Cheryl is a licensed, ordained minister and has a BA in Psychology and Church ministry. She spent 12 years attending Word of Faith churches.
Obey the Lord
In Acts 5:29 the Apostles said, We ought to obey God rather than men. In this Hub, I am obeying the voice of the Lord to expose the darkness within His body. Due to a lack of knowledge and false teaching many believers in Christ do not understand that this too is a part of ministry. They believe that motivating and encouraging the sheep is all there is and consider anyone who addresses certain issues as being negative. Let me clarify that "Word of Faith" encompasses several church denominations as well as nondenominational ministries. I am not coming against any specific ministries, or ministers but sharing facts that will enlighten His sheep. Leaders of the Word of Faith movement often attempt to change the narrative on situations as they pertain to sickness and death. The purpose is so that they always seem to be in right standing with the Lord in the eyes of the people.
I was in a church service where the pastor told a story about a well known Bishop. whose married daughter had miscarried a baby. That Bishop said it was the fault of his church intercessors. instead of accepting that miscarriages sometimes happen the blame for the loss of the unborn child was placed on others. Sometimes there may be a defect in an unborn child or a pregnant woman could fall or be hurt and it causes her to lose her baby. Most times there is no blame when a woman does not carry to term. The issue here is that the Word of Faith preachers can control the money by getting church members or a TV audience to give. When life happens in a way they cannot control they must say something to give answers for why God allowed sickness or death. Blaming others puts the focus on someone else and absolves these preachers from any person responsibly.
A guest minister preaching at a local church told a story that I found to be absurd. When his wife, was 8 months pregnant she miscarried a baby boy in his church after a Wednesday night service. (The couple had 2 daughters and went on to have 2 more before a son was born). This preacher told the congregation that the Lord had explained to him that his first son died because he was not ready yet to have a boy. Are we to believe that the Creator allowed the pastor's wife to go 8 months and then decided that the couple should not have a boy and took the child from them? I think not. This was an attempt to change the narrative because the "Name it claim it Speak life" preachers cannot ever have anyone think that they ever had a prayer that was not answered. They must always give an appearance that they are flowing with the Lord so they will not lose followers or their money. Sickness and death are not supposed to happen around these preachers because it indicates they are human just like the rest of us.
Flat out lies
There have been a number of Bishops in the Word of Faith movement who have preached that long life is a reward of the faithful, yet they themselves have passed away under the age of 70 that is mentioned in the Bible. During their eulogies, it was said that they pleased the Lord, completed their assignment, and some were said to have flown away to heaven like Elijah. I mean no disrespect but dying from COVID, cancer, a heart attack, drug overdose, a horrific accident or stroke is not flying away like Elijah. Neither is it someone choosing to go home. Who in their right mind would choose to leave the earth from any of these situations? The colleagues of these preachers try to paint a picture of their death that simply is not true. They manipulate with their words and often keep the people from seeing what the Lord is trying to reveal. Jerry Falwell Sr. was found dead in his office from a heart attack. In this situation, you can possibly say he was doing the work of the Lord and was called home, quietly and peacefully. This is not true when there is suffering or extreme trauma.
The cover up story
This scenario has played out more times than I can imagine and I do not know why more people do not see through it. A call for prayer will be given because a famous preacher is "fighting for his life." Those asking for prayer will remind everyone what this individual has done for the body of Christ and implore the entire world to pray for them to be healed. The preacher died and then the cover-up begins. Those who were asking for prayer begin saying it was the preacher's time to go, that he got a glimpse of heaven, and chose to leave earth behind. This makes no sense because if the individual indeed saw a glimpse of The Glory and expressed he was ready to go, then why were you asking people to pray him to recover and resume ministry? This is an attempt to cover up the fact that God allowed the person to die in spite of everyone speaking life. . By saying they chose to go it stops some( but not all) from addressing the fact that people around the world prayed and God did not move.
Lay people in the Word of Faith movement, have taken their cues from the preachers. In an attempt to seem spiritual they say things that are not true. God does not lie, so if indeed He speaks something it always comes to pass. Unfortunately, since about 2007, I have watched Christians on the internet saying God told them He was going to heal a popular preacher that was ill. There will be hundreds of posts where individuals declare and decree and speak life and yet the person dies. Like the leaders the people flip the script to "He got his wings, God answered the prayer, no more suffering and pain." If you prayed for healing and someone died, GOD DID NOT ANSWER YOUR PRAYER!
Following the leaders
The Word of Faith movement teaches the masses that they can speak anything they desire into existence but the Bible says quite the opposite. Lamentations 3:37-38
37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?
38 Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good?
We cannot simply speak life and have it happen if the Lord has deemed that death is appropriate. In almost every case of a popular Word of Faith preacher that died whether young or old, there were true prophets who had given him warnings or publicly stated that God's wrath was coming to this individual. The church is being taught not to entertain "negative" confessions so they dismiss these prophets as putting their tongue on the anointing. This is why the cover-ups work and the people believe the lies. These preachers are trying to preserve their legacy and keep the body of Christ focused on them so the money will continue to flow. You have been warned so please take heed and don't be deceived. I am a witness that He will bless you for exposing the darkness.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Cheryl E Preston
Tamarajo on February 15, 2021:
Thank you for addressing this problem, Cheryl.
One of the more challenging problems I also see with the "Word of Faith" is that they treat the Word of God as a magic wand. Approaches to God consist of quoting Scripture and the belief that if you actually state your problem, fear, or concern your cursing the situation.
In studying the Scriptural patterns of prayer, I'm not seeing this method or model they promote. Every person who petitioned God in prayer came to Him with raw emotion and clearly stated their problem, fear, and concern. This is how relationships work. They cut you off and shame you for not having faith if you state your case.
I do think that we fall for these things because we are unfamiliar with the patterns provided in the Scripture. Word of Faith cherry-picks verses to support their doctrine and take them out of context and treat God like He's a giant dispensing machine who dispenses the goods if you quote His Words enough times.
I have met so many people bound up in this philosophy and guilting themselves because they just can't accumulate enough faith to solve their problem rather than pouring out their petition before the great and mighty God who loves and cares deeply for them. To me this is faith.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 14, 2021:
Those examples you gave (like the miscarriages, etc.) are things that do not belong in a church sermon. I agree with you on that, Cheryl.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 14, 2021:
I am so grateful I do not hear stories like these in my church. I can't understand why a pastor or elder would even have such opinions, let alone preach them. I am glad you are pointing out these problems, as that needs to change. This is a very good article, Cheryl.