Posted by: Damon Whitsell | May 29, 2014

Is There Power in the Spoken Word?

Is There Power in the Spoken Word?

SOURCE: We live in a world of confusion, heresies, and blatant falsehood. A day doesn’t go by when I hear of churches accepting false teachings, or disowning certain Scriptures because they don’t believe they align with the teachings of Jesus. Some Christians will have courage to speak out against them, while others decide it’s best not to make waves.

False teachings creep into the Church easily, because believers trust their sincere Jesus-loving pastors. These teachers will lay God’s Word alongside a falsehood, making the principle appear to be true, thus giving continued life to a lie. It then grows and lures in others, and before you know it – they’ve created a monster.

The Word of Faith doctrine of “positive and negative confession” is one of these false teachings. By embracing a faulty view of faith, hundreds of thousands have been captivated by it. This teaching is inseparably linked to the belief that “faith is a force,” which maintains that words themselves actually contain the power to change reality (positively or negatively, depending on what kind of words are spoken) when coupled with the faith-force. So basically, “What you say is what you get.”

What most people don’t realize, is that the Word-Faith movement is one of the most subtle heretical systems to emerge during our lifetime. Their teachings dominate television ministries and make them appear like Biblical Christianity. Those involved in the movement have no idea of its cultic qualities and theology. The gospel of the Faith movement does produce results, but you will find that the gospel of metaphysics does as well.

Mary Baker Eddy

Some who have been in the movement may say that they have seen healing and miracles occur, but results can never be the criterion by which the truth of an idea is proven. If that were the case, Charismatics would have to claim Mary Baker Eddy as a prophetess, and Christian Science as the true Gospel. But Christian Science is not the true gospel and Word-Faith is deeply rooted in the metaphysical cult schools.[1]

Spiritual Laws and Formulas
New Agers follow a similar principal of the“Law of Attraction.” TheLaw of Attraction simply says that you attract into your life whatever you think about.  Your dominant thoughts will find a way to manifest. Sound familiar? This is the same kind of rhetoric heard in the Word-Faith movement. But what is actually taking place here? Is the occult world literally trying to offer mankind the “powers of creation and lordship?” These are powers that we as believers know belong to God alone. God never gave man the right to be his own master and live according to his own will. Yet, this is precisely what those promoting occult spiritual laws want. But you will find that it is what the vast majority of today’s Christian wants too.

It is, in fact, the exact same offer the serpent brought to Adam and Eve in the Garden — powers that will make you “like God.” “And the serpent said unto the woman, “You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4-5). 

Essentially, faith teachers are recommending “formulas” that a person should follow in order to get whatever he/she wants from God. And, of course, Scripture verses are taken out of context and misused in order to try to justify these formulas. They demote God to make Him look more human than He is. They deify man to make us look more like God. 

Word-Faith theology’s view of spiritual laws and formulas can really only be understood in light of the doctrine of god in the metaphysical cults. The “god” that the metaphysical cults believe in is not a personal God who sovereignly governs the universe, but an impersonal force – “the Force,” “the Infinite Power,” “the Spirit of Infinite Life,” and “the Infinite Intelligence.” This infinite, but impersonal, force rules the universe indirectly through “immutable laws” rather than directly through His presence and wisdom. [2]

How are the Word-Faith and metaphysical cults similar?

Consider the similarities between the Word-Faith and the metaphysical teachings of New Thought, Christian Science,
Unity School of Christianity, Divine Science, the Church of Religious Science, and the Society of Healing Christ.

1. Metaphysical cults say: Faith is a force that both God and man can use 
Word-Faith says: “Faith is a force just like electricity or gravity” (Copeland), and it is the substance out of which God creates whatever is (Capps). God uses faith, and so may we in exactly the same way in order to produce the same results through obedience to the same “laws of faith” (Capps) that God applied in creation. “You have the same ability [as God has] dwelling or residing on the inside of you” (Capps). “We have all the capabilities of God. We have His faith” (Copeland).

2. Metaphysical cults say: Faith’s force is released by speaking words

Word-Faith says: “Words are the most powerful thing in the universe” because they “are containers” that “carry faith or fear and they produce after their kind” (Capps). God operates by these very same laws. “God had faith in His own words … God had faith in His faith, because He spoke words of faith and they came to pass. That faith force was transported by words … the God-kind-of-faith … is released by the words of your mouth” (Hagin). “Creative power was in God’s mouth. It is in your mouth also” (Capps).

3. Metaphysical cults say: Man is a “little god” in God’s class

Word-Faith says: “Man was designed or created by God to be the god of this world” (Tilton, Hagin, Capps). “Adam was the god of this world … [but he] sold out to Satan, and Satan became the god of this world” (Hagin). “We were created to be gods over the earth, but remember to spell it with a little ‘g’” (Tilton, Hagin, Capps). “Adam was created in God’s class … to rule as a god … by speaking words” (Copeland). “Man was created in the God class … We are a class of gods … God himself spawned us from His innermost being … We are in God; so that makes us part of God (2 Cor 5:17)” (Copeland).

