A Review of: A More Excellent Way by Henry Wright
Copyright 2000 by Pleasant Valley Publications.
Over the past couple of months several people have approached me or my wife about a wonderful ministry that they’ve come across that has changed their lives. It is the ministry and teaching of Henry Wright. We were invited to read his book, to attend a bible study based on the book, and to go to the seminars when he came to town last week. One of the more common descriptions given was that he is so biblical in his teaching because he backs everything up with scripture.
So, I read his book called A More Excellent Way. It certainly appears biblical, because he has a verse or two for every point he makes. I actually counted 186 verses quoted in the first 50 pages. But I didn’t find it to be at all biblical because of the way he uses scripture.
What does Wright claim? He says that diseases are caused by specific sins in one’s life. He claims that if a person repents of that sin, then we can pray for healing and the person will get well. If there is no repentance, then there can be no healing.
Areas of Agreement
First: I want to make it clear that I DO think God heals today. I think that the Bible, properly interpreted, makes this plain and therefore a genuine Christian expectation. There have been times—in my own experience—where God has answered fervent prayer and healed miraculously.
Second: I DO think that sin, i.e. anger, bitterness, jealousy, fear, worry can cause sickness, that is, any number of diseases from ulcers to cancer. I think we should search our hearts and see if there might be something spiritual/emotional behind a sickness. And if the cause of a sickness is sin, then dealing with the sin might be all that God was waiting for to heal the person. James 5:15 addresses this issue. James says, “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up—and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” Note, however, the “if.” Sickness is not always the result of sin, as in John 9.
Third: I think Henry Wright may have, through his research and experiences, found some links between certain sicknesses and certain sins. He certainly has a lot of experience and examples to prove his points. And some of his information might be useful in identifying the spiritual source of a particular illness.
Areas of Disagreement
I think that there is a movement across our whole society to link physical illness with the spiritual side of man. All you have to do is go past the checkout stand in the whole foods stores and read a few magazine headlines. Recognize this, that throughout church history, a lot of doctrines have arisen that sound very much like the secular ideology of the day. They are just re-packaged and presented with bible verses to make it palatable to Christians.
2 Pet 3:14-18 warns us about people who will come along and twist scripture to say whatever they want it to say. Peter says these people are unstable and unprincipled and will lead God’s people away from the truth. Our responsibility is to be like the believers of Berea who after hearing someone teach, went home to study the scriptures to see if what Paul said was consistent with the rest of scripture (Acts 17:11). If the Bereans felt it necessary to seriously weigh what the apostle Paul said—and indeed they were commended for doing just that—how much more should we seriously evaluate what others say today?
So, I want to examine some of the claims and scriptural proofs set forth by Henry Wright.
If I seem disorganized and “all over the map” it’s because the book is that way. A topic will be introduced, the subject will suddenly change to something else, and then the original topic is returned to. The book is really just the transcripts of several seminars. That would explain the re-occurrence of the topics later in the book. So, I’m just sort of taking stuff as it comes. Also worth mentioning is that Henry Wright’s style of speaking is to throw out many topics with brief statements and bible references and move on to a new topic. This method is very handy when what you are saying won’t bear scrutiny. Before the listener can really think about what’s been said, a new topic is introduced and you have to stop thinking about the previous topic or miss out on what’s being said. When reading the book, one can stop, look up the scriptures referenced and think about them in the biblical context.
The Diseases of Egypt
Henry Wright makes the claim (p. 22) that Deut 28 and Ex 15 are promises to us that the diseases which God put on Egypt won’t be put on us today if we obey. That was a promise to the nation of Israel before they went into the land. Following the secular custom of that time period, God used the Suzzerain/Vassal treaty formula (where a king made a contract with his subjects). This would be very familiar to the Israelites. God told them the conditions for keeping the land: If they obeyed the commandments (the Law), He would bless them and they could stay in the land. If they disobeyed, he would curse them and remove them from the land.
