New Thought: Faith as a force.

   In the theology of New Thought, there are two forces at work in creation. The greater of these forces is called faith, the lessor, fear. Much like the light and dark sides of the force available to Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars trilogy, mankind can and will submit to one or the other, bringing either total health and prosperity, or total calamity upon himself.
Christian Apologist, and New Age critic Ron Rhodes put it this way:

   "According to New Thought, human beings can experience health, success, and abundant life by using their thoughts to define the condition of their lives. New Thought proponents subscribe to the 'law of attraction'. This law says that just as like attracts like, so our thoughts can attract the things they want or expect. Negative thoughts are believed to attract dismal circumstances; positive thoughts attract more desirable circumstances. Our thoughts can be either creative or destructive. New Thought sets out to teach people how to use their thoughts creatively."1

   The Profits of Got have merely taken this cultic concept and redefined the creative force as faith, and the destructive force as fear. Then, needing biblical support, they began wresting the scriptures completely away from their intended contextual meanings. The end result is subsequently regurgitated as Christian to the unknowing masses.

   In Greg Durand's article, "The Teachings of Kenneth Copeland," he quotes Kenneth Copeland as saying, "faith is power. It is a force."2 Furthermore, on the same tape Cope-land goes on to say that faith "is used by God;" and that God used His faith to create the world and everything in it. Copeland goes on to deny that God created everything out of nothing when he says, "the whole thing was born out of the force of faith that was resident inside the being of God."3

   That it is known by these Profits of Got that this concept is cultic, and that it is also used by adherents to New Age theology can be seen in the words of Kenneth Copeland:

   "Now you can put some kind of a mental confession in your mouth but Jesus said that of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and that's when the action takes place, because that's when the spiritual force is brought up out of the mouth; whether it be fear, or whether it be faith. And when that spiritual force comes out, it is going to give substance to the image that's on the inside of you.  Ahhh that's that visualization stuff! Ahh that's that New AgeNaw, New Age is trying to do this. And they get somewhat results out of it because this is a spiritual law brother."4

   This statement can be construed as an admission of the obvious; New Age philosophy and Positive Confession theology are synonymous. They are both the offspring of New Thought Metaphysics.

   As an example of this faith/fear force, these individuals appeal to the story of Job.  Job is the make or break point in this theology. If he is faithful and true to God, then why did calamity befall him. If positive confession is truly "spiritual law," then Job must be dealt with. His dilemma had to be brought on by himself, rather than being God's sovereign will, for their claims to be substantiated. Thus, Job must fall.

   In his program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, popular Faith teacher Benny Hinn once asserted:

   "You know what? We've said this a million times and it's not even scriptural; all this because of Job: 'The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord'. I have news for you; that is not Bible, that's not Bible. The Lord giveth and never taketh away. And just because he said 'Blessed be the name of the Lord', he was just being religious. And being religious don't mean you are right."5

Fred Price put it this way:

    "We've even used the statement that Job made; which was an incorrect statement.  And if you learn, I can't go into that now because it's too involved.  But Job said 'the Lord has given and the Lord has taken away', how many times have you heard the preacher say that, at a funeral." Mr. Price then mockingly mimics a preacher reciting these words, after which he forcefully asserts; "How are you going to bless God and he just took your wife? Now that's the dumbest thing in the world."6

   In New Thought theology, it was Job's fear, rather than God's sovereignty that brought about the calamities in his life.  In the words of Charles Capps; "Job activated Satan by his fear when he said; 'The thing which I have greatly feared is come upon me' (Job 3:25).  Active faith in the Word brings God onto the scene.  Fear brings Satan on the scene."7 (parentheses his)
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Biblical Christianity: Faith Is A Complete Reliance And Trust In God, Accepting What He Has Done, And No Matter What He Does.

   Hebrews 11:1 (NASB), "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Biblical faith isn't a force at all. Faith, according to the Bible, isn't some kind of power source that we manipulate in order to get God to give us what we want.  Rather, it is being assured and being completely convinced that what God says is true.  Here are some examples of Biblical faith from Hebrews 11:

  • Verse 7, Noah - because he had faith in God, Noah spent 100 years building an Ark to deliver them from flood-causing rains that, although he had never seen anything like it before, God said it would come.

  • Verses 17-19, Abraham - because he had faith in God, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac; since God had previously promised Abraham many descendants through Isaac, Abraham reasoned that God would simply raise him from the dead (what faith!)

  • Verse 28, Moses - Moses kept the first Passover feast because he believed that God would indeed preserve the first born of those who observed it from the final plague in Egypt.

   The "force of faith" of the Positive Confession movement is closer in design to the incantation of witches than it is to what is taught in scripture. If one speaks the correct incantation he can change his reality. Faith teacher Benny Hinn admitted as much during one of his many discussions with Trinity Broadcasting Network founder Paul Crouch, when he asserted:

       Benny Hinn:  "Witches even..I mean..I'm not here to talk about witches but, but I'll tell you this."

       Paul Crouch:  "They..they underthey know the secret."

       Benny Hinn:  "Because see I had a witch tell me this. And I said what!? She said, listen to me, she said do you know that we are taught in witchcraft how to kill birds with words, and how to kill people with our mouth. I said what do you mean kill  people? She said we are taught with words to bring disease on men. I said how? She said by speaking certain words (unintelligible) she said we can actually cause sickness that could very well kill."8

  Again, we see the recognition by faith teachers that their teachings are better compared to cultic and occult sources, than they are to the clear teachings of scripture. True faith, as defined and depicted in scripture, is an unswerving trust in God in spite of you circumstan- ces. The classic example of this kind of faith is found in the faith (not fear) of Job.

