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Have you ever known someone that is more concerned with the next move of God or wave of the Spirit rather than reading , understanding, and applying the principles of God into their daily living. I do, there are numerous charismatic signs and wonders chasers being deceived in the Body  of Christ and in the Church today. I can compare it to a surfer trying to catch the ultimate wave, going from beach to beach in search of the ultimate wave but never finding it. The search for the next wave in Charismatic circles  has led believers down a path away from  Jesus instead of towards Him.

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THE FIRST LIVE SHOW IS SCHEDULED ****for Jan6 @ 10pm**** –NOT 7pm–
Welcome to the first How2becomeAChristian.Info RADIO show on BlogTalkradio.
I met John about 1 ½ months ago when he commented on my blog. I was intrigued by his blog and video and started to reproduce some of his blogpost right away. Being a Rhema Bible Training Center graduate, Kenneth Hagin student and an ex-word of faith preacher, John has much to say about the word of faith movement. It has been about a years since john left the WoF and he has blogged daily at his blog FaithPreacher.blogspot.com,,, Johns blog has the making a very good book. Take a look and tell me what you think.
 
I have interviewed John once and will interview him a second time before the LIVE show here on BlogTalkRadio. The other interviews are available at How2BecomeAChristianInfoBLOG.com and Soundclick.com/How2BecomeAChristian 

The show will feature questions and answering session to John Edwards and the show host Damon Whitsell. John has a passion for helping folks so why not join us and ask some questions and invite your Word of Faith friends to listen and join in.

*****Don’t forget to request for a SHOW REMINDER email at the page link above, reminding you the day of the show will air!*****

There is large amount of information on the WoF @

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COME Join in the LIVE BlogTalkRadio Christian Apologetics Discussion Show, How2BecomeAChristian.Info RADIO w/Damon Whitsell on Tuesday nights @ 10PM central time. Starting Jan. 6 2009.

The show features special guest in the field of Christian apologetics and other Christian fields of study, thought and practice. You can call in @ (347) 215-6795 when the show is on air, and participate or chat with other listeners in an interactive chat room. Come state your beliefs or defend them. Ask questions, ir your grievances or just say Hello. The live Shows will also be archived for listening, downloading and podcasting at BTR. Click the BTR LOGO button. Hope to see you there! There are also RADIO SHOWS that are not available at BTR. Check out our other H2bac.Info RADIO media distribution site at the flashing logo, for shows that cannot be aired at BTR. Don’t forget to sign up for show email reminders at BTR, and Check out the sister sites!!!

Damon Whitsell, H2bac.Info (with a numeral 2) Ministries

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Spiritual Abuse Survey: Is YOUR church a safe place?

Take the survey from wickedshepherds.com and see!

cauction-when-awesome

Here is a questionnaire to determine just how healthy your church really is. To find out how well it ranks, answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:

•Does your church tightly control the flow of information within its ranks?

•Does the head of your church, along with the other “leaders”, use public shaming as a method to gain the compliance of followers?

•Does the head of your church and his “fellow elders” appear to be intolerant or consider it evil persecution when criticized or questioned?

•Are you discouraged to associate with former members, being warned that they are “evil” or “defiling”; a “danger to your spiritual welfare”?

•Is leaving your church to join another church that “is not approved by the elders” equal to leaving God?

•Do you fear being rebuked, shunned, or ignored for expressing a different opinion?

•At church, is there a sense of control, rather than support?

•Is there a relentless obsession of reminding the sheep of “who’s in authority”?

•Are you told not to ask questions as to why others have left? Are you told to accept the statements that the “elders” give you?

•Are books, tapes and CD’s, speakers, music, etc., carefully controlled to keep only the belief structure of your church before your mind?

•Is there is a relentless campaign to keep you around the activities of your church, expecting you to be at all the stated meetings, except if providentially hindered? And if you are absent, is your spirituality and dedication sometimes questioned?

•Is the concept ever so subtly present that, “when you please the “pastor”, God is pleased and when your “pastor” is not pleased with you, God is not pleased with you?

•Is there present, the breaking of even the closest family ties, to “guard” the flock?

•Is there the constant using of guilt and shame as tools of control?

•Is there present at your church the encouragement of the members to spy and report on each other, lest sin be found in the midst?

•Is there present at your church the dominant climate of fear in the group – fear of failing to keep one of the rules, and fear of being held up to public humiliation and rejection?

•At church, are the normal lines between what is private and what is public knowledge broken, and members confess the most personal, and the most minor sins, as the conscience is being surrendered to the “leadership”?

•Are many (if not all) of the results from voting at “congregational business meetings” announced as….. “it is unanimous!”?

•Is questioning condemned as “whispering, back- biting, vicious slander, gossip, nit picking, signs of a proud rebellious spirit, being disaffected and divisive?

•Are those who dissent publicly punished? Are their reputations murdered by veiled, or not so veiled “revelations” of “sins”; past and present, as confidentiality is broken for the benefit of the leaders?

•Is there a misplaced loyalty from Jesus and God onto the leadership, which is idolatry?

•Is there harsh preaching and full of condemnation for your failures and are you deliberately being kept wounded and off balance by the haranguing and condemnation from the pulpit?

•Is “Persevere or be damned” and “listen to YOUR elders; obey YOUR elders”; “submit to YOUR elders” preached over and over again?

•Is paranoia the “very air you breathe”? Paranoia of falling from grace; thinking for yourselves; breaking the many unspoken rules as well as the clearly spelled out expectations of the leader?

•Are you becoming paranoid – carefully watching your every word and even gesture, lest someone report your faults?

•Does a code of silence reign at your church? Is no one to divulge the business of the church, or the faults of the leadership?

•Do the spiritual leaders at your church seem to give you the impression that either covertly or overtly, they have the right to tell you how you should manage your own family; presuming that they know your own family better than you know yourself?

RESULTS

If you answered “no” to all of the above questions, your church is relatively healthy. If you answered “yes” to a quarter or more, your church is showing signs of being unhealthy. If you answered “yes” to half or more, your church is very, very unhealthy. If you answered “yes” to three-quarters or more, your church is an authoritarian cult. 

http://endtimesdeception.com/?p=681

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The Loaded Language Of The Prophetic Movement
Article By Keith from here

“I want to begin this post by stating clearly that this is not going to be a theological discussion per se. It is primarily going to be the discussion of a sociological phenomena that has been observed through the study of prisoners of war and those involved in cult movements. This post was prompted by the nearly universal lack of reasoning and independent thinking skills of those who continue to post on the blog in favor the modern prophets. This is one of the many parallels between the modern prophetic movement and the world of the cults.

I am convinced that one of the primary reasons for this is the continual use of “loaded language” within the movement.

For those who may be unfamiliar with this term, please allow me to give a very brief and extremely oversimplified history. Robert Lifton did extensive study on the “reprogramming” techniques used by the Chinese on prisoners of war and other political prisoners. He identified several key elements that were nearly universal that were able to bring about “thought reform”. Later, Margaret Thaler Singer, Steven Hassan, and Ronald Enroth built on and modified Lifton’s model as they noticed many of the same techniques being used in cults and spiritually abusive groups to bring about a “group think” among their adherents.

One of these techniques is the use of “loaded language”. Loaded language involves a couple of practices. First, it involves the use of words and phrases that become a unique language to the members of the group itself. (See the IHOP glossary of terms at http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?id=26446 for an example. This is only a partial list.) These catch phrases or slogans are laced throughout the teaching ministry of the group.

This language is difficult for those outside the movement to comprehend. In fact, I would submit that many of the members themselves would have an extremely difficult time giving any precise definition to these catch phrases as well. But it goes further.

Loaded language also has a thought-terminating effect on the individuals who use them. Much like the defeaters that Drew has dealt with in previous posts, these phrases do not allow the users thought processes to progress any further. They are a type of mental boundary. They provide easy, simplistic answers to issues and questions. The main purpose they serve within the group is to stifle thoughtful inquiry. These cliche’s become so ingrained in the adherents mental processes that they are accepted without question or reservation and are advanced in knee-jerk fashion when any challenge to the group’s belief arises.

I have become convinced, primarily through the different members of the prophetic who have posted on this blog, that the prophetic movement abounds with this thought-terminating, loaded language. Let me give some examples.

Immediately when someone outside the movement asks where a particular practice is found in the Scripture the loaded language kicks in.

“This is part of the new wineskins that God is bringing forth in this generation.”

Or simply,

“God is doing a new thing.” (Or some variation of the same statement.)

Press further and begin to point out that a particular belief or practice is unknown in church or Biblical history or is contrary to the character of God and you get more loaded language.

“God can’t be put in a box.”

“God is tearing down the religious spirit.”

“You are stuck in your tradition.”

Dare to challenge a particular leader or call into question their doctrine and one runs into more loaded language.

“We are not to judge.”

“Why are you coming against him?”

“Love covers but judgment uncovers.”

“If it is not of God it will fail but if it is of God you can’t stop it.”

“Look at the fruit.”

“Touch not my anointed.”

“Truth is a person, not a doctrine.”

“Jesus is more important than doctrine.”

Ask them to evaluate their seeming out of control behavior and you get….

“God offends the mind to reveal the heart.”

“God doesn’t want us living from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

Push too hard and the ad hominem attacks begin.

“You have a jezebel spirit.”

“You have a religious spirit.”

“Satan is the accuser of the brethren.”

I could go on longer but you get the idea. There is a definite “group think” and “group speak” within the prophetic movement. The real issue to note however is that these phrases have VERY LITTLE REAL MEANING AND VIRTUALLY NO SUBSTANCE BEHIND THEM. Their sole function is to keep the person in the movement from taking a serious, thoughtful, reflective look at what they are involved in. It’s like mental insulation or blinders.

The real damage from loaded language, other than the fact that it keeps the user in the group, is that it stunts the adherents reasoning abilities. The person using the loaded language actually believes he/she has given an answer to the question raised! Whereas they have really never dealt substantively with the issues.

As an interesting side note, while the group member staunchly proclaims his freedom, his thinking has actually become very rigid, i.e. “Everything our group does is automatically ok. Anyone who disagrees is a devil.”

These cliche’s must be challenged. It is important to try to force the members past the slogans to actually thinking for themselves again. When this is done, the member may experience a “crisis of faith” in which he actually becomes open to looking at the Scriptures without the grid of the group.”

http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/the-loaded-language-of-the-prophetic-movement/

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I made up some sound clips and stuff to finish off the first John Edwards show, BUT John and I recorded a 30 minute talk we had and I attached it to the show I already had.

John invited me to ask any and all questions,,, and even to play devils advocate. So I will soon have a second show with John that will be and even better interview than this first one.

You can listen to the interview @ http://www.soundclick.com/how2becomeachristian OR download the interview @ http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=862125

Pastor John will come on the How2BecomeAChristian.Info RADIO show January 6 @ 7pm central,,, live on BlogTalkRadio.com @ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

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Faith Healing Parents Assert Religious Rights
They Want Charges Dropped in Faith Healing Death of Their Toddler  Daughter

By DEAN SCHABNER
Dec. 10, 2008

A Clackamas County, Ore., couple accused of letting their infant daughter die by relying on prayer, rather than medicine, today asked that the charges be dropped, arguing that they infringe on their freedom of religion and their right to raise their children in their own way.

