The movement known as “Word of Faith” is a branch off of the Pentecostal movement. In the late 20th century, E. W. Kenyon studied under Phineas Quimby, and was taught a system known as “New Thought” that connected the mind with God’s Word in such a way that what we think and speak is brought into reality by God. This is where the “name it and claim it” theology originated. Quimby would pass on his teachings to men like Kenneth Hagin and he would in turn make his own disciples.
Today, the Word of Faith movement is large—and is the prominent flavor of theology found on the popular Trinity Broadcasting Network. When you hear popular voices like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer speak, they are employing the tactics of the Word of Faith system. It’s one thing to criticize Joel Osteen’s preaching on various different levels—both serious and jokingly (such as on The Babylon Bee), but at the foundation, what’s wrong with this approach to preaching?
Word of Faith Preaching Replaces the εὐαγγέλιον with Carpe Diem
The common accent of Word of Faith preaching is centered upon your ability to claim victory, peace, happiness, or in the words of Joel Osteen—”your best life now.” Rather than preaching the Gospel, the Word of Faith preachers major on what can be seized by the power of a person’s will.
First, unbelievers will die and go to hell with the “carpe diem” theology. Getting more material wealth and seeking fleshly happiness will not remove the stain of sin. Why do people who embrace the Word of Faith theology go into jails and spend all of their precious time teaching people how to “declare” blessings and speak in tongues as opposed to majoring on their need of the Gospel of Christ?
Secondly, the church needs the gospel rather than a message of “do better” or “work harder” to achieve happiness. The pulpit must be known for rich expositions of God’s Word rather than superficial sermonettes filled with mystical “pie in the sky” theology. One serious critique of this type of preaching must be this question: Where is the Gospel? The Word of Faith theology focuses on getting people rich rather than making disciples through the gospel of Christ.
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SOURCE: Delivered by Grace