For a person that considers himself learned enough in the Word of God to set up a critical site that attempts to point out doctrinal controversy, chookwatcher sure has a problem with his exegesis.
Take the following attempt at criticising what he calls Word of Faith teaching.
“Remember – a Word of Faith heretic teaches that the power of the tongue speaks life or death. This means they rather speak life and motivation into their members to see them prosper and flourish. They convince themselves that God speaks loving, life-filled motivating words to get us through the day.”
Hmm. Well, actually it is Biblical to say that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Whether it’s a Word of Faith exponent stating this or not, it is, in fact, scripture.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
So is chookwatcher now calling Solomon, who wrote most of Proverbs, a Word of Faith heretic? And what is wrong with speaking words of faith?
It is written that the just shall live by faith, which absolutely includes their words. We are able to speak words of faith because faith comes to us when we hear the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17). It’s also true that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), so surely our words need to be words of faith as well as our actions.
As Jesus said, “Have faith in God!”
The article I took chookwatcher’s criticism from is in fact an argument that all of scripture is infallible. Therefore, by that token, this saying by Solomon is also infallible.
I don’t know about the ‘loving, life-filled motivating words’ to get us through the day, but there is certainly evidence that our words are important.
Proverbs 18:20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
This obviously isn’t talking about food. This is addressing our words. He is clearly saying that our words impact our progress. This is scripture, and, therefore, infallible.
There are several other scriptures that say the same thing. I’ll leave chookwatcher to look through Proverbs to find them for himself. I’m sure it will be more beneficial than reading atheists’ books, watching antichristian current affairs programs, or trawling the web for negative media articles about growing churches.
By your words
Jesus was pretty hot on the words we speak. He reckoned we would be judged for every idle word. `in fact, there’s a very strong passage that reveals His attitude to words.
Matthew 12:33-37 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things?
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
He is definitely saying that a good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good things, meaning that a good man’s words out of a good heart will produce good.
That is rather like saying that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat of its fruit.
In fact, Jesus is obviously saying that evil things, like malice, envy, discord, backbiting, and gossip, come from the lips of people with evil hearts.
The only solution to this malady is a change of heart – repentance that leads to godliness. How do we repent, by the way? Through our words. Scriptural words, then, that are life-changing, as are the words that make up our confession of faith.
Romans 10:8-10 “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Yes, so right here we see that receiving God’s offered grace and the gift of eternal life hinges on our words according to scripture. We hear the Word preached, we believe with our heart, and we confess with our lips.
And Jesus caps it off by saying that we are justified or condemned by our words. This all sounds awfully similar to death and life being in the power of the tongue, don’t you think?
Meditate on good things
Even our thoughts should be in keeping with a certain godly code, according to Paul.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
So, our lips should utter what our heart is filled with, therefore we should meditate on what is good. If we are learning to think true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy thoughts that reflect a good report, we will be in line with the Word of God.
It sounds very much like loving, life-filled thoughts that lead to loving, life-filled words.
Whether you call this Word of Faith or not is neither here nor there. It is Bible.
And, motivational, what do we mean by motivational? The dictionary defines it as ‘relating to a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’, or ‘designed to promote the desire or willingness to do or achieve something’.
So, is Paul wanting to promote a willingness to do or achieve something? Is Jesus giving us reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way? Are they motivating us to do anything?
Chookwatcher wants preachers to abandon the gospel, which is the good news, and tell everyone the bad news.
He wants us to open up to Lamentations, which is a lament about the condition of Israel before they went into captivity, or Ecclesiastes, which are the thoughts of Solomon on the futility of life without God. Both Books are vital and importnat, but they are not negative. They merely point out the problems with the human condition without God.
I have actually heard these ministered from on several occasions, and they are great for illustrating a point, or showing the down side of resisting God’s will, but the truth is that they are of the Old Covenant, and we are of the New.
Christians are no longer without God. We are in Christ – if we are born again. Therefore it must be more expedient to hear scripture that points us to our new life in Christ and how to live it.
We are New Testament saints. We are the redeemed of God. I still believe Proverbs is a very important Book to us, as are the Psalms, which show us how to praise and worship God and sing unto Him and about His greatness, because they have a general application that is timeless.
The Old Testament, we are told, is for our example. It shows us God’s interaction with His people leading to Israel, and how we should conduct ourselves, particularly in avoiding the pitfalls they experienced so we can continue living in the will of God, but we are not them.
We are not under Law. We are under grace. And the grace we live under is revealed to us in the New Testament. We are of the Apostles’ Doctrine.
Jesus has brought the significance of our words into the New Testament, so we still need to guard our speech.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Even the young men are told to conduct themselves well, including their speech.
Titus 2:6-8 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
Maybe chookwatcher could take a leaf out of the Word of Faith crew who are very good at saying things that match the Word of God and avoiding the temptation for spreading an evil report about others. As Paul said to Timothy:
2 Timothy 1:13-14 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
Yes. There you have it. Words of faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Faith works by love. Sound words that come from the faith and love that is in Christ Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit. Speaking life into every situation is actually Biblical.
You never know, they may even learn to grasp the good news that saves us from the bad.
Never underestimate the power of the Word of God. It changes everything.
2 Corinthians 4:13-15 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.