equalled possession we could expect at least some 'Word-Faith' preachers to have the wisdom of Solomon, patience of Job, and spiritually inspired theology of Paul - instead we hear unrelenting drivel, false teaching and false prophecy from them!  They try to hide behind excuses akin to the charlatans who produced the 'Emperor's New Clothes' - e.g:  'He sure wasn't under the anointing when he said/did that!'  Let's get real, shall we?

Isaiah 53:4-5 refers primarily to the redemptive value of the Atonement and not physical healing!


While God has always desired his people to be healthy (
Exodus 15:26) the Old Testament teaches that all dimensions of human nature are interrelated and divides a person into three components: spirit, soul and body -  a view diametrically contrary to prosperity theology's dualism of opposing spiritual and material realms which reveals the origins of their doctrines to be occultic.  A text regularly quoted by adherents of the health and wealth movement as a proof text to support their theology of healing is Isaiah 53:4-5:

4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

But it should be noted that this text is referring primarily to the redemptive value of the atonement.  Its major emphasis is on sin not physical sickness and the Hebrew word translated 'healed' in verse 5 (
raphah) is commonly used elsewhere in the Old Testament to refer to spiritual healing, not physical (eg.  Jeremiah 3:22).
Although verse 4 refers to physical healing, it is given an important qualification in the Gospels.  Matthew writes how the sick and demon possessed were brought to Jesus and He healed them
'so that what was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled' (Matthew 8:16-17).  Therefore the healing that Isaiah was speaking of was fulfilled during Christ's earthly ministry, before the atonement, and so cannot be used as a proof text to automatically guarantee a Christians healing today.  Although God heals today under the New Covenant, and respond to faithful prayers, the error of the 'Word-Faith' cult is that they deny God's sovereignty and have attempted to reduce Him to a puppet who must always respond with healing - after all, the arrogant and heretical 'little gods' doctrine of 'Word-Faith' can only lead to such presumption.

At the onset of his ministry, Jesus described his mission in terms of Isaiah's prophecy of spiritual and physical healing (
Matthew 8:17; Luke 4:18-19) and, throughout the Gospels, He was preaching and healing.  The word sozo usually translated 'save' also means 'heal' and Jesus sent out his disciples to preach the kingdom and heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2; 10:1, 9).  We fully accept that the early church reaffirmed that commission with 'gifts of healing' (1 Corinthians 12:9) and anointing with oil (James 5:14-15) - and these gifts have not ceased to exist.  Nevertheless, although Christ's atonement is the basis for making people whole, complete healing clearly doesn't always take place in our fallen world.  Contrary to 'Word-Faith' teaching, healing is not 'a universal, immediately available privilege' and evil, falsehood and illness persist, and will not finally be eliminated until we enjoy our resurrection body.  'Word-Faith' teaching that it was not Jesus' physical death but, rather, his spiritual death in hell which effected atonement, clearly contradicts many Biblical statements that atonement was essentially a physical act involving the shedding of his blood (e.g., Colossians 2:13-15; Hebrews 2:14-15; 9:22-23; 1 Peter 2:24; 4:1). 

The arrogant and heretical 'little gods' doctrine of 'Word-Faith' leads to tragic - and sometimes fatal - presumption!



