The first leg of my charismatic journey was through the word of faith teaching. We were involved in this for about 12 years. As I mentioned in my post “The Slippery Slope to Charismania” the young people we met with at the time often listened to Kenneth Copeland tapes.
Although there wasn’t a word-of-faith church in our town at the time, my newlywed husband and I were very influenced by this teaching. We received the monthly magazines and cassettes from both Hagin and Copeland, and we had the complete Kenneth Hagin library.
This was a time of growth for me. On the positive side, I grew in my understanding of scripture. This movement is heavy on teaching, and except for the extremes, there is a lot of good teaching about our identity as believers.
I also grew in the discipline of taking my requests to the Lord. However, looking back, I see that relationally I did not feel close to God, and my prayer life was very formulaic. I won’t blame this on the movement, it is simply where I was at personally.
My husband and I thought the extremes of positive confession were silly. It was difficult to watch how you said things when you were around people who acted as the confession police. It was always funny when someone with watery eyes and a runny nose would vehemently deny having a cold. We quickly learned the appropriate way to dodge a negative confession was by saying, “The Lord is healing me from a cold.”
On a more serious note, trying to believe enough to save my first baby while in the midst of a miscarriage was devastating.
The turning point for us came at the beginning of the renewal movement. For my husband, the change began when reading a John Wimber book and realizing that some of the things we believed just didn’t line up with scripture. I was ready to believe differently. With the word of faith teaching, too much depended on me. I had come to the place where the object of faith was my faith. Again, I will not place the blame for this on anyone but myself.
While I continue to make my requests to God, my trust is in Him, and I do not presume to know His answers. I do not believe His answers are dependent on my ability to pray just right. Honestly, I have to believe in a God who loves me, understands my needs and my weaknesses, and will answer me according to His good plan for me.
Pam asks an interesting question in the post updating my husband’s condition:
This is a sensitive and heartfelt topic for those who suffer from chronic pain or illness or who have lost someone to disease. It is a mystery why God heals some but not others. What do you and your husband think since God is choosing not to heal him at this time?
I don’t have a good answer for this. As long as he is in pain, we will continue to pray for healing. In the end, I have to accept that there are things I do not understand. God is God, and I am not.
Robby’s post-charismatic project is online. He has done an amazing job of compiling and explaining charismatic history and experience. Hopefully you won’t get tired of me continually linking to it. Regarding this post, he has an entire section on Word Faith that will give you a much more indepth picture of this movement.
The next leg of the charismatic journey for us was renewal.