Here’s how it is sold: God wants you to be rich (and/or healthy), but He can not bless you unless you first send money (also known as a “seed-faith offering“) to whichever televangelist or teacher tells you about this scheme.
This approach has been perfected by Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn, the late Paul and Jan Crouch (Trinity Broadcasting Network), Creflo Dollar, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, et al.
Some preachers tell people to ‘sow seeds’ in faith (‘even if you cannot really afford to do so’), in order to soon ‘reap’ incredible rewards. Many promise healing from all manner of illnesses, deliverance from demonic influences, and usually a financial blessing — up to a hundred-fold return.
Did you not receive what you were hoping for? ‘You must have had too little faith and you probably did not sow enough.’
If this scam worked as advertised, televangelists would be sending you money.
The teaching is part and parcel of ‘Positive Confession,’ one of the doctrinal pillars of Word-Faith theology:
1) Positive Confession: The Theology of the Spoken Word (Rhematology), or thought actualization, is commonly known as positive confession. It stresses the inherent power of words and thoughts. Each person predestines his own future by what he says verbally and by how well he uses spiritual laws. As such, it is as if we live in a mechanistic universe instead of a personal one (see, Kenneth Copeland, Laws of Prosperity, p. 15; Charles Capps, The Tongue A Creative Force, pp. 117-118; Releasing the Ability of God, pp. 98-99, 101-104).
2) The Gospel of Health: Isaiah 53 is used to justify blanket coverage for the physical healing of every Christian who has enough faith. “…it is the plan of our Father God in His great love and His great mercy that no believer should ever be sick, that every believer should live his life full span down here on earth and that every believer should finally just fall asleep in Jesus” (Hagin, Seven Things You Should Know About Divine Healing, p. 21). Hagin also denies having a headache for forty-five years, labelling such as “simply symptoms rather than any indication of a headache” (In the Name of Jesus, p. 44).
3) The Gospel of Wealth: A central tenet of the prosperity gospel is that God wills the financial prosperity of every Christian. If a believer lives in poverty, he/she is living outside God’s intended will. “You must realize that it is God’s will for you to prosper” (Copeland, Laws of Prosperity, p. 51).– Source: Word-Faith Movement, “Other Doctrines,” a Watchman Fellowship profile
Much of the mail which Christian Research Institute receives concerns the teaching known variously as “positive confession,” the “faith” (or “Word-Faith”) teaching, and the “prosperity” doctrine. Some of the best-known American televangelists subscribe either partly or wholly to this teaching. Its chief representatives today seem to be Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Fred Price, Robert Tilton, and Benny Hinn, though there are many other evangelists, teachers, and writers promoting the teaching.
It is our considered opinion that this teaching, at least in its complete form as expressed by the above men, is at best extremely aberrational and at worse heretical. (We use the term “aberrational” to refer to teaching which is decidedly unbiblical and damaging to authentic Christian faith, but which is not quite so heretical that its adherents must be considered non-Christians.) CRI has attempted to meet with these men and dialogue with them concerning their teachings, but most of them have refused. We were able, however, to meet with some of them and discuss a few of our concerns. We are continuing our efforts to engage these men in dialogue.
In brief, the teachings of these men may be summarized as follows: God created man in “God’s class” (or, as “little gods”), with the potential to exercise the “God kind of faith” in calling things into existence and living in prosperity and success as sovereign beings. We forfeited this opportunity, however, by rebelling against God in the Garden and taking upon ourselves Satan’s nature. To correct this situation, Jesus Christ became a man, died spiritually (thus taking upon Himself Satan’s nature), went to Hell, was “born again,” rose from the dead with God’s nature again, and then sent the Holy Spirit so that the Incarnation could be duplicated in believers, thus fulfilling their calling to be little gods. Since we are called to experience this kind of life now, we should be successful in every area of our lives. To be in debt, then, or be sick, or (as is often taught) be left by one’s spouse, and not to have these problems solved by “claiming” God’s promises, shows a lack of faith. While certain aspects of the above doctrine may vary from teacher to teacher, the general outline remains the same in each case.– Source: Robert Bowman, CRI speaks out on the errors of the Word-Faith movement
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Next page: Prosperity Gospel: Greed-based Theology