Friday, August 04, 2006

Mission Accomplished

It has been one year since I started this website. I started out to simply fill a missing niche in the Amway/Quixtar debate, namely, that although there have been many testimonials and stories about the horrors of the motivational organizations I have never come across details as to what the system is actually teaching. Finding this missing niche, I sought to fulfill it. Although I have never run a blog before, never asked anyone to link it, never advertised it outside of my single post in the Qblog forum, this site has grown to over 25,000 hits. I have seen it linked to, skeptics dictionary, Wikipedia (before all blogs were removed), and numerous other places. It has been my prayer that what I wrote has drawn glory to Jesus Christ foremost, and next, led people away from the dangerous teachings of the motivational organizations.

Now that I have accomplished this, I would like to announce my retirement from the great debate. In the event that people come here just to read my writings, let me please explain a few things and at the end, I will tell you where you can still find my writings.

When I first set out to do this work, I was not certain if it was something that I would be doing long term, or short term. Like all things, I took it to the Lord in prayer. It was actually something that I prayed about for over six months. I was pretty sure in March that I was going to stop, so I selected the one year anniversary the founding of this site as the appropriate closing day. Since that time, I have been planning the series of final posts that I have written. It was critically important that after spending such a time detailing the actual teachings of BWW that I leave everyone with a more concise outline of what Word-Faith is and what it teaches.

I wish to extend a special thanks to Eric Janssen, aka, Qblog for the privilege of writing for QuixtarBlog. I certainly never sought out to do such a thing, but I guess that God was with me in helping to get the message out through that site. I also wish to extend thanks to Drew Bahn for giving me spots on Quixtar Inside and Out Radio and for being a person that I could bounce some things off of. Thanks to Preston for providing some insight to WWDB and some of the leaders. Thanks to a reader who wishes to remain anonymous for providing tapes to other motivational organizations, and thanks to Imran for some help with the Standing Order Tape website early on.

There were several things that I liked about being involved in this debate over the last year. The first is meeting some of the people I met. I got a chance to meet two people personally, a few more over voice chats, and numerous over email. I enjoyed learning about Blogging and getting a very deep applicational study of Word-Faith based on the Bible.

A few things precipitated in me wishing to leave this debate. The first is that the time required to post these detailed analysis of tapes was astronomical. I have spent over 20 hours a week many weeks to get posts up for this site, Quixtarblog, research, etc. This time has prevented me from doing other things that I wanted to do. Running this site also cut into my time in the Bible. Prior to running this site, I have read the Bible at least one time a year, but I have finished about half of it since starting this work. Further, I have had to run a little less ministry while running this site, and it also cut into the time I was able to work at home for my job.

Now, I would like to point out that many pro-Quixtar people will say that if you leave this business, you are nothing but a loser, you are interested in no one but yourself, you will be broke your whole life. That is simply not true. Since I have left this all-consuming business, I have been mentor to over 40 kids in some way. They seek me out. I have been a requested teacher in a few small groups as well as other things professionally. I have a great job with good pay, and I am looking forward to moving on soon.

I would like to recap now with a brief accounting my life since I saw this thing. It was July 2000 when I first saw Quixtar. I first became a member, then an IBO. Since early on in my involvement, there were two major negative impacts on me. The first was my grades in college dropped drastically. To give you an idea, it was that single semester that caused me to drop from Summa sum lauda to Magna cum lauda. My interest in college work stopped almost instantly. This was a very bad thing. The next thing that happened is that I started to accumulate debt. I was totally against credit card use prior to Quixtar, but afterwards, it was easier and easier to use a credit card because of the fact that material things were seen as being so important. There were other negative consequences to me but those are the two that are the deepest seeded and they are the ones that still get in my way today. I have also noticed that with the sole exception of a small period at the end of 2004, ever since I have seen Quixtar in 2000, it has dominated a large chunk of my life, both as a participant and a critic. I wish to recoup that lost time in my days, weeks, and months.

I am pleased to report that my credit cards are paid off, but I still have over $25,000 of other debt due to my involvement in this business.

Should you wish to keep up with me, I will be devoting a little of the time spent on this site to my new ministry site, Religious Debates Forum, and Blog called Our Walk in Christ. I will also continue to check my email should you with to contact me:

With this, I say farewell, it has been fun. Good luck in your endeavors,

Over and Out,


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Imagine For a Moment

I want you to use your imagination. You are a person that has lived a life that was very hard. Your father was an alcoholic and was never there. Your mother did the best, but you still have to take care of your younger brothers and sisters. When you were old enough, you went to the military and were placed in the command of a large operation. After this, you went to college and ended up working a job in another field. In this time, you lived a some-what party like life. You often spent more money than you could, going into debt to buy a plane. You participated in dog fights, and even lost $10,000 in a fraudulent business opportunity.

