Monday, February 24, 2014
The Pope, Pentecostalists, and an episcopus irregularis
The Bishop of Rome greets a group of Word of Faith pentecostalists. Word of Faith teachers espouse doctrine which the orthodox Church condemns as heresy. 'Word of Faith' is a belief that practitioners can control and manipulate God through speech and attitudes, thus deriving from God what is desired. The Word of Faith movement, to be perfectly blunt about it, reduces God to a 'divine miracle machine', a heavenly dispenser of good things for those who know how to use the system. God is made subject and responsive to a code wielded by human beings, and thus ceases truly to be God. As the Fathers of the Church assert, 'a comprehended God is no god.'
Other terms for this theology are 'health and wealth Gospel,' 'name it and claim it Gospel,' or 'prosperity Gospel.' Word of Faith religion could be described as occult in nature, because it ultimately seeks to manipulate or determine one's own environment apart from obedience to and a genuine relationship with God. This is the essence of magic. In this scheme there is a notable absence of the virtues, particularly love and adoration of God for His own sake and glory, obedience and submission to the perfect Will of God, and humility in the face of Christ's mercy, majesty, and righteousness. Word of Faith theology maintains that Christians should never suffer nor endure persecution, trial, illness, or financial loss. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as the Bible establishes in ways too numerous to detail. What of the Saints and the Martyrs? A cursory reading of Hebrews 11 should dispel such error. Word of Faith maintains that the right use of 'faith' as a tool to coerce God potentially means the avoidance of all evils and troubles. Such a worldview has more in common with gnosticism or mystery religions than traditional Christianity.
The Bishop of Rome proclaims the Reverend Tony Palmer a 'brother bishop.'
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