The Word Faith movement is a branch of the general Charismatic movement. (See the Field Guide article on Pentecostal/Charismatic: What’s the Difference? for an explanation of what the Charismatic movement is all about.) Not all Charismatics accept Word Faith teachings. But Word Faith Charismatic teachers have, in the past decade, become the most publicly prominent representatives of the Charismatic movement. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the most powerful and pervasive of the televangelistic outreaches in American religion, features and promotes Word Faith teachers almost exclusively.
Teachers in the Word Faith movement (sometimes called "Word of Faith" movement) claim that the Bible promises perfect health and unlimited prosperity to all believers. Therefore if any believers are sick or in poverty, it must be because they do not understand how to "appropriate" these promises for themselves. According to Word Faith teachers, the way to appropriate that health and wealth is through the "power of the tongue" to "confess" the believer’s faith in what he determines to be the Biblical promises of God. This creates, according to the teachings of many in this movement, a "legally binding" requirement for God to act. And thus, in their perspective, God Himself is controlled by the power of the human tongue when it speaks "the word of faith." Just as God created the world and all in it by "His Word," human believers are assumed to be granted the same kind of creative power in their words.
Such teachers warn their students to never pray prayers of petition to God with the conclusion "If it be Your will, Father." For that would indicate you haven’t studied your Bible well enough to know all of His promises. If you know the promises, they insist, you know His will at any moment, and need only speak that word. Anything less is evidence you lack faith in His promises. They also insist that their students should never "pray the problem," but rather "pray the solution". Speaking to God about your problems is tantamount, in their eyes, to not believing that God will take care of your problem immediately if you will only "pray the solution" exactly as you find it in the Bible.
The prosperity teachings of the Word Faith movement are particularly popular with those who feel disenfranchised from the system of prosperity which many in the Western world enjoy. The solutions proposed by Word Faith teachers for a low standard of living do not include either hard work or education. The solutions proposed are a series of verbal affirmations, called "positive confessions," and a process usually described as "reaping and sowing" in which believers are encouraged to give money—"planting a seed"—into a particular ministry in the hopes of God miraculously granting them a "harvest" from that monetary seed.
Many Word Faith teachers even use a gimmick which they call the "hundred-
The health teachings of the Word Faith movement are particularly popular with those
who have physical problems for which medical help has been ineffective. The solution
proposed for ill health does not include improved diet and exercise, or anything
that requires personal self-
Nuggets of Truth
Some Bible students have a hard time resisting the teachings of the Word Faith movement because Word Faith teachers do, indeed, focus on some scriptures which are ignored at times by other Bible teachers.
The following list contains the names of some of the key Word Faith teachers, past and present, with national ministries. Click on any underlined name to go to a short profile of that person in the Who's Who Digest here at the Field Guide website.
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