It is undoubtedly true that God
likes to prosper us in this life; though it is crucial to remember
that this can be in ways other than material ones. But it is
important also that we understand that the Lord is far more
interested in our eternal welfare than in our temporal
conditions. So when those interests clash, it is our
spiritual health and wealth that will take precedence.
An obvious example is the rich young
ruler in Matthew 19:20-24. This principle is confirmed again
and again in Scripture in the lives of even the greatest heroes of
the faith - including those living under the Abrahamic Covenant on
which the Word-Faith teachers rely so heavily - like Moses, David,
Let us look here primarily at
With His Stripes
One of the central Word-Faith
doctrines is that physical healing, as well as salvation, was
provided for in the atonement of the Lord Jesus. Consequently,
most Word-Faith teachers use the part-verse "with His stripes we are
healed" as proof that, through the Lord's sufferings, none of us
ever need experience any illness:
|"It is wrong for us to have
sickness and disease in our bodies when God laid those
diseases on Jesus" [E.W.
Kenyon, Jesus the Healer, (1943), p.44],
"A person seeking healing should look
to God's Word, ... He should say, 'I know that I am
healed because the Word says that by His stripes I am
healed'." [Kenneth E. Hagin,
Right and Wrong Thinking, (1966), pp.20-21],
"I never talk sickness. I
don't believe in sickness. I talk health ... I
believe in healing. I believe in health. I
never talk sickness. I never talk disease. I
talk healing" [Kenneth E.
Hagin, Words, (1979), pp.20-21],
"The basic principle of the
Christian life is to know that God put our sin,
sickness, disease, sorrow, grief, and poverty on Jesus
at Calvary. For Him to put any of this on us now
would be a miscarriage of justice. Jesus was made
a curse for us so that we can receive the blessing of
Abraham" [Kenneth Copeland,
The Troublemaker, (1970), p.6],
"You have a covenant with Almighty
God, and one of your covenant rights is the right to a
healthy body" [Kenneth
Copeland, Healed... To Be or Not To Be, (1979),
"The first step to spiritual
maturity is to realise your position before God.
You are a child of God and joint-heir with Jesus.
Consequently, you are entitled to all the rights and
privileges in the kingdom of God, and one of these
rights is health and healing"
[Kenneth Copeland, Healed... To Be or Not To Be,
"The Bible declares that the work
was done 2,000 years ago. God is not going to heal
you now - He healed you 2,000 years ago. All you
have to do today is receive your healing by faith"
[Benny Hinn, Rise and be Healed!, (1991), p.44],
"There will be no sickness for the
saint of God ... If your body belongs to God, it does
not and cannot belong to sickness"
[Benny Hinn, Rise and Be Healed!,
"God's desire for the church of
Jesus Christ ... is that we be in total and perfect
health" [Benny Hinn, Rise
and Be Healed!, (1991), p.65].
From these quotes we can see that
there is little, if any, room within Word-Faith theology for
sickness or disease in the life of a believer. But if we take
a moment to look at the context in both Isaiah 53:5-6 and 1 Peter
2:24-25 (plus the Lord's respective use of figurative Hebrew and
Greek words for "healed"), we see that it is healing spiritually
which the Lord's suffering achieved:
|"He was wounded for our
transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the
chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His
stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone
astray: we have turned every one to his own way: and the
LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah
"Who His own self bare
our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being
dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose
stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going
astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and
Bishop of your souls" (1 Peter 2:24-25).
These scripture passages show very
clearly that it is our alienation from God, due to our fallen
nature, which has been healed by Christ. Other passages which
refer to the "healing" of our souls - rather than our
bodies - include the following:
|"Heal me O LORD, and I shall be
healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for Thou art my
praise" (Jeremiah 17:14),
"Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her
her; take balm for her pain, if so she may be healed.
We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: ...
for her judgement reacheth unto heaven. and is lifted up
even to the skies" (Jeremiah 51:8-9),
"Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy
sin purged ... Make the heart of this people fat, and
make their ears heavy, and shut their wyes, lest they
... convert, and be healed" (Isaiah 6:8-10),
"When Jesus heard it, He saith unto
them, They that are whole have no need of the physician,
but they are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but
sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17).
But what about Matthew 8:16-17, where
Christ healed all that were brought to Him "that it might be
fulfilled ... Himself took our infirmities, and bare our
sicknesses"? Surely this passage disproves our claims above?
