There is a myth which has become very prevalent within Christianity that has to do with the power of our words. It began in the “Word-Faith” movement, but it seems to have expanded into the common evangelical vernacular. The myth to which I am referring is the absolute fear of saying anything which could be negative.
I have heard people who would say, “I will not say I am sick, because I am not claiming that in my life” when they are clearly very ill. Let me make a point very clear from the beginning: Your words are not magical.
I have heard people say, “I will not even speak the name of a specific disease because I am not agreeing with the possibility that I could have it.” This is the very nature of the Word-Faith heresy (and it truly is heretical), but I find this type of thinking is becoming more and more accepted even among those who would not identify themselves as Word-Faith.
You cannot create a disease simply by speaking it. You are not God. You cannot create something from nothing. Only God can do that. He spoke the world into existence and it continues to exist under His sovereign control. By claiming that your words have the power to either create or to eliminate something like an organic disease, you are deceiving yourself.
But what about the Word-Faith movement’s favorite verse? Proverbs 18:21 clearly says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” I encourage you to take a very serious look at what this verse says and what it does not say. Yes, it says that words are powerful. They can bring life and they can bring death. But, I submit to you that this is not an expression of some mystical property which is contained within the words themselves, but rather the way in which our words affect others which can be to speak life or speak death to them.
For instance, consider a husband who tells his wife, “You are ugly and brainless.” Those words are dreadfully cruel, and they are deadly to her own sense of self-worth. They are, in a very real way, words of death to her. Likewise the father who tells his son that he is an idiot, or the mother who tells her daughter that she is stupid. These words are words of death. In this way, the tongue can be very dangerous.
Conversely, the husband who tells his wife how precious she is, and how much she brings him joy, that husband is speaking life to his wife. When parents offer their children words of encouragement and constructive correction, those words are life to them. Those words build up, and in that way the tongue is very useful. This is why the Apostle Paul tells us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
So, I am not denying the tongue is powerful. It is immensely so. As members of the body go, there is not one that has more power than the tongue to do harm or to do good (James 3:2-11). But this is not because the tongue is magic.
The modern Word-Faith movement has created a sense in which the words we use are the formula for creating things out of thin air. In this sense, they are much more akin to the spells and incantations found in a Harry Potter novel than they are associated with anything found in the Word of God. The Bible says that our words are powerful, but not sovereign. Only God is sovereign; only God has the power speak things into existence.
Ultimately, this behavior and belief is not only erroneous, it is also sinful. It is sinful because it replaces God’s sovereignty with the belief in the mystical power of one’s own words. It demonstrates that the person practicing it is more concerned with his own comfort than he is with God’s glory. We are not promised a comfortable life as believers. Rather we are promised strength through persecution, trials and suffering. To believe that you can “speak away” these things simply by saying or not saying certain words is seeking to exercise a power which does not belong to you.
A few years ago, when my son was still in the single digit ages, his mother and I signed him up for Pop Warner football. It was a relatively positive experience, with only a few hiccups here and there which were mostly related to uber-intense...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
A person recently posted an important question about the controversy regarding homosexuality and Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. Since Phil will likely never see the question, I decided to provide an answer. QUESTION: Dear Phil, I also support...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Recently a Minnesota lawmaker was recorded giving a defense of gay marriage, and his words have become popular among those who support the homosexual movement. The interesting thing is that, though his words were articulately spoken, he said...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Hi Keith Thank you for your response. I admit that you had some great points, and have found myself corrected or enlightened from time to time by your comments. I am enjoying our discussions thus far and feel that they have been...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS: 1. I tried to make this point in my above responses to your comments, but I will again here state that the issue is not that God “cannot” give revelation, the issue is “has He” given new revelation? I would argue that He...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Hello Mr. Foskey First of all, sorry again for the slow reply. School, work, family etc. have kept me very busy recently. But I am very happy to continue our discussion. You had some great comments. Please see my responses below: COMMENTS: ...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
2. If a man came to me for advice, as you suggested, here is what I would say: I would first ask if he believed himself to be a “good” person. If he answered yes, I would ask him by what standard he was considering himself good. At this point, he...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
1. I do agree that God can do whatever He chooses, yet at the same time I also recognize that He certainly does not speak from Heaven audibly as a “normal” form of communication, but instead He has chosen to use the mediating voices of His...[ abbreviated | read entire ]