“In Mark 11:24 Jesus tells us exactly the conditions He requires for our appropriation of any of the blessings He has promised. He says, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. That is, “Ye shall have them” after you believe He has heard your prayer. As Jesus said, “I thank thee that thou hast heard me,” while Lazarus was still dead. We should be able to say, “I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me” while we are still sick. “Ye shall have them” is your answer from Jesus and is also your proof that your prayer has been heard. To faith, the Word of God is the voice of God.” (pg. 109)
This is so wrong, blasphemous and heretical I almost don’t know where to start! There is, as is so common among Word-Faith teachers, a complete confusion between who God is and who man is.
We see a comparison between how Jesus wants us to pray and how Jesus prayed. Bosworth here seems to not understand at all that the Lord Jesus Christ is God in Human Flesh, one third of the Trinity, eternally God existing forever with the Father and the Holy Ghost. What the Lord Jesus Christ did, He did because He is God. We are not gods, nor can ever be. We are sons and daughters by adoption, redeemed from sin and death at Calvary.
I cannot raise the dead. Bosworth cannot raise the dead. The Lord Jesus Christ has the power to raise the dead. He chose to pray to the father at that time, for our benefit as the verses clearly show.
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. John 11:41-43 (KJV)
“Because of the people which stand by” is what the Lord prayed at that time, “That they may believe that thou hast sent me.”
The Lord prayed at that time, so that Mary, Martha and the disciples would know that the Lord was not just a man they knew – that He was not only the Messiah, but also God Himself. And when the Lord shouted out those words, “El’azar, Qum Tza!”, He was not “Acting in faith”. The Lord KNEW He was God. He KNEW that He came from Heaven, He KNEW He created the heavens and the earth and all there in them is. And He KNEW He had the power to raise the dead. The Lord was not teaching us we needed to pray with faith and believe, and thank the Lord before we get the blessing, to GET the blessing. This is a twisting of the Scriptures, or as the Apostle Paul calls it a “wresting”.
Bottom line – why did many come to Bosworth’s healing crusades… and not get healed? Because Healing has nothing to do with you, me, or Bosworth, how much of an offering we give, or whether or not a mountain can plunge into the ocean because of our faith. Healing happens when it is decreed by the Lord our God. It happens sometimes despite the preacher, it happens ALWAYS because it is the will of the Lord our God. Justin Peters humorously notes that Benny Hinn‘s track record of true documented healings is so poor, it actually is under that of the average Baptist Pastor who visits at the Hospital, makes a brief prayer, and leaves. Peters tells people that (loosely paraphrasing) “If you’re going to a Benny Hinn crusade, my advice is don’t… the odds are better you WON’T be healed.” (Justin Peters, A Call to Discernment)
Bosworth continues in this vain through faulty reasoning and faulty exegesis through the next three chapters, continuing to blame the sick person for not receiving their healing, claiming their observance of “I’m still hurting… what’s wrong?” is absurd.
When the Lord Jesus Christ healed anyone… they ALL were instantly healed. Was their faith so extremely great? Only a few evidenced great faith. The Woman with the issue of blood was an exception, not the rule. Some merely hoped. The blind man in John chapter 9 showed great faith AFTER he was healed. There was not a word about faith prior to the Lord choosing to heal him – merely compassion, and as always, to teach the disciples a lesson about the Lord.
As stated previously, yes… we will all someday be healed. There is no guarantee on this earth that we will all lose the pain in our knees and back, grow hair back, stand taller, get perfect eyesight, and lose halitosis and flatulence. We are guaranteed glorified, perfect bodies that will not wear out, get ill, or grow old – Praise God. Not yet! For now, we have salvation. We should be content with that “Earnest of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:14) until after the Rapture and the Resurrection of the Believing Dead.
Jonah put his deliverance in the past tense, called his symptoms “lying vanities,” and sacrificed with the voice of thanksgiving while he was still in the stomach of the great fish. It worked. (pg. 128)
It worked because the Lord God heard his prayer, not because Jonah was able to work miracles because of his faith!
