Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church/
The Prosperity and Word of Faith Doctrines

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Chapter V - The Word of Faith Doctrine and New Thought

New Thought very simply believes that your thoughts play a crucial role in the kind of life you experience - exactly the same doctrine preached by the Word-Faith movement.

Carol Brooks

    All Nine Chapters - Index and Summary

    Chapter 1 -  Introduction To The Prosperity and The Word-Faith Gospels. HERE
    Chapter 2 - Alleged Biblical Support For The Prosperity Doctrine. HERE
    Chapter 3 - The Never Mentioned Verses. HERE
    Chapter 4 - Uninformed People in The Scriptures?
    Chapter 5 - The Word of Faith Doctrine and New Thought. HERE
    Chapter 6 - Joel Osteen - The Blind Leading The Blind. HERE
    Chapter 7 - How Words Precede Form. HERE
    Chapter 8 - God and Money. HERE
    Chapter 9 - The Crown Without The Cross? HERE

    New Thought
    'New Thought' is a spiritual movement which developed in the United States during the late 19th century. It consists of a loosely allied group of religious denominations, secular membership organizations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share certain metaphysical beliefs concerning one's life force, the law of attraction and the effects of positive thinking, creative visualization etc.

    Although the vast majority of people are probably unable to define or even tell you much about 'New Thought', it under-girds most modern formulas for happy/successful living. Thus, whether they realize it or not, New Thought influences hundreds of thousands of people every day.

    In a nutshell  the secular/occult/metaphysical belief called "New Thought" holds that there are spiritual "laws" people can learn to use to their own advantage. All they have to do is visualize or speak of whatever situation they want to see come about as if it already exists. In other words, your thoughts play a crucial role in the kind of life you experience.

    Sound familiar?

    It should!

    What is deeply alarming that so many believers are dangerously unaware that  the Word-Faith movement trumpeted from pulpits across the land is exactly the same as "New Thought". As said by Hank Hanegraaff (All Emphasis Added)

      Over a century before the Faith movement became a powerful force within the Christian church, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866), the father of New Thought, was popularizing the notion that sickness and suffering ultimately have their origin in incorrect thinking.  Quimby's followers held that man could create his own reality through the power of positive affirmation (confession). Metaphysical practitioners have long taught adherents to visualize health and wealth, and then to affirm or confess them with their mouths so that the intangible images may be transformed into tangible realities. [01]

    However because the Word Faith group claims to be Christian they have to "Christianize" the concepts. They do this by using Scriptural passages to 'prove' that because we are 'made in God's image' we can create our own reality. In other words, the power of faith is so strong that it can even twist God's arm.

    As Above, So Below
    These laws, which will work for anyone regardless of their religious beliefs (or even lack of) are referred to in different terms by different groups

      New Agers call this law the "law of attraction" as amply demonstrated in The Secret. SEE

      The Business World is more familiar with the term "The Power Of Positive Thinking" - courtesy Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.

      In Witchcraft, the phrase "as above, so below" comes from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet, one of most revered magical documents in Western occultism. In essence the phrase means... as it is in the spiritual, so it is in the natural. Man and God are counterparts of each other and the lower is ruled by the higher.... "as above, so below". 

    The problem is that "as above, so below" did not stay confined to the occult world but its tentacles have dug into the very foundation of our belief system including The doctrine of the trinity.

    Origen is considered by many to be the father of systematic theology and a great Christian thinker - something that speaks to the unbelievable fondness for putting fallible humans on pedestals many believers seem to have.

    Far from being someone to be admired, Origen was responsible for introducing many Greek ideas into Christianity. Among his many strange, unbiblical ideas was his teaching that because there are "certain secret analogies or affinities" between the things below and the things above, we must "read within ourselves the reflection of truths" that we could not otherwise know.

    As shown in the section immediately above (As Above, So Below ) this idea originated in occult literature is in little doubt.

