Across the world, men and women, influenced by the prosperity gospel, can be witnessed speaking words "in faith" to bring about the life circumstances of which they dream. More than mere positive thinking, they send words into the air, believing those words will turn into blessings.
Cars, jobs, healing, you name it...they claim it.
When those words come back null and void, well, they point the finger at the "faithless". If they happen to be the one doing the claiming, they work harder to have more faith, striving to find within themselves the faith that God requires to get whatever it is they want. Suddenly, a grain of mustard seed seems way bigger than they ever imagined (Matthew 17:20).
The faith lacking in the Word Faith Movement is not that people lack faith to get what they desire, but that they lack faith in the true, Biblical God as He is displayed in Scripture.
A God Not Controlled
Can a sovereign God be controlled by human hands? Can His heart be turned to act based solely on the desires and faith of His creation? We know from Scripture that "our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases" and "no purpose of his can be thwarted" (Psalm 115:3; Job 42:2). We find His ways described through the pages of his Word as unsearchable and inscrutable...that from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things (Romans 11:33-36).
Surely, this is not a God whose will can be swayed by mere sinful humans. No, the God of the Bible works according to His will. If what we ask for doesn't fit within His ultimate plan, it will not be done, regardless of the strength of faith found in the person lifting up the request.
All the inhabitants of the Earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of Heaven and among the inhabitants of the Earth; none can stay His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35).
None can stay his hand. Therefore, none can move it either.
A God Not Manipulated
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." John 14:12-14
Here lies one of the most misinterpreted passages in the Bible. Those specifically in the Word Faith Movement have been known to use this passage, as well as Matthew 17:20, in their argument. Unfortunately, they fail to study them, not just in the broader context of the whole Bible, but also in the immediate context found in the verses surrounding them.
"Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified." God cannot be manipulated into doing whatever we desire simply because we ask in Jesus' name. He will only answer in the way that will bring the highest glory to the Father. While healing a person from cancer would certainly glorify Him, pouring out His grace upon those who suffer and causing them to endure glorifies Him as well.
The prayers Jesus will answer find their sole motive being the glory of God and not man. And even still, He may answer in a way much different than we expected because He is much wiser than you and me.
Jesus is not obligated to make your dreams come true because you asked for them in His name. He is not a God who can be manipulated.
A God Sovereign Over Pain
The biggest portion of lacking faith found in the souls trapped inside the Word Faith Movement is their rejection of a God who reigns over even the most painful circumstances. They refuse to believe that God could be sovereign over their sickness, loss, and poverty, so they place the blame on themselves and others for their lack of faith. In a way, they are right. We are to blame. Sin entered the world because of humans. The reason bad things happen is because of sin... but this doesn't mean every hardship tossed our way is a direct result of our personal sin, but instead, the consequence of living in a sin-saturated world.
Those within the Word Faith Movement believe a God who has control over pain should be named a tyrant. They lack understanding of the full nature of God. His sovereignty is not separated from His perfect wisdom and goodness. While He does not inflict sickness, grief, and pain on our lives, in His wisdom, He knows when to allow hard things for our ultimate good and His glory.
Truly, the faith lacking in those who make up this "name it and claim it" movement is their unbelief and distrust in the one true God as He is displayed in the Bible.
Let us strive as believers to toss away this false gospel and seek to know the God of the Bible...the One who saw us in our sin and suffering and sent His Son to die the death we deserve by becoming a propitiation for us...the One who is sustaining everything as I write this article... and the One who cannot and will not be controlled by human hands.
Brittany Allen is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and momma to two in Heaven. She exists to bring God glory and prays her writing is an avenue for that. She longs to encourage women to think and live biblically and thrives on seeing women open up their hearts to the Savior and to other women around them.