Cheryl is a licensed, ordained minister and has a BA in Psychology and Church ministry. She spent 12 years attending Word of Faith churches.
Confessions are not prayers
Matthew 6: 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
These are the words of Jesus but in many churches, a new fad has taken the place of praying from the heart. Increasing numbers of pastors are having someone type out specific requests with accompanying scriptures and the members read them instead of being led by the Holy Spirit. Many churches also have prosperity confessions on big screens that the members say together like a mantra prior to the offering. Reading what someone else wrote is not talking to your Heavenly Father. It is actually a form of witchcraft and manipulation. The belief is that there is more power and an increased chance of God moving if you have more people praying but the Bible does not teach this.
In Matthew 18:19-20 Jesus says:
He said two or three and stopped. He never mentioned any more than that.
Christians are not commanded to declare and decree
According to Andrew Gabriel, a Pentecostal/Charismatic theologian, too many believers in Christ are declaring and decreeing things. He notes that this is most notable in the Pentecostal-Charismatic denominations and, specifically related to the prosperity gospel. Gabriel quotes a preacher he does not name who encourages those who read his bestselling book to declare phrases such as, “I am full of wisdom. I make good choices. I declare I am blessed with good health…I will lend and not borrow.” It is worth noting that with all the declaring and decreeing and speaking health and life, right now the entire world is dealing with sickness and death due to Covid-19.
Gabriel says that such confessions are not rooted in Scripture, and actually are witchcraft and manipulation. There is one place in the Bible where one man, Job was told that he could declare a thing and have it come to pass. Job 22:28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
There is nowhere in the New Testament where Christians are told to declare and decree what they desire. Beryl Satter is a religious historian who says that those who began the movement of speaking the life you desire taught that “the mental or spiritual world was the true reality, while the material world of daily life, the world of ‘matter,’ was merely a secondary creation of the mind.” Secondly, she says, they taught that “human beings had god-like powers. I have been in churches where it is being taught that because God created the universe through by speaking things into existence then people can do the same. Romans 4:17 is the go too scripture. As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Andriel Gabriel points out that this false doctrine causes people to believe they can control every aspect of their lives by speaking positively. I know of churches where the pick out scriptures that seem to promise health and wealth and get the entire church to confess them on a regular basis. Reading declarations does not make use of the power of the Holy Spirit whom we are to rely on. It teaches people that we have the control by what we say, rather than trusting the Lord. I recall a church I used to attend where the power of the Holy Spirit was strong when we prayed from our hearts. One day we began reading the confessions which were geared to the pastor and his family to be healthy and wealthy. Ironically in the midst of calling out the first family's names and the names of the leader's parents every morning at Intercessory prayer, the pastor's mother died suddenly and so did he a year later. It was my conclusion that all the declaring, decreeing, and positive confession had no power because we were speaking life and death came to two people under age 70.
If you have been declaring and decreeing just stop for a moment and access your personal situation. If you truly have not been seeing the Lord move on your words or even have seen death when you spoke life let this be a wake-up call. Jesus commanded us to always pray. He said nothing about confessions except they were vain repetitions. Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
So there you have it straight from the mouth of the Savior. We are to pray at all times(Luke 18:1) and not be repetitive. Yes he taught that the woman continued to come before the unjust judge time and time again, but he never said that she had a specific phrase she spoke over and over until he granted her request.( Luke 18:1-9). Teaching positive confessions can cause people to walk away from the Lord when He does not move the way they desire. Christians should walk in faith, having confidence that He knows best for our lives and that sometimes He allows what we don't want no matter what we confess.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 23, 2020:
I am quite certain I understand what you are saying but to hold one man rule in contempt while stating another man rule to be followed is contraindicated.
If a man chooses to follow a path different than you is it "witchcraft". That just goes too far. I do not think that anyone taking communion and confessing sins is an antichrist.