Kenneth E. Hagin seems to have helped to popularise the use of faith for finances and faith for healing. But he often adds, as a side note, that faith can be applied for anything else the Bible says we can have, such as the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I suppose Hagin and others have focused on finances and healing, because they had those needs in their lives. But there’s something significant about finances and healing: they are physical, tangible blessings that can easily be identified and verified. I suppose the problem with applying faith for spiritual things, is that they are largely invisible and intangible. Although, the effects of spiritual blessings will manifest themselves in one way or another in the physical.
The problem with spiritual things is that Christians often mentally assent to possessing them – without actually having faith; then when they don’t experience them, they pretend that they have them. There seems to be a fear that if you admit to not having various spiritual blessings operating in your life, then you’re a spiritual failure: you’re not praying enough, you don’t have faith or there’s sin in your life, you’re not serving God, you lack sincerity, etc.
I think lack of understanding of spiritual things also plays a part in this. We all know what a thousand dollars would look like; we know what to expect when someone is healed from a life threatening illness. But many people don’t really know what the baptism in the Holy Spirit looks and feels like. So I suppose some people would go around acting like, and proclaiming, that they’re baptised in the Holy Spirit, when they are not.
The charismatic church sets itself apart from other Christian movements, by emphasising the fact that they are more passionate about God, they earnestly seek to know Him and are keen to make a positive difference in this world. But much of this exuberance is nothing more than religious zeal. I can’t help but think that this religious zeal is often fuelled by sheer desperation. It seems to me that the charismatic movement attracts a lot of people with issues. I can’t help but think that there’s a fine line between spirituality and madness, sometimes – there’s this focus on things that are intangible and invisible. Faith often becomes another thing for the charismatic church to obsess over – without actually possessing it and applying it.
I’m keen to return to Word of Faith, but whereas I feel that spiritual blessings were something of a side note with the likes of Kenneth Hagin – I want to bring those things to centre stage. Perhaps its unfair of me to make such a statement, as I believe Hagin did teach a lot on what the Bible says about spiritual things. I also admire Hagin and am grateful to him for presenting to the world the notion that faith can actually be applied practically to a person’s life to fulfil a tangible purpose. Before Hagin came on the scene with his fresh perspective on faith – faith was nothing more than a religious ideal – just a religious term that was bandied about in church, but had no real power to achieve practically anything. But I do feel that Word of Faith does tend to be too heavily oriented towards finances and healing.
Hagin suggested that believers find all the verses that tell us who we are in Christ. Such verses will include words such as "In Him", "In whom", "through Him", etc. Most of these verses are found in the Pauline Epistles. Then, read those verses and confess them as belonging to you. Every believer can apply such promises to their lives - this is a firm foundation, because it is not only the Word of God - it is also the New Covenant. Hagin actually wrote a mini-book called In Him which was a collection of such verses.