Examining the Prosperity Gospel #5: The Purported Power of Words

Declare positive, faith-filled words over your life. That’s the secret to moving your life in a better direction, at least according to the prosperity gospel. The most basic tenet of Word of Faith theology, the primary theology espousing the prosperity gospel, is the affirmation of the power of words. This doctrine is in fact what Word of Faith derives its name from, thus its distinctive and central role in the prosperity gospel. Along with the prosperity gospel’s view of faith, its view on words is probably also its most syncretistic doctrine, drawing far more from New Thought than anything from the pages of Scripture. In this defining doctrine, prosperity preachers teach that words have power to change the fabric of reality and that man possesses the creative ability to speak things into existence, which is ultimately rooted in a semi-divine view of man. Let us examine how this plays out in further detail.

The Power of Words

The most basic aspect of the prosperity gospel’s teaching on the power of words is the idea of positive declarations (or confessions as they are also called); that is, declaring good things over your life that they may come to pass. Joel Osteen best epitomizes this type of teaching as it is the essential bedrock of what he preaches. One can hardly think of Osteen’s teaching without bringing to mind his mantra along the lines of, “I am blessed, I am healthy,” and so forth. Speak good things, good things will come to pass. To put it more straightforwardly in Osteen’s words,  “Don’t merely use your words to describe your situation; use your words to change your situation,” and, “With our words, we can prophesy our own future.”[1] In Word of Faith theology, words are the ticket to the life you want.

While Osteen is the most prominent preacher in this regard, he is hardly the only one. Pauala White advocates similar ideas: “Speak about the you that you will be. Speak about the things you desire to do. Speak a better future to your own two ears. You’ll also be speaking this future to your heart and mind.”[2]

In Word of Faith theology, words are not just words, but they are actual containers of power. As Creflo Dollar writes, “Words are spiritual containers that carry faith or fear, blessing or cursing. When you speak words, they begin to take shape in the spirit realm, then later in the natural realm.”[3] It is for this reason that Joel Osteen can say, “Our words have tremendous power, and whether we want to or not, we will give life to what we’re saying, whether good or bad.”[4] Words produce results in and of themselves, which is what leads to the high emphasis on avoiding negative words in Word of Faith circles.

Now prosperity teachers don’t teach merely the positive aspect of the power of words, but they also teach that it applies in the opposite direction. If you are to speak negative words, your words are just as powerful to bring about a negative outcome. As Creflo Dollar says: “Constantly feeding your spirit fear-based words will inevitably produce fear in your life. At that point, all Satan has to do is get you to speak them. Then he will have an open door to bring to pass what you fear the most (Job 3:25).”[5] Joel Osteen speaks of this negative aspect in much the same way:

“Understand that your faith will work in either direction, positively or negatively. I know some people who plan to get the flu. At the grocery store, I hear them predicting their future: ‘Well, it’s flu season. I had better pick up some flu medicine just in case. After all, it was bad last year. I got lucky and didn’t get it. But I’ll probably get it this year.’ They talk as though it is sure to happen. They take it even further and put actions behind their negative faith, by purchasing the flu medicine. Not surprisingly, a few weeks later they come down with the flu. Their faith worked, albeit negatively. They expected the flu, made plans for it, and they got it. Remember, your faith will work in either direction.”[6]

Kenneth Hagin, the popularizer of Word of Faith teachings, actually rooted these teachings in a divine commissioning from Jesus himself: “In my vision, Jesus said: ‘Positive or negative, it is up to the individual. According to what the individual says, that shall he receive.’… For you can have what you say. You can write your own ticket with God. And the first step in writing your own ticket with God is: Say it.[7] According to Hagin, words become the means to making God do what you want him to do, a teaching he says comes directly from Jesus.