After a period of time, you were offered a different opportunity where you quickly made a lot of money, but one night while you were showing some other people how you made your living, someone stood up and said to you, a person who was not really a churchgoer, that the Bible says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. When he made this comment, you didn’t have an answer, so you threatened him with bodily harm to keep your posture. Since that question so bothered you, you bought a computer with Bible software and started to look through it. You also started to look for people talking about money and the Bible.

As you performed your research, you likely found people teaching three different things. The first is that people taught that money will inhibit your entrance into heaven. The next would be people teaching that the quantity of money is not consequential, but only the condition of the heart. The third type is people teaching that God wants you to be rich. Now, understand that you lost a lot of money, had a hard life, worked a job outside your college degree, and now you have quit your job because you make so much money doing your new opportunity. You have no training in the Bible at all, but you have degreed preachers teaching three different views.

Which one do you follow?

The story about is the story of Bill Britt, the founder of Britt World Wide. Based upon my years in BWW, my knowledge of Word-Faith, and my study of scripture and the context behind it, I understand why Bill made the choice that he did. You see, this meeting happened to Bill right in the middle of the days when the Word-Faith teachers were extremely popular and main-stream. It was easy to find material that agreed with what he was doing.

He found that first, the message would be motivational. Next, he could sell materials based on this, third, the system would drive up retention. Bill seems to be a fulfillment of

2 Timothy 4:3-4 -

3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

When Bill had set up his system and became a self-proclaimed biblical guru, he ignored sound interpretation and followed preachers who mistreated the word of God. From that, a whole host of downline with the same problems sprung up and became those gurus themselves. This of course, led to the abuse of the Bible to teach people false doctrines, and has led to a widespread impact on people who are now confused about the true teachings of the Bible.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Twisted Scriptures

Now that we have seen a 3-part series on Word-Faith, it is important to examine some scripture in light of BWW and see how it compares to the historic, orthodox Christian interpretation. Before we do this, I need to make a point.

I have authored over 100 poems. Some of those are easy to figure out what I am talking about, but I also have many that are totally metaphorical. In some of my poetry, you might read it and get inspired. That inspiration may have nothing to do with the meaning of the poem as I wrote it. Is your interpretation wrong? Yes, if you are reading it outside of the context and meaning that I wrote it. I am the author, and as the author, I am the standard for proper interpretation. In light of this, I would like to point out that God is the author of the Bible. Yes, it is true that humans had an inspired part in that, but it is God that holds the testimony of what it is. As the author, it is God that determines the interpretation. The study of proper interpretation is called hermeneutics. While it is true that there are some interpretive challenges among knowledgeable Christians, most can agree as to what those verses are, but the Word-Faith interpretation is totally self-centered, illogical, and lacking in historical context. You see, if I were writing a letter about a situation during World War 2 relating some war-related issue, you could not properly interpret my letter without a knowledge of what was happening in the world at that time. Such as it is with the Bible, particularly since the New Testament is almost entirely letters including some of the Gospels such as Luke.

The Twisted Scriptures

These will be taken from a 10 minute scripture bend that Larry Winters did at a Saturday night weekend conference (where Quixtar Rules tell us that Religion should not be included by the way). These are also recorded on BWW151, “The Badge of Honor”. I use this because Larry pretty much sums up all the wrong interpretations of importance that are found within BWW and other motivational organizations and Word-faith movements in three basic clips.

He says the formula for success is (note that formula):

You need to work

You need to have faith,

He uses this verse:

Faith without works is dead. (James 2:17)

Larry’s Interpretation: This verse is used to bash those that did not show plans; if your calendar is empty you are not working by faith. You should not be checking for results, but instead should simply know that results are there because you are doing the work. You don’t check what you are doing to see if you will win (go Diamond), but you look at what God says. Notice how it is self-serving, for this world, and turns your actions into proof that you are actually doing a human work.

Historical Orthodox Interpretation: First, the context is James talking about a person who professes to be saved, but is embracing what we might call ‘antinomianism’, which crept up early in the church. This was a belief that since we are saved by grace, all we need to do is confess Jesus and then we can live any way we choose, violations of His commands or not. James is saying here that if you profess to be a Christian, your life will demonstrate Christianity. He goes on to explain what that might look like: ministering, sharing your excess goods, loving people if they can love you back or not. This verse is about how our works demonstrate our salvation, not about how our works fulfill a human plan.

