What is the Word of Faith or Positive Confession Belief?

What is the Word of Faith or Positive Confession Belief? December 10, 2018

Is the Word of Faith or Positive Confession movement biblical?

Power in the Word

There is power in the Word of God. Not so much in the word of man. Of course, our words can hurt others and they can also build others us. We know that “With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor” (Prov 11:9a), and that “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov 12:18). Clearly, words matter. For example, we know that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov 15:1), but beyond this, is there power in our words…even supernatural power? We know God’s Word has power. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16). The Word of God comforts the afflicted but afflicts the comfortable. On one hand, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18). God’s Word has the power to bring about what He wills. We can promise something by giving our word, but circumstances may prevent us from keeping our word, however there are no barriers to God and His Word. In referring to the universe, the psalmist wrote that God “spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:9), and He says, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). When “God said, “Let there be light”…there was light” (Gen 1:3), but what about the power of words in human beings? Like, for example, in the Word of Faith movement?

Positive Confession

There has been a huge movement that has seemingly swept across the world and it’s called Word of Faith or Positive Confession. Word of Faith portends that Christians can access the power of faith or fear through words or speech. This has nothing to do with churches that go by the name of Word of Faith because this movement is nondenominational, and its appeal is often material things and not spiritual ones. They base their teachings loosely on Jesus’ saying, “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matt 21:22), but what happens what they “speak in faith” is contrary to the will of God? Isn’t God’s will supreme over ours and infinitely better?

Word of Faith

One prisoner told me that God had informed him that a certain prisoner had a “dark soul,” whatever that meant, and I assumed it wasn’t good. He was sure God had told him in “his spirit” that this man claiming to be a believer was not who he claimed to be. The problem soon became apparent that he was wrong. The prisoner the man had accused of “having a devil” ended up living in a more godly manner than of all of them. What if, in child-like faith, a young child was told, “Speak to the cookie jar. Speak to it to be all full of cookies.” Clearly, God’s will is not for the child to gorge themselves on cookies, but to the child, it’s the perfect “word of faith” or positive confession. The child’s will is for a full cookie jar so they can eat them, but the parent knows that’s not good for them. One Word of Faith preacher even said, “Speak to your wallet. Be full of money you billfold.” Some Word of Faith teachers quote Jesus to support their teachings. In one place Jesus said, “If you can believe! All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23), but what if the Apostle Peter had prayed in faith, believing that God would answer his positive confession that Jesus would not have to die on the cross? Remember, that was Peter’s will, however, Peter’s belief or positive confession would have no bearing on what the Father’s will was, because clearly, it was the will of the Father to send the Son to the cross (Isaiah 53:10).

God’s Will Verses Ours

We are told by Jesus to pray to the Father through His name, and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, but Jesus never says, “Pray to God the Father through Me that your will is done.” Jesus does say if you pray and believe, all things are possible, but never does our will supersede God’s will. What if we speak forth someone’s healing, but God’s will is to end their suffering and take them home to be with Him? Do human words have more power or is our will more important than God’s? Obviously not, so praying for God’s will is always best because at times, we don’t even know what to pray for (Rom 8:26-27). Praying for His will to be done here on earth is infinitely better than to pray for our wills to be done. A young child may want to play with a shiny new kitchen knife, but mom knows they’ll hurt themselves, and so she says, “No!” and puts them in a place the child can’t reach. In similar fashion, God’s ways are superior to our ways. What we pray for may not be for our best. God knows what’s best for us, even if it doesn’t look the best at the time (Rom 8:28). God is sovereign over all things. Our words, no matter how positive they are, are not sovereign over God’s will!

Rights-Based Faith

You cannot manipulate faith or positive confession to create wealth or material blessings. God alone has the power to make rich or poor (Deut 8:18; 1 Sam 2:7), so it’s wrong to teach a “rights-based” faith, where you deserve to be healthy and wealthy. They surmise that Abraham was rich, so why not them, but they fail to see that most of the members of the New Testament church were poor and had little power, money, or influence. Sadly, Word of Faith teaching often (not always) focuses on physical things rather than spiritual things…on possessions rather than on the Person of Christ! The point is, not many mighty, noble, or powerful are called (1 Cor 1:26), so it seems, the very ones the world despises are often the very ones God seeks to save.

Conclusion

Every faith healer will die someday.  Every one of them will need hearing aids or glasses (or contacts) eventually. A physical healing is wonderful. God does heal today, but the greatest healing of all is spiritual. It is the new birth (John 3:3-7). God answers the prayer of the believing saints…don’t’ get me wrong, but He does not give human words the same power to create or effect the supernaturally as He does. God alone has this power. He may work through human instruments, but only if it is within the will of God and not the will of someone who makes a positive confession or has a word of faith. Sadly, if there is any real power in our words, it’s the power to hurt, shame, destroy, and even kill. There is the power of life and death in our words. Scripture does speak about the power of our words, but not in a good way. The Word of God says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Prov 18:21).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.


