Category: Is the Word of Faith movement biblical?


Once again I am going through Christian Groups on Facebook and discover someone “Pleading the Blood of Jesus.” I have one suggestion for all of you who are doing so: “Please Stop; it’s not Biblical.”

“Pleading the blood of Jesus” in prayer is a teaching that can be traced to some of the early leaders of the Word of Faith movement. When people speak of “pleading the blood of Jesus in prayer” they are referring to the practice of “claiming” the power of Christ over any and every problem by using the phrase “I plead the blood of Jesus over _______.”

“Pleading the blood of Jesus” has no basis whatsoever in Scripture. No one in the Bible ever “pleads the blood” of Christ. Those who “plead the blood” do so as if there was something magical in those words or as if by using them their prayer is somehow more powerful. This teaching is born from the misguided and heretical view of prayer that prayer is really nothing more than a way of manipulating God to get what we want rather than praying for His will to be done. The whole Word of Faith movement is founded on the false teaching that faith is a force and, if we pray with enough faith, then God guarantees us health, wealth, and happiness and will deliver us from every problem and every situation. In this view, God is simply a way to get what we want instead of being the holy, sovereign, perfect, and righteous Creator that the Bible reveals Him to be.

Those who teach this Word-Faith falsehood have an exalted view of man and our “rights” to plead what we want and get God to respond the way we want. This is in opposition to true biblical faith exemplified by Paul’s life and his approach to suffering and trials. Paul wrote that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But Word of Faith teaches that, if we suffer or are sick or struggle with sin, it is because we do not have enough faith or that we are not pleading the blood of Jesus to claim what is rightfully ours. But we do not see Paul pleading the blood of Christ or claiming what is “rightfully his” when he was faced with trials and persecution. Instead, we see his unwavering faith in Christ no matter what the situation: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Paul had “learned in whatever state I am in to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11–13). Paul’s faith was in Christ alone, and he could say with conviction, “The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever, Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:18).

“Pleading the blood” as it is commonly practiced has more in common with mysticism—reciting a magical formula and hoping it works—than it does with biblical prayer. Saying certain words does not make our prayers magically more powerful. Furthermore, “pleading the blood” of Christ is not needed to defeat Satan. He has already been defeated, and, if we are truly born again, Satan has no power over us other than what God allows for His purpose and glory. Colossians 1:13 makes this perfectly clear: “For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins.”

Rather than “pleading the blood” of Christ for protection or power, Christians should obey the command in James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Rather than practicing an unbiblical model of prayer, we are to follow the simple precepts of Scripture—leading a pure life before God, taking captive all our thoughts to avoid giving sin a place, confessing our sins when we fail those first two precepts, and putting on the full armor of God as outlined in Ephesians 6:13–17.

The Bible gives us numerous instructions in victorious living in Christ, and pleading “the blood of Jesus” is not one of them. We have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, and He is our High Priest and mediator who “always lives to make intercession” for us (Hebrews 7:25). As His sheep we are already under His protection; we simply need to live day by day trusting in Him for what He has already promised and provided.

Word of Faith teaching is decidedly unbiblical. It is not a denomination and does not have a formal organization or hierarchy. Instead, it is a movement that is heavily influenced by a number of high-profile pastors and teachers such as Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, and Fred Price.

The Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon, who studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Mind science (where “name it and claim it” originated) was combined with Pentecostalism, resulting in a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism. Kenneth Hagin, in turn, studied under E. W. Kenyon and made the Word of Faith movement what it is today. Although individual teachings range from completely heretical to completely ridiculous, what follows is the basic theology most Word of Faith teachers align themselves with.

At the heart of the Word of Faith movement is the belief in the “force of faith.” It is believed words can be used to manipulate the faith-force, and thus actually create what they believe Scripture promises (health and wealth). Laws supposedly governing the faith-force are said to operate independently of God’s sovereign will and that God Himself is subject to these laws. This is nothing short of idolatry, turning our faith—and by extension ourselves—into god.

From here, its theology just strays further and further from Scripture: it claims that God created human beings in His literal, physical image as little gods. Before the fall, humans had the potential to call things into existence by using the faith-force. After the fall, humans took on Satan’s nature and lost the ability to call things into existence. In order to correct this situation, Jesus Christ gave up His divinity and became a man, died spiritually, took Satan’s nature upon Himself, went to hell, was born again, and rose from the dead with God’s nature. After this, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to replicate the Incarnation in believers so they could become little gods as God had originally intended.

Following the natural progression of these teachings, as little gods we again have the ability to manipulate the faith-force and become prosperous in all areas of life. Illness, sin, and failure are the result of a lack of faith, and are remedied by confession—claiming God’s promises for oneself into existence. Simply put, the Word of Faith movement exalts man to god-status and reduces God to man-status. Needless to say, this is a false representation of what Christianity is all about. Obviously, Word of Faith teaching does not take into account what is found in Scripture. Personal revelation, not Scripture, is highly relied upon in order to come up with such absurd beliefs, which is just one more proof of its heretical nature.

Countering Word of Faith teaching is a simple matter of reading the Bible. God alone is the Sovereign Creator of the Universe (Genesis 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:15) and does not need faith—He is the object of faith (Mark 11:22; Hebrews 11:3). God is spirit and does not have a physical body (John 4:24). Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27; 9:6), but this does not make him a little god or divine. Only God has a divine nature (Galatians 4:8; Isaiah 1:6-11, 43:10, 44:6; Ezekiel 28:2; Psalm 8:6-8). Christ is Eternal, the Only Begotten Son, and the only incarnation of God (John 1:1, 2, 14, 15, 18; 3:16; 1 John 4:1). In Him dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). By becoming a man, Jesus gave up the glory of heaven but not His divinity (Philippians 2:6-7), though He did choose to withhold His power while walking the earth as man.

The Word of Faith movement is deceiving countless people, causing them to grasp after a way of life and faith that is not biblical. At its core is the same lie Satan has been telling since the Garden: “You shall be as God” (Genesis 3:5). Sadly, those who buy into the Word of Faith movement are still listening to him. Our hope is in the Lord, not in our own words, not even in our own faith (Psalm 33:20-22). Our faith comes from God in the first place (Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 12:2) and is not something we create for ourselves. So, be wary of the Word of Faith movement and any church that aligns itself with Word of Faith teachings.