This is the Faith preacher Kenneth Copeland. Or, to put it another way, this is my childhood in 3 minutes.
I grew up in Bath, where Kenneth Copeland Ministries has its European office. I have Kenneth Copeland’s autograph in a Bible that was given to me on the day I was born. This is not Texas or Arkansas. This isn’t even London. This is middle class England.
When I watch this stuff, I still feel the same sense of awe I felt as a child. God, Creator of the Universe, the most powerful being in existence, had gone to all this effort to make me blessed. It’s an incredible thought.
I can’t tell you how annoying it is to know that you, reader, can just look at it and go, “bullshit.” Because from having my first doubts at 16, it took me five years to fully shake off. My Dad went to his grave believing this, and the only merciful thing is that if he’d lived, he would have given all our money to Copeland, instead of just most of it.
The most pernicious doctrine of the Word of Faith is the idea that “you can have what you say.” This doctrine of positive confession, as preached by the Copelands, says that anything you say in faith will happen. (There’s a good rundown of the prosperity gospel here, but it’s from a Christian perspective, so my atheist followers might be irked by some parts).
Anything you say in faith will happen.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Whatever you desire! How do you do this? Call those things that be not as though they are (Romans 4:17). So if you’re sick, you say, “In Jesus’ name, I am healed.”
Not “I will be healed,” please note: “I am healed.” You believe that you receive when you pray. You call things that be not as though they are.
When God created the world, he spoke. He said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. As sons and heirs of God (Romans 8:17), our words, spoken in faith, have this creative power.
If you say it, it will happen.
You know what that means? If you say something negative, that will happen too.
Never confess doubt, or anything else of a negative nature. Admitting doubt, even in a small way, will paralyze your faith. It will have the effect of withholding God’s best and His blessings from you. Therefore, we must never confess doubt.
If you say anything that is a doubt, you won’t get God’s blessing!
Picture the scene at my church on a Sunday morning. You’ve got a bunch of people who believe that if they say something positive, it will happen. They also believe that if they admit anything negative, it will continue, and the positive stuff won’t happen. These people have not seen each other for a week, and they are all asking each other how they are doing.“How’s it going, James?”
“I’m blessed. Blessed, brother! Glory to God, I’m rich, healed, saved and set free!!”
This is not lying. This is faith. You can never have a normal conversation with someone in the Word of Faith. So once you’re in it, it’s hard to have non-Christian friends, quite apart from all the dire warnings about being unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).
There’s another thing:
All doubt comes from the devil.
From the devil.
Satan will try to influence you by planting thoughts in your mind. You can always tell when a thought comes from the devil, because that thought will always be inconsistent with and contradictory to the Word of God…
Satan is very clever at his job. He has learned not only how to plant thoughts in our minds, but he has also learned how to govern us in such a way that will make us think we engendered the thought.2
Any thought you have – any suspicion that what you believe might not be true – is of the devil. And the only solution is to drive it out by meditating on God’s Word day and night.
The belief that doubt comes from the devil – and speaking that doubt will stop you from receiving God’s blessings – is a level of mind control to rival any cult.
Logical thought is our immune system against believing fantasy. And the Faith Movement works by cutting this off, your only defence against deception. Your mind can’t comprehend the ways of God, it says, because His thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). Don’t expect to understand it. Just know that doubts are placed there by the devil.
Furthermore, if you’re having doubts, you can’t discuss them with anyone. The very act of discussing them will make those doubts come true. As a mechanism for control this works on so many levels. If you had only a slight doubt, discussing it with a friend might have confirmed it. Now that option is cut off. And if anyone does leave the flock because of doubt, it can’t spread to other people, because those people can’t listen to the doubter.
It’s a black hole. You can’t think your way out, because thinking is not allowed. You can’t talk your way out, because that’s not allowed either. You lose your non-Word of Faith friends, because it’s impossible to hold a conversation with normal people when your words bear no relationship to reality. And because you think the only way to make the supernatural happen is to speak the Word constantly until it comes true, that’s all you do.
The Word of Faith: It’s a cult, it’s got tens of thousands of British followers, it looks like Christianity, and no one knows about it.