CultureWatch

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Problems with the Positive Confession Movement

Sep 29, 2010

A major feature of the Word of Faith movement, and/or the Health and Wealth Gospel, is the emphasis on positive confession. It is a kind of mind-over-matter approach which says that one can command sickness, poverty or almost any other hardship to be gone. The message is this: health, wealth and prosperity are there for the taking, and it is only our lack of belief or negative confession that prevents us from enjoying the blessings. “What I confess, I possess” is a popular catchword often heard.

There are a number of biblical and theological problems with such teachings which I have discussed elsewhere. See for example:
billmuehlenberg.com/2009/05/18/will-the-real-gospel-please-stand-up/
billmuehlenberg.com/2009/11/23/a-review-of-christianity-in-crisis-21st-century-by-hank-hanegraaff/
billmuehlenberg.com/2010/04/30/l%E2%80%99oreal-christianity/

In addition to theological issues, one can also make a sociological assessment of positive confession. That is, how much of the positive confession message is really just a reflection of the “American dream”, of the desire to better oneself and one’s condition? While there is nothing necessarily wrong with wanting to improve one’s lot, much of this gospel can be a masquerade for greed and selfishness.

Such is the cultural climate that we live in that many Westerners want only to hear positive, uplifting and encouraging words. Gloom and doom messages don’t go down well in such a climate. As Quentin Schultze puts it, “America has strongly triumphalistic sensibilities, and televangelists are no exception. Hopeful, joyful, and optimistically prophetic words sell far better than depressing or despairing ones. Even when reporting a moral crisis or social calamity, televangelists offer a solution. Successful TV ministries testify to the American Dream and enjoin viewers to follow and believe it also.”

And at least one former successful televangelist has admitted as much. Former Praise The Lord Club leader Jimmy Bakker remarks several times in his autobiography I Was Wrong about how he would only invite guests to appear on his television show who shared positive and upbeat testimonies. Stories of victory and overcoming were staple fare, while negative and depressing stories were excluded: “I went so far as to refuse to have guests on our PTL television programs whose problems did not have a happy ending. Our programming took on a ‘Pollyanna’ tone, leaving people with the unrealistic impression that Christians did not have to struggle, or at least they lived ‘happily ever after’ if they did encounter troubles.”

He goes on to say that “much of what I had been teaching at PTL had given the impression that unless Christians were extremely successful, they were living a second-class spiritual life. It crushed me as I realized that millions of people might be feeling that God does not love them because they have not been able to attain a happy-go-lucky, pain-free existence.”

David Wells notes that this attitude characterises much of modern evangelicalism. “The wisdom common to many of our marketers is that, if it wants to attract customers, the Church should stick to a positive and uplifting message. It should avoid speaking of negative matters like sin.”

Or as Douglas Webster says “I wonder whether our quest for relevance needs to be in greater tension with faithfulness. Perhaps our preaching of the gospel has become too smooth, too predictable. We have tried so hard to package it for easy consumption that it no longer sounds like Jesus. We have become so practical that we no longer have anything to practice.”

And as Schultze points out, there is good reason for putting on such a positive face. The success of a televangelism ministry especially depends on funds raised by the audience. What better way to keep the funds rolling in than to give the audience what they want to hear? Televangelists “are ultimately dependent on their audiences, particularly their financial supporters, for their own future. They cannot simply preach what people ought to hear, but must preach what people desire to hear. Superstitious and largely ignorant of the faith, millions of Americans are easily persuaded to believe many things that they want to believe and to hope for things that are obviously ‘American’.”

Image of I Was Wrong: The Untold Story of the Shocking Journey from PTL Power to Prison and Beyond
I Was Wrong: The Untold Story of the Shocking Journey from PTL Power to Prison and Beyond by Jim Bakker Amazon logo

Or as Bakker has said elsewhere: “By and large, most of the church in the United States does not want to hear an apocalyptic message. It wants a message of health and wealth, hope, healing, and financial prosperity mixed with a measure of blathering psychobabble focused on getting our needs met. Rarely does anyone talk about sacrifice, repentance of sin, or our failure to be what God has called us to be. When, for example, was the last time you heard a message on the cost of discipleship? When was the last time you heard someone preach on the judgment of God or the horrors of hell? How often have you heard a message encouraging Christians to bear one another’s burdens? No, we simply want to be happy Christians. Seeds of the prosperity gospel I planted years ago have now borne fruit … and the fruit is poisonous”.