    It was however, Gregory of Nyssa who applied Origen's line of reasoning to the trinity. He stated we would have no content for our thoughts about Father, Son, and Spirit, if we did not find an outline of their nature within ourselves. In other words, Gregory found the key to the trinity in the triple nature of our soul stating that you learn "the secret of God" from the things within yourself... a "testimony above and more sure than that of the Law and the Gospel". In his words (Emphasis Added)

    'Learn from the things within thee to know the secret of God; recognise from the Triad within thee the Triad by means of these matters which you realize: it is a testimony above and more sure than that of the Law and the Gospel' [02]

    See Is God a Trinity... Part VII. The Cappadocian Fathers.. Greek philosophers and Catholic Mystics.
    Especially Note Footnote 6

    Also The Sins of Augustine

    The Message, Eugene Peterson's translation of the Bible into contemporary English, became wildly popular and was even the first Bible version that Rick Warren quoted in The Purpose-Driven Life. In Peterson's paraphrase of The Lord's Prayer, he uses the term "as above, so below" instead of "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven". MORE

    Most believers remain uninformed of the nature, power, and danger posed by New Age ideas so popular today -
    See The New Age Movement - Roots, Expansion & Diversification, Goals, and Dangers

    How New Thought Made Its Way Into The Church
    This New Age doctrine came at the church from several different angles that were not necessarily independent of each other.
    Like frogs being slowly brought up to the boil, hundreds of thousands of believers have gradually been acclimatized to ideas and practices that any self respecting Berean would run a mile from. They seem to remain blissfully unaware of the slow, gradual changes that eventually puts their eternal future in jeopardy.

    1.) Kenneth Hagin and E.W. Kenyon: (1917 – 2003) The founding father of the Word-of-Faith movement is commonly held to be Kenneth Erwin Hagin, whose teachings have underscored almost every major Faith ministry. Virtually all the heavyweights of the Faith movement readily admit that Hagin had a great influence on them - going as far as to acknowledge him as their spiritual father and the key to their own personal success. In fact, many of them graduated from Hagin's Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa.

    Note - It was during a Rodney Howard-Browne crusade at Hagin's church that Vineyard pastor Randy Clark received the "anointing" which he subsequently carried to Toronto. See The Toronto ‘Blessing

    However, not everyone would agree that Hagin was the Father of the Faith movement.

    As said by D.R. McConnell in his book From A Different Gospel, Hagin's theology can be traced directly to one E. W. Kenyon, whose writings predate Hagin's by more than thirty years and that Hagin "plagiarized Kenyon both repeatedly and extensively". In fact "In many instances, Hagin has, indeed, copied word-for-word without documentation from Kenyon's writings". Mr. McConnell shows any number of passages which are identical between Kenyon and Hagin's books some of which can be read HERE. (Scroll about two-thirds the way down the page).

    On the other hand, someone from Kenyon's Gospel Publishing Society writes that (Emphasis Added)

      One respected Charismatic leader, who has since gone on to be with the Lord, said of E.W. Kenyon that he was often quoted, yet seldom footnoted. Many people have absorbed his phrases and echoed his ideas. I have heard Kenneth Hagin personally testify to the fact that many of the phrases he has used and ideas he has taught, he heard from some other preachers before he ever heard of E.W. Kenyon. It is quite possible that they were quoting Kenyon and using his material and Kenneth Hagin didn’t know the original source. Liking the sound of the phrases, Hagin added them to his preaching vocabulary.

    Hagin has noted that he has an almost photographic memory. Reading or hearing something once was all that was necessary for him to recall it verbatim. Every preacher wishes he had this ability! Most of us remember what we can but seldom remember where we heard it. But most preachers have no need to become paranoid about someone chastising us for quoting another author or preacher in our messages and being accused of plagiarism either! Brother Hagin has not been so fortunate. [03]

    Photographic memory or not - the fact that Hagin used so many of Kenyon's ideas and actual words makes mockery of his claim to have received most of the Faith gospel by divine revelation. Much to the contrary, it was birthed in E. W. Kenyon's teachings - positive confession has the power to create its own reality.

