What is Supra-Natural Faith?

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“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.” Eph. 2.8-10

This article focuses upon faith.  The enormity of this Biblical word cannot be overstated.  It can, however, be grossly understated and even maligned.  For, “Without faith it is impossible to please God,…”  Heb. 11.6Jesus addressed those with “great faith” and those with “little faith.”  James validated works only as an expression of faith, and one can move “mountains” with faith only the size of a mustard seed.

Everyone possesses a natural faith.  It is innate.  We are born with it.  With this faith we put our trust in people, in programs, in structures, and in the laws of nature to continue to operate as they have always functioned.  Some are credited to have extra-ordinary faith, or commonly called supernatural faith.  This faith tends to operate in out-of-the-ordinary events and oftentimes the mystical or unexplained: experiences that cannot be explained using the laws of physics and the scientific method.

The Faith/Prosperity Movement, commonly called “Word of Faith,” dabbles largely in the exercise of this supernatural faith.  This doctrine is a theory in search of scriptural evidence…which is legitimately and realistically absent.  However, this does not discourage it’s pundits from moving forward proclaiming its heretical  doctrine far and wide, with many itching ears to hear and to believe.

There is yet another measure of faith totally outside the realm of the natural (even supernatural.)  It does not originate within man.  It is faith that comes from an outside source—God.  This I would like to call supra-natural faith.  It is impossible for one not “born again” to even contemplate this supra-natural faith.  And, one who has been regenerated, begins receiving and understanding it as a babe and must learn to grow in it.  It is not easy to understand because it is spiritual.  As such it is neither evident to the naked eye nor tangible to the touch.  It begins as a seed planted in the mind by the Holy Spirit, which may be simply dispelled or laid upon and pursued.  Thus, God may be the source, but God cannot act upon on man’s behalf, man must accept and receive it, and faithfully act upon it fully trusting God.  When apprehended by supra-natural faith, the totality of man, body, soul, and spirit, responds.

The Word Meaning of Faith.

To begin with, the word faith (Gk. pistis) is a noun.  It is what one has or possesses. One may say, “I am a Christian,” as a profession of faith.  But faith is also a verb and as such it is what one does. It is active. The Biblical word believe (Gk. pisteuo) is a verb that comes from the same root word faith.  One may say, “I believe in Christ,” meaning that he has ongoing confidence in the reality of Christ.  Interestingly, we often make words that are nouns into verbs.  Email is a noun, but I often say “I emailed someone” thereby making the word a verb. So, faith is what one may possess, but believing is what one does. It is faith in action.  Both words involve confidence, persuasion, and assurance.  Thus faith, as in Christ, is both a position of belief and a walk of life.

Biblical meaning of Faith.

As a noun, the word “faith” is sometimes used to denote a body of religious doctrine, or a system that is to be believed in such as Christianity, Jewism, Hinduism, Catholicism, and so on.  However, there is no advantage of possessing faith as a noun unless it is appropriated as a verb, an action in believing: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Heb. 11.1   Here, faith is being defined as being dynamic.  Two very, very interpretations must be made in this verse of scripture.

The first involves the use of the word “hope.”  The Greek word for hope does not mean to wish for, as a whimsical desire. It means to expect!  It is the full expectation to come into my life of Biblical truths having to do with such matters as salvation, the Gospel of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the trinity of the Godhead, the resurrection and of eternal life. The second truth found in this verse of scripture regards “things not seen,” or the invisible.  Here, it means being convinced of the unseen, intangible world about us.  This realm involves such matters as the reality of heaven, the throne of God, regeneration, Spirit infilling, eternal life, and spiritual growth and maturity.   Thus Biblical faith requires insight and discernment in the invisible and intangible of the Kingdom of God, now present, unobservable in the natural but perceived spiritually.

Natural Faith.

Everyone innately possesses natural faith.  We believe the sun will rise tomorrow, a bridge will not collapse when we drive over it, our schools will educate us, and my next breath will be there when I need it.  We believe in the value of friendship and the power of love.  Some men and women write bold manifestos of belief in this or that, and their fellow believers are “ists”: Marists, Calvinists, Darwinists, Buddhists, etc.  One is not born an “ist” but has the innate faith to become one.

