By Ninos A. Hadjirousou
In case some of you don’t know what WOF stands for (Word Of Faith). I am trying not to insult anyone, my task in this series of post’s is to equip and assist my brothers and sisters in the Lord to think in a Spirit of discernment and practice their discernment, to examine all things said by anyone who claims to come from God, according to the Scriptures (Acts 17:11, 2 Timothy 3:15-17).
I would like to begin by first exposing the origins of the movement. Church history is very crucial to know because once something new comes and calls itself Christian; it is everyone’s duty to investigate and to find out if this new movement is recognized as something coming from normal Christianity or not. When I was in the movement I was never introduced to church history. In fact, this is a good plan if you want your people to believe that you are coming from orthodox Christianity. The doctrines of the WOF movement are not rooted with the classical evangelical teaching of the reformation. Nor is it rooted in the early church Fathers or the Apostles. It is rooted outside of Christianity back in the 1800’s by the teaching of Pheneas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-66). He was an occultist, healer and philosopher who is the founder of a metaphysical cult called ‘New Thought’. He taught a teaching called ‘The Law of Attraction’ which taught that every human being has deity from within (pantheism the belief in many gods). That we are all spiritual beings and the highest good is not love your neighbour by healing them. Quimby also believed that illnesses where originated from the mind and that by thinking or confessing positive things, there would be possibility of healing from any illness. Thus your words have the power to change or make things into existence. Quimbies theory was welcomed by Mary Baker Eddy who was the founder of Christian Science. The name ‘Law of Attraction’ was coined later by Anne Besant in 1919. Today this teaching can be found in the book called ‘The Secret’ which has also become a film and presented by Oprha Winphrey. This was also welcomed by Elisabeth Towne who was inspired of prosperity theology. E.W Kenyon (1867-1948) is known many in the WOF movement as the grandfather of the movement. He was greatly influenced by Quimbies teachings that he mixed them with Christian doctrine. William Branham (1909-65) a revivalist and a famous crusade healer, was influenced by Kenyon’s teaching. He believed that the destruction of the world would be in 1977 and he proclaimed himself with the angel in Scripture in Revelation 3:14 and denied the Trinity. The teaching was passed on to Kenneth E Hagin (1917-2003) also known as ‘Dad Hagan’, who is known to many in the charismatic movement as the modern father of the WOF movement. Today, the most popular advocates of the WOF movement is Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn.
Extra biblical revelation.
I was given many ‘prophecies’ from many of my charismatic friends in the past and I used to trust in them and be excited that God would speak through them to tell me something that He did not say in the Bible. When I desired to know more on what God’s will is for my life in times of distress and anxiety, I would focus on my dreams or a text of scripture and spiritualize it. Though I was hopeful that ‘God spoke to me’ those things never came to past. I had a friend once who would go into the local high street and ask a complete stranger if their name was ‘Jake?’ or ‘Matthew’? Nearly all people who passed by said no to him. Turns out that God was speaking to him directly with names that he desired my friend to witness to. A very disturbing moment that I remember is when someone, while Sunday worship was happening, asked the elders if he could share a prophecy that ‘God told him’ about the people of the church. They let him go on stage and speak with the mic. And he began to say ‘God said to me..’ And he spoke in the first person as if God was directly speaking through him to us. It was an encouraging message (if we are not familiar with Scripture) but I was very amazed by it because I did not understand back then what Scripture taught. I used to go up and do the same saying God told me in a dream and I tried to persuade them that this was related to the church. Not all the time but sometimes they would let me up on stage. To be frank, I did believe back then that this was God giving me information, but I did it because I thought I would become a good preacher and this was my practice.
The problem with those years when I was in the charismatic movement was that I was neglecting and refusing to put my trust in the Bible’s sufficiency. And that is one of the dangers that the WOF teachers can teach also. That the Bible is not enough for us to know God and commune with Him. We must desire for more, for something else to fill our hearts. As one said to me ‘I don’t believe in dead letters’.
WOF teachers teach that God still is speaking to us through a small voice, or a picture in our mind or through going trips to heaven and back or through prophecy as the Apostle’s had done in the past. In other words, so and so can predict something that will happen and claim God has told him, which means that those listening to him must submit to that authority also because after all; he claims it’s from God! So whatever Bob says is equally authoritative as the Bible. I am not sure if many are consciencesly aware of that. If this was so, then the cannon of Scripture is still open and God has not revealed to us all that He desired to tell us through His divine agents. Logically speaking then, whatever these people say must be written and added to Scripture because their words are equally sufficient and equally authoritative as the Bible and they are to be believed. It also means it is equally inspired by God. That is the error of the WOF preachers. They deny not only the authority of the Bible but the sufficiency of the Bible also. If you look at what they speak about most of the time and how they live out their lives you will see their fruits of the Spirit are not founded in Scripture.