Prosperity preachers attempt to biblically root this teaching on the power of words in several passages, the most notable of which is probably Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” This passage is quoted positively as biblical proof that we may speak blessings and curses into existence. Osteen says in reference to this passage:

Scripture says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and you will eat the fruit thereof.” In other words, you create an environment for either good or evil with your words, and you are going to have to live in that world you’ve created… You may be tempted to merely use your words to describe negative situations, but God wants us to use our words to change our negative situations.[8]

Due to the presupposition of the power of words, this teaching comes through in Word of Faith teachers’ exegesis of Scripture, and it comes at the expense of the sovereignty of God. Osteen is our first example again: 

Learn to declare good things over your life. If you are negative and critical toward yourself, your own words can stop God’s best plan from coming to pass in your life. That is almost what happened to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. God said, ‘Jeremiah, I saw you before you were ever formed in your mother’s womb and I have chosen you to be a prophet to the nations.’
Jeremiah was young, and he didn’t have a great deal of self-confidence. When he heard God’s promise, rather than feeling blessed, Jeremiah was afraid. He said, ‘God I can’t do that. I can’t speak to the nations. I’m too young. I wouldn’t even know what to say.’
God answered, ‘Jeremiah, say not that you are too young.’ Notice, God immediately stopped Jeremiah’s negative words. Why? God knew that if Jeremiah went around saying, ‘I can’t do this. I don’t have what it takes. I’m too young,’ those negative words would thwart the plan and prevent the promise from coming to pass. God simply said, ‘Jeremiah do not say that anymore. Don’t use those words to curse your future.’ Jeremiah changed his words about himself and became a courageous spokesman to a generation that had settled for less than God’s best.
[9]

Note the central point of Osteen’s exegesis: Jeremiah almost stopped God’s plan by his negative words. We will examine this further below. By way of comparison, see how Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, who is largely influenced by Word of Faith teachings, draws similar parallels to the account of Zachariah in Luke’s Gospel:

Zacharias did not believe the words of the angel sent to him from God with the message of John’s birth. Because of this, God made him mute for the entire pregnancy. His tongue loosened only after he responded in obedience to the command of the Lord in naming his child John. This is very important, for “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Left unto himself while still in his state of unbelief, Zacharias could have killed with his words the very purpose of God in the promise given to them. Later, his words spoken in agreement with the will of God were the key to releasing John’s destiny. John was also protected by Elizabeth, who concealed her pregnancy for five months after conception. In other words, only when her pregnancy was becoming inarguably evident did she go public. The implication is that John’s exposure to the careless speech of others could have affected what God wanted to do.”[10]

According to Word of Faith theology, you are the master of your destiny; the secret is in learning to control your words. Speak positive faith-filled words, you will bring blessings; speak negative words, you might bring curses. If you are not careful, you may even stop God’s intended plan. But how can prosperity preachers make such bold claims about the power of our words?

Creative Power to Speak Things Into Existence

A major assumption underlying these claims about the power of words lies in the assertion that man possesses the same creative ability in his words as God; the ability to speak things into existence is not exclusive to the Most High. Creflo Dollar is quite clear about where he believes the power of words comes from: “This same creative ability that God possesses to speak things into existence is also within you! He has given you full authority over everything. You were created in His image, and you must be confident in the power and ability He has given you.”[11]He continues further on: “God has given you the creative ability to speak things into existence. Whatever you say has the potential to become a reality. If you are saying the wrong things—words that oppose the Bible—you will see them come to pass. Repent of them and begin setting your course with positive, faith-filled words.”[12]

Osteen attempts to root this idea of us having the same creative power as God in Romans 4:17, a blatant mishandling of Scripture: “The Scripture tells us that we are to ‘call the things that are not as if they already were.’ In other words, don’t talk about the way you are; talk about the way you want to be. That’s what faith is all about. In the physical realm, you have to see it to believe it, but God says you have to believe it, and then you’ll see it.”[13] Joyce Meyer also uses Romans 4:17 to teach this doctrine, drawing an analogical application:

In Romans 4:17, we read that God Himself ‘speaks of nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.’ In other words, He calls the things that don’t exist as though they do. God called Abram Abraham, meaning ‘father of a multitude,’ long before Abraham had even one child. He knew His plan for Abraham and spoke about Him accordingly. Because our goal is to be like Him, we can do the same. In fact, I believe calling things that are not as though they are is one of the greatest privileges we have as God’s children.[14]

The reason that words have power, according to this theology, is because man shares an attribute in common with God. Just as God spoke the world into existence, so too can man speak his own world into existence. Yet, though this is an underlying assumption about the power of words, there is yet one further assumption which may further explain why some can posit such power in the words of man.

