Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Name it and claim it!

In a previous post I noted some striking parallels between pacifism and abolitionism. In addition, there's a striking parallel between abolitionism and the Word of Faith movement–specifically: name-in-and-claim-it theology.

Word of Faith healers "bind" that "demon of cancer." They "take authority" over that "demon of drug abuse."

If you're not cured, that's not because the faith-healer was a charlatan, but because you didn't have enough faith. 

By the same token, AHA "demands" the immediate and total abolition of abortion. It accuses evangelical prolifers of lacking faith in God's providence. 

"Abolition relies upon the Providence and Sovereignty God: All we must seek to do is be faithful and follow Him as we leave the results in His hands. (We walk in line with Providence)."

An obvious problem with this claim is that, according to Scripture, trust in God isn't defined by faith in what God is able to do, but by what God promised to do. 

God has the power to put an end to warfare tomorrow. God has the power to stop murderers in their tracks.

Does this mean a Christian should believe that murder will end tomorrow? Does this mean a Christian should believe that warfare will end tomorrow?

What God can do and what God will do are often two very different things. Do I lack faith in God if I doubt that there will be no more murder tomorrow? Do I distrust God if I doubt that there will be no more war tomorrow? Hardly!

God hasn't promised to exercise his omnipotence in that regard. You can't predict the future from God's sovereignty. 


  1. Good point.

    But Jesus does ask "Do you believe I am able to do this? Matthew 9:28


    Daniel 3:17-18 speaks of "God is able", but not a guarantee that He will do what we ask Him to do.

    What is your take on Mark 11:22-23 ?
    I usually emphasize the surrounding context of Jesus cursing the fig tree and cleansing the temple (Mark 11:11-26 and 12:1-12 (with parallel in Matthew 21 - 22) = you should pray against your lack of fruit in your life.

    And "the mountain of the temple of the Lord" has background in Isaiah 56:3-8 (Jesus quotes Isaiah 56:7 in Mark 11:17)
    "mountain of the temple" - background in
    in Micah 4:1-3; 6:1-2; 3:12

    But after all that study of background and context, and taking into account God sovereignty (1 John 5:14 - "according to His will"), what do you think Jesus was trying to say in Mark 11:22-23 ? (a favorite text of the "name it claim it " preachers)

    1. i) Scripture generally, and Jesus in particular, often uses hyperbole.

      ii) I think the point is to take God's omnipotence seriously. It can really happen.

      iii) Conversely, Scripture often speaks in generalities. Uses unqualified language. It's to be understood that there are implicit limitations on the scope of the claim.

      iv) The only way to find out what God is prepared to do is to ask him. You don't need to know in advance. Indeed, you can't know in advance. That's something you discover as a result of asking, then waiting to see the results, if any.

      v) Name-if-and-claim-it preachers live in the same world as the rest of us. It's not as if their prayers are uniformly answered. It's not as if they can point to spectacular answers. There's what they claim, then there's the reality. The reality doesn't match their own claims in their own practice. By their yardstick, they lack faith.

      vi) By the time the Gospels were written, Christians were certainly familiar with unanswered prayer. Surely the Gospel writers experienced unanswered prayer. That's just a fact of life.

    2. Name-it-and-claim-it theology is either self-verifying or self-falsifying. Either that happens or it doesn't. It's subject to empirical proof or disproof.

      Sure, there's the "you didn't have enough faith" escape clause. Problem is, Word of Faith preachers don't have a 100% success rate in answered prayer. Indeed, since most of them are charlatans, I doubt God answers *any* of their prayers.

    3. "most of them are charlatans"

      True. Maybe all of them are. Or those that are true believers will eventually come out of that, like John Samson did.

    4. "I think the point is to take God's omnipotence seriously. It can really happen."

      Can we "speak to" "mountains" (obstacles to ministry, disease, sickness, sufferings) ??

      I know we can humbly pray that God will heal and remove obstacles to ministry, but can we speak a curse at them, like Jesus did to the fig tree?

      or is that just hyperbolic language for praying that God will take away lack of fruit and lack of repentance and things like greedy money changers in the temple, - "Lord take that away"

    5. I say "most" of them are charlatans rather than all of them to make allowance for Christians who were raised in theologically defective traditions, some of whom outgrow it. They can sincerely believe it at the time, but reconsider what they were conditioned to believe.

  2. Was Jesus predicting the future destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD? ("this mountain" = Mt. Zion, where the temple was)

    "this mountain" (the temple, money changers, etc.) had no fruit - no repentance, change, good works, good heart, etc.

    Does "have faith in God" (Mark 11:22) mean "repent of the old Jewish works and ritualistic system and believe in the true God, who has sent His Son - Messiah (Jesus) ?

    Mark 11:25 has another condition for answered prayer - forgiving others.

    the first comment should include Mark 11:24 - the name it claim it preachers say "believe that you have already received it and it will happen", etc.

    What was Jesus getting at by telling the disciples to "speak to the mountain" ?? (verse 23)

    bottom line is God's Sovereignty
    Matthew 6:10
    Luke 22:42
    1 John 5:14

    1. In his commentary on Mark, Robert Stein thinks it alludes to the Temple Mount.