27 Mar The Dangers Of The “Name It Claim It” Movement
Nowadays, I never fail to see some believers who claim with such boldness and confidence about what they are, what they will be, and what they can receive from God. About one or two decades ago, I have never heard such assertions in the Christian arena, but then increasingly comes a trend where you start to hear believers in the church claim: “I am highly favored, I am blessed. I will be prosperous in whatever I do. I claim success in my business, in good health, and no harm can come near me”.
Now, I don’t know whether you have come across these but it sounds so biblical, because you have words like this in the Bible, like “blessed”, “favored”, prosperous”, “good health”, so on. And all you have to do is to add in the “name of Jesus”, this is what you are, this is what you will be, and this is what you will get. So with that, it slowly becomes a doctrine, and a universal practice in the contemporary Christian world. And there are tons of testimonies that claim that when people speak this way, they receive what they ha ve claim, or if not, at least it keeps their mind positive. It keeps their heart hopeful.
Now, I call this the “name it and claim it” practice, so to speak. And in short, such practice have its roots in the “word faith” movement, where believers are taught to speak the blessing of God into the reality. It can be anything. It can be a good marriage, good career, good health, or it can be a car, a house, or anything you wish for.
As what it claims, anything in your mind can be transpired into the reality, as long as you can visualize it, believe it, speak it (and of course remember to put in the name of Jesus). Then you will see the reality of what you have spoken. And that’s how your best life can be realized in Christ, as it claims.
Now honestly, I was never comfortable with such practice to start with, and of course now that I think has become a very dangerous movement.
First of all, I like to question: Is this the way blessing in the bible is applied? The “name it and claim it” movement claims that because Christ finished work on the cross, all things are yours. So it is legitimate for us to claim it by faith. So all believers need to do nowo is to use the “power of faith” to create our own reality or get what we want. So in essence, faith is no longer putting our trust in a holy and sovereign God despite our circumstances. Faith is no longer about living in submission to the principle of God’s truth. With the “name it and claim it” movement, faith has become a “force”, or a “principled methodology” by which we can kind of control God to give us what we want.
Honestly, if that is true, we have made God a mindless deity which is activated by the force of such faith. In fact, it’s a real perversion of the Christian faith. I mean don’t we realized? Our God is a holy and righteous God. He is a God who gives His truths to us. He is a God with the clearest mind who reads our heart like no one else. And people are loved and favored because of their love for Him and obedience to His word. A believer is also an obeyer. And an obeyer is already blessed and favored in Christ, despite the trials or situation he is in. For <Deu 28:1-2> says:
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands, I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.
And the Lord Jesus in His own words.
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” <Lk 11:28>
Now, you don’t hear the “name it and claim it” movement talks about obedience, and faithfulness in it. They downplay a submissive Christian life. They bypass the most critical element in Christian faith, i.e. a believer is also an obeyer. So the whole idea of this perverted movement, which I saw is based more on metaphysics than biblical principle. It uses the power of positive thinking and sets the premise of prosperity gospel, where anything can be claimed and received in Jesus name.
And slowly, you will see those movement giving legitimacy to the desires of men. People in the church that was taught about that no longer examine their lives. They assume that they are already saved and holy in Christ. All they need to do now is to just tactivate their faith and claim what they wish and desire to claim, and all in the name of Jesus.
Some people asked me: “Why then is this kind of teaching so popular among churchgoers nowadays?” Simple. Because you don’t need to be renewed and transformed in Christ. And having come to Christ, you don’t need to go through the struggle of sanctification. In contrary to the words of Paul, you don’t need to discipline your body and keep it under control <1 Cor 9:27>. And you don’t need to work out your salvation with fear and trembling <Php 2:12>. It’s just speaking and claiming it. It sounds so easy. No need to struggle against sin. No need to feel guilt of any kind, not even the rebuke of the Holy Spirit. And no need to go through the pain of discipline which in fact produces in us a harvest of rightness and peace in us <Heb 12:11>.
Now, how easy and convenient are such teachings!
No wonder it is so welcomed by a generation who wants to be self-empowered increasingly. The lure of those teachings is so great. Now, we know it is nothing but devious.
And some people asked me: “Pastor, how is it then there are so many who received positive answers from those practices. They seem to be made healthy and rich, prosperous and successful. Now, the obvious answer to that is if something is devious in nature, the power that is manifest through it is devious also.
Remember, the devil will never give you a blank cheque. Go for his ways, and you will be brought further and further from the holy ways of God. When such movement sweep through the church, all you will have is increasing number of unregenerated people in the church, and true sheep of God will not see their lives satisfied and fulfilled by those claims. They suffer with lack of spiritual nourishment. They have problems in their lives which they have no answer it. They look with envy upon those people who always claim it and receive it, and they never seem to have it.
Because God has set them apart. The true sheep are people who are set apart and they can only receive the goodness of God with the correct knowledge of God and right relationship with Him.
Now, let me end with this. If you fall under this category. Let me tell you that all is not lost. What I have is two advices for you. First, leave the teachings that keep teaching you to “name it and claim it”. If you have a group of people teaching you that, leave that group. If your whole church is teaching you that, leave that church. Don’t allow yourself to be further bruised and victimized by the ravages of those teaching. My brethren, you are the loved sheep of God, and apart from Him and His truth, you have no good thing.
Second, find someone who can teach you the word of God correctly, and help set you on a path of true obedience to God. If Christ has already died for you, it’s not about feeling good, nor is it about having more. All that is in Him is in you. Every blessing that you can ever enjoyed in Him is when you walk alongside him, as the sheep walk alongside the shepherd.
As David says:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing”. <Ps 23:1>