Carl Worthington, 28, and his wife, Raylene, 25, belong to a church that believes in faith healing, and police said that, instead of going to a doctor when their 15-month-old daughter Ava got sick, they turned to prayer.

The infant girl died March 2 from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and an infection, both of which could have been cured with common antibiotics, the medical examiner said.

The Worthingtons face charges of second degree manslaughter and criminal mistreatment charges. They surrendered to police in March, but were subsequently released after each posted $25,000 bail.

The motion filed in Clackamas County Circuit Court by the Worthingtons’ lawyer today claims that their prosecution is a violation of the rights guaranteed them under both the state and federal constitutions.

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=6436872&page=1

THE ARTICLE REFERED TO IN THE VIDEO

http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur47845.cfm

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Faith healing vs. the Law: Doctor wants legislation appealed that protects parents who rely on faith healing, not medicine

By William McCall THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: November 29, 2008 OREGON CITY, Ore.

When Dr. Seth Asser saw row after row of flat headstones marking children’s graves in a small cemetery not far from the end of the historic Oregon Trail, he knew many of these early deaths should not have happened.

The children’s parents relied on faith healing, instead of doctors.

The pediatrician published a landmark study concluding many of the deaths could have been prevented if the children had received medical care.

“What struck me was the fact that it was obvious from the expressions on the headstones that the children were loved,” Asser said. “So it was especially troublesome they were not afforded the care that most parents would give their children.”

His study 10 years ago brought attention to the issue, and yet today three criminal cases — two in Oregon and one in Wisconsin — have revived concerns about exemptions that most states grant to parents who rely on faith healing instead of doctors to treat sick children.

Faith healing has deep roots in American history, and yet it may seem surprising that in the 21st century, children still die because parents choose not to seek medical help from physicians.

State laws across the nation exempt members of religious groups from prosecution if they choose faith healing over science. Asser and a colleague, Rita Swan, have been trying to get states to repeal such laws, arguing that safety should always come first, no matter what the parents believe.

“We can’t legislate good parenting, but at least we shouldn’t have laws allowing bad parenting,” said Swan, who now heads the advocacy group Children’s Healthcare.

But Swan and Asser have been lonely voices, partly because tragedies are rare and partly because legislators are loath to challenge parental rights, especially when they are intertwined with the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

“There hasn’t been a groundswell of organized advocacy to get the laws changed,” said Shawn Francis Peters, a University of Wisconsin professor and an author of a book on faith healing. “I do think there’s broad public sentiment to do it, but that doesn’t get things through the meat grinder of legislation.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 30 states have specific exemption laws on the books.

What does federal law say? According to HHS, nothing in the amendments to the original 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, can “be construed as establishing a federal requirement that a parent or legal guardian provide any medical service or treatment that is against the religious beliefs of the parent or legal guardian.”

Five states have repealed exemption laws, Swan said: Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska and North Carolina.

Some states have revised their laws, including Oregon in 1999. After a stormy debate in the Oregon Legislature, then-Gov. John Kitzhaber, a doctor, signed a compromise bill into law that eliminated the Oregon spiritual-healing exemption in some manslaughter and criminal-mistreatment cases.

Many of the exemption laws were enacted in the 1970s, promoted by two top advisers to former President Nixon — Bob Haldeman and John Erlichman — and an influential senator, Charles Percy of Illinois, who practiced Christian Science.

The religion, founded by Mary Baker Eddy just after the Civil War, embraces a form of faith healing its adherents say is unique and different from the way it is practiced by some fundamentalists.

The Church of Christ, Scientist, emphasizes that it does not prevent any members from seeking medical care, and it is quick to distance itself from other religious groups that demand prayer be the only method for healing.

“One of the mistakes people make is lumping all these groups together,” said Stephen Lyons, a Boston lawyer who has defended Christian Scientists.

Church leaders also deny their lobbying efforts with state lawmakers across the country have kept the laws on the books, even though Peters and a fellow author on faith healing, Boston College historian Alan Rogers, say that the effort is intense and largely successful.

“It’s remarkable,” Rogers said. “Without exception, it has been the push of the Christian Science church.”

Two pending criminal cases expected to test Oregon’s revised law are against parents belonging to the Followers of Christ Church, the same religious sect that owns the cemetery visited by Asser in 2001.

Jeffrey Dean Beagley, 50, and his 46-year-old wife, Marci Rae Beagley, have been charged with failing to provide adequate medical care, in violation of their duties as parents.

Their 16-year-old son, Neil, died in June from complications of a urinary-tract blockage that triggered heart failure. Doctors said a simple procedure could have saved his life.

In the other Oregon case, Carl Brent Worthington and his wife, Raylene, have pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in the death of their 15-month-old daughter, Ava, who died at home from bacterial pneumonia and a blood infection, conditions the state medical examiner said were treatable.

The Beagleys and the Worthingtons have refused to talk to reporters, and their attorneys have declined to comment, along with prosecutors.

In a third case, in Wisconsin, Leilani and Dale Neumann face reckless homicide charges in the death of their 11-year-old daughter due to complications from diabetes.

Leilani Neumann has said that the family believes in the Bible and that healing comes from God, but she said they do not belong to an organized religion or faith and have nothing against doctors.

The Followers of Christ figured prominently in a state legislative battle over the Oregon exemption that began in 1998 with the discovery of the children’s graves, and the death of an 11-year-old member of the sect from complications caused by diabetes.

The political battle ended with revision of the law, but not its repeal.

“I was there” — for repeal, said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney. And, he notes, so were churches, child health-care advocates, law enforcement and plenty of parents.

What stopped the Legislature from an outright repeal of the law was an effort to protect religious freedom and parental rights and at the same time protect children.

“We tried and tried and tried to figure out a way to speak to, to be sensitive to, and balance all those influences,” Courtney said. “Did we do it? I don’t know.”

“These are extremely sensitive cases nationally,” said Josh Marquis, an Oregon district attorney who has been part of the debate over how to balance those conflicting rights. “It’s where faith meets the law.”

In a 1998 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, Asser and Swan, herself a former Christian Scientist, documented 172 faith-related child deaths in the United States between 1975 and 1995. They found that 140 of the children died from conditions for which survival rates with medical care exceeded 90 percent.

Asser notes that no government agencies systematically collect data, and reliance on faith healing is not a category listed on a death certificate.

Before federal medical privacy laws were tightened, he was able to talk to medical examiners about cases, but that has become more difficult.

Asser has tracked a handful of cases that have gotten media attention in the past decade, including deaths in Philadelphia, Massachusetts and California. But he still learns about many of the deaths only through concerned friends or family members who contact him or Swan.

And death is not the only troubling outcome when children avoid doctors because of their parents’ religious beliefs.

Beth Young, a professor at the University of Central Florida, says her hip dysplasia, which could have been easily corrected when she was an infant, went unnoticed and untreated by her Christian Scientist parents. Young finally went to a doctor in her 20s to find out why it was such a struggle to walk and climb stairs.

She learned her hip joints were deteriorating — but that it was too late for a surgical fix.

“It’s not going to get any better,” Young said in an interview. “I think about that every day. If my parents knew how simple the treatment was, I don’t think they would have ignored it. So I do feel cheated.”

She added: “I can remember times when I would pray and pray and pray, and I would think that maybe I’m healed now, and then I would go check, and I’d go walk in front of a mirror or something, and then I would discover, no I’m not.”

Lyons, the Boston lawyer, has drawn national attention for defending parents in faith healing cases.

He successfuly represented David and Ginger Twitchell, Christian Science parents in Boston who were acquitted of manslaughter charges in the 1986 death of their 2-year-old son from a congenital defect that caused the bowel to twist and become obstructed.

The landmark case caused enough concern to persuade Massachusetts lawmakers to abolish the religious exemption, said Jetta Bernier, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children.

But even when such exemptions are abolished or revised, prosecutions can be difficult so long as parents show they are sincere in their religious beliefs, legal experts say.

“The status quo is very difficult to upset,” said Jesse Choper, the Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2008/nov/29/faith-vs-the-law-doctor-wants-legislation-appealed/living/

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Some Thoughts about Faith Healing

 

Stephen Barrett, M.D. 

The notion that prayer, divine intervention or the ministrations of an individual healer can cure illness has been popular throughout history. Miraculous recoveries have been attributed to a myriad of techniques commonly lumped together as “faith healing. During the past forty years, several investigators have studied this subject closely and written about their findings.

Louis Rose, a British psychiatrist, investigated hundreds of alleged faith-healing cures. As his interest became well known, he received communications from healers and patients throughout the world. He sent each correspondent a questionnaire and sought corroborating information from physicians. In Faith Healing [Penguin Books 1971], he concluded, “I have been unsuccessful. After nearly twenty years of work I have yet to find one ‘miracle cure’; and without that (or, alternatively, massive statistics which others must provide) I cannot be convinced of the efficacy of what is commonly termed faith healing.” [1]

During the early 1970s, Minnesota surgeon William Nolen, M.D., attended a service conducted by Katherine Kuhlman, the leading evangelical healer of that period. After noting the names of 25 people who had been “miraculously healed,” he was able to perform follow-up interviews and examinations. Among other things, he discovered that one woman who had been announced as cured of “lung cancer” actually had Hodgkin’s disease — which was unaffected by the experience. Another woman with cancer of the spine had discarded her brace and followed Ms. Kuhlman’s enthusiastic command to run across the stage. The following day her backbone collapsed, and four months later she died. Overall, not one person with organic disease had been helped. Dr. Nolen reported his findings, which included observations of several other healers, in Healing: A Doctor in Search of a Miracle , a book that I heartily recommend [2].

C. Eugene Emery, Jr., a science writer for the Providence Journal, has looked closely at the work of Reverend Ralph DiOrio, a Roman Catholic priest whose healing services attract people by the thousands. In 1987 Emery attended one of DiOrio’s services and recorded the names of nine people who had been blessed during the service and nine others who had been proclaimed cured. DiOrio’s organization provided ten more cases that supposedly provided irrefutable proof of the priest’s ability to cure. During a six-month investigation, Emery found no evidence that any of these 28 individuals had been helped [3].

The most comprehensive examination of contemporary “healers” is James Randi’s The Faith Healers [4]. The book describes how many of the leading evangelistic healers have enriched themselves with the help of deception and fraud. Some of Randi’s evidence came from former associates of the evangelists who got disgusted with what they had observed.

Randi’s most noteworthy experience was the unmasking of Peter Popoff, an evangelist who would call out the names of people in the audience and describe their ailments. Popoff said he received this information from God, but it was actually obtained by confederates who mingled with the audience before each performance. Pertinent data would be given to Popoff’s wife, who would broadcast it from backstage to a tiny receiver in Popoff’s ear. After recording one of Mrs. Popoff’s radio transmissions, Randi exposed the deception on the Johnny Carson Show. First he played a videotape showing Popoff interacting with someone in the audience. Then he replayed the tape with Mrs. Popoff’s voice audible to illustrate how Popoff used the information.

Randi also exposed the techniques used by evangelist W.V. Grant, who calls out people in the audience by name and describes their ailments. Grant obtains this information from letters people send him and by mingling with the audience before his show. To help his memory, he uses crib sheets and gets hand signals from associates who also use crib sheets. After one performance, Randi was able to retrieve a complete set from the trash Grant left behind! Following another performance, Randi found that some members of the audience had given false information about themselves, their ailments, and their medical care. For example, after “Dr. Jesus” had “put a new heart” into a man supposedly awaiting open-heart surgery, Randi found that the details (including the doctor and hospital named by Grant) could not be corroborated.

