Pentellectualism, An Insider’s Look At Pentecost, Part 5: Faith
The fourth pillar in Pentecostal theology is Faith.
Pentecostals have accepted that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today. Pentecostals have rediscovered that “faith” is not just something you muster, it is also a gift to be developed. It is, after all, recorded in the list of gifts found in First Corinthians 12. Faith is therefore not just for salvation, it also for accomplishing the seemingly impossible. Many of the Pentecostal pioneers of the twentieth century were people of great faith. The grew great churches. They built amazing facilities. They established schools, hospitals and agencies. These achievements were often accomplished despite their circumstances, educational background, social standing, or financial position. It should therefore not be surprising that these people often preached, wrote or taught on the topic of faith.
But after the Second World War, the Biblical message of faith was distorted by some Pentecostals into what has become known as hyper-faith. This spawned a subset movement within Pentecostalism called, The Word (of) Faith movement.
The basic tenets of Word of Faith teaching is that Faith is a force to be used by the believer. The believer taps into this force by the words they use. “Faith is a force and words are the containers of the force.” Word of Faith teachers claim that you can grow your faith to the point where you can pray for anything and receive it! To get to this level of faith, they assert, you must learn to prophetically declare what you want.
But there is a growing number of Pentecostals who are returning to the Biblical concept of faith where endurance is its most obvious fruit, and patience is its clearest evidence. These Pentecostals want to be full of faith by striving in faith to achieve the seemingly impossible to the glory of God – but, they are more concerned about being faithful than being full of faith.
I have written more about this Word of Faith teaching at Finding Truth Matters.