   I made the statement earlier, that Job is the make or break point for the faith formulas of New Thought teachers. This is so because of what, in logic, is called the Law of Non-Contradiction. This law states simply, that if an all-inclusive statement is made concerning any issue, and it is shown that there is even one exception, then the entire statement is incorrect. For example: if I made the all-inclusive statement that all trees in Ohio were Oak trees, and someone showed me just one Pine tree, my entire statement is incorrect. I didn't say most were Oak, I said all. This rule stands true for promoters of the Positive Confession movement.  In their theology, "all" instances of calamity, sickness, and disease are brought on by the fears of the recipient, and never because of the sovereignty of God. The account of Job collapses this all-inclusive premise.

   As we've seen to this point, Faith teachers contend that it was Job's own fear, rather than the sovereignty of God, that precipitated the calamities that occurred in his life. They assert that in chapter 1:5 that Job was a man of perpetual fear because he "rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings" for his children, just in case they had "sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." They then cite 3:25 to show that Job feared calamity for himself. It is because of these fears, they contend, that calamity did fall upon him. The biblical text, however, teaches otherwise. While it is true that Job was a cautious man for his children. And it is also true that Job had a fear of calamity (we all do, whether we admit it or not).  this still doesn't explain contextually, why calamity actually befell him; and the answer is right there in the text. This passage opens with a rousing endorsement of Job's character and practices:

"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." (verse 1) 

   After identifying Job's family, the amount of his possessions, and his reverent nature, the scene shifts to heaven where the angels of God "present themselves before the LORD."  Satan comes with them, and our encounter begins.

   As Satan comes on the scene, God asks him where he was coming from. Satan replied that he had come from surveying the earth. God then brings Job into the conversation; "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" So it was God himself, rather than Job's fear, that brought him to the attention of Satan. It should also be noted that God echoes and expands upon the assessment made of Job in verse 1; and this after it is said that Job made cautious sacrifices for his children continually. Was God lying?

   When invited by God to consider Job, Satan begins complaining;" Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land." (verses 9b, 10)  Satan than challenges God in verse 11 to allow catastrophe to occur in Job's life, because then Job would curse him "to his face." It should also be noted that this text also collapses two other New Thought points of doc-trine, the impotence of God on the earth; and the sovereignty of Satan on the same. If Satan is in control on earth, why did he complain that God was protecting Job on every sideon the earth? Food for thought.

   In response to Satan's complaint; God gives Satan permission to cause calamity to befall Job's possessions. This would prove to Satan that he was in error concerning Job's reverence of God being based upon the security of his wealth,. (verse 12)  Satan moves swiftly to destroy all that Job possesses. Job's response to losing his wealth?

"Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and
worshipped, And said, 'Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return
thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord'."
                                                                                           (verses 20, 21- emphasis mine)

   Unlike the responses of Benny Hinn and Fred Price to this text, scripture declares; "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." (verse 22)  If Job didn't charge God foolishly, then he was correct in his recognition that God allowed this calamity to befall him.

   Interestingly, King Solomon and the Apostle Paul echo the same attitude concerning the relationship of material possessions to life and death as did Job in Ecclesiastes 5:15 and I Timothy 6:7, respectively. Compare:

  • Job said:  "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return  thither."

  • Solomon said:  "As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came."

  • Paul said:  "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."

   Are we to believe that Solomon, Paul, Job, and God are wrong and the Faith teachers are right?  I think not!

   Chapter 2 opens with the angels, (and Satan) presenting themselves before God again.  Satan is again asked; "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" For the third time thus far, Job's character before God is vouched for; at the beginning of the book, after his supposed fearful actions, and after he lost all of his wealth, with the latter two being from Almighty God himself. Further, after God's latest endorsement of Job's character, he declares that; "still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause." (verse 3; emphasis mine) Two things jump out in this verse that are of note:

       1. God is bragging to Satan about Job's integrity!! 

       2. God himself says that these things happened to Job by no fault of his own; "with-                 out cause."

   Job passes this encounter with flying colors. This was a test of true faith. He trusted God in spite of the loss of his wealth, in spite of the loss of his health, in spite of the disdain of his wife, and in spite of the accusations of his friends. Job trusted God complete-ly. This is seen in his words of faith; "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."9 True faith holds to God regardless of one's health and/or wealth circumstances. Even through adver-sity, true faith assures us that God is working behind the scenes for a greater purpose; even when we don't see it. (Prov 16:4; Rom 8:28) One would think that health, wealth and faith teachers would know this.

   While I encourage the reader to study the entire account of Job to see what transpired as this story unfolds, I believe that ample irrefutable proof has been illustrated to show that not only are the faith teachers wrong about Job, but also, their theology fails the Law of Non-Contradiction miserably. Job's catastrophes befell him, not because of fear or secret sin, but because God was making a point to Satan. It should also be pointed out here that this isn't the only such case recorded in scripture.10 God is sovereign! 
1. Ron Rhodes book (1990) entitled  "The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age Movement"  p. 149. Baker Book House publishers.
2. Kenneth Copeland Ministries audiotape #01-0601, tape #1.
3. ibid.
4. Christianity in Crisis (audiobook), tape II, side 3.
5. Aired November 3, 1990 on TBN.
6. Christianity in Crisis (audiobook), tape II, side 3.
7. Charles Capps book (1976) entitled  "The Tongue - A Creative Force"  (Harrison House), p.92.
8. Christianity in Crisis (audiobook), tape II, side 3.
9. Job 13:15.
10. John 1:1-3 records the account of a man blind from birth, not because of sin, but because of God's will.