In Chapter Ten, “Our Confession”, the missing link is finally revealed. Bosworth begins to teach doctrines he’d learned from E. W. Kenyon
“A negative confession will lower us to the level of that confession. It is what we confess with our lips that really controls us. Our confession imprisons us if it is negative, or sets us free if it is positive.” (pg. 138)
Huh? Is there any Scripture that accompanies this? No, it is blatant New Thought Teachings.
“Most of the thoughts expressed in this sermon I have brought together, by permission, from the writings of the late Reverend E. W. Kenyon. He was the author of “The Father and His Family,” “The Wonderful Name of Jesus,” “Two Kinds of Life,” “Jesus the Healer,” “In His Presence,” “Two Kinds of Love,” “Two Kinds of Faith,” “Two Kinds of Righteousness,” and “Kenyon’s Living Poems.”” (pg. 143)
“The gospel of John opens with the word zoe….One of these means, “manner of life”; another means “human life”; another “behavior”; but the Greek word for the kind of life that Jesus brought to the world is zoe.” (pg. 145)
It’s obvious that Bosworth does not know any Greek. This is the kind of fanciful writing that embarrasses one later as they finally begin the study of Greek. The Koine Greek word for life is Zoe.
Bosworth makes the contention that the first word in the Book of John was ζωή Zoe, when in reality it is the word En ἐν, which means In! The word ζωή does not appear until the fourth verse.
Yes, the meaning of ζωή in John 1:4 does mean eternal life. How do we derive that? Context. The word ζωή was not a new word, introduced by the Lord Jesus Christ to the Greeks, although that is a beautiful thought. I actually wish Bosworth was right! But as is true of all other Bosworth’s writings, he is wrong.
This has a major impact on the premise of Chapter 11 – The entire chapter seems to be based upon a series of conclusions on what the meaning of ζωή is. There are conclusions that state it is the God kind of life (A Kenyon-ish phrase if ever I heard one!), the right of every Christian, it is the entitlement to apparent godhood. See the following quote:
Many ministers today major on the “manner of life” and “behavior” rather than zoe, the “Life of God.” When received in sufficient measure, zoe lives itself. Paul prayed for Christians, already filled with the Spirit, that they “might be filled with all the fullness of God.” This shows that zoe is God Himself, and all we have of it is an unsevered part of the “Life of God.” The way to be “full of faith” is to be full of that kind of Life, which “believeth all things.” The way to be full of divine love is to be full of the “Life of God,” Who is love.
“All things are possible” to zoe. When it is received in sufficient measure, it can fulfill in us any promise or any requirement in the Bible. To fulfill in us all that the Bible requires or promises is precisely what the “Life of God” in us was to accomplish. By receiving enough of the “Life of God,” we can be made “more than conquerors,” “spirit, soul, and body.” God wants to do in us, all that He did in Christ for us. (pg. 146)
This is patent nonsense. Apparently, without any real training in Koine Greek, Bosworth makes the kind of embarrassing mistakes that an untrained minister, wishing to be thought wise, makes himself look foolish. If you substitute the word “Life” everywhere in the preceding paragraphs that the Greek word “ζωή Zoe” can be found… then Bosworth’s assumptions and wild conclusions are revealed. For instance, here is one sentence in which I simply substituted the English word for the Greek, to show exactly how heretical this paragraph is.
“This shows that life is God Himself, and all we have of it is an unsevered part of the ‘Life of God.’”
This is terrible, in many ways. I think of the new Christian getting this book, and thinking, “Why, I’ve never heard any of this before! He must have been a brilliant Greek Scholar!” – and may never find out that Bosworth here is making a number of wild assumptions and guesses about the meaning of the word Zoe! And so, Bosworth misled many new Christians who got this book. It would have been far better for him to have not brought this kind of false teaching in.
I do not think that Bosworth meant to mislead. If indeed he did have a year or more of Greek, then this changes everything – Bosworth would no longer be seen as an untrained man reading his own desires into the text, but rather, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a knowing heretic leading people astray. However, from what I’ve seen in Bosworth’s bio, if he received any training, it was at Dowie’s hands, and Dowie was not likely to be teaching Greek, as it was considered far more important to teach the Higher Life (Dowie/Sandford style) Pentecostalism – and why Dowie’s emphatic prophetic pronouncements were of relevance. In addition, we still do not know what Dowie studied at the Free Church School in Scotland.