    All of which prompts the question of where Kenyon learned his theology

    E.W. Kenyon and Charles Emerson
    In 1892, soon after  E.W. Kenyon moved to Boston he enrolled at Emerson College of Oratory, by which time the religion of its founder Charles Emerson "was a veritable smorgasbord of the sources underlying New Thought metaphysics: Platonism, Swedenborgianism, Unitarianism, and Emersonian Transcendentalism."

    But where did Emerson get his inspiration from?

       By nature a poet and spiritual philosopher, this one-time Unitarian clergyman had made an exhaustive study of Christian theological thought. He was ever broad-visioned and open-minded, ever looking for the good in the literature of aspiration. In this respect he strikingly resembled the great Mohammedan, Akbar, who welcomed to his court scholars of all faiths, encouraging them to present their religious concepts; and when the Mohammedan zealots remonstrated with him, he refused to yield to the narrow-minded sectarians

      The German transcendental philosophy held special charm for Emerson, and from it he turned to Plato, the greatest of all metaphysical philosophers of olden times. Plato became his Bible for a time and was ever one of his chief sources of inspiration. But another rich mine of speculative philosophy awaited him. When the "Bhagavad Gita" fell into his hands he experienced far greater pleasure than is known to the gold seeker, who suddenly after long and weary searching, comes upon a rich lode. The "Bhagavad Gita" appealed to Emerson with compelling power. In Emerson's writings the metaphysical thought of India, Greece, and modern transcendentalism were fused. [04]

    2.) Robert Schuller
    Well known in the Christian world, Schuller was once pastor of the famed Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.

    In today's Biblically illiterate church the fact that Robert Schuller had a grandfatherly smile that stretched from ear to ear and a demeanor that invited trust - was apparently more than enough to convince many thousands of Christians (over 20 million people on hundreds of stations in 165 countries worldwide listened to his program) that his teachings were Biblically based.

    They were anything but!

    Schuller admitted that he did not know whether a person could be saved without accepting Jesus Christ and said he preached repentance so positively, most people didn't recognize it. He believed that virtually every problem a person has, every ill that plagues society, all sin and evil in the world, is a result of people having low self-esteem. In fact, according to Schuller, sin is merely the lack of self esteem.

    See Robert Schuller

    Robert Schuller also had no trouble consorting with and promoting other New Agers and their teachings. Two of the books he endorsed were

      A Course In Miracles a channeled works that came directly from a spirit guide. See A Course in Miracles

      Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude: Written by Napoleon Hill and Clement Stone, Schuller stated that it was one of the ten books that most impacted his faith and philosophy.

    So who were Napoleon Hill and Clement Stone? The answer should make any believer's skin crawl.

    3.) Napoleon Hill
    (1883 - 1970) and Clement Stone (1902 - 2002)
    Napoleon Hill was an Appalachian-born journalist who, under the influence of occult forces wrote one of the bestselling books in history. Written about 1937 Napoleon Hill's book Think and Grow Rich became the gold standard for the 'Law of Attraction'. It has sold more than 30 million copies and is still in print in several versions.  (Among several others Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude was written as a sequel.) \

    In fact, ever since Hill first put pen to paper, his principles and techniques have been taught, in one form or the other, by every motivational speaker/ life coach on the planet... with often successful results. In fact, the non-believing world can, by learning and applying certain principles, match or even exceed, the gain that "Christian" ministers promise. See Chapter 7 - How Words Precede Form

    How this came about was nothing more than an aggressive incursion by malevolent forces

    The Council of Thirty-Three

      He was not seeking contact with spirit beings when he was suddenly confronted in his study by an unexpected and uninvited intruder. Hill claims that an emissary came across the astral plane. In a voice that "sounded like chimes of great music,” this visitor from another dimension declared: “I come from the Great School of Masters. I am one of the Council of Thirty-Three who serve the Great School and its initiates on the physical plane.”

      Hill was informed that he had been "under the guidance of the Great School" for years and had been chosen by them to give the formula of success, the "Supreme Secret,” to the world: that "anything the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve."