Getting what you give:

As you sow, you reap, you will get if you do not get weary in well doing, you will be blessed abundantly overflowing. Larry ends this one by saying that he read this in Deuteronomy and the New Testament. He says that everything that Paul said lined up with Bill and everything that Bill said lined up with the Bible.

This one demonstrates a common Word-faith theme: attaching several verses together (most if not all out of context). This is a combination of:

  • Galatians 6:7b - Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
  • Galatians 6:9 - Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary
  • Malachi 3:10b - if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows
  • Luke 6:38 - Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
  • Bits and Pieces of Deuteronomy 28, the classic blessing / cursing chapter.

Larry’s Interpretation: Larry uses these verses in combination to say that if you are just out showing the plan, than at some undisclosed amount of time, you will suddenly make more money than you could ever imagine.

Historical Orthodox Interpretation:

To examine all this, I will consider Deuteronomy 28 first. This chapter is the conclusion to the Israelite Law. God promised blessings if that people at that time followed that law. He offered a promise of curses for turning away from that law. To quote that chapter as your promise also requires you to follow that law, sacrifices in all, so let me ask you few questions if you are claiming that: When was the last time to you went to the priest to report a mildew problem? Did you give your required cattle sacrifices lately? Have you totally forgiven every debt against you lately? I think you get the idea…if you claim this promise, you are claiming the Israelite law as yours.

Now it is on to Galatians. Notice that Larry can quote 6:7 and 6:9, but he left out the 6:8 - For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. It can be argued that throwing all your devotion to a controversial business model to make yourself rich is certainly sowing to the flesh. Now, I say this understanding that some people may want all that money to give to ministry. I say again, God is more interested in your heart and your money, I will not reinsert all the balancing points to this argument because they are already all over this site.

Again, the context of this Galatians verse is to the spiritual teachings of the apostles, not a means to gain wealth by giving all devotion to a business system.

The verse in Malachi is in reference to the tithing in the Israelite culture. You see, they were a Theocracy, that is, the governmental policy was directly controlled by the central religion. In that system, they were required to give a tithe, not of 10%, but closer to 33%. In fact, their tithe and our (America) tax system are essentially the same thing. It was the love offerings in that culture and the donations in our culture which are the extra giving.

The verse in Luke is a restatement of a summary of true Christ-likeness. If you follow the rest of the text, he talks about the standards of judgment, pardons, forgiveness, and finally giving.

There is an interesting teaching in the middle of this that I found interesting. Larry says that he will only listen to two men: Bill Britt and Paul Miller. If he hears a preacher (or someone like me) and what they say is the same as Bill and Paul, he will listen, but if what they say is contrary to Bill and Paul, without any examination, he will reject that person and listen instead to Bill and Paul.

What God wants for you:

“Beloved, I wish above all things…beloved…that’s me!...I wish that thou may prosper…and be in good health, so that you can enjoy [your prosperity], comma [yes, they always say the word ‘comma’] even as thou soul prospers.”

This is from 3 John 2 - Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

Larry’s Interpretation: Larry makes it easy for me because he says “You know what that says in Larry’s term? ‘Hey, Larry! I’m God, I want you to do good, I want you to be healthy, all you got to do is learn some of my spiritual truths. You grow in me, I’ll grow in you and we both win.’”

Historical Orthodox interpretation: Larry actually did not come up with that, Oral Roberts was the first to make that twist to the scripture in the 1950’s, and now it is spouted out like truth. In reality, that verse is not a blanket statement of God talking to all Christians, it is the salutation to a personal letter in that time! You know, very similar to the ‘Dear so and so’ that we start our letters with today.

Another interested point, Larry says that Bill and Paul “Studied certain teachers that were anointed in teachings”, like those are the teachers that God put here and the rest are not of God. Larry never lists them, but I know who he is talking about. They are the Word-faith teachers that I have listed elsewhere on this site.

Next, Larry sets up the straw man by taking the opposite extreme, namely, the poverty gospel, and using he classic ‘whining insult’ voice to make fun of people who do not think that God is interested in blessing people. He even says, “I can tell you don’t believe [God wants to prosper you], I look at your life: disease, catastrophe, lay-offs, average, mediocre.” Sound familiar? I covered these points over the last three posts.


Now, we have seen the three verses with a modern, self-centered, human exulting interpretation. We have seen how these are in stark contrast to the historical orthodox interpretation. Which is correct? Well, let us examine a few things.

First, the earliest church writings were most consistent with the protestant teachings that resurfaced in the reformation (note that it was a reformation, not a revolution). The Bible was the standard, but had to be understood in proper cultural context. The theologians of history understood the language and culture of that people. Further, we have writings which date back to the times of, and shortly after, the apostles. In nearly 2000 years, these amazing truths of healing and business success were hidden from people who have done nothing but study their Bibles all day long? That is absurd!

