The God-Kind Of Faith – A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Defense
(Part 1) (Part 2)
By Troy J. Edwards
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. -Mark 11:22-24
In Kenneth Hagin’s book, New Thresholds of Faith, he states that the margin of his Bible reads “Have the faith of God.” He goes on to state that Greek scholars say that this should be translated as “The God Kind of Faith.” This is one of the expressions and teachings that have been the hallmark of his ministry – and one of the most criticized areas. Many of his critics have gone beyond just disagreeing with Rev. Hagin on this issue. Due to this teaching, some have accused Hagin of being “heretical” and a false teacher.
The teaching of “The God kind of Faith” implies that God has faith. Hagin is not shy about stating this as he says in the same lesson that God believed and spoke the world into existence. This type of teaching has caused so many critics of the Faith Movement to condemn it, consigning it and Hagin to be heretical and cultic.
It would have been helpful to us if Hagin would have given the names and book titles of the Greek Scholars he referred to when he made the statement. This may have been efficient to shut the mouths of his critics. Adding to the fact that Rev. Hagin does not waste time answering his critics, nor does he even read or listen to their criticism, it’s not likely that we may find those Greek scholars that were referenced.
Why The God Kind of Faith Is Important
Though I face challenges in defending the teaching of “The God-Kind of Faith” I find that it is certainly a Biblical precept, and an important one at that. Whenever I am challenged on the statement “The God-Kind of Faith” I always respond by asking, “What other kind is there?” Human faith cannot believe past that which it can see and we certainly don’t want a devil kind of faith (James 2:19).
Man has always felt a lack of sufficiency in his faith. Jesus’ disciples asked Him for an increase in their faith (Luke 17:5). One man with an epileptic son cried, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) Even today, so many Christians struggle with “faith insufficiency.” The cry of so many is, “I don’t have enough faith.” Faith is a difficult thing to conjure up from within our human reasoning and understanding, at least the kind of faith that pleases God (Rom. 7:18; Rom. 8:8; Heb. 11:6).
Thankfully, God has provided a means whereby we can receive the type of faith that he wishes to provide: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). However, does the Word of God provide an “intellectual faith” or is there a supernatural element to the Faith that God provides? The Hebrew word translated “Word of God” in Romans 10:17 is the Greek word Rhema, which means “the spoken word.” Considering the descriptions God gives of His own Word (rhema) throughout the Bible, I would submit to the reader that the faith given to us is supernatural (1 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 6:17; John 6:63; John 15:7). Luke 1:37 says this about God’s Rhema:
For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. (The Amplified Bible)
God’s Rhema Word has God’s POWER to impart faith to the believer. No doubt that we use our minds to weigh and understand and accept as fact everything the Bible says (1 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 12:1-3). Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit has also been gracious enough not to allow us to lean to our own understanding as we study and hear the Word. He imparts life to the Word (Prov. 3:5-8) . The Faith that the Holy Spirit imparts as a result of His pure and perfect Word is the Faith of God, or the God kind of Faith.
Bible Translations Affirming “The Faith of God”
My research has shown that there are Bible translations that affirm that Mark 11:22 can indeed be translated as “Faith of God” rather than “Faith in God.” Take a moment to read through the translations below:
And Jesus answering saith to them, ‘Have faith of God; for verily I say to you, that whoever may say to this mount, Be taken up, and be cast into the sea, and may not doubt in his heart, but may believe that the things that he saith do come to pass, it shall be to him whatever he may say. Because of this I say to you, all whatever — praying — ye do ask, believe that ye receive, and it shall be to you. (Mark 11:22-24; Young’s Literal Translation)
And answering Jesus said to them, Have faith of God. For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said. Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you shall receive them, and it will be to you. (Mark 11:22-24; Modern King James Version, © 1962-1998).
