What a tangled web we weave. Beyond a cliche, the statement is true of humankind. We look for ways to avoid reality. Consider this. We all have an out. A fix, if you will. Some turn to narcotics or alcohol. Some over-indulgence in eating. Some in hobbies. Others into their careers. Some turn to pornography or sex. Some indulge in holy-ghost charismatic meetings that appeal to feelings.
All of these indulgences are ways to escape reality. Before I begin to sound like we should not enjoy anything, Relaxation or enjoyment is something that God inspired as long as it is in the right context. Over-indulgence of anything can and likely will become at some point detrimental. Some of the above-mentioned things are illegal because they alter behavior dramatically. Others like pornography and false doctrine imprison the mind and hinder.
For myself, escaping reality comes naturally. I am a visionary or a dreamer. Be it conquest, materialism, arrogance, or what have you. These are the workings of the human mind. It is fabricated by what we see. Images build the persons we are or the people we will become. Daily we must remember to check our feelings or our thoughts with the ultimate reality- The Bible.
King James Version (KJV)
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
New International Version (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
So then reality for us as Christians is determined by the Bible
As humans we are programmed to respond to pain. In most cases we simply avoid it. In others we fight what hurts us. Some just learn to not respond to pain and live desensitized. In my first few years post WOF, as you will read on my “About” page, I simply suppressed the feelings I had towards those I knew had let me down. As time progressed, I met many wounded soldiers. These Christians had also been damaged by the false teachings and actions of those in WOF groups. Had the damages come from coworkers or bosses in the workforce, we would have forgotten them as time passed. We were let down by those who promoted themselves as God’s generals. The simple fact that when a man or woman attached the God factor to their life or ministry or calling, changed how we viewed them. In a sense they were placed on a pedestal. Also in a sense we idolized them. I remember when I was in the WOF we accumulated books, audio, and video of a mass of preachers. Had trading cards been available, we would have collected them and rehearsed their stats. Old ministers such as Charles Parham, the infamous Smith Wigglesworth, and the like. Their lives dissected and their claimed miracles remembered.
The fact of the matter is that we as humans are drawn to other humans. We as Christians should idolize only Jesus Christ. He is the only savior. The only answer. The only choice of God. He is the golden child, not you or me or some fancy pompous preacher or athlete.
So idolatry was a fault of mine. Bitterness would also be. Because I placed faith in man and was let down, I chose bitterness. I felt like it was my right. Indeed my mentors let me down. They chose money over truth. A gospel of greed and pride over a gospel of humility. I officially left the WOF in Dec. 2000. I kept in contact with several WOF friends until 2003 or 2004 we were continually hashing and rehashing the doctrines. I started a side business in 2001 which took up most of my time for the next several years. I had all but forgotten my old WOF friends however refused to affiliate with them because of their beliefs. In 2009 I would be confronted with some false doctrines about money and in my research I began to meet many new friends that had also come out of the WOF. I revamped an old website I had created warning about the dangerous Word of Faith gospel. I decided at this time that I wanted to delve into the doctrines rather than the preachers. The Word of Faith and similar teachers are controlled by the Puppet Master. He leads them to teach their doctrine with 3 lusts in mind. These are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These were the same lusts Satan tempted eve with in the garden.Gen 3:6 King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Once again in 1 John 2:16 King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
So in essence, the Word-of-Faith appeals to the lusts of man.
- Lust of the flesh- How I can feel good. Food, drink, creature comforts, total health
King James Version (KJV)
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
- Lust of the eyes- How I can amass things. Money, possessions such as cars, lands, livestock, trophy wife or consecutive wives, Luke 12:15
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
- Pride of life- Special revelation knowledge. Also self-importance based on that knowledge or a gifting or financial status. Romans 12:3
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
King James Version (KJV)
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
It was because of these things that deceived me that I had left the WOF. It was just in the last few years that I was, once again, defending my position against the WOF. Old WOF friends surfaced with questions and challenges about their beliefs. I left the website up but became weary of being bitter and just simply did not care anymore. I had made my opinion known and backed it up with ample scripture. Several refuse to walk away from WOF. Some are in too deep. They have family, wives, in-laws, etc they are obviously intertwined with, preventing or at least making it more costly to escape.
It was only a year ago that I would be challenged to truly forgive. Forgive myself for being deceived. Forgive those who were and are deceived. To come to the realization that there are no “men of God” amongst the Christians. Those who wronged me are mere men subject to flaws just like myself or any person. We who are believers and born again are all equal and all under Christ’s covering. The playing field positionally, is level.
I cant express how great it actually feels to know in my heart I have truly forgiven.
It has been awhile since I posted. It seems like I am reminded of the dangers of the Word-of-Faith when I am confronted with it. If I am perusing channels and come upon some spiritual sludge that a WOFer is vomiting. I am reminded often at church of how far-reaching this WOF false gospel goes. My current church is a Grace church and I really enjoy it. The message is righteousness by faith and focus on the work of the cross and on loving people. Unfortunately many of my fellow church-goers are enamored by a new WOF guy that teaches righteousness much like our pastor. He has charisma and captivates with every word. Most do not go about researching every preacher/doctrine like I do. (1 Pet. 5:8) We are to be diligent. Further looks at his website reveal that although he preaches “righteousness by faith”, he also mixes in WOF doctrines. Making the Word-of-Faith palatable is in my opinion one of the strongest tools utilized by these false teachers.
I was given the opportunity to speak at a local church recently. This was not something I’m familiar with anymore. It had been 9 or so years since I had spoken before a congregation prior to this. I really enjoyed it. I was able to speak to the group about a situation I had shared with them some 15 years ago about the same time as my Rhema experience. A con-man had been invited to the church to speak. No one knew who he really was although he had performed short series on TBN. He had a fancy suit and rolled $100 bills through his fingers like a casino pit boss. His limousine dropped him off at the front door. He made unbelievable promises to the congregation and raised $16,000 for himself that night. A very hard-working man in the congregation spotted him from afar and made the statement “this man has never worked a day in his life” No truer words had been spoken.
His promises stated that within 30 days a great number of the congregants that gave would see unusual and rare financial blessings greatly exceeding the gift amounts. After the 30 days were up the pastor spoke to all those present and not one had a miracle of any type done. The pastor repented before the congregation and vowed to never allow another WOF conman to return.
Situations like this are all too common in the WOF realm. Those that gave are warned that if they question God or man they will lose the promises they once believed God for. Blame is always placed on those at the bottom and those at top positions never share nor apologize. These are the ways of the WOF. They love other people only for their money, the hours they volunteer, or so they can count numbers of those people in their ministries.
Thankfully amidst all of this garbage, a true people of God exist spreading the love of God abroad. If you are reading this and you are involved in the WOF and recognize the improprieties or doctrinal inconsistencies, you are not alone. God has brought many out and will continue to do so.