Joyce Meyer and Positive Confession

I have had an interesting surf on the web this morning. Prompted to look deeper into the current state of the charismatic movement by Mark Berry's post on Todd Bentley, I found myself coming across references to Joyce Meyer being a word-faith teacher.

I suppose this is hardly revelational to some of you, but Joyce Meyer is not the sort of author I am normally drawn to so I have never read any of her stuff. Anyway, so I did some more digging and found a list of positive confessions on the official Joyce Meyer website as well as some very revealing quotes on an apologetics website.

“But you cannot throw out positive confession, and you cannot throw out all the faith teachers, and you cannot throw out positive thinking.  And you cannot get rid of those kinds of things because they're in the Bible from one end of it to the other.” (Joyce Meyer, PFO Quarterly Journal, April-June 2002, p. 6.  Withcraft and Related Spirits, pt. 1, sides 1 and 2)

“I’m going to tell you something folks, I didn’t stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn’t a sinner anymore. And the religious world thinks that’s heresy and they want to hang you for it. But the Bible says that I’m righteous and I can’t be righteous and be a sinner at the same time … Now whether you like it or not, whether you want to admit it or not, whether you want to operate on it or not, you are made the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Most people who go to denominational churches never ever hear that! They never hear it! Never! All I was ever taught to say was, ‘I’m a poor, miserable sinner.’ I am not poor, I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. That is what I was and if I still am then Jesus died in vain. Amen?” (Joyce Meyer, “What Happened from the Cross to The Throne?” audio)

What do you all make of this? Particularly her claim to perfection through positive confession? What would you say to a person who enjoyed her books?

More articles on Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer joins critics of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill

25 thoughts on “Joyce Meyer and Positive Confession

  1. ah yes. i am surprised to find myself agreeing with, or at least partly agreeing with, ms. meyer. i have only seen her occasionally on the telly, and i don’t watch much telly.
    of course what you quote her saying is part and parcel of the angustinian-pelagian argument (about which i was blogging this morning:
    http://neocappadocians.blogspot.com/2008/08/sts-augustine-and-pelagius-28-august.html
    i find a useful analogy about our ability to live without sin, which it seems jesus does expect us to at least try to do, to the roger bannister’s 4-minute mile. as long as no one thought any human could run that fast, no one did. but when bannister had done it, it became common.
    my participation in “positive confession” is to read through the psalter each month. the traditional understanding of the psalms is that they are prophecies of the christ. to recite them is to form in us the mind of christ. even augustinian luther started the day with “i am a baptized christian.” very different from the miserable sinner with no health in him.

    Like

  2. oh my. i just followed your link to mrs. meyers’ “positve confessons:” “I weight exactly what the lord wants me to weight!?”
    i don’t know a psalm that applies to that.

    Like

  3. Chuckles, ah so you’re beginning to see where some of my concerns come from!
    Ever heard of church services where people are asked to hold up their car keys and make positive confessions about new vehicles? Yeah, I’m not kidding. It gets better. This sort of stuff is where Mark Driscoll’s comment about some Christians treating the Spirit like a pinata comes from. It not just about the difference between augustinian and pelagian theology.
    While we are on that however, what is your understanding of original sin? In voicing support for Pelagius do you reject original sin in the same manner as Pelagius or is your understanding somewhat different?

    Like

  4. “I’m going to tell you something folks, I didn’t stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn’t a sinner anymore.”….
    …wow what a bold claim, I would not dare declare myself to be without sin… I find this disturbing and unreal, are we hearing an almost Gnostic soul/ body split here? Sounds good but smacks of heresey!

    Like

  5. Well that is diametrically opposite to Orthodox Christianity, where, before receiving communion we make a confession fo faith saying that we believe that the Lord Jesus Christ “came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first”.
    Talking about the charismatic renewal movement, I began a project to research its history, but find it remarkably difficult to get information out of anyone other than Anglicans. Methodists, Presbyterians and others seem very reluctant to talk about it. I wonder why? It could have something to do with the kind of thing you mentioned, b ut I suspect there’s more to it than that.