And answering, Jesus said to them, Have faith of God. For truly I say to you, Whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and be thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be to him, whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you will receive, and it will be to you. (Mark 11:22-24; Literal Translation of the Bible)
And Jesus answering, saith to them: Have the faith of God. Amen I say to you that whosoever shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed and be cast into the sea, and shall not stagger in his heart, but be believe that whatsoever he saith shall be done; it shall be done unto him. Therefore I say unto you, all things, whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive: and they shall come unto you. (Mark 11:22-24; The Douay Rheims Bible)
And Jesus, answering, saith unto them, “Have the faith of God.” Verily I say to you, whosoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says comes to pass; he shall have it. Therefore, I say to you, all things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye received them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11:22-23; The Worrell New Testament)
So far we see five translations that confirm that Mark 11:22 can be translated “have the faith of God” vice “have faith in God.” Don’t let anyone tell you that it does not make a difference whether we us of or in when dealing with Mark 11:22. These two prepositions describe the source of your faith. One finds it’s origin in God Himself while the other finds it’s source in us. I believe that Jesus is telling us in Mark 11:22 that the source for the faith that we need to move mountains comes from God Himself. The late Greek Scholar, A.S. Worrell said this in his notes on Mark 11:22-23:
Have the faith of God; translators generally render this, “Have faith in God;” but, if this had been the thought, it would have been easy to have expressed it in the Greek. Faith originates with God; and those who have real faith have His faith; the same perhaps as “the faith which is of the Son of God.” (Gal. 2:20) This mountain: nothing short of the faith of God can remove mountains; but His faith, operating through His obedient children, can accomplish this, (Acts 3:6; 9:34)
A.S. Worrell, Robert Young, and the translators of the Douay Rheims Bible were not the only ones who believed this to be the correct translation of Mark 11:22. In the Original 1599 Geneva Bible notes on Mark 11:22 says “The faith of God is that assured faith and trust which we have in him.” A small note on Mark 11:22 in R.A. Torrey’s Treasury of Scripture Knowledge says, “faith in God. or, the faith of God.” So perhaps the margin of Kenneth Hagin’s Bible was not totally wrong after all.
However, does this mean that we can take the statement “the faith of God” and imply that it is “The God Kind of Faith?” Well, before I answer that, let’s read two other Bible translations of Mark 11:22-24 that might just make this implication:
And Jesus, answering, said to them, Have God’s faith. Truly I say to you, Whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and be put into the sea; and has no doubt in his heart, but has faith that what he says will come about, he will have his desire. For this reason I say to you, Whatever you make a request for in prayer, have faith that it has been given to you, and you will have it. (The Bible In Basic English)
He responded, “Have the kind of trust that comes from God! Yes! I tell you that whoever does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says will happen can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea!’ and it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, trust that you are receiving it, and it will be yours.(The Jewish New Testament by David Stern)
Have God’s faith!!! (BBE) What other kind of faith can God have other than His own kind? Have the kind of trust that comes from God!!! (JNT) What kind of trust would God give us other than His kind of trust? My dear reader, I do not see anything heretical or cultic about the phrase “The God Kind of Faith.”
On the contrary, research done by Joe McIntyre, author of the outstanding book, “E.W. Kenyon: The True Story” shows that one Greek scholar taught that the phrase, “The God Kind of Faith” can is indeed a correct translation. I will give you the quote from Pastor McIntyre’s book:
Here again we must appeal to the root idea of the genitive as the case of genus or kind. The resultant idea is due to the context and one must not suppose that the Greek genitive means all the different English prepositions used to translate the resultant idea. Thus in Mark 11:22 we rightly translate ‘have faith in God,’ though the genitive does not mean ‘in,’ but only the God kind of faith.
The quote is from a well known Greek Scholar named A.T. Robertson. As Pastor McIntyre also points out in his book, one popular critic of the Faith Movement who references Robertson’s work to speak against this translation fails to quote him completely. This is quite dishonest on the part of this critic. Perhaps, Kenneth Hagin was right when he stated that Mark 11:22 can be translated as “The God Kind of Faith.”
Other Scriptures In The KJV Affirms The Faith of God
If we go back to the King James Version, which seems to still be the most popular and most widely read version, we will see other passages translated using the preposition “of” rather than “in.”
