False teachers have been a problem from the beginning of the church, and it will remain as a problem till the end of this age. There are false teachers outside the church, but the most destructive to the work of the church are on the inside. False teachers do not care about you, they don’t care about God, they only care about themselves. They are not godly ministers but greedy impostors who corrupt the Word of God for money’s sake. One of the ways Jude refers to false teachers is that they are clouds without water. They have an appearance of having some nourishment but no nourishment ever falls from it leaving the ground below dry and parched.
One of the deadliest teachings that is sweeping across the world comes from the Word of Faith (WOF) movement. It originated from a man named Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866). His teachings served as a basis for the movement today known as Christian Science of which Mary Baker Eddy the founder. Unfortunately, it is neither Christian nor scientific. The Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the late 20th century. E.W. Kenyon (1867-1948) is considered by many to be the founder or the grandfather of Word of Faith teaching. At the heart of this health and wealth, name-it and claim-it, prosperity gospel is the belief that it is always God’s will for the Christians to be wealthy and healthy; physical healing is guaranteed provided you have enough faith. If you’re sick, and you prayed for healing but the healing does not come then the fault is you – because you don’t have enough faith.
Not everything that these false teachers teach is false, some of the things are right. That’s what makes them so dangerous. They have some truths but mixed in with that truth is an error and heresy. One of their standard doctrines says, God created the universe by speaking and we as believers can do the same thing. You can attain health and wealth by the positive confession. If you need money, you speak it into existence; if you need healing, you speak it into existence. In the prosperity gospel, faith is not placed in God; it is a force directed at God to make him do whatever you want him to do. He is a ‘Gene in a bottle’ for them. They actually teach that you need to have faith not in God but in your ‘faith’.
Here are FIVE grievous heresies in prosperity teaching:
They preach a different gospel
The Word of Faith movement is not all about health and wealth; they have far more serious heresies running much deeper into the core. Health and wealth are only two low-hanging bad fruits in a rotten tree. The health and wealth package is what makes them so appealing to the people. They target the two basic desires of human beings. Who does not want to be wealthy and healthy? They teach, “If you come to Jesus, He makes you rich, and you won’t be sick again. Jesus died so that you may live in prosperity.” Really? That’s not the gospel; the real gospel says, “Come to Jesus, O’ you wretched sinner! He will rescue you from the coming wrath.” The Bible never promises health and wealth to the believer, instead it promises trials and persecution (2 Timothy 3:12; John 16:33).
They deny the efficacy of the cross
According to another standard doctrine, they hold that Jesus died only a spiritual death; he did not die a physical death, and Jesus’ atonement did not take place on the cross. “Atonement” refers to the process whereby justification is applied to a sinner’s account. In effect, atonement refers to the transaction by which Christ exchanged his death on the cross as a substitute for the death owed by sinful man. At the point of atonement, salvation is purchased and a sinner begins a new life in Christ. According to WoF doctrine, the plan of redemption was utterly incomplete upon Jesus’ death on the cross.
One of the most disturbing teachings of the WoF movement is that Jesus took the nature of Satan upon himself in order to secure the salvation of mankind. According to these preachers, Jesus, when he died, ceased to be the son of God, went to Hell and literally became a Satanic being in order to punish sin. “How did Jesus then on the cross say, ‘My God.’ Because God was not His Father any more. He took upon Himself the nature of Satan ” (Kenneth Copeland). “He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan where he became sin” (Benny Hinn). It was not Jesus’ death which bought atonement for man, but his suffering in Hell, according to WoF teaching.
They deny the deity of Christ
The Word of Faith movement preaches a different gospel, which is not a gospel at all. They have a different ‘god’ and a different ‘Jesus’ that is not in the Bible. Many of the faith preachers hold that Jesus came to earth as a man and not as God (heresy of Arianism). According to them Jesus is only a man who had a good relationship with God, and he did all the miracles by the anointing of God and not by his own power. The Bible teaches that Jesus is God in flesh – fully man, fully God – eternally God, pre-existed with the Father. He walked on earth as fully God and fully man, and did all the miracles by his own divine power. But, the Word of Faith movement blatantly denies the divinity of Jesus of the Bible.
They elevate man
The Word of Faith movement is a satanic force led by dangerous and arrogant wolves. These blasphemers do not have any regard to God’s sovereignty, they don’t have any reverence or fear for God. They openly mock and de-magnify God, and elevate man to Godhood. Once you assume the power of the force of yourself – then the status of man is necessarily changed from the biblical position of being dependent on God to a status of self-sufficiency. Man became the commander of the very power God used to create the universe. It is the confession of WoF leaders through and through that man was created in terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority.
They demote God
When man is theologically elevated to a god-status, then God is necessarily demoted to a plane consistent with man. According to these preachers God has no power (legal rights) in the earth unless man gives the permission to God. God had become an outsider to his own creation. “You create the presence of Jesus with your mouth… He is bound by your lips and by your words. Christ is depending upon you and your spoken word..” (Paul Yonggi). “You have the power to “command God” Kenneth Copeland. WoF doctrine clearly asserts that you can have whatever you wish by properly commanding such with your mouth. Man commands, God depends. Man asserts, God yearns. Man is in control, God is out. By what audacity do these dogs maintain such allegations?
There is only one gospel, and the prosperity teaching is not a gospel; it is a shameless fraud and a perfect scam as it plays into the troubles, fears and hopes of millions of people mired in poverty and struggling with sickness. It cannot redeem souls from eternal destruction. Unfortunately, in North America this cultic perversion of Christianity is also legal and tax free.
Man is instructed not on his depravity and need for salvation, but on his alleged posture of value before God’s grateful eye. Christ is presented not as the crucified lamb but the exemplary enabler of human potential. Scripture is not promoted as the inspired testimony of God by which men are convicted, redeemed and trained for His eternal service, but the means by which they can learn the secrets of acquiring their best life now. – The Word-Faith Doctrinal Deception by Jeff Kluttz
God has no patience whatsoever for having his name profaned by liars. Nor is he tolerant of those who accommodate such work by listening and following their evil advice. Not only were the people told to reject the false teachers, but they themselves were promised that God would “pour out their evil upon them” for allowing such teachings to be promoted (Ref. Jeremiah 14:14-16). It is our mandate from the scripture to warn people about wolves, call out them by names.
There exists a fear among many believers of raising their voices against false teachers. They don’t want to condemn people who teach about Jesus. I have lost fellowship with several people over my tendency to reveal heresy. “Teaching about Jesus” is not the same as declaring the gospel of Christ and rightly dividing the word of truth. Muslims, Mormons, Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and also politicians “teach about Jesus.” If their teachings are not correct according to the scriptures, God’s Word demands that we must react against them, expose their errors, and that we are in fact held accountable for our failure to do so. If you know any of your friends deceived by this movement, love them enough to warn them because their souls are in serious danger.