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The Power of Positive Confession

February 23rd, 2013 | 6 Comments | Posted in Miscellaneous, Twisted Scriptures

adams mouthThe apostles and the prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement make a startling claim. They claim they are restoring teachings that were lost after the first century of the church.

One of the teachings they claim to have restored is known as “Positive Confession.”

According to the Positive Confession teaching, the words we speak have tremendous power to create reality. So we should only speak–or “confess”–positive statements that reflect our desires. Then God will honor our expressions of faith and grant us those desires.

But we should never speak “negative confessions.” If we do, our lack of faith will cause those negative things to come to pass. For example, we should never say things such as “I think I’m coming down with a cold” or “I’m worried I could lose my job” or “I don’t know if I will have enough money to retire.”

One of the key Bible verses NAR leaders use to support the “Positive Confession” teaching is from Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” They claim this verse teaches that our words have metaphysical power to cause death or life–that is, they can cause things to happen that are very bad or very good.

But Proverbs 18:21  cannot properly be used to support the “Positive Confession” teaching. I will show you why.

The Proper Interpretation of Proverbs 18:21

First let me say: This verse does teach that our words are powerful. But it is not talking about a power like a magical force that can cause our desires to be fulfilled just by uttering mere words. This idea comes from New Age thought, not from the Bible. Instead, it is talking about the influence our words can have on our lives and the lives of others.

Also, this verse is not talking about using the tongue to speak words that are only “positive.” Rather, it is talking about speaking words that are wise–that is, words that are gracious and carefully thought out before they are spoken. In other words, think before you speak.

This proper interpretation of Proverbs 18:21 becomes clear when you look at the full verse, not just the first part–which is usually the only part NAR leaders cite. But the full verse says:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

Notice that the second part of the verse says that those who “love” the tongue–that is, those who show wisdom  by choosing their words carefully– “will eat its fruits”–that is, they will enjoy the blessings and satisfaction that come to those speak wisely.

Wise Words vs. Foolish Words

And the proper interpretation of Proverbs 18:21 becomes even clearer when you look at the entire book of Proverbs. Wise speech is one of its major themes.

Throughout the book, we see the speech of a foolish man is frequently contrasted with the speech of the wise man. And what is shown by the contrast is that the words of a foolish man get him into trouble. He mouths off and gets into brawls (18:6). He slanders people (10:18). He gossips and causes strife. (16:28).

But the words of a wise man bring blessing to himself and others. His counsel provides guidance for others and gives them joy (15:23). He speaks graciously and wins favor with people in positions of influence (22:11). His words are tactful and persuasive (25:15).

The True Power of the Tongue

So Proverbs 18:21 does not mean that positive words can magically fulfill our wishes and give us perfect health, a dream job, and a big bank account. Rather, wise words–words that are carefully measured–have the power to help those around us and give us personal joy and satisfaction.

An excellent book that addresses the Positive Confession teaching is The Health and Wealth Gospel by Bruce Barron.

What experiences have you had with the “Positive Confession” teaching?

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “The Power of Positive Confession”

  1. John Says:

    Thank you Holly for this article. I’ve had some experiences with the Positive Confession teaching. For a while I thought of it as true and biblical, until I’ve seen it kinda goes against real life. Real life christians are not always healthy, never have a headache, snd so on. Jesus said “in the world you will have tribulations”. So we are to be full of faith and hope in the Lord, not to go around and “confess” healthe and wealth.

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal story, John. The Positive Confession teaching does fly in the face of the real and very serious struggles people face. I think the teaching is cruel because it discourages people from verbally sharing their fears, struggles, and problems. They are forced to keep their true emotions hidden inside and other people can’t know the “real” person behind the plastic smile.

  3. Ann Says:

    Probably half of the Book of Psalms is mournful. Should it not have been written?

  4. A Friend Says:

    My husband and I had to laugh (but sadly) at this article. We were into this teaching BIG time about ten years ago, but we didn’t have a label for it then. I became pregnant and at the first ultrasound we learned our baby girl had several heart defects and other problems.

    Well-meaning family and friends taught us this belief, and to make a loooong story short, we positively confessed, confessed, confessed. Sadly, our baby died 22 hours after her birth. I was so shocked because healing had been guaranteed, that I firmly believed she would come back from the dead until the day of her funeral. 

    The good side to our story is that we stopped believing this and a host of other teachings, and began to read the Bible much more carefully. I also began to write about this and other false teachings at my blog. Good to know I’m not alone, it feels that way many days.

    Some parents have been imprisoned for child abuse or neglect over this teaching, because they didn’t get proper medical care for their children because God was going to heal them if they only believed hard enough.

    This teaching is New Age alright. “The Secret” was a wildly popular book a few years ago, and it basically teaches this concept as well as positive thinking. Positive Confession is from the pit of hell.

    Thank you for putting Proverbs 18:21 (the half they use, anyway) into context!

  5. admin Says:

    A Friend,

    Thank you for sharing your family’s personal story and painful lesson. It shows that false teachings, such as Positive Confession, are not harmless, but have brought real pain to countless people who have been deceived by them. Keep sounding the warning!

    Holly

  6. admin Says:

    Ann,

    You make an excellent point.

    Holly

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