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"In their hands... faith becomes something which allows us to manipulate God in order to get what we want! And those things which the 'faith teachers' always imply that we should want most appear to be almost entirely bound up with this present life! Health, prosperity, a good career and fine living seem to be of paramount importance in their reasoning!" In the light of a false and unbiblical conception of faith propounded by the Word-faith movement, it is time for a truly biblical exposition of faith and a corresponding rebuttal of Positive Confession and the Prosperity Teaching!
Faith teachers tell us, "...You can take to yourselves the very power of Moses!" But Can We? Where is the Biblical Authority for Stating This?
A prominent Word-faith (or, 'positive confession') teacher said this, 'Too many Christians have been denying themselves blessings which they rightfully own, by simply not claiming them. It's time for Christians everywhere to unlock the door to a successful and prosperous life; just the life that God's people were always intended to enjoy' Another Word-faith teacher said this, 'YOU can take to yourself the power which Moses had! If Moses could command a rock to give forth water, so can you! If Moses could even part the waters of the Red Sea, so can you! What are you waiting for?? If you command in full, believing faith...IT WILL BE DONE!'
the evidence of things not seen' The writer of the Book of Hebrews then gives quite a lengthy list of examples of such faith. 3. and .Statements such as these somehow sound so appealing to us. The whole biblical concept is to come to understand God's will and to immerse our hopes and wishes within that.just as important what it is not!! Biblical faith is best described as a complete trust in the will of God. After all. those 'hoped for' things can never . and that He is a rewarder of those who dilligently seek Him' So faith is the 'substance' (or. Our believing that the world was established and founded by the word of God (verse 3). sense of current realisation. Have we been missing something? Have we really been denying ourselves greater blessings because we have never truly understood the potentialities of faith? Some have come to think so! But we need to define exactly what biblical faith is. but that God caused it to happen because of an unusual life of faith (verse 5).be independent of God's will in the true biblical understanding of faith. Enoch's 'translation' straight into heaven at the end of his life (rather than going through the experience of dying). even in opposition to all appearances which might suggest that our faith might be misplaced. Abraham leaving his native land and people. for example. believing that God was leading him to do this (verse 8).' However. to walk out into the unknown. and the reader is encouraged to read the whole chapter. such as: 1. 'hope for' a worldwide flood? Simply because God had divinely revealed to him that this . current full confidence) concerning things 'hoped for. Noah acting to build an ark even though all physical appearances might have suggested that this was a ridiculous thing to do (verse 7). or. 4. Again.I repeat 'never' . 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) says this. 2. for he who comes to God must believe that He is. We are not told that Enoch necessarily believed that this would happen. why did Noah. that trust should be in the will of God . Verse 6 tells us something very important about faith: 'But without faith it is impossible to please Him.NOT OUR OWN WILL. These are not the only examples of faith in this 'faith chapter' of Hebrews.
A Flawed Conception of Faith . Likewise Abraham was expected to act in belief that God would fulfil that which He had promised. Volume One. lest anyone should boast. God has revealed to Christians that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Saviour of the world. then. that in itself was a gift which was granted to him. in itself. wholly a gift of God.' (Ephesians 2:8-9). Plainfield. What of those biblical occasions where Jesus appeared to be surprised by the presence of faith (for instance.. Remember that Christ is depending upon you and your spoken word to release His presence." (Paul Yonggi Cho. The Fourth Dimension.would happen! Faith. it will constantly tend to manifest itself in a wholehearted trust that God means what He says. There is no indication of that. But the Bible reveals something else to us about such faith: It is. 'I have not found such faith in Israel')? Was that a different sort of faith? No. is more permanent. There are two other things we should note about this remarkable ... necessarily recognises the sovereignty and jurisdiction of God in all areas of one's life. So the faith which God takes such joy to see within His people comes from Him. and He now expects us to go through our lives on this earth in full trust. then. not of works. is an utterly close walk with a God who has revealed Himself to us. 'For by grace you have been saved through faith. even if it was only a temporary gift in that particular case! The gift of faith granted to a Christian. in Matthew 8:10.. it is the gift of God. When the centurion revealed such profound faith in Jesus' ability to heal. Noah was expected to believe what God had revealed to him about a coming flood. Bridge Publishing. and that not of yourselves. He is bound by your lips and by your words . though. It is not humanly 'worked up'. 83) In our day. even when all appearances might suggest otherwise. NJ: 1979. This tells us that whenever and wherever we hear a converted child of God extolling the virtues of God."You create the presence of Jesus with your mouth . he or she is manifesting the gift of faith which has been passed on through the Holy Spirit! But one may raise an objection to this: One could ask. confidence and acceptance of this fact! Faith.