Next, the focus of the Bible, as well as early church writings, consistently pointed to the coming glory of God, the resurrection, trials ahead for the believers, grace, and service to man-kind. These new teachings are man-centered, self-serving, teach the seeking of worldly things, etc. Which are we to believe? You can follow a man if you want to, but I will follow the Lord in the understanding of who He revealed Himself to be within the context of the whole of the Bible.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What is Word-Faith? Part 3

The Teachings of the Word Faith Movement

As a brief introduction to what this movement teaches, we need only look at the back cover of many of the books sold by this movement. One of the better examples is the BWW Booklist book “Hung By The Tongue”, by Francis Martin:

  • Success is yours.
  • Victory and Defeat are born in the mind.
  • “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”(Proverbs 23:7)
  • Humans speak what they believe and think, often causing defeat.
  • “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”(Proverbs 12:21)
  • Jesus said, “My words are spirit and life.” (John 6:63)
  • Fear will prevent you from speaking victory.

This like Book, Hung By The Tongue, has helped many to rise from their defeated condition to a VICTORIOUS life.


To sum up the teachings, whatever you speak is what you will get, whether it is good and intentional, or bad and unintentional. Martin starts the introduction with the classic proof text Mark 11:23, Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Martin goes on to explain that we need to read the Bible “literally” and we get what we see. Whatever we speak will come true, as this is a spiritual law which can not be broken even by God. The problem is that although the Bible is meant to be read literally, there is also a good deal of hyperbole, analogy, and metaphors. That is why it is important to study the Bible in the context that it was written. This particular verse is an example of a contextual issue. Jesus was referring to people who today we might call incredible, who were known to accomplish a lot of ‘impossible’ things (not in a literal sense, but things that are very difficult). In effect, Jesus was teaching to rely on the power of God. The Word-faith teachers, on the other hand, use this as a proof text to coerce God to give them what they want simply by saying it.

I asked a Word-faith teacher once how he handles a person who is confined to a wheelchair. He asked what I meant and I explained that if a person can not stand up and get out of the wheelchair after saying this verse simply does not have enough belief. His reply was that he would never say that, but I reminded him that he didn’t have to say it; his theology says it loud and clear. Of course, to battle this, the modern day Word-faith teachers have added a stipulation that Christ has never promised when these are happening, just that they will. In effect however, they cover the charge by sidestepping the issue because the reality is that the Word-Faith teachers believe in this healing happening here and now.

Now that you get the basic idea, I am going to go fast through a few of the teachings and verses taken out of context. Please understand that hundreds of books, papers, lectures, sermons, etc are on each side of the debate. In one simple post, I can not do much justice to this topic, so I encourage you to look further if this interests you. D.R. McConnell’s “A Different Gospel” is the best place to start.

The Teachings

For simplicity sake, the general teachings of this movement fall under two categories: health and wealth (hence one of the common names Health and Wealth Gospel). It goes so far that Charles Capps places in his best selling “The Tongue – A Creative Force” a chapter called Gos-Pill Capps-sules which consists literally of mantras to “confess…three times a day.” (page 151) These are under the categories of Worry and Fear, Material Needs, Wisdom and Guidance, Comfort and Strength, and the Healing ones are scattered throughout the book. These are all Bible verses, mostly taken out of context.


Before we move into these two teachings, we must examine the doctrine of faith in the context of this movement because it is critical. The first thing that you will notice in any book produced from this movement is that faith is reduced to a formula. If you simply follow the steps, you will make it. In fact, this was the first thing that a person tried to teach me one night at Eat ‘n Park. The steps are in Mark 11:24, just following their favorite faith verse: Desire something, Pray for it, Believe you have it, and Receive it. Of course, if Jesus visits you like he visited Hagin, He would have told you the steps he gave to Hagin: Say it, Do it, Receive It, and Tell it. In this movement, God did not create the world first, he created a series of universal laws which all people, believers or not, are free to use. It was God’s faith in His own words that created everything. He then gave us that same power to create with. In essence, God is not a personal God, but an impersonal force, the cosmic watchmaker who set things into action and then stepped back. As McConnell notes, the formula for faith in this movement can only make sense in the light of the metaphysical cults.

The concept of faith as a positive confession originated with Kenyon. It has its root in speaking out loud that which you already have, even if it is not apparent that you have it. Therefore, if you speak that you are defeated, sick, broke, etc, you are claiming those things for yourself and thus you have those. This concept goes as far as to suggest that you never confess these things at all, which is certainly a twist that Satan wants you to have because we are indeed commanded to confess our problems, struggles, sins, sicknesses, etc, with one another so that we can pray for one another (James 5:13-18). This whole idea of spiritual laws that are always at work begs the questions: Is God sovereign or subject to these laws? Is God a person or a principle? Is man a creature or a creator? Will God’s Word or God’s Will prevail? These are many more are addressed by McConnell.


