Table of Contents
The “Decree and Declare” Teaching
The “decree and declare” is a phrase used in the Pentecostal/Charismatic churches to mean if believer “decrees or declares” something, then it comes to pass. The stress in these churches is on financial prosperity and physical healings. Kenneth Hagin, a leader in the Word of Faith movement, wrote, “You can have whatever you say… You always get in your life what you believe for and what you say” (“You Can Have What you Say,” hopefaithprayer.com, Lesson 25). The teachers of the Word of Faith movement claim that when believers repeat the “decree and declare” formula, they reap positive results.
Is the “Decree and Declare” Teaching Biblical?
The “decree and declare” teaching is based on Genesis 1:27. It claims that since humans were made on God’s image, they too can speak things into existence as He did when He created the world (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24, 26). But the verse in Genesis 1:27 simply means that humans were created to resemble their Creator in character not in abilities.
Jesus taught us to ask our heavenly Father for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11) not “decree and declare” things into existence. And for our other requests, we are to ask for God’s will regarding the matter as Jesus did. For He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). God knows what we need even before we ask him (Matthew 6:8), nevertheless we need to ask. But we need to submit to His good will and trust Him instead of taking matters into our hands (Matthew 26:42).
The “decree and declare” teaching stresses the prosperity of its believers. The scriptures teach that God has indeed promised His children prosperity if they are faithful in giving tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:10). But this prosperity is not limited only to materiel blessings. Knowing Christ and His truths make the believer truly rich — not necessarily with this world’s goods, but with the spiritual riches that are of more value to the soul – Joy, peace, grace, power, victory, wisdom, and the sweet fellowship of God.
Prosperity preachers say that if believers claim the promise “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Luke 11:9), then they will get all the wealth they ask for. But these preachers don’t continue reading the verse which clearly indicates that Jesus was specifically talking about the spiritual requests: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).
And while the prosperity teachers quote Galatians 3:14, that talks about the blessings of Abraham, they ignore the second half of the verse, which says, “that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” In this verse, Paul is directing that attention to the spiritual blessing of salvation, not the material ones. The scriptures clearly teach that Christians should not to focus on money (Matthew 6:24). Their focus should not be on how to get rich but rather on how to get victory over sin and be more like Jesus.
Jesus taught us that earth is just a temporary journey. “While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). The truth is that Jesus Himself was not a rich in worldly goods, nor were His disciples. Believers should not worry about their lives for God promised that He will take excellent care of them when they put Him first (Matthew 6:33).
The “decree and declare” teaching also emphasizes physical healing. But the believers should be comforted for the Bible affirms that God desires to heal His children. Jesus’ healing touch was not intended only for the Bible times but for all ages. In fact, Jesus spent more time healing than teaching (Matthew 4:23). And He healed all that came to Him (Matthew 12:15; Luke 4:40; Luke 6:19). God’s will for healing for us today has not changed (Hebrews 13:8). Isaiah prophesied about Jesus that “by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). And David rejoicing in the Lord said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul… Who heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:3).
But the Bible stresses truths that go beyond the simple “decree and declare” teaching. It teaches that receiving healing is conditional upon:
First-Having faith in God, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24). To those seeking healing, Jesus said, “your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:22).
Second-Being obedient to God’s Moral and health laws. God said, “if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that … all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, …But …if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you… He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you” (Deuteronomy 28:1-61).
As for those that have fulfilled these conditions and seek healing, the Bible states: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14, 15). And those seeking healing should always add to their prayers “Your will be done” (Luke 11:2).
In His service,