4. Metaphysical cults say: Anyone — occultist or Christian — can use the faith-force

Word-Faith says: Because man is a little god “in God’s class: very capable of operating on the same level of faith as God” (Capps), and “because all men are spirit beings” (Hagin), therefore anyone, whether Christian or pagan, can release this “faith force” by speaking words if he only believes in his words as God believes in His (Hagin). “God is a faith God. God releases His faith in Words, [and we must do the same:] … Everything you say [positive or negative] will come to pass” (Capps). “Spiritual things are created by WORDS. Even natural, physical things are created by WORDS” (Hagin).

5. Metaphysical cults say: You get what you confess

Word-Faith says: The vital key is confessing, or speaking aloud, and thereby, releasing the force of faith. “You get what you say” (Hagin, Hunter). “Only by mouth confession can faith power be released, allowing tremendous things to happen” (Cho). “Remember, the key to receiving the desires of your heart is to make the words of your mouth agree with what you want” (Copeland). “Whatever comes out of your mouth shall be produced in your life” (Tilton). “They’re [his two children] 30-some years of age today, and I don’t believe I prayed more than half a dozen times for both of them in all these years. Why? Because you can have what you say — and I had already said it!” (Hagin).

6. Metaphysical cults say: Never make a negative confession   

Word-Faith says: The tongue “can kill you, or it can release the life of God within you … whether you believe right or wrong, it is still the law” (Capps). There is power in “the evil fourth dimension” (Cho). If you confess sickness you get it, if you confess health you get it; whatever you say you get” (Hagin). “Faith is as a seed … you plant it by speaking it” (Capps). “The spoken word … releases power — power for good or power for evil” (Bashan). Therefore, it is very important never to speak anything negative but only to make a positive confession — hence the name of the Positive Confession movement. [3]

The following metaphysical cults, which have ties to the Word of Faith, have said the following.

7. New Thought says: “This Infinite Power is creating, working, ruling through the agency of great immutable laws and forces that run all through the universe, that surround us on every side. Every act of our everyday lives is governed by these same great laws and forces . . . In a sense, there is nothing in all the great universe but law.”

8. Unity School of Christianity says: “The mental and spiritual world or realms are governed by laws that are just as real and unfailing as the laws that govern the natural world. Certain conditions of mind that are so connected with certain results that the two are inseparable. If we have one, we must have the other as surely as night follows day.”

In other words, “every thought of the human mind causes an effect in the universe through the operation of spiritual laws.” In such teachings, man does not have to deal with a personal God, but rather with impersonal laws that can be manipulated by anyone, regardless of their standing with God. Faith is merely a formula by which you manipulate the universe, by which you manipulate things.

Kenyon and Spiritual Laws

E.W. Kenyon (1867–1948), one of the first proponents of Word of Faith,  referred to “the great spiritual laws that govern the unseen forces of life,” in many of his writings. He espoused the metaphysical version of deism, a universe governed by spiritual laws, instead of by God. So, in practice, the Word of Faith “god” does not differ from the god of the metaphysical cults, and both must do the bidding of universal laws that are activated by human faith.

Therefore, the numerous healings and miracles occurring in the Word-Faith movement are not necessarily signs from God, and the Faith gospel may not be the Gospel of the New Testament. Charismatics who assume that healings vindicate truth are overlooking the fact that almost every major religion and cult the world has ever known, has produced healings. For every god there is a religion, and in every religion there are healings.

Smith Wigglesworth has also been given credit as an early proponent of the metaphysical. In 1944, the teaching that stated: “What you say will come to pass. Speak the word and the bound shall be free, the sick shall be healed,” was written by Pentecostal evangelist Smith Wigglesworth in a publication titled Pentecostal Evangel. It is viewed by some to be a significant point on the timeline of 20th century ecumenical apostasy.

Smith Wigglesworth

Granted, the Faith movement does claim to heal “in the name of Jesus,” but this proves nothing, because the New Thought movement does also. Both the Faith movement and metaphysical cults incessantly use the name of Jesus. Because of the historical connection between the two, the question that must be raised again is whether the Jesus of the Faith movement is the Jesus of the New Testament. Perhaps the Jesus of the Word-Faith movement is “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4) and the gospel of the Faith movement is a “different gospel” (Gal. 1:6).

