Example 3 - Devastation caused to individuals and families by the 'Word-Faith' cult!
Date: 02 May 2010
Subject: To Whom It May Concern:
I read the article "Deception in the Church: The Word-Faith Movement." I am dealing with a serious issue that is splitting up my relationship between my wife and I. It all revolves around a church that I believe is steeped in Word Faith influence. I don't know exactly where to begin but we'll start that I spent some time studying at Northwestern Bible College in St. Paul, MN. It is a college which is respected for teaching biblical literacy and preaching accurately. When I met my now-wife, I was unfamiliar with the church that she was attending. I started hearing things about it, and automatically my guard went up. When I visited the church, again I knew that things were not quite right though I couldn't exactly touch it at that time. I talked to my pastor about the church and he was familiar with the church and had me look up Kenneth Hagin and the Word-Faith movement. After I did some research, I knew that I did not want to attend such a church and when my wife and I got married we attended a different church. My first clue in which there could be something wrong was machine gunning through scripture. What really got me was the interpretation of 2nd Corinthians 2:7-10 in which the apostle said that if Paul had prayed more times, he would have been healed. Which, I believe grossly misinterprets the entire scripture, because it was clear that Paul was to suffer in the name of Christ and that rather than healing God gave Paul something better; His sufficient grace. Also, there is focus on positive confession and there was a statement in another sermon sounded very close to Ken Hagin's quote about visualizing and confessing blessings. Ultimately, she is unhappy at the church I chose for us, it seems that the only church that she feels happy at is her church, Faith Center located in Rockford, IL. This is really tearing up our marriage now. I have tried bringing up my concerns but I get frustrated in trying to bring up coherent criticism. When I do criticize the church's beliefs, my wife gets offended and takes it very personally. The kinds of things that come up when I mention criticism range from, "how would you know, you haven't been preaching for 50 years;" "So I guess you are discounting nine years of my life." Before I married my wife, when I started challenging the church had a problem because, "I didn't believe the way they do" (which from my research is a classic statement of Word-Faith churches). The major trouble is that as far as I know, the church has not taught the extreme beliefs like the little god's concept. If it weren't for the nuances I mentioned, the church would be very close to Orthodox Christianity. This is what makes it the most difficult to challenge. The church's website is http://rockfordfaithcenter.com/ sermons are posted online. I would appreciate any help with this, I'm not trying to make this into a he said she said deal, I am trying to help my wife out of what I believe to be a poisonous doctorine.
Check out Tricia Tillin's testimony of 'Word-Faith'!
TCE replies: 05 May 2010
Guidelines to help deliver your loved one(s) from 'Word-Faith' - or any other cult!
we have various things to rush through urgently but have noted your comments and will reply in more detail in the near future.
In the meantime, we advise you to check out Tricia Tillin's testimony - found here:
and also follow the links at the bottom of her page for more material on the Word-Faith cult.
Be certain we will not forget you and will be praying for you and your wife and family.
Love in Jesus
TCE replies: 08 May 2010
You are correct about the 'nuances' of the Word-Faith cult. We would not be so 'kind' as to label them with such a gentle term, for they are blatant heresies and a blasphemous insult to God.
You have also recognised the immense problem you have with these deceiving wolves in sheep's clothing who have indoctrinated your wife for many years. As with the influence of all the cults it will take a lot of gentle, yet firm, prayerful teaching, while thoroughly exhibiting the indwelling spirit: Gal5v22: 'the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
There are many pitfalls and 'obvious' mistakes to avoid, as well as 'must do' actions:
1. virulent opposition - even calling these deceivers 'cultists' etc. will inflame;
2. study carefully to know the arguments that expose these deceivers;
3. few people readily admit that they have made a mistake, or been deceived, but many have left the Word-Faith cult so, gently, try to persuade your wife that there is another side of the story - facts that might have affected her choice of church had she known about them;
4. see if you can convince her to make a thorough investigation of the issues with you in a joint research project that must be approached prayerfully (praying together is vital in a marriage anyway - it is very hard to be angry with someone who has just prayed to Jesus with you (and proven they love you in every way possible!);
5. obviously you must both agree that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of doctrine and every fact that influences doctrinal & spiritual issues must be tested against Scripture (ref. 1 Thess. 5v19-22; 2 Timothy 3v16; Acts 17v11);
6. if possible get her to read any good available material, e.g. Tricia Tillin's testimony at: http://www.intotruth.org/wof/mytest.html - and follow the links at the bottom of her page for more material;
7. It is obviously important to both of you to remove this stumbling block to the spiritual life in your marriage and it would be better to examine all of the facts and unique doctrines of this group now, rather than spend any part of your life following false teachers and their beliefs (make sure you don't mention this in an accusatory fashion - we are all capable of being deceived - ref. Gal. 2 - but it is how we deal with it that determines whether our life turns towards the best God has for us, or some damaged ministry that men like Samson veered towards);
8. Always keep open the lines of communication and keep reaffirming your love and personal devotion to the truth;
9. All of these good actions may start to bear fruit - but this may take considerable time because of the long involvement with this group;
10. Beware the opposition of other Word-Faith believers in the fellowship who may try to stop such examination or study - the accusation of being 'nay sayers' or 'accuser of the brethren' is a common cultic ploy they use to separate themselves from you to avoid discussing the truth;
11. The need to be well prepared before raising strong objections cannot be overemphasised since, if points you raise are weak or poorly presented, and they convince your wife that they have answered your objections they may convince her you have 'struck out.' Unless some powerful evidence against Word Faith is brought into play, at the outset, the discussion might appear over, at least temporarily;