      The Venerable Brotherhood of Ancient India taught Hill the power of visualization. Following their advice, Hill visualized nine famous men from the past sitting around a table as his "advisers.”

      Though he clung to the idea that it was all imagination, from what Hill wrote it is clear that visualization had opened the door to the world of the occult:

    Thereafter every night for many years, Hill held an imaginary Council meeting with this group whom he called his "Invisible Counselors." He claimed that knowledge came from them that he was not able to get from just thinking and said

      These nine men were Emerson, Paine, Edison, Darwin, Lincoln, Burbank, Napoleon, Ford and Carnegie. Every night I held an imaginary council meeting with this group whom I called my "Invisible Counselors.”

      In these imaginary council meetings I called on my cabinet members for the knowledge I wished each to contribute, addressing myself to each member...

    After some months of this nightly procedure, I was astounded by the discovery that these imaginary figures became apparently real. Each of these nine men developed individual characteristics, which surprised me...

      "it is much more comfortable to believe in the power of imagination than to accept the fact that one has become the victim of an occult invasion.”  [05]

    In Chapter 14, Hill said he ...

      began to add new members to my Cabinet, until now it consists of more than fifty, among them Christ, St. Paul, Galileo, Copernicus, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Homer, Voltaire, Bruno, Spinoza, Drummond, Kant, Schopenhauer, Newton, Confucius, Elbert Hubbard, Brann, Ingersoll, Wilson, and William James.

    You can read The Sixth Sense - Chapter 14 of Napoleon Hill's book Think and Grow Rich. Copy and Paste the following into Your Browser    http://www.sacred-texts.com/nth/tgr/tgr19.htm

    In the preface to the original edition of Think and Grow Rich, Hill refers to his method as a "secret" and a "magic formula".) The fact that his principles or "magic formula" actually seems to work makes it fraught with danger. The success of the methods was testified to by men such as United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Harding, Wilson, and Taft, plus some of the world's greatest scientists and founders of America's leading corporations.

    Clement Stone
    W. Clement Stone, a successful, self-made business man and philanthropist was a firm believer in PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) and a dedicated practitioner of the principles of Think and Grow Rich...

    He co-authored Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude with Napoleon Hill and eventually became chair of the Napoleon Hill Foundation and was [quoted as saying, "One of the most important days in my life was the day I began to read Think and Grow Rich in 1937.  [06]

    4.) Norman Vincent Peale:
    On 2/7/94, Christian News reported that during one of Robert Schuller's broadcasts in January of ‘94, he teared up while talking about the death of Norman Vincent Peale, who had died on Christmas Eve the month before. During this broadcast Schuller talked about how Peale had been his inspiration and mentor and how he had started the positive thinking movement.

    Norman Vincent Peale, founder of Guidepost magazine and pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City from 1932 until 1984 was one of the most popular preachers of the twentieth century . At the time of his retirement the church had 5,000 members and tourists lined up around the block to hear Peale preach. His famous book The Power of Positive Thinking has sold almost 20 million copies in 41 languages, was on the United States best-seller list for a full year following its publication in 1952, and has been in print continuously ever since.

    Peale's New Thought doctrine and teaching can be pretty much summed up by these statements

      Imaging consists of vividly picturing in your conscious mind, a desired goal or objective, and holding that image until it sinks into your unconscious mind, where it releases great, untapped energies It works best when it is combined with a strong religious faith, backed by prayer and the seemingly illogical technique of giving thanks for benefits before they are received. [07]

       When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind which by a law of attraction tends to bring the best to you. But if you expect the worst, you release from your mind the power of repulsion which tends to force the best from you. [08]

    More about Norman Vincent Peale

    Peale even used one of Napoleon Hill's hallmark expressions "conceive and believe" that in turn, was repeated by Joel Osteen. The wording in all three of the books is identical. See Chapter 6 - Joel Osteen

    Comparing What They Believe and Teach
    The quotes below are from Joel Osteen, the very popular leader of one of America's largest churches and and various New Age leaders. Although the two should have absolutely nothing in common, the extreme similarities are obvious.

