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Ten Reasons for Rejecting Word-of-Faith Teachings

by Tricia Tillin


It requires ‘revelation knowledge’.

Like the gnostic heresies all through the ages, Word-of-Faith needs special knowledge in order to be effective. Leaders see themselves as having a commission to bring new spiritual revelation to the Body, and they condemn ‘sense-knowledge’ as inadequate. In this scheme, it is not sin and disobedience that causes us to fail, but ignorance of the Word. Moreover, this revelation knowledge is limited to the few who can receive it; the less intelligent are at a disadvantage. This is elitism.



It makes the Almighty God and Creator a weak ‘faith-being’ who is at the mercy of His own universal laws.

Although Word-of-Faith ministers speak of God in a personal way, they treat Him like an impersonal ‘energy source’ with ‘forces’ that can be operated by the use of laws – laws which even God has to obey in order to create and run His universe. God, they say, has left the control of the planet in man’s hands and is powerless to intervene without a covenant partner. God’s omnipotence and sovereignty is damaged by these teachings.



It makes the Divine Son of God into a born-again man who had to die in Hell to pay the price for our treason.

Jesus, according to Word-of-Faith doctrine, discarded His divine powers and walked earth as a mere man filled with The Spirit. He had to use the Word and the laws of faith to do miracles. When He died, His blood did not atone, but He had to take upon Himself the very sin-nature of the Devil, causing His spirit to die, and suffer three days and nights of hellish torment AS A MAN before the Father gave the command for Him to be re-created as a re-born man. Thus, they say, Jesus was just the first of many sons, the Pattern for us all to follow.



It elevates man to equality with Jesus.

A consequence of the ‘Jesus-died-spiritually’ doctrine is that all born-again Christians stand in the same place of power and authority as Jesus – not by virtue of their unity with Him, but in themselves, as men filled with the Spirit. This would mean that we have already been resurrected from the dead and it only remains for us to gain ‘knowledge’ of our new condition in order to discard the trappings of the fleshly body and begin living as spiritual gods on earth!

Thus, the Christian walk is one of education in using the same spiritual laws as Jesus in order to dominate the circumstances and do miracles. In Word-of-Faith teaching, believers do not depend on God’s own power, nor submit to His will, but feel they have the right to develop their own powers, and to discover the laws governing creation and dominion on the earth.



It makes man a god.

To understand the special position that Word-of-Faith gives to man, we need to know their interpretation of the Creation. In their teaching, man HAS NO NATURE OF HIS OWN but takes his nature from his ‘lord’. When God was his Lord, then man had a divine nature – for he was created as god of the earth, they say – but after man’s fall, he took the sin-nature of the Devil and became like Satan. (All this, of course, is contrary to scripture). So, Word-of Faith believers would reason that a born-again man has regained his divine nature. Thus, he is entitled to use the attributes of his divinity, such as creative powers and domination of the environment etc.



It makes the redemption into a restoration of dominion for mankind.

Word-of-Faith teachers stress the loss of dominion over the earth, not sin, as the root problem. So, salvation becomes a matter of re-discovering one’s place of godhood and learning to rule as kings on earth. The role Jesus had to play in redemption was that of a substitute Adam, coming to earth to fulfill all that Adam failed to do, demonstrating the possibilities of dominion, and then taking Adam’s place in Hell to let mankind ‘off the hook’. The worship given to Jesus by Word-of-Faith believers is more from a sense of gratitude than a recognition of His divinity. It also misses the whole point of redemption: that Jesus HIMSELF is the Life and Salvation of mankind and that we are only saved in union with Him.



Its goal is the transformation of the earth by spiritual dominion.

Because Word-of-Faith believers see themselves as having returned to their god-like dominion of the earth, they foresee the time coming when – by sheer force of numbers, probably – all mankind has to bow the knee to God. They teach that all the wealth of the world will flow to the Church, and that the laws, government and entire social structure of the world system will have to change. Despite scriptural warnings of apostasy and increasing wickedness in the end-times, they foresee a great victory for the Church in the future, as the Spirit sweeps millions into the ‘kingdom’ on earth. Whether or not they claim to believe in the end-times plan of Revelation, the Rapture, the Millennium or any of these things, they still seem to be able to fit a scheme of global Church unity and triumph into the plan of the ages.