The doctrine of healing in Word-faith is interesting. It actually teaches that the root of sickness is not physical, but spiritual. All disease is the result of Satan and his forces, so the only true healing will come from the word of God. Interestingly, this is the basis of disease in metaphysics, but not historic orthodox Christianity. This teaching goes so far that if a believer is ever sick, it is automatically assumed that there is unconfessed sin in their life. This goes further to suggest that one of the causes of sickness are negative confessions (which is confessing the words of Satan). Examples of negative confessions are any mental or verbal acceptance of disease in your body. In some cases, believers are told to deny the symptoms of sickness as a sign of belief. What about the pain of these symptoms? Well, they are the test of your faith. If you believe that you are not sick through that than you are healed.

With these beliefs about healing, many (though not all) faith teachers reject medical treatment. The first radical instance of this was the Freeman cult where many people died of treatable diseases. Before you (like many Word-faith Teachers) accuse Freeman of turning the teachings into a cult, I want you to understand that him and his followers did not need to add any real extreme, but instead, they faithfully lived out their belief in the Word-faith teachings and reaped the crops of that sowing. Since this has occurred, many teachers are not very open about allowing for medical treatment (they allow this for the weak in faith), but they will also parade in front of the crowd a person who has denied medical treatment. Many faith teachers believe that taking medication is a denial of faith.

To be sure, healing can be a part of the work of God, but it is not a promise. Some are healed, others are not. The teaching of the Word-faith movement, however, takes this issue and parades it before people as a total promise to be enjoyed here and now. This is a teaching that many people want. It is so prevalent that I have obtained a copy of an Oral Roberts issue Bible that still has a paper in it apparently written by a person who was trying her hardest to live these principles. The paper stuffed in the Bible had a whole series of daily confessions that leads me to believe this person eventually died of cancer. I picked up the Bible at a flee market; the paper is still in there as a memoir to how deceptive this movement can be, if not for the body, than for the soul.

The reality is that the creation groans under the curse of suffering (Romans 8:19-21), and that does not go away by becoming a Christian, in fact, more often than not, it gets worse! One curious thing that I discovered is that there is no doctrine of Glorification in the Word-faith teaching. Glorification is the final promise of perfection in heaven after the resurrection (this DOES include total healing). The absence of this doctrine makes sense in the light of the fact that Word-faith is about here and now while orthodox Christianity is always focused on the future with God. Even in the Bible itself, not all believers were healed. Timothy had a stomach problem, Paul had an issue with illness, Paul also left companions behind because of illness. Is the great apostle Paul now confessing evil in the Bible? I don’t think so! Another contradiction is Job, who was afflicted without having done anything to bring upon him the punishments of Satan. In contrast, Job was given sickness for following God as a test to show Satan that Job was a faithful servant of God…often times that is why we suffer.


This is the core doctrine of interest in BWW as it is the basis for the godspeak at the functions, on the tapes, in the books, etc. It is this twisting toward the accumulation of wealth that becomes the draw to bring people in and keep them under the pretense of following God. In this area, we need to understand two types of doctrine on wealth:

· Egocentric – This is a promise made to bestow material riches from God on a person who donates to a particular ministry

· Cosmic – This is a promise made to bestow material riches from God on those who know and/or practice the laws that govern prosperity.

Here is where BWW diverges a little bit from the Word-faith teachers. Most (but not all) of the faith teachers are Egocentric. Oral Roberts once said from stage that God was going to take him if his viewers did not send in a large amount of money. Of course, they sent money all the way. Other teachers promised a 100 fold return on anything that they sent in and even encouraged them to use credit to do it because God would return that money.

In BWW, they tend revert back to the New Thought Psychology which teaches the universal principles (the God that made the laws and then stepped out of the picture). Of course, if you are giving lots of money to a faith teacher, you will not have as much to buy books and tapes!

The early foundation of the teachings of prosperity from Kenyon were actually very close to sound in that he did not teach gross materialism as is taught today, but he only taught in reference to needs (not wants, and not being sneaky and making out your wants to be needs). While it is true that God is interested in the well-being of His children, he is not like the spoiling parent who wants to give his whining child everything that his little heart desires. This, in fact, is contrary to the principles in scripture.