There have been some tremendous errors because of this in the last couple of decades. Back 1987 Oral Roberts told thousands nationwide that God threatened if he could raise up eight million dollars to build a faith medical center that will heal thousand for generations around the world. So God told him to raise money to build this hospital and it happened. But shortly after two years Roberts was forced to shut down the multimillion dollar Tulsa based City of Faith medical center. Turns out, according to Robert’s, this was also ‘God’s will’.
Todd Bentley is known as a revivalist among Charismatic’s and he claimed to have Jesus visit him twice. He said while he was in a meeting he fell into some kind of trance and while he was sitting on a couch Jesus appeared in the room. He claimed to have been in heaven with Jesus and around him where bumble bees and a rainbow with ten colours one of them is pink. He asked Jesus “why pink” Jesus said “For a heart of flesh” (that ought to give you a clue). In another experience he claimed to have been in the throne room in heaven. He said about Jesus “Jesus came in the form of the son of man. He had on an ephod that was the color of the earth, a tan or brown. He had a golden sash and sandals and curly hair that hung to His shoulders. He also wore a purple or blue robe. I looked right into His eyes. They were so brown like those of a deer. I felt like I could go right into His eyes. They were like doves’ eyes, or milky almonds. He had a short beard”. This so called now claimed to be ‘Apostle’ Todd Bentley in one of his ‘revivals’ in 2003; said God told him to heal an old lady who was worshipping by kicking her with his boot. I am not kidding. Surely someone who has encountered the Lord face to face would know that violence such as this is not purely evil. Charismatic’s who follow him maybe unaware of the qualifications of a teacher, preacher, pastor in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9 which have nothing to do with such violence.
Benny Hinn famously prophesied that world would come in an end in the 1980’s and that Fidel Castro would die, the homosexual community would be killed by fires from heaven. We are still waiting for this to happen.
Jesse Duplantess claimed to have close encounters with the Son of God in his book ‘Close Encounters with the God kind’. He claimed that in 1988 that he was taken to the third heaven while being in his hotel room on his knees praying. And “found himself on a cable car, no less, traveling through space and time at a phenomenal rate of speed and there was a blond-haired angel on the cable car traveling along with him and when the cable car finally came to a stop, the doors opened and Jesse steps out into heaven”. The first clue that Jesse was not in heaven is because the angel that he saw called God with the wrong name. He called God Jehovah. Friends, God’s name is not Jehovah His name is Yahmeh. An angel of God should know better.
Trips to heaven have become a career and a business for some. You properly heard of a book and a movie called ‘heaven is for real’ written by the Father of a little boy who claimed to have went into heaven, Colton Burpo. Kevin Burpor says that people in heaven have wings, Jesus moves up and down like an elevator and the Holy Spirit is blue. This book is selling copies over the millions.
My friends, the Bible gives us only three people who went to heaven and who saw the Lord, Stephen who was martyred, John the Apostle who wrote the book of Revelation and the Apostle Paul. Now Paul went to the third heaven indeed according to (2 Corinthians 12) but if you have read and noticed what he says; he is referring himself in the third person because he was so humbled of what he saw. In fact he said “was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words which man is not permitted to speak”. Compare that sort of humility with Jesse Duplantis story, Todd Bentley and Colton Burpo. One only needs to look at the prophet Isaiah’s reaction when he saw the Lord’s glory in Isaiah 6:1-3 and compare that with what these so called ‘Apostles’ have said. And if these people’s testimonies of heaven are true, then we must submit to what they say in the same way that we submit to the Bible. Which means that we have an open cannon of Scripture.
Then there is Sarah Young’s book called ‘Jesus calling’ which became recently popular. She claims that God spoke to her and she wrote everything that God would tell her on pen and paper. Young says ““I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying.” Friends if that is the case, Sarah Young is writing Scripture! This devotional book is not an ordinary devotional, it is written in the first person for Jesus.
The point I am making is that the WOF teachers are trying to separate us from trusting in the Scriptures. Look at what Young says “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.”. Todd Bentley said in his letter of his encounter in heaven with Jesus “Why do we need to have biblical encounters when we have the Bible? It is about intimacy. Why wait for your inheritance?”. You see friends they all believe that the Bible is not enough. Be cautious of people who claim to have a revelation from God (Acts 17:11, 1 John 4:1-2).
(to be continued).
For further study on this subject purchase John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos, i highly recommend it : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charismatic-Chaos-John-Jr-MacArthur/dp/0310575729