Faith or Logic

s harris miracle

Permission is granted to reprint the following article as long as no changes are made and the byline, copyright information, and the resource box is included. Please let me know if you use this article by sending an email to

Faith or Logic

Copyright © 2013 Douglas W Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.

When I was young in the LORD, and young in His Word I was young as well in understanding how faith and grace worked in my life. The life of faith in God was based on the simplicity of faith which was based on the truth found in the Bible that taught me that faith is a gift from God, because God is sovereign, and therefore nothing I do can merit His grace. Faith is simply God’s decision to bestow grace upon me out of His own good pleasure. I still adhere to this early view of grace and faith because I see it as most close to a Biblical view.

Along the way in my Christian life I became enamored with a view of faith that seemed commensurate with this same viewpoint, but took it a step further, what many, but not most Charismatic Christians were calling the “Faith Message”. The Message was that God was returning His people to a truly Biblical understanding of faith just prior to the return of the Lord so that He would have a people who were walking totally by faith at His return. The premise was based on the scripture that asked the question “When the Lord returns shall he find any faith in the earth?” and the assumption was that Jesus would return at a time when the planet earth was completely faithless, with the exception of those who had received the Faith Message. Those who had received the message were a part of God’s chosen people, the Overcomers of this world. The Overcomers were God’s elect people, Christians who had realized Faith in their lives in every sense, as opposed to the “nominal” Christians who were saved by the skin of their teeth, but who had not fully yielded their lives to God in faith. The nominal Christian was still saved, but he would never be capable of doing the end-time exploits that God anticipated as a part of ushering in the return of Jesus to the earth.

I myself received this “Faith Message” from books and tapes by Dr. Hobart E Freeman, and from others associated with him (Steve Hill, Tom Hamilton, Dave Freeman [who was married to Dr. Freeman’s daughter Becky, and by mere coincidence had the same last name], and a few others associated with Dr. Freeman’s Faith Assembly. Hobart Freeman had received the Faith Message from others who had preceded him, even though he later renounced them as compromisers of the very Faith Message they had originally taught. Still, the message that Dr. Freeman taught, one of uncompromising faith in every circumstance, was in essence the same message. It was founded for the most part on the ideas set forth by Kenneth Hagin. Hagin’s thought was predominantly based on E.W. Kenyon (whom Hagin plagiarized extensively). Kenneth Copeland expanded greatly on the ideas set forth by Hagin.

Kenneth Copeland was very popular when I first came into the Faith Message. Strange affiliations exist within all these groups and between these individuals. Copeland began as a pilot for Hagin in the latter’s travels throughout the states. After Copeland began to have notoriety David Freeman became his pilot, flying around the states. Still later, my (most recent) former pastor, Timothy Winter became Dave’s chauffer as he traveled the Midwest states. Hobart Freeman later excommunicated Dave Freeman from Faith Assembly because of his refusal to renounce the teachings of Copeland. (The issue at that time had to do with Copeland’s heretical views of the atonement, which were founded in Hagin and Kenyon. I am in full agreement with Hobart Freeman on this issue. But that is another article. To set the record straight, neither Dave Freeman nor Tim Winter ever taught or agreed with the errors of Copeland on the atonement – a doctrine that has come to be known as the Spiritual Death of Jesus, or “Jesus Died Spiritually” [JDS] error.) 1

All of the above history is foundationally important for what I think must be said about the faith message because it exposes the undercurrent of false doctrine that is still a part of much current faith teaching. I will now attempt to uncover that part of the Faith Message that is explicitly unorthodox because it is an attempt to rely on concepts that are merely rationalism or logic as opposed to true faith in the Word of God alone. In other words, the Word of Faith, or Faith Message is clearly an attempt to juxtapose logic upon real faith, oftentimes without any solid understanding of the difference between the two.

Faith, as I said in the first paragraph of this theme, is the gift of God, granted by Him sovereignly upon the individual, and issuing in that person’s salvation. Faith is the free gift of God bestowed by His grace through faith, which is the result of His own pleasure. God is the author of both grace and faith. Our faith is ultimately the result of God choosing to grace us with it. So then, even our faith by which we respond to God is a measure of His grace, or else it would imply that we are saved by our works.

This leads directly to the greater error of the faith message of our times which Dr. Freeman saw clearly, though even he succumbed to it. What is that? It is that faith and rationalism can somehow define one another. In other words, faith can be defined in terms of our actions, and therefore our actions in and of themselves become the essence of true faith. This is nothing more than saying that we are saved by our works, or that our works are by what we are saved. Of course, this was a mere theological premise falsified by our theology, but in reality it became for most of us a theology that demanded works as a proof of faith.

The great proof that the Faith Message had become a works doctrine could be found in the challenges to our faith in regard to the component doctrines of the faith movement, the most prominent of which was faith for healing and health, and then faith for prosperity (the Prosperity Message) and next, faith for divine protection from one’s enemies. On both these points faith was used as a proof of one’s true commitment to God, and became a matter of works that one must do to prove true faith. Faith for healing or faith for divine protection became less a matter of trusting God for deliverance and more a matter of how one acted. It became a relationship to one’s actions more than to God Himself. And consequently, faith became a rational or logical act that was separate from one’s personal relationship to God.

I distinctly remember the rationalizing theology that made faith a matter of one’s actions in the early faith teaching I heard from Hobart Freeman and others after him. Here are a few examples:

“If God has healed you why are you still wearing your glasses?”

