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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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Faith confession as related to divine healing was a part of the theological system during the Faith-Cure movement, although it did not hold the same position of importance as it does in the current strand of faith theology. 


Hagin does make note of some of the direct Holiness and pre-Pentecostal influences on his theological development. During the message, “Why Do People Fall Under the Power,” Hagin comments,


Did you ever read after John Wesley?  I began to read John Wesley’s writings first way back in 1938. John Wesley, of course, is the father, you know, of Methodism...(and) it became quite a frequent thing in his services for people, sometimes hundreds of them, to fall under the power…. Did you ever read the autobiography of Charles G. Finney? I have more than once.  It has blessed me immeasurably…. 


George Whitefield, who was a co-laborer with John Wesley actually, came over here to America.  And it is a historical fact.  You can read about it actually in some books that are in the Library of Congress or the library up there, you see….Did you ever read after Peter Cartwright? The Wesley-Methodist preacher, you know. I read his autobiography – great – blessed ya’.[42]


Hagin cites these historic figures as precedent for charismatic manifestations, but beyond that, it reveals some of the Revivalism/Holiness influence on his theology. Hagin also testifies that Pentecostal forerunner John Alexander Dowie influenced him.  Hagin cites an account from Dowie’s 1888 healing campaign in San Francisco. Hagin found a pragmatic example in Dowie who prayed intuitively for only one woman out of hundreds, because he perceived that she alone had faith.[43]    All of these pre-Pentecostals, Wesley, Finney, Whitefield, Cartwright and Dowie, laid the groundwork that would form faith theology as taught by Kenneth Hagin.  Charles Farah, in his historical analysis, identifies that the true root of faith theology is in the theology of Charles Finney.  He writes, “Historically, the roots of their theology (faith theology) go back to the thought of Charles Finney…(whose) contribution to present day faith-formula teaching was indirect; rather than direct.”[44]  Farah does acknowledge that Kenyon is the “most important” of all of the influences on the development of faith theology, but he does not deny the influence of Finney, a historical root to word of faith theology.  Finney’s theology defines faith as that which always obtains the blessing it seeks.  Finney writes, “I am speaking now of the kind of faith that ensures the blessing. Do not understand me as saying that there is nothing in prayer that is acceptable to God, or that even obtains the blessing sometimes, without this kind of faith (emphasis his).”[45]


Faith theology also has a strong root in Pentecostalism.  Smith Wigglesworth, an early Pentecostal pioneer, had a substantial impact on Hagin and his theology.  Wigglesworth writes in Ever Increasing Faith,


It is a blessed thing to learn that God’s word can never fail.  Never harken to human plans.  God can work mightily when you persist in believing Him in spite of discouragements from the human standpoint…I am not moved by what I see.  I am moved only by what I believe. No man considers how he feels if he believes.  The man who believes God has it (emphasis his).[46]


Hagin cites Wigglesworth in The Believer’s Authority concerning discouragement during spiritual warfare. Hagin writes,


Faith is involved in exercising spiritual authority. Yes, there are times when evil spirits come out immediately, but if they don’t when you speak the word of faith, don’t get disturbed about it.  I base my faith on what the Word says.  Some people’s faith is not based on the Bible, however, it’s based on a manifestation…. As Smith Wigglesworth often said, “I’m not moved by what I feel.  I’m moved only by what I believe.” So stand your ground.[47]


Wigglesworth’s theology parallels that of Kenyon with its distinction between perceptional knowledge and revelational knowledge.  For Wigglesworth, the latter is knowledge communicated by Scripture through faith. This Holiness/Pentecostal root from Finney, through the Faith-Cure healing theology, through early Pentecostalism, formed an orthodox foundation for word of faith theology to emerge.  Historically, Kenyon’s influence on Hagin added to the Holiness/Pentecostal root that had been developing over the previous decades.

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