I re-tweeted this statement, adding this comment: "This is witchcraft."
A few people asked me what was up with that. What he said might be a little "out there" or "un-helpful" (as one guy put it), but witchcraft? Really?
Defenders of the Word of Faith-type preachers and "prophets" often point to verses like Proverbs 18:21:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.Aside from the hermeneutical shakiness involved in building an entire theology out of a proverb, Word of Faith'ers misunderstand this verse. It is not saying your tongue holds supernatural power to speak matter or circumstances into existence. It is saying that it's possible to talk yourself into trouble. In the context of what other things the book of Proverbs says about the tongue, what this guideline means is that we ought to be careful what we say, sometimes be silent, and remember that we will be held to account for our words.
There are three biblical ways words can bring life:
1. We can generally agree that the tongue is a powerful force. Just read James 3. But you don't have to be a charismaniac to realize that words can hurt or comfort. Encouragement edifies; nagging and criticism do not. Many of us still carry wounds from words said to us in our past.
2. Also, those of us of the Reformed persuasion are quick to affirm the supernatural power available in the written Word of God spoken. The gospel is power. When God speaks, things happen. And the Holy Spirit uses the foolishness of preaching to stir dead men's souls and waken sleeping men's senses.
3. Those of us of the continuationist persuasion can agree that God sometimes heals people through humbly administered gifts of healing and the laying on of hands, and nearly all Christians can agree that God sometimes heals people through the effectual prayers of the saints. In both cases things change when words are spoken, but in neither case is the speaker's tongue the source of creative power. God is.
In all three of those senses, speaking words is powerful and life-giving. But in no biblical sense is merely speaking words God's way of creating material or medical prosperity. In no sense is this formulaic as Osteen and other Word of Faith'ers continue to maintain. In other words, it does not follow that if someone is experiencing major setbacks it is because they aren't "speaking words of prosperity over" their lives. Likewise, it does not follow that everyone who does speak such words will reap circumstantial goodness.
In the Word of Faith'ers awful trading of treasures in heaven for treasures susceptible to rust and moths, they interpret "life" as money, possessions, and never getting sick.
The gospel doesn't traffic in circumstantial goodness. Most of the New Testament, in fact, presupposes circumstantial badness.
The Word of Faith view of the power of the tongue is owed more to the world of The Secret or genies in rubbed lamps.
So, what do we call the idea that by speaking certain words you can create realities? That's called incantation. That's called sorcery. It's called witchcraft. And that is a damnable offense.