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Derek Vreeland

This paper was written by Derek Vreeland.

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Derek Vreeland holds an M.Div degree from Oral Roberts University. He is the assistant pastor of Cornerstone Church in Americus, Georgia.


Original paper. Included with the author's permission. This paper has since been modified and published in article form in Refleks 1-2 (2002).

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Articles > Charismatic Theology > Reconstructing Word of Faith Theology

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Reconstructing Positive Confession

            The most distinct characteristic in the nature of faith in word of faith theology is the relationship between inner conviction and verbal confession, in what word of faith proponents label “faith confessions” or “positive confession.” This doctrine has drawn heavy attacks from within and outside the charismatic movement.  The primary mistake by critics in regard to positive confession is the false claim that it is rooted in the cognitive power of a metaphysical positive mental attitude, the theological center of Christian Science and other mind science cults. McConnell notes,

           

The working presupposition of positive confession is that one’s mental attitude determines what one believes and confesses, and what one believes and confesses determines what one gets from God.  As Hagin puts it, “What we believe is a result of our thinking. If we think wrong we will believe wrong….If we believe wrong, our confession will be wrong.  In other words, what we say will be wrong and it will all hinge on our thinking.”  Positive mental attitude (PMA) is the fount from which all positive confession flows.[65]

 

This represents McConnell’s inaccurate reading of Hagin’s writings in an attempt to justify his own faulty historical analysis from Hagin’s theology.  For Hagin, positive confession is not rooted in one’s mental capacities, although there is a cognitive element involved in the process. Positive confession is rooted in biblical authority.[66] In How to Turn Your Faith Loose, Hagin writes,

 

You can always tell if a person’s believing is right by what he says.  If his confession is wrong, his believing is wrong.  If his believing is wrong his thinking is wrong.  If his thinking is wrong, it’s because his mind has not been renewed with the Word of God.  I never have been able to understand how anybody thinks he can get help from God apart from the Word.  God moves in line with His Word. We should treat His Word with the same reverence that we would treat Jesus if He were here in the flesh.[67]

 

Hagin clearly states that faith confession is not empowered by a positive mental attitude, but it is the fruition of the “living and active” logos of God. The cognitive element is the needed theological shift, the renewing of the mind. The concept of confession is not merely justified by biblical precedent, but the positive confessions themselves are positive affirmations of biblical statements.  Hagin gives a three-part description of confession.  He writes, “First, it’s affirming something that we believe.  Second, it’s testifying to something that we know.  Third, it’s witnessing of a truth that we’ve embraced.”[68] The word of faith confession finds expression in a sinner’s confession of the lordship of Christ, a Christian’s confession of sin to restore broken fellowship with God, and finally the Christian’s confession of his or her faith in God’s word.[69]

 

            The biblical precedent for this third expression of confession is Romans 10:9,10. In word of faith theology, evangelical faith is paradigmatic of the faith by which the believer exists with God in koinonia.  Hagin writes,

 

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).  The text says, “unto salvation,” but it is also true concerning anything else that you receive from God.  All that you receive from God comes the same way: through faith. With the heart man believes for healing, and with the mouth that confession is made.  

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