By natural faith one may become a Methodist or Baptist and follow the practices and dogma of that religious denomination. Or, one may reject all spiritual belief systems and become an atheist. The belief system of these skeptics is solely in the natural, the physical, the laws of nature, and of science—by which they have a hope of eventually explaining all current mysteries of life.  But when it comes to the spiritual dimension, natural faith is inadequate. It falls short of the spiritual energy necessary for transformation, a metamorphosis of the heart. Jesus said to Nicodemus that unless he became born again (a spiritual transformation) he could not see nor enter the Kingdom of God, (See Jn. 3.3 and 5)   He was alluding to the fact that a higher order of faith was needed for such a spiritual ‘miracle’ to occur.  And this higher order of faith is not supernatural faith as one may think, but supra-natural faith.  What is the difference?

Supernatural Faith: Its reality and Caution.

Without exception, at least to my knowledge, all preachers, teachers, ministries or any other proponent of the Faith/Prosperity Movement (or doctrine) attributes miracles of regeneration, healing, demon exorcism, prosperity, prophecy, and so on as involving supernatural faith; which is considered to be a higher order of faith.  But is it really supernatural faith and if so, how does it work?

Unexplained or mystical events are usually termed “supernatural.”  Supernatural faith is an extreme exercise of natural faith. By its very name it is “super” (superior, enhanced, outstanding) and it is of the “natural.”  It may be extraordinary, but is still of the natural realm.  It relies on our abilities to memorize, to be determined, or to possess the ability to become convinced of something.

Power of Positiuve Thinking.  The “power of positive thinking,” which is also the title of the 1952 secular book by Norman Vincent Peale, encourages the harnessing of the power of positive thoughts to attract more positive events in one’s life, measures of health, prosperity, happiness, success, etc.  Positive thinking is a mental attitude in which one expects good and favorable results. In other words, “positive thinking” is the process of creating thoughts that in turn are supposed to create and transform wishful energy into reality. A positive mind waits for happiness, health and a happy ending in any situation. It endeavors to absolutely close the door to any negative thoughts or expressions.  Positive thinking can have a constructive impact on one’s work, health, and life in generally, as in managing stress.

When applied to Christianity and Word of Faith such “positive thinking” faith pundits insist that being fully convinced that what are deemed to be promises contained in the Bible are faith’s key to overcoming sickness, poverty, sadness, and sometimes even death. They encourage reading over and over again these scriptures, memorizing and reciting them daily, never focusing upon the negative, only the positive ending and promises of good results.  One must re-read or repeat the same scriptures daily in order to build their faith in the promises they are said to hold.  According to Pastor Jim Feeney, “Believing God is wonderful. But Jesus urged us to do one more thing – to speak the word of faith, to verbalize what we are seeking from God.  Such a believer, who understands the power of the spoken word of faith, ‘shall have whatsoever he saith.’”Positive thinking is one thing, but this speculation is deceptive and requires taking it to a whole new level, a level unsubstantiated by scripture.  There is un-denying power in man’s faith. We know that often a placebo, a fake pill medication in which there is no active ingredient, can cause healing of certain ills as much as real medication designed to improve the condition, simply because the recipient believes it to be real. Perhaps it is a remnant of the extra-ordinary “supernatural” ability Adam once had while yet in the Garden.

Motivational Speakers.   A motivational speaker or inspirational speaker is one who makes speeches intended to motivate or inspire an audience. Such speakers attempt to awaken and to challenge their audiences, and to give focus to their life’s path and purpose.  One such popular motivational speaker is Tony Robbins.  Robbins writes, “There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed, can make any vision, dream, or desire a reality.”  There are motivational speakers for business, personal development, for communities, and schools, and for spiritual development…common among Word of Faith speakers.  Are motivational speakers successful?  Good ones are very successful in some cases inspiring success in people’s lives, while others are successful merely gaining a large following, selling fraudulent Ponzi schemes to investors, and fraudulent doctrine to believers and churches.

Exposing the Word of Faith Movement

Over the years, since its upstart in the 1960’s, many of the Charismatic persuasion have been known to gravitate towards various “movements” that focus on relatively new “revelations” or “acts of the Spirit.”   The Word of Faith movement really got its start under Ken Hagin, a Pentecostal preacher who was an understudy of E. W. Kenyon.  A Christian pastor, Kenyon was deeply interested in metaphysics, the relationship between the mind and matter.  Pentecostalism and metaphysics formed a volatile marriage and gave birth to the Word of Faith doctrine and movement.