And those things which the 'faith teachers' always imply that we should want most appear to be almost entirely bound .' This reveals the great Protestant doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone! And it is the faith which God Himself imparts! So. I will grant eternal life.gift: 1. and emphases) So .it is the gift of God... we have a responsibility to 'feed it' .that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus' (Romans 3:24-26. having reminded ourselves of the clear New Testament doctrine of Faith. Though it is entirely a gift of God. lest anyone should boast' So. 'prosperity teachers'! It is no exaggeration to say that the prosperity teachers take the faith which is taught in the Bible and substantially cut it loose from its biblical anchoring within the sovereignty of God. my insert. 2. let us start to make some comparisons between this faith and the 'faith' which is taught by the 'positive confession. even though it is those Scriptures which outline the biblical doctrine of faith in some detail. faith becomes something which allows us to manipulate God in order to get what we want! We apparently accomplish this by our bold choice of words. which I will tackle later) and concentrate and focus upon those. whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood ('propitiation': to satisfy just and fair anger by means of a sacrifice).we ourselves can apparently encourage it to build or diminish.' or. are usually ignored. The second point follows logically from all that we have seen about faith thus far in our study. '.God has said. God has determined that the faith of the righteous shall save them rather than works. so this alone shows that faith is not some work of ours which we can 'work up. not of works. But more mundane 'faith Scriptures' (such as those which we have been considering). then. God must fall in line with our wishes and desires. to demonstrate His righteousness. by whether or not we keep close to our Lord Jesus. neither is it a reward for any 'good works' by us! It is a gift of God.' but Ephesians 2: 8-9 makes this abundantly clear when it says this of faith. They take certain Scriptures which mention faith in a somewhat hyperbolic or colourful way (such as Matthew 17:20-21. The teaching is: If we speak boldly. the grace (unmerited free favour) of God equips us with the faith which saves! Romans 3 tells us a little more about the faith which justifies: 'Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.. but still needs to be clearly pointed out: Faith is not a work of ours..effectively . 'Where I see real faith in Me among people. In their hands. through faith.
God reveals Himself to us. living faith from man to God do not include: 'You must believe that God will give you exactly what you ask for. then.000 on Tuesday and give half of it to God. decision and sovereignty of God.. We see.. a good career and fine living seem to be of paramount importance in their reasoning! They seem to teach that words themselves can have some sort of magical properties to them. a process: a. have faith in) the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is the Saviour of the world who will grant us eternal life?? Because God has revealed this to us!! The Flood was not something which Noah just dreamed up. for he who comes to God must believe that He is. spells this out as the correct recipe: 'But without faith it is impossible to please Him.approach to faith?? So. and is a rewarder of those who dillgently seek Him. His sovereignty and and His promises and placed entirely upon our own words! But where is the biblical authority for taking such an odd .' or. WHY did Noah have faith in a coming flood?? Because God had revealed to him that there would be a coming flood! WHY was Abraham expected to believe that God would make a great nation from him?? Because God had clearly revealed this to him!! Look it up!! WHY did Moses have faith that the waters of the Red Sea would part?? Because the LORD had clearly told him that this would happen!! WHY are we Christians expected to believe (or.' then we can make those things happen. and that He is a rewarder of those who dilligently seek Him' Please note that these components for real. let us be clear about this: The prosperity teachers cut faith loose from its biblical moorings within the choice. ..."' ALL the great biblical examples of faith looked to the promises of God based on clear divine revelations! One can't help comparing this approach with what is found in the 'Word-faith' movement where sincere. though often naive. exactly when you want it just as long as you employ bold. then used "positive confession" to force the Lord to bring it about. b. "positive confession.BUT ONLY IF WE REALLY BELIEVE! The "believing" bit is taken off God.' That process should not surprise us for Hebrews 11:6 (as we have already seen).and frankly mystical . 'I say that I will make $5. prosperity. Thereafter God expects us to believe that 'He is. 'I say that it will rain on Tuesday. same with the parting of the Red Sea and with all of these biblical examples.up with this present life! Health. so that if we say.