Once the teachings moved beyond Kenyon, it got worse, convoluted, and progressively sinful. Once of the deceptive points today is that many of the teachers tell you that God wants you rich so that you can give more money to the cause of Christ. The problem is that the Bible itself warns about wanting to get rich, for even though the intention is good, it often leads to a snare and pulls you away from God. If you are a faithful servant intent on serving God, you work hard and faithfully, you might just find yourself with a lot of resources, but the bottom line is that God is more interested in your heart than your money. As such, He does not wish you to turn towards it.

Of course, this drive for money has progressively been towards getting material things because God wants you to have those so that you can make a good impression on the world. This is the approach that Danny Snipes often takes as he talks about the kids wanting to know what you know instead of wanting to know what the drug dealers know.

The Biblical truth behind this doctrine is easy to address. First, the Gospel is clearly about self-denial and reliance on God with a good dose of common sense. We need an amount of money to meet our clothing and food. God will provide opportunities for those needs. In our opportunities, God may call us to wealth, but like health, it is not a promise for all people. The next problem is that God becomes the means to the end. He is the deliverer of goods so that you can do the work (or have fun and play). In this case, the money is what it is about and God is just the path to jump on to get it. And finally for our purpose, prosperity focuses on things of this world, not things from of God. The command to leave behind the world is silenced in the drive for money. The Bible is, however, full of warnings for the rich because rich people tend to rely on themselves over God. Being rich is not a sin, but neither is being poor. God has not promised either way.


That pretty much sums up as briefly as I can some of the key teachings and problems in the Word-faith movement. I often used McConnell’s book as source material simply because it is the best organized for this purpose. Please understand that I simplified this argument drastically, but I also know a vast amount about this movement, being once a follower of it myself.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What is Word Faith? Part 2

Brief History of Word Faith

The first thing is that the history of Word-faith has been confused on different levels. I will start here: Word-faith was often attached an extreme end of the Charismatic movement. This was because about half a decade ago, the Charismatics did a bad thing in that they decided to cast off general discernment regarding doctrines. Their intentions were noble in that they were interested in helping people and of course, doctrine can divide. Now, I will argue, as does the Bible, that is a good thing because doctrine is the core of the Christian life. Never-the-less, although they did this, many Charasimatics maintained sound principles, but some extreme groups found acceptance in the non-confrontive movement. This allowed a foothold into the Christian arena and that has lead to where we are now, which I will pick up next week.

But from where did it come?

Although there are a few different thoughts, the very best analysis and history comes from the work of D.R. McConnell. If I was not sure by the time I finished reading his book, I certainly was when I encountered a Word-faith teacher who basically confirmed that the roots of this movement go back to E.W. Kenyon, not from sound people losing some doctrinal integrity as another author suggests.

Kenyon was a man who was involved in many cults. Now, let me say this, I came from a background where I practiced magick. I am certainly no stranger to these types of teachings, but the thing is that when I came to Christ, I cast them all off, I acknowledged them as lies, and sought sound doctrine in the Christian life. Sadly, Kenyon did not do this, instead, he sought to find the ‘good’ in these things and incorporated these into his theology. What were these things?


To fully understand the significance here, you must know that in Kenyon’s time (post WWII) there were a series of healing revivals. These typically fit under three classes: Pentecostal, Wesleyan-Holiness (of which most became Pentecostal), and Metaphysics. The metaphysical end was not connected to Christianity at all (not in any orthodox sense anyway), but was the healing practice of the mind science cults including Christian Science, New Thought, Unity School of Christianity, and Science of the Mind. Indeed, Kenyon participated in some of these (and other) groups, incorporating doctrines into his own writings which he used the Bible to prove his doctrines to the Christians. In fact, as McConnell is detailing the life and ministry of Kenyon, he writes:

One of the mysteries of E.W. Kenyon is how to account for the discrepancies between his theology and his ministry. Early in his ministry, Kenyon moved in Methodist circles and late in his life in Pentecostal, but his theology reflects neither. In fact, his theology contradicts both Methodism and Pentecostalism. Even those who knew of Kenyon’s cultic ties still have trouble categorizing his theology.

Kenyon even enrolled in a college well seeped in metaphysics. If he had done this for a Biblical analysis, it would be a good thing, much like I analyze the teachings of BWW on this site. But he did not do this; he incorporated these teachings into his philosophy.

Metaphycis is basically defined as the control of your person, perticularly healing, by your mind.

New Thought

New thought is the design of Phineas P. Quimby, who was a secular hypnotist initially, though he later created a quasi-religious method of healing. Since the New Thought was never formally incorporated into any system itself, it became adopted as the core of many of the mind science cults including Unity School of Christianity, Divine Science, the Church of Religious Science, and more. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science also studied under Quimby.