Little Gods

An inescapable corollary of this doctrine of the power of words is the idea that man is similar to God in his nature. It is, in essence, the claim that man is semi-divine, a teaching which is derived from New Thought’s deification of man. This teaching is commonly known as the “little gods” doctrine. While typically only expressed explicitly by hard prosperity preachers (with others being potentially ignorant of it), the assumptions that spring from it are shared by many, as seen above in regard to man possessing creative power.  This teaching has been promoted over the years through people such as Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, and others. In a sermon, Creflo Dollar makes the claim,

But if the Godhead gets together and says ‘let us make man,’ then what are they producing? They’re producing gods. Now I gotta hit this thing real hard in the very beginning because I ain’t got time to go through all this, but I am going to say to you right now you are gods, little ‘g’, you are gods because you came from God and you are gods. You are not just human. The only human part about you is this physical body that you live in.[15]

Kenneth Hagin, who may be considered the source of this teaching for many, wrote, “Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”[16] While Hagin popularized the teaching, he actually derived it from the teachings of E. W. Kenyon, who is the true originator of Word of Faith teachings. Kenyon coined the language of mankind being in the “God class”, which was picked up by later teachers: “You understand that man is in God’s class of being. When he was created in the Garden he was made in the image and likeness of God. He had to be a spirit being because God is a Spirit… He had to be a spirit being, an eternal being who would live as long as God lives. Man had to be in God’s class.”[17]

Hard prosperity teachers attempt to base this teaching in the creation account in Genesis 1 (as Dollar does above) and Psalm 82:6, in addition to Jesus’ citation of Psalm 82:6 in John 10:34. As we will observe below, this is a case of proof texting and ignoring the context of the passage. This teaching is a heresy that elevates man to a semi-divine status and ultimately provides the rationale for why Word of Faith preachers can attribute such power to words.

I do want to emphasize that the little gods doctrine is usually only openly taught by hard prosperity (though Joyce Meyer has held to it in the past as well). My point here is not that everyone is explicitly teaching little gods doctrine, but that when soft prosperity preachers make such claims about the nature of man and the power of his words, they must either presuppose this doctrine or operate from a framework that naturally leads to it. Soft prosperity preachers who accept the categories presented by Hagin and his followers are ultimately part of a spiritual heritage that teaches the little gods doctrine. The idea that man has intrinsic power to speak things into existence, a power only attributed to God, must inevitably lead to the conclusion that man is semi-divine. 

Connection to New Thought

This distinctive teaching of the power of words is related quite directly to New Thought teachings. The primary difference is that Word of Faith puts a higher premium on the spoken word than New Thought did in general. In both systems, you send out your words (or thoughts), and these interact with the unseen realm and alter the nature of physical reality. Master your words (or your thoughts), and reality can be what you want it to be. I want to here Compare Creflo Dollar’s worldview with that of Ralph Waldo Trine, one of the great popularizers of New Thought, and show that they are not all that dissimilar:

We live in a word-created, word-controlled environment. Words are spiritual containers that carry faith or fear, blessing or cursing. When you speak words, they begin to take shape in the spirit realm, then later in the natural realm. For example, you might say, “I’m broke, and I don’t think I’ll ever get out of debt.” If you say that, then that’s exactly what you’ll have. Or you could choose to say, I don’t have the money to buy everything I want and need right now, but my God shall supply all my needs, and by faith, I will be out of debt soon!” You have what you say, so it is wise to choose words carefully. The words you speak, either positive or negative, are seeds that will produce an outcome… God used words to set the world into motion. He created every living thing, including mankind, by speaking words of faith… This same creative ability that God possesses to speak things into existence is also within you! He has given you full authority over everything. You were created in His image, and you must be confident in the power and ability He has given you. The Word of God says you shall have what you say (Mark 11:23). God has given you the right to decree a thing, and the Word says it shall be done unto you (Job 22:28)![18]

Now see how Trine provides a striking parallel: “Everything in the visible, material world has its origin in the unseen, the spiritual, the thought world. This is the world of cause, the former is the world of effect. The nature of the effect is always in accordance with the nature of the cause. What one lives in his invisible, thought world, he is continually actualizing in his visible, material world.”[19] Trine’s conception of the world further rings very much of Word of Faith’s as expressed by Dollar:

The very universe in which we live is the result of the thought energies of God, the Infinite Spirit that is behind all. And if it is true, as we have found, that we in our true selves are in essence the same, and in this sense are one with the life of this Infinite Spirit, do we not then see that in the degree that we come into a vital realization of this stupendous fact, we, through the operation of our interior, spiritual, thought forces, have in like sense creative power?[20]

Here we have strong parallels to the elements we have just examined: In New Thought, thought processes alter reality, while in Word of Faith spoken words (essentially thoughts put into action) alter reality; in New Thought man possesses the same creative ability as God through his thoughts, while in Word of Faith man possesses the same creative ability as God through his words; in New Thought man is in his essence the same as God to a lesser degree, while in New Thought man is the same as God in his essence as a little god. The prosperity gospel’s worldview in this regard is more metaphysical than biblical.

Now New Thought did not only promote mind-power, but some of its proponents also promoted the power of words in a manner very similar to that of Word of Faith. Emma Curtis Hopkins writes:

Whatever we declare we are sure to have, for God has created all things good, and for us, and it is our office to speak the word that will make them show forth. All round about us is an invisible power (invisible to the senses) that our word acts upon, bringing it into action. Whatever we desire can be invoked into sight. We have just what we invoke. If we continually speak of hateful things they will surround us. We can speak into visibility exactly what we wish.[21]

If you recall from the previous post on the origins of the prosperity gospel, New Thought categories entered into Christianity through the teachings of E. W. Kenyon, whose ideas were then plagiarized and popularized by Kenneth Hagin. The shape of the teachings that Dollar presented above can be traced to Kenyon and crystallized in Hagin. Kenyon himself wrote, “Talk poverty and you will have plenty of it. Confess your want, your lack of money all the time, and you will always have a lack. Your confession is the expression of your faith, and these confessions of lack and sickness shut the Father God out of your life and let Satan in, giving him the right-of-way.”[22] Kenyon was influenced by New Thought and synthesized it with his own teaching. We see his legacy of mixing New Thought into his teaching in today’s prosperity gospel.

The Power of Words Examined Biblically

Now that we have walked through an overview of what prosperity theology teaches regarding the power of words, I would like to examine four major points from a biblical perspective.

1. Your words have the power to alter reality

The basic assumptions behind the prosperity gospel’s teachings on the power of words do not derive from a biblical worldview. No reading of the Bible would lead to these conclusions without outside presuppositions coloring the reading of the text. I want to be clear on this point: teaching this sort of power of words is not Christian teaching. 

Now Scripture does indeed ascribe a certain power to our words, but not in the sense that the Word of Faith teachers suggest. The book of Proverbs is replete with words of wisdom concerning the use of words. Consider just a few:

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. – Proverbs 10:19

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – Proverbs 12:18

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. – Proverbs 18:21

When reading the proverbs, it is good to remember that they often use figurative and illustrative language. A plain reading of the text would not lead one to assume that the tongue of the wise literally brings healing or that people will literally eat of the fruit of the tongue. These are poetic proverbs that speak truths about the wise (or unwise) use of words and the consequences thereof, both positive and negative. A passage from the New Testament that may help with our attitude towards our words is found in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

In a sense, Joel Osteen has it right when he preaches that positive words should come out of our mouths. Those positive words are those that should be for the building up of the body, for encouraging other believers, for preaching the gospel. Scripture is also plain that the tongue has great destructive power, see James 3:1-12 as an example; yet, this destructive power does not encompass literally changing the fabric of reality and attracting positive or negative things. Where Osteen and others err is in the assertion that our words possess a creative power to bring new realities into existence. 

2. Your negative words could stop God’s plans and bring curses

I want to focus on this point specifically because of how its warnings against negative words can become absolutely crippling and condemning. In a system where giving voice to fears will cause them to become a reality, consider, for example, the effect this has on a young pregnant mother. On the one hand, she may be terrified of expressing any fears about the pregnancy. On the other, if she did express fears and she lost the baby, all she is left with is the condemnation that she, with the power of her words, caused the death of her baby. This is not merely hypothetical, for my wife was warned against giving voice to any fears while she was pregnant. This is a wicked, condemning, unbiblical doctrine that must be repudiated. 