    The First Group
    refers to either saying or "seeing" (visualizing) what it is you wish to achieve. While all the statements in this group outline exactly the same concept, note the identical wording "conceive and believe" in the first three quotes. How this happened will be addressed a little later on.

      A) ...the first step to living at your full potential is to enlarge your vision... you must start looking at life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rising to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it is possible if you ever hope to experience it.

      B) "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

      C) "What the mind can conceive and believe, and the heart desire, you can achieve."

      D) Believe it in your heart; say it with your mouth. That is the principle of faith. You can have what you say.

      E) To conceive it, you must have an image on the inside of the life you want to live on the outside. This image has to become a part of you, in your thoughts, your conversation, deep down in your subconscious mind, in your actions, in every part of your being.

      F) The reason visualization is so powerful is because as you create pictures in your mind of seeing yourself with what it is you want you are generating thoughts and feelings of having it now

      G) Everything that's coming into your life you are attracting into your life. And it's attracted to you by virtue of the images you're holding in your mind. It's what you're thinking. Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you.

      H) What you keep before your eyes will affect you. You will produce what you're continually seeing in your mind. If you foster an image of defeat and failure, they you're going to live that kind of life. But if you develop an image of victory, success, health abundance joy peace and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.

      I) "... we are masters of our fate because we are masters, first of our attitudes. Our attitudes shape our future. This is a universal law. The poet should have told us with great emphasis that this law works whether the attitudes are destructive or constructive. The law states that we translate into physical reality the thoughts and attitudes we hold in our minds, no matter what they are. We translate into reality thoughts of poverty just as quickly as we do thoughts of riches.

      J) "One of the best ways that we can improve our self-image is with our words. Words are like seeds. They have creative power


      A, E and H (in red) are statements made by Joel Osteen in his immensely popular book Your Best Life Now - 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential reputed to have sold some four million copies. It was published by Faith Words in August 20, 2007. Quotes are from pages 4-7.

      J (in red) is from Joel Osteen's book Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day. Free Press; (2009) paperback. Pg. 109

      D is by Kenneth E Hagin. "You Can Have What You Say".. (Tulsa Faith Library, 1979), Pg.14. Emphasis In Original. As quoted in Charismatic Chaos by John F. MacArthur. Pg.. 285).

      B This phrase is one of Napoleon Hill's hallmark expressions. It can be found on Page 15 of Napoleon Hill and Clement W Stone's runaway bestseller Think and Grow Rich (Ballantine Books. May 12, 1987) . Also See http://eventualmillionaire.com/nagr

      C is by Norman Vincent Peale. Positive Imaging: The Powerful Way to Change Your Life. Page 42. Ballantine Books (August 27, 1996)

      F is by Rhonda Byrnes author of The Secret. Page 81. Atria Books/Beyond Words; First Edition edition (November 28, 2006)

      G is a statement made by Prentice Mulford...a pioneer of New Thought. Quoted in The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes, Page 4. Atria Books/Beyond Words; First Edition edition (November 28, 2006)

      I is by Napoleon Hill and Clement W Stone in the Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude (Simon and Schuster, 2007, Page 7), which was a sequel to Think and Grow Rich.

    The Second Group
    refers to negative thoughts and confessions or "wrong thinking".

      J) Too many times we get stuck in a rut, thinking we've reached our limits. We don't really stretch our faith; we don't believe for anything bigger. But God wants us to constantly be increasing, to be rising to new heights. He wants to increase you in His wisdom and help you to make better decisions. God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh ideas, and creativity.

      K) Don't blame God for your lack of success. Like S.B. Fuller you can develop a burning desire to succeed. How? Keep your minds on the things you want and off the things you don't want.

      L) The Scripture says that God wants to pour out "His far and beyond favor."  God wants this to be the best time of your life. But if you are going to receive this favor, you must enlarge your vision. You can't go around thinking negative, defeated, limiting thoughts. Well, I've gone as far as my education will allow. Or, I've had this sickness for years. I guess it's my lot in life.

