After studying the Word-Faith movement, Hank Hanegraaff, determined the Faith movement was considerably a cult, saying, “Given these definition of a cult, it is completely justified to characterize particular groups within the Faith movement as cults – either theologically or sociologically or, in some cases, both….Copeland Ministries, headed by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, for example bears all the marks of a cult.”1)Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity In Crisis, 21st Century, Thomas Nelson, 2009, p. 10 But because of the diversity of teachers and teachings within the Faith movement, Hanegraaff concludes, “Thus, while certain groups within the Faith movement can be properly classified as cults, the word cultic more aptly describes the movement as a whole.”2)Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity In Crisis, 21st Century, Thomas Nelson, 2009, p. 10 There have been various opinions about the Word-Faith movement over the years. Judith Matta considers “the Word-Faith teaching is perhaps the most subtle, heretical system to emerge in our own times.”3)Judith Matta, The Born Again Jesus of the Word-Faith Teaching, Spirit of Truth, 1987, p. viii Rod Rosenbladt, wrote, “Virtually all of the leading American TV ministers have drunk at the trough of the esoteric, Swedenborgian, theosophical speculations of the late E. W. Kenyon.”4)Rod Rosenbladt, “Who Do TV Preachers Say That I Am?” in The Agony of Deceit, Michael Horton editor, Moody, 1990, p. 112

Many other who have researched this movement would agree with Rosenbladt considering Word-Faith occultism. For example, Hanegraaff’s predecessor Walter Martin added quotations from a leading proponent of Word-Faith doctrines, Kenneth Copeland, in his last published book before his death entitled The New Age Cult.5)Walter Martin, The New Age Cult, Bethany House Publishers, 1989, p. 76 Evidently, Dr. Walter Martin considered Copeland and the Faith movement part of the New Age movement. Albert Dagger compares Copeland’s doctrines with “theosophists,”6)Albert James Dagger, Vengeance Is Ours: The Church  in Dominion, Sword Publishers, 1900 p. 25 and equates positive confession as “a tenet of witchcraft.”7)Albert James Dagger, Vengeance Is Ours: The Church  in Dominion, Sword Publishers, 1900 p. 76 After quoting Yonggi Cho, another Word-Faith teacher, Mark Haville asks, “Is this a model for prayer or casting a spell?”8)Mark Haville, Chris Hand, Philip Foster, Peter Glover, edited by Peter Glover, The Signs and Wonders Movement – Exposed, Day One Publication, 1997, p. 34 John MacArthur wrote, “Word Faith theology has turned Christianity into a system no different from the lowest human religions – a form of voodoo where God can be coerced, cajoled, manipulated, controlled, and exploited for the Christian’s own end.”9)John MacArthur, Jr., Charismatic Chaos, Zondervan Publishing House, 1992, p. 324 Robert Bowman proposed, “Of all the critics of the Word-Faith teaching who regard it as heretical, John MacArthur seemed to labor the hardest at striking a balance… issuing his judgment…”10)Robert M. Bowman Jr. The Word-Faith Controversy: Understanding the Health and Wealth Gospel, Baker Books, 2001, p. 19 In McArthur’s more recent book Strange Fire, he wrote of the Word-Faith movement: “They are promoting crass superstition blended with false doctrines purloined from assorted Gnostic and metaphysical cults, cloaked in Christian terms and symbols.”11)John MacArthur, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship, Nelson Books, 2013, p. 9