Grant’s subjects typically are “slain in the spirit” and fall backward into the arms of his assistants. In 1986 I observed from a few feet away what happened when he encountered an elderly woman who did not wish to fall backward when he touched her forehead. Grant pushed his fingers into her neck so hard that she could not remain standing. I also watched him “lengthen” the leg of a man who limped up to the stage, supposedly because one of his legs was shorter than the other. The audience may have been impressed with this feat, but I was not. Before the show began, I noted that the man was one of Grant’s assistants and walked normally.

Intercessory Prayer

In 1988, two investigators reported that their thorough search of the scientific literature had located only three controlled examinations of the effects of prayer by third parties on people who were unaware of the prayers [5]. Of these, one (the Byrd study described below) claimed benefit but was poorly designed, whereas the others found no benefit and were well designed [6,7]. Surprised by the small number of published studies, Witmer and Zimmerman asked 38 journal editors whether they had ever received but rejected a manuscript on the subject of intercessory prayer. They also asked the editors to ask their readers whether they knew of any such study, published or unpublished. No editor or reader responded affirmatively. Since that time four more studies have been published, two showing no benefit and two claiming a positive result.

The Byrd study, involving patients in the coronary care unit at San Francisco General Hospital, compared 192 patients who were prayed for by Christians located outside the hospital with 201 patients who served as controls [8]. The published report stated that the prayed-for group had fewer complications. However, the author’s tabulation was not valid because he scored interrelated complications separately and therefore gave them too much weight. The average length of hospital stay, which was not subject to this type of scoring error, was identical for the treatment and control groups [5,9].

Another study examined what happened to anxiety, depression, and self-esteem in 406 patients who received intercessory prayer or no prayer. The prayer was offered for 15 minutes daily for 12 weeks. The researcher reported improvement in all of the subjects but found no differences between the prayer and no-prayer groups [10]. A study of the effects of intercessory prayer on 40 recovering alcoholics also found no benefit [11]. A 6-month study of 40 advanced AIDS patients exposed to 10 weeks of “distant healing” reported fewer new illnesses, physician visits, and hospitalizations in the “distant healing” group [12].

In 1999, the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine published a better-designed study of nearly a thousand consecutive patients who were newly admitted to the coronary care unit of a hospital in Kansas City. The researchers created a 35-item score sheet that was used to measure what happened to the patients during a 28-day period in which 15 groups of 5 persons (“intercessors”) prayed individually for about half the patients. The intercessors were given the patients’ first names and were asked to pray daily for “a speedy recovery with no complications.” The prayed-for group had a 10-11% reduction in total scores even though their average length of hospital stay was similar to that of the “usual-care” group. The researchers also noted that: (a) some patients had asked hospital clergy to pray for them; (b) many, if not most patients in both groups were probably receiving intercessory and/or direct prayer from family, friends and/or clergy, so that the study was most likely measuring the effects of “supplementary intercessory prayer”; (c) although the difference would be expected to occur by chance alone only 1 in 25 times such an experiment were conducted, chance still remains a possible explanation of the results; and (d) using the scoring method of the San Francisco study yielded no significant difference between the two groups [13].

The researchers concluded that “the result suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care” and that further studies should be done [13]. I disagree. The “10-11% reduction in the score sheet” may be statistically significant but is not clinically significant and probably occurred by chance.

In 2001, Mayo Clinic researchers have found no significant effect of intercessory prayer (prayer by one or more persons on behalf of another) on the medical outcomes of more than 750 patients who were followed for 6 months after discharge from in hospital coronary care unit. The patients were randomized within 24 hours of discharge into a prayed-for group and a control group. The prayer involved at least one session per week for 26 weeks by five randomly assigned individual or group intercessors [14].

Intercessory prayer studies accomplish nothing. “Believers” won’t change their view if further studies are negative, and nonbelievers won’t change theirs if additional studies appear positive. Prayer may help some people feel reassured when they are worried, but to me it makes more sense to spend one’s time and energy on more constructive health-promoting activities. Although luck is still a significant factor, I think it is more sensible to believe that health is more likely to be influenced by prudent living than by magical thinking. Also, if praying for people worked, would strangers praying against them cause them to become sicker? Or, as one of my religious friends put it, “Is God is so stupid that he or she would respond to popularity contests?”

Fraudulent “Spiritual” Advice

Many “psychics” and “healers” offer to help with life’s problems through the mail or by telephone. Some call themselves Sister, Madame, Reverend, Doctor, Father, Prophet, Madame Queen, Reverent Mother, or Reverend Sister. The purported benefits may include better luck, better health, and/or a financial benefit. Some of these individuals attempt to persuade respondents to send money repeatedly for their services. During the 1970s, for example, a “spiritual reader” who operating as “Mother McGown,” “Mother Luther,” and “Mother Alma” guaranteed help within three days for illnesses, loneliness, and other problems. All respondents to her ads received identical mimeographed letters stating: “I have received your letter and found out that I could help you. I have found that you have hoodoo [bad luck] in your home along with sickness and love life problems. As soon as you read this letter, call me immediately.” Those who telephoned were told that their problems would be solved if they sent a specific sum of money, usually $50 (but no personal checks). Follow-up letters would then ask for more money because the problem was worse than it was initially believed to be. The Postal Service took action in response to complaints from victims who had spent money but received no results. It turned out that the perpetrator belonged to a gypsy clan whose female members operated under various names in many states. The scheme was ended when one of them was prosecuted by the Postal Service and sentenced to three years’ probation by a federal judge in Austin, Texas.

Is Anyone Helped?

Is there any evidence that faith healing works? The first step in approaching this question is to specify what should be considered proof that an ailment has been healed by a supernatural method. In my opinion, three criteria must be met: (1) the ailment must be one that normally doesn’t recover without treatment; (2) there must not have been any medical treatment that would be expected to influence the ailment; and (3) both diagnosis and recovery must be demonstrable by detailed medical evidence.

If I wanted to demonstrate that I had an effective new treatment method, I would take pains to document the basis for my belief. For example, if I thought I could cure cancer with prayer, I would begin by making certain that patients I worked on actually had cancer. I would obtain their records, talk with their doctors, and have independent physicians examine them to determine their current status. After administering my treatment, I would conduct careful, long-range follow-up studies and report the outcome in detail.

Has any “faith healer” ever sent for the medical records of a client? Or had a client examined by a doctor before and after healing is administered? Or inquired about a client’s health months or years after the healing? Or even kept statistics to indicate what percentage of people with various ailments appear to have been helped? Or compiled data that an independent investigator could verify? As far as I know, no healer has ever done any of these things. On the other hand, many cases have been documented in which people with serious disease have died as a result of abandoning effective medical care after being “healed.”

Thus, as far as I am concerned, there is no reason to believe that faith healing has ever cured anyone of an organic disease. What about functional ailments — in which the symptoms are bodily reactions to tension? Some people who visit “healers” may feel better because the experience causes them to relax or because of a placebo effect. But any benefit of this type should be weighed against the fact that people who are not relieved may conclude that they are “unworthy” and become depressed as a result. Money spent for a fruitless experience with a healer is another negative factor.

Christian Science

A number of religious sects favor prayer over medical care. Christian Science is probably the best known of these groups and is the only form of faith healing that is deductible as a medical expense for federal income tax purposes. Christian Science contends that illness is an illusion caused by faulty beliefs, and that prayer heals by replacing bad thoughts with good ones. Christian Science practitioners work by trying to argue the sick thoughts out of the person’s mind. Consultations can take place in person, by telephone, or even by mail. Individuals may also be able to attain correct beliefs by themselves through prayer or mental concentration. “You can Heal,” a pamphlet of the Christian Science Publishing Society, states that “every student of Christian Science has the God-given ability to heal the sick.” Two weeks of class instruction are required to become a practitioner.

The weekly magazine Christian Science Sentinel publishes several “testimonies” in each issue. To be considered for publication, an account must be “verified” by three individuals who “can vouch for the integrity of the testifier or know of the healing.” During the past few years, believers have claimed that prayer has brought about recovery from anemia, arthritis, blood poisoning, corns, deafness, defective speech, multiple sclerosis, skin rashes, total body paralysis, visual difficulties, and various injuries. Most of these accounts contain little detail, and many of the diagnoses were made without medical consultation.

As far as I know, no systematic, medically supervised study of the outcome of Christian Science healing has ever been performed. However, a recent study suggests that devout Christian Scientists, who rarely consult doctors, pay a high price for avoiding medical care. The study was performed by William F. Simpson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at Emporia State University. Dr. Simpson compared alumni records from Principia College, a Christian Science school in Elsah, Illinois, with records from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and published his findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Even though Christian Science tenets forbid the use of alcohol and tobacco, the death rates among those who had graduated from Principia between 1934 and 1948 were higher than those of their University of Kansas counterparts — 26.2% vs. 20.9% in men, and 11.3% vs. 9.9% in women [15]. A subsequent study comparing the mortality of Christian Scientists and Seventh-day Adventists (who also are admonished to abstain from cigarettes and alcohol) found even greater differences [16].

Rita and Douglas Swan, whose 16-month-old son Matthew died of meningitis under the care of two Christian Science practitioners in 1977, are not surprised by these statistics. Angered by their experience, she founded CHILD, Inc., to work for legal reforms that can protect children from inappropriate treatment by faith healers. She and a colleague collected and reviewed the cases of 172 children who died between 1975 and 1995 when parents withheld medical care because of reliance on religious rituals They concluded

  • 140 of the deaths were from medical conditions for which survival rates with medical care would have exceeded 90%. These included 22 cases of pneumonia in infants under two years of age, 15 cases of meningitis, and 12 cases of insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • 18 more had expected survival rates greater than 50%
  • All but three of the remainder would probably have had some benefit from clinical help. [17]

Information about CHILD can be obtained online or by writing to P.O. Box 2604, Sioux City, IA 51106.

Membership in the Christian Science Church has been declining steadily. The number of practitioners and teachers listed in the Christian Science Journal has fallen from about 5,000 in 1971 to about 1,800 in 1996; and the number of churches has fallen from about 1,800 in 1971 to about 1,100 in 2003..

Is Spirituality Helpful?

A 1996 poll of 1,000 adults found that 79% believed that spiritual faith can help people recover from disease [18]. This idea is also popular among physicians. Although many studies have found associations between various measures of religiosity and health, no well-designed study has demonstrated that religious beliefs or prayer actually benefit health [19]. In fact, one well-designed study found just the opposite. The study involved patients whose progress was followed for nine months after discharge from a British hospital. They evaluated the outpatient records and the responses of 189 patients to questionnaires. the researchers concluded that the health status of patients with stronger spiritual beliefs were more than twice as likely to be unimproved or worse [20]. Although some studies have found that churchgoers tend to be healthier and to live longer than nonchurchgoers, church attendance itself is unlikely to be responsible for the difference [21].

Recommendations

Can anything be done about faith healing? Believers don’t see it as a problem, while most nonbelievers don’t see it as a priority issue and have little sympathy for its victims. But a few things might help lower faith healing’s toll on our society:

  • Laws to protect children from medical neglect in the name of healing should be passed and enforced. In states that allow religious exemptions from medical neglect, these exemptions should be revoked. Maybe the practice of faith healing on minors should be illegal.
  • Faith healing should no longer be deductible as a medical expense.
  • Reporters should be encouraged to do follow-up studies of people acclaimed to have been “healed.”
  • “Healers” who use trickery to raise large sums of money should be prosecuted for grand larceny.