However, this is not a promise to believers of today. We are not Israel. We don’t live in the promised land. And we are not under the Law. If you want to try to apply that passage to us, then you need to go back under the Law, observe the Sabbath, etc. Compare Jer 31:31,
31:31 “Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah. 31:32 It will not be like the old agreement that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. For they violated that agreement, even though I was a faithful husband to them,” says the Lord.
Jeremiah makes it clear that Israel violated the old covenant, and it is finished. We are now under a new covenant. So, this is an invalid use of scripture to prove that disease is the result of disobedience or sin. Nor does it support Wright’s claim that if we obey God, we won’t get sick.
Doctors are not from God
On p. 29, he says, “I’m not against doctors, but I believe, in our ignorance and our separation from God, that we’ve asked the medical community to do something they are not qualified to do—that is to pastor us and deal with spiritual issues. I don’t find anywhere in Scripture, especially in Eph 4, where a doctor and a psychologist are considered to be a gift from the Lord Jesus in leadership to us.”
That is an argument from silence. A lot of professions aren’t mentioned in the bible, but that doesn’t mean they are bad. And it would seem to me that a Christian doctor would be excercising his gift of mercy in his care of people and using his knowledge, his years of study and experience to help people.
A little later in the book (p. 70), he says, “Pastors, you don’t need more than Vines, Ungers, Strongs and a Bible. Instead of getting 14 translations, why don’t you buy a Merck Manual, a pathophysiology manual, and an anatomy and physiology book and why don’t you do a little laymen’s study on disease?”
In the next paragraph (p. 70) he says, that when reading his Merck Manual, he reads that Fibromyalgia is “particularly likely to occur in healthy young women who tend to be stressed, tense, depressed, anxious, striving, and driven.”
Two things stand out: This statement shows that he has a very shallow understanding of scripture and is not at all concerned with the historical or literary context, with theology, or with what scholars have learned over the past 2000 years. His study of the Bible seems to be limited to word studies and just finding verses or phrases out of context that might prove his point. I’ll look at some examples latter on.
Second, who wrote the Merck Manual, the pathophysiolgy manual, the anatomy and physiolgy books? Doctors! If doctors are not from God and are incompetent to deal with disease, then why does he first condemn them and then turn around and buy the Merck Manual? And how in the world could they be identifying spiritual/emotional root causes for Fibromyalgia? That is inconsistent with his point on page 29.
So, on page 29, we see that doctors are incompetent. Then on page 70, we see that pastors are incompetent. The implication is clear that the only one who is competent is Henry Wright.
On page 39 he starts off with the statement that “you do not have to resolve one issue with somebody that has victimized you in order for God to heal you, providing you have resolved that issue between you and God concerning them.” The obvious inference is that unforgiveness is the cause of sickness, and if you forgive them, God can heal you. I agree that unresolved bitterness or anger could very well be the source of illness. And sometimes you can’t find resolution with the person who wronged you. You just have to forgive them.
After making this statement about forgiveness, he takes us to 2 Tim 1:7 which says:
2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Why does he go there? This verse doesn’t relate to his statement about forgiveness. It is about fear. It is about Timothy standing firm against the Gnostics who are trying to destroy his ministry.
His explanation of 2 Tim 1:7 is that we can overcome fear by trusting the Godhead. He concludes this by interpreting the “spirit of power” as the Holy Ghost, “love” as the Father and “sound mind” as the Word. That reminds me of the allegorical writings of the early church fathers who when they read that “Jacob dug three wells” concluded that the three wells referred to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In other words, he’s pulling the Godhead thing out of the air.
In the midst of his Godhead discussion (p. 40) and a later Godhead discussion (p. 61), he pulls in a little Hebrew to make his argument sound even more biblical. He says that in Deut 6:4 which says, “The Lord your God, the Lord is one,” the Hebrew word for “one” is echad which means plural unity. Therefore, he says, “Right there in the Torah you find the Godhead.” That is a possible meaning of echad when it is in the plural., but it’s not plural in Deut 6, and it doesn’t mean plural unity there. Maybe he should add the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament to his Vines and Ungers in his library.
