Rbanks: Thank you.
I am a 7 year member of this "WOF" Church and what you have heard so far from Joe is very "Vague".
We have never, ever, "identified" ourselves with the WOF movement. I have never even heard the movement named until the ONE sermon in the 8 weeks he attended in my SEVEN...wait for it... S E V E N years at this church.
And then it's mentioned one other time, from an online course from a well-known evangelist who has over 30 years in the ministry and about 15 years of traveling the World preaching the gospel with our head pastor.
What Joe left out was that as it was mentioned in this corriculum, there was a big notation stating that there is a lot of fluff to ignore with the movement and he denounces the general direction it took.
But in a very general statement he uses what was the origin of the movement to encourage believers to speak aloud the promises of God:
New King James Version (NKJV)
that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you[a] in Christ Jesus.
So let's get a few thing's straight:
Being a long,long time member of this church of 150 members+. I have broken bread, shared life with, and gone on missions trips with the accused.
I have never, ever, ever seen anyone respond to any of our preaching thinking:
1. they can control God by speaking what they want
2. That there is this mystical power when you use your voice that forces things to happen
Instead let me give you a story:
We had a young couple that wanted to join us on a missions trip because their heart was burdened for the orphans. Their finances were not working out. They really felt the Lord had called them to that country. Our encouragement was related to holding fast to the promises of God- that if God wants you there He will get you there! Lo-and-behold, they get a check for the exact amount they need to get the plane tickets out of nowhere (a check from the state dept) a week before it was due. Their faith and trust in God was enlarged, and they have another testimony and story to share on this trip. As a result of this trip they are now adopting a child from the orphanage to america, praise God!
As Joe said above, we are a missional church, and a church that believes every believer is called to preach, teach, & make disciples. We had two members come to our church fresh out of a wild lifestyle in the Navy running up debt, sleeping around, and walking away from God.
They stepped into our church and during the intimacy of worship they fell on their knees, cried out to God, and have never been the same since. In one year our head pastor has drilled into them that they have it in them to preach, pray for the sick, go to the prisons, etc. and they have paid off their debt, Cold-turkey dropped beer & drugs, both went on a missions trip (the one guy for a 3 month stay!) and have taken a few of the youth under their wing in discipleship. They are enrolled in our prison ministry schedule, they clean the church on the weekend.
I've asked Joe countless times to judge our church by the fruits, as RBanks encouraged. Instead he has looked up NOT the Word of Faith movement, but "Criticism" of the word of faith movement and even comments here and "Copied & Pasted" it into a 13 page document and gave it to our head pastor.
I've pleaded with him to call the pastor up, who told me to remind Joe that if he has any doubts or questions of our church- to call and have a conversation. Instead Joe has quoted Mormonism, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witness, and then moved on into the Word-Faith movement.
Our head pastor has had 35 years in the ministry and has been to over 65 nations preaching the Gospel. Months after he was born again, the Lord pressed it upon his heart to sell all he had and travel. He took his wife with him, traveled with no income, no money, no security, no insurance, and traveled the world with many ministry heads moving about by referral and sometimes just landing in a country and figuring things out as he went. Meanwhile he had 5 kids while doing all of this and has seen God's provision by simply acknowledging what he was given in Christ Jesus as a new creation in Christ and he encourages us all to do the same. He still travels the world now at age 60 and challenges our church to trust in what the Lord gave us the day of our salvation, the helper, the Holy Spirit, to carry the Gospel to the world.
The two men I speak about above are a great example of how, when you avoid either extreme, you result in something beautiful- and you can judge it by it's fruit! What do I mean? Well:
There is one extreme. Where we are to "beat our body" into submission, where we are but "Sinners in the hand of an angry God", where any answer to our issues in life is that we haven't repented enough. We are the dirt beneath God's nail, and to say we are anything more is to elevate ourselves as Satan did and tempted Adam & Eve with.
Then the other extreme, which I believe may have lead to the Word-Faith movement. People feeling "oppressed" by the first extreme above said "Hey! We are the righteousness of God! I just read that John the Baptist was greater than any man before him, and that he who is LEAST in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist! That's me! I am do all things in christ who gives me strength! I can move mountains!" but when taken too far there comes a distraction where people worship the MEANS instead of the END.
The problem with the first extreme is that you are putting a stain on Christ's bride, the CHURCH. He died to present us holy, righteous, and perfect. It leads to a focus on "Sin", to the degree that you don't DO or SEE anything else. What is the new creation in christ? A dirty rag? What did Christ die for, then? To save us and transform us into something unworthy? Or so that we could get behind the veil?
The problem with the second extreme (and seemingly the WOF movement) is that it can puff up. If you don't acknowledge that those great declarations Christ has over His beloved redeemed saints is only made possible by the blood purchase of the Cross, you miss it entirely.
The point is we were bought at a price. We are not our own, we are His. Created to do His works. Slaves of righteousness.
So my case-in-point is the testimony of our 2 former Navy members. They have dropped the big habitual sin in their life, they have seen much fruit since they've come to this church, often thanking me with tears I nagged them enough times to get them in the door. All of this under a church with a doctrine that is serious enough to make discipleship a priority (which keeps accountability, and keeps a repentant heart in our day-to-day mistakes) and also saying God had a call on your life founded before he created the earth.
We have a pastoral team of 6 couples. for such a small church it's unheard of but we have it because of our reading of "Go unto all the world and make DISCIPLES" Disciples, of "discipline" implies a teacher-student mentality. We do not want to gather sheep to simply listen to one man preach only, but to have every member of our church engaged to stay accountable, encourage, and see to it that no believer walks out the door thinking they are disqualified from Preaching the Gospel or going to Judea, Samaria, or the uttermost parts (meaning locally, nationally, or to the world).
But this is what happens when you isolate statements, which we all can do and have done to many preachers. You say one thing, but what about the other! In two of those 8 weeks, we had a focus on Tongues. Joe wondered what about the other gifts?! What about Love being so important?! It was a bit unfair, because if you've been around you'd know it wasn't an every-sunday thing. And then the three weeks spent on faith was more about "Faith Without Works is DEAD" than one mention about a movement. We don't stick to one topic, we don't stick to one gift. We don't preach prosperity, rather "to be content when you abase or abound."
Instead of judging other churches/movements, we focus on what we're doing. I've read up and have many things to say about preachers like Joel Olsteen, for example, but then I realize: Who am I to call him out? By what authority? Why would he even bother to listen if I said it or even our church? Why should I let what others are doing distract me? It became a gossip session. Reading what other had to say was wrong with Wilkerson, Olsteen, Hillsongs, you name it!
So you can sit there as a non-congregant with no ministry and judge all who are doing some form of ministry- and as misguided as some may be (I know some are downright wrong or false) there are plenty that have within them the Bride of Christ, His redeemed, and I'd check your logic to see if you could ever greet a Husband after gossiping about His wife.
Joe needs to come and talk to US, not run around online finding every criticism of everything he has in question.
I pray for his peace, he has clearly decided to move on and try another church I just hope he can discover some Wisdom on Church life (which we are all called to).
It requires RELATIONSHIPS. It's all about relationships. We are deeply knit with one another in relationships and I've encouraged joe to simply get to know the pastor and invite him for dinner.
There is much more to this story, but as Joe has pointed me here I figured I had the liberty to explain.