The psychology of all this is straight-forward enough: everyone wants to be popular. We all want to be liked and well-received. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. Going around all day bearing bad tidings is not the way to win friends and influence people. Indeed, given how much of the message of the prophets involved warnings of impending doom, of coming judgment, no wonder that the only popular prophets in the Old Testament were the false prophets.

In the light of this, one has to ask if some of the positive confessionists do not display some of the hallmarks of a false prophet. By telling people what they want to hear instead of telling people what they need to hear, some of these teachers are at best giving us only part of the gospel message.

Now it is good to be encouraging, uplifting and edifying. We are told in many places in Scripture to be and do just that. However, one is reminded of Paul’s words to the elders of Ephesus: “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God” (Acts 20:27). Or as the KJV has it, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God”. Is the whole counsel of God being proclaimed if we only give good news, upbeat testimonies and words of encouragement?

What about Paul’s instructions found in 2 Tim 4:2: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction”? We should certainly encourage when encouragement is due. We should always build up when necessary. But we should also rebuke, reprove, warn, challenge, and judge when needed as well. In the attempt to stress positive confession, and banish negative confession from the lips of believers, it is possible we are not hearing the whole counsel of God.

Positive confession may well be an expression of a healthy faith. It may well offer needed correctives to a defeatist and faithless church. However, it may also incorporate somewhat less spiritual motivations. It may also involve baser elements of the human personality.

The truth is, a life of health, wealth and happiness is nowhere guaranteed in Scripture for believers. Those who promise such a life are mistaken. Again, Jesus is our prime example. As the suffering servant, He is our model. We too should expect a life of hardship, difficulty and suffering. The servant is not above his master. No matter how much faith we have and no matter how spirit-filled we might be, suffering will be our lot.

As MacArthur puts it, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His own suffering and death, is an unequalled example of the reality that one can be completely in the will of God, supremely gifted and used by God in ministry, and perfectly righteous and obedient toward God, and still undergo tremendous suffering.”

Moreover, one needs to guard against confusing faith with making claims on God. One man’s faith is another man’s presumption. God is not to be told what to do, but is to be submitted to in fear and reverence. Yes, faith pleases God and opens doors. But in the end, what matters is not our great faith, but our faith in a great God. Ultimately, we have to say it is not our faith that heals us or saves us or prospers us. It is God’s sovereign and unmerited love and grace that is responsible for all this.

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44 Responses to Problems with the Positive Confession Movement

  • Thanks Bill
    I found this article particulary interesting. Thank you.
    Especially where David Wells points out the attitude of modern evangelicalism. “The Church should stick to a positive and uplifting message. It should avoid speaking of negative matters like sin.”
    I think that modern man today is afflicted with a deadly disease, not of the body but the soul. This disease has no bounds and afflicts young and old and middle aged. It is called “sinphobia”. Sinphobic societies are dangerous places to live. If we can no longer refer to sin as sin, then we shall soon stop speaking if sin at all.
    If we can no longer speak about sin, we cannot preach or teach about sin either. If sin is not mentioned, not preached about, not taught, how can we learn the truth about sin?
    If truth is no longer spoken, we soon find ourselves in a cesspool of lies. Lies are spiritually deadly and guide us away from truth towards a mentality of political correctness. Sinphobia impacts us especially how we vote. Cultures who cannot speak of sin, who believe there is no sin, typically elect leaders who believe there is no sin.
    This surely opens the way to immoral laws
    Anne Van Tilburg.

