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Claiming Inheritance or Dying to Self: Theology of Glory or Theology of the Cross?

A. J. Gordon (1836-1895), founder of Gordon College.
Via Wikimedia Commons.

Some modern faith teachers tend to imply that we can demand our rights from God. Biblical psychologists Larry Crabb and Dan Allender recognize that this problem is not confined to modern faith teaching: “The classic error of this culture: Demanding heaven now through some methodology or some person.”19 Classic faith teachers (and some modern faith teachers) agree we can demand of Satan, but, in contrast, we cannot demand from God. Wheaton College president Charles Blanchard wrote a book on principles of faith and prayer entitled Getting Things from God that sounds similar to Hagin’s Write Your Own Ticket with God. However, they are far apart in their theology. Blanchard wrote: “God takes no instructions from men. God does not permit men to give Him orders.”20 Likewise, in a similarly titled book, Harnessing God, Paul Rader assures that believers cannot harness God, but as believers walk in faith and obedience, God puts Himself at their disposal so that they can harness the power of God.21 Oswald Chambers asks the pivotal question: “Is the Son of God praying in me or am I dictating to Him?”22 Chambers was not against claiming God’s promises,23 yet he exhorted, “But if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God choose for you.”24 Yes, believers can claim their inheritance in Christ, but they will always be willing to exercise their right to waive their rights for God’s sake. This is a healthy faith.





1 John Calvin discusses both mortification of the flesh and vivification of the Spirit in his Institutes of the Christian Religion ([Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949], Vol. 1, Book 3, chap. 3:3), 651-654. He thus maintains more of a terminological balance than his contemporary, John of the Cross.
2 Kenneth Hagin, The Believer’s Authority (Tulsa, Okla.: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1984), 16.
3 Justo Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1971), 3:35. Luther vilified the theology of glory, referring to the Roman Catholic Church and scholastic theologians who taught a triumphalistic doctrine of glory.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
6 Francois Fenelon, Let Go (Springdale, Penn.: Whitaker, 1973), 5.
7 Thomas a Kempis, cited in A.W. Tozer, Men Who Met God (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1986), 115.
8 F.B. Meyer, Five Musts of the Christian Life (Chicago: Moody Press, 1927), 41.
9 Lyle Dorsett, E.M. Bounds: Man of Prayer (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 213.
10 A.W. Tozer, Men Who Met God (Camp Hill, Penn.: Christian Publications, 1986), 115.
11 A.B. Simpson, Days of Heaven on Earth (Camp Hill, Penn.: Christian Publications, 1984), October 19.
12 Charles Price, And Signs Followed (Plainfield, N.J.: Logos, [1972], 129.
13 Charles Price, The Meaning of Faith and the Sick Are Healed: Resolving the Mysteries of Faith (Shippensburg, Penn.: Destiny Image Publishers, 2002), 43.
14 A. J. Gordon, The Ministry of Healing (Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, n.d.), 159.
15 D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers. 1988), 180.
16 Dave Hunt, Beyond Seduction (Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House, 1987), 163.
17 Andrew Murray, “Faith Counting on the Power of God,” Triumphs of Faith, November 1934, 243.
18 Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All (New Kensington, Penn.: Whitaker House, 1996), 467-468.
19 Larry Crabb and Dan B. Allender, Hope When You’re Hurting (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 132.
20 Charles Blanchard, Getting Things from God: A Study of the Prayer Life (Chicago, Ill.: The Bible Institute Colportage Assn., 1915), 134.
21 Paul Rader, Harnessing God (New York: George H. Doran Co., 1926), 16.
22 Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., [1935] 1963), 221.
23 Ibid., 78, 322.
24 Ibid., 304.


This excerpt from Only Believe: Examining the Origins and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies (Tulsa, OK: Word and Spirit Press, 2008), comes from Chapter 25, pages 350-354. Only Believe is available through the author’s website,, and through online sellers, such as Amazon. Used with permission.


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Category: Church History, Fall 2011

About the Author: Paul L. King holds a D.Min from Oral Roberts University and a D.Th. from the University of South Africa. He served for 16 years on the faculty of Oral Roberts University as Coordinator of Bible Institute programs and Adjunct Professor in the College of Theology and Ministry. Author of 12 books and more than 60 articles, he was ORU 2006 Scholar of the Year. He has also served as Scholar-at-Large for the D.Min. program at Alliance Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry Mentor for the Randy Clark Scholars program at United Theological Seminary and Global Awakening Theological Seminary, Leadership and Church Ministry Consultant and Trainer, an ordained pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Interim Consulting Pastor for the Plano (Texas) Chinese Alliance Church, and Faculty Director of Purdue Ratio Christi/Christian Faculty and Staff Network. His books include God's Healing Arsenal: A Divine Battle Plan for Overcoming Distress and Disease (2011), Anointed Women: The Rich Heritage of Women in Ministry in the Christian & Missionary Alliance (2009), Only Believe: Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies (2008), Genuine Gold: The Cautiously Charismatic Story of the Early Christian and Missionary Alliance (2006), Binding & Loosing: Exercising Authority over the Dark Powers (1999), and A Believer with Authority: The Life and Message of John A. MacMillan. Twitter: @PaulLKing.

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