SEE PART 1 HERE
As the spring turned into the summer of 1990, I continued to ponder what precisely was accurate about charismatic teaching. I had, however, noticed a trend: charismatics were every bit as PC as everybody else, only they thought they weren’t. Three issues still occupied my mind: Word-Faith views, the lordship controversy, and eternal security. I was torn on the first, settled strongly on the second, and somewhat settled on the third, having traded in my more Pelagian colors for semi-Calvinistic threads.
I mentioned earlier that I read MacArthur’s book regarding the lordship controversy. In the spring of 1990, his radio show began airing on our local AM station. The broader-reaching FM station added him in the fall, and now it was possible to hear John preach without that interference noise I get when listening to the Cincinnati Reds on WCKY when I’m in Omaha. Because of Mac’s book, I got on his mailing list, which became important when I began receiving his ministry’s magazine, “Masterpiece.” It was quite the glossy little thing, complete with articles, items for sale, and book reviews. In the first one I got, the book reviewed a new tome called “The Agony of Deceit.” This was a polemic written by about a dozen authors criticizing the Faith movement (for the most part). The review was mostly positive, with two negatives: 1) it noted that everyone criticized in the book was a charismatic; and 2) it felt the book was too overly negative and implied that no televangelist had ever succeeded without appealing to common desires.
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I understood the gospel call on November 30, 1987. I was raised a Southern Baptist but never before had the truth of God penetrated my heart. It is unfortunate, however, that the SBC’s emphasis on getting everybody saved – to the exclusion of everything else – led to a stunted upbringing in theological education. Nor was anything about personal relationship really discussed. The emphasis was on believe. In all seriousness, it sounded like Zane Hodges was the source of all things SBC back in the 1980s. That is not to libel him but to simply give you a point of reference.
Upon salvation I turned my back upon everything I’d ever been told. If I couldn’t find it in the Bible, it wasn’t true. Immediately, I rejected eternal security – quite viciously, actually. I knew only two things from the ten years I’d spent in the Baptist church. I needed to believe to be saved, and I could never lose it no matter what I did afterward. A decade in church and that’s ALL I ever learned doctrinally. Well, I did learn that Jesus said, “Thou shalt not drink” and gave a whole list of behavioral requirements to get into Heaven. I also learned that you couldn’t work your way to heaven and yet they’d shame you into doing work at church as if you were the unfaithful servant who buried his gift.
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I was Wof in Tulsa for almost 13 years. I must admit during that time I probably grew in many areas of my spiritual life more than I had up to that point, but I also must admit that I was also becoming a bigger and bigger ‘flake’ in many areas, too. Each time I’ve given a portion of this testimony, the Wof will say that I was not really Wof during this period of my life. I can only say that with all the honesty I can muster that I was as sincere in my Wof beliefs as I knew to be. I studied under some of the “greats”; Billy Joe Daugherty, Ken Cope, Jerry Seville, Fred Price, Buddy Harrison, Ken Hagin, Capps, and a cast of many more. In fact, we were members of Beverly Hills Baptist in Dallas during the ‘hay days’ of Howard Conaster. I knew the Wof scriptures and I lived them. I realized, however that even though we were ‘believing’, confessing, giving, and serving in the Wof way, our lives were no more blessed or miraculous than some of our Baptist friends. Our group was getting sick, losing jobs, divorcing, and having trials just like the Baptists we knew. Then joy of joys…..my dear wife got pregnant with our second child after three miscarriages! We confessed and praised over the blessing ( we never said a word about the miscarriages – that would have been a bad confession and an admission that we were not living the victorious life we said we were ). Our baby was born big and healthy just like we and the Wof church we attended had confessed. Eighteen hours later, he was gone. There we were alone in the hospital wondering why. After my wife was able to come home we began the process of laying our boy to rest and went to our church and talked with the assoc pastor. During our talk we asked him the question on our hearts….why ? That’s when he went through a number of scriptures to show that we must have allowed satan in with either unbelief, sin, or bad confessions. Since I knew my heart better than him, I knew that I had done the best I could have and it “didn’t work” ! From that day we became more sensitive to the Wof insensitivity towards the pain and suffering around them.
I “stumbled” into a fine Baptist church right there in our neighborhood that we began to worship in. I was amazed at the topics that were emphasized that were never mentioned in the Wof circles we traveled in. Topics such as discipleship, and a daily quiet time. We still have several friends from that time that are Wof. One now suffers from a painful nerve condition that he says he’s healed of. Most of the others have divorced or they are Wof/Christians by association only. The biggest regret from my exposure to Wof was the smug I’m-more-spiritual-than-thou attitude I carried for many years after leaving Wof. I’m certain I hurt many dear people’s feelings during the time after leaving the Wof sect.