It actually serves to confirm them,
because all the people in the Matthew 8 passage were demoniacs
- that is, they were sick as a result of demonic activity which had
come in through sin. Hence, when they were delivered of their
demons (when they were spiritually healed), the resulting sicknesses
were removed too. Sicknesses that reflect sinful activity will
obviously disappear, through Christ, if the sinfulness in question
has been properly repented of.
None of These
|"Sickness does not belong to you.
It has no part in the Body of Christ. Sickness
does not belong to any of us. The Bible declares
if the Word of God is in our life, there will be health,
there will be healing - divine health and divine
healing. There will be no sickness for the saint
of God. If Moses could live such a healthy life,
so can you" [Benny Hinn,
Rise and Be Healed!, (1991), p.14].
"He promises to heal all -
every one, any, any whatsoever, everything - all our
diseases! That means not even a headache, sinus
problem, not even a toothache - nothing! No
sickness should come your way"
[Benny Hinn, Rise and Be Healed!,
(1991), p.32. Emphasis in original].
Certainly God heals. But
over-dependence, for example, on God's promise made to physical
Israel to "put none of these diseases upon
thee, which I brought upon the Egyptians"
(Exodus 15:26), is unwise.
This is partly because the promise
was conditional on God's People observing the many strict hygiene
regulations and dietary laws that He had laid down for them, as well
as keeping "all His statutes":
|"And [the LORD] said, If thou wilt
diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and
wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give
ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I
will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have
brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that
healeth thee" (Exodus 15:26).
But we must also recognise that "none
of these diseases" does not equate to "no diseases at all".
(It needs to be said here that those
who turn to this text to prove their view, are often the same people
who will refuse to listen to other doctrinal statements based on Old
Diseases of the
Likewise, much is often made of Psalm
|"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and
forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine
iniquities: Who healeth all thy diseases."
But as can be seen, David is here
addressing his soul; it is diseases of the soul which are in view
here. And again, as previously stated, the context must always
be taken into account: here, the surrounding verses are not about
the physical body, but are instead all about redemption,
righteousness, judgement, and sins - in other words, the soul; hence
the mention, in verse 3, of forgiveness.
Negative Confession and Lying Symptoms
If we do get sick, Word-Faith
teachers tell us it is because we are thinking negatively, and if we
remain sick it is because we are failing to positively confess our
|"I know that I am healed because
He said that I am healed and it makes no difference what
the symptoms may be in the body. I laugh at them,
and in the Name of Jesus I command the author of the
disease [Satan] to leave my body"
[E.W. Kenyon, The Hidden Man,
"I never talk sickness. I don't
believe in sickness. I talk health ... I believe
in healing. I believe in health. I never
talk sickness. I never talk disease. I talk
healing" [Kenneth E. Hagin,
Words, (1979), pp.20-21],
"Real faith in God - heart faith -
believes the Word of God regardless of what the physical
evidence may be. ... A person seeking healing should
look to God's Word, not to his symptoms"
[Kenneth E. Hagin, Right and Wrong
Thinking, (1966), pp.20-21],
"It makes a great deal of
difference what one thinks. I believe that is why
many people are sick. ... The reason they are not
getting healed is that they are thinking wrong. ... They
simply kept thinking, believing, and talking wrong. ...
The thing that makes a believer a success is right
thinking, right believing, and right confession"
[Kenneth E. Hagin, Right and
Wrong Thinking, (1966), pp.19,24],
"Any time a believer has a problem
receiving healing, he usually suffers from ignorance of
God's Word" [Kenneth Copeland,
Healed... To Be or Not To Be, (1979), p.25],
"Every circumstance ... is started
with the tongue. ... God intends for every believer to
live completely free from sickness and disease. It
is up to you to decide whether or not you will"
[Kenneth Copeland, The Power of
the Tongue, (1980), p.22 / Welcome to
the Family, (1979), p.25],
"You will never fully realise or
understand healing until you know beyond any doubt that
... God wants you healed. ... Whether or not you
accept that and purpose to walk in the reality of the
truth is your own decision to make"
[Kenneth Copeland, Healed... To Be or
Not To Be, (1979), pp.31-32. Emphasis in
"I don't look at cancer. I
don't look at the tumor ... I can't look at the natural
and ... say ... 'I'm sick'. Because when I say
that, I've signed for the package. I have taken
authority for it, and it belongs to me legally.
