Let me start off with a quote “Jesus never spoke of disease as dangerous or as difficult to heal. When his students brought him a case they had failed to heal, he said to them,”O faithless generation”, implying that the requisite power to heal was in Mind”. Who do think said that? Does that sound like something a word of faith preacher would say? Well those words are not the words of a faith preacher, they quotes from Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health. For those of you who do not know Baker Eddy was the founder of Christian Science and for the last few days I have been studying some of her writings. Despite the Christian Science website claiming that what they believe is not faith healing I must say having read what their founder wrote I think there are similarities. I am not the only one who thinks so. In the documentary Suffer the Children evangelist Justin Peters mentions that the roots of faith healing go back to Christian Science and other cultic, pagan practises. Furthermore the late Andrew D. Robinson (who grew up in a family that practised Christian Science) details how one of the pioneers of the Prosperity and Faith Movement, AW Kenyon, was greatly influenced by Christian Science. I would encourage everyone to listen to his lecture: Understanding the Prosperity and Faith Movement (see my footnotes (at the end of this post) for more info). Robinson tells of how he was brought up to believe that sin, sickness, disease and death were unreal, that true reality was spiritual and that material circumstances can be changed through right thinking (Robinson, 2004, P.6). If you ask me that sounds almost identical to what is taught by many televangelists and prosperity pastors.
From my experience of attending a name-it-claim-it church I know those who embraced the word of faith teaching looking down on those who are sick, dying and poor. Their attitude is ‘if they are sick, dying or poor it is all due to their lack of faith’. I heard of a story heard of this Pastor who announced to church that his wife had cancer and it was all her own fault because she did not have enough faith to get healed. Now I have to admit that I tried to verify this story and I could not do so, but it would be of no surprise that it is true, for I used to think like that. I would be appalled by Christians who were sick and poor. I think I was that way because I would listen to those name-it-claim-it teachers who would arrogantly boast about their health and wealth and their arrogant teaching influenced my thinking. But I am not alone in being affected negatively by this theology. It has caused people to hate God and the documentary Suffer The Children shows how some have died, committed suicide, been lied to and been deceived by name-it-claim-it ‘ministries’. The Prosperity Gospel is a cruel and heartless belief that is causing so much damage. There was and is nothing merciful or graceful about it. Mercy, grace and redemption is very far from their teachings!
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As far as I know Andrew D. Robinson’s lecture Understanding the Prosperity and Faith Movement is not available online. But cd copies (accompanied by a booklet) are available upon request, free of charge by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning +44 01616 821157
Robinson, Andrew (2004) Understanding the Prosperity and Faith Movement, Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church