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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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(3) The most fatal flaw in McConnell’s analysis is his lack of emphasis on the non-Kenyon influences on Hagin. There is no question that Hagin was influenced by Kenyon’s writings.  Hagin’s word-for-word incorporation of passages from Kenyon is a travesty that Hagin has yet to explain.[34]  However, in building his case for the “Kenyon Connection,” McConnell underestimates the Pentecostal and holiness influences on Hagin. Dennis Hollinger writes in his assessment of the historical development of the faith movement,


The contemporary health and wealth movement flows historically from two primary tributaries: Pentecostal healing revivalism and the influences of E. W. Kenyon… McConnell’s A Different Gospel attempts to undermine the Pentecostal influence, giving primacy to the “Kenyon Connection.” My own conclusion, however, is that we cannot minimize the role of the healing revivalist tradition.[35][35]


McConnell “attempts to undermine” the influence of Pentecostalism on Hagin to strengthen the argument of the “Kenyon Connection.”  The Pentecostal root unquestionably grounds faith theology into an orthodox stream, which stands contrary to the essence of the “Kenyon Connection.”


Bruce Barron concurs in his historical evaluation and writes, “During these years of relative oblivion  (1910-1947), healing revivalists continued to cross the country sacrificially offering their services, developing much of the theology that Hagin, Copeland and many others continue to proclaim today.”[36] McConnell provides a rebuttal by stating that “Barron’s historical analysis fails at several points.”[37] McConnell claims that “Faith theology does not, as Barron claims, have multiple sources within Pentecostalism.  All of the major doctrines of Hagin, Copeland, et al. have been taken directly from the writings of Kenyon.”[38]  While it is true that leaders in the faith movement have doctrines that rely heavily on Kenyon, McConnell again overstates his point.  The major doctrines of Faith theology include biblical authority, evangelism, soteriological-based healing, prosperity, Pentecostal pneumatology, spiritual warfare, and positive confession. Kenyon’s influence can only be traced in a few of those.  Even doctrines such a “sensory denial through positive confession” which often is credited to Kenyon’s influence can be seen in the Holiness/Pentecostal tradition.  Barron continues,


The beginnings of positive confession with regard to healing can be spotted as far back as the work of A. B. Simpson, who wrote, “We believe that God is healing before any evidence is given.  It is to be believed as a present reality, and then ventured on.  We are to act as if it were already true.”  Why would this well-educated man advocate faith contrary to sensory evidence? Because he believed that the Bible, a higher authority than the senses, teaches healing.[39]


This may be an indirect influence on Hagin because we have no evidence that Hagin read Simpson’s writings, although they would have been available to Hagin.  However, it does reveal that the 19th century Faith-Cure movement that feed into Pentecostalism did contain elements of contemporary word of faith theology.  R. Kelso Carter, author and participant during the Faith-Cure Movement, notes the importance of verbal confession.


He writes,


In order to this [sic] he must feel that othere [sic] are of more importance before God than himself, and also that he is willing publicly to confess his desire, his helplessness, and his faith in God.  Ah! Confession is ever necessary.  We must honor Jesus before men.  Having thus prostrated self and confessed his belief, he is to be “anointed with oil in the name of the Lord.”[40]


Carter continues by describing his personal experience of confession.  He writes,


As soon as this became clear to my mind, I resolved in the strength of Jesus, to confess His glorious work to the uttermost, and not to allow a single thought of the future to enter my mind for a moment.  Anyone can see that, professing to trust Christ for exemption from sickness, while you are contemplating the possibility of speedily falling ill, is not trusting Him at all….Such professions are only an insult to God, and are miserable travesties on true faith.[41]

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