Satan can enforce it upon my body. And he will
kill me with it" [Frederick
Price, How Faith Works, (1976), p.23],
"...the devil wanted to scare me
into thinking that the pain would kill me. Well, I
just let the pain come. My wife can tell you; I
crawled around on my bedroom floor, shouting and
hollering at the top of my voice. I was in such
pain I couldn't stand on my feet. ... I was under attack
to that extent. But I refused to give in to it"
[Frederick Price, Faith,
Foolishness, or Presumption?, (1979), pp.76-77],
"When the Devil tries to put a
symptom of sickness or disease on my body, I absolutely
refuse to accept it. A short time ago he tried to
put symptoms of the flu on me. My nose and eyes
started to run. I began to sneeze and ache all
over. I haven't had the flu since 1969, and I'm
not going to have it now. I'm redeemed from the
flu! Immediately I began to confess God's Word
that I'm healed by the stripes of Jesus. I rebuked
Satan and refused his lying symptoms. I wasn't
trying to get something I don't have; I was keeping
something I already have. I am healed"
[Jerry Savelle, If Satan Can't Steal
Your Joy, (1982), p.9].
As another commentator has wryly
noted concerning the actions of Kenneth Hagin and Frederick Price
above, neither of them "seem troubled by the absurdity of being
'healed' ... yet continuing to suffer just as badly from the
symptoms" [Hank Hanegraaf,
Christianity in Crisis, (1993), p.243].
Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier
just to obey Scripture and ask their brothers for prayer?...
|"Is any sick among you? Let him
call for the leaders of the church; and let them pray
over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the
Lord: ... pray for one another, that ye may be healed"
No, assuredly not, says Price,
because no matter how bad the symptoms may feel, they're not real:
|"I wanted my faith to work for me.
I didn't want to have to call you up and have you pray
for me" [Frederick Price,
Faith, Foolishness, or Presumption? (1979),
pp.76-77]; "We don't
allow sickness in our home"
[Frederick Price, Is Healing For All?, (1976),
No, definitely not, says Hagin,
because that's precisely what Satan wants us to do:
|"'Why you foul devil, what is the
matter with you? Why in the world would I want to
be prayed for? God healed me five years ago, and I
am still healed.' Satan had camouflaged a
few symptoms and was trying to make me believe that I
was not healed. ... All he could do was to try to get me
to believe the symptoms and go by my sense.
Nevertheless, I stood my ground. I maintained that
God had healed me, and I would not accept anything else.
I would not even permit a doubtful thought to enter my
mind" [Kenneth Hagin, quoted
in Hanegraaf, Crisis, p.245].
|"Far from being the devilish decoys
they are claimed to be by Faith teachers, symptoms
provide testimony to the powerful healing potential that
God has designed into our bodies. ... Not only can
symptoms serve as signals that alert us to impending
physical peril, but they can also be signs that point to
the body's healing process themselves. Thus
symptoms are often a divine demonstration of God's
sovereign healing power in progress"
[Hanegraaf, Crisis, p.245].
The tale is told of one Word Faith
|"...the pastor rose sheepishly to
instruct this congregation on a ticklish concern.
Some of the church members, he had heard, were spreading
contagious diseases among the church's little ones by
bringing their sick babies to the nursery. Against
the nursery volunteers' protests, these parents were
positively confessing that their children were well.
Since the parents had claimed their healing, there was
nothing to worry about. They may have been
dismissing those persistent whines and coughs as lying
symptoms, but those lying symptoms proved to be
contagious, and only an announcement from the pulpit
could succeeded in putting an end to the problem"
[Bruce Barron, The Health and Wealth
Gospel, (1987), p.128].
While the above may seem mildly
amusing, other incidences of positive confessions failing to produce
the desired result are desperately sad. For example, the
|"A few years ago I received a
heart-rending letter from a dear woman who, deceived by
'positive confession' theology, believed God wanted her
to write everyone she knew with a baby announcement for
the child she was hoping to conceive. Tragically,
that poor woman was physically incapable of bearing
children. Months later she had to write to
everyone again to explain that the expected 'faith baby'
had not arrived. She was quick to add that she was
still claiming a pregnancy by faith, however. She
was obviously fearful that someone might take her second
letter as a 'negative confession'"
[John F. MacArthur, Jr., Charismatic
Chaos, (1992), p.345].