Why would he even go to Deut 6 to prove the Godhead? There are plenty of other passages that would be better suited. My only conclusion is, if you can make a verse mean anything you want, then I guess you can use any verse you want. Of course, who would deny that we should trust the Godhead? If you argue with his point, it sounds like you don’t trust the Godhead. But my point is that the Godhead is not in 2 Tim 1:7 and 2 Timothy has nothing to do with his point about forgiveness and conflict resolution.
Immediately after the incoherent forgiveness/fear discussion he starts talking about communion and its relationship to autoimmune disease. He is still on the autoimmune disease topic, which started with the cause of all autoimmune disease being caused by lack of forgiveness, bitterness, anger, etc.
His understanding of the communion passage is abysmal. He prefaces his discussion with, “I may bump into some of your theology, but if I do, I sure do love you, and I hope you love me too!” So, maybe he knows he’s way off-base on this passage?
He says, “In dealing with autoimmune disease, 1 Corinthians is an example of a block, not a root, but a block to healing.” (p. 41)
Read the passage for your self and let’s start in verse 27 so you get the context. 1 Cor 11:27-31 says:
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
He has totally missed the point of the passage which is that their flippant attitude about the Lord’s Supper, their unconfessed sin, and their abuse (gluttony and drunkeness) of the Lord’s Supper IS IN FACT the root cause of their sickness and death.
Then there is a confusing discussion about Christ’s body paying the penalty for the curse and if we don’t appropriate that when we take the Lord’s Supper, then we are denying healing today and we will be filled with disease and go insane. Here is the whole paragraph:
If we come to a Communion service, and partake of the cup and the bread, but we deny healing and deliverance as part of the atonement today, we eliminate the provision of God in our lives as a human being apart from salvation and eternal life in that day. For that reason, because we eliminate the broken body, but we celebrate it, and we don’t believe it, then we cannot partake. For that reason many of us are filled with disease and insanity today because we have said in our heart that it passed away two thousand years ago yet we still participate in the sacrament of Communion which represents its reality for today. If you don’t believe it, you don’t have to worry about it happening. But be careful, ignorance is a form of knowledge and so is unbelief. (p. 42)
To back up this confusing statement, he quotes 1 Peter 2:24 which says “by his stripes you are healed.”
If you will go read 1 Peter 2, you will see that the context (2:13-17) is about submitting to authority. And that it (2:18ff) is dealing with slaves submitting to their masters. In that paragraph Christ is given as an example of submitting, even when it is unjust. And the result is that through his submission (to the beatings and the cross) we are healed (saved). There is nothing in this passage about physical healing. It’s about the healing of their/our souls. It is about eternal salvation and our response to God as saved people; we are to suffer for Christ and do so for being good, not for being evil.
In conclusion, there is no way you can conclude that the Lord’s Supper itself has anything to do with physical healing. It is about remembering the Lord’s death. But to those who don’t pay attention to the details of what is actually being said, bringing the Lord’s Supper in as support for your theology sounds biblical.
What about Paul?
When Wright says that disease is always1 the result of sin, I immediately think about Paul. He had some “thorn in the flesh” that God would not heal. If Wright does not believe that all disease is caused by sin, then this verse shouldn’t cause a problem for him. But it evidently does, because he redefines Paul’s thorn to be some spiritual problem, not a physical problem. That would certainly be a minority viewpoint. Wright says, it was an “area of his carnal nature that he just never got under control.” (p. 75) He points to Romans 7 where Paul lays out his struggle against the flesh as proof, but Wright apparently failed to read Romans 8 where Paul describes how the Holy Spirit gave him victory over the flesh. The point of Romans 6-8 is that we cannot overcome the old nature by our own power. We can only overcome it with the Spirit’s power. But we CAN find victory over sin. As usual, Wright is taking verses out of context to prove his point.
