There was an article recently published in The Baptist Reflector that was written by Evangelist Justin Peters that claimed that the Word of Faith movement was heresy and that it wrecked lives. This article named several different teachers from Ken and Gloria Copeland, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn. According to Mr. Peters he claims that this Word of Faith movement dresses its doctrine in Christian apparel and that it does not find its roots in orthodox Christianity.
These claims come from a man that is suffering from cerebral palsy and a man that is representing a denomination that has been unfortunatley declining over the years due to their own lack of understanding in how to add new wine into an old wine skin. With these ingredients of cerebral palsy and a declining denomination it can be easy to lean our beliefs in a particular direction if we are not careful. This is not to say that Mr. Peters has formed his opinion without consideration of these facts but they are to insure the awareness of each teaching being fairly evaluated without someone leaning more in one direction due to their own personal objectives. It is very important that when we make accusations against another teaching that we look at both sides of the picture in depth to better understand what is actually taking place. Because when we really investigate both sides of the teachings it is easy to find that both have their own positives as well as they both tend to leave out areas of the Full Gospel. This is where Balance is required due to the purpose of order, respecting authority and having the freedom to worship God through the love of Jesus Christ who makes all things possible to those who believe.
For years people have picked specific areas of the Holy Bible to follow while leaving out another area. Either because of their own lack of understanding, maybe because their own fears while some are simply seeking selfish desires. It is vital that we teach the full gospel without leaving out specific parts to maintain the integrity within the body. If you were to ask any of these names mentioned from Justin Peters to the ones mentioned in his article we will find that they all claim that Jesus Christ is the key to our eternal salvation. God’s Word teaches us in 1 John 2, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either;he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
Rather than us striking at one another in a way that can cause confusion or in a way that can end up in a division lets learn how to address each other in love and humility so that God may open up our minds to receive the Truth. When we really study both sides of this article from Justin Peters to the Word of Faith movement in the teachers that he mentioned we can find a similar parallel that took place in Acts 19 in the riot of Ephesus. The people of Ephesus set out to kill the movement due to the financial impact and for placing their trust in what they see rather than they don’t see.
Based on Mr. Peters testimony of his cerebral palsy it appears that he has received the peace of God in this circumstance but nowhere in the Holy Bible does God ever teach us to lose Hope in the healing powers of Jesus Christ. When we accept something with no hopes of being healed in the will of God it is like taking in a negative seed and planting something that is not true according to God’s Word. The man at the well never gave up nor did the brothers that lowered their friend through the roof to be healed. Praise God for those brothers that did not leave someone else behind! The important part about our temporary life is learning how to have peace where we are while knowing that God’s Will will be done. God’s Word teaches us to never lose Hope no matter our circumstance and as He teaches us through the life of Joseph we are to learn how to make a positive difference wherever we are or whatever we have to go through.
God’s Word teaches us that when we encounter different trials that they are there to help shape us into who He wants us be and not for something that we may want for ourselves. These type of test help us to develop a deeper love for our Father in Heaven and they help us to teach others how to have faith no matter what trials we face. There are very few people that have not encountered some sort of illness or some type of loss that would not have chosen to be healed if they were completely honest within themselves. God’s Word tells us that even greater miracles are possible when we believe and this is so true.
The segment in Mr. Peter’s article that claims this movement is wrecking lives can be justified if we are not teaching the importance of building on a solid foundation without the cracks of sin that can cause us to fall. God teaches us to build one brick at a time without jumping ahead and to be happy where we are while always being ready to move how He directs. So many times in our youth we miss this understanding because in our flesh we tend to want the ship before we know how to set sail. It is imperative for God’s children to know the purpose of time and to understand the difference between the power boat and the sail boat. There are days for high octane and days to relax in the gentle spirit of God that carries forward. For if we don’t know how to Balance between the two then we can either blow the engine or fowl the plug. The object is for the engine to run lean and efficient of knowing when to call on the power and when not.
The gospel is not about external prosperity but about an internal richness that is gained through the love of Jesus Christ in respecting the time that we are given with our family and friends. Every single soul has a responsibility to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and to teach the importance of being obedient to God’s Word to maintain our homes and our nation. If we are failing to speak the Truth and the restoration that comes from sincere repentance through the love of Jesus Christ then spiritually Satan can take us off course.
Where many followers of this Word of Faith movement are suffering comes from their lack of commitment in seeking God for their understanding verses leaning on someone else besides Jesus to get them through. When we attend a rally where there is music and worship but fail to prepare the new converts of what they are going to face after receiving Christ then we are only setting them up to be conquered by Satan once again. Jesus teaches us that when demons are cast out in the desert that they will return to their original home if the home stays vacant and be even stronger than before. This is the part which I believe Mr. Peters is speaking against in the lack of disciplining that is taking place in the overall church body today. When we enter into a setting where the presence of the Holy Spirit is so strong that the demons can’t stay around it is easy for them to be cast out but don’t think that they are not hanging out in the parking lot waiting for our return. This is where so many lives are being wrecked because many of the new converts are not being discipled nor grasping the importance of digging into God’s Word to develop their sense of discernment between good and evil.
The Word of God plainly teaches us not to fall into useless debates in the book of 2 Timothy 2 and God’s Word plainly tells us to address other believers in humility so that God may open their minds to receive the Truth. It is our sincere prayer at Balanced Life that we quit splintering the body and learn to work together in parties roll in the body of Christ to move forward once again. There should be no battle between true believers for the battle is in the field where the harvest is plenty. Please God help us to work together for your gloryt and not our own…Amen
May God unite us for His candle power to shine in the love of Jesus Christ…
James A. Harrison / Balanced Life Ministry