Even though I know churchwatcher at anonymous critics site Churchwatchcentral has read articles on this and other sites that clearly refute his false claims that Word of Faith teaching stems from metaphysical practices, he goes ahead and continues the error, this time attributing it to Hillsong.
He has even been pointed to very good and reliable literature that explains why D R McConnell’s book ‘A Different Gospel’ rewrites history to suit his own purposes. This book remains amongst churchwatcher’s list of recommended reading.
So what does churchwatcher say this time? I’m glad you asked.
‘The origin of word of faith heretics stem from the metaphysical cults early last century. Ralph Waldo Trine was all about speaking and desiring things into existence. However, he acknowledges that, “ideas have occult power, and ideas, when rightly planted and rightly tended, are the seeds that actualize material conditions.”
So yes – Hillsong are guilty of attributing occult teachings and powers to the Holy Spirit.’
First off, he has called Word of Faith teachers heretics. This is highly debatable. Many of them are Baptists who were filled with the Spirit, speak in tongues and believe in healing, the gifts of the Spirit, and other things cessationists deny. Their doctrine is actually orthodox Baptist with a Holy Ghost upgrade.
Chookwatcher has merely argued from Reformed theology perspective and quoted error put out by cessationists like John McArthur and Justin Peters, who has fully embraced McConnell’s claims and perpetuates the myth.
Secondly, the claim that Word of Faith stemmed from metaphysical cults is patently wrong. In fact, it is a lie. When I first addressed this, it could have been said that churchwatcher was merely misguided and caught up in an error, but now that he has been given the truth, it can only be said that he is continuing the lie.
Embellishing a fabrication
If that sounds harsh, it should be noted that chookwatcher states on his sites that he is willing to remove any articles or comments he makes that are shown to be wrong or inaccurate.
I know that, although they won’t admit it, churchwatcher and others from the chookosphere read this site and have read the article that refutes the claim of metaphysical roots. Yet he not only continues the false report. He embellishes it with a quote from Trine that Kenyon would surely have refuted himself.
To save rewriting the article, I here produce the relevant excerpt that comprehensively refutes churchwatcher’s claim that E W Kenyon was a follower of Ralph Waldo Trine.
But the kicker in the chookwatch piece is the reference to Kenyon being into metaphysics.
You see, in attempting to make Kenyon the founder of the Faith movement, McConnell then went on to suggest to his readers that, in fact, Kenyon himself was influenced by teachers of New Thought and metaphysics. Then chookwatch, quoting McConnell, names Mary Baker Eddy, Ralph Waldo Trine and Ralph Waldo Emmerson.
Kenyon had no association with Baker Eddy in his life, but, being a contemporary, extensively wrote against her Christian Science. I have read this in his books and pamphlets and he is very clear. He also speaks out against New Thought.
He had no association with Ralph Waldo Emerson.
McConnell and churchwatcher make the same mistake of confusing the names. Watch this carefully:
Kenyon spent one year in an oratory school, Emerson College, when he wanted to become an actor. He had left the Holiness Church, being disenchanted, and decided to go onto the stage at the age of 19. This was in 1892. Mark the date. The school was run by Charles Wesley Emerson, not Ralph Waldo Emerson. In Kenyon’s class was Ralph Waldo Trine, who also taught rhetoric. Do you see where the confusion over names and influences could arise for critics?
Charles Wesley Emerson also had, at the college, classes for people going into Christian ministry. Kenyon says he fought with the students who were studying for the ministry for a while but then realised the error of his way and, in his words, ‘came back’, meaning his faith was restored.
Ralph Waldo Trine did not write the book churchwatcher quotes as influencing Kenyon until 1896. Kenyon had repented and been restored to faith in 1893, and studied to become a pastor with the Free Baptists in 1894, after he met the woman who became his wife in the same year. He was long gone from his one year at college by the time Trine had even written his first book on New Thought.
The accusation is that Kenyon was into metaphysics simply because there was someone in his class at college who was moving towards metaphysics even though Kenyon has made it clear he wasn’t . That’s like saying you are a Jehovah’s Witness because there was a Jehovah’s Witness in your class at University. Well, that’s a complete nonsense.
So here are McConnell and churchwatcher basing the doctrine of an entire move of God on one man’s gap year! You can see how McConnell’s and chookwatch’s argument falls down right there at the beginning premise.
Kenyon was not influenced by New Thought. He was not the founder of Word of Faith. He is and was respected on certain subjects by faith teachers, but is not the founder. The basis of Word of Faith teaching is not metaphysics. It is the gospel.
You can see that McConnell erred, and started a massive rumour he has never corrected. This misrepresentation of E W Kenyon’s gap year is both a slur on his ministry, and on those who have enjoyed over the years some of his teaching. It has also taken out of circulation for a great many people some excellent teaching in his books.
Kenyon refutes New Thought
E W Kenyon himself is on record as refuting New Thought and Christian Science which was a spin off. He was never part of either. There is absolutely no evidence, especially from his peers, to suggest he was.
This is significant, because his contemporaries were comfortable with his ministry. The whole controversy was contrived in a few sentences by McConnell, to suit his own aims, years after Kenyon had gone to be with the Lord. Remember that McConnell was a university student when he wrote the thesis which became the book.
It is also highly doubtful that Kenyon was the father of what is called Word of Faith. He was not a charismatic or a Pentecostal, for a start.
He was respected by some of the people who became Word of Faith ministers, but he was teaching on healing and walking in love, walking in the Spirit, the covenants, and righteousness at about the same time as others were starting to teach on the same subjects, so was highly regarded by his contemporaries.
It wasn’t until McConnell looked for a scapegoat for his book that Kenyon was painted in a negative light. The narrative McConnell derived has since gone viral amongst those who are opposed to faith teaching, especially amongst the so-called discernment bloggers, who see demons on every doorknob, and detect error in every syllable – except their own of course.
Therefore attributing New Thought sayings to Hillsong is as much a lie as accusing E W Kenyon of being a follower of Ralph Waldo Trine or New Thought.
If churchwatcher actually read any of E W Kenyon’s books on love, righteousness, grace or holiness, he would probably be so convicted by what Kenyon says that his heart would melt in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
But churchwatcher has a flagging cause to support. He will say anything that adds to his narrative, even if it means tearing down the ministries of godly men and women he actually knows nothing about.
Perpetuating a lie will never make it into a truth. Continuing a rumour will never make it fact. Spreading false claims will never authenticate them.
Churchwatcher is once again found to be wanting when it comes to telling the truth and his ability to check the facts.
And the chook-feather of the week prize goes to churchwatcher for refusing to admit his error or correcting it.
Proverbs 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
But look, rather than joining the bandwagon and being critical about a person whose books you’ve probably never read, why not go and take a look at a few of Kenyon’s books for yourself? You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find…