Yes, it's true that Abraham's wife,
Sarah, and Zacharias' wife, Elisabeth, both conceived a child
despite being barren and well beyond childbearing age (Genesis
17:17; 18:11-12; Luke 1:5-7,18). And, yes, there is also
Joseph's betrothed, Mary, who was yet a virgin when she bore her
But the difference is that, in these
examples of women in the Bible who conceived when it should, have
been biologically impossible for them to do so, God Himself gave
each of them the specific promise that He would give them
a child (Genesis 17:15-16,19,21; 18:10,13,14; Luke
11-13,19,24-25; Luke 1:26-38).
There is no hint in Scripture of
these women 'positively confessing' anything - indeed, in Word-Faith
theology, Sarah at least could be accused of a 'negative confession'
(Genesis 18:12-13). Yet, she conceived a child nonetheless.
Why? Because God promised her He would give her a child.
And if God promises us something, or of God tells us to pray
specifically for something - for healing from a sickness or a
disease - then it will come to pass.
Another story is told of a woman
suffering from arthritis who apparently could not positively confess
her healing, and struggled to let go of her wheelchair when Kenneth
Hagin ordered her to do so in 'faith':
|"I pointed my finger at her and
said, 'Sister, you don't have an ounce of faith, do
you?' (She was saved and baptized with the Holy
Spirit, but I meant she didn't have faith for her
healing.) Without thinking, she blurted out, 'No,
Brother Hagin, I don't! I don't believe I'll ever
be healed. I'll go to my grave from this chair.'
She said it, and she did it. We weren't to blame"
[Kenneth Hagin, Praying to Get
Results, (1983), p.5].
In light of the Word-Faith quotes
above, what may we say of some of the men and women in the Bible who
were sick, or suffering from disease, or afflicted?... The
Bible suggests that God often has purposes for our infirmities that
we may not see. He may use sickness, for example:
(a) to glorify
Himself - as He did with this man born blind, and also with Lazarus:
|"And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man
which was blind from his birth. And His disciples
asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his
parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered,
neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but
that the works of God should be made manifest in him"
"Now a certain man
was sick, named Lazarus, ... When Jesus heard ... He
said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory
of God, that the Son of God might be glorified
thereby" (John 11:1-4).
(b) to bring the
gospel - as He did through Paul's illness:
|"Ye know how through infirmities
of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the
first" (Galatians 4:13).
(c) to prove us - as
He did with Job:
|"And the LORD said unto Satan, hast
thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like
him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that
feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan
answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for
naught? ... But put forth Thy hand now, and touch all
that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face"
(d) to chastise us -
as He did with King David:
|"It is good for me that I have
been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. ...
I know, O LORD, that thy judgements are right, and that
thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me" (Psalm
(e) to educate us -
as He did with Timothy:
|"Drink no longer water, but use a
little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often
infirmities" (1 Timothy 5:23).
In none of these situations, did God
tell any of His servants to 'positively confess' their healing.
Word-Faith assertions of illness and
disease being lies of Satan notwithstanding, we do get ill
sometimes, and we do suffer from ailments or disease on
occasion, and God, in His perfect wisdom and knowledge, may well be
allowing it for very good reasons:
|"Sometimes God may allow someone to
be laid low for a while in order to free them from a
busy lifestyle that they may have time aside with Him.
Perhaps He has been trying for a long time to show them
something in their life that needs changing, or He has
an important word for them to hear and understand, or
perhaps He wants them to deepen their prayer life, or
concentrate on some work for His Kingdom which they
couldn't do if they were physically active and pursuing
their normal concerns" [Michael
Smith, 'Does God Always Heal Today?', Gospel Insights,
Although it is entirely appropriate
to proclaim our healing in faith, if God has specifically
promised it to us, it is nevertheless presumptuous for us to do so
otherwise. Is there anyone amongst us who would not benefit
from further sanctification or additional humility or greater
reliance on God - all of which He may choose to achieve through
affliction (as he did with Jacob, for example)?
Certainly it is true that God "doth
not afflict willingly" (Lamentations 3:33), but neither will
He hesitate to afflict us if it will benefit His Kingdom.
All Things Work
Together for Good
If we are suffering, the, hard though
we may find it, we should first of all thank God:
|"In every thing give thanks: for this
is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1
thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in
the Name of our Lord Jesus Christi" (Ephesians 5:20).
