Positive Confession

One of the most emphasized beliefs in the Charismatic appendage of the church today is the teaching on faith. Most of the teaching has become polarized. The most popular teaching comes from the words of Jesus in Mark 11.20-24.

These verses are used to advance the perception of what is called positive confession. This belief system teaches that when believers claim what their desires are, God will surely give those desires to them. The assumption is that faith is supported and illustrated by the activity of claiming now what has not yet come to pass in the present, but will surely come to pass in the future because we have claimed it.

Let me offer you another set of lenses to understand this passage. Verse 22 should be translated, …You have the faithfulness of God. You should note that I have translated the passage with the words of God instead of in God. This verse is an exhortation that is based on Habakkuk 2.4. Habakkuk told his readers that the righteous person lives because of his or her faithfulness to the covenant of God that is based on God’s faithfulness to bless those who keep his covenant. Verses 23-24 provide assurances that are grounded explicitly on God’s faithfulness to keep his covenant, not on the ability of a man to banish from his heart the sin of doubt. The exercise of faith is not necessarily a context in which we prove our faith by resisting doubt and receiving what we have spoken. The issue for Jesus was God’s faithfulness to respond to us, not our ability to control doubt.

When Jesus speaks of “this mountain” in verse 23, it is most probable that he is referring to the Mount of Olives. He may be making an allusion to the words of Zechariah 14.4, which suggests that when the future (eschatological) day of the Lord arrives, the Mount of Olives will be split in two and the whole land will be turned into a plain (Zech. 14.10). The picture is of the coming of the King (Messiah) to set up his Rule (Kingdom). Mark used Apocalyptic (symbolic) language from Zechariah 14.4, 10.

Verse 24 is a prayer for God to set up his Rule. What is affirmed is God’s absolute readiness to respond to the resolute faith that prays. When prayer becomes the source of faith’s power and means of its strength, the only restriction is the sovereignty of God. This kind of prayer resembles the disciple’s prayer in Matthew 6. This saying in Mark may be something like, “Keep believing in God’s faithfulness and his rule will come sooner than you think.”

The affirmation of this passage is God’s readiness to respond because of his faithfulness to bring about the Kingdom Rule here and now.

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