Kenneth Copeland states that healing 'always comes and that the problem is with our receiving not God's giving'.  Concerning the many instances where believers are not healed, Copeland goes as far as to say that 'such stories are lies'.  This in spite of the abundance of video recorded evidence of those who were accepted as being healed, but who died soon afterwards!  As a result of such 'Word-Faith' teaching, Christians who are not healed often feel that they have not only failed themselves, but God as well.  Despite the words of the 'Word-Faith' teachers, the fact remains that Christians often develop sicknesses and don't always get healed, regardless of their level of faith.  To deny such a fact not only results in a denial of reality but also of what the Bible itself has to say on the matter.  Nowhere does the New Testament teach that complete physical healing is the right of all Christians and there is clear Scriptural evidence in support of this view.  For example, although the apostle Paul operated in the power of God to heal the sick (Acts 19:11), on many occasions he was unable to heal those closest to him.  For example, the apostle Paul reports the near-death illness of his colleague Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:27), the fact that he had left Trophimus sick in Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20), and his encouragement of Timothy to take some wine for his frequent stomach illnesses (1 Timothy 5:23).  Not only was Paul at times unable to see healing in the lives of his friends, but even in his own life sickness was still a reality.  Writing to the Galatians, Paul reminds them how it was because of an illness he had suffered that an occasion for ministry among them arose (Galatians 4:13-15).  Likewise, writing to the Corinthians, he explained how his 'thorn in the flesh' remained even though He asked the Lord to take it from him three times (2 Corinthians 12:7- 9).  Those accepting the 'Word-Faith' creeds need to consider why Paul did not believe facing illness to be a 'negative confession' which should be totally avoided and never discussed!

'Word-Faith' cult is consistent with the 'signs and wonders movement' generally in falsifying  the Biblical view of suffering.  Suffering has various causes, some arising within ourselves, but Scripture shows that there is suffering that is given to Christians by God that is intended for their growth and His own glory.  Such were Job's trials, the suffering of the man who had been born blind (John 9), the thorn in Paul's flesh, and the various hurts, disappointments, and forms of physical anguish endured by countless numbers of God's people today - anguish that the Bible assures 'produces character' (Romans 5:3-5).

How Paul's accounts of suffering utterly demolish the 'Word-Faith' heresies!


Constant miracle-seeking not only undermines or replaces the full gospel, but weakens the normal character building such as that undergone by the saints of the past by eliminating the mundane hassles and frustrations of the normal Christian life. 
It is a clear fact that 'Word-Faith' has no explanation, for example, to justify the struggles of the apostle Paul.  In the whole passage of 2 Corinthians 11, Paul compares himself to the False Apostles of his day in an inspired passage that both contrasts his life and exposes the present false apostles of 'Word-Faith' so perfectly:

1I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that.  2I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.  I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.  3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 
4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those 'super-apostles.' 6I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge.  We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.  7Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.  9And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed.  I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so10As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.  11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.  13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.  Their end will be what their actions deserve.  16I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool.  But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting.  17In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool.  18Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast.  19You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face21To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!  22What anyone else dares to boast about - I am speaking as a fool - I also dare to boast about.  Are they Hebrews? So am I.  Are they Israelites? So am I.  Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.  23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more.  I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.  24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move.  I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.  27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.  28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.  29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?  30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.  31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

Shouldn't Paul have been living in luxury like the 'Word-Faith' heretics?!

Paul voluntarily made tents (Acts 18:2-4) and suffered many hardships (2 Corinthians 11:23-30);

Why, if he had access to all of 'God's mighty power, unlimited riches and resources'?

Shouldn't he have been living in luxury like Hinn and the Copelands - et al?

He trudged around Asia, 'in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers ...I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked' (2 Corinthians 11:26-27):

Why, if he had access to all of 'God's mighty power, unlimited riches and resources'?

Shouldn't he have been riding in comfort and luxury equivalent to the Rolls Royce's of the 'Word-Faith heretics'?

He was ship-wrecked three times and spent 'a day and a night in the deep' (2 Corinthians 11:25):

Why, if he had access to all of 'God's mighty power, unlimited riches and resources'?

Should he have been travelling rough in such ships, sharing with merchants and soldiers, when he could have been travelling in his own personal luxury ship equivalent to the private jets of today's 'Word-Faith' con-men!

He even allowed himself to be beaten, imprisoned, and finally taken to Rome, eventually to face death:

Why, if he had access to all of 'God's mighty power, unlimited riches and resources'?