And we should stand on God's Word
|"...we know hast all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who are
the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
We can then seek God for insight into
the cause of our sickness. Then we are in a position to pray
sensibly. At no point do we command Him to heal us or
remove the disease!
Paul's Thorn in
Paul's "thorn in the flesh" is an
excellent example of htat we are discussing here.
Some Word-Faith teachers have claimed
that Paul was given this thorn in his flesh because of sin - because
he was "very prone to brag and boast"
[Frederick K.C. Price, Paul's
Thorn, Ever Increasing Faith Ministries, (1980), audiotape
#FP606, side 2 / Is Healing For All?, (1976),
But the truth is that Paul lived a
thankful and lowly life:
|"...for I have learned, in whatsoever
state I am, therewith to be content. I know both
how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where
and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to
be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I
can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"
He had the wisdom to grasp the reason
for his thorn and, despite praying three times for its removal, got
a 'negative' response. Please note how his humble testimony
contrasts totally with the 'Faith' message:
|"And lest I should be exalted above
measure through the abundance of the revelations, there
was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of
Satan to buffet me ... For this thing I besought the
Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He
said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my
strength is made perfect in weakness Most gladly
therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that
the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I
take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's
sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2
Who or What Heals
We come now to Who or What
The Blind Men
The Lord Jesus required those folks
who needed a miracle from Him, to have "faith". But the faith
He required of them was a strong belief (i.e. faith) in His
Messiahship, and His ability resulting from that to perform the
miracle they needed, not a faith in the recipient's own capacity to
imagine - sufficiently strongly - receiving the miracle:
|"And when He was come into the house,
the blind men came to Him: and Jesus said unto them,
Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said
unto Him, Yes, Lord. Then touched He their eyes,
saying, According to your faith [i.e. your solid faith
in My Lordship and thus My ability to heal
you] be it unto you" (Matthew 9:28-29).
The Lame Man
Similarly, the lame man who was
healed "in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" in Acts 3, was
healed "through faith in His Name" - i.e. through faith in
Christ's Godhood and power, not through "faith in faith".
We are to have a steadfast:
|"faith in the Lord Jesus" (Ephesians
1:15); "faith in Christ" (Colossians 2:5; see also
The Woman, the Leper, the
Some teachers put great store in the
woman with the issue of blood in Matthew 9. The Lord said to
the woman "thy faith hath made thee whole" (v22); but it was her
faith in the Person she touched which was rewarded. Her
action indicated her faith in the Lord's Christhood, since it was a
tradition in Israel (Malachi 4;2) that the prayer shawl of the
promised Messiah would have healing power. Likewise, many
others who also needed healing:
|"...besought Him that they might only
touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched
were made perfectly whole" (Matthew 14:36).
It was the woman's faith in His
Messiahship that led to her healing, as it demonstrably also was
for both the leper and the Centurion:
|"And, behold, there came a leper and
worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, Thou canst
make me clean. And Jesus put forth His hand, and
touched him, saying, I will; be clean. And
immediately his leprosy was cleansed" (Matthew 8:2-3),
"And when Jesus was entered into
Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching
Him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of
the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith
unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion
answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou
shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only,
and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man
under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to
this man, Go, and he goest; and to another, Come, and he
cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
When Jesus heard it., He marvelled, and said unto them
that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found
so great a faith, no, not in Israel. ... And Jesus said
unto the centurion., Go thy way; and as thou hast
believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant
was healed in the selfsame hour" (Matthew 8:8-13).
Using the example of his own position
in having authority over others, the centurion here states very
clearly his faith in the authority of the Lord Jesus over
sickness. He had faith, not in 'faith', but in the
Divine Authority of Jesus' Messiahship, and it is that
faith that the Lord rewarded by healing his servant.
|"No wonder my Positive Confession
failed. I spent so many years of my Christian life
trying to get the faith that would move a mountain, when
all the time what I needed was faith in the God who
moves mountains" [Letter on
file, Dave Hunt, Beyond Seduction: A Return to
Biblical Christianity, (1987), p.56].
God is Sovereign
God is God. He is the creator
and ruler of the Universe and He does what He pleases:
|"The LORD hath prepared His throne in
the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all" (Psalm
"But our God is in the
heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased" (Psalm
"[God] is the blessed and only
Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1
"I counsel thee to keep the king's
commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an
evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.
Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may
say unto him, What doest thou?..." (Ecclesiastes 8:2-8).