This testimony is from Victor who is originally from India and now lives in the United States. Victor also runs http://blabitandgrabit.wordpress.com & http://blabitandgrabit.blogspot.com
I am from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The name of my home town is Ramnad. Only for less than 2 years I was under the influence of WoF . When it was first introduced in India many Christians including me were attracted to it. I thought WoF was an “advanced level” of revelation beyond what the traditional pentecostal/charismatic churches had. I concluded that WoF is the “full” gospel and other Christian denominations were lacking something. Then God started opening my eyes. God taught me that He is a Sovereign God and He always works in my life in mysterious ways and always does things more than what I can imagine or think.In the eighties a Doctor called Justin from India got attracted to the WoF teachings. First he started to air his program from a Radio station which broadcasts Christian programs in some Indian languages from the Seychelles island. Initially he preached against evolution, apologetics and Bible and Archeology. He was stealth in his approach in introducing the WoF message in India. Therefore many Christians including myself trusted him. He later took my home state by storm (converting the Christians there to WoF) using his seductive powers and charismatic personality. He said that he would never get sick and he would leave his body at his own will. By postive confessions about divine healing and health he thought he could live in this earth as long as he can. He even ridiculed those who were still sick. He was unapproachable in spite of proclaiming a postive message. Even one of his fellow minister used to tell people who wanted to meet him after the meetings that they need to go and see him with boldness. He used ot say “You have to believe in your heart and not in your brain. He was spearheading the WoF movement in my home state. Many innocent Christians were deceived by his false teachings. Dr. Justin’s influence was growing rapidly. He moved to state capital and was able to gather 2000 people in less than a year. Shortly after that he got a brain disease and suddenly passed away. He died with 800,000 Indian Rupees in debt and his Church split into 8. This incident puzzled many WoF followers in India. They started wondering why a man who boasted about living in divine health, death at his will and financial prosperity himself died of a disease and with a huge amount of debt (in Indian currency). But in spite of God expressing His disapproval by removing that man from the earth, his followers and relatives never repented. They are still advancing his legacy which was heresy! A number of individuals were spiritually destroyed by this ferocious wolf. He also asked Christians not to pray for a need more than once because “a prayer of faith must be prayed only once” and if you pray for the 2nd time it would invalidate the first prayer.
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WoF activities in my home town: (Romnad, India)
Acts 4:20 – We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.
One young man near my native place went to a WoF Bible College in my state capital (known as Apostolic Faith Tabernacle). He came back and started a Church in my native place. He also lived in the same street and from our house we could see his entire house.
He started aggressively promoting the WoF teachings. If someone says to him that they were sick he would immediately yell back – oh no! don’t say that! You will get what you say. He targeted one Doctor in the town who is a distant relative of mine. He gave that Doctor’s family “a package deal” which he presented as the “full” Gospel. They all confessed Jesus as their Lord according to Romans 10:9 and got “saved” (without any repentance). Then the WoF Pastor introduced them the Prosperity message as part of the “full” Gospel and promised 100 fold return. Then that Doctor gave him a piece of land to him. The Doctor in spite of getting “saved” according to Romans 10:9 went from smoking to drugs. His marriage broke. This is what the WoF pastors do in India. They target either nominal Christians or members of other Christian denominations who are Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Government officials, college professors and wealthy business people. In other words they find out potential donors who can support their “ministry” and offer them the package deal.
They don’t go rural side or to poor people because they don’t have enough money and resources. Their prosperity magic does not work with poor people. After deceiving rich people they cling to them for everything. Rich people are usually appointed as elders in the Church and given important responsibilities. They don’t even bother if their rich supporters are genuinely repented and had a life changing experience! As long as they donate money these WoF preachers are happy with them. Doesn’t it remind about wolves. Wolves use the sheep as a food source (or resource). If a death or some important even happens in a poor believer’s home these WoF pastors won’t visit them but delegate their junior pastors or associates to visit them. If a death or any other important event happens in a rich person’s house the WoF preachers give them top priority. Even during normal days they visit the rich people often, let their wives to befriend their wives and let their children play with their children. The poor people are given only a few minutes of the Pastor’s time!!! This is how the WoF movement “plants” churches in India. Someone might say oh, these kind of incidents are isolated and not widespread and it is too much of a generalization to give these examples etc etc. But the truth it is wide spread and it had become norm in India’s WoF circles. These are not isolated incidents. That is the reason most of the Indian WoF Churches exist only in big cities where they can find rich people to support their ministries which are in many situations family enterprises or personal kingdoms.
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Cherie is the author of the Word of faith NO MORE blog.
I gave my life to the Lord in August of 1999. My best friend attended Word of Faith Christian Center in Michigan and led me in the prayer of repentance and into the WoF movement. I was living in California at the time and her Bishop had established churches all over the world. She led me to one of his churches on the west coast and that’s pretty much how it began. I also started to watch TBN and other networks in order to be “fed.” I wasn’t raised in the church and had no biblical foundation so everything that I learned in WoF I thought was the truth. I must admit that I sensed that something was wrong from the beginning. Never the less I continued to attend the faith church and basically thought everything that I experienced was normal.
2004- I attended the laypersons bible school that was established by the church. They took the curriculum from RHEMA and modeled the school after it. Our Bishop graduated from RHEMA and all of his children went there. He in turn established a Bible Training Center in Southfield Michigan which has educated thousands of pastors who are now pastoring his various churches. I considered attending RHEMA or BTC but I did not.
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Yodas Prodigy’s Ex-WoF Testimony from http://www.light-after-darkness.org/forums/entry.php?17-My-Testimony
I became a fully surrendered Christian to God in 1984. Before that time I had given my life to Christ but was not obedient due to various reasons. My home church was a Southern Baptist Church. None of my family was religious during my growing up years and neither were any of my friends.
Once I surrendered to Christ with the help of an Assemblies of God attendee, I followed my parents to Faith Center, a Word of Faith Church. My parents had gone there for a little while. I was about 25 at the time.
I had a message from God telling me that my wife would be Judy. The message came to me while I was away for training for eighteen weeks. It came in a dream. I knew when I got home that we would go out for a date. Around Christmas God told Judy that I was the one for her. We both had seen each other once before. But we had never spoken.
We dated starting January 1st twenty-two years ago. Then, we got engaged seven weeks later. And finally married on October 18th.
I seemingly fit in to Faith Center right away. I had a testimony of what God had done for me. He delivered me of some sin habits that I developed during my adolescent years. He helped me to understand who I am in Christ and completed the reconciliation that started in my life at about eighteen years of age.
I got involved in many ministries including: Children’s, Choir, Evangelism Explosion, and Deliverance. My eventual ministry, which I believe God wired me for, is apologetics. I started going to “Nationally known Kevin Johnson of Mount Carmel Outreach” apologetics class.
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