We do know that around age 20, Dowie returned to Scotland from Australia to study Theology, and was ordained 4 years later. This is important. However, there is no mention of Dowie teaching greek at Zion City, but rather prayer and healing, the focus of Dowie’s ministry. It is very unlikely that Bosworth received any training in Greek or Hebrew besides that which many Christians get today, by purchasing a book on rudimentary Greek words and their meanings. This creates the kind of isogesis today we nickname “Strong’s Greek” – the mere looking up of a word in Strongs, and then looking up meanings of related words. The importance of a year of Greek, minimum, for the minister of God cannot be overemphasized. This very chapter in Bosworth’s book is a great example why.
Chapter 13 is entitled, “Why some fail to receive healing from Christ.” The subtitle is, “twenty two reasons for failure to be healed.”
It’s clear from the title that Bosworth is saying in effect, “I believe that faith healing is for today, the sign gifts are for today, no matter what the Bible and facts may say. And I believe I have this miraculous gift. And therefore, if I prayed and you didn’t get healed, it must be you, because I’m not wrong.”
This kind of doctrinal error is the very thing that Justin Peters dedicates one third of his A Call To Discernment video series to. I would like to tender a twenty-third reason to Mr. Bosworth –
23. “The sign gifts have passed away.”
Divine healing was guaranteed in the Bible. And is, for every believer. And as I’ve pointed out, we WILL all be healed of all infirmities. However, the Bible makes no guarantees this will happen in this life.
We are saved by faith. It must be a decision by faith, which is the very reason why (although the number of proofs for the Bible, Christianity and the Lord Jesus Christ are staggering) it is not completely 100% apparent to all unsaved people – God WANTS us to believe of our own.
This would be invalidated if the Word Faith movement was correct. If all Christians lived to be 120, were all miraculously millionaires within a few months of conversion, had entire arms and legs growing back… EVERYONE would be being born again! We know by faith we will all be so when we receive our glorified bodies shortly. But that is a knowledge, an assurance, that comes by faith. And thus, those of us who place faith in God and His word He chooses to bless and reward. Can I spend my rewards now? Not right now. But if the Lord so chooses to bless me with any in Heaven, I will have them then.
Yet Bosworth chooses to blame the unfortunate victim.
We so often hear it said “the day of miracles has passed.” Suppose it were generally believed that the day of regeneration has passed. How this would hinder the work of the ministry in that part of the Gospel! Christian workers could have no success in saving souls. They would have to first get people to give up the false tradition and put the Word of God in its place. (pg. 161)
Yes. We would have to rely on preaching the Gospel, that every man is a sinner, doomed to eternal punishment, that the Lord came ot earth and took our penalty upon Him, died on the Cross, rose the third day, and gave us eternal life if we will just repent and believe, and become born again.
You know, the Biblical message. This would be the same message that had initially saved Bosworth. If it worked for you, it works for everyone. Is Bosworth frustrated that so very many reject the Gospel and condemn themselves to an eternity of suffering? Then he feels the anguish of the Holy Spirit, endlessly grieved that so many spurn the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In which case, he needed to take it to the street, pass out tracts, preach on streetcorners, tell people the Gospel message. Matthew 7:13-14 reads, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
This will be the greatest tragedy of all time, that untold billions will stand at the Great White Throne Judgment, on the left of the Lord. They simply will not be entering into Heaven. And they will have nobody to blame but themselves. Sad, but true.
Christ Himself, under the full anointing of the Holy Ghost, was hindered by community unbelief. (pg. 165)
Uh… no. I think we need to understand WHY the Lord did no miracles in Nazareth. The text says, 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:58 (KJV)
Not, He could not, but He did not. They would not turn to Him for healing. They would not repent. They came not to have demons cast out. They did not turn to Him to be saved.
