My Experience In The Word Of Faith Movement Pt. 1

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Discernment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In my previous post, I discussed my dilemma in finding the proper theological stance when dealing with the Cessationist/Continuationist brouhaha. I made a distinction between the Word of Faith, Pentecostal/Charismatic, and Continuationist theologies. By Continuationist, I am distinguishing a narrow band of the more orthodox (and saner, might I add) group who hold closer to the Reformers, yet still holding a soft non-Cessationist theology.

Today, I want to explain my own experience in the WOF movement.

I was raised in a solid Christian home. We attended both United Methodist and Southern Baptist churches. My father was exposed to the Charismatic Movement through a Methodist minister who pastored Flinstone UMC, in Chattanooga Valley. He was a very nice man who simply prayed for my dad’s bad back. Dad recovered miraculously, and it made an impression on him.

On a side note, I need to chastise my Cessationist brethren lovingly here. It is very easy to form a bifurcated view of Christianity, where on the one hand you vigorously defend God’s immanent and active role in the universe in time past, but take what appears to be a deistic view of God’s action in present history. It’s almost as if one becomes anti-supernatural in the belief that The Lord will not move supernaturally at all today. That is as presumptive as believing you can force God to act just because you command it.

Later, when I was in High school, my parents became very interested in Kenneth Copeland. It was 1981. President Reagen had made us all feel better about America, and Copeland was preaching from the Lincoln Memorial. (I believe I am correct here, it was 32 years ago). He was positive, upbeat, charismatic (in the original sense of the word), and persuasive. We were all very open to what he had to say. Although Copeland preached the prosperity Gospel back then, he didn’t seem quite as fixated on it. That began our foray into the WOF.

I had my own Pentecostal type experience myself, along with a friend. We both experienced the same thing, at the same time, in a Baptist church parking lot. Both of us had had a previous conversion when we were younger, so it wasn’t regeneraton. We did not speak with tongues that night, but we both became completely captivated with Christ and His Word, which would lead us both out of spiritual chaos later on.

Eventually, my family ended up in a Word Of Faith church in Chattanooga. The Church of Today was pastored by Don Clowers. He continues to preach the prosperity Gospel to this day:

We were exposed to the “big Whigs” of the Faith movement through the Chattanooga for Jesus campmeetings of the mid-80’s. Names like Marilyn Hickey, Bob Tilton, Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Kenneth Copeland, and Kenneth Hagin were the staples of our diet.

Even as a young man, I noticed the polarities of the Faith movement. There was an economic disparity there; the very rich came (I am conjecturing for the reason of justifying, legitimizing, and protecting their wealth), and the very poor (for the possibility of gaining wealth through positive confession). This is only my observation and I am no diviner of hearts.

I became a devoted follower of Copeland and Hagin. I loved their “down-to-earth” style of preaching, their emotional fervor (compared to their denominational counterparts), and their doctrine of Divine healing and positive confession. To a healthy teenager, this all fit right in with my idea of the American Dream and pop Christianity. I listened to every cassette sermon series I could get hold of. I read every Hagin book I could obtain. I even carried a red Kenneth Copeland Study Bible (which was basically a standard KJV with his sermon outlines crammed in the front).

I was always uneasy with the flippant way they used God’s Word and God’s Name, but not enough to question deeper. I had also never been around suffering, so the health and wealth gospel made sense to me.

I will continue this story in another post.

simul iustus et peccator,

Enrico the rednecked tractor boy

  1. […] my previous posts here, and here , I have tried to explain my involvement in the Word Of Faith […]

  2. […] general Charismatic/Pentecostal side of Evangelicalism. You can read my other posts in this series here, here, and […]

  3. […] series of posts detailing my exposure to the Faith movement. My previous posts can be found here, here, here, and […]

  4. […] my previous posts in this series to catch up. See Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. […]

  5. […] The Word Of Faith Movement Pt. 6-Watchman Nee, Miss Margaret E. Barber, Roman Catholic Mystics + Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5. It has been in my exposure to the Reformers that I learned the broken […]

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