Curious and very significant for those that are involved in a motivational organizaton like BWW, and even for those who used to be involved but have not realized it, New Thought is the basis of most self-help and motivational books such as Magic of Thinking Big, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Power of Positive Thinking, Think and Grow Rich, among almost all of the others.

Now for a definition, New Thought is a broad world-view of which followers (whether intentional or unknowing) will pick and choose their particulars: The mind is the primary cause of all effects on our lives, God is an indwelling spirit and pantheistic (that is God is found in everything as opposed to being a creator of everything), evil is the absence of good, not a present reality, man is divine (or at least able to control his whole person), sin and disease are caused by improper thinking. It basically is a reinstatement of ancient Gnostic beliefs where people believed in higher levels of people which had a greater revelation of truth. These people could teach the ways for others to receive this exulting gift and thus could achieve themselves.

How did that get in?

Kenyon was undeniably interested in growing the church, but indication would be that, much like today, he was trying way too hard. Kenyon was discouraged that many of these cults were growing at unprecedented rates while the church floundered. In an attempt to explain why, he came to the conclusion that the church was dry and the doctrine started to be ‘boring’. Now, I need to say that although Kenyon had close ties and intimate knowledge of the cults, he did disagree with a lot of their practices, however, he was the same toward Christianity as marked by his constant association with many denominations from Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and eventually, he created his own system. He created his own theology by a principle known as Syncretism, which is the blending of contradictory religious systems into one system. Kenyon’s writings are full of cultic beliefs mixed with Biblical references often taken out of context to prove why the cultic teaching is correct. I would like to add that this syncretism is much more deadly than outright lies because it is harder to spot and determine it is dangerous. Look at it this way: Is it easier to spot a poison in a labeled bottle under the sink or a bowl of candy laced with that same poison? You might even have to be an expert to find the poison in the candy, though it is still deadly. Although Kenyon started with good intentions, he probably did far more harm to the world than all those cults combined.

Connecting the Story

Now that we discussed Kenyon, let us see where he fits in to the modern Word-faith movement. We need to jump ahead a few years to Kenneth Hagin. Now, Hagin is known as the ‘father’ of the Word-faith movement. Although he claims to have made many trips to heaven and hell as well as having face to face conversations with Jesus Himself, the majority of these divine revelations are actually direct plagiarisms from Kenyon, whose writings were not very well popularized in Hagin’s time. It is from these writings, cultic beliefs in all, that the movement has been refined. You see, if I give you a book full of twisted Bible verses and false interpretations, but you are so new to the scripture that you don’t know any better, you might start to believe that is what those verses really mean.

Do you remember that verse I shared last week (2 Timothy 4:1-4)? There is another factor that fits in here. It is not just the false teachings and that Hagin did not know (or chose not to know) any better, but also that we are still sinful and we will have a tendency to try to justify with our mind what the heart wants to do. What better way of doing this than to find a book full of feel good things that exult you all the while being full of Bible references?

And so on

Once Hagin started to get real successful, his work became the basis for more teachers than can be counted. He has influenced so many people who preached about health, money, success, personal fulfillment, and all sorts of other doctrines that people like to hear.

That is a very, very brief summary of how all this occurred. If you would like more information, please consult D.R. McConnell’s book “A Different Gospel”. I would also like to point out that there is another book called, “The Health and Wealth Gospel” by Bruce Barron, but it is not very well detailed, analyzed, nor does it take a discerning approach. I have read both of these books as well as many others, talked to many people, and am very familiar with the teachings of these groups. I can attest that McConnell has the much more thoroughly researched book.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What is Word Faith? Part 1


I have been talking for a long time about the Word-Faith movement. The time has come to share a little about this movement and how it relates to Quixtar and the motivational organizations. To start, let me clarify a few things. The first is that Rich and Jay were Christian to the best of my knowledge. To my understanding, they did not prescribe to the apostasy that I am about to introduce. Further, not all motivational organizations subscribe to this, but I have more than abundant evidence that BWW and LTD do subscribe to this. I have good reason to believe that WWDB does as well. I do not have information on most of the MOs to this point.

Names of the Movement

The first thing to tackle is the various names that are used to label this theology. It is known by the Word-Faith, which I will be using exclusively, but other common names are Faith Movement, Health and Wealth Gospel, Prosperity Gospel, Name it-Claim it.


Although it is impossible to know all of them, I can list that some of the classic Word-Faith teachers have been Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Robert Tilton, Paul Yonggi Cho, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Frederick K.C. Price, John Avanzini, Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Morris Cerullo, Paul and Jan Crouch. I often add Robert Schuller and Norman Vincent Peale, but those names are debatable (they hold some characteristics, but I agree that they lack key others.) One of the fast rising stars of this movement is Joel Osteen.

Why the Examination?

