(10-Minute read).

When I became a Christian a few years back, someone alerted me to some books of some popular authors that proclaimed the very pragmatic doctrine called Rhematology. The Theology of the Spoken Word, or thought actualization, is commonly known as positive confession. It stresses the inherent power of words and thoughts and holds that every person predestines his future by what he says verbally and by how well he uses spiritual laws of positive confession. H. Terris Neuman writes; 

“The doctrines of correct thinking and believing accompanied by positive confession, with the result of calling a sickness a symptom (denial of reality supported by a Gnostic dualism) are not found in Christian writings until after New Thought and its offspring had begun to develop them. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to state that the doctrine originated and developed in these cults, and was later absorbed by Christians in their quest to develop a healing ministry”

This teaching asserts that we live in a mechanistic universe instead of a personal one, and if we declare the right Biblical passages, God must perform or bring to pass what you asked.[1] D. R. McConnell wrote,

“The Working presupposition of positive confession is that one’s mental attitude determines what one believes and confesses, and what one believes and confesses determines what one gets from God.”[2]

Now, does the Bible teach that man can “have what he says?” I have had good Pastors proclaim, ‘God cannot move if we do not believe,’ or ‘God waits for a man to do their part.’ The subtle deception form such a doctrine is that we think our decrees limit God and our words benefit man.  The Christian has a lack because he does not proclaim the right promises or refrains from speaking the right sequential words from Scripture. Now I am all for biblical faith and believing God’s promises. But the deception is simply that man is in the driving seat of what befalls him in this life, and his success is dependent on saying the right words. McConnell wrote,

“reality is the sum total of whatever man thinks it to be, man possesses the inate ability to shape and reshape reality through the powers of his mind and his words.” [3]

The Church of Jesus cannot be said to be sober if they cannot identify the subtle deception where God is simply ‘edged out’. When Paul and Silas entered into Berea the it is said that the;

“Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11 ESV)

We need to be vigilant stewards of God’s word and His principles. God’s way of personal autonomy is never for man to become an independent sovereign. Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote:

“Men will allow God to be everywhere but on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow his bounties. they will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust.”[4]

Six points stem from the understanding of what we just described above, and I would love to outline all of them shortly and then in the end of this article explain the misdirection evident in them all. So, here are the six steps usually predicated in this doctrine:

1. Faith is a force that both God and man can use

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome declares without any shame;

“The most important part of your life is the ability to use words….words define your life, words define your reality, words define your personality… you are no greater than your words… your life is the expression, the manifestation of your words… words are important, they make or mar your life.”[5]

Some local Pastors teach that Faith is a force just like electricity or gravity that we can actualise because we are created in the image of God and therefore, we should act like god. Faith is a neutral substance that will set in motion or even create the adherent’s reality. Their definition of faith is that it is a substance out of which God creates whatever is. So, God uses faith and we can produce the same results through obedience to the same “laws of faith” He applied in creation. This teaching states that you have the same ability as God and this power is residing on the inside of you. It is interesting to note that the potency of God resides outside of Him and is not necessarily as a result of His very essence. In this world of faith there is no neutrality and all individuals simply get what they have said. This is almost a sort of confessional ‘caste system’ where success is solely dependent on what we actualise and say. If you can have what you say, you have not, because you have not directed your faith in the right direction or applied the right rhetoric towards your predestined purpose.

2. Faith’s force is released by speaking words

Dr. Theo Wolmarans says;

“If I speak positively to my circumstances, God will anoint my resources. God will anoint my abilities, just like he anointed David’s sling. We fail because we neglect to say something positive to negative circumstances… people are enchained and imprisoned by their own words… Proverbs 6:2. “You are snared by the Words of your mouth. You are taken captive by the words of your mouth.” Now a snare is something a poacher uses out in the field to catch a wild animal… it is not good enough to think positive thoughts, we need to say them… every word of God [in the Bible] contains all of God’s power and all of God’s ability. And if you speak that word, it will work for you like for Jesus.[6]

In magic, this is called incantations or spells. When you speak the right words, the results come as we announce it. For this reality, words are the most powerful thing in the universe because they are containers that carry faith or fear and they produce after their kind. The God that relies on the potency of His faith rather than His existence renders Himself dependent on all words because words are key. When Theo Wolmarans assume that God operates by these very same laws or when he states:

“God had faith in His own words … God had faith in His faith, because He spoke words of faith and they came to pass.”[7]

Commentator on the New Age Metaphysics Ron Rhodes writes;

“According to New Thought, human beings can experience health, success, and abundant life by using their thoughts to define the condition of their lives. New Thought proponents subscribe to the “law of attraction.” This law says that just as like attract the things they want or expect. Negative thoughts are believed to attract more desirable circumstances; positive thoughts attract more desirable circumstances. Our thoughts can be either creative or destructive. New Thought sets out to teach people how to use their thoughts creatively.”[8]

The basic premise of then of ‘positive confession’ as taught in the Word-Faith movement is:

  1. God created things by speaking them into existence.
  2. We are created in God’s image.
  3. Therefore we, too, can create things (or situations) by speaking them into existence.