The religion of the 'Word-Faith' and 'Signs and Wonders' group does away with the need for unnecessary affliction but further burdens us with lacking faith if the 'demon' of lack of material things and suffering cannot be quickly cast out.  It also reveals an aversion to Christianity in which the gospel is not sufficiently powerful to produce mature Christian faith, the Scriptures are not sufficiently revealing for the life of faithful obedience to God, the finished work of Christ is not sufficiently relevant for effective evangelism, and the hope of Christ's coming is not sufficiently comforting for those who are suffering!
However, the Bible declares that the saints overcame Satan 'by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony' (Revelation 12:11), not by 'naming it and claiming it' or 'power evangelism.'

Let us make it clear that we have total confidence in the power of God's Word to change lives, but the 'Word-Faith' teachers have transformed the true gospel of the Word of God to one that fulfils the warning words of the aged apostle Paul to his young co-worker Timothy:

'
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God' (2 Timothy 3:2-4). 

These verses describe every society to some degree, but are especially appropriate to the greedy consumer society in which we live today, one which has proved the perfect breeding ground for the 'Word-Faith' heretics.

The 'negative confession' heresy leads to suffering and deaths, their words no more than occultic incantations!


Obviously, Christians should seek whatever healing we need as a gracious gift from our loving Father and received when and how
He chooses to provide it - whether through prayer, laying on of hands, anointing with oil, medicine, surgery, counselling, or a combination of methods.  Sometimes a physical illness is caused by sinful attitudes, fractured relationships or harmful habits, but the 'Word-Faith' emphasis on the individual's right and responsibility for healing places heavy guilt on the sick person.  Tragically, even to say, 'I am ill, please pray for me,' is often considered a 'negative confession' that forfeits the right to healing and 'Word-Faith' disciples have refused medical aid, sometimes resulting in unnecessary and avoidable deaths (see article on tragic death of Bonnie Parker).  This makes disciples paranoid as their words become no more than magical incantations, determining their fate.  Thus they are trapped in foolish superstition, rather than demonstrating Biblical faith.  Charles Capps warned against the dangers of speaking a negative confession, even unintentionally:

We have programmed our vocabulary with the devil's language.  We have brought sickness and disease into our vocabulary, and even death.  The main word so many people use to express themselves is death - the word,
'death.' 'I'm just dying to do that.' They will say, 'I'm going to die if I don't.  That just tickled me to death.'  Now that, my friend, is perverse speech.  That is contrary to God's Word.  Death is of the devil. ... We need not buddy-up with death.  All men are going to die soon enough, so don't start buddying up with it now.

Tellingly, 'positive-confession' rules out real confession of sin and 'Word-Faith' books on prayer and spiritual growth are noticeably lacking in teaching on confessing personal sin and thus they undermine the crucial teaching of
1 John 1:8-10, which indicates believers should be constantly confessing their sin:

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  10If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar
and His word has no place in our lives.

Clearly, 'positive-confession' teaching actually
encourages believers to ignore and deny the reality of their sins and limitations.  This leaves adherents fearful that a negative confession will bring them bad fortune or, when 'claimed' healing doesn't occur, the sufferer is blamed and has to bear the burden of guilt as well as the pain of sickness.  Just when encouragement is most needed, the person, like the leper in old Israel, is thrust 'outside the camp' lest the negative confession of unhealed illness infect others.  Prosperity theology fails to provide compassionate support for the terminally ill and, at the time the dying most need faith, they are told they least have it.

The clear New Testament model of burden-sharing when faith is required proves the falsity of the 'Word-Faith' doctrine!


By contrast, the New Testament presents a model of burden-sharing.  On one occasion four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. 
'When Jesus saw their faith,' he forgave and healed the man (Mark 2:1-12).  If a healing is thought to have been hindered by lack of faith, let the community point the finger first at themselves!  This is one of the most damning pieces of evidence against the false doctrines of 'Word-Faith'.  If any believers' faith is sufficient to heal the sick one, despite his lack of faith, no one in 'Word-Faith' cult would ever be sick or die!  That this is untrue proves the falsity of the doctrine.  It is noticeable that many churches outside 'Word-Faith' cult carry on thoroughly Biblical healing ministries without the aberrations and excesses of the Faith Movement and manifest 'gifts of healing.'

