Positive Confession is the belief that if a believer speaks "spiritual" or
"faith-filled" words then he can have what he says. Unfortunately, this
influence has invaded the church and continues to cause much turmoil and

Many of the teachers of the word-faith movement believe that words are so
powerful that they can influence the physical and spiritual worlds. For

In The Tongue, a Creative Force (1976), positive confessionist Charles
Capps, teaches that there are powerful "spiritual" words. Such words,
which are ordinary words, can under certain circumstances, become vehicles
for creative or supernatural power.

When "faith-filled" spiritual words are spoken (as words of power), they
can alter the physical and spiritual world. Capps says, "You see there is
more to it than just saying it. The words must originate from the inner
man where spiritual power is released through words."

He goes on to state that "spirit words can control both the spirit world
and the physical world. Because the words themselves have power, they will
work for either God or man in the same manner." He goes on:

"The spirit of man is not of this world, it is of the spirit world. The
creative ability of man comes through his spirit. He speaks spirit words
that work in the world of the spirit. They will also dominate the physical
world. He breathes spirit life into God's Word and it becomes a living
substance, working for him as it worked for God in the beginning. These
spirit words dominate the natural world" (p. 117-118).

What Capps is alluding to in the above statement is his teaching that
since God, "by His faith" (using words) spoke this physical world into
existence; the believer, using faith, can do the same. That is, the
believer can speak things into existence. However, God's word is already
"quick and powerful" (Hebrews 4:12), and it is referred to as the "Word of
Life" (Phillipians 2:16). It is not necessary to activate it by speaking
words of faith as though it were asleep or dead! Rather, it is by hearing
the "living" word that one is brought to salvation through faith in
Christ. (Romans 10:17)

A number of the prosperity teachers believe that the spiritual world
controls and continually forms the physical world. So, if one can learn to
control the spiritual world, then he can learn to control the physical
world as well. This teaching then becomes the foundation for securing
individual prosperity.

That is why in Releasing the Ability of God, Capps states, "You can have
what you say! (because) the powerful force of the spiritual world that
creates the circumstances around us is controlled by the words of the
mouth. This force comes from inside us; the confession of our mouth will
cause you to possess it" (pp. 98-99, parenthesis mine). This is why he
teaches, "Discipline your vocabulary," and "today your word is god over
your circumstances" (pp. 101-104).

Capps also teaches that the power within a Christian, within one's spirit,
functions according to unchangeable laws. He says "These principles of
faith are based on spiritual laws. They work for whosoever will apply
these laws" (The Tongue, p. 103).

D. R. McConnell, in his book, A Different Gospel, directly traces the
origin the spiritual laws taught in positive confession to the metaphysics
of E.W. Kenyon, a man of 50-60 years ago whose theology was that of
Pentecostal Christian Science (A Different Gospel, pp. 3-56).

McConnell records Kenneth Copeland in The Laws of Prosperity (p. 98, 101)
as saying, "You can have what you say! In fact, what you are saying is
exactly what you are getting now. If you are living in poverty and lack
and want, change what you are saying. It will change what you have.
Discipline your vocabulary. God will be obligated to meet your needs
because of His word. If you stand firmly on this, your needs will be met"
(Ibid., p. 173).

McConnell further states, that E.W. Kenyon's New Thought classmate, Ralph
Waldo Trine, attributes the confession of prosperity to "Occult power." He
says that "Trine believed that thought is a force, and it has Occult power
of unknown proportions when rightly used and wisely directed" (Ibid., p.

The usage of Occult powers is, of course, a practice that the Word-Faith
teachers would publicly reject. Of course, this is not to say that those
offering these teachings are Occultists. They are teachers who may never
have thought through the implications of the practices they advocate. They
may be unaware of the similarities between certain aspects of positive
confession and Occulict practices. Nevertheless, the similarities do
exist, and these practices are neither Biblical nor Christian.

John Ankerberg's issue of News and Views, June 1988, p. 1, reports that
these words are used in religious rituals to influence both the spirit
world and the material world. The report quotes Occult magician David
Conway discussing the power of magical words to affect these worlds:

"Unseparable from magical speculation about words is the theory of
vibrations, which supposes that certain sounds have a powerful acoustic
impact on both the spiritual and astral worlds. Like the spiritual world
and astral plane can in some circumstances be affected by sound, so that
verbal magic may be said to derive its power not only from the idea
contained in certain words, but from the peculiar vibrations these words
create when spoken" (Magic: an Occult Primer, pp. 74-75).

Occultists, of course, have long claimed the true inner nature of man is
powerful, capable of exercising divine ability. This is why New Ager
Benjamin Creme says, for example, "One doesn't pray to oneself, one prays
to the God within. The thing is to learn to invoke that energy which is
the energy of God. Prayer and worship as we know it today will gradually
die out and men will be trained to invoke the (inner) power of deity" (The
Reappearance of Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, pp. 135-136, parenthesis

The reason that positive confessionists can place so much emphasis on the
inner man and his divine power is that they think the believer is a god.
Kenneth Copeland says, "You don't have a god in you, you are one"
(Copeland's sermon tape The Force of Love). And Kenneth Hagin says, "The
believer is as much an incarnation of God as Jesus Christ" (Hagin, Word of
Faith, p. 14).

To the positive confessionist, scripture passages such as Proverbs 18:21,
"Death and Life are in the power of the tongue;" and James 3:8-10 are
taken as proof of this doctrine, because they believe as "little gods"
they have the same power as God through their own words.

Is it any wonder that Charles Capps says "The confession of your mouth
even after you have prayed correctly will determine whether or not you
receive. You can release the ability of God through the words of your
mouth" (Releasing the Ability of God, 1978, pp. 93, 96).

For Christians words and faith are important, but there is a limit to what
words can do.

It can help or hurt a close friend or a total stranger by what one says,
but to treat words as if they were some "star wars" type weapon by which
one alters or manipulates reality is not biblical, but Occultic. If one
could change reality by the power of words spoken, then that would put man
on the same level with God. This is exactly what teachers of the "positive
confession," or word-faith movement, claim.

We are told by God Himself that He spoke the creation into existence
(Genesis 1). He has not given that power to anyone else!

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