12. Unsupported, non-factual accusations will do a lot more harm than good - it is very important to have all your arguments correct and fully documented the first time around; otherwise, there may not be a second chance (particularly true if discussing issues such as Benny Hinn's appalling 'miracle healings' - careful research may still discover the VHS-tape, or equivalents, that circulated some years ago and revealed the number of people who died as a result of believing they had been healed at his 'healing ministry' (two VHS-tapes - 'The Signs and Wonders Movement - Exposed' by Mark Haville through National Prayer Network & 'The False Anointing' by Joseph R. Chambers through Paw Creek Ministries were two that circulated some years ago);
13. 'Bouncing' Bible verses bounce back and forth, perhaps for hours on end, often yields no tangible results unless the point you hope to make is reached clearly without going off the subject (false teaching commonly leads to attempts to side-step answering the question!);
14. The above approach also often fails because it is based upon a wrong assumption - that Word Faith adherents believe certain things because they appear in the Bible, and that they will change their beliefs if shown verses as proof-texts for a different doctrinal stance; like all deceived people they base their beliefs, not on what they find in the Bible, but on emotion and what their leaders tell them the Bible says;
15. A very early step is to examine the 'prophetic' and 'healing' record of the leaders; to demonstrate that leaders such as Hinn have made false prophecies, have preached false doctrine (re. Hinn's 'Good Morning Holy Spirit' that taught that the 'Trinity' was each a 'trinity' of body, soul, and spirit), plagiarised material (Hagin from Kenyon's work) and have misled followers to their harm, some even dying s a result of following their advice - that is, they are not a reliable guide to follow;
16. Do not rush, overwhelm, or engulf, your wife in one massive deluge of books, tapes, notes, or tracts - an avalanche of such things at once threatens to destroy any believers' faith and structure before the truth has begun to take root and replace the false teachings and ideas;
17. the ordinary person can absorb only so much new information at one time - especially when the data appears not to fit in with, or even to contradict, other data already stored in the brain - time is required to analyze the new information, look at it from all angles, and decide which of the contrary notions ought to be stored for future use and which ought to be discarded;
18. the temptation is often strong to act quickly and forcefully, pouring out as much evidence as possible hoping some will take root; this may be the best course of action when a loved one is just beginning to get involved with deceivers & may be just what is needed to scare them off from further involvement; but it is generally an inadvisable course when they are already fully involved and have been for some time - they can be scared off and run back to the comfort of familiar and 'loving' surroundings;
19. getting someone away from deceivers who have had years to prepare their minds is rarely a quick job, but can take considerable time - planting a few ideas here and there is better than behaving like 'a-bull-at-a-gate' and convincing a loved one that you are being used by Satan (deceivers often use this ultimate accusation to detach their disciple from any true Christian who is trying to share the Biblical Jesus and His gospel);
20. While the church may not teach the massive heresies ('the little god's concept'), if they are bringing false teaching that emanates from the same deceivers they are still causing considerable damage; some will try to shut us up and claim we should just focus on 'big issues,' but big problems often grow from small ones. God has instructed us to 'prove all things', to preach with rebuke and reproof, to earnestly contend for the faith. Without judging and reproof, there is no mechanism of correction and error can grow rapidly. God's Word tells us that the wounds of a friend are faithful (Prov. 27:6) and Paul was a friend when he rebuked Peter's 'small' hypocrisy (Gal. 2) - and a friend when he reproved the church at Corinth for their errors, including such 'small' things as the sin of misusing the Lord's supper and taking one another to court. Friends have every Biblical right and responsibility to criticize teachers in error and those accused of being 'judgmental' and 'critical' are the best friends another Christian has - if they are judging Biblically - see 'Letter 1' on this page.
21. Remember Jesus advice (Mt 10:16): 'Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves' - and His gentle questioning to cause genuine seekers to come to the truth (e.g. Mt. 16); asking the right questions to enable a loved one to reach the right conclusion in their own mind will have a much more profound effect. When people doubted that He had the power to forgive sins, He asked, "Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'?" (Mark 2:9). When enemies tried to trap Him in the controversy over whether or not to pay taxes to Caesar, He had them produce a coin and then asked, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" (Mark 12:16). Faced with Pharisees who disapproved of His healing on the Sabbath, He asked, "Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?" (Luke 14:5). In each case the answer that His listeners were forced to come up with in their own minds was powerful and conclusive;
22. It is obviously important to let the Holy Spirit work and to be supportive while avoiding the tempting 'I-told-you-so' response as the false doctrines begin to unravel;
23. While avoiding the worst scenario (which would be to allow these heresies to drive a wedge between you), be careful not to just 'ride out the storm' while ceasing to discuss the issues, otherwise it is inevitable that the source of irritation and tension will remain unresolved;
24. As with so many problems in a husband-wife relationship, if the door is closed to further discussion the relationship may begin to founder and end altogether; maintaining love and full communication is vital;
That is probably enough of an outline of the important issues involved and we would just mention that we have written about Benny Hinn - and other Word Faith deceivers - in other places, (just type Hinn - or other 'Word-Faith' teachers' names into the Google Search box on this page)
We will also send you a series of e-mail exchanges we had some years ago with 'Josephine Melrose' (who was somewhat infamous for her varied 'internet rants' - we have now placed them on TCE - starting on this page). While exploring the subjects she introduced we also addressed other deceptions but, even when her reasoning was proven to be thoroughly faulty and typical Word Faith/Charismaniac, she could only respond in a sadly childish manner.
Be assured we will be praying for you and hope to hear that there is a good outcome to your struggles (hopefully, sometime in the not-too-distant future!).
In the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ
Sadly, we have yet to hear the outcome from Keith ...
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