or for some of the great missionaries to go to specific parts of the world).. though often naive. after all.would surely turn us all into spiritual spoilt brats? Let us now start to consider some 'Faith Scriptures' a little more closely: .the Lord always told Gideon what He planned to do! If one considers the entire Gideon narrative starting from Judges 6.AND PLEASE NOTE THIS . We cannot manipulate God to hand a little of His power and sovereignty over to us in such a manner. that these occasional doubts were not considered as any lack of faith. But ALL the great biblical examples of faith looked to the promises of God based on clear divine revelations. HAS GOD REVEALED TO ANY OF US THAT WE CAN MAKE A HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY NEXT TUESDAY. the Lord revealed Himself to Gideon in Judges 6:12. We are. One can't help comparing this approach with what is found in the 'Word-faith' movement where sincere. to have faith in God and in His revelation. yet Gideon is clearly listed as an example of faith in the 'faith chapter' of Hebrews 11. It is obvious. If we take the example of Gideon. AND THEN GIVE HALF OF IT TO HIS WORK?? OF COURSE NOT!! BUT CAN WE MAKE THAT HAPPEN IF WE KEEP ATTEMPTING TO CONVINCE OURSELVES THAT IT WILL HAPPEN? NO! MOREOVER ANY SUCH SELFDELUSION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF FAITH. but . turning it into something which .NOT FAITH IN OURSELVES AND OUR "WORD"! Do we begin to see how the 'name it and claim it' teaching cuts faith loose from the sovereignty of God. people are encouraged to look to various dynamic leaders and to the wholly unbiblical principle of 'positive confession' as the basis of their confidence.if God allowed it . (Though on some occasions God might still reveal a specific plan for individuals.. it is quite obvious that Gideon occasionally had real trouble believing that the Lord would fulfil all of His promises to him.. therefore. such as for George Muller to build the Muller Orphanages.people are encouraged to look to various dynamic leaders and to the wholly unbiblical principle of 'positive confession' as the basis of their confidence! In fact. thereafter Gideon was expected to walk with the Lord in faith and obedience. there is no biblical precedent for God expecting us to 'have faith' in unrevealed/extra-biblical schemes.
and He will deliver us from your hand.The young men DID NOT say.they were not seeking to 'test' or. They already had the faith they needed. 'If we have enough faith. Meshach and Abednego in the Book of Daniel. but made it plain that they were going to obey God no matter what!! Here is outstanding faith which recognises God's sovereignty as all the biblical examples do. God will deliver us . What a truly inspiring story this is! But let's notice something. they state . this was their reaction: 'If that is the case. What if God had allowed them to die? Would that have been because they lacked faith?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! And the three young men themselves clearly understood this. as we already seen. our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace. 'try' God! They already had the necessary faith.they were not seeking to 'test' or.at the beginning of verse 18 'But if not' . the Lord will deliver us. but would direct the reader to Daniel 3:8-30 for the full story. 'If we have enough faith. their faith was a gift from God. When Nebuchadnezar challenged them about not worshipping the image which he had set up. but one like 'The Son of God' was seen to be walking with them through the flames. after stating that it was within God's power to dramatically intervene should it be His will. These three Jews had outstanding faith in God.So they did not know whether or not God planned to dramatically intervene. Of course. these brave young men DID NOT say. 'try' God! They already had the necessary faith. Notice here that these young men were wholeheartedly walking with God.(NOW NOTICE THIS!) BUT IF NOT. let it be known to you. Not only that. my insert and emphasis). O king. 'If we have enough faith. but otherwise we will die' They did not set up that particular dichotomy. but God had NOT apparently revealed to them how this incident would turn out! The young men DID NOT say. nothing which could have been humanly 'worked up. In the interests of space I am not going to rehearse the story in great detail here.' Because Shadrach. that we do not serve your gods. God will deliver us . but their faith DID NOT MEAN that God HAD to act dramatically to save them from death there and then! This is why. O king. Again. in order to ensure that we are clear about this point. I think that most of us would agree that one of the most inspiring stories of faith in the Old Testament is the story of . Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down and worship the image of gold. nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up' (Daniel 3:17-18. they were cast into the 'fiery furnace' where God spared them from all the effects of the flames. but fully understood that they remained subject to God's sovereignty and decision. but their faith DID NOT MEAN that God HAD to act dramatically to save them from death there and then! Shadrach.
