Certainly, this message will not sell well in a self-indulgent age. Nonetheless, we had better be glad that our heavenly Father decides what is best for us and not we ourselves, because only He truly understands what we need and what we can handle. One shudders to think of what would happen if God gave us everything we clamored for.

I do not wish to be misunderstood: I believe in divine healing and in God's provision for every detail of our lives. In addition, I do not associate piety with poverty. I thank God for those He has prospered who are dedicated to using their resources for the extension of His kingdom.

But for the word-faith teachers, healing and prosperity became so important that they had to find some way to guarantee them, and they did this by exalting man's faith at the expense of God's sovereignty. Thus, they developed the doctrine that God created the world out of nothing by faith, and that He created men as "little gods" to exercise the same kind of faith. Faith therefore becomes a powerful force that gets results, whether in the hands of a believer or a nonbeliever.

On the basis of this virtual deification of human faith, the purveyors of the word-faith message promise health and wealth to those who exercise faith in their faith rather than faith in their God. As has been well said elsewhere, faith is only as good as the object on which it is placed.

Walter Martin used to say, "All faith is subsumed under the overarching biblical doctrine of the sovereignty of God." The Creator is the Lord of the universe, not a cosmic "gofer" at the beck and call of His creation. It is not our faith that sits on the throne, but our sovereign God (1 Chron. 29:10-12).

Original publication date: February 3, 2009