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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

11.08.2007

Primer on the Word-of-Faith

This is in response to a little discussion we're having over at "The Nightfly".

I don't have time today to write a full dissertation on "The Word-Of-Faith Movement Within Protestant Christianity". But my qualifications to speak against it are many. Since 1998, I've either worked under or been close friends with dozens of Word-Of-Faith-ers. During that time, I've been a keen observer and listener to the ideas of the movement. The people I befriended and worked for are awesome -- AWESOME -- people. They'd do anything for you. They really do love Jesus Christ as they know Him and strive to do what they think He would have them do. I wouldn't have spent so much time with them otherwise.

But incredible pain has always lurked beneath the surface in my relationships with Faith-ers. The things I've seen and heard them say and do are astounding; some because of their incredible love and faith in God and some for their... misguided zeal. But I don't necessarily blame them. It is true that God has given human beings faculties and capacities to question and investigate and really THINK about His Word and His Person within the context of history and the workings of our own lives. And almost anyone can see how blatantly foolish and sometimes downright diabolical the Faith-er movement is.

But.

The Faith-ers I know came to the fold simply because a Copeland or Hagin or Hickey caught them at their lowest low and promised them fame, fortune, wellness, peace and prosperity. They were taken advantage of by charlatans who were well-versed in the abuses of charm, guile, personality and the soft (or hard) sell. I do think that most Faith-ers are guided out of genuine love for God. But it would be naive to say that their leaders are.

I spent over five years under intense spiritual abuse. Because I too came to Christ out of the lowest of lows. And I too was lured in by a charming and powerful charlatan. Leaving him and his church was one of the hardest things I've ever had to wake up and do. It was devastating to find that someone I had trusted with so much for so long had not only betrayed me, but betrayed the very God he supposedly served. It would have been much, much easier for me to just shrug at things that bothered me and keep my eyes closed. It would have been simple to place the blame on myself for not understanding and being unable to "get with the program" -- and many times I did. It was just THAT difficult for me to believe I was being deceived. For myriad reasons, some people just have a veil over their eyes and don't see the evil being done in God's name.

Needless to say, I mostly kept my mouth shut at work and simply continued to love and respect my co-workers and friends. But they knew enough to not invite me to their church or ask me to participate in certain spiritual things with them. I honestly don't know what they would think if they knew I'd become Catholic. The only opinions I've ever heard them espouse about the Church were damnable lies someone charming had sold them. I wasn't surprised when they believed them. After all, they'd been enticed into the Faith movement by lies. But it still hurt.

I chose my battles and my words (ironically) wisely and prayed for the best outcome. But little hurt by little hurt -- especially as we got closer and closer to our Easter confirmation -- I just had to leave. It was too painful. Things at work started to mushroom and the pressure to relent was just too great. The staff was increasing around me as our company grew and the new employees were all Faith-ers. It was wonderful to have them and they were great to work with, but I couldn't, in good conscience, stay. Especially not when thousands and thousands of dollars of company money were going to people like Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis every month. That's NOT what I was working for. I bristled at the notion that all my hard work and sacrifice was going to pay for another home or limousine for someone who was making money off the backs of the poor.

So for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Word-Of-Faith Movement or are not awake to how dangerous it is, I suggest a book by Hank Hanegraaff called, "Christianity In Crisis" -- especially the audio version. It makes a clearer delineation of the heresies of the Movement than I ever could.

And if you want to know the "basics" on the Movement and how wacky it is, here's a little folktale that encapsulates most of it -- with footnotes to quotes from the pulpit to back up the claims.

If you are in a situation of spiritual abuse, I HIGHLY recommend "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by Jeff Van Vonderan and David Johnson.

Peace be with you.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Joyce Meyer said...

I have to say your post is excellent. I have read a lot about people against word faith but this is one of the simplest, straight forward and to the point. I am very curious to know your thoughts about Joyce Meyer Ministries. Please post something focused on her. Thanks!

Christian J.

8:01 PM  

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