But, for the sake of discussion, let’s assume he’s correct and that Paul’s problem was spiritual. What is Wright teaching about struggles against the sin nature? If Paul couldn’t overcome his, and he’s the apostle who saw the risen Christ, was multi-gifted, had a multitude of revelations from the Lord (2 Cor 12), and wrote half the New Testament, then what are our chances of overcoming envy, jealousy, anger, bitterness, fear, etc.? Wright’s whole message is that disease is caused by the above sins, but then he teaches that we may be stuck with our envy, anger, etc. What hope is there?
Wright continues his discussion of Paul later in the book (p. 192) where he discusses Paul’s struggle with the flesh in Romans 7. He says our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with entities from another kingdom. He takes us to Hebrews 4:12f.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Wright says, “Notice in verse 13 that the Word of God is making manifest those creatures that are within. That’s those ‘yucky-puckies’ / ‘crispy critters’ that Paul is talking about in Romans 7.” I’ll agree that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, and that there is a spiritual battle going on, but Hebrews 4:13 is not the place to go to prove one’s point. It is NOT talking about “crispy critters within us.” That is totally backwards from what the verse is saying. It means that God sees the heart of all creatures, i.e. His creation, i.e. people. And lest one think that has to be a typo or something because his interpretation is so outrageous, he quotes Hebrews 4:12-13 again on page 195 and says, “This sin that dwells within Paul is identified in Hebrews 4:13 as the creatures that need to be made opened and naked before Him with whom we have to do.”
What about Job?
Wright also points to Job 3:25 and says that fear was Job’s problem and the cause of his physical problems (p. 73-4). A couple of things stand out as wrong with this. Before mentioning Job, Wright has just claimed that the cause of aneurysms, strokes, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins is fear and anxiety. Did any of those things happen to Job? No. And God himself said that Job was the most righteous man on the earth. Yes, Job did fear (was concerned?) that his children might not be following God, and so he sacrificed and prayed for them. And he trusted God through it all. After all, if there is no worry, fear, etc., then we don’t have a need to trust God. To say Job feared, is not to say that Job was controlled by his fear. And certainly from the context of God pointing out Job’s righteousness to Satan and giving Satan permission to test Job we should recognize that his sickness was definitely not due to his sin. It was to demonstrate to Satan that Job’s love for God was not based on his prosperity or health.
If Job, the most righteous man on the earth, couldn’t overcome his fear, then why should we bother trying? And again, I have to ask, if he doesn’t believe all disease is caused by sin, then why does he try to prove that Paul’s thorn in the flesh and Job’s sickness were caused by their sin?
Two very clear examples of where it was God’s will for someone to get sick or stay sick are redefined so that it was their fault (i.e., their sin). Therefore, if I don’t do what Paul or Job did, then I won’t get sick. This theology is trying to offer certainty and control in a sinful/uncertain world. I will discuss this at the end.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Wright says that osteoporosis is caused by envy. Prov 14:30 is his proof text because it says,
Prov 14:30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh:
but envy the rottenness of the bones
On page 61 he quotes Prov 17:22 which says, “a broken spirit drieth the bones.” From that he concludes that, since the bone marrow is the source for our immune system, a broken spirit is the cause for MCS. It’s not chemicals, odors, etc.
Prov 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:
but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
In both of those passages we have examples of Hebrew poetry and parallelism. You say something one way and then you repeat it or reverse it and use a different word which stands for the same thing. I.e. “Something is good for the body, but something is bad for the body.” The bones don’t mean “bones.” They mean body. The part represents the whole. There is a fancy seminary word for it. It is called synecdoche.