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. -Gal. 2:16
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. -Gal. 2:20
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. -Eph. 3:11-12
For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? …..Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; -Rom. 3:3, 22-23
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. -Col. 2:11-12
Many of the different translations I have sought on the above verses differ in how they translate the above verses. For example, most of the older versions are consistent in translating Galatians 2:20 as “faith of the Son of God” while many of the newer translations have interpreted this verse as “faith in the Son of God.” In many of the modern translations of Romans 3:3, this verse is translated as “the faithfulness of God” vice “the faith of God.” It is to be noted however, that the Greek Word “pistis” is used in this passage which is translated “faith” in many other passages of the Bible.
We will deal with the subject of God’s faithfulness in a later lesson. Allow me to state for the record that I do not have any problems with the above translations as all of them convey a truth. Though I believe in the God-kind of faith, this faith finds it’s object in God Almighty Himself. God does not impart faith in the individual that gives him or her a separate power apart from Himself. We would then become dependent on the power of faith itself (as the critics already claim that we do) rather than on the one in which we should place our God given faith. God is both the source and the object of our faith (Acts 27:25).
Returning to the translations. The greatest variety of interpretations are to be found in Colossians 2:12. Some have translated this as “faith in the power of God,” “Faith in the working of God,” One translation interprets it as “God’s faithfulness that worked when He raised Yeshua from the dead.” (Jewish New Testament). However, the three most interesting translations of Colossians 2:12 is below:
Ye are buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye also are risen with Him through the faith wrought by the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. (Col. 2:12; Third Millennium Bible)
having been buried with Him in your baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith produced within you by God who raised Him from among the dead. (Col. 2:12; Weymouth Bible).
having been buried with Him in your baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith produced within you by God who raised Him from among the dead. (Col. 2:12; Wesley New Testament)
These translations see the faith that we have in Jesus Christ being raised from the dead as a faith that is produced in us by God Himself. What other kind of faith will God produce in us other than His own kind? I submit to the reader that if he or she really want to see the results in their lives that only comes as a result of exercising faith, they will do what they can to receive the God Kind of faith, the type of faith that is produced in us by God Himself.
This is the highest type of grace. God knows how we struggle to trust and believe Him and His Word. He knows that because we live in physical bodies and we live in a physical world, spiritual realities are so often difficult for us to discern. We do not see them. We believe them because we know that God would not lie but the real test comes when it is time to appropriate them. Mental acknowledgment of God’s promises have failed us every time. Yet when we meditate upon God’s Word, God – the Holy Spirit imparts life in His Word and produces faith in us which causes us to have complete unwavering confidence in what we do not yet see in the physical (Heb. 11:1).
Answers to the Objections Concerning “The God Kind of Faith”
The “God-Kind of Faith” teaching has caused quite a stir in the body of Christ and has raised many objections. The majority of the objections are a result of several books written that present the modern Faith movement as “cultic” and “heretical.” The faith teachers have certainly done away with the traditional, or more correctly, hyper-Calvinistic view of God’s sovereignty. They have never denied sovereignty of God but do not interpret this attribute of God as traditional Christianity has done.
An objection to the teaching of “the God kind of faith” is excellently summed up by one young man who debated me on an internet discussion forum. He stated to me that, “If God has faith, then who does God have faith in? To say that He has faith in Himself is a non-sense statement. Faith, by definition, requires that a being places belief in something OUTSIDE of itself; and faith is only as good as the object that you place it in. So, if God has faith, what object outside of Himself is He placing His faith in? Is this object GOOD. If it is GOOD, then why isn’t IT God? So, I think we could say that if God has faith, then He really isn’t God. His Deity is undermined.”
It’s an understandable objection. However, it is an object born in ignorance concerning the teaching of the God-Kind of faith. It shows that the person does not understand what is being taught by those who teach faith in this manner. It also tells me that the person has no understanding of what “faith” is, especially if they are thinking of faith on a human level.
If we looked at the word “faith” as confidence and certainty, we could get a better understanding of the teaching that God has faith which He imparts to every man (Rom. 12:3). God has complete and perfect confidence in His power and ability to bring to pass that which He decrees. Unlike us, God is never ever tempted to DOUBT Himself because He cannot be tempted with sin and that which is not faith is sin (Rom. 14:23; James 1:13-14).