.Why could we not cast him out?'(Verse 19)...the disciples were now expected to believe this.. you will say to this mountain.and nothing will be impossible for you. these were two primary 'signs of the apostles' . 'Move from here to there. Why 'unbelief'?? Because it had already been revealed to the disciples that they had been granted the power to heal the sick and drive out demons in Matthew 10:1. 'Everybody in this hall tonight can be healed. '. no matter how much faith they may have!! Just as God chose not to heal Paul of his 'thorn in the flesh' despite Paul's great faith! Do we then begin to see that the faith which is taught in the Bible is not some kind of mystical 'charm' by which we can manipulate God to give us what we want! Faith is only meaningful within the decision.Compare such wisdom with the modern-day "healing evangelist" who says.' and it will move. . I am not going to cover the faith moving mountains question here because I have felt the need to write a separate article on the faith that moves mountains.if you have faith as a mustard seed. this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting' (Matthew 17:20-21). but they wavered. choice. plan and sovereignty of God! Now lets look at a few Scriptures which the 'positive confession' people use: Some misunderstand Jesus' comment about the disciples being unable to cast out a demon in Matthew 17. but many have misunderstood this: '. '. It is HERE. Jesus goes on to a give an example of the kind of faith needed for miracles. However. To the disciple's question.Because of your unbelief'(Verse 20). but only if you have enough faith!!' Such a (so-called) healing evangelist has no authority before God to make such a statement! God may have no intention of healing certain people in that hall... Jesus replied.
once God unbiblical view of faith. or financial income you have always wanted?? Of course not! Jesus is talking about spiritual matters here . the sense is that if one had enough faith."' Jesus was here referring to the faith which saves.But what is somewhat similar to 'moving a mountain'? How about parting the waters of the Red Sea?? It is on a similar sort of scale isn't it? But did Moses HIMSELF part those waters because of his outstanding faith? Or did the LORD tell Moses that He intended to part those waters? The answer is to be found in Exodus 14! But. Another Scripture used by the faith teachers is Mark 9:23: 'Jesus said to him. Moses was expected to have faith that God would carry out His promise! But God never asks us to 'have faith' in any unrevealed scheme. (God) would do. although we do not necessarily told Moses what He apply this to this particular group. "If you can believe. So when Wordfaith teachers tell us that we too can 'tap into' the 'faith power' of Moses which could even part a Red Sea. So God does not expect us to have an unusual 'faith' in our very own words. or job promotion. no literal mountain will be moved unless the sovereign God elects to do so for a specific and meaningful purpose. before you turn there to look. one could 'move a mountain' .but does "all things" include things like that luxury car. all things are possible to him who believes. eventually the faith which only God can grant to us will lead to eternal life! 'All things' are indeed possible to those who have this Godly faith . but being very careless in their scriptural An emotional charismatic congregation meets in South exposition! Of Africa. in other words.but only in a figurative sense. I can tell you that while Moses 'stretched forth his hand. proposition or so-called "design for our healthy and prosperous lives".' God told him the miracle He was about to do! In short: Only God can part a Red Sea or move a mountain. Jesus took it as a 'given' that His listeners understood that! So. I would suggest that they are not only misinterpreting what faith is. It tends to be such groups which are taught an course.