    Like

  6. I went with a friend to see Joyce Meyers in person a few years ago. Meyers told thousands of us that we would “all be speaking in tongues in the next half hour.” Sure enough there was a racket. That’s when I quit paying any attention to what Joyce Meyers had to say.

    Like

  7. My personal experience with pentecostal, charismatic and third wave revivalism is limited to what I have come across in Hillsong, New Life and Ruah churches and amongst charismatics in Baptist and Anglican circles in Australia. I have read wider of course, but what that has revealed, more than anything else, is that the American experience is considerably different and indeed, far more extreme, far less evangelical, far more gnostic. At least from what I can tell. So I profess no expertise and I still get caught by surprise when I find popular authors and speaks like Joyce Meyer espousing stuff like this that is miles away from orthodoxy. As for information Steve, I think part of the problem with lack of information is that charistmatic Christianity is far more oral and anti-intellectual in terms of communication style. You need to exegete their songs, testimonies, slang and, dare I say it, rituals, as much as their litrature, to get the flavour of it. Also, I think their is a certain amount of snobbery amongst mainstream protestant intellectuals because of that. Pentecostal authors I do appreciate include Gordon Fee and Amos Yong, but, funny enough, they are amongst the more evangelical and intellectual.

    Like

  8. Ah, Joyce Meyer… Aaaaauuuggghhh, Joyce Meyer!… Maybe I did read one of her books a few years ago… I’m not sure why one of my friends thought I’d be interested… maybe he took me for one who loves a bit of cake on the plate while we wait, and finds it so much easier to blab it and grab it than buy a packet mix at the supermarket and nuke it to perfection! That sarcasm didn’t cross the hurty threshold, did it, Matt? Funnily enough, I went out one night not so long ago for a spin with a few Aboriginal girls to see JM ‘live’ at a local mega-church. Some of these girls had come all the way down from Moree to get a glimpse of the guru.
    Not sure about the other girls, but I came away from the standing room/overflow room only event convinced that the humble fellowship we had around the Word while we had dinner together beforehand and later in the car driving out to the meeting, eclipsed the entertaining ego-massage of the apparently sinless celebrity. A couple of us also were able to persuade one of the girls that it wasn’t a particularly God-pleasing thing to do to be sending money from her solo-parenting government benefit to support the Joyce Meyer empire and then ask around for her relatives to buy her groceries to feed her child!
    It looks as though JM has influenced many people for good, and God would deserve the glory for that, but I always wonder when there is A LOT OF MONEY involved, and when there is evidence of the poor and vulnerable supporting the rich and powerful. I’m just thankful JM is the one who’ll have to face God for her motivations and actions, and I’ll have to face God for mine…
    Lucy J

    Like

  9. that we are all free to choose to sin (or be persuaded/thought to sin by our elders) and we are born free of sin, as all creation is fundamentally good, and that we all be forgiven in God’s ultimate mercy.
    St. Pelagius, pray for us and for the ultimate conversion of all the authoritarian papists (believeing in *sine ecclesia nulla salvus* and that manichean “original sin” gimmic) to the real, hinc-et-nunc love of our Friend Jesus Christ!

    Like

  10. I stand firmly for Pelagius in his belief that we are all free to choose to sin (or be persuaded/thought to sin by our elders) and we are born free of sin, as all creation is fundamentally good, and that we all be forgiven in God’s ultimate mercy.
    St. Pelagius, pray for us and for the ultimate conversion of all the authoritarian papists (believeing in *sine ecclesia nulla salvus* and that manichean “original sin” gimmic) to the real, hinc-et-nunc love of our Friend Jesus Christ!

    Like

  11. Algis, do you or did you live in Perth, WA? And do you know a guy who migrated to Australia from Zimbabwe who lived in Cannington for a while?