References

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/faith.html

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Even though I have been negatively affected by other Cults and false teachings, since before I knew what a Cult and False teaching was, I am going to use MY WORDS TO HEAL those deluded by the WoF movement. Because the WoF teaching that faith is a force is not only a false teaching, But also A VERY DANGEROUS and sometimes deadly OCCULTIC PARADIGM SHIFT.

So I have decided (willed) to USE THE POWER OF MY WORDS to heal you. I will be constantly Chanting YOUR HEALED,YOUR HEALED, YOUR HEALED. So don’t make any negative confessions, least Thee over power my positive confessions, JUST RECEIVE AND BE HEALED. 

You know I am just joking, being sarcastic and a little facetious right?
 
But If I weren’t, think of the ramifications of the idea that words have magical creative power.
 
We hear Word of Faith believers say “Life and death is in the power of the tongue” BUT THAT DON’T MEAN that actions don’t have consequences, AND WORDS are more powerful than WHAT WE DO, and sometimes think. Just think how delusional and illogical the idea is that words have more power than our actions do.
 
The first thing we learn as a Kid is that actions have consequences. If we stick our finger in the fire, we find the fire is HOT, not because someone SAID FIRE IS HOT, but because fire is hot by it’s nature. As a baby,,, we cannot even understand our parents say the fire is Hot. And fire was hot WAY BEFORE cavemen quit grunting and grumbling and started talking. And we usually don’t find the real power in words until we use the wrong words, on the wrong people,,, and get a bop on the nose for it. Our words have some power, but not literal creative power.

And certainly God could have created everything,,, without a single word, because He IS GOD. THE Creator. 

Man has never created anything Ex-nihilo (out of nothing), much less with mere words. Although words can uplift, encourage and build self esteem, and our words can insult, degrade and devalue a person. Words have never actually killed anyone. It is impossible to die from saying “I am laughing myself to death”

Have you ever noticed that ALL BRIDGES ARE SLIPPERY WHEN WET? Even if they don’t have a warning sign saying so. OR SOMEBODY SAID SO. Have you ever noticed that in contradiction against the obvious implications of the Word of Faith teaching,,, deaf and speaking impaired people get sick and have problems that RESULT FROM THEIR ACTIONS,,,,, not words TOO?

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WHO SPOKE THE MAJIC WORD FIRST? 

In other words, WHERE DOES THE IDEA THAT WORDS HAVE POWER COME FROM?

If you seek out the answer to this question, you will find that the WoF teaching comes from Kenneth Haggin, who got it from EW Kenyon, who in turn got it from Mary Baker Eddy (of Christian Science) through Charles Emory. And Mary Baker Eddy got the words have power teaching from Phineas Qumby, the Father of New Thought or Mind Science .

There is a few things you should know about Mr. Quimby before you continue to try and create realities with your words.

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From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Quimby

Phineas Quimby was known as a philosopher, magnetizer, mesmerist, healer, and scientist. Quimby’s focus of attention was philosophy of mind, on which he held the dualist position. (See also Cartesian dualism).

He approached the mind-body problem by reasoning that mind was “spiritual matter”, observing that man “exists outside himself,” and that mind and body, although of two different natures, interact with each other.

Quimby claimed that disease is not the cause of illness, but the effect of a conflict existing within the mind; he claimed that all mental and most physical diseases were the result of faulty reasoning. He said “the explanation is the cure.”

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The above WiKipedia article also says that Mrs. Eddy was a patient of Mr. Quimby’s and shared his view that disease is rooted in a mental causation. The Article also tries to claim that Quimby did not mix his “System of healing” with religion. But Quimby’s own words prove otherwise.  http://www.phineasquimby.com/concerning_use_medicine.html

From the article above, Mr Quimby was a philosophical dualist who said “Medicine contains nothing to me, except as an effect – and if a patient believes he must use it, I sometimes allow him to do so; but I always tell him the cure is in himself (or in his belief), and not in the medicine.”

Philosophical dualism states that matter and mind are different. Mind is more akin to Spirit than Matter. So when Quimby would assert that “the cure is in himself (or in his belief)”,,, he was basically saying that Mind is a spiritual force that can be “tapped into” or manipulated, if you just “think rightly“, to affect sickness and disease.

WHAT ARE WORDS? Expression of thought.

Words ARE NOT a tool to manipulate a so called “force of faith” as so many Word of Faith teachers arrogantly proclaim. 

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WORDS ARE FOR WITCHES (silly rabbit) and God is for Christians

I read every article I post on this blog and probably 5-6 articles for every 1 that I do post. Many WoF expose articles will show the origins of this false teaching to go back to EW. Kenyon. Some trace it further back to Marry Baker Eddy and some go back to Quimby. But most fail to show the real source of the teaching. Satan and the Occult.

Yes,, there are many articles that show the WoF teaching of positive confession to be the same as the occultic New Age “Law of Attraction”. And anyone can see the similarities of the NEW AGE Mega-book “THE SECRET” AND the WoF teachings.

A few articles rightfully mention that the WoF teachings is akin to witchcraft without quoting any witches. Looking at the definitions of Magic, Spells and Incantation will show the WoF is witchcraft like And many article list quotes from Prominent Word of faith teachers saying that “if the occult can get results out this force of faith,, why can’t Gods children?“ Don’t that show JUST a little (wee) bit of a lack of discernment.

BUT I WOULD LIKE TO GO FURTHER THAN THAT.

Because my Uncle is a Mormon Bishop and because Joseph Smith was a Freemason, I have studied the Occult extensively. Witchcraft and other forms of the Occult IS ALL ABOUT POWER. People don’t become witches to make their parents angry. NO THEY WANT THE POWER TO CONTROL THEIR LIFES AND OTHERS.

Instead of throwing themselves to the mercy of a sovereign God and living life to please him. They seek to manipulate their reality with “spiritual forces”. But as Jesus said, “Father, If it be thy will” is what Christians should pray. God only gives us WHAT HE WILLS. No matter what we ask for?

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STRAIGHT FROM THE WITCHES MOUTH 

Here is some text from a website on witchcraft.

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/ 

“Mankind has always attempted to know the unknowable and control it by his own actions. At the same time, it was recognized that there were powers beyond his ability to control. Throughout history, certain people have been accepted as being better at controlling the powers that represent natural forces such as earthquake, wind, flood,fire and disease.

In some cases, these powers were named as gods or goddesses, at other times the forces themselves were named and summoned and controlled by the will of humans known as witches in modern day language.

The power possessed by a witch or shaman skilled in the art and working of witchcraft was assumed to be almost limitless. By saying certain words or power names in the correct manner and correct tone of voice, the witch could heal the ill, and cast out the evil spirits which caused pain and suffering in those who were diseased.

Inanimate nature also obeyed the words of witchcraft and even the creation of the world itself was through a spoken word. The words could tear the earth apart and make water pile up in a heap and even the sun could be stopped in its course by a word uttered in witchcraft.”

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Witchcraft vs Christianity; Learn the similarities and differences of the two 

“The differences between the Christian and witchcraft viewpoint is the difference between being citizens of a society which takes an active role to shape and mold the structure of society or subjects of a society which has the connotation of subordination to the larger group for the benefit of all.

A similar term with very different meanings between Christian and pagan understandings of the word is “self-control”. To those practicing witchcraft they believe that they are the one who has full control over the actions. They do not surrender to another except under very brief, special and voluntary circumstances. Self-control means taking charge, making all decisions relating to oneself, doing anything so long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. 

The witch views control as the act of intentionally and positively directing the will toward the achievement of positive goals. The underlying assumption with the witch’s view of self control is that man is inherently valuable, and can achieve good and beneficial ends through the use of will power.”

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/christianity.html

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EVEN WITCHES DON’T HAVE FAITH IN FAITH 

“People who are just beginning witchcraft don’t have the understanding or the ability to actually practice medicine, but witchcraft is the belief system which is outstripping all others in popularity. It is expected that young people who are practicing witches may soon be preparing for degrees in medical fields and thus improve the chances of being healed through witchcraft as well as more mainstream means and medications.

Modern scientists have documented the term called the placebo effect. When some people receive healing from illnesses which in some cases are considered terminal illnesses after being given a pill made of sugar rather than the test drug, the healing is due to the placebo effect. Others would say that they were healed by faith, the patient believed that they would be healed due to the medication, and so they were healed, in spite of the fact that they received no medication. So, faith regardless of whether the faith comes from belief in the drug, belief in God or belief in witchcraft.”

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/spells.html

A WICHES FAITH IS in the force of WITCHRAFT,,, Not faith or God.

There is no force called faith. Faith (trust) is only as good as the object of that faith.

 

An interesting study is to get a few bible dictionaries and do a word search and study on “god of forces” I have several books on demonology by Merrill F. Unger. He has a whole chapter devoted to the “god of forces” in one of them, so he might have a really good definition in his bible dictionary. I will look when I get more of my books out of storage.

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IN CLOSING 

I have about a dozen witchcraft websites bookmarked that are speaking about “creating your own future with the power of words” or “use your words to make yourself rich and powerful” BUT I will not make anymore quotes from them in this article.

INSTEAD I ask you to take a intellectual peek into the matter for yourself,, after you have prayed for spiritual protection over your heart.

Control, Power, and creating so called “realities” out of non physical realities (words and thoughts) is the very basis of all Occult philosophies. USE THE POWER LUKE, AM I YOUR FATHER?

The Word of Faith movement is nothing more than Gnosticism/Occultism invading the Christian Church tempting the Modern Christian to attempt to be in control of his own destiny and well being,,,, instead of FULLY RELYING ON GOD.

Have you bought into the lies, Do you still buy into the lies, OR WAS YOU HEALED BY THE POWER (reasoning) OF MY WORDS? Or maybe it was the power words in the title?

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CHECK OUT more WoF post on this blog

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Word of Faith Movement Refutation

What do you say to a person who tells you that you don’t have the Holy Spirit, even though you are a Christian? What should you do if you think something is wrong, or your conscience is bothering you about something that was said or done at a church? The answer? Go to the Scriptures!

The Bible has all the answers to your questions. Great deception is afoot in the Church today. In this paper, I will attempt to deal with a few statements you may hear from people who have become involved in the Third Wave revival movement. By “Third Wave? I am referring to teachers, “prophets?and any meeting associated with the Toronto “Blessing? Brownsville Assemblies of God, Rodney Howard-Browne, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Rod Parsley, Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyers, and many others who appear on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the 700 Club on TV.

Hopefully, the statements and answers here will set you off on an investigation of your own into the Word of God. Paul praised the Bereans because they “were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things,that Paul taught, “was so” We must do the same in our day!

Statement 1: “You need to come to a meeting where this man can lay hands on you and give you the Holy Spirit anointing. You may be born again, but you may not have the Holy Spirit.?