More Background on Kenyon and the Metaphysical Cults
E. W. Kenyon established his ministry in the late 1800s. Kenyon adopted the teachings of New Thought. New Thought is a spiritual movement which developed in the United States during the late 19th century and emphasizes metaphysical beliefs. It is a set of beliefs concerning the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualization, and personal power. The beliefs of New Thought are based in a variety of religious and philosophical sources, including Platonism (with its emphasis on the realm of Ideas), Swedenborgianism (biblical interpretation based on the view that the material realm has spiritual causes and divine purposes), Hegelianism (a philosophy identifying the nervous organism as the meeting ground of the body and the mind); spiritual teachings of Eastern religions like Hinduism, and especially the Transcendentalism of the 19th-century American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.[4]

Emma Curtis Hopkins
There have been two people who have claimed to found New Thought – Phineas Quimby (1802-1866) and Emma Curtis Hopkins (1849-1925), a former student of Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science. Hopkins wrote High Mysticism and Scientific Christian Mental Practice and founded the Emma Hopkins College of Metaphysical Science, where the vast majority of graduates were women. The two most commonly-held and fundamental beliefs in New Thought are: (1) the Divine is in all things and (2) the mind is much more real and powerful than matter.[5]
What most people don’t realize is that the New Age movement, with the help of Alice Bailey, articulated and enlarged the Spiritualism of the 19th century Helena Blavatsky, Phineas Quimby, and Mary Baker Eddy, and brought it to a new level of metaphysical sophistication into the 20th century. [6] As you watch the video, you will see how New Thought and Christian Science has been woven together. The video give credit to Phineas Quimby’s New Thought as the forerunner to the New Age movement.

Does a Christian compromise his faith if he uses the metaphysical faith-force?
Are there power in words? Yes, I believe there is. Is positive confession to be used as a tool to get what a Christian wants? No, I believe that by doing this, a believer has compromised, because it uses mystical practices.
The point of magic in Witchcraft is to make the “bendable” world bend to your will.[7] Christians are not to bend the world to our will. God has provided the Christian with prayer, and it is the only means by which we have communication with Him and convey our requests. We are given answers according to His will.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30

It’s plain and simple, with no formula required!

In Dave Hunt’s book Beyond Seduction, he said, “In the world of the occult, the metaphysical “mind power” of one’s belief is reinforced by speaking it aloud. This act releases what occultists call the “creative power of the spoken word” and brings into existence whatever one says or decrees. This occult idea forms the basis for mantras, incantations, and hexes. Nevertheless, the faith teachers continue to expound upon this unbiblical and occult thesis and represent it to be the teaching of Scripture through their ministry in the pulpit, radio, and television, and in books such as The Tongue – A Creative Force and You Can Have What You Say.

So you see, God provides boundaries, and they are for our benefit. Dabbling in the metaphysical is mysticism, and mysticism is the occult. The word “occult” means hidden, and when we hold that words have hidden powers in themselves, we are saying they have occultic powers. Contrary to what many Charismatic Christians believe about the power of their personal positive and negative confession, the practice has crossed the line. Their confessions become more like magical rituals, than an exercise of faith.

But, make no mistake, the Lord does not function through magic! It completely ignores His Sovereign Will for a person’s life as the individual attempts to operate within particular “laws” to bring about what he desires for his own life. Attempting to operate outside the Will of God and/or rebelling against His will is witchcraft (I Sam. 15:23).

Anton LaVey helps us see how Lucifer has manipulated his way at an attempt to reach the top. He wrote, “Satanic ritual is a blend of Gnostic, Cabbalistic, Hermetic, and Masonic elements, incorporating nomenclature [system of principles] and vibratory words of power from virtually every mythos ….”  In these rituals, the knowledge of the right words, appropriate phrases and the more highly developed forms of speech, gives man a power over and above his own limited field of personal action.”

Power and success are why so many people are willing to sell their soul to the devil!

The True Power of Words

In Biblical Christianity, we learn that the Word of God carries power to restrain (Psa. 119:9, 11), guide (Psa. 119:133), it is living and active (Heb. 4:12), it is a source of joy (Psa. 119: 47, 97, 162), of new life (1 Peter 1:23), and a source for spiritual food (1 Peter 2:2). The Word can deliver from troubles (Psa. 107:20), make free (John 8:32), illuminate (Psa. 119:130), bear witness (John 20:31), produce faith (Rom. 10:17), delight the heart (Jer. 15:16), and it has the ability to destroy the world in judgement (2 Peter 3:5-7).

God’s spoken Word produces a crop (Matt. 13:23). The “good seed,” the truths preached, have an affect by the Gospel being preached.

In Romans 10:8-10, the Bible says that our spoken confession of heartfelt belief has the power to bring salvation. “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.”

On the negative side, we find that words alone have the ability to wound (Prov. 26:22), sustain (Isa. 50:4), determine destiny (Matt. 12:36, 37), and stir up anger (Prov. 15:1). They can invoke a blessing upon another (Gen. 24:60; Gen. Gen. 27:4, 27) and invoke a curse (Gen. 3:17; Gen. 4:11; Gen. 9:25; Gen.9:47; Deut. 28).

Definition of Faith

Biblical faith is not magic.Yes, God does send His power as a result of proper faith, but faith is not the power of God in and of itself. Neither does “speaking words of faith” exercise the power of God. God exercises His own power. No human can direct or command the power of God. Humans only receive what the Lord sovereignly supplies.Faith is not the power of the mind, nor an attitude of mind over matter. Faith is trust and rest, specifically in the work Jesus did at Calvary.



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