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).
Hank Hanegraaff serves as president and chairman of the board of the North Carolina-based Christian Research Institute International. He also hosts the Bible Answer Man radio program, which is broadcast daily across the United States and Canada—as well as around the world through the internet at www.equip.org
Reaching millions weekly through his live call-in radio broadcast, Hank answers questions about Christianity and religion on the basis of the Bible, careful research, and sound reasoning. Additionally, Hank regularly brings to his listening audience live interviews with Evangelicalism’s most significant leaders, apologists, and thinkers.
Hank came to faith in Jesus Christ after examining the scientific evidence for creation, the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, and the cumulative case for the divine inspiration of Scripture. With an uncommon intensity he immediately embarked on a rigorous course of Scripture study and memorization, and by the Lord’s grace and calling his heart ever since has been to equip others to know God in Christ.
With the release of his new book, The Last Disciple, a novel co-authored with Sigmund Brouwer, Hank reveals significant aspects of his highly anticipated 15-year study of the Bible’s teaching on the end times. In a spellbinding story of faith and fulfillment of prophecy, Hank and Sigmund initiate a series of novels in which they explore the lives of Christians who struggle to survive and spread the gospel during the climactic turbulence of “the last days.” Readers discover the "code" of Revelation as they begin to see it through the eyes of the persecuted believers to whom it was written.
Hank lives in North Carolina with his wife, Kathy and is the father of nine children.