The core teaching of Faith theology is properly identified in the following assessment. “Faith as an external force and human ability to manipulate the supernatural by words are beliefs common in pagan magic, but are entirely foreign to biblical faith.”12)G. Richard Fisher and M. Kurt Goedelmon with W. E. Nunnally, Stephen F. Cannon and Paul R. Blizard, The Confusing World of Benny Hinn, Personal Freedom Outreach Publication, sixth edition, Expanded, 1997, p. 154 Johanna Michaelsen, a former occultist, explains the history behind this thought. “In ancient Egypt, the followers of the Egyptian god Thot (the master of all knowledge and originator of alchemy) believed that thoughts were real things, with vibrational and energy levels of their own which could be manipulated to produce physical effects. In other words, what you think is what you get.”13)Johanna Michaelsen, Like Lambs To The Slaughter, Harvest House Publishers, 1989, p. 121 She further asserts, “Put aside all critical faculties, enter an altered state of consciousness, have faith in your faith, and allow the Force to work through you. Nothing shall be withheld from you if only you believe! Herein lies the basis of all occult power. This is how channelers become channelers, how occultists develop occult powers, and how millions of our school children become open to demonic beings.”14)Johanna Michaelsen, Like Lambs To The Slaughter, Harvest House Publishers, 1989, p. 226 John Ankerberg and John Weldon, acknowledged in Facts On False Teaching In The Church:

Some of those stressing the power of the mind, “faith” or Positive Thinking include: Robert Schuller –  “Possibility Thinking”; Clement Stone – “Positive Mental Attitude”; Norman Vincent Peale, the modern “founder” of positive thinking; Oral Roberts’ “Seed-Faith” principles; the teachings of Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland, also known as “Word-Faith” teaching; Paul Yonggi Cho, who stresses a health and prosperity gospel; and Charles Capps and many others who stress “Positive Confession.” The terms Positive Confession, Prosperity Thinking, Theology of Success Movement, or “name it and claim it” are all terms used to describe those stressing the power of faith as a force to influence the environment of God.15)John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Facts On False Teaching In The Church, Harvest House Publishers, 1988, p. 14

   Word-Faith preacher Pat Robertson admits his principles are the same used by occultists such as Napoleon Hill. “I began to realize… the Bible is not an impractical book of theology, but rather a practical book of life containing a system of thought and conduct that will guarantee success [with] principles so universal they might better be considered as laws…such people as Napoleon Hill, who wrote Think and Grow Rich, have gleaned only a few of the truths of the kingdom of God…. Some of the metaphysical principles of the kingdom, taken by themselves, can produce fantastic temporal benefits.”16)Pat Robertson with Bob Slosser, The Secret Kingdom: A Promise of Hope and Freedom in a World of Turmoil, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, p. 43-46, 69 Commenting on this statement from Pat Robertson, Dave Hunt distinguishes that,

Napoleon Hill was an occultist who learned his “metaphysical principle” from demons who came to him from the spirit world posing as masters of a “temple of wisdom.”

Peale, Schuller, Robertson, Hagin, Copeland, and others, have brought into the church ancient occultism as part of the “signs and wonders” and “prosperity” movement foretold for the last days.17)Dave Hunt, Countdown to the Second Coming: A Chronology of Prophetic Earth Events Happening Now, The Berean Call, 2005, p. 62-63

Constance Cumbey criticizes Pat Robertson‘s book, observing:

There are disturbingly strong parallels in them with Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, including the Alice Bailey teachings, and even Russian occultist George Gurdjieff. Robertson’s Law of Reciprocity sounds amazingly like Gurdjieff’s “Law of Reciprocal Maintenance.”18)Constance E. Cumbey, A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age “Messiah,” Pointe Publishers, Inc., 1985, p. 150

Further alerting the influence of Robertson‘s television show, Cumbey mentioned, “While he has denied Biblical inerrancy, he has at the same time given important New Agers such as Jeremy Rifkin and Alvin Toffler access to his 30 million plus Christian viewing audience. He has done likewise for promoters of questionable, even blatantly New Age oriented – theologies, including Richard Foster, Bruce Larson, Robert Schuller, and Dennis Waitley.”19)Constance E. Cumbey, A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age “Messiah,” Pointe Publishers, Inc., 1985, p. 149 And, “Rifkin has boasted to interviewers that Robertson’s program has been one of his chief entry points to the Evangelicals.”20)Constance E. Cumbey, A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age “Messiah,” Pointe Publishers, Inc., 1985, p. 150