“Sick people need medicine. If you don’t have diabetes why are you still using medicine?”

“If you are healed why do you need [XYZ]?”

“Why would you do this, that or the other thing if you are healed?”

All of these quotes display the rationalization of faith. Faith is based upon logical evidences of its existence. Logic says “All A equals B, and does not equal Not-B”, or some other form of philosophical imperative that can be categorized mathematically. (Any first year student of philosophy will recognize Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative here. Dr. Freeman was a teacher of philosophy, ethics and Hebrew for many years at Grace Theological Seminary.) In this view faith is no more than an algebraic equation of “If – Then”. “If I am healed Then I don’t need my medicine.” The error here is the juxtaposition of the action (getting off one’s insulin for instance) for the relationship (Job’s “Though he slay me yet I will trust Him.”) Strangely, the answer from Dr. Freeman to this challenge was ridicule. When so many in his flock began to have reservations his answer was “The worst you can do is die!”

Dr. Freeman was at least consistent with his own message. The worst he could do was die, and die he did. Unlike Asa in the Old Testament, he died of a sickness about which he refused to go to medical science. But he was a martyr for the same sort of rationalism displayed in the quotes above. The problem is that he never really saw his arguments against medical science v. faith for healing as a logical or rational conundrum. I emphasize again: None of the above arguments are arguments from scripture. They are arguments based on logic; on rationalism as opposed to faith in God. In essence, the argument is this: If this, then not that. That is logic. Not faith. And a whole generation of his followers died of sicknesses, or put up with blindness, or whatever, because they followed the logic. If’…Then.

Likewise goes the argument for divine protection from one’s enemies, and then, the argument for getting rich! If God is our defender why need we fight to protect our wives, children, families! The doctrine of non-resistance means that we should endure all pain if necessary to trust God on their behalf so long as it means we do not fight back. (At that point the pain is only to watch them being murdered before our eyes.) Therefore if God is your deliverer why should you defend yourself against the aggressor? The argument was the same as that against the use of medical science. If God is your defender why are you lifting arms to defend your self, your wife and your children? True faith will not resist evil because God will overcome the evil by your good. Will not God step in at the appropriate time to shame your assaulters? This was another instance of the rationalistic vs. real faith. On this point, even the purveyors of such thinking considered it illogical to not lock your door at night. Even those committed to such logic did not really believe it. Could we not say the following?

If you are protected by the Angel of the LORD why lock your doors!

If God will defend us why would I need to use force against a rapist, a murderer, or a government that wants to assassinate my family, home, church or community?

Yet even Jesus, the Prince of Peace (He never called Himself that; it was what Isaiah in the Old Testament said about the Messiah, and Christian theology recognized as a reference to Christ) while dying on the cross still called upon John to become the protector of his own dear mother in her old age. Jesus was concerned with adequately providing for His family even in His death.

On the subject of prosperity I must commend Freeman however. He insisted that true faith will always take a lesser paying job when necessary despite one’s qualifications for better work and trust God to bring in the finances needed to sustain the household. Frugality and serious hard work were perquisite to prosperity. Unfortunately to many folks thought that meant they should never advance themselves with a good education and instead they sat back on their haunches waiting for the church to provide charity. Dr. Freeman taught what Paul taught: “If a man will not work neither shall he eat.” Real faith means get a job, even if it is not the job you want. Jesus was a carpenter and Paul a tent-maker by trade. Both ministers of the Gospel had a trade to fall back on. Paul criticized those who were idle in the church of Thessalae, quitting their employment to wait for the coming of the Lord. Their works were proof of a lack of faith! Not of a real and overcoming faith! So I think that Hobart Freeman was well aware of the tendencies of men to justify their dependency upon the welfare of others to meet the needs of their poor families suffering for the stupidity of a father who will not work. Paul said that such men are “worse than unbelievers.” He knew the meaning of Jesus’ own proscription that “The poor will always be with you.” Sigh! You will always have these pretenders to faith to contend with. Meet the necessities of their children and wives, but give no countenance to their unbelief. A man who will not work if he can is not a true believer.

It is therefore evident that the Faith Message to often was based on logic and rationalism rather than on real faith. It was and still is based on works (If I do this…) rather than grace.

After all, does not Paul chastise those who say that if they are saved by faith they can now live any which way? Paul challenges those in the church at Rome who say that grace means we can continue to sin so that grace may abound. The stupid argument of those he corrects implies that same “If-Then” mentality. “If we sin then grace becomes greater.” Paul says NO! Faith is not a philosophical construct. He makes clear that faith and works are mutual, both a part of the same coin, even both sides of the coin displaying the same thing. “For if we live by faith let us also die by faith.” Not by a rationalistic or logical philosophy but only by our love for God, the true evidence of His grace.


1. On the JDS error see: Hobart E. Freeman, Did Jesus Die Spiritually? (n.d., Faith Ministries and Publications, Warsaw, IN). This is the first book to seriously examine the JDS heresy; David Alsobrook, Was the Cross Enough? Or Did Jesus Die Twice? (1984, Anointed Bible Study Fellowship, Inc., David Alsobrook Ministries, Padukah, KY). A short to the point refutation; D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement (1988, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody, MS) A thorough and scholarly review of the JDS error within the context of the Faith Movement that thoroughly documents the Hagin plagiarism of E. W. Kenyon.)


Doug Jerving is the publisher of the You may contact him at


Return to The New Edison Gazette main site.