In my last article, ‘How Does Real Faith Compare to Mental Assent,” some wondered if I was espousing the doctrine that has been labeled “name it and claim it,” or “blab it and grab it” or “Prosperity Gospel.” The answer is “absolutely no.”
We could all argue points and principles for different denominations and doctrines, and we’d all have different opinions.
What we as believers are instructed to do is to search out the truth in the Bible by Rightly Dividing the Word.
Rightly Dividing the Word is “understanding and knowing God’s Word and being able by the leading of the Holy Spirit to interpret, explain, and teach the Scripture in light of the whole without contradiction. All scripture, especially the foundational beliefs, will coincide with other Scripture without contradiction.”4
Let’s dig into the Word to answer the following questions as simply as possible. We will let the Word of God be the final authority.
What does the Word say about:
- The Prosperity Gospel
- How does the Prosperity Gospel compare to Metaphysical New-Age (Magic)
- Speaking God’s Word
- Speaking things that are not as though they were
The Prosperity Gospel
There are many different versions of the Prosperity Gospel today1. The versions that are the closest to Biblical principles are based on an interpretation of Romans 4:17 that says we can “call into existence the things that do not exist” ESV. This interpretation has people pursuing wealth and prosperity, everything they want, instead of pursuing God and His will for their lives. Yet, what does God’s Word say about “calling things that are not as though they were?” We’ll answer this question later in the paper.
The doctrines that are the furthest from Biblical principles are closer to the metaphysical new-age. “Speaking Things into Existence: The Law of Attraction2” a post on Abundancenolimits.com2, states:
The power of the spoken word cannot be emphasized enough. Choose the right words and anything is possible. The immense power of the words we utter is what makes prayers potent and effective. This simple truth has been known to us for ages. All religions tap into the magical effect of the spoken word through prayers, chants, and songs. In fact, you may use these methods of manifesting to get what you want.
This sounds very much like one of the books on Goodreads, “The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today.”
“I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am successful.” “I am victorious. I am talented. I am creative.” “I am wise. I am healthy. I am in shape.” “I am energetic. I am happy. I am positive.” “I am passionate. I am strong. I am confident.” Transform your self-image and embrace the power of positive thinking with two simple words: declare “I Am” and celebrate the life God has created for you! Whatever follows the words “I am” will always come looking for you.
Metaphysics claims that you can create your own reality with your thoughts and words. This version of The Prosperity Gospel also teaches that you can use “repetition of words” combined with the power of faith to create your own reality or get exactly what you want.
Both use positive confessions or affirmations, which is saying what you want out loud repetitively, with the right amount of faith, expecting God or some universal force to grant your request and make it a reality. Thus, positive confessions or affirmations are speaking what you believe or what you want to believe and your words become reality in either The Prosperity Gospel or New Age Metaphysics.
I don’t hear much difference, do you?
In the Bible, faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 The Voice “Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.” In other words, faith is “a trust in a holy and sovereign God despite our circumstances and what we see or don’t see.”
In some of The Prosperity Gospel, faith is redefined as “a way of controlling God to give you what you want.”3 Faith then becomes a force. When you learn how to manipulate the “faith-force” you can get anything you want, eliminating the need to trust in a holy and sovereign God. In some cases, this principle goes so far as to state that God, Himself, is subject to this law, which operates independently of God. In essence, then, man becomes God.
Some teach, as mentioned above, that you can speak God’s Word over every area of your life and see miraculous results that are to your benefit. All you need is to
“confess” and have enough faith and God will transform the physical realm into an environment of blessing.
This has an aroma of trying to manipulate and control God instead of trusting in or having real faith in God.
Still, can we speak God’s Word and/or Romans 4:17 ESV “call into existence the things that do not exist?” What does the Word say?
Speaking God’s Word
Anne, a woman in her mid-thirties, married with two pre-teenage children, finally realized she needed to change. They were a very average middle-class family who went to the local denominational church. She helped with the PTA and other clubs for her kids.
