Positive & Negative Confession – Greg Albrecht
A friend recently told me that a recent health challenge I experienced was caused by some negative words I most likely spoke. The friend warned me to be careful what I said, because it might become reality in my life. I was told to speak positive things to bring about blessings in my life. – Texas
- There is nothing biblical about this concept. There is nothing in the gospel of Jesus Christ that would support such audacious claims.
- The idea that one’s word might spur positive or negative consequences in one’s own life is inherently primitive and superstitious, a belief system that has a long history in our world. Of more recent date the idea has been popularized by New Thought teachings – beginning some 200 years ago in New England. It was (and is) a movement that crosses over into many denominations, as well as non-spiritual or non-religious disciplines and studies.
- Some of the related teachings of New Thought include Christian Science (the power of positive thought), theosophy (most specifically taught by Helena Blavatsky in 1875) and the transcendental movement. The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was actually one of the leading non-church proponents of these notions, as was Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science movement. Much of New Thought revolves around the so-called “science of the mind” – more popularly known as the power of positive thinking.
- New Thought enjoys an immense following in the health and wealth church movement, and often revolves around the healing of physical maladies. In health and wealth churches, whose teachings stem from New Thought, one is told that one might speak a positive confession, and the positive confession will be honored by God. It is negatively described (rightly so in my mind) as “name it and claim it.” This would explain how you were told that speaking positive things brings about blessings in life. These thoughts often are integrated with “New Age” beliefs – reincarnation, spiritual energy as present in the natural creation, and astrology all playing a part. New Thought owes much of its foundational teaching to Hindu, Buddhist and ancient Egyptian beliefs – none whatsoever to Christ-centered faith.
- Apart from the religious world, the idea of positive thinking bringing about positive realities in life is widely believed, with many “inspirational” teachers and authors subscribing at some level to its teachings – within the past century the writings of Dale Carnegie focused on self-improvement (“How To Win Friends and Influence People”) were a mild version of positive thinking, with Napoleon Hill – “Think and Grow Rich” being far more blatant, but also enormously popular in the 20th century world of American culture. Norman Vincent Peale “The Power of Positive Thinking” also had an enormous impact, and in many ways was less problematic (in terms of biblically based faith) than New Thought and more than that, made many Christ-centered points – while I do not endorse his writings, they are by far and away less toxic and detrimental, and even at some levels, helpful, but that is my opinion.
- In the case you mention, my first question would be why someone who tells you or anyone else to be careful because negative words spoken might have negative consequences they might endure should be believed. Why and how are they creditable, to a Christ follower? A fortune cookie may tell me that people like my sense of humor, or the daily horoscope may tell me that I will meet someone soon who holds the key to my future. But how are such claims true? Some studies have found that some people actually believe such statements and they then look diligently in life for any evidence. My next question would be something like this – if one can actually bring about a positive result in terms of health and wealth, where are the scientific studies to prove this allegation to be true? The answer of course is that there are none. Any one who buys a lottery ticket could then simply “name it and claim it” and win the lottery – but no evidence of such results exist!
Hope this short survey helps.