Those who teach this doctrine claim that words are a creative force, with the power of influencing both the physical and the spiritual world. Hence believers spend much time binding Satan, demons and other spiritual entities and claiming health and wealth. Now as I will demonstrate in the end of this article, for Christians words and faith are important, but there is a limit to what words can do. Another alarming perspective that directly flows from this teaching is the doctrine that man can be a “little god.”

3. Man is a “little god” in God’s class

Some word of Faith preachers thought this very idea that if man functions as God by commanding the faith force, speaking the Words of God, he becomes a vice-regent of the very God that he worships. In doing so he is therefore, a ‘little god’ or in the god-class. This is what Kenneth Hagin mentioned as well:

“He (God) made us the same class of being that He is Himself…”[9]

For years as a young born-again believer, I strived to become a master at speaking God’s words. Discipleship was mere imitation of the Spiritual principles as deduced from Jesus Christ, not being a follower of HIM. Kenneth Hagin, writing in his religious publication, “Word of Faith”, (December 1980, Pg.14) says:

“You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was.  Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle.  The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”

Other teachers even go as far as to proclaim that god always desired to reproduce a god-kind species on this earth. Kenneth Copeland mentions,

God’s reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself… He was not a little God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even.”[10]

“You don’t have a god in you, you are one.” (The force of love, tape #02-0028’side1)

Unfortunately, Creflo Dollar, another very well-known American teacher in his sermon “Made after His kind”, September 15, 2002 asks his congregation:

Dollar: “If horses get together, they produce what?”

Congregation: “Horses!”

Dollar: “If dogs get together, they produce what?”

Congregation: “Dogs!”

Dollar: “If cats get together, they produce what?”

Congregation: “Cats!”

Dollar: “So if the Godhead says, ‘Let us make man in our image’, and everything produces after its own kind, then they produce what?”

Congregation: “gods!”

Dollar: “gods. Little “g” gods. You’re not human. Only human part of you is this flesh you’re wearing.”

Hank Hanegraaff comments that;

“Everyone should understand that the notion of Jesus teaching the “little gods” doctrine would carry devastating implications. For starters, it would mean that Christ is confused, since he previously taught there is only one God (Mark 12:29; cf. Deuteronomy 6:4). It would also prove that the Bible is contradictory, because it also teaches only one god (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6). Finally, it would demonstrate that the serpent was correct in telling Eve, “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Any such teaching is nothing but a doctrine of demons.”[11]

There can be no littler gods at the expense of the One True God. This is exactly what this doctrine allows, a rank polytheism, where individuals aim is to become an autonomous god subjecting the One true God to the very words that He has Spoken. Like I said before, there can be no neutrality if you hold consistently to this Doctrine.

4. Anyone can use the faith force

Prophet Leon Du Preez is yet another young man that teaching this doctrine as if it a clear and distinct revelation from God.[12] For them, because man is a little god he should act as a god-being imitating the way in which God created everything in reality by the power of words. Popular American Tele-Evangelist Joel Osteen wrote;

“Our words are vital in bringing our dreams to pass. It’s not enough to simply see it by faith or in your imagination. You have to begin speaking words of faith over your life. Your words have enormous creative power. The moment you speak something out, you give birth to it.”[13]

Because man is simply a summation of the words that he has spoken, God is limited only to the invocations man has declared in this life. Another popular American preacher Frederick Price wrote;

“Now this is a shocker! But God has to be given permission to work in this earth realm on behalf of man… Yes! You are in control! So, if man has control who no longer has it? God… When God gave Adam dominion, that meant God no longer had dominion. So, god cannot do anything in this earth unless we let Him.  And the way we let Him or give Him permission is through prayer.”[14]

These words stand in stark contrast to the very words spoken by the Psalmist when he declares;

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3).

“Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.” (Psalm 135:6).

