Unfeigned Faith: A Book That Deserves More Attention

By David Kowalski

In the 1970’s, I was a deacon in a church that was quite suddenly plunged by its pastor into the errors of the Word-Faith movement. Consequently, I immersed myself into a study of Scripture’s teachings regarding the subjects touched on by the movement. I read the material of the Word-Faith teachers, finding they taught serious heresies (such as their belief in magical, word power; denial of blood atonement; and espousal of the “little gods” doctrine) that would not get widespread, public attention until the publication of Dave Hunt’s The Seduction of Christianity in 1985. I eventually spent much time researching the origins of the movement in New Thought as taught by E. W. Kenyon (something not popularly understood until the publication of the first edition of  D. R. McConell’sA Different Gospel in 1988).

Judson Cornwall’s Unfeigned Faith was a gem that flew under the radar when it was published in 1981. This book confirmed much of what I had found in Scripture on the subject of faith. Cornwall accurately presented the Scriptural alternative to the contrived or “feigned” faith of the Word-Faith teachers, which was nothing more than a worked-up mental and emotional state. Faith, Cornwall pointed out, is, in all of its varied manifestations, either a gift or fruit of the Spirit. We can express it but we cannot manufacture it. Likewise, we do not determine for what faith believes. True faith always responds to God’s initiative, believing only what He specifically says.

I think Judson Cornwall’s book received far too little attention at the time it was published even though Cornwall was a popular, Charismatic teacher. Charles Farah’s From the Pinnacle of the Temple (1979) made a bigger splash but much of that book’s contents (such as the supposed distinction between logos and rhema) has not stood the test of time. Gordon Fee’s The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels (1985) said some good and useful things but was, I think, too short and too limited in its scope to be of much lasting value. I believe any student of the subject of faith or the errors of the Word-Faith movement should read Unfeigned Faith.

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This post was last updated: Jan. 20, 2013