Answer: I am a born again Christian, therefore I am already sealed (Eph 1:13, 4:30; 2 Cor 1:22) and baptized (1 Cor 12:13) by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is working (1 Cor 12:11; 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2) within me (John 7:38; 1 John 3:24, 4:13; Jam 4:5; 2 Tim 1:14) convicting (1 Thes 1:5; John 16:7-8), empowering (Eph 3:16), sanctifying (2 Thes 2:13; 1 Pet 1:12), bestowing grace gifts (1 Cor 12:4-11), and producing fruits (Gal 5:22). The Holy Spirit of God is sovereign (Heb 2:4; 1 Cor 12:11) and He cannot be transferred “by?human hands, which was the misconception of Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:18-23). A few times in Acts the Spirit was given “at?the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17; 19:6), which was always done in submission to the will of God and in agreement with His purposes (1 John 2:17). The Holy Spirit, in this age, immediately indwells all who believe (Eph 1:13-14), which does not necessitate the laying on of hands.

Statement 2: “We are seeing a great revival in these last days, where millions will be saved in preparation for the return of Christ.?

Answer: The Bible does not indicate a great end times revival or awakening, but rather a great deception (Mark 13; 2 Thes 2:9-12; 2 Pet 2:1; Matt 24:4), delusion (2 Thes 2:9-12), and the love of people growing cold (Matt 24:12). The end times are marked by many false prophets and teachers (2 Pet 2:1; Matt 7:15, 24:24; 1 John 4:1), false Christs (Matt 24:24; Mark 13:22), a different spirit (2 Cor 11:4, 1 John 4:3), false doctrines (2 Tim 4:3; 1 Tim 4:1, 6:3-5).

Matthew 24:14 says that the gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth, but it does not say millions will be saved. Rather, those who believe are a little flock (Luke 12:32) who have little strength (Rev 3:8)–a few who find the small gate and the narrow road (Matt 7:14). Jesus also asked, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth??(Luke 18:8)

Statement 3: “Come with us to an exciting event where God is doing a new thing, and where there is new revelation not really mentioned in God’s Word.

Answer: God may do a “new thing”(Isa 43:19), but it will always be consistent with His unchangeable character (Heb 13:8), His testimony (Isa 8:20) and his unchanging (Heb 6:17), unbreakable Word (John 10:35). We are commanded not to add to or take away from Scripture (Rev 22:18-19) or to go “above that which is written?(1 Cor 4:6). We should daily search the Scriptures to discern truth from error (Acts 17:11). New revelation that does not meet the above criteria must not be accepted (Deut 13:3). We do not need to be afraid of false prophets who make up new exciting things (Deut 18:22; Jer 23:25) and prophesy falsely in the name of God (Jer 27:15), for these prophets and those who follow them will perish.

Statement 4: “Don’t be afraid of being ‘slain in the spirit? because a Christian can’t be demonized or deceived.?

Answer: There is ample evidence, both scriptural and experiential [Anyone know what this means –Ed.] that believers can be demonized, also known as POSSESSED (Job 1:8-9, 2:3, 2:7; 1 Sam 16:14-16, 18:10, 19:9; Matt 15:22-28, 16:22-23; Mark 1:23; Luke 9:52-56, 13:11-16; John 6:70-71, 13:27; Acts 5:1-11, 8:9-24; 1 Cor 5:1-5, 10:12-14; 2 Cor 2:10-11, 11:3-4, 12:7; Gal 3:1; Eph 4:25-27; 1 Thes 2:18; 1 Tim 1:19-20, 3:6-7, 4:1-2; 2 Tim 2:24-26; 1 Pet 5:8-9).

Christians can also be deceived (Matt 24:5, 11, 24; Eph 5:6; 2 Thes 2:3; 1 Cor 6:9; 2 Cor 11:3; Jam 1:16), give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27), shipwreck their faith (1 Tim 1:19) and fall away (Luke 8:13; Gal 5:4).

Statement 5: “If you don’t come to the ‘revival?meeting, you might miss a blessing from God.

Answer: Christians are already experiencing blessings from God because of the gospel (1 Cor 9:23) of Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3) through the Holy Spirit (Isa 44:3; Gal 3:14). I also do not believe that revival comes before repentance (Acts 3:19). Repentance only comes as a result of the gospel message being clearly preached (Col 1:28, 4:4; 1 Thes 1:5) which is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom 1:16). The only way we can miss a blessing from God is to fail to “contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints?(Jude 1:3) and to no longer follow Jesus (John 6:66), being “carried about with divers and strange doctrines”(Heb 13:9).

Statement 6: “It is easier for a person to receive the ‘anointing?if they stop analyzing so much and empty their minds. ‘God offends the mind to reveal the heart.?

Answer: Christians are never to empty their minds. Our minds allow us to know God’s will (Rom 12:2), show God we love Him (Matt 22:37), and be kept in perfect peace (Isa 26:3). We need to fill our minds with the Word of Christ (Col 3:16). Emptying your mind is an occult technique used by Hindus and other false religions. God created our minds (Gen 1:27; 1 Tim 4:4), which are always to be submitted to His will (Matt 6:10, 26:42). Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “God offends the mind to reveal the heart.” However, if we are offended by the “offence of the cross? we had better check to see if we are saved (Gal 5:11).

Statement 7: “Come and sit under the teaching of latter day apostles and prophets who are even greater than the Apostles and Prophets of Scripture.

Answer: The Bible says that the church is built on the Cornerstone, which is Christ Jesus (1 Pet 2:6) and the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (Eph 2:20). The spiritual building of the church is in its last phase. We must not and cannot lay another foundation for a house that Christ has already built on the Cornerstone and the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. Another question to ask is: are these people they are talking about persecuted and being put to death for the cause of Christ (2 Cor 4:8-9, 6:4-10; Heb 11:36-37)”Or are they making a name for themselves and becoming rich” It is likely you will find they are “talkers and deceivers?who “subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”(Titus 1:10-11)

Statement 8: “God used the ‘force of faith” to speak the universe into existence, so we can also use the ‘force of faith” to speak health, wealth and anything else into being. Never pray ‘Thy will be done” because it shows you have a lack of faith.

Answer: You’ve been watching too much Star Wars buddy. You have also been listening to heretical teachers like Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. God did not use any “force of faith?to create the world. He did so by His Word (2 Pet 3:5), His power (Isa 20:46), and by His will (Rev 4:11). We do not command God, but we may ask, seek and knock (Matt 7:7). However, we must ask according to His will (1 John 5:14) as long as His words remain in us (John 15:7). I do not believe in ordering God to do our bidding, like Balaam attempted to do on behalf of Balak (Num 22:8, 2 Pet 2:15, Jude 1:11). That is witchcraft, which God forbids (Deut 18:10, Gal 5:19-21). We always pray “Thy will be done? just as Jesus, John, David, Peter, Paul, James and the Holy Spirit did (Matt 6:10, 26:42; Luke 11:2; 1 John 2:17, 5:14, 15; Ps 40:8; Heb 10:7; Rom 8:27; 1 Pet 3:17; Col 1:9, Jam 4:13-16).

Statement 9: “Listen to all the positive testimonies. They are a good indication that God is doing a work of revival in these meetings.”

Answer: Testimonies are subjective. That is, they are not easily proven. What really happened? Was the person really healed and for how long? Positive testimonies of life changing experiences and miracles can be found in every religion and cult in the world. Testimonies are nice, but we must not base our faith on them. The first way we are to judge a person or movement is by their doctrinal teachings. If they are teaching false doctrine, you can be sure that it is not a revival from God. Here are some discernment questions to ask:

1) Are the revival leaders “workers of righteousness’ or “workers of iniquity’ Does financial greed or good works characterize them? (Matt 23:25; 1 Thes 2:5) Good doctrine or fables? (1 Tim 4:1-8) Deep Christian character, or selfish ambition? (Jam 3:14-18) Are they “law-full?or “lawless’ (Matt 7:15-23)

2) What are the long term fruits in terms of Christian character–especially faithfulness, truth, love, mercy, and righteousness? (Matt 7:16-20; Gal 5:22, 23; Eph 5:9; Jam 3:14-18)

3) Does the revival as a whole display a love of sound doctrine? What is the revival leader’s attitude about Scripture? (2 Pet 3:13-18; 1 Tim 4:1-8)

4) Does the revival have a clear aim? Is it taking people somewhere? Can the results of the movement be built on by later generations? Is it a “house of straw?or a well-constructed foundation for the future? Is it built on Christ–that is, the historical Jesus of Scripture? (Matt 7:15-29; 1 Cor 3:10-17)

5) Are the revival leaders sound morally? Does the revival manage to avoid the twin dangers of immorality on one hand, or overbearing legalism on the other? (Col 2:18-23; Jude 1:4)

6) What is the attitude of the revival to the rest of the body of Christ? Is it humble or proud? Is it boastful? Does it separate itself?

Statement 10: “Did you know that since you belong to Christ you are a ‘little god?or a ‘little messiah? You are everything that God is. You are ‘I Am”

Answer: We believers are all children of God (John 1:12), sons of God (Gal 3:26), and together the bride of Christ (Rev 19:7). We are not Christ Himself, nor are we God. If we are little gods, then the statement that there is only on God would be untrue (Rom 3:30). There is also only one Father’s Son, who is Jesus Christ (2 John 1:3). This “little gods?teaching by people like Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn is a doctrine of demons because it is one of the first lies Satan told Eve (Gen 3:5) and the sin of Satan himself (Isa 14:13-14). Also, the body of Christ is no Christ Himself. Christ is the Head of His church (Eph 1:10). Jesus is 100% man and 100% God for all eternity and physically sits at the right hand of God in His glorified body (Rom 8:34; Col 2:9). He is coming again bodily to rule and judge the earth (Rev 11:15).

Statement 11: “Those who question the teachings of the leaders of the revival may end up cursed.

Answer: It is true they may be cursed, but not by God. Many revival leaders have cursed any person to death that disagrees with what they are doing and teaching. Benny Hinn has done this many times, as well as John Kilpatrick, Steve Hill and Michael Brown of Brownville, and Paul Crouch of TBN. God commands us to discern truth from error (Luke 12:57; 2 Pet 3:17, John 7:24), test the spirits (1 John 4:1), check what is taught with the Scriptures (Acts 17:11; 1 Cor 10:15, Isa 8:20; 1 Cor 4:6), and reject heretics (Titus 3:10). We are also commanded of God not to curse, like these men curse and persecute us, but to bless. (Rom 12:14)

Statement 12: “The Bible says: ‘Judge not lest you be judged.’ Don’t judge this move of God or its leaders. ‘Touch not the Lord’s anointed.’

Answer: The kind of judging in Matt 7:1 is hypocritical judgment. In other words, judging someone for what they are doing while you are doing the same thing. However, there are many ways in which we ARE called to judge. We are to judge what people teach (1 Cor 10:15, Acts 17:11), judge between right and wrong morally (1 Cor 5:11-13; Luke 12:57; 2 Pet 3:17; John 7:24), test the spirits (1 John 4:1). If a person or movement is teaching false doctrine or making false prophecies, we are to rebuke them (Titus 1:13). If they do not repent, we are to come away from them (Rev 18:4), mark them and avoid them (Rom 16:17), have no fellowship with them (Eph 5:1), withdraw from them (2 Thes 3:6), turn away from them (2 Tim 3:5-7), separate ourselves from them (2 Cor 6:17), and not even receive them into our homes (2 John 10, 11). As to the “touch not the Lord’s anointed?argument, David did not “touch?or kill Saul. But he did rebuke him in front of his entire army on two separate occasions. Though we do not kill false prophets as they did in the Old Testament (Deut 17:2-5; Lev 24:11-14), we are called to test them, rebuke them, and avoid them if they do not repent.