Word of Faith spread as a wildfire worldwide among many Charismatic ministries and churches.  Simply stated, the Word of Faith teaches that in faith there is power and that Christians can access the power of faith through their speech and mental assurance.  The doctrine renounces sickness, suffering, poverty, and failure as necessary to one’s godly life and glorifying Jesus Christ.  It teaches that the salvation won for the believer by Christ through the cross and subsequent defeat of Satan included “faith power”—a force for health and prosperity.

The most vocal proponents reads like a who’s who among TV evangelists:  Joel Osteen,  Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, TD Jakes,  Joyce Meyer,  Paula White,  Fred Price,  Kenneth Copeland,  Robert Tilton,  Eddie Long, Juanita Bynum, Paul Crouch, and  Joseph Prince.  The message is popular, profitable, and able to bring notoriety to a ministry.  Much like the Israelites of the Old Covenant, the message appeals to the flesh and the outward needs of man: deliverance from sickness, protection from enemies, abundance of harvest and livestock, and security.  Christ ushered in a New Covenant that is spiritual with a focus on the unseen and intangible qualities of the Kingdom of God; relationship with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; relationship with one another in the Church, the body of Christ; and maturity in godly character.

Word of Faith in Action.Word of faith teaches that words can be used to manipulate and to create what they believe are scripture promises regarding health and wealth, even divine health in which one never becomes ill.  Among other things, the doctrine contends God wants you to be happy, and to prosper in health, wealth, and emotional well-being, therefore search scriptures for apparent promises.  As there are physical laws that govern the universe, there are spiritual laws governing the Kingdom of God that work independently of God and that even God uses these laws to create and perform miracles.  However, these laws are independent of the sovereignty of God; by faith believers appropriate and use these laws to control their own lives.

Correctly Handling the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2.15)

Those, of the Word of Faith persuasion, are they that have been encouraged along an avenue of “faith” that is not supported by Biblical exegesis—which is explaining the Bible (and the Gospel in particular) through centuries of careful objective study and analysis by Godly men.  Granted, denominations and sects arise out of some differences in interpretation of certain scriptures.  For instance, modes of baptism, the security of the believer, church authority, spiritual gifts, and so on.  But in all, none condone or support or encourage this kind of “supernatural faith” or “word of faith.”  Rather, these are encouraged by Biblical eisegesis—which is the interpretation of passages based on subjective, non-analytical reading.

Exegesis literally means “to lead out,” or to extract out of scriptures their exact meaning. It is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text. Questions are asked: “Just what does the passage actually say, word by word?”  “What does the passage mean?”  “How does the passage relate in context to the rest of the Bible?”   “2 Timothy 2.15 commands us to use exegetical methods: “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

An honest student of the Bible will be an exegete, allowing the text to speak for itself.  Personally, I have witnessed countless times in which certain scriptures were used to substantiate a particular argument being made that actually required a misinterpretation or stretching of that scripture.  The argument being made might have been valid, but not validated by that particular scripture.  Other scriptures might better have supported their argument. However, this is not so with the word of faith messages: both the message and scripture used are invalid.

Eisegesis is just the opposite.  It literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants. It is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the accurate meaning of the words of scripture.  Eisegesis asks the questions: “What idea do I want to present?”  “What Scripture passage seems to fit with my idea?”  And, “How does my idea fit into scripture?” Here, there is no exegesis, Scripture serves only as a prop to the interpreter’s idea.

Kenneth Copeland, for example, is an eisegesist of first order.  He is a disciple of Kenneth Hagin. He would lock himself into a room with Hagin’s books and tapes and not come out for hours.  This continued until the word of faith was deep into his heart. It is freighting how deeply perversion can sink its claws into the heart of someone and not let go.   Early on, Copeland championed the “hundred-fold” teaching—whatever you give (as to his ministry) you will receive back 100 times more.  Oral Roberts referred to this as “seed faith.” If you plant a seed of so much money you will receive back a many-fold harvest.  Copeland actually said in one of his TV broadcasts, “The apostle Paul did not have this revelation (of the word of faith).  If he had, he would not have gotten sick and neither would his followers.”  In previous publications Copeland misconstrues hell for hades for his benefit, claims Jesus had to be born again like you and me because he lost eternal life, and that the price paid for sin came from His defeat of Satan in hell (as opposed solely to the blood of the cross.) These are but a few of errors made in his “Voice of Victory” newsletter, Vol. 19, No. 9, September 1991.   The tantamount of which these are his notions injected into scriptures to advance his “faith message” and ministry.  As a motivational speaker he is quite good, and, many are they who follow along.

