A Biblical Critique of the Word of Faith Movement and The Prosperity – part 2 – By John MacArthur

John MacArthur                                                                                                                           – Faith and Confession, Prosperity Style 

(Transcript of youtube video)


Now turning back to our discussion of the health and wealth gospel. This is a fascinating and very central part of their system. Let me help you to understand this they teach that faith is some kind of law, some kind of inviolable, immutable, unchanging, impersonal law. That it is like gravity. That anybody who gets involved with it gets the same results. Although gravity is fixed. It is not a question of faith, it is not a question of anything you jump it and you will go down and they take that same concept like the law of gravity and move it into the spiritual dimension and say, “faith is like that.” It doesn’t matter who you are, if you just enact the law of faith it will work and what the law of faith is all about is if you believe you can have something, you will get it. If you believe you are going to get well, you get well. If you believe you are going to get money, you will get money. If you believe you are going to get married, you will get married because you are enacting a law and it is immutable, inviolable law that works for anybody, any time. It is impersonal. It is fixed. And what the error of this is, is simply stated is that this puts confidence in the nature of faith rather than in the object of faith. It assumes that there is something inherent in believing, that enacts something when it isn’t true at all. It is not the nature of faith that is effective, it is the object of faith. It is my faith in God that get results not my faith in faith.

Faith according to Word of Faith doctrine is not submissive trust in God. It is not belief in revealed revelation in the scripture. Faith is a formula by which you manipulate the universe, by which you manipulate things. Charles Capps says, “Words governed by spiritual law become spiritual forces working for you. Idle words work against you. The spirit world is controlled by the Word of God, the natural world is to be controlled by man speaking God’s words. So if you just believe and say it with your mouth you will make it happen. That is your creative power again. As the name Word of Faith implies this movement teaches that faith is a matter of what we say more than in whom we trust or what truths we embrace and affirm in our hearts.

A favourite expression in The Word of Faith movement is positive confession. Have you heard of that? Positive Confession, it refers to the Word of Faith teaching that your words will create, they have creative power. They say what you say you create. So if you believe it strongly enough to speak it you will create it. You will create your riches, you will create your health, you will get out of your wheelchair. It determines everything that happens to you they say. Your confessions based upon your faith in faith will bring things to pass, and God has to act because it is a law whether you are Christian, Jewish, or     Non-Christian. It is going to work.

Kenneth Hagin writes, “You can have what you say. You can write your own ticket with God and the first step in writing your own ticket with God is say it.

Say it and what they are trying to do is get you to say it and say it and say it and say it until you finally convince yourself you believe it and then supposedly once you are saying it, it becomes believing it – you will create it.”

He later says does

Kenneth Hagin, “If you talk about your trials, your difficulties, your lack of faith, your lack of money. Your faith will shrivel and dry up. But bless God if you talk about the Word of God, your lovely heavenly Father and what he can do. Your faith will grow by leaps and bounds.”   

So you just have to talk about it. In his little booklet called How to Write Your own Ticket With God, Hagin’s supposedly inspired four point sermon is Say it, Receive it, and do it, and Tell it.

Hagin claims Jesus told him, “if anybody anywhere will take these four steps or put these four principles into operation he will always have whatever he wants from me or God the Father. Write your own ticket. The idea of course has bred superstition, terrible disappointment, tragic things. Magical incantations is all they are – it is a form of voodoo. It has no value beyond that.

Charles Capps warns against the dangers of speaking negative confession. He says, “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 am just dying to do that. They will say I am 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 to it now. In other words you don’t want to say those words because it might happen. That is how powerful you are. Positive Confession would rule out the confession of sin wouldn’t it? Word of Faith books on prayer, Word of Faith books on spiritual growth are utterly lacking in any teaching about confessing sin. Of course they undermine the crucial teaching on 1 John 1:9.

1 John 1:9

“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

In fact positive confession encourages people to absolutely ignore their sins and deny their reality doesn’t it? You don’t want to mention anything negative. It has produced multitudes of people who perpetually wear these emotionless smiles out of fear. Fear that a negative confession might bring them bad fortune and so they maybe piling up sin which is never ever dealt with. This is like the Hindu view of karma or some pagan concept of bad luck. “I don’t want to say that because it might bring me bad luck.”

Hagin admits he feels that way himself I am quoting him, “I wouldn’t tell anybody if I had a doubt thought or fear thought.” He won’t say a sin thought or a sin but he says, “I wouldn’t accept it. I wouldn’t tell somebody if the thought came to me and you know the devil can put all kinds of thoughts in your mind. We are a product of words. Did you ever stop to think that the Bible teaches that there is a health, a healing in your tongue? So he says, “you must never say things that are negative. I never talk of sickness. I don’t believe in sickness, I talk health, I believe in healing. I believe in healing I never talk sickness. I never talk disease.” He is just talking sickness and talking disease. “I talk healing. I never talk failure. I don’t believe in failure. I believe in success. I never talk defeat. I don’t believe in defeat, I believe in winning hallelujah to Jesus.”

A few years ago I received a heart rending letter from a dear woman who was deceived by positive confession theology. Believed God wanted her to write to everyone she knew with a baby announcement for the child she was hoping to conceive. She was incapable of having children but she sent out all these baby announcements and months later she had to write to everyone again to explain the expected fate – the baby didn’t come. She was quick to add however that she was still claiming a pregnancy by faith. And she was fearful that someone might take her second letter as a negative confession. Just the normal hurts and heartaches of life you can’t even deal with.

Kenneth Hagin seems chalice even about the death of his own sister from lingering cancer. He writes, “my sister got down to seventy nine pounds. The Lord kept telling me that she was going to die. I kept asking the Lord why I couldn’t change the outcome. He told me she had five years in which she could have studied the Word and built up her faith. But she was saved but she hadn’t done it. He told she was going to die and she did. This is a sad example but it is true.” End quote.

That is pretty chalice isn’t it? Word of Faith theology makes the healer a heroe when miraculous cures are claimed but always blames the seeker for lack of faith when the healing doesn’t happen. Remember positive confession teaches people that their words are determinative. God is not the object of their faith and God is not the force in their life. Word of Faith devotees learn to put their faith in their own words.

Hagin bluntly says, “faith in their own faith.”

He has a book titled Having Faith in Your Faith. What this is, is idolatry. This is having faith in you which makes you what? God. Try to follow his logic as he attempts to substantiate this idea.

Here is what he wrote, “Did you ever stop to think about having faith in your own faith? Evidently God had faith in his faith because he spoke the Words of faith and they came to pass. Evidently Jesus had faith in his faith because he spoke to the fig tree and what he said came to pass. In other words having faith in your words is having faith in your faith. That is what you have got to learn to do to get things from God – have faith in your faith. It would help you to get faith down in your spirit to say out loud, ‘faith in my faith.’ Keep saying it until it registers in your heart. I know it sounds strange when you first say it, your mind almost rebels against it, but we are not talking about your head we are talking about faith in your heart. As Jesus said as shall not doubt in his heart.” End quote.

What is that? Once again you will notice and he manages to depreciate the Father and the Son by saying God has faith and Christ has faith. Can we accurately speak of the faith of an omniscient, sovereign God? He turns faith moreover into some kind of magical formula and our words into an abracadabra by which we get things from God like rubbing a magic lamp.


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