"Growing Dangers in the Positive Confession Faith Teachings" (an article from the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 1:
Number 3, 1988, page 3) by Walter Martin.
In 1980, on a cassette entitled "The Errors of Positive Confession," and in subsequent tapes, which have been widely distributed nationally and internationally, I warned that the teachings of Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Earl Paulk, Charles Capps, and others of the so-called "faith teachers" were a perversion of biblical theology and could only lead to deeper heretical doctrines.
Since that time the doctrines of the born-again Jesus and of Christians being little gods have evolved from the original positive confession teachings. Christians are now being told that Jesus Christ not only needed to die on the cross for their sins but also suffered in hell for them, and then needed to be born again in order to become their Savior! People have been misled into believing that men are little gods since they were made in the image and likeness of God and are to take dominion over the earth because of their godhood.
It is an unchanging law that heresy begets heresy and error begets error when men depart from the objective authority of the Scripture.
This does not at all necessarily mean that individuals who fall into these errors are unbelievers. It need only mean that they are ignorant or sincerely mistaken. But those who refuse to repent of their heresies when shown the error of their ways must be classified as false teachers in the biblical sense.
Certainly, we at CRI are all for faith healing in its proper biblical sense. But to teach people that their faith is sovereign over the sovereignty of God is a gross perversion of the Bible. It is God who is on the throne of the universe, not the faith of His creatures. We are informed in 1 John 5:14 that if we ask anything "in accordance with His will" He hears us. It is axiomatic that if it is not in accordance with His will, He will not grant our petition no matter how sincerely we ask or how great the magnitude of our faith.
The faith movement has proven itself to be a divisive force splitting churches, dividing families, and leaving a trail of broken spirits and bodies belonging to those who believed that all they had to do was confess with their mouth and God was obligated to obediently perform. The God of the Bible is not some divine bellhop who jumps at the exercise of our faith. He is the sovereign Lord who works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), and, when it pleases Him, graciously takes into account the faith of His children.
The so-called positive confession movement has done a great disservice to the body of Christ by paving the way for the errors of the born-again Jesus, the little gods, and the dominion theology doctrines. In the end these things will come to nothing, because, as the Lord has reminded us, "Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me ... I am the first and I am the last, and apart from Me there is no God" (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6).
The Lord Jesus Christ died once for all, offering one sacrifice for sin forever. Nowhere does the Bible teach that He ever suffered in hell or that men may become gods. This is Mormon theology, cultic theology, and Christians should beware when they hear it. This theology divides and does not unite the body of Christ, and must be avoided at all costs (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:9-11).
Because the following text was right at hand when I prepared the above material -- and because it was so brief -- I felt that it should be included in the same file. Please note that the material below is from an out-of-print booklet CRI used to sell and is no longer available.
1st Edition, Copyright March 1991, Christian Research Institute
by Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
Much of the mail which Christian Research Institute receives concerns the teaching known variously as positive confession, the "faith" (or "Word-Faith") teaching, and the "prosperity" doctrine. Some of the best-known American televangelists subscribe either partly or wholly to this teaching. Its chief representatives today seem to be Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Fred Price, Robert Tilton, and Benny Hinn, though there are many other evangelists, teachers, and writers promoting the teaching.
It is our considered opinion that this teaching, at least in its complete form as expressed by the above men, is at best extremely aberrational and at worse heretical. (We use the term "aberrational" to refer to teaching which is decidedly unbiblical and damaging to authentic Christian faith, but which is not quite so heretical that its adherents must be considered non-Christians.) CRI has attempted to meet with these men and dialogue with them concerning their teachings, but most of them have refused. We were able, however, to meet with some of them and discuss a few of our concerns. We are continuing our efforts to engage these men in dialogue.
In brief, the teachings of these men may be summarized as follows: God created man in God's class (or, as little gods), with the potential to exercise the God kind of faith in calling things into existence and living in prosperity and success as sovereign beings. We forfeited this opportunity, however, by rebelling against God in the Garden and taking upon ourselves Satan's nature. To correct this situation, Jesus Christ became a man, died spiritually (thus taking upon Himself Satan's nature), went to Hell, was born again, rose from the dead with God's nature again, and then sent the Holy Spirit so that the Incarnation could be duplicated in believers, thus fulfilling their calling to be little gods. Since we are called to experience this kind of life now, we should be successful in every area of our lives. To be in debt, then, or be sick, or (as is often taught) be left by one's spouse, and not to have these problems solved by claiming God's promises, shows a lack of faith. While certain aspects of the above doctrine may vary from teacher to teacher, the general outline remains the same in each case.
Copyright 1993 by the Christian Research Institute.