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The Word-Faith Movement

Word-Faith Teachings
About God the Father

Edited and expanded extracts from the book by Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald,
Alpha - the Unofficial Guide: Church, (2005), Part Four, Chapter 20

Word-Faith: Index of Articles



This article looks at some of the teachings of Word-Faith about God the Father, and how they compare with what the Bible says.

According to the Bible, God is, among many other attributes:

  • The everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6; 63:16),
  • Clothed with honour and majesty (Psalm 104:1),
  • The only wise God (Jude 1:25),
  • A mighty God and terrible (Deuteronomy 7:21; 10:17;  Nehemiah 9:32).

We are to fear God "greatly", and "give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name" (Psalm 96:8).


God Is Like Us

God is a "spirit-being with a body, complete with eyes, and eyelids, ears, nostrils, a mouth, hands and fingers, and feet" [Kenneth Copeland, ministry letter, (21 July 1977)],

"The Bible said He measured the heavens with a 9 inch span.  Now the span is the difference, distance between the end of the thumb and the end of the little finger.  And, and that Bible said, in fact the Amplified Translation translates the Hebrew text that way.  That He measured out the heavens with a 9 inch span.  Well, I got a ruler and measured mine, and my span's 8-3/4 inches long.  So now God's span is a quarter of an inch, a quarter inch longer than mine.  So you see, that faith didn't come billowing out of some giant monster somewhere,  it came out of the heart of a being that is very uncanny the way He's very much like you and me.  A being that stands somewhere around 6'-2", 6'-3", that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds, little better, has a handspan of 8 - and, I mean 9 inches across, stood up and said 'Light be', and this universe situated itself and went into motion.  Glory to God" [Kenneth Copeland, Spirit, Soul, and a Body 1, (1985), audiotape #01-0601, side 1].

Kenneth Copeland obtains this information by assuming that the size of God's hand is the same as the length of an Old Testament 'span'.  But God is outside of His creation and does not have measurable dimension.  Solomon tells us:

"Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!" (2 Chronicles 6:18),

"Do I not fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 23:24b).

When God says:

"Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand hath spanned the heavens" (Isaiah 48:13), we really suppose He possesses a nine-inch hand span?  The Hebrew original - not surprisingly, from the context - means that God 'stretched out' the heavens.  The text nowhere suggests a nine-inch span.  We must be careful not to take Scripture's anthropomorphisms too far.  The following scriptures give us a better idea of the mightiness of God's 'hand':

"O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?" (Deuteronomy 3:24),

"Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm" (Jeremiah 32:17).


Adam Was a Reproduction of God

"God's reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself.  I mean a reproduction of Himself, and in the Garden of Eden He did just that.  [Adam] was not a little like God.  He was not almost like God.  He was not subordinate to God even. ... Adam is as much like God as you could get ... Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh" [Kenneth Copeland, Following the Faith of Abraham 1, (1989), audiotape #01-3001, side 1].

If this is so, why did the Lord describe Adam as merely dust?  Why did He give Adam orders?  And why did He judge him?

"And the LORD God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7),

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:15-17),

"And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life ... In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:17-19).


The Biggest Failure

"I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible actually is.  Everybody you ask, 'Who's the biggest failure?'  They say 'Judas', somebody else will say, 'No, I believe it was Adam', 'Well how about the devil?' - he's the most consistent failure.  But he's not the biggest in terms of material failure and so forth.  The biggest one in all the Bible is God.  What, what, what - don't you turn that set off - you listen to what I told you - now you sit still a minute.  You know me well enough to know I wouldn't, I wouldn't tell something I can't prove from the Bible ... I mean, He lost His top-ranking, most anointed angel; the first man He ever created; the first woman He ever created; the whole earth and the fullness therein; a third of His angels, at least - that's a big loss, man..." [Kenneth Copeland, Praise-a-Thon, programme on TBN, (April 1998)],

"God is the biggest failure on the Bible ... the reason you've never thought that is because He never said He was one" [Kenneth Copeland, Praise-a-Thon, programme on TBN, (1998)],

But God never fails.  He is Almighty and all knowing, so He can never fail:

"Every morning doth He bring His judgements to light, He faileth not" (Zephaniah 3:5b),

"He shall not fail nor be discouraged" (Isaiah 42:4a),

"Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail" (Hebrews 1:12b).