  • Thanks Anne

    Yes we certainly live in an age in which we are allergic to the very idea of sin. I try to redress this here:
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/12/08/whatever-became-of-sin/
    And here:
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/09/14/on-sin/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • It is funny that when the reading of Luke 16 19-31 last Sunday of the parable The Rich Man and Lazarus the word “Hell” was not in this translation being read from but I think translation was changed to “the place where dead people go”

    While not part of this discussion I am wondering if you have ever written on anti-Semitism. I am currently reading a book called Three Popes and the Jews by Pinchas E. Lapide. It is meant to be a defence on pope Pius XII. The first chapter is dealing with violence of the Jewish people by Christian hands. Historical figures say that seven million Jews were killed by 1925. That seems awfully high. I will also say it is an eye-opener looking on the Jewish viewpoint of Christianity that the Trial of Jesus in the Sarandon it is said never happened and that Pilate’s reluctance to sentence Jesus was an invention to carry favour with early Christians and the Roman Empire.

    Carl Strehlow

  • Thanks Carl

    I do write in defence of Israel often: https://billmuehlenberg.com/category/israel-and-the-middle-east/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill for all your articles.
    Anne van Tilburg

  • ” … one can command sickness, poverty or almost any other hardship to be gone. The message is this: health, wealth and prosperity are there for the taking …” Do people really fall for that … I mean, really?
    John Thomas, UK

  • Thanks John

    Unfortunately millions do, especially in America. But all around the world this teaching is quite popular.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • As far as suffering in concerned, with the possible exception of Paul’s thorn in the side, all Christian suffering in the Bible seems to me to be faith related. We will suffer martyrdom, ridicule, job loss, jail etc for our faith in Christ but I see nowhere in the Bible that Christians should suffer pain and illness. Jesus was the great healer and certainly can do so today. I guess you could say pain and illness are part of the fallen world which we are still in. I don’t know. My illness prevents me from doing so many godly things, what does he want from me?

    Sorry Bill, that started general and got personal. My comment come from someone who is searching for answers.

    Kylie Anderson

  • Thanks Kylie

    You raise some important issues here, and I hope to have another article up soon discussing them. Actually the Bible is full – from cover to cover – of passages telling us that believers do suffer, do feel pain, do hurt, do groan, do go through all sorts of hardships, trials and tribulations – and by no means are all of them faith related, that is, simply due to persecution and the like. And yes that is part of living in a fallen world, and is inescapable this side of heaven.

    I believe that the church has been greatly short-changed here, and we need to develop a theology of suffering. God evidently thinks so – he has an entire book on suffering included in His Word: the book of Job. But as I say, I will put up another article or two soon on all this, given how important it all is.

    In the meantime, you might check out this article which also deals with these issues: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/01/28/living-between-the-ages/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill; I understand where your coming from but I don’t think its helpful for a few reasons…..

    Name it & claim it theology was rightly bought into line atleast 30years ago by Kenneth Hagin who basically spearheaded our modern day movement. This was one of his ministry focuses which he saw take a slow turn away from what it was meant to be. He firmly wrote to his colleagues concerning it. This was also a movement away and in response to the Karl Barth notion which invaded our previous generation with awe, mystery & the otherness of God which resulted in people coming back to square one, with thoughts of an unpredictable God who was far away from human affairs, inspite of him being brilliant overall.

    This, just like the prosperity gospel was a distortion by disciples of the movement that turned people away instead of immediately addressing a balance.

    I’m not Pentecostal but am familiar with modern word of faith teachers and only recently heard a week long series on sin and a ‘suffering’ necessary to fulfil the will of God by them.

    Historically this is not what the Church needs more of, we have volumes of revelation of this over 1500 years, the problem is Christians tend to educate themselves according to their own denominational teachings and this causes bias and false alarms.

    I’m sure we could highlight more water baptism legalisms that exist over the historical course of The Baptist tradition your a part of which fail congregations even today that are sometimes too quick to get a member in the bath. (I love the Baptist Church btw)

    Having said all this the heart of people that really don’t believe in Jh 10:10 in my experience, are those that also believe that God can heal, but of course they rarely see it work. And for the record it has little to do with faith if a mustard seed portion moves a mountain, but rather its more to do with doubt and the theology that caters for it.

    Often times the truth most abused in one generation is the one most needed in the next. And because of this I pay no attention to the warnings of possible excess from those who are satisfied with lack.