This falls under one of the several “cannots” of God. So many people say that God can do anything. I beg to differ. God cannot be tempted to sin. He cannot be tempted to doubt and disbelieve in His ability to cause His Word to come to pass. Faith was never even an issue with God or man until the first man demonstrated a lack of faith by his disobedience (Gen. 3:1-7).
Therefore, God has complete confidence in Himself. He is certain concerning His Word and His ability. Unlike man, God does not even remotely consider that He could fail or that He may not be able to accomplish that which He has said He would do. He wants His children to have that same confidence in Him that He has in Himself. Yet, even if we don’t, God will continue on with His plan. In another of the “cannots” that find in the Bible, we see that God cannot deny Himself:
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. -2 Tim. 2:11-13
Again, the issue is not whether God has faith or not. The issue whether God would ever question or deny Himself. That, He explicitly states that He cannot do. There are some things that God cannot do and the Bible makes it clear what those things are. He cannot be tempted with evil and He cannot deny Himself.
So we have answered several of the objections to the teaching of the God-Kind of Faith without denying the deity or sovereignty of God. The fact that God has confidence in Himself and is certain of Himself does not take away His deity or the fact that He rules the universe but strengthens this argument. What would do damage to the teaching of His deity and sovereignty would be for us to imply that God could ever doubt or disbelieve.
I also believe that 2 Tim. 2:13 answer the question as to the object of God’s faith (confidence, certainty). He cannot deny Himself which shows that He has complete confidence in Himself. Hebrews 6 gives us some more insight as to why the object of God’s faith is Himself:
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: -Heb. 6:13-18
Here is another one of the “cannots” of God. If we did more of a study of what God cannot do, we would have more insight into the character of God. More of God’s confidence could be supernaturally imparted into us if we understood God’s self imposed limitations. God cannot lie (Titus 1:1-2) and Hebrews tells us that it is impossible for Him to do so.
There is no one in the universe greater than God. When making an oath to Abraham, there was no one else He could swear to. So who did He swear and make His vow and oath to? Himself. Why did He make this oath confirmation to Himself to keep His promise to Abraham? Because He is the greatest in the universe. He is the creator of the universe. He cannot lie or break a promise. His immutability will not even allow Him to change His mind concerning any promise that He has made. So He could swear to Himself simply because He has complete confidence in His own ability and character.
God’s Word To The Nations Bible Translation interprets Heb. 6:13 this way: “God made a promise to Abraham. Since he had no one greater on whom to base his oath, he based it on himself.” God based the fulfillment of His promised to Abraham, not so much on Abraham’s on ability to appropriate the promise but primarily on His own ability to fulfill it. God has complete confidence in Himself, glory to His holy and righteous name.
And He desires that you and I have this same confidence. He is not an unjust God who requires something of us without making the means available (Heb. 6:10; 1 John 1:9). Therefore, He gives us a measure of His own confidence and ability to fulfill His promises and act upon His commands.
In our next study on “The God Kind of Faith” we will see that the modern day faith teachers were not the first to teach this principle the way we are presenting it here. We will see that several men who are see today as great men also advocated this truth and also saw Mark 11:22 as our Lord teaching us to receive God’s faith.
1. Hagin, Kenneth E. New Thresholds of Faith (Tulsa, OK: Rhema Bible Church, 1985), p. 80
2. Ibid., p. 82
3. The King James version uses the word “nothing” in the place of the phrase “no word.” However, The Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words (New York: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984) affirms that the word “nothing” was translated from the Greek word “Rhema.”
4. Worrell, A.S. The Worrell New Testament (Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1980) First published in 1904
5. Original 1599 Geneva Bible Notes can be graciously found at http://www.reformed.org
6. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge by Canne, Browne, Blayney, Scott and others about 1880, with introduction by R.A. Torrey
7. Robertson, A.T. A Grammer of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1934), 500. As quoted in the book, E.W. Kenyon: The True Story by Joe McIntyre (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1997).
(c) Copyright 2001 by Troy J. Edwards and Victory through the Word Ministries