We are familiar with the 'Word-Faith' attempts to force their teachings on Scripture, such as the way the 'blessing of Abraham' relates to Christians.  The apostle Paul declared that:  'Christ redeemed us...  that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles' (
Galatians 3:13-14).  The context shows that the only part of Abraham's blessing of concern to the writer is that the Gentiles would be included in God's people.  By faith they would be justified and 'receive the promise of the Spirit' (v14), but nothing is said about poverty and sickness.  For his faith and obedience Abraham became 'very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold' (Genesis 13:2) and God also gave him servants, slaves and a concubine.  Can 'Word-Faith' believers claim the entire package which was acceptable in Abraham's day - or do they choose the preferable parts of the blessings?  By such use of Scripture some have tried to justify slavery and polygamy.

The Faith Movement also bases its teaching on promises made to Israel in Deuteronomy (
7:13-15; 28:1-14) but, like other promises, these have specific conditions (28:1, 11):

'If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow
all his commands I give you today ...  The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity'. 

Do 'Word-Faith' followers now obey all those scores of commands to qualify for the affluence they expect?  Old Testament promises of prosperity were made to a covenant people dwelling within geographical boundaries and obeying detailed regulations for their way of life.  The relationship between wealth and God's blessing was radically altered with the new covenant in Jesus Christ, becoming international in scope.  Nowhere in the gospels did He teach that God intends all Christians to be materially rich, but Jesus consistently warned about the dangers of wealth and its misuse, showing concern for, not criticism of, the poor:

Matthew 19:21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 
Matthew 26:9  For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 
Matthew 26:11  For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 
Mark 10:21  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 
Mark 12:42-43  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
Mark 14:5  For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor.  And they murmured against her...  7  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 
Luke 14:13  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
Luke 14:21  So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things.  Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 
Luke 19:8  And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

'Word-Faith' tends to degrade the poor, claiming that their poverty is the result of 'dishonouring' God through lack of faith, rather than oppression inflicted upon them by the greedy and selfish.  Rich and poor Christians need to trust God for their needs, realizing that 'godliness with contentment is great gain' (1 Timothy 6:6). 

'Word-Faith' teaching claiming the hundredfold return (
Mark 10:29-30) also ignores both its context and conditions.  Jesus had just told the rich young ruler to sell everything and follow him.  The Lord presented the cost, not the financial advantages, of discipleship.  It was to disciples who have left everything that Jesus promised the hundredfold return - with subsequent persecutions which are overlooked by prosperity teachers.  The apostle Paul followed his Lord in both teaching and lifestyle - all of which speak of a very different gospel from that proclaimed by the 'Word-Faith' teachers.  Paul wrote that he was often hungry, poorly clothed, and homeless - and he took the Corinthians to task for pursuing riches (1 Corinthians 4:8-17)!  Paul later described in graphic detail a life which was far from that of perfect health and material prosperity claimed by 'Word-Faith' teachers to be the believers' birthright (2 Corinthians 4:7-11; 6:3-10; 11:21-29).

The apostle Paul warned Timothy against those 'who think that godliness is a means of financial gain.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap' (
1 Timothy  6:5, 9).  The 'Word-Faith' use of 3 John 2 as a proof-text for its doctrine of healing is based on another misunderstanding.  The writer's wish that the reader may 'prosper' (KING JAMES VERSION) means literally to 'have a pleasant trip,' and thus came to denote 'getting along well' and is therefore translated 'that all may go well with you' (NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION).  Far from a timeless guarantee of financial blessing, it is simply a standard form of greeting in letters of antiquity!

