The Word-Faith Movement (Part 2)

D. Another common doctrine of Word-Faith teaching is that Jesus died not only physically but spiritually and was born again. His spiritual death consisted of being separated from God, becoming sin, and suffering in hell (per ACT 2:27, 31). Jesus was born again in hell and then rose from the dead (per COL 1:18). 1. “Why did he need to be begotten, or born? Because He became like we are, separated from God. Because He tasted spiritual death for every man. His spirit, His inner man, went to hell in our place....Jesus is the first person ever to be born again.” (Name of Jesus [1979], Kenneth Hagin, pp. 29-30) 2. Joyce Meyer, in the 1993 edition of her book, The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make, held to this position (including that demons tortured Jesus there), but has gradually evolved away from it. 3. Jesus' sojourn in hell was the torments of hell His soul experienced BEFORE He died, which included the curse, torment, anguish, grief, darkness, separation from God. a. Christ's inner man would be in paradise upon death. LUK 23:43. b. paradise: 1. a. The garden of Eden. Also called earthly paradise, to distinguish it from the heavenly paradise. 2. a. Heaven, the abode of God and his angels and the final abode of the righteous. c. The entire penalty which sin demanded was finished with His physical death. JOH 19:30. 4. References to Christ being the firstborn from the dead (COL 1:18) or the first begotten of the dead (REV 1:5) pertain to His bodily resurrection as the “...firstfruits of them that slept” (1CO 15:20). The Word-Faith Movement Page 3 VII. The overall theme of the Word-Faith movement is that God wants us to be healthy and wealthy now, per the following: A. Christ by His atoning death freed us from the curse of the Law (GAL 3:13) and we are in principle now freed from all disease and poverty such as was threatened in the Law. B. Healing from disease or illness is assured in the atonement. ISA 53:4-5 c/w MAT 8:16-17; 1PE 2:24. C. It is only the lack of faith and a positive oral confession of health and wealth that forbids one's claim on them. 1. “Jesus has already borne them [your diseases] and by His stripes 'ye were healed.' Get your believing in line with what God's word says.” (The Real Faith, Kenneth Hagin, p. 25) 2. Hagin claimed that when he had a headache, he would say, “In the name of Jesus...I do not have a headache.” (Name of Jesus, Kenneth Hagin, p. 44) 3. Joel Osteen credits his wife with “...speaking words of faith and victory” that led to their eventually building a large, elegant home. (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, Joel Osteen, p. 7) 4. “Maybe you need to get your checkbook out and say 'oh you checkbook, hear the word of the Lord, you are not going to stay empty all of your life...'” (Enjoying Every Day Life, Joyce Meyer TV show, 9-21-08) D. So strong is the position on the creative energy of positive words that there is an assumption of the gift of prophecy: “We can speak positive thoughts about ourselves into the atmosphere and thereby prophesy our future.” (“Your Mouth is a Weapon,” Life in the Word, Joyce Meyer, 3-3-97) E. The Word-Faith movement's position on health actually presupposes that not only is healing guaranteed to the positive confessor, but also that the positive confessor should not henceforth ever be sick. 1. The real test is when a sickness or disease does come upon the positive confessor. Was his faith weak or a sham? Had he been deficient in confessing health? Is this even a sickness? 2. The Word-Faith position could easily mirror that of Christian Science which says that sickness is illusory and all in the mind. 3. Kenneth Hagin's last days were spent in a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. F. Much of the positive confession theme concurs with the position that believers are “little gods.” 1. God calls “...those things which be not as though they were” (ROM 4:17) and those things shall certainly come to be. As little gods in His image, believers should do likewise. 2. Need health? Don't dwell on present problems. Confess healing as a definite promise from God and claim it: you shall certainly receive. 3. Want wealth? Don't dwell on present lack of it. Confess prosperity as a definite promise from God and claim it: you shall certainly receive. VIII. What does the Bible say about the health of the believer? A. There is indeed healing for the body in the atonement of Christ. It is guaranteed. 1. The guarantee, though, is reserved for the resurrection. 2. All, including believers, are currently under the bondage of corruption until the redemption of our bodies. ROM 8:20-23 c/w PHIL 3:20-21. The Word-Faith Movement Page 4 3. Our current state is described as being sown in corruption and weakness. 1CO 15:42-43. 4. The outward man perishes now. 2CO 4:16. B. God is very able to heal the body now (ISA 59:1) by a sovereign act of mercy, or in answer to prayer, or by blessing men with wisdom, prudence and witty inventions. C. We do well to pray for our health and that of fellow believers (JAM 5:13-16). This is pleading for relief, not demanding it as a claim. D. Word-Faith theology assumes that poor health is owing to weak faith and/or lack of positive confession. 1. Paul struggled with weakness (1CO 2:3) and definite health issues (GAL 4:13-15) but not because of a lack of faith. 2. Timothy was a man of God of unfeigned faith (2TI 1:5) whom Paul advised to “...use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities” (1TI 5:23). 3. Paul's weakness in the flesh disproves the notion that God does not use suffering for our benefit. 2CO 12:7-10. IX. What does the Bible say about material wealth relative to the believer? A. Jesus Christ was not a man of great material wealth. LUK 8:3; 9:58; 2CO 8:9. B. Lack of wealth certainly does not imply a lack of faith. JAM 2:5. C. Clamor for wealth is an inroad to temptation and sin. 1TI 6:8-9. D. Paul found contentment in wealth and poverty. PHIL 4:11-12. E. The true riches are not material. LUK 16:11; REV 3:18. X. What about MAR 11:22-23? A. This was a special gift of faith peculiar to only some in the apostolic era of the church that stood in contrast to the common faith. 1CO 12:8-10; TIT 1:4. B. Paul did not even claim to have this faith any more than he claimed to give his body to be burned. 1CO 13:1-3. XI. What about 3JO 1:2? A. It is not to be denied that prosperity and health are juxtaposed with soul prosperity here. B. health: Soundness of body; that condition in which its functions are duly and efficiently ` discharged. C. We ought to desire good health for our loved ones in Christ and pray for their healing where appropriate. PHIL 2:25-27; JAM 5:14-16 ct/w 1JO 5:16. D. prosper: intr. Of a person, community, etc. : To be prosperous, fortunate, or successful; to flourish, thrive, succeed, do well. 1. Prosperity may be financial but it is not limited to that. GEN 24:40; ROM 1:10. 2. Prosperity destroys fools. PRO 1:32. E. Prosperity and health are measured by “...even as thy soul prospereth” (3JO 1:2). If the soul be deficient, of what value are other benefits? MAT 16:26. XII. Our words cannot make things real except where we or others act upon them. PRO 14:23; 18:21. A. Only God's word always produces results. ISA 55:6-11. B. What we confess may be boastful or false. JAM 4:13; REV 3:17. XI. Word-Faith theology has too much in common with magic and enchantments, wherein things are produced by the power of spoken words (incantations, etc.). EXO 7:11 c/w 2TI 3:8. The Word-Faith Movement Page 5
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