|Kenneth Hagin Ministries: Where's the Faith?
by Jay Howard
The United States is known by most nations of the world as a nation of wealth. It should be no surprise that in a country of wealth, there should be a doctrine that helps to establish this concept as a biblical truth on par with salvation and other teachings of Holy Writ.
This teaching is known to many as the Word of Faith. It teaches that by confessing to God that you want a particular thing (wealth, healing, a new car, new house etc.) and having established the proper amount of faith to appropriate the desired item, you can command God to give it to you.
The Word of Faith (WF) teaches that God developed these rules or laws of faith and therefore since He has set them in motion, He must obey his own law. Therefore, all anyone must do is apprehend these laws and God must obey you when you ask for the things that you desire.
The person who is thought of as the father of this teaching is Kenneth Hagin of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He's so well regarded, that he is often referred to by those who follow WF teachings as "Papa" Hagin. According to his booklets, articles and in his magazine, "The Word of Faith", he has believed and lived by these teachings for more than fifty years. In this article we will explore the statements of Kenneth Hagin concerning his vows of confession.
We will also attempt to discover whether Hagin himself believes the teachings he claims are biblical and have universal application to all people It is clear that when Hagin speaks of the "laws of faith" he believes that anyone can put them into practice.
"It used to bother me when I'd see unsaved people getting results, but my church members not getting results. Then it dawned on me what the sinners were doing. They were cooperating with the law of God -- the law of faith."1
He says there are four parts to getting from God what you desire. These four are confessing what you want, believing that you have what you want, receiving what you want and telling others you have what you want.
Hagin tells us that Jesus appeared to him in Phoenix, Arizona and revealed the keys for people to get from God what they want.2
Hagin says this about the need for a positive confession, "If you talk about your trials, your difficulties, your lack of faith, your lack of money -- your faith will shrivel up and dry up. But bless God, if you talk about the Word of God, your lovely Heavenly Father and what He can do -- your faith will grow by leaps and bounds."3 Presumably you receive what you desire if you confess in a proper manner.
Next you believe that you have it and sometimes you must wed your belief, that you are getting from God what you told Him you want with a particular action. "Jesus dictated to me during my vision, 'Your action defeats or puts you over. According to your action you receive or you are kept from receiving.'"4
Mr. Hagin is telling us that if you do something wrong in the formula, you perform a particular action or refrain from another particular action you will prevent God from delivering the thing that you have confessed. In other words, you will need to judge for yourself during the process which action will be the correct action to perform that will assure you your confessed goal (be it material goods or physical healing). The corollary would be, if you perform the wrong action, this will negate God's ability to deliver what you asked. It is all up to you!
Thirdly you must accept the thing you have confessed. ".....I simply acted on Mark 11:23,24. I began to say, "I believe God. I believe I receive healing for the deformed heart. I believe I receive healing for the paralysis...."5
Telling God and yourself is the third component of Hagin's positive confession formula. As you tell God and yourself you believe, you again are letting God know that he is obligated to give you your petition (If one can use the word loosely because petition denotes something that can be denied).
The last step in this series is to tell others you have been granted the very thing you seek. This must be done before you have tangible evidence that the goods have been delivered. Hagin explains, "Jesus said to me, 'Tell it so others may believe'..
David knew you can have what you say. He knew you can write your own ticket He is writing it here. He knew God would do anything he would believe Him for."6
The intent of this article is not to exhaustively refute this theory but rather to see if Hagin himself applies this formula to himself. However, let me say this. God does not answer prayer due to a completion of a set of rules. Jesus for instance told people not to tell others after He healed them (Math. 9:28-29). This would violate rule 4 that Jesus supposedly told Hagin was necessary to receive from God (it is beyond the scope of this article to explore which Jesus actually spoke with Hagin in Phoenix or if there was any vision at all).
The biblical notion of faith is simply trust in God. Jesus many times performed healing with precious little or no faith evident on the part of those who received (Mark 9:24, Luke 17:6, Math. 4:23). In these instances the only thing that was confessed was a father's fear that he may not have enough belief. These examples openly contradict Rule 1 concerning a positive confession needed to get from God and also Rule 3 that you believe fervently for yourself that you have what you want.
When you look at the Gospels with an open objective mind, you find that Jesus never followed a formulaic approach to anything let alone how He granted the petitions of those who sought his divine help. That should team us that Jesus, who was God while He lived on earth, was still sovereign over all things. (Colossians 1:15-17)
He performed miracles not because He was compelled to like some trained seal performing at his master's command, but because His creatures implored Him and He felt compassion for them.
Does Hagin Follow His Own Rules?
I receive a monthly magazine from Hagin's ministry and because I am on his mailing list I also receive every two to three months a letter signed by Kenneth Hagin Senior requesting money that I am to send to his ministry.
In a letter dated June 1995, Hagin requests money for classroom chairs: "We are in need of 5,000 desk chairs for all the classrooms and seminar auditorium... I realize that the total for all 5,000 chairs is a very large sum of money. However, I believe that if all of us work together, we can accomplish this project."
There was a letter dated October 1995 in which more money was requested: "....That is why we always depend upon the special offerings that we receive as a result of the letter I send to you every October. Your offerings help us catch up on the expenses of the maintenance and preparations during the summer and also help us through the holidays until I write to you again in February.""
This hardly sounds like the same man who wrote the booklets, "How to Write Your Own Ticket with God" and "Having Faith In Your Faith." He says in those booklets, to obtain wealth, power, possessions, etc. from God, all one needs to do is follow 4 rules or steps as we have quoted previously. He said nothing about sending a letter requesting money from people, as a fifth rule.
Kenneth Hagin has as of 12-21-95 over 500,000 people on his mailing list, according to the public relations office at his headquarters In Tulsa, OK.
The reality is that when it comes to following his own prescription for receiving from God, Hagin fails. There seems to be an easy way to obtain money from WF theology; have a mailing list of half a million. There would be no need to request money if this so called WF formula was truly a biblical mandate.
This not an indictment of Christian ministries that solicit money through the mail (Though some would say there are those that funds, with irritating frequency, bordering on harassment). However, when an organization and or a person proclaims vigorously, as Hagin does, that all you have to do is put into practice this four point formula and God will obligingly respond with whatever you demand from Him; Then turns and sends special requests for money, it is hypocritical and proves that he has no ultimate faith in the efficacy of the formula.
It should be clear at this juncture that WF doesn't work for Hagin nor anyone else in the movement It is so much smoke and mirrors. It is my prayer that many will see the fruitlessness of the non biblical teaching and repent of its corrupt practices. For true biblical faith is essential to understanding God and walking with Him in a truly balanced Christian life. The WF doctrine is only a diabolical counterfeit and will destroy what it claims to build, the faith of believers.
1. Having Faith In Your Faith, Kenneth Hagin; (Rhema Bible Church) p. 4,5.
2. How to Write Your Own Ticket With God, Kenneth Hagin; (Rhema Bible
Church) p. 1-5.
6. Ibid. p.19,23. (Emphasis in the original)
7. Letter from Kenneth Hagin Ministries, dated June1995. pg.2.
8. Letter from Kenneth Hagin Ministries, dated October 1995. Pg.2.