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Claiming God’s Promises Today: Classic and Modern Word of Faith Views Compared and Contrasted, by Paul King

The Believer’s Inheritance and Materialism

The classic faith leaders address the problem of materialistic attitudes in the contemporary faith movement. It should be noted that the classic faith leaders believe that while material blessing can be a part of the inheritance of the believer, the main focus is on the spiritual inheritance. As mentioned above, although some in the contemporary faith movement would claim “All things are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21) means that the believer is meant to be wealthy, classic faith leaders like Simpson interpret the phrase “all things are yours” as a life of contentment, peace and joy, not necessarily material prosperity, although that could be included in a secondary way.31 Hannah Whitall Smith similarly claimed this verse for believers, including provision for material needs,32 but also warned against materialistic abuse of this verse: “I knew one earnest Christian who had the text ‘All things are yours’ so strongly impressed upon her mind in reference to some money belonging to a friend, that she felt it was a direct command to her to steal that money, and after a great struggle she obeyed this apparent guidance, with of course most grievous after-results.”33 The counsels of the classic faith leaders need to be accepted by contemporary faith teaching. Additional implications of prosperity teaching will be discussed further in Chapter 23.

Contrary to Hanegraaff’s charge that correlating Galatians 3:13 with Deuteronomy 28 is text abuse, as cited earlier, Spurgeon and Murray related these two Scriptures together. By so cavalierly dismissing the interpretative connection between Deuteronomy 28 and Galatians 3:13 understood by other older evangelical commentators, Hanegraaff finds himself in the dubious position of calling it text abuse. Hanegraaff fails to understand that the problem with contemporary faith teaching is not in textual abuse of the verses, but in misapplication, by over-emphasizing the “already” to the neglect of the “not yet.” The interpretative connection between the verses is validated by the classic faith leaders. As Tozer has discerningly declared, “Truth has two wings.”34 The problem is found in the lack of balance in contemporary faith interpretation, trying to fly with one wing, once again breaking the dynamic tension of truth. Some contemporary faith leaders fail to see that redemption from the curse, though initiated and partially experienced through Christ today, is not yet fully consummated.

How believers view their position in Christ will affect the manner in which they view themselves.

A problem also exists among some contemporary faith teaching of legalistic or materialistic application of the Covenant. Though Kenyon views the Covenant as a contract, he is in agreement with classic faith teachers when he declares, “Faith grows out of continual fellowship with the Father.”35 However, Capps, another contemporary faith teacher, misses Kenyon’s caveat by claiming, “God does not answer prayer because of friendship. He answers prayer because of a legal document and the result is governed by the rules of this document. That document is God’s Word.”36 Contrary to both Kenyon and classic faith leaders, Capps reduces prayer to legalism—God must obey his contract. Murray, representing classic faith teaching, opposes such a view: “We must look for the fulfillment of the New Covenant within, the Covenant—not of laws—but of life.”37 Capps and Copeland also fail to understand that the biblical concept of covenant is not based on a contract between equals, but rather the ancient Mid-eastern suzerainty treaty between a superior and an inferior power.

Some over-emphasize the materialistic aspects of the covenant relationship.38 For Simpson, however, claiming covenant rights is not a matter of claiming material blessings for oneself, but rather claiming inheritance that Satan would try to hold back or steal from the Christian.39 Further, Simpson wrote, “Faith is contending for its inheritance when the enemy disputes it. … When Satan disputes our standing, and puts his foot upon our inheritance, we will arise in the name of the Lord against the most tremendous odds, and claim the victory through Jesus Christ, by that aggressive and authoritative faith which treads on scorpions and serpents, and triumphs over all the power of the enemy; saying even to the mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea’ (Matthew 21:21), and withering the fig tree of evil in His name.”40

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Category: Church History, Fall 2012, Pneuma Review

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. www.paulkingministries.com/

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