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  • Matthew 22:37

    Thanks for giving us the Word, Pastor.

    There are too many people in this world who prize their own thinking ahead of God’s and they don’t even attempt to understand Him.

    But some people know that Christianity is the greatest morality the world has ever witnessed as Benjamin Franklin said.

    I don’t think some people grasp that the best morality springs from a new spiritual nature so they devalue it.

    But keep going anyway, Pastor, God will give the increase.

    God’s love never fails. That is one of the most promising statements on God’s blessed nature in the whole of scripture.

    Men fail at times but God will not.

    • Jack Wellman

      You are spot on my friend. THank you.

    • pud

      The “buybull” is NOT the “words” of any “god”…. If they were then you (even as dumb and gullible as you must be) would have to admit that this “god” is a bumbling, violent, evil, stupid entity. The “buybull” is an ancient superstitious collection of ridiculous impossible make believe stories. Grow up.

  • Salvatore Anthony Luiso

    I appreciate your opposition to the Word of Faith movement, as I am vehemently opposed to it myself. I hope you do not mind if I respectfully say a little by way of correction.

    I have heard certain of their most popular teachers on television. It is my understanding that they do not teach that one can get anything which is contrary to the will of God by speaking a word of faith. They teach one must believe and speak in accordance with God’s will in order to get what one desires. They also teach that it is God’s will that all of His people be healthy and have an abundant life, and that an abundant life consists in part of material abundance, i.e. material wealth. I have heard at least two of them (Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis) say that the Lord Jesus Himself was rich during His earthly ministry. Hence the basis for their “‘rights-based’ faith, where you deserve to be healthy and wealthy”.

    I do believe that, by the grace of God, good things can come from our words. The Book of Proverbs repeatedly contrasts the words of the wise and the words of fools, e.g. “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” and “The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom” (Proverbs 10:11 and 21). I do not believe in the distinctive methods of the Word of Faith movement.

    Because you are involved in prison ministry, I think that you may be interested to know that tonight the PBS series Sacred will present an episode entitled “Faith Behind Bars”. At least part of it will be about Christians at Angola Prison (Louisiana State Penitentiary). You may know that God has done a mighty work among the prisoners there. A preview of it is posted here: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/sacred/faith-behind-bars/

    • Jack Wellman

      great stuff sir. Thank you.

    • pud

      “Faith behind bars” LOL….the perfect indoctrination hunting ground…desperate people in cages. “Faith” is THE most dishonest position anyone can take. There is nothing…no matter how absurd…that can’t be taken on “faith”.

  • Hi Jack,

    It’s a good thing that this Word of Faith or Positive Confession movement is being exposed by you. It is making many of its preachers wealthy often at the expense of its parishioners and many sincere, but gullible, believers who give so generously to these charlatans.

    This movement seems to have originated in a synthesis of new thought metaphysics and Fundamentalist Christianity. ‘New thought’ is a movement that over emphasises the mental/emotions over the material. They say that there are only two kinds of thoughts: positive and negative. They also say that we get what we persistently focus our minds upon and that feelings turbo charge our thinking and bring it into reality. They say that if we wish to change our reality then we need to change our mind. They say that if you want to be wealthy, then you must love money. If you want to be healthy, then focus your mind on getting well. But, if a person is neither healthy or wealthy (in spite of doing this) then that person is likely to be blamed for failing to obtain their goal.

    These Word of Faith preachers (who utilise new thought) fail to recognize that the Jesus of the Gospels was probably poor. He had ‘nowhere to lay his head’. His central message was living and proclaiming the Reign of God, not prosperity theology. This good news was good news to the poor. It was intended to heal the broken hearted and to announce the ‘year of the jubilee’. It has NOTHING to do with a health and wealth theology that ends up making the preachers of this view wealthy while those followers of this prosperity view are emptied of their pockets, forced into poverty by trickery, and end up being disillusioned. These followers are blamed for their failure and told that they lack faith.

  • pud

    “God does heal today, but the greatest healing of all is spiritual.”

    Prove it. Demonstrate that this ridiculous assertion of yours like all your absurd claims is true. SHOW IT JACK!

    Why doesn’t “god” EVER heal amputees?

    Define and demonstrate that such a thing as “spirit” or “spiritual” exists…..thought so.

    You’re just a babbling stupid life long indoctrinated gullible old fool. You care NOTHING for truth, reason, logic or reality.

    “God answers the prayer of the believing saints…don’t’ get me wrong, but He does not give human words the same power to create or effect the supernaturally as He does. God alone has this power. He may work through human instruments, but only if it is within the will of God and not the will of someone who makes a positive confession or has a word of faith.”

    Prove one word of this gibberish. Demonstrate the existence of “supernatural”…..Come on jack! You claim it now SHOW it!

    All you EVER do is babble….There’s not a single thing you can demonstrate….nothing, never, ever.

  • Matthew 22:37

    From gotquestions.org

    Question: “What does it mean to walk by faith not by sight?”

