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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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[1] Martin Luther:  Selections From His Writings.  John Dillenberger, ed.  (New York: Anchor Books, 1962), 24.

[2] The “word of faith movement” includes churches and teaching ministries which promote a doctrinal emphasis on physical healing, financial prosperity and positive confession.  It is also referred to as “the health and wealth gospel,” “word-faith movement,” and “the faith movement.”

[3] Some of the harshest critics have been Hank Hannegraff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1997); David Hunt and T.A. McMahon, The Seduction of Christianity (Eugene: Harvest House, 1985); D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988).

[4] I Timothy 6:4 and II Timothy 2:14

[5] See William DeArtega, Quenching the Spirit, (Lake Mary, Florida: Creation House, 1996); James R. Spencer, Heresy Hunters: Character Assassination in the Church, (Lafayette, Louisiana: Huntington House Publishers, 1993); Kenneth E. Hagin, Jr., Another Look at Faith (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1996).

[6] Galatians 1:6-9

[7] J.B. Lightfoot, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995), 78. cf. LXX Deuteronomy 7:26; Joshua 7:1,12

[8] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 183.

[9] Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, 48.

[10] Charles Farah Jr., “A Critical Analysis: The ‘Roots and Fruits’ of Faith-Formula Theology” Pneuma (Spring 1981), 21.

[11] H. Terris Neuman, “Cultic Origins of Word-Faith Theology Within the Charismatic Movement” Pneuma (Spring 1990), 54,55.

[12] II Timothy 4:2-5

[13] Hendrickson published an updated edition in 1995 which includes a response to William DeArtega.  See McConnell, A Different Gospel, 199-213.

[14] Ibid., 29-54.

[15] Other critiques of word of faith theology rely on McConnell’s historical analysis.  See Neuman, “Cultic Origins,” 53; John F. MacArthur, Jr., Charismatic Chaos, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 351,352; Jerry Vines, Spirit Works: Charismatic Practices and the Bible, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 166; Tom Smail, Andrew Walker, Nigel Wright, The Love of Power or the Power of Love, (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1994), 79.

[16] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 34.

[17] Joe McIntyre, E. W. Kenyon and His Message of Faith, (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1997), 22.

[18] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 40.

[19] McIntyre, E. W. Kenyon, 18.

[20] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 41.

[21] McConnell himself admits that a “deeper analysis” is difficult due to the lack of primary source material on the early life of Kenyon.  Ibid.,41.

[22] E.W. Kenyon, Identification, (Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1968), 23.

[23] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, II.16.10.

[24] McIntyre lists and responds to sixteen points of Kenyon’s theology that is attacked by McConnell. See Joe McIntyre, E.W. Kenyon, 299-306.

[25] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 44.

[26] E.W. Kenyon, Two Kinds of Righteousness, (Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1965), 33.

[27] Ladd commends Dodd’s “Realized Eschatology” in the interpretation of the kingdom of God.  Ladd writes, “The Kingdom of God, which is described in apocalyptic language, is in reality the transcendent order beyond time and space that has broken into history in the mission of Jesus (emphasis mine).”  George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament Revised Edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993), 56.

[28] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 108.

[29] Ibid., 108.

[30] See E.W. Kenyon, Two Kinds of Knowledge, (Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1942), 19ff.

[31] Kenyon writes, “The integrity of the Word is the basis of faith.” E. W. Kenyon, In His Presence, (Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1969), 67.

[32] Ibid., 197.

[33] Kenyon, In His Presence, 191.

[34] One theory to explain the “plagiarism” of Kenyon by Hagin is that it was an unintentional editorial oversight.  Many of Hagin’s books are written by ghost writers who have transcribed the material from audio cassettes of Hagin’s sermons.  During the early days of Rhema Bible Training Center, Hagin would read passages from Kenyon’s books.  It is possible that those tapes entered the mix of tapes used by the ghost writers, who incorporated the Kenyon passages into Hagin’s books assuming that Hagin was preaching.  There is not conclusive proof of this theory.  This does not explain the plagiarism of Kenyon in Hagin’s articles in the Word of Faith as cited by McConnell. Furthermore, whether it is intentional or unintentional plagiarism it is still an error that Kenneth Hagin needs to correct.    

[35] Dennis Hollinger, “Enjoying God Forever: A Historical/Sociological Profile of the Health and Wealth Gospel,” The Gospel and Contemporary Perspectives, Douglas Moo, ed. (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997), 19.

[36] Bruce Barron, The Health and Wealth Gospel, (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1987), 44.

[37] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 22.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Barron, The Health and Wealth Gospel, 60.  Barron’s quote from Simpon is from Four-Fold Gospel, 62.

[40] R. Kelso Carter, The Atonement for Sin and Sickness, (Boston: Willard Tract Repository, 1884), 110.  Reprinted by Garland Publishing.  See Russell Kelso Carter on Faith Healing. New York: Garland Publishing, 1985.

[41] Ibid., 118,119.

[42] Kenneth E. Hagin, “Why Do People Fall Under the Power” Classic Favorites Series (Tulsa: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1976), Audio Tape 17H06.

[43] Kenneth E. Hagin, Healing Belongs to Us, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1991), 18-19.

[44]Farah, “A Critical Analysis,” 5.

