Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Word Faith Movement: Part 1

The Origin of the Word of Faith Movement
Many of you may be familiar with the Word of Faith movement. The vast majority of programming on Christian television is brought to you by Word of Faith. But first you should know that the Charismatic church and the Word of Faith movement are different, but they hold some of the same beliefs. Charismatics hold to many of the teachings of Scripture, however the Word of Faith has compromised on many of the tenets of Biblical Christianity. The twist is that the Word of Faith leaders claim to be Charismatic, as Pentecostals do, so it's difficult to determine where they stand doctrinally, until it's too late.

During the summer of 2009, I left a Word of Faith church after spending nearly a decade under their teaching. How could I stay so long, you may ask? It was simple - they never disclosed, in so many words, that one of the teachings is that "we are gods." It is on this basic principle that makes Positive Confession possible, and thus use all of the universal forces that God uses. Plus their teaching on love truly drew us in and kept us there for a long time.

Phineas P. Quimby: Grandfather of the Word Faith
Over a century before the Faith Movement became a powerful force within the Christian church, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866), the father of New Thought, which was the forerunner of the New Age. It  popularized the notion that sickness and suffering ultimately have their origin in incorrect thinking.

"New Thought, and the related movement, Christian Science, were based on the integration of the more traditional Christian ideas with nineteenth century metaphysical traditions. The metaphysical tradition embodies a sense of spirituality concerned with mystical experience and the importance of the power of the mind over the body particularly in terms of enabling healing." [1]

Quimby’s followers believed that man could create his own reality through the power of positive affirmation (confession). Metaphysical practitioners have long taught adherents to visualize health and wealth, and then to affirm or confess them with their mouths so that the intangible images may be transformed into tangible realities. [2]

It first came to prominence in America, when a Phineas P. Quimby came to believe he had cured his tuberculosis simply by refusing to believe in it. Quimby’s insight, combined with the ideas of Mesmerists and Swedenborgians, gave birth to the movement known as New Thought. [3] From its initial emphasis on the healing of disease it developed into an intensely individualistic and optimistic philosophy of life and conduct.

Individual New Thought leaders have employed concepts from every variety of idealistic, spiritualistic, pantheistic, kabbalistic, and theosophical [4] thought, as well as from Christianity.

Its basis is only found in peculiar interpretations of its own leaders, not in general accepted Christian theology.

Read Part 2 

Further Research 
"A Different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement" by D.R. McConnell