You write: '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: ...  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:'

TCE:  the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) who leaves his loving father with his fortune, squanders it and then returns home in repentance is widely referred to, even outside Christian circles, and some say its only point is that the love of the father (i.e., God) is so all-embracing that he joyfully welcomes anyone who turns to him from sin.  Certainly the parable shares this theme with the previous two parables in Luke.  But, in verses 25-32, we see the 'older son,' who considers himself righteous but rejects his father's generosity by resenting the reason for which it is offered.  Context makes it reasonable to think of the older son as anyone who supposes God owes him something, and the younger as anyone who knows he has sinned and therefore throws himself on God's mercy, accepting Jesus as his only hope for salvation and forgiveness.  So the entirely reasonable and historically accepted interpretation actually likens the older son, who you say 'thought he was serving his father faithfully ''these many years'' in his father's house ... 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,' to the 'Word-Faith' trained follower who thinks God owes him!  Of course, the younger son had also grabbed everything he could get from his father - and blew it on riotous living - so he was also a 'Word-Faith' believer, at least for a while!  By contrast, we can ignore the whole faulty 'Word-Faith' interpretation and recognise that no one has to 'feed pigs,' we can all come home to the Father as soon as we realize we ought to - as the rest of the parable reveals.  Fortunately, we see (v28) that the father does not given up on his petulant and self-righteous older son either, but entreats him lovingly and courteously.  The parable (v32) leaves open whether the older son responds to his father's appeal and, in present-day reality, whether self-righteous people will respond to God's salvation offer also remains open, for:  'it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins' (2 Peter 3:9).

There is one thing you wrote repeatedly and which is absolutely true: '
God's word is unchanging'.  Sadly, it is God's unchanging Word which reveals that, although the 'Word-Faith' cult accepts most of the orthodox doctrines of Christianity, its dualistic world view and doctrines of human nature, Christ's atonement, and deification of the Christian, constitute major aberrations from historic Christianity.  Anybody recognising these facts should follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul who was inspired to write (Galatians 1:8-9):

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

May God bless you and guide you in discerning the true Spirit from the counterfeit.

In Christ Jesus

TCE

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Josephine Melrose replies - 14th September 2004

Dear Editor,

It's wonderful to find someone who thinks for himself and takes the time to check things out!  I want to thank you for the effort that you put into all this! But you will agree that the beauty of life is that we can agree to disagree. 

I have read all of your arguments and logic and it's obvious that you look at things from your position of beliefs and even define things that are to be a standard by which you  test all things including:

'If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved'

You will agree that when Paul talked about or quoted Holy Scriptures he was referring always to the Old Testament and not to his epistles? And in context about confessing with your mouth he was referring to:

DEUT 33:29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, The shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, And you shall tread down their high places."
2SAM 22:4 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.
Psalm 33:16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;  A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. 33:17 A horse is a vain hope for safety;  Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, 33:19 To deliver their soul from death,  And to keep them alive in famine. 33:20 Our soul waits for the  LORD;  He is our help and our shield.33:21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,  Because we have trusted in His holy name
PS 34:6 This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.
PS 116:13 I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD.
PS 44:7 But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us.
PS 106:10 He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
PS 107:19 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses.
ISA 45:17 But Israel shall be saved by the LORD With an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced Forever and ever.
JER 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.
JOEL 2:32 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.

In context the word 'saved' or 'salvation' usually referred to deliverance from enemies whatever they might be including sickness, famine, death, poverty, etc?  And Zacharias, the Father of John, the Baptist when he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

LK 1:71 That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us,

The words used in the Bible for saved and salvation actually encompass more than saved from hell and John Wimber when he preached the gospel knew this. Hence he preached that Jesus Christ was the same yesterday, today and forever the Savior, Healer and Deliverer who manifests Himself and His miracle working power when we pray persistently? And the bible clearly tells us:

Psalm 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;  And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,  And forget not all His benefits: 103:3 Who forgives all your iniquities,  Who heals all your diseases, 103:4 Who redeems your life from destruction,  Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 103:5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,  So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. 103:6 The LORD executes righteousness  And justice for all who are oppressed.

SO PLEASE TELL ME HOW IN THE WORLD CAN I ACCEPT ANYTHING THAT YOU SAY TO BE TRUE WHEN YOU BY YOUR WORDS AND DEEDS DENY THE TRUTH THAT THE WORD SALVATION OR BEING SAVED MEANS MORE THAN JUST BEING BORN AGAIN?

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