    Bill, I do enjoy your articles though. I just hope you take some more time to further explore the healthy contributions of positive confession.

    Bill Riz

  • Hello Kylie,
    I can relate to what you say about illness preventing you doing so many godly things.
    I too have a few chronic health problems which stop me from doing many things, including being a regular church attender. However, I can still pray, minister to others when the Spirit leads me to do so, comment on blogs like Bill’s, continue to learn about the Lord, email others when I discover something that I would like to share about my faith … there are many things that you and I can do for the Lord. I continue to ask Him what He would have me do, and just do them.
    And never, ever give up.
    God bless.
    Paul de la Garde

  • Thanks Bill

    Actually in my article I did say some positive things about positive confession. And there is obviously much more that can be said about the issue than what can be squeezed into a 1000-word article. I have written other pieces on these topics, and will do some more in the future.

    And for what it is worth, I do know a bit about Hagin and all the other teachers and theologies involved, including their history, beliefs, teachings and practices. My PhD is up to 186,000 words on the topic, with over a thousand items in my bibliography. Maybe one day I will get it published in a large book or two. In the meantime I am running with bits and pieces of it here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Excellent, anyway I can get a copy of your Phd?
    Bill Riz

  • Thanks Bill

    Hey, not so fast! First of all, it is not finalised yet. And my supervisors should really get first crack at it, not the general public! And as I say, if it gets turned into a book or two, it will then be available for all. So you will have to hold onto your hat for a while. But as I mentioned, I will offer short articles from it now and then on this site.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • A couple of thoughts about the positive confession movement. Perhaps if our positive statements of faith began “God is” or “Jesus is” they would be more biblically accurate than to say “I am or have”. The concept of speaking things into existence because we are “little gods” is closer to New Age thinking than it is to Biblical truth. Of course to diligently study the scriptures and thank God and receive His promises is a far cry from confessing a new car or wealth, success and comfort. As a pentecostal Pastor for many years (in a previous “life) I’ve seen many peoples faith shipwrecked when their faith confessions failed and they thought God had failed them rather than they had misunderstood Gods word, priorities and principles. Just my two cents worth.
    Glenn Christopherson

  • Glenn; I understand your sentiments about those that have abused faith, but it wasn’t that long ago that most of the reformed church within the Body of Christ struggled to verbalise 2Corinthians 5:21 let alone confess it.

    Please do not use the ‘little gods’ arguement that all the online ‘herectic watchters’ use against word of faith preachers like Joyce Myer. None of the main proponents of word-faith say such things.

    Even if believers have failed in the promises of God or legitmatly gone astray from them, this should not subtract from the merits of good postive confession. I’ve seen it work enough in my life not to take such a negative approach.

    Theres something undeniable about the word,heart & mouth connection that I’m sure you’ve also experienced. If anything is should be explained more, not taken away from.

    Bless you x
    Bill Riz

  • Hang in there Kylie. I suffered for over 7 years with deep depression which led to a number of ailments which I still have. Some can be painful at times both physically and or mentally. Some days I wonder why I am still here. But I have learned and still learning to trust the Lord implicitly. I know he has a plan. I know this because I spent a great couple of days in His presence no to long ago.
    I know one day I will look back and see that this was worth it.

    Don’t worry about doing “Godly things”. All God wants is you. You to worship Him, to love Him, and to rely on Him.
    Something I am slowly getting my head around.

    God Bless
    Jeff Carl

  • Hi Kylie
    The Body of Christ is made up of many different members, and not every member can do the same thing, for the Body would be ineffective. Some people do great things, others can only do little things. Some might only be able to pray. All these actions are great things in the eyes of God.
    Every one in life has a cross of one kind or another, without exception. What makes a cross unbearable is trying to carry it without Our Lord, As soon as we regard suffering not as an enemy, but a sign of God’s love and an opportunity to save a soul, for that is what suffering is all about, suffering becomes a joy.
    Jesus Himself suffered for souls, and He told us that if you want to be a disciple of mine, pick up your cross and follow me. So suffering is a very important Godly work.
    If God the Father permitted His Divine Son to feel the agony of Calvary, it must be, that suffering fits into the Divine Plan.
    Anne Van Tilburg