It replaces prayer with confession, and God’s will with the manipulation of ‘forces’.

Word-of Faith teaches Christians to draw upon powerful ‘forces’ that reside in the human spirit – such as the force of faith – to bring certain laws into operation. They emphasise the word (not the Son of God, but the scriptures) as the power used to operate all these spiritual laws. So, learning and confessing the Word continually is the method used to obtain anything we want. This self-rule leads to pride and greed. But a Christian must deny himself and submit to the entire will of God, as revealed moment-by-moment by the Holy Spirit.



It denies the reality of sin and sickness.

Word-of-Faith ministers teach that the only true reality is spiritual, and the earthly senses are deceptive. Thus, believers are led to deny that they are ill, poor or in any way below par. They are taught to overcome adversity by confessing a suitable ‘positive’ scripture, instead of seeking God’s guidance. Also, the reality of sin, and the need for forgiveness is glossed over by teaching that a simple confession of the Lordship of Jesus will effect a change of lifestyle.



It focuses on self and the world instead of God and Heaven.

The emphasis in Word-of-Faith doctrine is all on success, prosperity, advancement, gain, health and strength. There is little compassion for those who fail to come up to these exacting standards. Any adversity is said to be a ‘lack of faith’ to confess the appropriate Word. This is a great misunderstanding of the wisdom of God, and His plan to bring his children to glory, for if we refuse to share in the trials, setbacks and persecutions of Jesus, we are not ready to share His glorification. [Rom 8:17]

Some of the Word-of-Faith teachers and ministries have been the worst offenders in bringing the Name and the cause of Jesus Christ into disrepute. Ministries that emphasise prosperity have ended up in greed, manipulating believers into giving money they can little afford. Over-emphasised teaching about God’s healing has led to extravagant claims for miracles that have been exposed as hyperbole and sham. Doctrines about man’s godhood and superhuman abilities have led to arrogance, self-will and the use of psychic powers to perform miracles instead of a simple dependency on the Holy Spirit. Also, teachings about faith have become rituals and formulas for producing instant result; and many who could not or would not go down this road were derided and rejected as “having no faith”.

Legions of hurt people have testified to their bad experiences, both personally and corporately, with Word-of-Faith extremes and excesses. Indeed, the very root of this teaching is bad, coming as it does from Christian Science and the metaphysical schools of thought.



What we can learn from the Word-of-Faith doctrines is really no more than straight-forward biblical teaching in the first place – faith in God and in His Word, belief in divine intervention in our affairs, a positive outlook based on the promises of God, and a knowledge of the defeat of satanic powers in Jesus – all this and more is good and sound, but the Word-of-Faith movement today has gone far beyond these boundaries and created a monster that is devouring both its leaders and followers alike.

It is not necessary to buy into a Word-of-Faith system in order to benefit from the plain teaching of scripture. Any who are followers of Word-of-Faith ministers should think very carefully about their position as followers of men and of a dubious man-inspired system of formulas, and also should be wary of the manipulation to give gifts and tithes to these ministries. It would be better to support your own church, or more humble and doctrinally sound Christian works, and to seek for scriptural inspiration from the Holy Spirit who is our only Guide and Teacher.



  1. Those 10 reasons give me the shivers! While it’s perhaps easy to understand how those who don’t understand the Scriptures or the loving nature of God could fall into believing this “stuff.” It’s the old “grab a snatch of truth, mix with the outrageous ego of some preachers, and end up with something just short of blasphemy! Thankfully, even they are still under God’s grace and forgiveness. They strain at gnats while gulping down whole camels. Embarrasses me! But then, there’s a whole lot about our institutional churches that embarrasses me!
    David E. Holt
    PS.A careful reading of Joel Osteen would, in my opinion, remove him from your list.

  2. ===========================================
    Hi David, Thank you for your comments.

    I do respect your opinion but in my opinion, JOEL is the most dangerous of them all because , other than appearing on Larry King Live saying Mormons and everyone else is Christian, he really does not make some of the outrageous claims that other word of faith teachers have. Such as men on the moon, Adam could fly, Men are little God’s, Jesus took Satan’s nature in hell, and Joel does not go around stage pushing people down, babbling in tongue and calling on fire from heaven, like Hinn.

