The Word of Faith Movement began in the mid-1970s with the explosive growth of Kenneth Hagin Ministries and Rhema Bible Training Center in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. Within ten years a number of books were written criticizing the movement, and at times even condemning it as cultic and heretical. Some of the criticism has been justified, but unfortunately a great deal of it isn’t.
The world is full of liars. We’ve all told a lie or two, and we all encounter liars on a daily basis. People lie about their income. They lie about their age. They lie about their education. They lie about their achievements. They lie about their love life. They lie and lie and then they lie some more, and eventually some people lie so much they start to believe their own lies. This should come as no surprise to the believer, because we know from the Bible that Satan is the god of this world and he’s a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44) So we should always be mindful of the fact that we live in a world where lying is the norm.
When you’re buying a car, you should assume that the salesman is lying (unless it’s somebody you know who has earned your trust). When you’re watching the news, you should assume that the media is lying. Maybe they’re not lying about everything, but they’re probably lying about some things even if it’s by omission of pertinent facts. When you’re listening to a politician you should assume that they’re lying. They live in a world driven by lies. We have come to expect lies from salesmen, journalists, and politicians, but sometimes it’s hard for us to grasp the fact that Christians lie.
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col. 3:10) “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.” (Eph. 4:25)
In these verses Paul is telling believers not to lie. Why would he feel the need to tell them that if it wasn’t an issue? The fact is believers still have the flesh to deal with, and they still need to be reminded to always tell the truth, because their carnal nature wants to lie.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)
Here John is telling us to be aware of lies instead of just accepting everything that we hear. Unfortunately the ministry is also full of liars. We have to be on guard against lies from the pulpit as well.
“The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.” (Prov. 18:17 HCSB)
Over the years I’ve listened to a lot of Christian apologists addressing false religions, cults, and aberrant theology. Most of what I’ve heard and read is accurate, but I’ve noticed that when it comes to addressing the Charismatic Movement and the Word of Faith Movement in particular, many apologists stray from the truth and start pursuing an agenda. The fact of the matter is Word of Faith theology is controversial, and controversy sells. These books addressing Word of Faith theology have sold quite well. One of the critics was sued by people who claimed to have assisted him with the research and editing of his anti-WoF book, and in the court document they listed his take from the sales of that book at $500,000. Not bad, huh?
The controversy surrounding the WoF is nothing new to me. I saw the same thing happen with Baptist churches back in the 1970s over speaking in tongues. There was a lot of name-calling, insulting, accusations … etc. Churches were “disfellowshipped” (kicked out) and some ministers were written off as heretics. In the 1950s/1960s a similar controversy erupted on a smaller scale over the teaching of dispensationalism. Today all of those parties have made peace and accepted each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, and I believe in time the same will be true with the WoF.
Responding to the Critics
As I look through Amazon.com I find numerous books addressing the “heresy” of the Word of Faith, but very few defending Word of Faith theology as I did in my book Defending the Faith. As I look through videos about WoF theology on YouTube I don’t see anybody defending it, but hundreds of videos condemn it. It seems that bashing the WoF has become a big business. There’s one guy does nothing but speak against it, from what I can tell. He travels all over the US and even goes to foreign countries to do so. Naturally when money comes into the picture there’s a temptation to allow agendas to override the truth.
Due to the controversial nature of Word of Faith theology and many of its proponents, I have dedicated an entire section to this topic. As a graduate of the preeminent WoF school in the world (Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Ok.), and as a member of the movement for nearly 35 years, I feel qualified to address these questions based on my research and experience.
Error Taught by WoF Teachers
Falling Asleep in Jesus
From the Crucifixion to the Resurrection
Five Tactics Used by the Critics
Healing in the Atonement
Horton Hears a Heretic (part 1)
Horton Hears a Heretic (part 2)
Jesse and Jehovah
Misinformation 1 (Joyce Meyer)
Misinformation 2 (Gnosticism)
Misinformation 3 (Shamanism)
Misinformation 4 (New Age)
Misinformation 5 (Benny Hinn)
Out of Context Intro
Out of Context 1 (Faith in Your Faith)
Out of Context 2 (Sick Days)
Out of Context 3 (If It Be Thy Will)
Out of Context 4 (T. L. Osborn & William Branham)
Refuting Keith Thompson on Joel Osteen (part 1)
Refuting Keith Thompson on Joel Osteen (part 2)
Refuting Keith Thompson on the WoF
Speaking to Storms
The God Kind of Faith
The Kenyon Connection (Part 1)
The Kenyon Connection (Part 2)
The Kenyon Connection (Part 3)
The Nail Prints