Name it, Claim it Error (You’re not God)

Please, say this out loud: “I, __insert name here__, cannot speak things into existence.”

No matter what the prosperity preacher tells you (or Jay-Z for that matter), you and I cannot speak things into existence. To attempt this would be to reduce what the Bible calls hope to wishful thinking, to turn faith into a kind of superpower, and finally to exult ourselves to a position reserved for God alone (by the way, that is called idolatry).

Distinguishing Faith from Hope

According to Hebrews 11:1, faith (evidenced by actions, see James 2:17) is our assurance or our trust in a truth. Meanwhile, this truth or object of our trust is what the Bible calls hope.

For example, each morning, or hour (who am I kidding) when I visit my trusty Keurig, I “walk by faith.” My faith (going to the coffee maker) is based on the fact (hope) that my coffee maker won’t let me down. Simply put, hope is an absolute, and faith is trusting that absolute.

Not Wishful Thinking

By way of another example, if I were to speak to my empty coffee cup, “Be filled!” (in the name of Jesus or otherwise) I would only be engaging in wishful thinking. Just as a child, after seeing Star Wars, tries to move objects using “the force,” speaking to my coffee cup won’t result in anything real. In either scenario, there’s no assurance of achieving our goal, although they do make for fun imaginations. Nonetheless, my point should be clear; what I’ve just described is neither faith nor hope as defined by God.

The “Name it, Claim it” Error

Some, within the Church, assert that by faith, they can speak things into existence. These people advocate that as Christians, with the proper “amount” of faith (also an unbiblical idea) we can “call into being that which does not exist.” (Romans 4:17b) This ability, mind you, the Apostle Paul is explicitly crediting to God alone. This “name it, claim it” error, at best, promotes wishful thinking while at worse, it promotes idolatry (not to mention an untenable idea concerning faith).

According to the Gospel of John (1:3), “All things came into being through Him (Jesus), and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being.”

The idea that we are to create our realities (say being healthy, wealthy, and wise) by merely speaking it into existence is to believe that we are God. Why? Because this is thinking we can create what John says only God can create.

Have you ever noticed that the televangelist instructs their listeners to “speak” to their bank accounts to be filled, all the while asking those same listeners to sow seed offerings to their ministry?! Why don’t these charlatans practice what they preach? Can’t they just fill their accounts with a word of faith? The answer is NO! And it’s because their teaching is nonsense.

The idea that we are to create our realities (say being healthy, wealthy, and wise) by merely speaking it into existence is to believe that we are God. #badtheology Click To Tweet

What We Do Speak

Some of you are saying, “We know this, Nathan, but what about claiming our healing?” What about claiming things (sincere Biblical hope) that God has promised? Well, this might not sit well with you, but 1. God didn’t guarantee that we will all be healed in this life (no matter the faith you have), and 2. the Bible doesn’t tell us to “name and claim” even the promises that are true for us.

Instead, we’re repeatedly instructed to “exult” in that which God has spoken. Church, God alone creates. God alone commands the world to change. We merely trust in and exult in what He says.

God didn't guarantee that we will all be healed in this life (no matter how much 'faith' you have). Click To Tweet

More Needs to Be Said

In the next part of this series on the “name it, claim it” error, I will be diving headlong into healing, addressing issues like the Apostles saying, “Rise up and walk.” We will look at the Gospel of Mark where it tells us that, “these signs and greater will you do.” We will also look at how the first-century church interpreted what to do when someone was sick among them.

Let’s Talk

Does this challenge the beliefs you have adopted or grown up with? I’d love to talk it out with you. Comment below or email me at

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