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. 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
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
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.” McConnell provides a
rebuttal by stating that “Barron’s historical
analysis fails at several points.” 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.” 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.
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
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.
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.”
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.