To say that mankind, in the power of his words, has the power to potentially thwart the plan of God is a downright unbiblical, and I would say, blasphemous assertion to make. The Bible is consistently clear that God does as he pleases and none can overturn his counsel. The prosperity gospel diminishes the sovereignty of God, in contradiction to the testimony of Scripture. Consider these passages in light of the above claims:

For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses. – Psalm 135:5-7

Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. – Isaiah 46:8-11

While the context of Psalm 135 is fairly straightforward as a Psalm of praise that declares God’s attributes, Isaiah 46 could stand a little contextualization. In this passage, God is speaking to the house of Judah, declaring that the days are coming when he will bring Babylon (a bird of prey from the east) to judge his people. God declares himself to be the only God, the only one who accomplishes his purposes. Negative or positive words from people could never confound what God was going to bring to pass; he had purposed to bring Babylon, and he would do so. 

To refer back to Osteen’s reference to Jeremiah and Johnson’s reference to Zachariah and their power to stop God’s plans from coming to pass, both interpretations do violence to the text, for they import a presupposition that exists outside of Scripture and allow it to shape how they read the passages. Neither Jeremiah 1 nor Luke 1 ever refer to negative words as any sort of factor. In the case of Jeremiah, God gives him a light rebuke and then encourages him because he will be the one who is with Jeremiah and leading him throughout his prophetic ministry. As to Zachariah, his muteness served as both a rebuke to him and, later, as a sign to the people when his muteness was lifted at the naming of John. To reiterate once more, the contexts do not allow for the suggestion that Jeremiah or Zachariah nearly thwarted God’s plan by their words, it is simply an illegitimate interpretation that arrives at that conclusion. 

As a final thought in this regard, consider this passage in the lament over Jerusalem:

Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? – Lamentations 3:37-38

3. You have the same creative power to speak things into existence as God

The power to call things into existence that were not is an attribute that God only possesses. Osteen attempts to root this assertion in Romans 4:17, saying, “The Scripture tells us that we are to ‘call the things that are not as if they already were.’”[23] The problem is, this passage does not say that at all, but rather refers to, “God… who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” God is consistently the only one who performs this action; it is not shared with his creation. This doctrine is a plain and simple fabrication; anyone who says the Bible teaches this doctrine is completely misrepresenting the text.

To claim a divine attribute for oneself is to make oneself equal with God. This is blasphemy against God. Consider when Jesus stated in John 8:58, “before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews’ response to his declaration was to pick up stones to stone Jesus. If Jesus were not truly God, this would have been an appropriate action, for they recognized that he made a claim that none but God could make. In the same way, to suggest that man is able to speak things into existence is to make a claim that only God can make. 

4. You are little gods. 

As I said above, I see this doctrine as the presupposition that is inherent in saying that we have the same creative ability as God to speak things into existence. There are three primary texts in support of this teaching: Genesis 1:26-27, Psalm 82:6, and John 10:34. Again, returning to the idea of the faulty hermeneutic, interpretations that view these as teaching mankind to be “little gods” simply ignore context and misuse the passages.

Basic to the misunderstanding of Genesis 1:26-27 is an analogical argument from the creation: all the animals produce after their own kind, and man was created in the image of God, therefore God must have created man after his own kind. Yet, note the shift in what takes place in this interpretation: the text does not say that God produced man after his own kind. See the comparison with v.24 and v.26:

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so... Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”– Genesis 1:24, 26a

In English, it is quite plain that the words used to describe the creation of the animals and the creation of man are different. Animals are brought for “according to their kinds,” while man is according to the image of God and in the likeness of God. In fact, in Genesis 1, the account refers to things being brought forth according to their kinds in vv. 11, 12, 21, 24, and 25; this has been the pattern up until God determines to create man. When God makes man, no longer does he make him according to a kind, but he is specifically made in the “image of God” and according to God’s “likeness.” There is some debate over what this means precisely, however there is a distinct shift in language at this point. The Hebrew word for image is tselem (צלם) and the word for likeness is demut (דמוּת). Outside the context of Genesis, tselem is often used to refer to idols, that is, images of created, while demut in a somewhat synonymous way refers to ideas of being similar or resemblance (the English words are fairly good approximations). These words do not speak to something that is of the same kind or same nature, but of something that is similar, a reflection, but not the real thing. In the imago Dei, we are given certain features that are similar to God (earthly dominion, capacity for knowledge, morality, etc), but which are not direct equivalents to God. The image of God thus does not imply that mankind shares in the nature of God. 