I did a quick word search in the Bible for “bones” and noticed that Prov 12:4 says, “the wife who acts shamefully is like rottenness in his bones.” To be consistent, Wright would have to say that men with osteoporosis must have wives who act shamelessly. However, Wright never mentions Prov 12:4.
Maybe you can start to see how ludicrous this is and that he’s making way too much out of a couple of adjectives such as rotten or dry.
He continues his discussion of MCS on p. 71 when he says, “Isaiah talks about the brokenhearted.”
61:1 The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has chosen me.
He has commissioned me to encourage the poor,
to help the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives,
and the freeing of prisoners,
“The healing of MCS/EI is healing of the broken heart. I spend more time healing broken hearts than you can imagine.” (p. 72)
“I want to tell you something; you had better thank God for my intensity because I am a warrior. I am out to destroy the works of the devil and to reclaim God’s precious flock from the hands of Satan and re-establish you into praising His glory here and now, not when you get to heaven. Then, when you get to heaven, you can give Him thanks for it. AMEN!”
“Isaiah continues to talk about God’s healing and restoration that has been provided:”
61:2 to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor,
the day when our God will seek vengeance,
to console all who mourn,
61:3 to strengthen those who mourn in Zion,
by giving them a turban, instead of ashes,
oil symbolizing joy, instead of mourning,
a garment symbolizing praise, instead of discouragement.
They will be called godly oaks,
trees planted by the Lord to reveal his splendor.
“Isaiah 61:4 is generational in nature and provides for the healing of generations. This is the breaking of inherited genetic curses. This is breaking inherited familiar spirits from your family trees, the rollovers, specifically meaning spiritually, psychologically and biologically inherited diseases.”
61:4 They will rebuild the perpetual ruins
and restore the places that were desolate;
they will reestablish the ruined cities,
the places that have been desolate since ancient times.
“I’m going to tell you that there is a revival coming to this planet, and there is a revival coming to this nation, but it will not be the type of revival that you may think it is. The revival coming is one of sanctification and purification. I will tell you with all the authority of my heart that I can know, that the only way that it will be ushered in is the same way it was ushered in the first time: by the Lord when He came. The healing of diseases, the casting out of evil spirits, and the establishment of His grace and His mercy—you can go and read about it from Romans to Jude.” (p. 72)
That was a long quote, but I think it is helpful to see how he reads lots of scripture and then throws in his comments. Let’s look at the page in detail.
How is Isaiah’s mention of the broken hearted proof that MCS is cause by a broken heart? It’s not. It’s just a verse about the broken hearted.
What is the Isaiah prophecy really about? It’s about the coming Messiah. Jesus quotes that verse when he stands up in the synagogue to teach in Luke 4:16-21 and says that it was being fulfilled in their presence. He was announcing that He was the Messiah. If Henry Wright is claiming that verse for himself does he realize the implications? He’s probably not claiming that he’s the Messiah, but he is certainly arrogant to tell us that he is a warrior and we will thank God for him when we get to heaven.
Note also that Jesus stops the quote of Isaiah at 61:2a. The rest of the Isaiah passage was not being fulfilled at that time. The next phrase, “the day when our God will seek vengeance,” was still to come. When is “the day of God’s vengeance?” It is the Tribulation. And it is after the day of God’s vengeance that the rest of the passage will be fulfilled. In other words, it is after the tribulation. So the rest of the passage is about the restoration of Israel after the tribulation.
Isa 61:4 is just a continuation of the description of that restoration. It is certainly not about the breaking of inherited genetic curses and diseases or about a “revival that is coming to the planet.” At least not now.
On page 160 Wright continues his discussion of MCS. He says that when people were healed of MCS that the toxins in their bodies went away because “God designed the body to cleanse itself as part of its creation. When spiritual roots are dealt with, that is exactly what happens. Have you not read the scripture—if you drink any deadly thing, it shall not harm you?” Mark 16:18
He goes on to say, “I’m not talking about going out here and doing something presumptuous like drinking something poisonous. I’m talking about a normal lifestyle and things you are exposed to. God created your body to cleanse itself of impurities. The spiritual root of the toxic retention is fear and anxiety.”