Leaders of the Word-Faith movement have admitted the similarities of their teachings with metaphysics, but try to deny it. E. W. Kenyon, the forefather of Faith theology wrote, “We are not dealing with mysticism, philosophy or metaphysics. We are dealing with realities. …we are dealing with the basic laws of man’s being, the great spiritual laws that govern the unseen forces of life.”21) E. W. Kenyon, The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Subconscious Mind, Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1970, p. 35 Assessing this statement, D. R. McConnell explains:

Kenyon claims that his teaching is not metaphysical and then immediately follows his disclaimer with a central dogma of metaphysics. For example, when he speaks of “the great spiritual laws that govern the unseen forces of life,” he is espousing deism, the metaphysical world view that the universe is governed by impersonal, spiritual laws rather [sic] that a personal, sovereign God.22)D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of he Modern Faith Movement, Hendrickson Publishers 1988, p. 45

Kenyon again applies this method of disclaiming his metaphysic doctrine prior to teaching it. “This is not a new metaphysics of philosophy. This is reality. This is God breaking into the sense realm.”23)E. W. Kenyon, The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Subconscious Mind, Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1970, p. 74 And again, McConnell points out the obvious.

When Kenyon refers to “God breaking into the sense realm,” he is espousing dualism, which is the metaphysical view of reality that the spiritual realm and the physical realm are mutually exclusive and even opposed to one another.24)D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of he Modern Faith Movement, Hendrickson Publishers 1988, p. 45

Kenyon‘s frequent disclaimers, such as: “This is not psychological or metaphysics,”25)E. W. Kenyon, The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Subconscious Mind, Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1970, p. 137 have been repeated by Kenneth Hagin who wrote: “When I preach on the mind, it frightens some congregations. They immediately think of Christian Science.”26)Kenneth Hagin, Right and Wrong Thinking, Faith Library, 1966, p. 18-19 Vinson Synan reported:

Hagin insists “Kenyon’s influence on my ministry has been minute. Only his teachings on the name of Jesus have much to do with my theology. I absolutely deny any metaphysical influence from Kenyon. I teach not Christian Science, but Christian sense.”27)Vinson Synan, “The Faith of Kenneth Hagin,” Charisma & Christian Faith, 15:11, June 1990, p. 68

Here we find an interesting admission from Hagin; he considers Kenyon’s teachings in line with Christian Science and metaphysics, yet, D. R. McConnell documented extensive plagiarism of E. W. Kenyon by Kenneth Hagin.28)D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of he Modern Faith Movement, Hendrickson Publishers 1988, p. 8-12 While Hagin has always attempted to separate himself from anything to do with metaphysics, he has now placed himself in that very camp as he has endorsed Kenyon’s writings, even calling it revelation from God. “I began to look around to see what I could find written on the subject. For others, you see, have revelations from God. I was amazed how little material there is in print on this subject. The only good book devoted entirely to it that I have found is E. W. Kenyon’s The Wonderful Name of Jesus. I encourage you to get a copy. It is a marvelous book. It is revelation knowledge. It is the Word of God.”29)Kenneth Hagin, The Name of Jesus, Faith Library, 1981, preface When accused of plagiarizing Kenyon, Vinson Synan related Hagin response: “the Holy Spirit gave him the same words as Kenyon without his having prior knowledge of the sources.”30)Vinson Synan, “The Faith of Kenneth Hagin,” Charisma & Christian Faith, 15:11, June 1990, p. 68 If we allow Hagin the benefit of the doubt, consider how the Mormons and Irvingites had no contact but they received revelations with correlating doctrines. Hank Hanegraaff also documents a number of Kenneth Copeland’s teachings with “striking similarities” of Mormon theology.31)Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity In Crisis, 21st Century, Thomas Nelson, 2009, p. 25, 408 P. Atkinson’s doctorate thesis on the “Jesus died spiritually” doctrine of the Word Faith movement stated, “Copeland can now be regarded as the unofficial leader of the wole Word-faith movement.”32)William P. Atkinson, The Spiritual Death of Jesus: A Pentecostal Investigation, Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, (The Netherlands) 2012, p. 23

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