    Joel is all about creating your best life now, discovering the champion in you, through right thinking, visualization, confession and using the power of words. He does not mention sin. You can listen to his program for 100 hours straight and not be told how to be saved.

    My uncle is a Mormon bishop. So for 20 yrs I have been impacted by that. BUT the WoF has had even a bigger impact on me. I have the WoF movement. I live in Houston. Kenneth Haggin had a school here before he moved to Tulsa. And John Osteen had a big influence here before he died. I worked at the Budweiser brewery here and the people from Lakewood Church where always telling me I may not be a real Christian because I did not have enough faith to be healed. I take meds for a mood disorder from a head injury.

    Well that was nothing. For the past 6 yrs I have been friends with a big follower of Joel Osteen’s. If it where not for my friends “itching ears” and his personal (our) accountability, I would blame Joel and his false teaching for my friends situation. When I first met my friend, he was a great guy, he was on parole and as soon as he got off he started to live like the devil. In 3 years he has totaled 5 vehicles, been in jail 8 times and has done thousands of pain pills. He lies about taking the pills, and says he does not have any. Only to drop baggies full of pills all over the place. And he can hardly talk or walk.

    Every time I try to talk to him and warn him he is flirting with disaster, he says “don’t speak bad things into my life”. When bad stuff happens to him, it is always someone else’s fault.

    AND NOW my friend is paralyzed from the chest down. He stole some drugs from guy and got shot three times. He played it off as a road rage incident but the truth came out. He says the guy shot him over 20$ worth of stuff. It was actually several hundred. And he is still lying about it.

    AND HE EXPECTS GOD TO HEAL HIM. Right now he is in the hospital memorizing “healing verses”. I told him he needs to learn the big Ten commandments, live them, and ask AM I in the faith. But he thinks that words have power, so if he can just have enough faith and positive confession , he will be healed. He excludes the possibility that God could have been disciplining him and trying to get his attention. Why would he,,, according to the Gospel of Joel,,,, there is no sin and everyone will be saved anyway.
    All that matters is discovering the champion in you,,, never mind finding the sinner in You and crucifying him.

    IN my option, Joel Osteen is a Wolf in sheep’s clothing, singing lullabies to the flock, lulling them into sleep, apathy and fleshly self centeredness. Turning people from truth to myths, thinking they have no need for anything, when they are really naked and poor in the things of God.

    • faye hardin
    • Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:10 am
    • Permalink

    Thank you so much for your love for the truth &the body of Christ. I am being so blessed by the monthly mag. and by all the wonderful messages.To stand against such popular myths of our day takes great courage and strength, but most of all great love.The turning again the body of Christ to the cross goes against all the prideful hearts of those so called special messengers whose hearts are lifted up in pride and who refuse to bow low at the foot of the cross.Pride prevents these to bow and they teach others by their example. They decieve these precious sheep by their motivational feel good speeches. And I see a spirit of manipulation forcing these sheep who are young and unskilled in the message of the cross to feel that they are less worthy and stupid if they don’t accept their teachings. Again I want to commend you all for your faithfullness. I also enjoy the weekly study in the word.
    The sweet message of the cross has been entrusted to jsm.thank you for being such good stewarts . In Christ f.Hardin.P>S> we love you all.

  3. Hello Miss Faye, I wish I could say that I am courageous and full of Love for the truth. I do Love the truth very much because it cost my Savior dearly and much. I always suffered grief from my word of faith friends for having a chronic illness for which I take medicine. Then I seen what watching and following Joel Osteen can do for a person. It destroyed my friend.

    I will share his story with you so that maybe it will motivate you and others to speak up also. This is an email I sent to some ex-word of faith freinds

    Hi Chris, Just wanted to say NOPE, you wasn’t too long and I enjoyed hearing a part of your story. I never would have dreamed I would have been talking to bunch of ex-word of faithers. Even pastors. LOL. I am really blessed.

    SEE I am aghast sometimes about my friends that are in it. And I would like to fully understand them. I think you guys can help. I know talking to john has taught me to see the deception side a little more than the ITCHING ear side of why people believe the WoF.

    I will tell ya’ll when I think of Joel Osteen or Kenneth Copeland my heart wrenches because of three people I really have cared about that where sold out too those guys and the message.

