By Brannon S. Howse
Much of what we see in the Word of Faith movement and New Apostolic Reformation is "Christianized" shamanism. Dave Hunt warned about this growing trend in his 1985 best-selling book, The Seduction of Christianity, when he wrote:
Shamanism promises power to heal and transform through contact with a parallel universe of the spirit, from which this mysterious energy is allegedly drawn. That contact is said to be made in our minds: The thoughts we think and the words we speak become the vehicles of spiritual power. Those who accept this concept become victims of the great delusion that displaces God with self. In seeking power for self, they have become susceptible to the power of Satan. Nevertheless, even as the irrefutable evidence mounts documenting its destructive and evil power, shamanism's popularity and general acceptance is exploding in the secular world, and in "Christianized" forms is gaining increasing acceptance within the church.
Hunt warns of the occult foundation upon which a vast majority of the Word of Faith movement is based:
The mental images that one is able to picture or visualize are no longer looked upon as mere figments of the mind, but as reality created by the mind that can even impact the physical world. The intimate relationship between thinking, speaking, and seeing (and the power thereby produced) has formed the basis of occult theory for thousands of years. The metaphysical philosophy underlying Positive Thinking and Possibility Thinking as well as major aspects of the Positive Confession movement is founded upon the alleged power inherent within thoughts and words.
Please understand that I am not saying the individuals and groups discussed in this chapter are deliberately practicing shamanism or sorcery. Many believe they are practicing something biblical, but clearly it is not. Dave Hunt also saw this coming:
…the terminology, while sounding biblical, promotes concepts that cannot be found in the Bible, but are found in occult literature and practice. Moreover, some of the Positive Confession leaders not only admit but teach that the methods, laws, and principles they use are also used successfully by occultists. Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate or even imply that the people of God are to use the same methods or powers as the pagans.
As we will examine later in this chapter, self-professing Christians and even pastors attribute to God the New Age "law of attraction" which is elsewhere promoted by people like Oprah Winfrey.
If you're not acquainted with some of these teachers, you'll be amazed at what passes from their lips as Christian teaching. Take, for example, this transcript of a Gloria Copeland teaching:
Copeland-You know, you're the – you're supposed to control the weather. I mean, Ken's the primary weatherman at our house, but when he's not there I do it. And you can see what's happening out there. It shows just like they have on – at the weather – like on the news. I mean, he's got the computer that's got the current weather on it and all that for flying. So sometimes I'll hear something, I'll hear the thunder start, and maybe he'll still be asleep, and I'll say, "Ken, you need to do something about this." [Laughter]
And knowing that – but you are the one that has authority over the weather. One day Ken and Pat Boone, when we were at Hawaii at their house, and we were – they were setting outside, and there was a weather spout out over the ocean.
And that's like a tornado, except it hits the water. And so they were sitting there and they just watched it, rebuked it, and it never did anything. One day, I was in the airplane, in the back, and my little brother was in the back with me, and Ken was up front flying. And we were not in the weather, because we don't fly bad weather, but we could see the weather over here. And I looked out the window and that tornado came down just like this, down toward the ground. And Ken said, "I rebuke you in the name of Jesus. You get back up there!"
So this is how I learned how to talk to tornados. I saw this. And that tornado went [makes repeated whooping noise], even while I was watching. And my little brother was not a devout Christian at that time, and that was really good for him to see.
So you're the weatherman. You get out there-or the weatherwoman, whichever it is, and you talk to that thing, and you tell it, "You're not coming here. I command you to dissipate! And you get back up there in Jesus' name!" Glory to God. That-I won't charge you extra.
My friend Justin Peters is one of the leading experts (if not the leading expert) in America on the unbiblical teachings of the Word of Faith movement. As a guest on my radio program, he responded this way to Gloria Copeland's weatherman episode:
If this is true that Gloria Copeland and others in the Word-Faith movement can control the weather, then might we ask where she was when hurricane Katrina came into town? Might we ask why she doesn't, right now, talk up some rain to the people in drought stricken countries in eastern Africa? It's just, it's absurd on its face, but this [W-F theology], unfortunately, is the face of Christianity in much of the world today.
Gloria Copeland saying that we can control the weather, and what I teach in my seminar is, "Who else does this remind you of? Does it remind you of Someone Who, one day, was in a boat with His disciples and a storm came up, and He spoke to the storm and calmed it?" The Word-Faith proponents denigrate God's deity. They demote God to make Him look more human than what He is, and then in return they deify man to make us look more like God than what we really are. They ascribe to man attributes and powers that reside solely with God, and so they blur that distinction between God the Creator, and us, His created. That is a very, very dangerous line to blur.
Another popular Word of Faith teacher is Benny Hinn, who, like many Word of Faith teachers, seems to believe that instead of man serving God, God is to serve man. Note this interchange between Hinn and Myles Munroe:
Benny Hinn-We get the mind of God about His will, we pray it. When we pray it, we give him legal right to perform it.
Myles Munroe-Yes. Let me define prayer for you in this show. Prayer is man giving God permission, or license, to interfere in earth's affairs. In other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference….God can do nothing on earth, nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving him access….Always looking for a human to give him power of permission. In other words, God has the power, but you got the permission. God got the authority and the power, but you got the license. So even though God can do anything, he can only do what you permit him to do.
God does not need our permission to do anything. Psalm 115:3 declares, "But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases." In Psalm 135:6, we read, "Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth." And Psalm 103:19 announces, "The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all."
The Word of Faith movement is a sister to the New Apostolic Reformation with its "prophets" and "apostles." The NAR and WOF false teachers not only preach another gospel, but they preach philosophies and practices derived from the occult. The Church must beware of the Christian and pro-family leaders who have given these groups credibility.
While false teachers have been around since biblical times, infiltration of the church has increased alarmingly, just as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24.
Well known evangelical and pro-family leaders have joined in events, alliances, and common causes with a shocking array of unbiblical partners. As a result, many contemporary "Christian" leaders embrace and encourage the false Jesus and false gospels of Mormonism, the New Age Movement, Roman Catholicism, Word of Faith teachers, the New Apostolic Reformation, Eastern Mysticism, and the spiritual left.
Our bitterest philosophical enemies have made it past the gatekeepers of both mainstream and evangelical Christian thought, and anti-Christian worldviews have assembled within the walls of our churches. As a result, hostile forces wreak havoc in the minds and hearts of believers who are caught unaware.
"Certain men" are indeed creeping in unnoticed, but God is still in charge-and working decisively through those who will not exchange any of the truth for a lie. Religious Trojan Horse will help you become one of the ones stand against the invaders.