[45] Charles G. Finney, Revival Lectures, (Grand Rapids: Flemming H. Revell), 76.

[46] Smith Wigglesworth, Ever Increasing Faith Revised Edition, (Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1924), 30.

[47] Kenneth E. Hagin, The Believer’s Authority, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1984), 24.  Hagin also quotes Wigglesworth concerning knowing God through Scripture.  See Kenneth E. Hagin, What Faith Is Second Edition, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1998), 63.  See also Kenneth E. Hagin, The Real Faith, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1980), 13.

[48] This statement does not exonerate every word of faith teacher or proponent.  Critics have documented cases where word of faith teachers seem to elevate their subjective commentary above Scripture in the name of revelation knowledge.  This is serious error, but I would interject that it is the exemption and not the rule. See Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, 123ff.

[49] Barron, Health and Wealth Gospel, 110.

[50] Hagin, New Thresholds of Faith, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1977), 56. “The Integrity of God’s Word” is also the chapter heading for chapter 6 in Kenyon’s In His Presence.

[51] Kenneth E. Hagin, What to Do When Faith Seems Week and Victory Lost, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1979), 28.

[52] Ibid., 29.

[53] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 72.

[54] Hagin, What Faith Is, 68.

[55] Gordon D. Fee, “Hermeneutics and Historical Precedent – A Major Problem in Pentecostal Hermeneutics,” Perspectives on the New Pentecostalism, Russel P. Spittler ed., (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976), 118-132.  As quoted by Walter J. Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997), 313.

[56] “Have the faith of God” is found in the KJV, NKJV, RSV, NIV, NASB, NLT and is often a classic example of an objective genitive in Greek Grammars. For example, see James A. Brooks and Carlton L. Winbery, Syntax of New Testament Greek, (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1979), 16. 

[57] Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, 91.

[58] Charles Farah, From the Pinnacle of the Temple, (Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, 1978), 101.

[59] D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, 139.

[60] Hagin, New Thresholds of Faith, 74.

[61] See The Holy Bible: Authorized King James Version, (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1985), 1022.

[62] Finis Jennings Dake, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible: New Testament, (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, 1961), 48.  There is no historical evidence that Hagin is familiar with Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.  The reference to Dake’s note is provided as an example of marginal notes that include the subjective genitive as an exegetical alternative.  

[63] Hagin, New Thresholds, 77.

[64] Concerning the essential quality of faith see Luke 18:8, 22:32; II Corinthians 1:24, 5:7; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8, 3:17; I Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 6:1, 11:6, I Peter 1:5,7; I John 3:23, Jude 1:3.

[65] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 135. McConnell’s quote from Hagin is taken from Right and Wrong Thinking, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1966), 3.

[66] McConnell acknowledges that Faith teachers say that their confession is rooted in God’s word, but he dismisses this with the argument that the metaphysical cults also use Scripture as their foundation for their confessions. However, in word of faith theology, the confession is a verbal utterance of Scripture.

[67] Kenneth Hagin, How to Turn Your Faith Loose, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1978), 17.

[68] Ibid., 13.

[69] Ibid., 3.

[70] II Corinthians 4:13

[71] Luke 6:45

[72] Bruce Barron, The Health and Wealth Gospel, 105.

[73] See Hagin, How to Turn Your Faith Loose, 23.

[74] Isaiah 55:8,9

[75] Alexander Dowie, Talks with Ministers on Divine Healing, (Chicago: International Divine Healing Association, 1892), 1.

[76] This includes references to unbelief in the lack of healing as well as positive affirmations of the presence of faith or “believing” in the manifestation of physical healing.  

[77] See Matthew 9:22 (Mark 5:34; Luke 8:48); Mark 10:52 (Luke 18:42); Luke 17:17

[78] Acts 3:16

[79] Acts 14:9

[80] James 5:14,15

[81] Ken Blue, Authority to Heal, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1987), 42.

[82] Francis MacNutt, Healing, (Lake Mary, Florida: Creation House, 1988), 120.

[83] Kenneth E. Hagin, Redeemed from Poverty, Sickness, and Spiritual Death, (Tulsa: Faith Library Publications, 1983), 5.

[84] Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., “The Old Testament Case for Material Blessings and the Contemporary Believer,” The Gospel and Contemporary Perspectives, Douglas Moo, ed. (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997), 31.

[85] Psalm 103:2-5

[86] Edward K. Pousson, Spreading the Flame, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publications, 1992), 83. He also notes that the Rhema churches of South Africa, which are associated with Hagin’s ministry, have been considered “the most compassionate and generous Christians” in South Africa. He quotes Allan Anderson, a local pastor in South Africa, who testifies, “Far from abandoning their responsibilities towards the poor, these Christians see it as their God-given duty to do what they can to alleviate poverty – and not just through the proclamation of ‘prosperity,’ but in practical giving!”  See Pousson, Spreading the Flame, 144.

[87] Hagin, Redeemed from Poverty, Sickness, and Spiritual Death, 2.

[88] Luke 12:15

[89] Oral Roberts, My Favorite Bible Scriptures, (Tulsa: Oral Roberts Evangelist Association, 1963), 51.

[90]Kenneth E. Hagin, Jr., Another Look at Faith, (Tulsa: Faith Publication Library, 1996), 101.



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