In concert with a misunderstanding of the imago Dei, those who advocate for the little gods doctrine will point to Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34. Let us thus add further context to these passages: 

I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” – Psalm 82:6-7

The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?  If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” – John 10:33-38 

These passages do not lend to any suggestion that God calls all men “little gods.” In the Psalm 82 passage, the referent is almost surely to human judges, those who act as “gods” on behalf of the Most High God. This precedent is seen in Exodus 21:6 and Exodus 22:8-9, whereby human judges are referred to as elohim (gods); however, not all translations make this clear, for the ESV simply renders elohim as “God,” while the NIV makes the interpretive decision and renders it as “judges.” It is in this context that Jesus appeals to Psalm 82:6; if the Scripture could refer to human judges figuratively as “gods,” then what right did the Jews have of accusing Jesus of blasphemy for referring to himself as the Son of God? 

Conclusion

Prosperity theology grossly overestimates the power of mankind’s words. It is not that words are unimportant, but they are incapable of exhibiting creative power to alter reality and cannot interfere with God’s purposes. Taken to its logical end, teaching that man possesses the same creative ability as God in his words is to ultimately elevate man to the level of God. For these reasons and the lack of a biblical foundation, this teaching must be rejected as outside the scope of true Christian doctrine. 


[1] Joel Osteen, Becoming a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day (New York: Free Press, 2007), 114.

[2] Paula White, You’re All That! Understand God’s Design for Your Life (New York, NY: Faith Words, 2007), 127.

[3] Creflo Dollar, 8 Steps to Create the Life You Want: The Anatomy of a Successful Life (New York, NY: FaithWords, 2008), 44.

[4] Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential (New York: FaithWords, 2004), 122.

[5] Dollar, 8 Steps to Create the Life You Want, 48.

[6] Osteen, Becoming a Better You, 329-330.

[7] Kenneth E. Hagin, Exceedingly Growing Faith (RHEMA Bible Church, 1983), 88.

[8] Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential (New York: FaithWords, 2004), 124.

[9] Osteen, Becoming a Better You, 117-118.

[10] Bill Johnson, Face to Face with God (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2007), 97. 

[11] Dollar, 8 Steps to Create the Life You Want, 44.

[12] Ibid. 47.

[13] Osteen, Becoming a Better You, 112.

[14] Joyce Meyer, Power Words: What You Say Can Change Your Life (New York: FaithWords, 2015), chap. 2, Kindle. 

[15] LongforTruth1,  “Crreflo Dollar Teaches We Are Little Gods,” March 4, 2016, video, 2:32, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YwBroSyWuQ. I am unable to find an original posting of this message, but the best I can tell it is dated to September 15, 2002, and is from a message titled “Made after His Kind.” 

[16] Kenneth E. Hagin, The Word of Faith 13, 12 (December 1980):14.

[17] E. W. Kenyon, The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Unconscious Mind, 13th ed. (Lynwood, WA: Kenyon Publishing Society, 1970), 7.

[18] Dollar, 8 Steps to Create the Life You Want, 44.

[19] Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune with the Infinite (New York: Dodd,  Mead and Company, 1897), 145.

[20] Ibid. 24-25.

[21] Eleve, Spiritual Law in the Natural World (Chicago: Purdy Publishing Co., 1894), 60. Emma Curtis Hopkins published this work under the pseudonym of “Eleve.” 

[22] E. W. Kenyon, The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Unconscious Mind, 13th ed. (Lynwood, WA: Kenyon Publishing Society, 1970), 108.[23] Osteen, Becoming a Better You, 112.

[23] Osteen, Becoming a Better You, 112.

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