I need to point out the need to examine why we need to look at these the teachings of these people. We know that sinful people will set up teachers for themselves which will teach the things that they want to hear. In fact, it is so bad that they will set up these people and turn away from Truth so that they can do what they wish. After all, the heart is deceitful and wicked, often times using the mind to justify what it wishes to do. We also know that some things that appear to be coming from good are actually from evil. And further, not all people that profess Christ belong to Him and will share with Him in paradise. Let us examine a few scriptures.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 - I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 - But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is more deceitful than all else; And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Matthew 7:21-23 - Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

In all this, we can not appeal to an emotion, a feeling, or an experience. The Word of God, the Bible, is the authority. So how do we handle the Bible? I will not get into this deeply, but I can say that the Bible is a unified book which tells of the fall and redemption of man, as well as how to live up to the standard of God. The main (and certainly not only) problem with false teachers is that they will tend to view the Bible as a series of one liners taking verses clearly out of context to prove their point.

In the next part, we will examine some history behind this movement.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Official Position on Quixtar

In the event there is any controversy, I wanted to write a post on my official position on Multi-level Marketing (MLM) in general and Quixtar in particular.

Problems with MLM.

First, we need to keep in mind that we are stewards of the resources that God has handed us. We have the obligation to handle our money well and use it in a way that honors God, and even multiplies wealth (Matthew 25:14-30). How you handle money will be a reflection of how you handle other kingdom matters. In order to keep the talk about money Biblical, there are also many warnings about hording money and having a single consuming desire for money, even if that money is pledged to God (1 Timothy 6:6-10; 17-19). In short, we should seek to do the best we can in our respective industries, not seeking to be wealthy, nor seeking to be in poverty. Now, we need to ask if MLM is good stewardship: No, it is not. In general, MLM is not a good stewardship because:

1. Cost of MLM products are generally much more expensive than that of competing products. There are some exceptions to this, but not many. The reason for this is that companies selling products tend to want to sell them, as such, they are sold for as little as they can, but in an MLM, a whole line of people need to pull profit out of the sale of that product. This will drive up the cost. In this respect, some companies manufacture and sell their own products; they seem to not be any less expensive. It is not good stewardship to pay more money than you need to for common household items.

2. Since the product sales to customers outside of the organization are generally lower, worthwhile amounts of money are not often made by marketing these overly-expensive products. Because of this trend, money is in growth of the network, so more emphasis is generally placed on recruitment over customer sales. This adds another point: While one person (the one with downline) may be making a large income, virtually all the other participants will not make worthwhile amounts of money. It is not good stewardship to spend time trying to build your own little way up at the expense of others who only have equal opportunity by repeating what you did, thus having a whole group of downline without profit.
3. Since the price of MLM products tends to be higher, there is a first barrier in selling product at all; the second barrier is the price: the markup on products for sale to customers is generally too small to make a significant profit.
4. Since most people do not make money in MLM, you will have a large amount of people who quit. This means that the time required to build and maintain a network far exceeds the reward for doing so. Reliv boasts to have one of the highest retention rates, but SEC 10K documentation reports the retention is a little over 50%. It is not good stewardship to use your time to rebuild a network with a small potential of monetary reward.

5. The stigma about MLM tends to drive people away from you thus risking your reputation. Remember that in the words of Jesus, if anything interferes with your reputation, it had better be the truth, not something else. MLM is often the social unacceptable joke to pop. Since I have been a critic of MLM, I have heard MLM references in Moody Presents [Unknown sermon], Adventures in Odyssey [All the Difference in the World], Renewing Your Mind [Wealth and Poverty], many movies, cartoons, etc. Some might call this discrimination, and it may be, but it is a fact that MLMers will tend to use social events of all kinds to recruit people, thus causing an annoyance to people.

6. Often times an MLM will be associated with an ‘educational system’ of some sort. In extreme cases, these are cults, in less extreme cases, they are simply bad for the Christian to be involved in. They are based on secular business motivation and self-help industry which is well rooted in Though Reform Psychology, a branch of ‘science’ that is antithetical to Christianity due to the core beliefs it teaches.

This being said, I do not consider MLM to be illegal, but it may be sinful. It is well known that the drive to build your group often leads to a growth in covetousness and a zeal that consumes the passion that we are supposed to reserve for Christ alone.

Problem with Quixtar

Now, outside of the listed opinions above, the only other reservation I have about Quixtar is that they have know about the abuse in the tools system since the 80’s, but have not taken action steps against the high level distributors that are responsible for that abuse. It is clear from the many testimonies that there are many people violating the Quixtar rules, many people are getting hurt, many people are going broke, yet the corporation appears to look the other way.