  • Thanks again Bill

    As I said, I do know a bit about these teachers. Indeed, I have hundreds of their writings. And many of them have and/or still do teach the “little gods” theology. Some of the main leaders in this movement, and not just Joyce Meyer, have been pushing this for some time now. And that is only one area of concern. So we at least need to be clear as to what is actually being taught here, and by whom. But as I say, I will post more articles on this in the future, along with full documentation.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • One thing I ask is, why do Christians think we deserve wealth, riches, super good health just because we are Christians?

    Christians are people who recognise who God is, that we are sinners etc, and turn to Christ & God. Why does that automatically entitle us to anything. We are in and of ourselves no different to anyone else – better than some, not as good as others.

    If we want good health, let’s eat well, watch our weight & exercise etc like anyone else. If we want wealth, work hard & earn it honestly like anyone else.

    David Williams

  • Hi Kylie (and others)

    As promised, here is more on the issue. Suffering is a huge topic, but I look at how the New Testament deals with it in this new 2-part article:
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/09/30/suffering-in-the-new-testament-part-one/
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/09/30/suffering-in-the-new-testament-part-two/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill Riz

    Are you able to give any scriptural backing for your stand on the virtues of positive confession. I don’t want to convince you of MY view, but I do desire that we all discover God’s view. Have another look in your Bible and I will do the same. If you find any clear teaching confirming positive confession, material prosperity and success let us know.

    Glenn Christopherson

  • John Thomas, UK wrote:

    ” … one can command sickness, poverty or almost any other hardship to be gone. The message is this: health, wealth and prosperity are there for the taking …” Do people really fall for that … I mean, really?

    You betcha, people really fall for that here in South Korea where I am currently living and working. The most popular bible verse I see on wooden plaques in different shops and restaurants is Genesis 22:17, “I will bless you and give you many descendents…”. Not all of the churches teach health and wealth, but many do. it is much more prevalent here than I noticed back home in Canada.

    Some of my Korean acquaintances have told me that before Christianity, Korea was poor, but because they prayed to a “more powerful God”, they have become rich. Now, God does set the boundaries and times when nations flourish, and he does give blessings, but our blessings are in no way related to our piety, good deeds, or faithfulness.

    Look at Saul/Paul, preacher extraordinaire – his life was certainly no rose garden – he was mocked, beaten, flogged, stoned, shipwrecked, bitten by a venomous snake, and plenty more besides.

    Dan Brinkman

  • David said:

    One thing I ask is, why do Christians think we deserve wealth, riches, super good health just because we are Christians?

    David in my experience the argument goes like this in the OT God give a lot of promises of material wealth, fertile lands, many children etc, while the curses for disobedience are closed wombs, drought, famine, etc. Since Christians are the new Israel we can claim any of the promises in the OT related to Israel and of course modernise them too general health, wealth and prosperity.

    I’m not saying I agree, just asking your question.

    Bill, thanks, I didn’t expect such a long response to my question. I will go and read it.

    Kylie Anderson

  • Hi Kylie

    Hey, if you ask serious questions, I will give serious answers – even long ones!

    And you are right that the health and wealth gospellers try to claim the promises made to Israel in the OT as their own. I think they are quite wrong in this, and will have to pen another article – or two! – to explain.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I’ve wrestled with the prosperity/word of faith teaching a bit over the years. It is particularly challenging for me because some of my best friends believe it fervently and follow the teachings of the prominent teachers in this movement. I try to have a balanced and openminded perspective on the prosperity gospel. I think maybe it is not all black and white and there are aspects of the message that are true. However, I definitely think that some of the teachings of the main teachers are heretical and dangerous. I know and have come across many people who have experienced emotional and spiritual abuse in churches that teach these beliefs. It is especially dangerous when suffering and hurting people are treated cruelly rather than with compassion.