God must be left to be sovereign and we less demanding of what we think should be happening in our lives.  We are to be servants, not masters…even of our own fate.  God desires faithfulness and obedience in all our states and conditions, whether favorable or not. This kind of “supernatural faith” or “word of faith” usurps the sovereignty of God.  God does care for the well-being of His Children and the Lord for His Church, and as such, He, as a Father, is the author and source of our faith.  He provides a supra-natural faith.

Supra-natural Faith

Supra-natural faith is a faith “outside of” or “beyond the limits of” natural or even supernatural faith. It is a believing that proceeds from God’s in-birthing of faith.  Its source is not of man but God.  If reliance is from the faith within, we are falling short of faith that is from without, that is, the faith that is of God.

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”  Rm. 12.3

It is a fruit!

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” Jn. 15.4  And, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Gk.pistis,) gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no Law.” Gal. 5.22-23

It is a gift of grace!

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.” Eph. 2.8-10

Of the above last quoted scripture, many Biblical scholars attribute all to the gift of God. It seems to cover both the “gift of salvation” and the “gift of faith” to accept it.  The former is enforced by the words “not of works,” and the latter by the declaration, “we are God’s workmanship.”  Whether this passage alone proves it or not, it is certainly true that there is a faith that is a gift of God. That being so, it is entirely outside the realm of nature, it is supra-natural faith. It is not innate but exists in the mind only when the Holy Spirit introduces it there.  It is in common with all aspects of a spiritual life involving both the fruits and the gifts of the Spirit.

This opinion, however, is not against the Biblical principle that man himself must “believe.” It is not God that “believes” for him, for that is impossible. It is man’s own mind that actually and willfully believes.  He himself must contemplate and act upon this seed (of faith) planted by the Spirit.  Supra-natural faith is unvarying an act of the mind in union with the Holy Spirit. It is not just a deposit of a thought in the mind, but an accompanying faith that is responsive to the leading of the Spirit: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”  Rm. 8.14

Sometimes the word, faith, is used as a noun to denote religious doctrine, or the system that is to be believed in. For example, if asked “what faith are you?” one may respond, “I am Christian, or Methodist, or Pentecostal.”  But when faith is used to denote an action, “to believe,”  it always involves an action of the mind, exercised in relationship to some Biblical doctrine, a promise, a covenant, or to God Himself as our Father, or our Lord Jesus Christ.  In this case, it is in union with the Holy Spirit.

Let us take for example how the act of “repentance” is traced to God. It is one of the operations of the Holy Spirit on the soul. But the Holy Spirit does not “repent” for us. It is our “own mind” that is enlightened and willfully repents; our “own heart” that feels or senses the Divine presence; it is “our own” bodies that bow in all humility and brokenness; and it is with “our own” mouth that a true confession is spoken from the heart.  Without this there can be no true repentance.  No one can repent for another; and neither can or ought God to repent for us.  If repentance is ever exercised, therefore, it must be exercised in our own souls and hearts. So it is also of supra-natural faith. God cannot believe for us. “We” must come into the unveiling light and believe, or “we” willfully continue to love the darkness and be damned.   Still this does not conflict at all with the idea, that if we exercise faith, the inclination to do it is to be traced to the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart, His enlightenment, prodding, and conviction.

True faith does not lie in the bare assent of the mind to the Gospel, or any word contained in it, as the Word of Faith doctrine would propose; but in the heart, the inward spirit of man.  It is not a notional (existing in the mind only) knowledge of what is to be believed, nor is it stoic, without a response of the soul.  It is a heart work, a believing with all the heart.  It is a faith which greatly impacts all the nature of the soul: its understanding, its will, and its emotions.  There can be no other genuine faith than what influences the whole soul.

Supra-natural faith is a believing that sees into the invisible as reality; e.g., Christ as Savior seated at the right hand of God on high, in majesty and power to redeem and bless; entering through the torn veil into His presence; bowing, kneeling, prostrating at His feet; giving up all of “self” in submission to His will and calling; acknowledging there is no other God and Father, no other Lord and Savior; coming to feed upon Him as the branch contains no essence in itself but draws its life from the vine; renouncing our own righteousness for the righteousness of Christ; in awe acknowledging I am in Christ and He is in me.