A couple things stand out here. First, he just quoted a verse that said we could go out and drink poison and it wouldn’t harm us. Then he says, that we shouldn’t do that. Why not? That’s what the verse said. Why would he use the verse as proof and then tell us not to obey it?
Second, I thought that MCS was not caused by toxins. It was caused by a broken spirit. Now he says that people “healed” of MCS have the toxins leave their body. What toxins?
On p. 182 he quotes Matt 18:22 where Jesus says to forgive seventy times seven. His explanation is as follows:
One day in my prayer time I asked the Lord, “What did you mean by that?” This came into my heart and into my understanding: Our days are 24 hours long, 8 hours for work, 8 hours for family and 8 hours for sleep. 8-8-8. If you take 8 hours of the day, whether it’s business, family or yourself, this is the whole dimension of human existence, others, yourself and so on. If you take 8 hours, how many minutes are there to an hour? Sixty. Sixty times 8 is 480. What is 70 x 7? 490.
I felt that the Lord was saying it this way, “Every hour of your day, if your brother blows it regarding the same issue minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, release him.”
That explanation is so bizarre that it probably doesn’t need comment, but why use only 8 hours out of the 24 hour day? And which 8 hours should we forgive…the 8 at work, or the 8 at home, or even better, the 8 while we are asleep? And in case he didn’t notice 480 is not equal to 490 and close doesn’t count in math.
His use of math is on par with his use of the bible, his use of Hebrew, etc.
I’ve talked to three people who went to the seminars, and one common comment was that he was very proud. That attitude comes through loud and clear in his book when he makes statements like, “I have many medical books on this subject in my library. I’ve read them all, and no one knows the ‘cause’ of CFS.”(p. 165) But he does. Or, “Now I want to tell you that on the phone as a minister, this insight that I had is really incredible.” (p. 169) He claims to have an undisputed corner on the truth. However, he contradicts himself often. He relies totally on experience and has fantastical interpretations of scripture. He perfectly fits the description of false teachers who claim to teach the truth but twist the scriptures to support whatever they have to say.
What About those that Got Better?
I know some who say he has changed their lives. They have been healed. I believe the people. What do we do with claims like that?
I mentioned at the beginning that sickness can be caused by sin. If through the ministry of Henry Wright, someone gets into regular bible study, examines their life, identifies a sin (like worry), and deals with it, then it not only possible, but even probable that any illness caused by that sin will go away.
Is that a “bonafide” biblical healing miracle? No. But it is a demonstration of the grace of God who can even use someone like Henry Wright to get people back into studying scripture and bring about healing.
Why Is He So Popular?
I think control is the number one area in everyone’s life that God has to deal with – whether it is anxiety attacks, money problems, submission to authority, you name it. And health is a big area where we want to have control. Nobody wants to get sick. And if you are sick, you want to get well. I think it was a Geritol commercial from a long time ago that said, “When you’ve got your health, you’ve got just about everything.” That’s probably a pretty accurate statement for most people.
Health and wealth gospels are attractive because they give us a sense of control. I think that Wright’s message is popular because he offers definite solutions to sickness. He identifies with great certainty the source for most diseases. If you will just examine your heart for sin and repent, then either you will not get sick, or if you are already sick, prayer will heal you. And of course, getting sin out of your life is a good and honorable thing, so who can argue with that?
Some people use nutrition to “control” their health. I’ve personally seen or heard of lots of folks cured of allergies, asthma, cancer, etc. just by changing their diet. I know it works. I highly recommend it! However, eating properly can actually become a form of control and be just like a religion.
Others blame demons2 and say you just have to cast out the demon to get well.