    I have listened to a fair bit of Joyce Meyer’s sermons and I have found them helpful. I don’t agree with everything she says but some of it is alright.
    I believe that it is legitimate to prosper but for the purpose of serving others and it is a blessing to be thankful for rather than something we have a right to demand from God. I have found that there is also maybe a problem amongst Christians on the left of being anti-wealth and anti-prosperity to the point that it contradicts any realistic way of helping the poor. I think good stewardship of resources can lead to prosperity but self indulgence and greed can lead to poverty.

    Conor Ryan

  • Thanks Conor

    Well said. I am with you.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Glenn; Forget everything you’ve heard previously from other ministers explanation and application on the virtues of positive confession. (I dislike the new age term btw)

    Not all these verses reflect directly, but they paint a picture on the heart of God on the matter. Revelation within is multi layed and others are plain & obvious. To name a few-:

    Matt 12:34
    Proverbs 18:21
    Mark11:23
    Rom 10:9
    Matt 17:20
    Numbers 14:28
    Romans 4:17

    Apart from this there are numerous examples of Jesus speaking faith into his surroundings audibly as an example to the disciples and us now.

    The crux of the matter is in those that oppose charasmatic theology, they focus on the mistakes rather than the greater revelation that has come forth. Either you think God started and revived it or you think its from Satan, simple. I can with many more words take you back to the first church and its fathers that believed more along these lines than how we do today.

    I believe the correct question would be to pull apart 1 John 4:17 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. ”

    If we are willing to do a thorough sitz em leben (I’m sure Bill if he’s part German will appreciate that) I’m sure clearer answers will emerge.

    For the record Bill I’ve been listening to Joyce Myer daily for over a decade as dinner music 🙂 I know she’s not perfect or deep but am certain she has been misintepreted many times, many ways.

    Bill Riz

  • Conor, nice post.
    Bill Riz

  • Thanks again Bill

    Of course the issue is not whether texts can be offered by the positive confession crowd. There would be a number of them which they can and do appeal to. The real issue is whether they do justice to their handling of such texts. Needless to say I address a number of these passages in my PhD, and may soon use a portion of that for yet another article on this whole topic, so stay tuned!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, can I ask the development of your decision to write a PhD along these lines?
    Bill Riz

  • Thanks Bill

    My interests are in ethics, theology, and apologetics especially – among other things. And the problem of suffering is one of the key concerns in all three disciplines. It is vital that believers get some solid biblical thinking on this issue.

    So my thesis is really about the problem of suffering and evil, and how the health and wealth gospel deals with such important issues. Suffering of course is a mega-topic, with apologetic, theological, philosophical, pastoral and other concerns arising. We need to have a right understanding of what Scripture says about suffering and evil. As I say, we need to develop a theology of suffering. But from my vantage point the H&W gospel does a very poor job indeed in dealing with suffering and evil.

    Originally I was going to look at how free-will theism addresses these topics as well, but that would have been much too large, so I focused just on the H&WG.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • One thing is certain, until The Church can unite on the greater portion of what they agree on the little they don’t will remain as idols and monuments to abortion legislation & the like.

    For what it’s worth can I recommend St Athanasius and his thoughts about the humiliation and incarnation of The Word as one point of reference for your theology of suffering.

    Bill Riz

  • Yes Athanasius is always well worth while.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill Riz
    I have of course heard these scriptures used out of context many times to defend what you have rightly called a new age concept.
    It’s clear from scripture that the false prophets were noted for bringing out the false positive confession of peace, peace when there was no peace while the true prophets brought forth the “negative confession” of “Repent and obey or judgement will come” It’s interesting that when Peter attempted to bring a positive confession that Jesus would not suffer, he was soundly rebuked by the Lord (Mt 16:22-23).
    Glenn Christopherson

  • Glenn, maybe if the word was first alive in the heart of people and disciples were moreso the ‘prophets’ of their own lives, pending judgement would not have arrived.

    I do suppose you subscribe to the protestant side of Christendom, wasn’t this the heart of the reformation? Putting people in a position to hear & do themselves?

    In your Mt 16 example, the revelation from God to Peter about Jesus as Christ was vocally exhorted and blessed by the receiver, this came a few verses before the rebuke and error.