    A friend named *********, when I worked at the brewery, was a really great Mexican guy. And his family treated me like gold and one of them. He was a little weird, he would freak if you winked at him, but at least he did not speak in tongues and I did not have to worry about him later saying I was not saved because I was not a tongue speaker. I told him upfront I did not believe the stuff. I had a head in jury and have manic depression as a result. My brain has little seizure tremors sometimes. I used to struggle with the idea I was demon possessed as a result. I sought healing for years but finally learned to love God in all things and the sufficiency of his grace. BUT my bud was always trying to get me healed. He would put his coke bottle glasses on to show me healing scriptures. And he got so angry he hit me in the face with an ace bandage that he had on his wrist. Covering up a chronic illness that he had on his wrist, some big boil type thing. He had total insanity in his eyes. I felt like he wanted to beat me severely because I did not have enough faith to be healed. Or maybe it was that I to much faith to believe I was healed when I was not. We have not talked in years.

    I have a relative who is a word of faith evangelist. Retired so to speak, cause her husband made her quit. He had kidney failure and replacement from his brothers donated kidney ten yrs ago. He don’t like religion spirituality or any talk of God, but he is a musician and the church gave him a place to play. BUT when he was done he made her quit. Donated kidney only last 10 yrs or so. My aunt is fond of saying she does not follow after miracles, they follow her. I little thought terminating clichés for ya. YET I don’t see no miracle, NOTHING but hypocrisy in biblical definition,,, acting the part. She too puts her reading glasses on to quote healing scriptures to others who need healing,, WITHOUT batting an eye. She got a bum hip, 60 years old and still doing semi-manual labor and has a hubby that will pass away in the next few years if he does not get another kidney donor. But yet she says, “yeh I was once a Baptist but then I found the full and true gospel.” I say FULL gospel of FOOLS gospel? If the WoF is true, why is she driving a dumpy little truck and live in a trashy 25 yr old double wide that is falling apart?

    Then 5 yrs ago,, A guy moved in next door. I became friends with his family. Me and his dad are real close, they are all Joel followers. My friend was straight up but was on parole. AS SOON as he got off he started living like hell on wheels. The last three years I have watched him lie cheat, steal, drink, drug and get thrown in jail 6 times and total 5 vehicles. He has gotten busted with 500+ pills. He was taking 70+ a day. BELIVE IT OR NOT. All the while getting mad at others for speaking bad things into his life.

    His brother committed suicide before I met em, and I watch him play that suicide card on his dad and control people wit h that “your speaking bad things into my life” stuff. He has said it to me about 8 times. Then one day he told me he was moving in with his cousin, I said he should not do that cause they always get into trouble. Next day I am getting a phone call saying he is shot and paralyzed shoulders down. Him and his cousin decided to steal drugs from a drug dealer and he chases them down and shoots em both. WELL we only know this because of the internet and the police. THEY claimed road rage and said the people did the drive by because they tapped on their brakes

    My friend was paralyzed instantly, and his truck careened of the road into a cemetery,,,,, Crashed the cemetery gates. And bullet went right through the exact center of a cross tattoo he has. NOW how can he not see God was trying to get his attention. Why does my friend still demand that God heal him?

    He had people bringing him pills in the hospital. The doctors had him on blood thinners cause his pulse was so low, found out it was the EXTRA pills he was taking. Then he got kicked out of the hospital outpatient program for forging a prescription. He turned a 50 pill script into a 150 and got busted. Then got his victim stats and program revoked for lying to the police. NOW he is in bad straights. With 5 bullets inside him.
    In the three years, I have set down and tried to tell him the bible says we all have ONE BIG QUESTION to ask ourselves, are we really IN the faith? I have sat down and delineated the doctrine of sin unto death with him three times. JUST like my brother, mess up to much and God will take ya outta this world least you slander his good reputation by living like Satan’s children,,,,,,, claiming to everyone to be sons of God.

    I know they are ALL both deceived and trapped by their own desire, will and flash. BUT I am still astounded at how illogically inconsistent some people and movements can be. I have had a passion for studying cults and false teaching for 20 + years. AND the WoF is the worst. I got 20 oneness Pentecostals in my family, I got a Mormon bishop and his family, all my Dads sisters are in the bible missionary cult,,,, yet the WoF has affected me more than these.

    I hope to continue to learn more. TY for telling your stories. You just don’t know how much they help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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