Journal Article

The Word-Faith Movement: A Theological Conflation of the Nation of Islam and Mormonism?

Kirk R. MacGregor

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 75, issue 1, pages 87-120
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
The Word-Faith Movement: A Theological Conflation of the Nation of Islam and Mormonism?

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A relative newcomer to the world of New Religious Movements, the “Word-Faith Movement” is one of the most understudied developments on the margins of the Christian tradition. Typically dismissed by conservative Protestants and others as a “health and wealth gospel,” such a characterization fails to account for the movement's theological roots and practical fruits. These roots are located in two historical predecessor NRMs—the Nation of Islam and Mormonism. Using both direct evidence from Faith theological architects of doctrinal appropriation and strong circumstantial evidence of exegetical borrowing on the part of the movement's leaders, I argue that this identification of the Faith Movement's parent traditions enhances our understanding of its major cultural fruits, including the personal empowerment jointly driven by gnōsis of one's true identity, and by the bestowal of ultimate concern upon socioeconomic movement via direct correlation with one's spiritual progress. I conclude with some reflections on what the Faith Movement's career to date can tell us about New Religious Movements and the state of religion in America today.

Journal Article.  13125 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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