C&MA Endorses Word-Faith Theology
I have a great admiration for both A.B. Simpson and Christian and Missionary Alliance for their work for the Lord up to the present time. This is why I am writing this article because I believe that Jonathan Graf, Director of Prayer Mobilization for C&MA is attempting to indoctrinate that organization with false teachings from the Word-Faith movement.
I don't know if Graf is merely unaware of Word-Faith teachings, or if he is leaven in that organization, but either way the Christian community needs to be warned that the Word-Faith deception has begun to be accepted and endorsed by C&MA in their official magazine Alife (Alliance Life), C&MA Online Magazine, "Are You Ready For A Miracle?", by Jonathan Graf, Director For Prayer Mobilization, September 2003. (http://www.alliancelife.org/current/practical-0309.php)
For more information on what Word-Faith teaches, go to our Word-Faith section.
Jonathan Graf quotes A.B. Simpson from his book "The Life Of Prayer" as saying:
The habit of asking indiscriminately wears out the power of believing.Graf then says:
Is that why we see so few miracles?I would like to ask, "Where has Graf been?" Miracles happen all the time, particularly on the mission field. God has not ceased to be the God of the miraculous, because that is Who He is.
Graf has also misapplied the quote by A.B. Simpson to try to prove his faulty hypothesis of "hope robbing faith". A.B. Simpson was clearly talking about making a myriad of requests outside the will of God, causing the person praying to think God does not answer prayer.
Also please notice that A.B. Simpson uses the biblical term "asking". Believers may ask, seek and knock (Matt. 7:7, Luke 11:9) according to the Word (John 15:7) and God's will (1 John 5:14). When we ask outside the Word and will of God we can expect a different answer to our asking, or no answer at all. Graf claims we need to "declare" our prayers to God, thus commanding Him to act. But the fact is that Christians rarely know what God has in mind for the future, apart from the revelation of God's written Word, and in the absence of real knowledge they most often forge ahead with their "declarations" anyway. He says in the article:
Become bold! Declare in faith!We are never told to declare anything to God. You will not find anything about "declaring" in prayer in the New Testament. Jesus Christ is Lord and we are His servants. A servant does not "declare" to his Master. Can you imagine a slave telling his master what to do? Can you picture a servant going before his king and ordering him to act? If Jesus Christ is Lord, then He IS Lord and we are his children, his servants. We do what He wants done, not what we want. We submit our desires to His will (1 John 2:17). We can ask, seek and knock but always, always according to His Word and will. Jesus Christ prayed "Thy will be done". He taught us to pray that also and His disciples demonstrated that principle over and over again (Mat 6:10,26:42; Luke 11:2; 1 John 2:17,5:14,15; Ps 40:8; Heb 10:7; Rom 8:27; 1 Pet 3:17; Col 1:9, Jam 4:13-16). We can ask for a person's healing in faith (James 5:14-16), but it is still up to God whether to heal. We must realize that He may also leave people sick, disabled, persecuted or allow them to die for His name's sake. Don't forget that Paul was allowed to remain sick in Galatia and because of that many were saved (Gal. 4:13-14). The early Christians were allowed to die so that the Gospel could be spread. Would that modern "Christians" would be willing to die to preach the Gospel in the Moslem countries today!
Graf goes on to quote E.W. Kenyon, the father of the Word-Faith movement. Kenneth Hagin, recently deceased from a heart failure after God allegedly "made him a new heart" earlier in his life, falsely claimed that he was actually the father of Word-Faith. But it is a proven fact that Hagin plagiarized Essek Kenyon's writings and called them his own. Graf quoted Kenyon as saying:
Hope is the robber of faith.How unbiblical can you get? Isn't faith itself the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ which we are to put on as part of the spiritual armor (1 Thes. 5:8)? Are we not to hope in the return of Christ bodily to earth to rule and judge (Titus 2:13)? Should we not hope for eternal life (Titus 3:7)? Why is hope being painted as a bad thing? We should pray without doubting (James 1:6), but hope is the opposite of doubt.