    Answer: Second Corinthians 5:6–7 says, “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight” (ESV, emphasis added). Other versions use the word live, rather than walk. The “walk” here is a metaphorical reference to the way a person conducts his or her life. We still use the phrase “all walks of life” to mean a variety of lifestyles or cultures.

    The apostle Paul reminds his readers that followers of Christ must not build their lives around things that have no eternal significance. Rather than pursuing the same things the world pursues, a Christian should focus on the unseen realities such as Jesus and heaven. Paul goes on to say, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:9–10). Jesus instructed us to store up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19–20; Luke 12:33). He promised rewards to everyone who does His will (Matthew 16:27; 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 22:12) and punishment for those who reject Him (Matthew 25:24–46; John 3:16–18).

    Walking by faith means living life in light of eternal consequences. To walk by faith is to fear God more than man; to obey the Bible even when it conflicts with man’s commands; to choose righteousness over sin, no matter what the cost; to trust God in every circumstance; and to believe God rewards those who seek Him, regardless of who says otherwise (Hebrews 11:6).

    Rather than loving the things of this world (1 John 2:15–16), Christians should spend their lives glorifying God in everything they do (1 Corinthians 10:31). It requires faith to live this way because we cannot see, hear, or touch anything spiritual. When we base our lives on the truth of God’s Word, rather than on the popular philosophy of our day, we are going against our natural inclinations. Our natural instincts may be to horde money, but walking by faith says we should “give to those in need” (Luke 11:41; Ephesians 4:28). Society may say that sexual immorality is acceptable, but those who walk by faith base their standards on the unchangeable nature of God’s Word, which says any sex outside of marriage is sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3; Galatians 5:19). To walk by faith requires that we tune our hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit and the truth of His Word (John 10:27; 16:13). We choose to live according to what God reveals to us, rather than trust our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5–6).- End quote

    Remember to walk by faith not sight, Christian.

    Many in the world refuse to do what God says so how can they know?

    They only try to upset your walk and take your eyes off the Living God. They failed to listen to and heed God but the fact that you do upsets them. So they come to make false explanatory explanations to confuse Christians and others into believing and behaving like they do.

    Want the proof? Then walk the walk.

    Anybody can look into the physical nature of things but why does that control anything?

    God already explained origins and He is done explaining that. What concerns Christ now is transformation.

    So ignore the worldly arguments Christians from the people who feared the change that comes with spiritual development.

    All the people that walk by sight are doing is trying to communicate and justify their own fears by making you turn back.

    Nothing is as complicated as the devious self devoted heart of man makes it.

    Trust in God and accept His Word as an authoritative guide to help you walk by faith.

    And stop allowing unbelievers to pillage your mind with their fears and doubts.
    Obsessed with controlling your thoughtlife rather than obtaining a supernatural change in themselves, aren’t they?

    Accept God’s Word, acknowledge He is Sovereign over everything and give Him the primacy to lead you personally.

    It is as simple as that but the twisted world likes to make things hard and twist people’s minds and hearts with it’s fears and confusion.

    Stop reading the fearful people in this comments section and put your heart into God’s hands for safekeeping. He will not disappoint you.

    • Which planet are you living on? This is a hyper-spiritualisation of reality.

  • Brien

    ”There is power in the Word of God. Not so much in the word of man.”

    All, every single ‘word’ of all gods were and are written by man!!

    Just prove your gods without all these ‘words’ – Try some real evidence ie Proof!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef824a87a361a831a96f7a09f195603869b3bb5f0ba92ab3431bea6252a8a2e2.jpg

  • Graeme Cooksley

    Pud: Interesting to see you are still trolling, and still hiding behind a pseudonym.
    I’m pleased to see that most do not take your bait, probably because they take note of:
    Do not answer fools according to their folly,
    or you will be a fool yourself.
    Answer fools according to their folly,
    or they will be wise in their own eyes.

    – Proverbs 26:4-5 (NRSV)
    most readers would think that applies to you; but my response is not for the bait, but to call you out on a couple of points in your responses.
    You continually put the burden of proof for God on Jack and other readers, but, YOU have to be aware that there is as much a requirement for you to present proof that there is no God. i.e. you are using a form of intellectual dishonesty.
    Actually, you too, are exercising a form of “Faith”.
    There is a fair indication that in reality, you have no argument for your position, and hence your resorting to ad hominem attacks, particularly on Jack, and on anyone else who offers a theistic stand. Perhaps one day you will get beyond infantile-like name calling.
    Perhaps it would help your position (i.e. to win) if you shouted louder – USE Upper Case – or really bellow – USE Upper case and underline!
    I wonder too, whether or not you try your atheistic stance with say, Moslem/Islam blogs? Do you? If so do you hide behind a pseudonym? To not do so shows an inconsistency and moral and intellectual dishonesty.
    Perhaps, who knows, you may be like Antony Flew and “follow the truth wherever it leads”, and finish up the same as him :). 