The God of the Christian Scriptures are in no way confined by our claim to any authority, and neither does he sit helplessly by being a victim of mans words. He is Sovereign and ultimate in everything he allows and predicate.

5. You get what you confess

In the above link provided of Dr. Theo Wolmarans, he makes it abundantly clear that man simply attains what he has declared. Man is therefore, clearly, a summation of his own words. The vital key is confessing, or speaking aloud, and thereby, releasing the force of faith. In 2006 author Rhonda Byrne promoted a similar opinion in the book “The Secret[15], one of the central principles in the book is what is called the law of attraction[16]. In the law of attraction, “thoughts become reality” as you summon these desires with your words.  Dr. D.R. McConnell rightly observes that:

“Through “creative faith,” man becomes not only a god. He becomes a creator.”[17]

Good thoughts produce desirable results and vice-versa. I have heard this repeated ad infinitum by ministers from the pulpits on a Sunday morning. They even tell the congregation, “You are a summation of what you confessed.’ I even heard one minister leading the congregants in a prayer for a crop failure for all the words they have sown that could have been negative. “Lord, let only the positive remain!” As if God is a genie, running around for these people’s bidding. One Word of faith teacher says something very similar when he declares;

“Faith is a power force. It is a conductive force. It will move things. Faith will change things. Faith will change the human body. It will change the human heart. Faith will change circumstances… the Force of Faith is released by words. Faith-filled words put the law of the Spirit of life into operation.”[18]

Dr. D.R. McConnell rightly observes that:

“The name of Jesus is the believer’s carte blanche with God. It confers unconditional authority upon believers… the Faith cosmology teaches that God must obey these spiritual laws and cannot do otherwise, it has destroyed his Sovereignty, His right and self-determination and self-rule in the universe.”[19]

6. Never make a negative confession

There is seemingly one unpardonable sin in the positive confession movement; don’t ever make a negative confession. Don’t say, “I was scared to death” or “I will never succeed.” These words will shape your reality and make that very result actual. Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is a self-proclaimed Prophet active here in South Africa with quite a big following, and he cautions his congregation categorically;

“Confess only good things. Don’t confess good things, after two months bad things. That is the problem, consistence. This week you proclaim, “I believe, a miracle is going to happen.” Five days later, one email to your inbox… “Please now, what is this now. These things will never change”. By your own mouth you are condemned.”[20]    

If a man has the innate ability to determine his future, whether bad or good, and he is simply the manifestation of his own realized words, then he should be cautious as to what he is saying. We even found churches where people do not confess their sins, but rather their ignorant words that they have spoken. In these communities, it is imperative never to talk about anything negative but only to make a positive confession. This teaching is gnostic dualism dressed in a Christian outfit.


So how should we reflect on these six assumptions? In part 2 of this article, I will look at all six of these points and reflect Biblically to all of them. For now, I want to ask you if you are in a church that promotes these principles, get out! It might be highly pragmatic and very enticing to be the custodian of your destiny. The very promise to be a self-made man is what underlines this warped theology. Challenge the leaders that teach these things and hold them biblically accountable. I have made a detailed video that looks at the very central premise of this article that you can access here.

Be blessed,

Pastor Rudolph.

Click on this link for Part 2 of this article


[1] see, Kenneth Copeland, Laws of Prosperity, p. 15; Charles Capps, The Tongue A Creative Force, pp. 117-118; Releasing the Ability of God, pp. 98-99, 101-104.

[2] A Different Gospel: The Doctrine of Faith, Pg.135.

[3] A Different Gospel: The Doctrine of Faith, Pg.136.

[4] Sermons Volume 02: 1856

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Yh8utqCB-w

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJgLS9eVib4

[7] https://christianfamilychurchstore.co.za/shop/dr-theo/faith/the-power-of-positive-confession-san-antonio/

[8] The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age Movement, Pg.149.

[9] Zoe: The God kind of life, Pg.35-36;41.

[10] Following the faith of Abraham, tape #01-3001,side1

[11] Christianity in Crises, Pg. 112.

[12] https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Leon+Du+Preez+the+power+of+Words

[13] Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, 2004

[14] “Prayer: Do you know what prayer is… and how to pray?” The Word Study Bible, Pg.1178.

[15] https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1582701709

[16] The Secret, Pg.156.

[17] Ibid, Pg.138.

[18] Kenneth Copeland, The Faith Force, Pg.6.

[19] Ibid, Pg.140.

[20] Time 20:45 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4C03KlvxWU&t=693s