We are His (unprofitable) servants
and we exist for His pleasure, not the other war around. We do
not deserve any blessings from Him. He is
perfectly at liberty to withhold things from us for whatever reason
He likes - and not only for the good of His Name and His Kingdom:
|"Nay but, O man, who art thou that
repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say
to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay...? (Romans
"What, shall we
receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not
receive evil?" (Job 2:10).
So to teach that the Most High God is
ever obliged to do things for us is a serious error, because
it demeans God and instead exalts man. Out of His mercy
God has made some wonderful promises to those who fear Him
(as opposed to those who think He is somehow at our beck and call),
but we cannot make Him to anything. We are not our own,
we are His property:
|"What? Know ye not that your
body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,
which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For
ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in
your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1
It is vanity to believe that we can
claim "rights" or manipulate God, yet these are exactly the things
being taught by teachers of the Faith movement. Its leaders
deny God's sovereignty by teaching that, through utilizing certain
spiritual laws, we can actually "write our
own ticket with God"
[Kenneth Hagin, How to Write Your Own
Ticket with God, (1988)], or
|"As a believer ... each time you
stand on the Word you are commanding God"
[Kenneth Copeland, Our Covenant with
God, (1987), p.32],
"Never, ever, ever go to the Lord and
say, 'If it be your will...' Don't allow such
faith-destroying words to be spoken from your mouth"
[Benny Hinn, Rise and Be
Healed!, (1991), pp.47-48].
But the psalmist and the apostles and
the Lord Jesus Himself all say otherwise...
|"For that ye ought to say, If the
Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that" (James
"And this is the
confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any
thing according to His will, He heareth us" (1 John
"...Thy will be done in earth, as it
is in heaven" (Matthew 6;10b),
"And He went a little farther, and
fell on His face and prayed, saying. O my Father, if it
be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not
as I will, but as thou wilt ... thy will be done"
"Sing forth the honour of His Name:
make His praise glorious. Say unto God, How
terrible art Thou in Thy works! ... He ruleth by His
power for ever ... Let not the rebellious exalt
themselves" (Psalm 66:2-7).
It needs to be said that the utter
lack of compassion shown by Word-Faith pastors and teachers toward
their suffering and grieving flocks is quite staggering:
|"...how can you glorify God in
your body, when it doesn't function right? How can
you glorify God? How can He get glory when your
body doesn't even work? ... What makes you think the
Holy Ghost wants to live inside a body where He can't
see out through the windows and He can't hear with the
ears? What makes you think the Holy Spirit wants
to live inside of a physical body where the limbs and
the organs and the cells do not function right? ... And
what makes you think He wants to live in a temple where
He can't see out of the eyes, and He can't walk with the
feet, and He can't move with the hand? ... The only eyes
that He has that are in the earth realm are the eyes
that are in the body. If He can't see out of them
then God's gonna be limited..."
[Frederick K.C. Price, Is God
Glorified through Sickness?, audiotape #FP605].
We have already established from
numerous scriptures in the sections above the answer to this Faith
teacher's questions: yes, God is often glorified through
human frailty and sickness and weakness and ailments. Below
are some quite disgraceful examples of the callousness inherent in
Word-Faith teachings regarding people suffering from sickness and
|"Over the past few years I have
received hundreds of letters from people who have fled
the Faith movement. In many cases these letters
tell heartrending stories of sick people who were told
that their sickness is a direct result of sin. One
of these letters is a personal testimony from a woman
who had been blind from birth. After coming to
faith in Christ, she joined a [Word-Faith] church ... It
wasn't long before they were instructing her to confess
perfect sight and commanding God to honor His Word.
When nothing happened, they began to denounce this woman
for her lack of faith. They told her that there
|'something in my life
that hindered God's will. "God", they
said, "was held up because of some point of
sin or disobedience that He couldn't get
around until I straightened up. I
spent hours, sleepless nights, agonizing
over the issue. I became depressed and
began to lose my joy. I even quit
praying. Some Sundays I simply
couldn't stand church because I felt like an
outsider in God's family, watching His pet
children get "blessed" because of their
"Faith". ... If I was doing or not doing
something that hindered God, I was at a loss
trying to discern what it was. "God!"
I said in utter despair, "What do you want
me to do?".'
"In time she discovered that God had
never forsaken her. her blindness was not a result
of her sin, and the real problem was not her lack of
faith but the Faith followers' lack of understanding.