Is there any room for God to use sickness to glorify himself or to teach us some spiritual lesson? When the nutrition advocate eats right but gets sick anyway, could God be teaching them that they are not in control? What is the proper response to sickness? It is to recognize that God is in control and leave that control of your health/life up to Him. Go back to eating healthy, knowing that it really does have good results, but knowing that you could still get sick if God sovereignly designs it for your growth.
The wrong response is to try to find another way to control your life/health/etc. I think Henry Wright offers that promise of control. If you just find the right sin, you can cure the disease or if you take power over that demon then you can be healed of your sickness. He expresses no doubts about getting well if you “know the truth” (as he teaches it). Is that not a promise of controlling our destiny (health)?
And if you don’t get well after praying, then what must you conclude if you follow the teaching of someone like Henry Wright? You just haven’t found the sin that caused the disease, so keep digging. The result will be that a person who really has no problem with fear, but who has an illness which Wright says is cause by “fear” will have to invent fears to repent of. The result is a self-centered focus and not a Christ-centered focus.
God promises us the abundant life. According to the health and wealth preachers, the abundant life is only being healthy and wealthy. That is an earthly (unbiblical) perspective. The biblical perspective is that the abundant life is being able to have joy in the midst of trials – whether sickness, poverty, prison, or whatever. The abundant life is not found in circumstances. It is found in relationship with Christ, the Lord of and over our circumstances.
Is Henry Right?
So, is his teaching biblical? He certainly does use a lot of verses. But he uses them incorrectly. He has no biblical authority for what he teaches. The only authority behind Wright’s teaching is “all the authority of his heart.” I’m sure he’s sincere, but he is sincerely wrong.
If the Bible is consistent and Wright is using the Bible to prove his points, then how could he be so inconsistent? He is inconsistent, because he’s pulling verses out of context.
It is like someone quoting “Judas went out and hanged himself” and then finding another verse that says “go thou and do likewise” and putting them together to prove that suicide is biblical. We all would instantly recognize that as being ludicrous. But because the audience wants what Wright is saying to be true, many people aren’t recognizing the similar use of scripture by Wright.
Related to this is the fact that he cautions us to use the King James Version or “this teaching will lose the integrity and intent of its meaning.” (p. 5) Why would it hurt to use another translation of the Bible? Because so many of his points rest on the specific words used in the King James Version. If the verses were used in context, it wouldn’t matter which translation he used. If your whole doctrine hinges on a particular English word (which is just a translation of Hebrew or Greek), then you have a very precarious doctrine.
He says he’s not interested in defending himself because he knows what he knows from experience. I believe the reason he won’t defend himself is because he can’t. His interpretation of scripture won’t stand up to even the most casual questions. I also believe that is the reason for his rapid-fire presentation during his seminars. It doesn’t give the audience time to think.
You have to decide if you are going to base your theology on a man’s experience or the Word of God properly read and interpreted. That means that texts must be read in their literary and historical (and theological) context—a simple rule for interpreting any document. I do not say this to be hurtful, but Mr. Wright demonstrates, over and over again, a complete failure to appreciate this point. I am not surprised when he says that he speaks out of “all the authority of his heart.” That much is quite evident; so also is the fact that he speaks without the authority of Scripture and therefore without the authority of the Spirit of God who inspired Scripture.
So, even if there may be some truth to his teaching (some sickness is indeed caused by sin), there is so much that is false that I think it would be extremely dangerous to listen to him at all. Constant exposure to his teaching could only have ill effects. (pun intended)
Hampton Keathley IV
1 Although on page 24 he says 80% percent of disease is caused by sin, he makes very strong statements such as, “Today, I stand 100% not for disease management for disease eradication and prevention on a regular basis, if at all possible.” (p. 33) “eradication” is not an 80% word. It is a 100% word! Not to mention the use of “100%” in the quote.
2 See article on Thurman Scrivner. He has a ministry which teaches that sickness is the result of demonic control and all you have to do is cast out the demon to get well.