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Calling Things Into Existence  


The Apostle Paul said that God "gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were" (Romans 4:17 NIV - 1984 edition).  Why do some Christians use this verse to support their practice of calling things that are not as though they were?  It's often called speaking things into existence through your positive confession of faith. 


Those who claim to speak things into existence by their positive confession say that they call things that are not as though they were.  If they want a new car, for example, but can't afford one, they call a new car, that which is not in their driveway, as if it were already in their driveway.  They claim, visualize, or speak, as if they already have the new car even though they don't have it.  I view this practice as being Biblically problematic as it relates to the verse at hand.   


The specific wording of Paul's statement clearly states that it is God who calls things that are not as though they were.  Paul said nothing about us calling things that are not as though they were.  To suggest differently goes beyond the scope of the text and makes it say something I don't believe Paul meant.          


The context clarifies that the things God calls that are not as though they were are Gentile believers.  "The promises come by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all of Abraham's offspring - not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith ofAbraham.  He is the father of us all.  As it is written, 'I have made you (Abraham) a father of many nations'" (Romans 4:16).  In other words, God calls the Gentiles who have faith, those who are not traditionally His people, as though they were His people.  That is all Paul is saying.  It is poor Biblical interpretation to interpret a secondary meaning to this verse when there is no hint of one.


Those who use this verse as a proof text to support their practice of speaking things into existence are incorporating a humanistic positive confession practice into their Christian belief system.  It's sometimes called visualizing your desires into reality.  It's what Oprah Winfrey and others like her have been preaching for years.  This practice can be traced to the later half of the 19th and early 20th century when metaphysics became popularized in our western culture's philosophical approach to life.  E. W. Kenyon (1867 - 1948) is often noted as introducing metaphysics into Christianity.  


Metaphysics is the branch of philosophical theory that concerns itself with the first principles of things; abstract concepts such as existence, being, knowing, cause, identity, time, space, and other such subjective concepts.  Incorporating such humanistic philosophies into our Christian beliefs and practices corrupts our Biblical based beliefs.  It's spiritual adultery; no different than Old Testament Israel corrupting their faith with paganism.  For Christians, it replaces the Holy Spirit with human effort.   


Replacing the Holy Spirit in our lives with human effort is something Paul denounced in Galatians 3:1 and 3.  "You foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?  Are you so foolish?  After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"  Human effort, no matter how it is disguised, disables the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian which in turn destroys what being a Christian is all about. 


As much as possible, let the Bible speak for itself.  It is God, and He alone, who calls things that are not as though they were.  Christians, therefore, trust their God to do as He wishes with them and their lives.    


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