She felt like a:
I finally recognised that in Jesus' eyes I
was whole and that I was still as important
to Him as I had been at the beginning of our
relationship. I determined that no-one
was ever again going to take His joy away
from me'." [Letter on
file, Hanegraaf, Crisis, pp.261-262].
"Another letter chronicles the story
of a lady with incurable lupus and fibrosis. Her
best friend began listening to Kenneth Copeland, Fred
Price, and John Avanzini, and immediately started
telling the lady her ailments were a result of sin and
lack of faith. She closes her letter by saying
that she sometimes wishes she could suffer without being
punished by her friends, too"
[Letter on file, Hanegraaf, Crisis, p.262].
"These stories are not the exception;
they are the rule. In case after case, Christians
with such diseases as cancer or congenital birth defects
are condemned for suffering as a result of some unknown
sin. The day I wrote these lines, I received a
letter which told of a couple who had a still-born baby.
When this grieving couple needed comfort most, they were
told their baby died as a result of sin - not the
baby's, but the couple's. They were told they had
sinned by allowing 'fear to set in and ... did not have
enough faith to believe the baby could be risen from the
dead'." [Letter on file, Hanegraaf,
Whilst Kenneth Hagin taught that "no
believer should ever be sick"
[Healing: The Father's
Provision, (1977), p.9], and
Kenneth Copeland says "I refuse to consider
my body, I refuse to be moved by what I see and what I feel ... I'm
going to choose His Word, instead of what my body's trying to say..."
[West Coast Believer's
Convention, (13 June 1991)],
their faithful followers are tragically dying because they are being
told they just need to positively confess their healing and all will
|"I've had people die, and me
standing there saying, 'Bless God, you ain't going to
die!' And they did anyway. And I'm glad I
stood. I ain't never stood for anything in my own
life that didn't come to pass. I can only use my
faith so far with you"
[Kenneth Copeland, West Coast Believer's Convention, (13
"The only reason people die before
their time is because they do not understand how to
exercise their faith according to the Word to prevent
death, or they choose to die before their time ...
Children that are born dead had no control over their
life, but their parents had that control. However
if the parents do not know the Word of God and to claim
their rights in Christ, the child suffers the loss"
[Frederick Price, Ever
Increasing Faith Messenger, (Fall 1980), p.3].
These dear folk are ignoring their
symptoms through their determination to insist on their "right" to
healing, instead of seeking God as to the cause of their illness and
then trusting in Him that if He does not heal them yet He knows
|"Just the other day a dear pastor
told me of a prominent Brother in his church ... who
watched his daughter die because of [the Positive
Confession] philosophy. He had been taught ...
that if we pray for someone's healing and then confess
that the individual is healed, there is no way that
person cannot be healed. Consequently, we should
not confess that they are sick, neither should we seek
the help of a doctor (if a healing has not come), but
should continue to confess the healing. The poor
Brother continued to confess the healing; the little
girl died. He sat with his head in his hands, out
of his mind, telling his pastor, 'I killed my baby!'."
[Letter on file, Hunt, Beyond
"One widely publicised case was that of
Wesley Parker, whose parents withheld needed insulin
from him, even when he sank into a diabetic coma.
They persisted in denying the symptoms, as they had been
taught, and confessed his healing. He died
nonetheless. How heartbreaking to read the story
in the book We Let Our Son Die!"
[Hunt, Beyond Seduction, p.79].
"Faith teacher Hobart Freeman may have
blamed the death of his grandson on the lack of faith of
his son-in-law, but the truth is that a routine medical
procedure could have easily saved the boy's life. ...
Freeman's ... disdain for science and medicine, along
with his flawed Faith formulas, led to his [own]
apparently premature death in 1984"
[Hanegraaf, Crisis, p.238].
But what about the City of Faith
medical centre, which God apparently told Word-Faith teacher Oral
Roberts to build in order to "merge His
healing streams of prayer and medicine"
[Charisma, June 1985,
p.57], and which was built on
150m dollars worth of Roberts' "prayer partners" offerings?
Well, according to the director of the prayer partner ministry:
"There are no more miracles at the City of Faith than any other
hospital. Just as many patients die"
[quoted in Hunt, Beyond Seduction, p.72].