God Lost Control

When Adam sinned, "Suddenly, God was on the outside looking in ... God found Himself in a peculiar position" [Kenneth Copeland, Our Covenant with God, (1987), pp.8-11] because He had 'lost control' of "the whole earth" [Copeland, Praise-a-Thon, (April 1988)].  Satan surprised and outwitted God, and God subsequently had to find "an avenue back into the Earth" [Copeland, Covenant, pp.8-11].

But the true God cannot be surprised, for He knew how the whole of history would work out from before the foundation of the world:

He declares: "the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, ... My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isaiah 46:9-10),

"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18),

"I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 13:35b),

See also:  Matthew 25:34;  Ephesians 1:4a;  1 Peter 1:20;  Revelation 13:8.

Nor can God be outwitted, for He is absolutely "perfect in knowledge" (Job 37:16), "His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5), and He is all powerful:

"I am the Almighty God" (Genesis 17:1b),

"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty" (Exodus 6:2-3).


God Needs Our Permission

"[God] doesn't have any legal entree into the earth.  The thing don't belong to Him" [Kenneth Copeland, The Image of God in You III, (1989) audiotape #01-1403, side 1].

As a result:

"In order to have any so so in the earth, He's gonna have to be in agreement with a man here" [Kenneth Copeland, God's Covenants with Man II, (1985), audiotape #01-4404, side 1].

In other words, God can't do anything on this earth unless we give Him permission.

But to insist that, at any stage, the Earth didn't "belong" to the Lord is to fly in the face of explicit scriptures such as:

"The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1).

Is there anything that the Almighty God cannot do?  The Bible says that nothing is too heard for God:

"Ah Lord God! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee: ... the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts is His name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Jeremiah 32:17-19),

"Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?" (Jeremiah 32:26-27).

God is omnipotent:

"Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places" (Psalm 135:6),

"and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, what doest Thou?" (Daniel 4:35),

"Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Revelation 19:6b).

Hence, to teach that there are things that God "has no legal right to do anything about" [Kenneth Copeland, What Happened From the Cross to the Throne, (1990), audiotape #02-0017] for fear of being ruled unlawful by "the Supreme Court of the Universe" [Charles Capps, Authority in Three Worlds, (1982), pp.50-51] is to badly mislead the flock.

These scriptures show us that it is God Himself Who is the Judge of the Universe:

"Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Genesis 18:25,

"O LORD God of Israel, Thou art righteous: ... we are before Thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before Thee because of this" (Ezra 9:15),

"...the LORD: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with truth" (Psalm 96:13),

"Righteous art Thou, O LORD, and upright are Thy judgements" (Psalm 119:137),

"God shall judge the righteous and the wicked" (Ecclesiastes 3:17),

"...understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth" (Jeremiah 9:24),

"Righteous are Thou, O LORD, when I plead with Thee of Thy judgements" (Jeremiah 12:1),

"Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth: for we obeyed not His voice" (Daniel 9:14),

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick [living] and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:1),

"To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, ... and to God the Judge of all" (Hebrews 12:23),

"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:11-15).

These scriptures leave us in no doubt whatsoever as to just Who is the High Judge of the "Supreme Court of the Universe".  There is not one single thing in creation that is not listed in the Revelation passage above: "earth", "heaven", "the dead, small and great", "death", "hell".  Every single created thing will appear before God to be judged by the "Judge of all".


The True God

Compare the statements of the Word-faith teachers about the Lord God with what God says of Himself in His Holy Word.  How much does the Word-Faith movement encourage us to glorify God and to be in awe of Him?  The Faith movement teaches a small and emasculated shadow of the true God.  The Lord has given us some very strong words about those who think that He is just like us:

"Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. ... [T]hou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee ... Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.  Whosoever offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his convention aright will I shew the salvation of God" (Psalm 50:19-23).


Elizabeth McDonald
March 2016




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Elizabeth McDonald & Dusty Peterson