Statement 13: “Gamaliel advised ?..let them alone: for if…this work be of men, it will come to naught: But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it…?Just wait and see how this revival turns out in the end. Don’t stand against it.”

Answer: Gamaliel was a highly respected Pharisee and teacher of the day, but he was no friend of the Christians. While his advice had saved the apostles, Gamaliel had actually given some bad advice to his fellow council members. Were people to follow this advice, one would never speak out against error. One could never stand up and say about a group claiming Jesus Christ as their leader that, for instance, Mormonism is wrong. We are called as Christians to discern error (Luke 12:57; 2 Pet 3:17; John 7:24) and to mark and avoid (Rom 16:17) those who are divisive [Tending to create discord or dissension . . . in other words a “troublemaker’-Ed. ] and heretical (Titus 3:10).

Statement 14: “A great end time revival is preparing the earth to be subdued by the anointed. All authority will be given to the ‘manchild?and then Christ can return in His Church.

Answer: As I stated previously, the Bible does not indicate a great end times revival or awakening, but rather a great deception (Mark 13; 2 Thes 2:3; 2 Pet 2:1; Matt 24:4), delusion (2 Thes 2:9-12), and the love of people growing cold (Matt 24:12). Our place as Christians is not to subdue the earth, as Christ will do that when He returns (Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27, 19:15). Our job is to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15; 1 Cor 9:16; 2 Cor 9:13) and take care of the less fortunate, keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world (Jam 1:7). All authority is given to Christ (Matt 28:18). Any authority we have is based on obedience to the will of the Father (Col 2:10, Rom 15:18). We will not have authority over the nations during the millennial reign of Christ unless we overcome by faith and do God’s will to the end (Rev 2:26)

Statement 15: “It is better to have the devil manifesting in a meeting than for that meeting to be dead.

Answer: Rodney Howard-Browne said: “I’d rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything…and if the devil manifests, don’t worry about that, either. Rejoice, because at least something is happening.?(Rodney Howard-Browne, The Coming Revival. 1991, pg.6) What an awful thing to say. It does look like the devil has been “manifesting?in many Third Wave meetings because the following have been observed: uncontrollable laughing, crying, shaking, running around the church building, fast dancing, running followed by collapse, barking-howling, trances, drunkenness, falling out, oinking, being “hot? fanning self or blowing, walking like chickens, horse noises, mooing and crowing, swimming, women going through imaginary birth pains, loss of consciousness, trying to soar like eagles, hissing and moving like a snake, inability to speak, involuntary body spasms, kung fu-like stances, vomiting, head banging, and stripping off clothes (I’ve seen most of these).

God is not a God of disorder, so we must conduct ourselves in an orderly way (1 Cor 14:33). These are not manifestations of the Holy Spirit because the Spirit builds us up to be more like Christ, not lowering us to animal behavior (Rom 8:9; Phil 1:27; 1 Thes 5:23). These manifestations are more like demonization described in Scripture (1 Sam 16:14, 18:10; Matt 8:28, 9:32, 12:22; Mark 1:23, 26, 7:25, 9:25; Luke 4:33-35, 8:29, 9:42; Acts 19:16).

Statement 16: “Well, there are unusual things going on at the revival meeting! God can do anything He wants to do. Don’t put God in a box!

Answer: Is it possible for any person to put God in a box? What a ridiculous statement! God is sovereign, almighty, omnipresent, and omniscient. However, God did limit the way He evidences Himself and the way He works in this creation. God could have made people purple with green hair. He could have made reincarnation true. But He didn’t. What He did do was put His Word and Testimony in the Scriptures (Isa 8:20), which we are not to go beyond (1 Cor 4:6). He set down His will in His Law in the Old Testament (Ex 24:12), and the Law of Christ in the New Testament, which is grace (Gal 6:2). God’s character is consistent and faithful (Rev 3:14, 9:11; Ps 33:4) and He does not change (Num 23:19; Heb 13:8). If something unbiblical is happening in a meeting or to an individual, it is not from God.

Statement 17: “I have been praying for the ‘power?to come upon me for a long time and it is here. I can feel it! It has changed my life for the better.

Answer: There is no place in the Bible where we are told to pray for power. Therefore this is a very dangerous prayer. We also should not summon the Holy Spirit to meetings, because He is already present where two or three are gathered together (Matt 18:20). Summoning or invoking is sorcery. The Scriptures do show us what to pray for. Here are some examples:

1) Pray for the people of your nation (Num 21:7)
2) Pray for your city (Jer 29:7)
3) Pray for peace in Jerusalem (Ps 122:6)
4) Pray for your persecutors (Matt 5:43-44; Luke 6:28)
5) Pray for children (Matt 19:13)
6) Pray for escape from judgment (Luke 21:36)
7) Pray that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40)
8) Pray for Christians (Job 17:9; 1 Thes 5:25; Heb 13:18)
9) Pray for boldness in proclaiming the gospel and for God to do miracles in people’s lives (Acts 4:29-31)
10) Pray all the time, be alert, pray for the saints (Eph 6:18)
11) Pray for fearless preaching (Eph 6:20)
12) Pray to be filled with the knowledge of His will (Col 1:9)
13) Pray for open doors for the gospel (Col 4:3)
14) Pray that the Word of God may be glorified (2 Thes 3:1)
15) Pray for deliverance from evil men (2 Thes 3:2)
16) Pray for everyone, kings, authorities, peace, quiet, godliness, holiness (1 Tim 2:1,2)

There are other things we are taught to pray for in Scripture, but the point is that we need to follow the Scriptural model of prayer.

There are only two places where the “prayer’ and “power?are mentioned. “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power? (2 Thes 1:11)

He was not praying for them to get power, but that God by His power would “fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness? This is by the sovereign will of God, which if followed will produce good works. If God’s will is not followed, it can only produce fleshly or demonic fruit. The second reference is this: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth all knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.?(Eph 3:16-19)

Here again, Paul is praying for the Ephesians, not for himself. He prays that the indwelling Holy Spirit will show them how much Christ loves them, so they may be “filled with all the fullness of God.?This speaks of empowerment to have love and faith and to understand Christ in a deeper way, not power to perform miracles or for an ecstatic experience. There is no prayer for “power?to found in the Bible. Christians need to pray according to the will of God and leave empowerment up to the Holy Spirit in His time.

Statement 18: “Why don’t you come and be healed at the revival meeting? God guarantees healing for everyone who has enough faith.

Answer: First of all, there are all kinds of healing. When God heals, He does true creative miracles that last (John 12:1-10; Matt 11:5). There are also “healings’ that are just people getting excited and thinking they are healed, but when the excitement wears off, they are just as bad or worse than before. Remember, the enemy can also heal (Rev 13:14) as well as cause sickness (Job 2:7). Healings and miracles by the devil are temporary and do not last very long, or are false miracles (2 Thes 2:9-10). Those who allow people who are not living in obedience to God’s will to lay hands on them for healing give the enemy a foothold in their lives (Eph 4:27) that he will not let go of without repentance and deliverance. By very careful of those who claim they can heal you. You had better know a whole lot about them before you allow them to lay hands on you (1 John 4:1). Secondly, God does not guarantee healing for everyone who believes (Job 2:2-4; 2 Cor 12:7). Sometimes He allows sickness and difficulties in our lives to teach us lessons such as: our weakness and His strength (2 Cor 12:10, 13:4), our dependence on His grace (Rom 9:16), our need for an overcoming faith (Rev 3:12). It is true that we are told to pray for the sick in faith and the Lord will heal and forgive (Jam 5:15) but sometimes we must also suffer sickness and persecution (1 Pet 1:6, 4:14-19; 2 Cor 1:6). Trials are used by God to develop perseverance and faith. (Jam 1:2-4)

Statement 19: “You should come to the meetings, because there is a prophet there who will prophesy over you if you ask him. He has been wrong a couple of times, but then prophets today do not have to be 100% correct, only about 60% as prophet Bob Jones prophesied’

The Bible is clear on this: “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him (Deut 18:20-22).?br> This precept is not cancelled out in the New Testament. Bob Jones is a false prophet who conveniently ignored the Word of God so he could continue to prophesy falsely. The Scriptural precept of 100% accuracy for a prophet is for our own protection. Many Christians mistake human intuition and even demonic voices, whether they are correct or incorrect, for the “still small voice?of the Spirit. It is a dangerous thing to promote what you are saying as a direct word from God. Once you say, “Thus saith the Lord?’ what you have prophesied does not come true, then you are a lying false prophet and church discipline must be applied. Only God can truly forgive false prophecy when a person chooses to speak directly for Him. The church should ignore false prophets (Jer 23:16). People who continue to sit under their teachings are opening themselves up to deception (Jer 23:10-12).

Statement 20: “The speaker last night had a wonderful vision where Elijah appeared to him and told him what happen in our land. Listen to what he said…

Answer: If any dead person is allegedly appearing and giving messages, that is expressly forbidden in Scripture for believers. “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of the times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer (Deut 18:10-11). Talking to dead people is necromancy, or being a medium. Talking to the dead is actually talking to demons. Benny Hinn has done this on numerous occasions, seeing dead people (a la The Sixth Sense) like Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson. He even visits their graves to get more of the “anointing? Stay far away from people who are into necromancy, whether they claim to be a believer or not. “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead’ To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isa 8:9-10).?

Statement 21: “The teachers at the revival meetings teach some things that are a little different from what the Bible says, but they are so powerful and sure of themselves. It must be of God’

Answer: If teachers do not hold to the basic doctrines of the church, they are not true believers. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15; Acts 20:29). There are many doctrines, but there are five at the core of Christianity.

1) The Trinity: God must be one “What?and three “Whos? with each “Who?possessing all the
attributes of Deity and personality.
2) The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.
3) The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.
4) Salvation: It is by grace through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE.
5) The Scripture: It is ENTIRELY INERRANT and INFALLIBLE, sufficient for all Christian life

Study what they teach carefully. They may state that they agree with the above doctrines, but by what they teach and “do’ a false teacher will deny one or all of these core doctrines. The Third Wave teachers have proven over time that they do not hold to these doctrines by teaching heresy that undermines them. For instance, when they treat the Spirit as a substance, an “it? both Deity and personality is denied, thus denying the Triune nature of God. Or when they preach a gospel of “repent and come to Jesus’ without mentioning the cross and resurrection, salvation by grace through faith in Christ is denied. Be on the alert and “study to show thyself approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).?

Stand firm in your faith! Always be discerning by checking everything with the Word of God.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle (2 Thes 2:15). yes” Stand up for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

Don’t ever let anyone cause you to stop doing that. “Beloved, when I gave you all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:3-4).

Be aware that many false teachers have gone out today. Test their teachings in the Word, because they are deadly dangerous. “But there are false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who provably shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet 2:1).

Finally, correct, rebuke and encourage because many are turning from true faith in Christ to heresy. Endure hardship from those who persecute you and tell you that you need to get involved in some “new?thing. Preach the gospel and live in obedience to the Word and Will of God. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry (2 Tim 4:2-5).