    Like

  12. I don’t agree with a majority of what Joyce Meyer’s says, but on this account I don’t think she is in error. And this is NOT a typical teaching of Word of Faith preachers (a doctrine I was raised in and have since discarded) which is mostly about receiving things (money, healing, etc).
    I think she is referring to Paul’s concept of being under grace versus being under law. A concept of “imperfect but blameless righteousness” that is derived from verses like Romans 4:8, and Romans 8:1 (among others).
    We believe that at the time of salvation God will forgive all of our prior sins (from gossiping to murder) by covering them under the blood of His Son and forgetting them (as far as the east is from the west and all that), so that we are as white as snow.
    Newly saved, the believer:
    – is hidden with Christ in God
    – has the Holy Spirit to counsel and guide them into all truth
    – is a good work that God promised he would be faithful to complete.
    – Is one of whom Jesus said “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10)
    So why do we teach and believe that after Christ’s redeeming (which is once and for all work) that their individual sins will slip out from under the covering of Jesus’ blood and cause them to be subject to the same wrath as an unbeliever?
    Doesn’t that nullify the work of the cross and grace? Doesn’t that lead to sin consciousness, condemnation, and motivate to try to clean ourselves up for God – the same trap to which that the law subjected them?
    That is why I agree with Meyer that for the believer the concept of sin should be a foreign one. Because the Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness, not sin and because of the grace of God that abounds. (Romans 6)
    Cheers!
    GiGi

    Like

  13. If all Meyer was referring to was “Paul’s concept of being under grace versus being under law” then I wouldn’t have an issue. But she’s saying much much more than that and, typical of word-faith teachers or otherwise, there are explicit (and even more implicit) references to word-faith teaching in what she is saying here.
    Meyer seems to be going beyond orthodox understandings of sanctification. Yes, we are justified by faith and sanctified faith. We are called to live our lives by faith from beginning to end. No argument from me there. But Meyer, in claiming to be sinless, is effectively denying that sanctification is necessary, she is effectively confusing sanctification with glorification. That’s my issue, that and I see this teaching leading to unbiblical pride.

    Like

  14. Paul says ‘ reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to righteousness’ – reckon is an accountancy type word – it’s there in the books now trust that fact and you will experience the power of righteousness.On this one old Joycie may be ok but alot of other stuff too into ‘success’ which usually means lots of cash!

    Like

  15. I take issue with Meyer’s idea that “I can’t be righteous and a sinner at the same time”. As a Lutheran, we believe in being 100% sinner and 100% saint (which leads to lots of jokes about Lutherans not being able to do math :P)

    Like

  16. I like that Gigi you are the only one who referred to scripture.
    When Jesus was on earth the Pharisees disliked him for many reasons such as:
    1. He called himself the son of God
    2. He hanged out with the uneducated fisherman (his diciples), taxcollectors and prostitutes
    3. He made unbelivable claims (only unbelivable to the limited human mind!) that the temple that had taken years to be build could be destroyed and rebuilt in three days.
    The things of God cannot be understood by the human mind if they were understood then God would be man but God’s ways and thoughts are way much higher than those of man. If the almighty God says that I have been made righteous, It means I have been made righteous. Romans 10 vs 10 says that it is by Faith taht we have been made righteous.

    Like

  17. True, I was quoting Joyce Mayer, and nothing in what she said there was scriptural. But let me quote you some scripture then, say Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, and even more pointedly, 1 John 1:8, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
    And Joyce Meyer says, ” I am not a sinner.”
    Me says, Hmmmm
    And Joyce Meyer says, “That is a lie from the pit of hell.” Me says, calling Paul and John liers?
    Serious charge indeed.

    Like

  18. On the subject of original sin, I would have to gree with a friend of mine that it was a disaster or as Walter Wink puts it a perversion of the creation narratives (in this case the Adam & Eve story). Augustine was trying to justify the alliance with the state which led to justifying war, tithing, etc. I see the creation narratives in the Bible as counter-cultural myths as rebuttals to the dominating narratives of the day mainly in Babylon.

    Like

  19. Ohhh
    Q How do you get saved?
    A Believe Jesus is the son of God.
    Q How do we walk pleasing unto God?
    A Believe Jesus is the son of God
    That is it. There is not one right. To walk in victory, you have to believe it. This is where confesions comes in. As a man thinketh….so is he

    Like

  20. I agree, but what do the scriptures mean by this? I would suggest faith is more than doctrinal assent, it is a realignment of allegiance, it is an experience, it is a commitment of consequence.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s