I’m sure the Lord could have walked through Nazareth and healed all the unwilling easily. He could have saved their souls, But that was not how He chose to make salvation available. Think – is it right that the Lord should save those that WILLINGLY reject the Gospel? They turn their back on Him, curse Him, spurn Him, mock Him, and wallow in their sins, gratifying every abomination and shaking their fearless fists, as they sing of being on the Highway to Hell. Indeed, they are. Would it be right for the Lord to simply wash their unrepentant and unregenerate hearts in His blood, shed for them so freely? No, it would not. The Lord will save anyone who asks – but you must ask.
The most common and threadbare tradition is the worn-out statement, “The age of miracles has passed.” Of all the present-day traditions of the elders or ministers, this is the most foolish, illogical, and unscriptural of any that I know. (pg. 171)
This is, in debates, what’s called a “Straw man argument.” sorry, buddy. You deliberately chose wording in your argument so that you could quickly knock that straw man to the ground!
It is not the “Age of miracles” that has ended – but the sign gifts were indeed temporary. Those days ended, as the Bible explains, when “that which is perfect is come. (1 Cor. 15:10)” What is perfect? The Psalms say it in Psalms 19:7 The Word of God is perfect. James 1:25 says the same thing.
“That which is perfect” came back in ad 95, as the Apostle John, the last living Apostle, wrote down the last words of the New Testament.
With that, all the sign gifts passed away. I understand that this may have been improperly called the “Age of miracles” by some in the early 20th century – but I have yet to find a reference to this as a euphemism for “The sign gifts” in any of my research into writings of the 19th and 20th century on this subject. Suffice it to say – you deliberately chose that wording, so that you could dismiss it and make it look like you answered the cessationalists once and for all. This is unethical, and incorrect. If you planned to answer the Cessationalist arguments – then do so! Rather, Bosworth knew he could not answer them. By erecting a straw man, he made it appear he had. This is by far not the first time he’s done this in the book. I’ve let most of them go by. The idly curious are welcome to search through his book and spot the others. There’s quite a few.
Another unscriptural premise, which has sent thousands of sufferers to premature graves and kept multitudes of others from receiving healing, is the modern teaching that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was some kind of physical trouble. The falsity of this position is shown in the following chapter, Paul’s Thorn. (pg. 173)
So… every saved Christian who has read the Bible literally and interpreted Paul’s words literally to mean Paul had a physical affliction to keep him humble… is wrong, according to Bosworth.
1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (KJV)
We must compare Paul’s words of “in the flesh” to his words “in the body”. Bosworth can only refute this by taking verses out of context, and spiritualizing the verses. Everyone else (even the Roman Catholic Church!) has interpreted this to literally mean:
- Paul was brought to heaven
- Paul saw and heard things in heaven he was not permitted to talk about
- and so that Paul would not get conceited or think too highly of himself…
- he was given a physical ailment (something to do with his eyes, as we see from Galatians)
13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. 16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:13-16 (KJV)
The word infirmity means illness. Galatians 4 says Paul had an illness. 2 Corinthians 12 says Paul had an illness. You know what? I think Paul had an illness!
Some are not healed because they substitute their belief in the doctrine of divine healing for personal faith to be healed… Some are not healed because of their failure to receive the written promise of God as His direct Word to them. They fail to recognize that faith interprets the Word of God as the voice of God. In Psalm 138:2 we read, “Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” (pg. 180)
It eventually always comes down to this… “It’s your fault if you didn’t get healed. I’m the healer, I have the miraculous powers of healing. My doctrine I assume is right, so the fault is you.”
Again, the fact that thousands came to the healing services and weren’t healed should have made Bosworth question his doctrine. There’s no biblical example of anyone coming to Jesus and failing to be healed. No example of someone coming to Paul or Peter and “not believing for their healing”. Everyone the Lord, or Peter, or Paul put their hands to… were healed. In some cases, the Lord only cared if they believed.
In this case, we’re discussing tens of thousands of Christians, if I’m to believe Bosworth, not being healed. There’s not one case in the Bible of a Christian not being healed. Not one.
This means that Bosworth is teaching unBiblical doctrines, and vainly grasping for verses to support his contentions. Notice on page 180 of Bosworth’s books, under reasons 19 & 20, there is not a single verse to support his contention – and notice that although he quotes Scripture in reason 20, it has nothing to do with supporting his contention!