In Search of Supra-Natural Faith

Supra-natural faith is not some mystical, lofty, seemingly unattainable goal whereby man desperately toils to find; no, not at all.  As a matter of fact, it is actually entered into as a place of rest. Yes, no struggling, no determination, no mental gymnastics; only submissively, humbly, and obediently.

“Since, then, it remains for some to enter His rest,… So there remains a (Sabbath) rest for the people of God. For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.”  Heb 4.6-11

Prayer begins this journey into His rest, expressing the desire to know, in all intimacy and reality, God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ; laying aside all preconceived notions and dogma. He must become the only goal, the object of our hearts.   Undoubtedly, the way into this rest is simple but narrow and direct: it is in Christ and through the veil of separation.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;”   Heb. 10.19-23

This scripture clearly speaks of the exercise of a deliberate will and faith to draw near to God in His sanctuary.  This sanctuary is not a physical structure, as a church, but a spiritual environment in the heavens. It is here in this spiritual setting God speaks His words into our minds and writes them upon our hearts.  It is here a new seeing, a new becoming, a new faith enters—not of ourselves, least any man should boast, but of God.  It is as in the natural when Mary, the sister of Martha, sat at the feet of Jesus, listening intently to every word and every sigh, noting the bowing of His head, the shrug of His shoulders, even His overall demeanor.  She would leave that place of rest with a renewed mind and spirit.  Something divine was imparted into her.

Those two great Biblical axioms forever hold true:

  • “Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” 14.6

All of self that one may have to offer, all philosophies and theologies, all form of mysticism and spiritism, all the great minds and thinkers of this world, all the prophets and spiritualist and great teachers that ever lived, are of no value here.  No one, absolutely and unequivalently not a single soul, can enter His habitation in the heavens, and draw close to the Father, except through Christ; for in Him alone is redemption and that through His blood sacrifice on the cross. Everyone who fully accepts that truth has eternal life and God will raise him up on the last day.  Eternally lost are all who reject this truth.

  • “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” 6.44

To be drawn to Jesus Christ by the Father is by means of Him first planting the seed of faith into the heart.  God the Father is the only source of such supra-natural faith. It is His grace extended even though one is separated from Him in darkness and death, in futility of mind and desperation of soul.  The essential matter is how we receive this seed, for we are, after all, moral beings capable of choosing this or that, or rejecting the same.   Do we with all that we are, body, soul and spirit, act upon and receive it into our hearts, or do we let it fall upon a heart of stone and be rejected.  So is the manner of our spiritual walk with God, abiding in Christ, drawing close to Him, and receiving of Him continual seeds of faith that forever changes our lives.

The Grand Goal.   If there is a single promise in the Bible to set our faith upon, and press towards with all there is within us it is,

“I will put My laws in their minds, and inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will each one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.” Heb. 8.10,11

This alone is the ultimate cry of the heart, to know our God in the intimacy of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ; to know beyond (supra) our natural understanding and know both spiritually and experientially; to actually draw near to Him.   It is in this place of rest that the Father puts His divine word into our minds, and then miraculously write it upon our hearts.  Our character is forever changed.  Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life, to know You the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Jn. 17.3

Picture of Daniel DeVitis

Daniel DeVitis

Daniel P. DeVitis (Dan) has served in ministry for over 50 years. Since 1972 he has overseen a home church, Immanuel Fellowship, Shippensburg, PA, where he currently resides with his wife Petra. He was a professor of Geography and Earth Science at Shippensburg University until his retirement in 2003. He now serves as an elder in Unto Full Stature Ministries where he continues to author newsletters, write articles, and speak at leadership conferences and churches at and abroad.
Picture of Daniel DeVitis

Daniel DeVitis

Daniel P. DeVitis (Dan) has served in ministry for over 50 years. Since 1972 he has overseen a home church, Immanuel Fellowship, Shippensburg, PA, where he currently resides with his wife Petra. He was a professor of Geography and Earth Science at Shippensburg University until his retirement in 2003. He now serves as an elder in Unto Full Stature Ministries where he continues to author newsletters, write articles, and speak at leadership conferences and churches at and abroad.

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