      M) "I was raised in the slums and that's something you can never get out of your system. "I only had a grammar school education". These people are all saying, in essence, that the world has given them a raw deal...They start out with a negative mental attitude. And, of course, with that attitude they are handicapped.

      N) "Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God's best"

      O) If you are thinking thoughts of defeat, I urge you to rid yourself of such thoughts, for as you think defeat you tend to get it.


      J, L and N (in red) are from Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Pages 4-5 and 18. FaithWords (August 20, 2007)

      K is by Napoleon Hill and Clement W Stone's Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. Simon and Schuster, 2007.  Page 18

      M is also from Napoleon Hill and Clement W Stone's Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. Page 24. Pocket (June 12, 2007)

      O is by Norman Vincent Peale in his ever popular book... The Power of Positive Thinking [Paperback] Fireside; First Fireside edition (March 12, 2003) Page 102]

    The Third Group
    speaks about 'daily practices'.

      P) Each morning before you get out of bed, make it a habit to feel the feelings of gratitude in advance for the great day ahead, as though it is done.

      Q) I had actually made a hundred-thousand-dollar bill that I'd put on the ceiling. So first thing in the morning I'd look up and there it was, and it would remind me that this was my intention.

      R) Each day you must choose to live with an attitude that expects good things to happen to you. The Bible says, "Set your mind and keep it set on the higher things." When you get up in the morning , the first thing you should do is set your mind in the right direction. Say something such as "This is going to be a great day. God is guiding and directing my steps. His favor is surrounding me.

      S) Repeat this program night and morning until you can see (in your imagination) the money you intend to accumulate.


      P and Q) Rhonda Byrnes The Secret. Atria Books/Beyond Words; First Edition edition (November 28, 2006). Pages 80 and 96 respectively.

      R) (in red) Joel Osteen. Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Page 13. FaithWords (August 20, 2007)

      S) Napoleon Hill and Clement W Stone. Think and Grow Rich. Page 62. Ballantine Books. May 12, 1987)


    End Notes - Chapter 5
    [01] Hank Hanegraaff. What’s Wrong with the Word Faith Movement? (Part One) Christian Research Institute.

    [02] 0NPNF2-05. Gregory of Nyssa: Dogmatic Treatises, Etc. Edited by Philip Schaff. Chapter III.—His Origenism. The Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL). http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf205.vii.iii.html.

    [03] Plagiarism of E. W. Kenyon by Kenneth E. Hagin? https://www.kenyons.org/plagiarism-of-ew-kenyons.html

    [04] Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1803 - 1882. https://ralphwaldoemerson.wwwhubs.com

    [05] The Classic Case of Napoleon Hill. The John Ankerberg Show Occult Invasion, Harvest House, 1996.

    [06] The Napoleon Hill Foundation. Biography of W. Clement Stone. https://www.naphill.org/napoleon-hill/w-clement-stone/

    [07] Norman Vincent Peale. Positive Imaging: The Powerful Way to Change Your Life Paperback – August 27, 1996.

    [08] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Citations:law_of_attraction#:~:text=

    Continue On To Chapter 6 - Joel Osteen - The Blind Leading The Blind|
    We were given only one sure guide by which to judge what is of God and what is not. By which to recognize whether the hands that beckon us are God-sent to save us, or are reaching out from the depths of hell to devour us. Yet we resolutely continue to ignore God's chosen guide book preferring instead to flock to one of the innumerable dog and pony shows, like the ones Joel Osteen and numerous others put on.

    After reading so many of his statements that do not find their origin in Scripture, I used to wonder what Bible this man reads or whether he even reads one.  Over time, it has become patently clear that Osteen's inspiration comes not from the Bible, but from occultists Napoleon Hill and Norman Vincent Peale. Not only are their doctrines indistinguishable from each other but Osteen uses a particular phrase that was one of Napoleon Hill's hallmark expressions. In fact, Norman Vincent Peale also used exactly the same expression. HERE


    Return To PD Chapter 4 - Uninformed People?