    So he was essential confirmed in his big mouth rhetoric but not when his theology was wrong. Its interesting the chapter focus that people take.

    Bill Riz

  • Keep preaching this Bill… Triumphalism is heretical – only the risen Lord will return triumphant.

    Let’s keep preaching “take up your cross and follow me”

    and,

    “He who hates his life shall lose it, but he who hates his life will save it”.

    Thanks,

    Paul Evans

  • I personally am one that believes that it is God’s will to see us healed and every time. Unfortunately we do not always see this and I do believe that it is usually down to the abundance of doubt and lack of faith of the one that prays.

    May I suggest that we all as Christians at least take a couple of minutes in our day to join together in a prayer for those who in this particular blog have made mention that they are suffering illness and let’s have faith that our awesome and perfect Jesus will save, heal and deliver all those that are bound.

    Kylie, Paul and Jeffrey, I’m sending a few prayers up for you all 🙂

    Mario Del Giudice

  • Thanks Mario

    I don’t doubt that God can heal, but I place my emphasis on God’s sovereignty, not on human faith. But on a related front, as I was interviewed by CBN today, along with Danny Nalliah, I was told of an Age article this past weekend which incredibly reported one of the miracle stories from Catch the Fire Ministries: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/i-was-raised-from-dead-woman-tells-20101001-1614w.html

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Paul Evans; How have you confused escaping judgement with Triumphalism? You better have another look at that.

    The fact is this, tribulation will come; Some people handle it better than others.

    Those that pick and choose portions of the bible to brand as personal theology miss out on many things in The Lord, and are just as guilty as those they accuse.

    1 Jh 4:4
    1 Jh 5:18

    Bill Riz

  • Thank you Bill and all the others who wrote in. Chesterton wrote an essay on Job in which he noted that it was one of the oldest books and God used it to teach the Jews that blessings were not the result of our piety and that the converse was also untrue.
    He sends his rain on the just and unjust!
    Positive confession theology can fix the focus on self pathologically and can be a real barrier to agape love – which is paradoxical as the exponents talk a lot about the Holy Spirit.
    Andrew Robinson

  • Thanks Andrew

    Yes quite right. The book of Job certainly challenges the faulty theology of the health and wealth gospellers.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Sorry guys I really don’t want to hog this blog, but in response to Andrew; Is this something you’ve tried or just read about?

    Positive/bible confession does not cause a focus of self in my life, quite the reverse it remind me of who I am in HIM. Furthermore it helps develop The Love already within.

    Concerning Job; In my visits across denominations and within a short period of evangelical history I would go so far as to say that this book is the most mis-quoted of all;

    “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away”

    I realise it as inappropriate to post a complete exegesis but I’ll just say this, that we can be quite sure Job had no revelation of Satan who administers evil even though God created it.

    A tipping point in this book for me is when he spoke “What I feared has come upon me” Wow I just realised that interesting enough this could be seen as a -ve confession if you will? But more importantly there was clearly evil forebodings already at work in his heart and his sacrifices were therefore not of faith but offered in doubt.

    Blessings
    Bill Riz

  • Your usual brilliant best Bill. From one who was a country kid thrown into the deep end into the midst of this consuming fire at bible college in the USA and having and experiencing the whose who of this aberrant (I am being kind) movement the end result being my hair being changed from brown to grey in the process and a face to face meeting with the living God over my own deception in which my faith hang in the balance. I warn people at every opportunity, usually without much success I must add, that this movement is not of God, it’s roots are firmly outside the church in the metaphysical so called sciences and it has destroyed the faith of multitudes of believers including not just a few personal friends. The first book I recommend to those interested (and there are many) is “A Different Gospel” by D R McConnell updated edition. First produced for a masters Thesis. I would also like to tell those playing with this thing even partly justifying it “DONT” or you will be taken in and remind them how error comes riding into the church on the back of truth and is made to appear more true than truth itself. I conclude with a quote from church father from the second century Irenaeus. Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest being thus exposed,it should at once be detected.
    But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as by its outward form,to make it appear to the inexperienced, more true than truth itself.

    Rob Withall

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