Yet, along with all the other
Word-Faith teachers, Benny Hinn still insists that
"Hundreds of verified healings ... have occurred including people
rising from wheelchairs and leaving crutches ... blind eyes and deaf
ears have been opened and verified" [Benny
Hinn, The Anointing, (1992), pp.94-95].
|"Not long ago I received a letter
from [a] woman whose brother-in-law had enrolled in
Kenneth Hagin's Rhema Bible Training Center. While
there, his wife contracted ovarian cancer. Rather
than seeking medical attention, they denied the symptoms
of the cancer. Predictably, she died.
Unfortunately, however, Faith follies do not die as
quickly as did this dear lady. Not only did these
folks attempt to raise her from the dead, but when life
did not return, they confessed that she would come back
in another body. In the end, they resorted to
regurgitating the standard line of the Faith movement:
The woman had not been healed due to lack of faith"
And when they die, they die alone...
|"Because of the belief that listening
to a 'negative confession' can infect one's faith, not
many in the Faith movement are willing even to be
around, much less listen to, those who are seriously ill
in their own churches. Basically, the Faith
churches have little or no concept of pastoral care for
the the chronically and terminally ill believer.
Such a believer is shunned, isolated, and ostracised as
though he was an unbeliever - which, by [Word-Faith]
definition, is precisely what he is, or else he would
not be ill in the first place. Those who are
willing to risk exposing themselves to a negative
confession frequently minister to the terminally ill
person the brand of 'comfort' given to Job by his
'friends'. The time when a dying believer needs a
word of encouragement is when he receives a sermonette
on the failure of his faith. The time when a dying
believer needs his faith the most is when he is told
that he has it the least. The time when he needs
the support of a sensitive, supportive body of believers
is when he is ostracised and isolated as though he was
himself infectious. Perhaps the most inhumane fact
revealed about the Faith movement is this: when its
members die, they die alone" [Dan
McConnell, The Promise of Health and Wealth: A
Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith
Movement, (1990), p.166].
So Is Good Health
Really Our 'Right'?...
From all that we have seen from the
scripture passages above, we surely have no choice but to say that
for the Faith teachers to claim "We don't
allow sickness in our home"
is (a) unbiblical, (b) boastful, and (c) untrue - the author of that
quote's own wife sadly developing cancer. Even if the 'Faith'
doctrine were correct, i.e. that God only gives ill-health to
those who are in sin, the above claim would mean that no-one in that
household ever sins... yet, according to 1 John 1:8-10, we all
The notion that health is our
right - and thus that we only need to believe strongly enough
that we are healed for it to come to pass - is simply not borne out
in the lives of men and women of great faith in Scripture; including
those who wrote the Scriptures.
Indeed, the primary message of the
book of Job is that no man, however faithful, upright, and godly he
is, deserves any good thing. Rather, we all deserve the
torments of Job. We rely entirely on God's grace for our very
breath. We fool ourselves of we think we deserve anything but
hell - even as believers. It is only thanks to the Lord's
kindness that we ever get any blessings:
|"This I recall to my mind, therefore
have I hope. It is of the LORD's mercies that we
are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness"
God, purely out of His goodness,
gives His saints spiritual health, but not necessarily physical
|"What we can say is that it is God's
will to give us spiritual wholeness and holiness, and it
is His plan to prepare all Christians for eternity with
Him, and if physical healing is necessary to that
preparation, then He will heal us. ... God's primary
purpose for us, even when we are ill, is to sanctify us
and use us to help build His Kingdom. If we are
walking closely with God and know we are being obedient
to Him yet He still chooses not to heal us physically in
this life, we may not fully know the reason why until we
go to be with Him. But we do know that He is
always in control and that 'all things work together for
good to those that love Him' ... And of course, we need
to remember that [on this earth] the whole of creation
is subject to 'the bondage of corruption' (Romans
8:21-23), so whether we like it or not, our bodies will
weaken and deteriorate and eventually die, until the
time comes for the Lord to return and change our
corruptible bodies unto incorruptible. Praise the
Lord!" [Michael Smith, 'Does God
Always Heal Today?', Gospel Insights].
"For we know that
the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of
the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body.
For we are saved by hope"
You are very welcome to make copies of this article for personal
research or for free distribution by print or email, but please respect
our conditions that the content remains intact (including this copyright
statement); that no misleading impression is given that we are
necessarily associated with or endorse the distributor; and that proper
reference is made to the title and authors. Website owners are
encouraged to link to this page, but you must not incorporate this page
into your own website without our prior written consent.
and bless you.
© Elizabeth McDonald &