One day at a PTA meeting, she made a comment to the lady sitting next to her about the person at the microphone. The lady stopped, turned, and said, “That was a very hurtful thing to say,” then got up and moved to a different seat.
Anne had always been negative and hurtful with her words because of abuse she had suffered as a child. God had been showing her how negative and hurtful her words really were. Having the other lady change seats got Anne’s attention. She had become very destructive to others and to her relationships. She had also noticed that her daughter was beginning to sound just like her, everything was a putdown.
Right then Anne decided to make a change. She consciously avoided making negative, hurtful comments. She was actually doing quite well being very conscious of not being negative, but she wasn’t seeing any positive changes in her life.
She didn’t see any changes in her daughter. The other women in PTA and other meetings still avoided her as if she had the plague. Her husband had become very distant. She hadn’t seen any change in his attitude either.
She took this to God asking for help. God showed her that not being negative wasn’t enough to make the changes she desired. She had to do more.
He showed her that her words were seeds she was sowing. So, when she stopped sowing bad seeds it did eliminate cultivating a field of weeds, but she still didn’t have a good crop. She needed to start sowing good seeds, which were positive words/seeds.
She had heard of God’s Word referred to as seed. So, she began going through the Bible to find Scriptures that referred to the changes she wanted in her life: forgiveness, love, peace, mercy, kindness. She compiled a “confession list.”
She made sure that everything on her list was in agreement with God’s Word. All of the items had Scriptural references, chapter and verse, so she wouldn’t get off into metaphysical thought. She wanted to be in line with the Word and in God’s will.
She began using Romans 4:17b ESV, “call into existence the things that do not exist.”
Anne had heard that Positive Confessions or Affirmations are focused solely on the positive aspects of what I want, my desires, and are directed back at me. They are self-centered, not God-centered.4 She wanted to stay away from the “name it & claim it.”
She had been told that Biblical Confessions were verbally acknowledging the truth of God’s Word: God’s promises, God’s will, and God’s power. She focused her confessions on the fact that God is faithful during her triumphs and, more importantly, during her struggles.
Using her list, she began confessing God’s Word consistently twice a day, before starting her day and just before going to bed at night. She soon began seeing positive changes in her attitude and how she viewed different situations and people. She also began noticing positive changes in her family.
When she prayed God’s Word, Biblical Confessions, she put her trust in God as her provider, her comforter, her guide and the one who created the path for her to follow.
She understood that when we confess God’s Word we are not trying to speak the selfish desires of our heart into existence. We are setting ourselves in agreement with God for His plan to come to pass in our lives.
Examples of Speaking God’s Word
David’s confession honored God:
1 Samuel 17:45-46 “Then said David to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the ranks of Israel, Whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will smite you and cut off your head. And I will give the corpses of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
A Scriptural confession for salvation and healing:
Isaiah 53:4-5, 1 Peter 2:24
I praise you, Jesus. You took my weaknesses and infirmities and you bore away my diseases. Jesus, Your Word says that you personally bore my sins in your body. You offered yourself on the tree so that I might die to sin and live to righteousness. And by the wounds you suffered at the whipping post, Jesus, I have been healed.
Father, I am attentive to your words. I incline my ear to your sayings. I will not let them depart from my eyes. I will keep them in my heart, for your words are life to me and health to my body.
2 Timothy 1:7
God, you have not given me a spirit of fear. You have given me a spirit of power and love and self-control.
Isaiah 40:29, 31
Father, you give me power when I am faint and weary. When I am weak, you, increase my strength. I wait for you, Lord, and you renew my strength. I will be lifted up with wings like eagles. I will run and not be weary. I will walk and not faint.
I will not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, I will make my request known to God. God’s peace which surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.
Anne began seeing changes in her attitude as she spoke positive things, especially God’s Word, over others and situations. Her daughter became less negative and hurtful. The ladies in the PTA began talking to her. Her husband also had a change of attitude and they began to like being together again.
As Anne discovered, praying God’s Word has a dynamic Positive effect on our lives.
by Dena Warfield
- Don Drury, Bible Teacher, Calhan, CO