through that illness. neither is that possible.after God had revealed it to him .if God granted them . we should certainly pray for the sick to be healed and I myself have witnessed several dramatic healings. fair and just God who will hear His servants. Of course. should anyone be reproached for a lack of faith? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It may simply have been God's will . Matthew 21:22 is somewhat similar. Initially. believing. the Lord shows me whether He will heal that person! If such a person dies. We should believe that He is a God who abundantly rewards His people! However. It says: 'And all things. the knowledge appeared to be placed directly into my mind that the young man would die . We can also take confidence that every sick person will eventually know healing in the resurrection. some think that the 'whatever you ask in prayer' can include things which . Above all.again.God expects Christians to believe that God will indeed equip us for eternal life in His kingdom through the Lord Jesus Christ! We must never approach God in prayer waveringly. just as Noah was expected to believe that God would indeed cause a worldwide flood . decision and sovereignty! God. we should always place our prayerful petitions before God in confidence that He is a loving.' Of course. God expects us to pray to Him believingly! Don't forget. These are areas which God will consider. Perhaps the sick person is developing the godly character he or she will need. here again. pervert and pull Scriptures totally out of context. for instance. or even praying that one will become a famous preacher! The assumption being that whatever a Christian might 'ask in prayer' will be in accordance with a true Christian life. But The 'name it and claim it' teaching has no biblical foundation but only survives where it can twist. very sick. we cannot manipulate God's sovereignty. but we should certainly joyfully and hopefully petition the Lord to heal that person should it be His will. whatever you ask in prayer. love and compassion through dealing with that sick person. I felt that the young man had a chance to be physically-restored.would hardly keep us on course for God's kingdom! It should not take too much spiritual acumen to see that the 'whatever you ask in prayer' will not run to things like praying that God would allow a young man to marry some desirable and beautiful Hollywood actress.and where the faith that saves will eventually lead. I have noticed that on several occasions when I have started to pray for sick people. but as soon as I started to pray. On one occasion I sat down and prayed with the father of a young man who was very. or praying that one will become wealthy. sometimes does not heal and we must respect His jurisdiction in this area. you will receive. He is certainly not discussing the severance of faith from the will of God. However. plan. Perhaps others are developing patience. But does that mean that we have to somehow 'work up' the belief that that sick person will always be healed? Hardly. We should always realise and remember that ALL OF OUR PRAYERS are subject to God's choice.
slight re-edit in 2008. and the Lord did not grant me any particular knowledge as to whether He would allow healing. We really regret having to use copyright warnings but unfortunately a few unscrupulous people have already stolen our material word for word and claimed it as their own. The young man died 3 days later. I cover two other Scriptures which the Word-faith people use (3 John 2 and John 10:10) in my article. © This article is Copyright Robin A. WHAT IS THE MEANING? It is my earnest wish that many 'positive confession' and prosperity people will read this article and come to a much deeper understanding of what biblical faith really is and (just as importantly). If you want it on your own website please do the honourable thing and come to us for permission first. Thank you. Brace 2003. It is forbidden to excerpt this article without our permission. all three were healed. I simply asked God for this family to be given the strength and courage for the trial which lie ahead. The articles are my article called IS PHYSICAL HEALING INCLUDED IN THE ATONEMENT? and WHEN CHRISTIANS BECOME SICK. The book is Miraculous Healing by Henry Frost which a good Christian book shop should be able to order for you. A further article called UNDERSTANDING THE VULNERABILITY OF GODLY PRAYER will also prove helpful. Brace 2003. . 3 JOHN 2. On another occasion I prayed for three old ladies to be healed. In fact. the sickest of the three being healed dramatically! I can recommend both a book and some articles on healing here.and that I should be very careful what I said. what it is not!! Robin A.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?