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THE PROSPERITY MOVEMENT:Wounded Charismatics by Roger L. Smalling, D.Min

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The “God” in the Mirror

Chapter 2: Faith or Fiction

Chapter 3: Sovereignty and Suffering

Chapter 4: Origins of Word of Faith

Chapter 5: Positive Confession

Chapter 6: Wounded Faith

Chapter 7: Just Like Your Soul Prospers

Chapter 8: As Rich As Abraham

Chapter 9: Sufficiency, Yes!

Chapter 10: The Jesus Died Spiritually Heresy

Chapter 11: Job and the Kingdom

Chapter 12: The Psychology Behind the Word Movement

Chapter 13: Denying the Symptoms: Is it valid?

Chapter 14: Did Jesus Heal Them All?

Chapter 15: How To Grow in Faith

Appendix A: Comparative Chart, Word of Faith vs Bible Appendix B: On “Divine Nature” 2Pe.1:3-4  Appendix C: 150 Verses Word of Faith Cultists Don’t Like to Hear

http://www.smallings.com/Books/ProspENG.htm#Ch4 

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Chapter 4: The Origins of Word of Faith

Word of Faith has its roots in a pagan cult that rivaled Christianity during the first three centuries of the Christian era, known as Gnosticism. The early Church fathers, such as Iranaeus eventually refuted and destroyed it.

Various Gnostic cults existed, but all held to a form of Dualism. This meant matter is bad and spirit is good. The Bible, however, teaches God created both realms and called all creation, spiritual and material, ‘good’.

Some Gnostics even taught two gods: An evil one which governed the material realm and a good one, the spiritual. All, however, held that a series of spiritual laws exist between the two dimensions by which both realms could be controlled. Certain spiritually elite people were endowed with a special “gnosis” or “revelation knowledge” by which they could learn to manipulate these laws to their advantage … even to controlling their own spiritual destinies.

A Gnostic goal was to attain to divinity and become a kind of creative “god.” This was through the “releasing” of his spirit from the material realm through his special “knowledge” of the mystical forces governing the universe.

Iranaeus, one of the third century fathers who combated Gnosticism in his book Against Heresies, comments on the spiritual pride characteristic of Gnostics:

They consider themselves ‘mature’, so that no one can be compared with them in the greatness of their Knowledge, not even if you mention Peter or Paul or any of the other apostles…” (I, XIII, 6)

.”..such a person becomes so puffed up that he … walks with a strutting gait and a supercilious countenance, possessing all the pompous air of a cock! (III, XV, 2)

The parallels between ancient Gnosticism and Word of Faith are too striking to ignore. But how did Gnosticism get transported into the 20th Century?

For this information, we are deeply indebted to Judith Matta, author of The Christian Response to Gnostic Charismatic Heresies.[29]Judith is probably the foremost expert in the U.S. today on the Gnostic origins of Word of Faith. She is a graduate of Talbot Theological seminary and a first-class scholar.

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In 1875, Mary Baker Eddy published Science and Health, thus launching the Christian Science sect. The First Church of Christ Scientist was founded in Boston in 1879. Eddy had adapted many of the early Gnostic concepts in her writings, which included the denial of the reality of illness and matter.

One of the early converts to Christian Science, and a member of the Mother Church from 1903 until his death in 1908, was Dr. C.W. Emerson. He founded a college in Boston around the turn of the century called Emerson School of Oratory. This was a prep school for boys, not a Bible school.

One of the early students of Emerson’s school was a young man by the name of E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon picked up some of the Gnostic concepts and incorporated them into his own writings later on.

The terms, “Word of Faith” and “Revelation Knowledge” are found throughout Kenyon’s books. Positive rhetoric characterized his style and much of what he wrote is legitimate. He exalts the power and lordship of Christ skillfully and expounds certain aspects of the authority of the believer. Unfortunately, errors abound in nearly every chapter.

His booklet, Two Kinds of Knowledge, is especially dangerous because of its subtlety. In it, he falls into the usual Gnostic and mystic trap of using reason to deny the validity of reason. Information derived from our five senses, he terms “sense knowledge” and the correlation of that information is done by logic. But “revelation knowledge” comes directly to our spirit, bypassing both reason and five senses. Kenyon believed that since God is spiritual, it is impossible to understand God or spiritual truth without this special “revelation.”

Through this, a dangerous and subtle error enters. If a person swallows it, then the Bible itself comes to be judged by the standard of the “revelation knowledge” that one experiences subjectively. Subtly and unconsciously, the reader of Kenyon becomes his own standard of truth.

Kenyon forgot the eye that reads the Bible, the ear, which hears it, and the brain that correlates it are all physical organs. The Bible is a human book as well as Divine. Bypassing the senses and reason inevitably leads to bypassing the Bible also. Untrained Christians eager for supernatural experiences can easily fall into Kenyon-style mysticism.

Kenyon died in 1948, but the Gnostic torch didn’t die with him. It was embraced by a young Pentecostal hungry for the supernatural, Kenneth Hagin … the recognized founder and leader of the Word of Faith movement.

Hagin praises Kenyon to the skies in one of his first books, The Name of Jesus, and confesses his deep indebtedness to him. Hagin later passed on these teachings to Kenneth Copeland. Through Copeland came Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, and others. T.L. Osborn also expressed deep debt to Kenyon in a letter to Kenyon’s granddaughter in 1972, calling an him “an Apostle.”

Though Hagin based his views largely on Kenyon, he himself contributed some interesting “revelations” of his own along the way. In the introduction to one of the older editions of his “Art of Intercession,” he describes his eighth “visitation” of Christ. A spirit being, identifying itself as “Jesus Christ,” came into Hagin’s room, sat down and talked for about an hour and a half.

During this visit, the supposed Jesus-spirit gave him a startling “revelation.” All the theologians in the past who taught that God was in absolute control of all things were wrong. Hagin claims, “God is not ruling in this world … And God cannot do anything unless somebody down here asks him.”

This “being” apparently forgot to do its homework before categorically denying the Sovereignty of God.

Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth… Psalm 135:6

That the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men…” Daniel 4:17

In Hagin’s seventh “visitation,” the spirit being told him not to pray for his needs any more but to command the angels to get them. Again, this “being” missed some key scripture. Our Father in heaven…give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 In the context, the Jesus of the Bible commands us to pray to the Father for the fulfillment of our needs.

Am I implying that the “being” who visited Kenneth Hagin and gave him the Word of Faith revelations is not really Jesus Christ, but a deceiving demon? Be assured, I am not implying it. I’m stating it as a fact.

The Hagin hijack: How these teachings entered the Charismatic movement

The Charismatic movement took root in the late ‘60’s and ‘70’s. Sometimes styled ‘Neo-Pentecostalism,’ it was characterized by a rejection of the dead orthodoxy in some traditional denominations, in favor of a new emphasis on the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. [30]

In its beginnings, the Charismatic movement was innocuous. Nothing is wrong with seeking new fillings with the Holy Spirit or spiritual gifts. In fact, we are commanded by scripture to do so. A fundamental flaw in the movement, however, was the lack of solid theological foundations.

Charismatics had rejected dead orthodoxy. However, many failed to appreciate the alternative….live orthodoxy. Instead, a mindless mysticism developed. Hagin’s teachings found fertile ground in the new movement.

Many Charismatics were middle-class Evangelicals. While interested in exciting experiences, they were less enthusiastic about joining with traditional Pentecostals. Classical Pentecostals were often from a poorer and less educated class.

Charismatics were ripe for fresh teaching within their own sociological context…a scenario primed for a Hagin hijack.

Though Hagin was the acknowledged leader, he was not as articulate as some followers. His country accent, poor grammar and obvious lack of formal education had little appeal to the middle classes.

The movement gained momentum with the more articulate and younger Kenneth Copeland. His book Laws of Prosperity launched him to Faith Movement stardom, offering a new worldview that filled in the theological gaps left by an abandoned orthodoxy.

Books by “faith” teachers flooded the market and the new Charismatics snapped them up like starving fish after bait. Sadly, cash flow rather than truth determined what books appeared in the Christian market. Those with a dissenting voice found it difficult to get their books published.

An even bigger boon for the Prosperity Movement came in the 80’s when Paul Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), announced the faith movement was the route he would take in his programming.

Jim Bakker of the PTL Network and Paul Crouch endorsed the faith movement’s concepts, giving it worldwide exposure. Result: Gnosticism, disguised under the banner of “faith,” began to root itself deeply into the psyche of American Charismatics.

A Roman-American parallel

As with the United States today, Rome had been a prosperous society. In the first three centuries as Christianity was taking root, Rome was in its declining years. The society was rife with corruption. Established governmental and religious institutions seemed helpless to stem perversity throughout society.

The culture struggled in vain to recover a sense of strength and dominance as before. A subtle but widespread insecurity permeated the population. In its wars, Rome began to struggle harder to defeat weak enemies than it did to overcome stronger ones before. We see this in America today. [31]

The middle and upper classes of any society, whether ancient or modern, are used to controlling their own lives. Under insecure social conditions, optimism about the future weakens and their sense of control begins to slip.

These conditions generate a psychological crisis. American Christians today are subject to similar pressure. The dilemma: How to experience the comforts of the gospel while maintaining the sense of control to which they are accustomed. As in Rome, this provides fertile ground for a Gnostic-style pseudo-Christian movement like Word of Faith to take root.

As a convenient byproduct, the teachers reap a financial harvest. Middle and upper-middle classes have money and are responsive to the positive rhetoric and fresh revelations. Everyone seems happy…except God.

The influence of the Prosperity Movement has been partially stemmed by three factors. First, the Assemblies of God, the largest and most influential Pentecostal denomination in the world, repudiated the Word of Faith teachings in an official position paper. [32]

Second, two books warning about the movement were published and became well known: Hank Hanegraaf’s, Christianity In Crisis[33] and Dave Hunt’s Seduction of Christianity.[34]

Finally, the most serious blow came with the fall of Jim Bakker (PTL) in the late ‘80’s, and similar scandals among American TV evangelists. These events, however, were only a trimming of the branches and failed to penetrate the roots of the movement, namely Hagin and Copeland and their false god. Though weakened, the tree still flourishes in the U.S. today.

An historical irony has occurred. The same pagan Gnosticism which rivaled Christianity in the first centuries, which early fathers fought to destroy, has resurrected once again to infect the Church today.

From this chapter we learn…

• The Prosperity Movement is a revival of Gnostic concepts, translated into Christian language.

• These Gnostic ideas were conveyed by Mary Baker Eddy and her Christian Science cult, to Dr. Emerson of Boston. Eventually, E.W. Kenyon merged them with Christian doctrines.

• Kenneth Hagin embraced Kenyon’s teachings and transmitted them to Kenneth Copeland and others.

• The Word of Faith movement found fertile soil in the Charismatic Movement and virtually hijacked it.

• The movement’s popularity can be explained in sociological terms. Conditions in the United States today are similar to those which fueled Gnosticism in ancient Rome.

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Ten Reasons for Rejecting Word-of-Faith Teachings

by Tricia Tillin Intotruth.org

REASON ONE:

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.

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REASON TWO:

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.

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REASON THREE:

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.

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REASON FOUR:

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.

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REASON FIVE:

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.

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REASON SIX:

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.

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REASON SEVEN:

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.

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REASON EIGHT:

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.

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REASON NINE:

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.

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REASON TEN:

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.