I answer that, in the case of these Israelites, the Scripture says, “pricks in your eyes,” and “thorns in your sides,” but this does not mean that God was to stick Canaanites in their eyes and sides, with their heels dangling outside. God was only illustrating, to show that, as a thorn sticking in the flesh is annoying, so the Canaanites would, if left remaining, be a constant annoyance to the children of Israel. (pg. 186)
In other words, I’m going to quote figurative language to show all language in the bible is figurative! A Roman Catholic couldn’t have said it better themselves! I suppose next Bosworth will speak of the beast rising from the seas, and tell us that prophecy is not to be taken literally!
Sometimes the Bible – every now and then – uses figurative language. The Lord communicates to men in our own language, so that we can understand. Notice that the Lord did not say “A thorn in your flesh”, but a thorn in your side.
How do we tell if the Lord is using figurative or literal language? Simple – by context. The Scripture quoted above is obviously an aphorism or part of a proverb, “a terse saying embodying a general truth.”.
Paul’s words in Galatians and 2 Corinthians above obviously, by their context, meant to be taken literally. The expression mis-used by Bosworth above, is obviously meant to be taken figuratively – but to mean a general truth.
Page 197, interestingly enough, has Bosworth listing several Scriptural examples of everything wrong with Bosworth’s doctrines! Instead, he uses it to prove God doesn’t heal everyone – a complete contradiction of everything he’s had in the book so far!
The several pages of testimonies again must be interpreted with this in mind – sometimes, despite everything these people teach and say, God still heals people. You see, there’s people in Baptist churches all over the world every Sunday praying for healing for everything from a hurt back to life threatening diseases. Some are healed, some are not. We do not know why God sometimes heals and sometimes not. I would suggest that since He is the Lord, when it is the right thing to do at the time, He chooses to heal people. Some people it is not the right time to heal them.
Many Christians die every day and go to be with the Lord. Precious in the Lord’s eyes are the death of His saints. God has allowed for reasons we cannot comprehend, for Christians to get Lou Gehrig’s disease, cancer, AIDS, and a great many serious diseases, many of which are life threatening… and I’m sure during the Ebola epidemic in Africa, many devout Christians died from that terrible disease – and that disease has been described as one’s internal organs liquifying, and emerging out of every opening in the body – including out one’s eye sockets. Death is inevitable, resulting in 72 horrifying hours. Is Bosworth prepared to say that all of them lacked faith, or did not believe in the promises of the Bible (reasons 19 & 20, in his book)?
Has a Christian ever been attacked and eaten by a shark? Was this lack of faith? Has a Christian ever been killed and eaten by cannibals? Has a Christian ever had a machete held to their throat and told to recant their faith by terrorists… and been murdered when they would not? What about the Albigenses and Waldenses, who were banished from their homes in the dead of winter… after having been dunked in a river and told to leave the country on foot? They froze to death before getting out of the country. Were these lacking in faith?
Bosworth’s contentions and doctrines break down rapidly upon examination, when they are stretched to their logical conclusions. God never promised us that we would never die. God never promised us that we would never have tribulations and calamities – indeed, the opposite! I begin to wonder, upon reflection over the book, if Bosworth was saved! I can come to one of two conclusions – either he had preconceived doctrines of his own invention, or he was unsaved. I still think it was the first option – that Bosworth decided early in his Christian walk upon his doctrine, and as he continued to read the bible, instead of growing in understanding, he merely ignored any verse that did not conform to his preconceived doctrines.
This is of course, the exact opposite of how we must learn our doctrine. We must open our minds to what God has intended for us to study and learn. In this manner we grow in Christian maturity. It is a shame, as Bosworth could have been used greatly by the Lord. And in many ways, Bosworth was – but his influence went in the wrong direction.
Review completed . 9/24/13
- The Word Faith Movement Examined 20 (matthew714ministries.wordpress.com)
- The Word Faith Movement Examined 19 (matthew714ministries.wordpress.com)
- The Word Faith Movement Examined 17 (matthew714ministries.wordpress.com)
- The Word Faith Movement Examined 16 (matthew714ministries.wordpress.com)