First, let me say that I am not here to be calling out any names, or to try to “bring down” any ministries, right now! I only hope to provide information to shed some light on teachings that are in error, and to show people the real Jesus Christ, of the Scriptures of the Holy Bible.
I do need to say some things, to my brothers and sisters in Christ, about some misconceptions of so MANY of the people who are caught up in the Word Faith movement and/or Prosperity Gospel, because that is exactly what it is – they have been “snared”!
We really need to have a loving heart for those caught in that deception… It is, many times, like being raised by a highly dysfunctional parent!
Most get caught for one or more of the following reasons:
1) they were raised in a dead church (not teaching GOD’s Law and GOD’s Gospel) that did not emphasize, or teach them how to properly read and study the Word of God, OR
2) they have never been taught what a Christian has historically believed since the time of the resurrection, and ascension of Christ, and WHY they believed it (they need to know what they believe, and why they believe it! DOCTRINE DOES MATTER!), OR
3) they are still an unbeliever who wandered in to a WOF church – got caught up in all the emotion (the whole experience in one of these churches is a highly charged, emotional experience) – and just stayed, waiting for the next emotional “high” (or a promised “prophecy” to come to pass), and never learned anything else, OR
4) they are brand-new Christians floundering, by themselves, and looking for direction (which was my case), OR
5) they were born and raised in it, and know nothing else, but what they have been taught for their whole life.
Many of these church members really do not know anything else! They really do NOT need to be made fun of, or belittled. What they need is sound doctrine, instruction, to be shown the Truth, and MERCY!
You see, I did not have the luxury of even knowing the Scriptures, yet, or that I could really even understand them if I were taught properly (I just couldn’t seem to figure out how the teachers I was listening to, at that time, were able to figure out, and come to the conclusions that they did in their sermons. It was all highly confusing to me, but seemed to “make sense” when they taught it), back when I was snared…
I was a brand-new Christian, floundering on my own, coming out of neo-Paganism and New Age teachings. I was previously a witch, tarot card reader, into yoga, entrenched in ISA (previously known as EST), into clothing-optional gatherings, dabbled in Buddhism, dabbled in Reiki and crystal healing, read and believed much of “A Course in Miracles” (before it was made “popular” by Oprah), I was a jewelry maker of “commitment bands” (which I sold to gay couples) and crystal jewelry (I “charged” those with spells and sold them at new-age and pagan festivals), into all the positive thinking stuff, HATED Christians and what I perceived as their belief system, etc., etc., etc. Then this, sadly, was the first kind of “church” I ended up in… See, if you do not have proper teaching in Christian doctrine (which is the state of MOST of the people in this movement), it is very EASY to get sucked into it…!
I remember the first service I attended, and sitting there thinking, “Cool, I used to do this stuff for Satan’s team (the positive thinking stuff, visualization, tongues, positive confession, “listening” for messages to share, etc.), but NOW I am on the RIGHT team, and I can do it for Jesus!” ***sigh***
We were never really encouraged to read, and properly taught HOW to read the Word, and how to pick a GOOD, actual, translation (it was given lip-service, but there was never any instruction on how to even begin). We just flipped from scripture to scripture, along with the pastor during emotionally-charged meetings and teachings, and the way he did it really made it seem “right”! I read all the books the pastor said to read (which, of course, were sold in the book store that the church had), got all the tapes he said to listen to, and listened to all the teachers on TBN that he said were good to watch.
It was not until I had some run-ins with some of the “leadership” (in the children’s church), the pastor, the pastor’s wife, and some of the “ushers” (more like “bouncers”, in a bar), and some emotional abuse done to my two eldest children, that we finally quit going to that church. You see, I realize looking back, I was not a really “good” cult-member (I began questioning things, and saying “no” to them). One of the “ushers” even kept calling my house, and coming to my door (always during times when my husband was not there – I did not answer either one), after we quit going. You see, that is one of the ways that they “get” people, and “counsel” other family members to get a “backsliding” family member to “get out of sin” (sin usually being – questioning anything the leadership in the congregation says or does), and “keep” them in the church (and keep getting their tithes and offerings, of course)…
I first proceeded to wean myself OFF of the books, tapes, and TV messages… Also, I began to read and listen to the Bible, IN CONTEXT! Wow, were MY eyes opened up to the depth of the deception I had been in, and how the scriptures had all been taken out of context, and twisted around to sound “right”! Then, I began to be able to (by the Grace of our LORD, and the help of the Holy Spirit) get out from under ALL of it (the Paganism, the New Age thinking, AND the Word of Faith teachings – which are ALSO “New Age” teachings)!
This change has NOT happened overnight, but The Lord has been FAITHFUL in the “renewing of my mind”! It has been a LONG journey, and I cannot even pinpoint the moment I really realized that I was getting OUT of all of it… There was, and still is, a LOT of JUNK, in my mind, to get rid of!
Also, please note, one of the BIG teachings (mentioned in almost every sermon) in WOF is to “touch not, the Lord’s anointed” (taken out of context, of course, and construed to mean the leadership of their church, or one of the big-name celebrity leaders/teachers), thus, conveniently making it close to impossible to question ANYTHING that the pastors, or visiting pastors, might say or do, because if you do, you stand the chance of being CURSED BY GOD, and who in their right mind wants THAT to happen…?! These are just SOME of the ways in which these churches are very cult-like, and spiritually abusive… They are even very careful (which would not be a “bad” thing, IF they were Orthodox) about the wording of the songs they sing in church (even sometimes changing the words in good, solid, traditional hymns – like getting rid of the word “wretch” in “Amazing Grace”!), so as to not accidentally have a “negative confession” of some kind, about themselves, in the song…! Continual bondage, not Grace! 😦
If you run into WOF people (most will go on the defensive, and actually be AFRAID to even question what they have been taught), and IF they begin (Lord willing) to REALIZE that they have been deceived, PLEASE know that they will need to go through a mourning process! This can take a very short, or very LONG amount of time. They are really hurting!
It HURTS to find out you’ve been believing in a “false Jesus” (more like a genie, magic 8-ball, or a Santa figure…), and that you may not even be a Christian! There can be sadness, anger, anxiety, euphoria (I had that, after I realized I did NOT have to worry about every single little word coming out of my mouth having the possibility of CURSING my whole life, or to make SURE I tithed on every PENNY that came into our household, even to the detriment of being able to pay our bills! There is SO MUCH BONDAGE in the WOF!), withdrawal, fear of being deceived again, etc.
Please remember the following verse, and realize that most people coming out of this type of teaching usally need the MERCY part, but sometimes they need to be snatched out of the fire, so as to not possibly lose them PERMANENTLY!
But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25 ESV)
Okay, I guess I am done, for now…
Below, you will find three talks that are really very good at explaining what WOF preachers teach, how they teach it, and explanations of how they use the scriptures, and twist them around. He is NOT a crazily raving, rabid, speaker. He teaches it in a very matter-of-fact way, so that you can know what people in this movement are talking about, and possibly find ways to talk to them about what they are being taught.