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CONCLUSION:

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.

http://www.francesandfriends.com/Ten-Reasons-to-Reject-WOF

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“THE GRACE OF GOD”


“…by grace are ye saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. ”
-Ephesians 2:8

CONSIDER AFRESH the often asked question on the above text: “What is referred to by the last phrase, “it is the gift of God?” Does the apostle teach that grace is the gift of God, or does he say it is salvation, or perhaps that faith is the gift of God?

Look first at the word ‘grace.’ Aside from the Apostle James’ reference to a flower’s vanished glory, both ‘grace’ and ‘favor’ in the New Testament King James Version are always a translation of the same Greek word, charis (khar’ece, Strong #5485). Its first definition in Strong’s Greek Lexicon is “graciousness,…of manner or act.” And it is of interest to note that Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary puts as its first definition of grace, “unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification.” So grace is favor, “unmerited favor.”

Salvation by Grace

Grace is, therefore, God’s unmerited favor – His goodness toward those who have no claim on, nor reason to expect, divine favor. The principal manifestation of God’s grace has heen in the form of a gift. We think the apostle meant that salvation is “the gift of God,” or, as emphatically put in the Greek, “of God is it the gift.” Salvation is not our achievement, but it is a gift from God. That truth is made stronger by contrast. It is ‘not of ourselves’ and “not of works.” Salvation is indeed the most extraordinary expression of God’s grace.

Salvation is of divine origin. But it is not anything that God was bound to arrange by the necessity of His nature. It is the result of His gracious will. Had it not been for His good pleasure, salvation would never have come. “By grace are ye saved.” The Greek grammar denotes not the act of being saved, but the fact of having been saved. God’s grace rather than human merit is the source of the whole arrangement. We are saved gratuitously. Salvation is a gift; it is not earned.

Faith

But what about faith? We inquire into this because, other than the clearly stated gift of miraculously-conferred faith (1 Cor. 12:9), some suggest that it is faith which “is the gift of God.” Certainly faith is a received quality. It is among blessings which answer to Paul’s rhetorical question, “what has thou that thou didst not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7) But the elements of character which please God, among which is faith, as well as the temporal possessions and necessities held by Jesus’ disciples, are generally attained through conscious effort. They are ‘received’ through our cooperation amidst God’s overruling providences.

Faith, wherever present, exists in the mind, and it is generated by the holy spirit’s influence of light and peace. Faith, in common with every other Christian virtue, exists in the heart that has responded to spiritual influences. Paul wrote that “all [men] have not faith.” (2 Thes. 3:2) That does not suggest, however, that those who have faith received it as “the gift of God” as though an answer to our question. It is one’s own mind and being that believes. It is not possible for God to believe for man, and convey that belief as a gift. The apostle wrote, rather, that “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. “-Rom. 10:17

Paul understood that faith is built and constructed; it grows and enlarges. He encouraged believers to increase in faith: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.” (2 Thes. 1:3) ‘Soundness of faith’ comes through hearing, thinking, learning and trusting, and sometimes by victory following rebuke.-Titus 1:13

Salvation through Faith

Salvation is not of ourselves (as seen foregoing). We are saved by grace. The salvation comes through faith in God’s revealed purpose in His Son who died for all. Nothing aside from faith would enable our receiving of the gift of salvation. We of the human family were justly condemned to death for sin and disobedience. Those who break God’s righteous law have no standing before Him in their own righteousness. Inasmuch as “there is none righteous, no, not one,” all need God’s grace and favor.

None in the human family has a vantage point or place of approach from which to require or demand God’s blessing. God Himself needed to make the first move in the rescue of man. And He did. After the first human pair entered the broad road leading into death, the LORD God made a promise intimating the eventual recovery of mankind from Satan’s influence. And God is specially pleased with those who believe, even though few respond to His promises. Those who do respond to God’s revealed will are greatly blessed. One of those was Noah. The word ‘grace’ is first used in Scripture in regard to him. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen. 6:8) The faith of Noah in God’s promises saved him and his family from death in the flood.

But now that Jesus has laid down his human life in sacrifice as an atonement for sin, those who follow on in faith in the steps of their heaven-sent Redeemer receive eternal-life salvation. Such faith makes all things new: those far off are brought nigh, they pass from death to life, from disobedience to sonship, from evil conduct to good works, from fleshly desires to spiritual fellowship, from children of wrath to sitting in the heavenlies. Those improved relationships are described by the Apostle Paul:

‘And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince ofthe power of the air, ofthe spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches in His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh,…were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers in the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. “-Eph. 2:1-13 NASB

The Way of Salvation

Sin, death, and accompanying sorrows have through the ages, as today, prompted many to inquire into God’s saving grace. Our recognition of God’s blessing leads to confession of sins and shortcomings, and true heart belief. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. ” (Acts 16:31) That answer of Paul to the fearful prison keeper is still true. None need fear to put trust in Jesus. He purchased all mankind with His own precious blood. He has received all power in heaven and in earth. Salvation is free to all who trust in Him and continue following on in faith. All devoted believers have authority to speak on behalf of Christ. We say in Christ’s stead to the sincere and honest hearted, “be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20) Our commission is to direct the sin-weary and heavy-laden to the Savior of all men!

Jesus clearly taught that salvation comes through faith. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life.” (John 5:24 NASB) Faith is taking God at His word, as Paul wrote: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. “-Rom. 10:17 NASB

This is truth beyond doubting! We are saved by grace, through faith, through believing the Word of truth. The gospel promises salvation, full and free. God’s loving mercy is the “good news” message to the sin-sick and weary-salvation offered freely to all, without money and without price.-Isa. 55:1-3

A living and active love for God expands with one’s enlarging appreciation of His unmerited favor in the great salvation. “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) And when we come to love God and our Lord Jesus, we come to love those who are of the same mind. We grow in loving sympathy for our brethren in their fight of faith. And we come to love all mankind, so loved by God as to send His only begotten Son to suffer cruel death, the price of human redemption.

Gifts from God

Jesus was sent to “save his people from their sins. ” (Mat. 1:21) He came to save from death, which is caused by sin. The saved thus have eternal life. “And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life and this life is in his Son. He that hath [belief in] the Son hath life; and he that hath not [belief in] the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:11,12) By God’s grace, salvation life is free as a gift through faith.

Again and again Gods gift was affirmed. By Jesus to Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3 16

Again by Jesus to the woman: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” – John 4:14

By Paul to the Corinthians: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable [indescribable NASB] gift.” – 2 Cor 9:15

Again by Paul to the Romans: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Rom.6.23

“The Grace of God”

What a nice expression – “the grace of God.” It prompts pleasant and peaceful thoughts about our Father, the great Creator But Paul’s use of “the grace of God” phrase in Titus 2:11 appears to be with a specific purpose There the expression refers to the Savior of mankind. That four word phrase “the grace of God is a synonym for Jesus: “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men.” (RSV) How beautiful! The sequence of phrases puts in good perspective the reality of His manifestation. He is the gift of God’s grace by which all men may be saved. How wonderful to know it! “The grace of God has appeared!”

Paul wrote a similarly-identifying phrase. Its words are specific too – “the goodness and loving kindness of God.” The context shows that those words refer to Jesus. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared [“God our Savior” – a reference to the Father, of which more to be said later], he [God] saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the holy spirit which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savio.” (Titus 3:4-6 RSV) “The goodness and loving kindness of God” another synonym for Jesus, a companion phrase to that in Titus 2:11 – “the grace of God.”

The Apostle in Hebrews 2:9 attributes salvation from death to God’s grace: “…we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death… that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” The thought is that Jesus experienced death so that every man who dies need not stay dead for ever. Indeed what grace…from “the God of all grace.” -1 Pet. 5:10

Paul also shows that “the grace of that one man Jesus Christ” in conjunction with or united with “the grace of God” provided the free gift. This in Rom. 5:15,16 (RSV): “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.” The twin thoughts which attach to the words “the free gift” relate as cause and effect. The first thought is of Jesus – given in death as man’s ransom. The second thought is the benefit of that ransom conferred upon all who really believe on Jesus – justification with its accompanying salvation.

“God Our Savior”

It is generally acknowledged by commentators that the words “God our Savior” noted above in “the kindness of God our Savior” refer to God himself, not to His Son Jesus. The same three-word phrase was spoken in prayer by Mary of the almighty God and heavenly Father (Luke 1:46-48), and written by Jude in verse 25 of his epistle, and three times by Paul (Titus 2:10, 3:4, 1 Tim: 1:1, 2:3). Aware that God is the architect and all-wise planner of salvation and its process, they all acknowledge the Father as “God our Savior.” He is the one God Who has been from everlasting and Who shall be unto everlasting, and Who enlisted the faithful service of His beloved Son.

Grace for Grace

Jesus’ disciples perceived that He who walked among them was indeed “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) He always reflected God’s favor. Fellowship with His Father was never interrupted. Being now perfected in the heavenlies, completed by the things which he suffered, having demonstrated faultless obedience despite temptation and accusations of blasphemy, Jesus sends forth of His fulness as His blessing upon believers.

The Apostle John affirmed himself as one of those so greatly blessed.

“For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:16,17, NASB

“Grace for grace”(KJV)…just what does that mean? Surely not that the grace of the old covenant is replaced by that of the new administration. Grace interchanging with grace is meant; grace replaced by fuller grace; greater depths to our spiritual relationship and fellowship; greater measures of spiritual understanding, sustenance and strength; continual impressions of received favor, new grace coming upon and superseding that formerly received. This becomes true in our individual experience. Grace is enjoyed in proportion to our growth in appreciation for God’s favor channeled through our Redeemer. And that all comes because of and out of His fulness.

“For out of His fulness (abundance) we all received – all had a share and we were all supplied with – one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped! upon gift. For while the Law was given through Moses, grace – unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual bless- ing – and truth came through Jesus Christ. ” – John 1:16,17, Amplified Version

God’s Riches

It is God’s richness in grace which provided the plan for deliverance from disobedience, sin and death. Paul gave that truth prominent place in Ephesians for our close consideration.

‘He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His [God’s] grace. ” – Eph. 1:5-7 NASB

Without God’s grace, death would mean extinction for all members of the condemned intelligent creation. God has freely wrought His grace to our forgiveness and to our inheritance of eternal life. It was all in view from early time. God predestined sonship for all repentant trespassers who will avail themselves of His gracious provision of salvation.

Paul emphasized again to the Ephesians God’s promised riches of grace to the redeemed. “In order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches ofHis grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” – Eph. 2:7 NASB

Paul also used the delightful phrase, “the grace of God” early in Colossians. And again it seems to be another direct reference to Jesus. “You previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth.” – Col. 1:5,6 NASB

There was a time with each of us, as with the Colossians, when we did not know “the grace of God in truth.” They, perhaps as we, may have only heard of Jesus, knowing little about Him, His origin, His purpose, and the hope of the life that centers in Him. But a time came when we did know about God’s great grace. Such was the happy experience of those Colossians. Paul took their minds back to the time – when they heard, knew, and believed as truth the words about “the grace of God.” “In the word of truth, the gospel” … “since the day ye heard, and knew the grace of God in truth.” He mixed, merged and repeated words that pertain to salvation…truth, gospel, the grace of God, hearing. Again Paul intentionally put in focus the important aspects of salvation which are supplied through God’s riches by Christ Jesus our Lord, the living example of divine grace.

Quotations from King James Version except as indicated
RSV – Revised Standard Version
NASB-New American Standard Bible

http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/fbf/grace.html

 

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