The Effect of American ‘Word of Faith’ Culture
on Contemporary English Evangelical
By Glyn J. Ackerley
The Lutterworth Press. 311 pages. £24.00
ISBN 978 0 718 894 252
The aim of this book is not to focus on whether that teaching is biblical, but primarily to investigate its roots and what influence it has had on some charismatic leaders here in the UK.
The book is divided into three main parts. It begins by ‘introducing the Word of Faith culture’, and then goes on to look at some case studies of the teaching and ministries of three Christian leaders in England (Colin Urquhart, Michael Reid and Jerry Savelle). I’d never heard of any of these men before, but information about them was easy to find with a quick search on Google. The book investigates what these men are offering and delivering, what makes their ministries appealing to people, and how miraculous claims compare with the miracles in the New Testament.
The third and final part aims to show the ‘effect of Word of Faith teaching on some English revivalist churches’ and then to address and answer some of the questions raised earlier.
The book raises lots of interesting questions, but – despite the blurb on the back describing it as ‘highly readable’ – I found it hard work. The book arose out of the author’s doctoral study and there are hundreds of different names listed, numerous quotes and lots of technical language used. Just one example: ‘Indeed, a significant challenge to the classical Weberian account of disenchantment as a unidirectional and uni-versalising tendency of modernity is made by scholars such as Richard Jenkins.’
If you are looking for a detailed, scholarly investigation into this specific question then I’m sure you will find much of interest. But for the average Christian seeking to understand more about the ‘Health, Wealth and Prosperity Movement’ there are much more accessible and helpful books out there.