1 John 3:3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.Graf apparently does not realize that this putting down of hope is part and parcel of the false theology of New Thought and Word-Faith. At the root of the theology of Word-Faith is the assumption that God lost contol of His world when man sinned, and now Satan is in control. Christians must then rise up and declare things to God in order for Him to have the "right" to act in His world. (see quotes by Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, E.W. Kenyon and other Word-Faith teachers here). Word-Faith, at its core, has another "Jesus". Kenneth Copeland's logo reads "Jesus is Lord", yet he treats God like a big vending machine in the sky, and as not as the sovereign King of Kings. I have Copeland on video saying,
Jesus is the high preist of MY words.If Jesus is Lord, then He is Lord and not at the beck and call of men, not even His children. God will answer prayers asked according to His will, but ultimately God is still the boss. In Word-Faith theology they teach that Jesus Christ's physical death on the cross did not purchase our salvation, that Jesus was dragged into hell by Satan and tortured there three days, where He was finally born again (quotes by Word-Faith teachers here).
Why then would Graf promote Word-Faith theology when he says,
And this may shock you, but the more I study faith, I'm coming to believe that Word of Faith adherents are probably closer to the truth about faith and prayer than anyone.Upon what does he base this verdict? False signs and wonders that have yet to be proven by every investigative media organization that asks for documented proof, even the secular media? Slain in the spirit ugly manifestations in the churches? False prophesies by every major Word-Faith teacher? I thought the Bible teaches Christians to test people like Hagin and Copeland by what they teach (1 Cor. 10:15, Acts 17:11) not by signs and wonders? Word-Faith heretics have taught that when Job said "Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him" that was a negative confession and showed a lack of faith.
"Job tapped into the negative side of the faith force by a negative confession ..." (Benny Hinn, as cited in Media Spotlight Special Report, 1992)Word-Faith theology actually promotes the antithesis of faith--it shipwrecks true faith. I have seen this with hundreds of emails we have received from people whose faith was almost destroyed by money-grubbing Word-Faith false teachers. Faith is trusting a completely faithful God to act in the best interest of His kingdom, and leave the driving to Him. Faith is NOT declaring whatever we want or assume God's will to be, in defiance of biblical principles of asking, seeking and knocking. That's how to give the devil an opening to deceive. We don't put faith in our faith. We don't believe that faith is a force that God uses and therefore we too can use. We do not teach that every Christian is guaranteed healing like Copeland teaches. (see my article "Dear Saint, Don't Believe What They Say"). Our faith is in a Person, Jesus Christ, who is truly Lord.
Graf concludes that Word-Faith theology on prayer is not heretical doctrine, but is simply a "lack of emphasis".
This is where much faith-based praying falls into hope. And this is also where the Word of Faith movement is likely in error. It's more an error in practice and lack of emphasis than in doctrine.First of all, faith falling into hope? Where does Graf get this idea from the Bible? It simply does not exist.
Second, how is treating God like He is your servant and declaring all kinds of things, assuming they are the will of God, NOT false doctrine? It is the very height of false teaching. The Sovereignty of God is at the heart of all Christian doctrine. Is Jesus Christ Lord, or are we the ones who pull the strings? According to Benny Hinn, the "anointed" like himself are God's puppeteers. This is one of the vast differences between orthodox biblical Christian theology and that of the cult of Word-Faith. How quickly everyone forgets, or never bothered to check, that the background theologies of Word-Faith comes from the same root as Mormonism, Christian Science, Norman Vincent Peale/Robert Schuller "positive thinking", and other New Thought movements. It looks to me like Graf is trying to subtly make Word-Faith acceptable within the framework of a, heretofore, biblical Christian organization like C&MA, when it is clearly heretical and always has been. All you have to do is watch TBN to see what a blight on true Christianity Word-Faith/Third Wave teachers are.
That C&MA would allow Graf to be their director of prayer mobilization and write an article praising Word-Faith theology would, I believe, cause A.B. Simpson to roll over in his grave if he knew what was happening! I can only hope that C&MA will print a retraction to this seriously erroneous article and rebuke Graf. I can only hope the Jonathan Graf will stop attending Third Wave events in Colorado Springs, home of many false teachers, and study to show himself approved. Time to get back to the Bible, back to true faith and hope!